Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 Literary Exploration Reading Challenge

As the year starts to come to a close, we readers start to think about what we would like to read next year and for some of us, we look for the reading challenge that excites us the most. As most people know, Literary Exploration tries to explore all different genres in the hope to become a well-rounded reader and even discover something new. So in 2013 we would like to challenge you to explore further.
Instead of increasing the book club to two books a month we decided we wanted people to read what they wanted to read; but we also want people to explore. So we are challenging everyone to dedicate either 12, 24 or 36 books that you would normally read to different genres. We have compiled a list which hopefully will give you a chance to explore literature a little deeper.
It’s real simple; below you will see an easy (12 books), hard (24 books) or insane (36 books) challenge. Each genre links to the Goodreads genre page if you need some suggestions on what to read. We want you to have some fun and explore; hopefully you might find a new genre that peaks your interest. To sign up either join the Literary Exploration book club on Goodreads and talk about your progress with others involved or for the bloggers out there, if you want to add it as part of your blogging experience simply let us know with a link (to your Literary Exploration Challenge page) in the comments below so our readers can see how you are going.
This is the first year doing this and if all goes well we might expand and make it a yearly challenge. If we do decide to do this on a yearly basis and you feel that there are some genres are either too heavily focused on or not mentioned at all, please let me know. The idea of this challenge is to have a well-balanced list of genres and not focusing on one genre more than any others.
Good luck all who decide to join in. I personally am going to go for the 36 book, insane challenge and I’m really looking forward to it. While there are some genres I’m not looking forward to reading, it’s all part of being a literary explorer. What could be wrong with that?
Easy Challenge
  1. Classics
  2. Fantasy
  3. Graphic Novels
  4. Historical Fiction
  5. Horror
  6. Literary Fiction
  7. Mystery
  8. Non Fiction
  9. Romance
  10. Science Fiction
  11. Thriller
  12. Young Adult
Hard Challenge
  1. Adventure
  2. Auto-Biography/Biography
  3. Chick-Lit
  4. Classics
  5. Drama
  6. Fantasy
  7. Graphic Novels
  8. Historical Fiction
  9. Horror
  10. Humour
  11. Literary Fiction
  12. Magical Realism
  13. Mystery
  14. Non Fiction
  15. Paranormal
  16. Philosophical
  17. Poetry
  18. Pulp – (Hard-Boiled or Noir)
  19. Romance
  20. Science Fiction
  21. Steampunk
  22. Thriller
  23. Victorian
  24. Young Adult
Insane Challenge
  1. Adventure
  2. Auto-Biography/Biography
  3. Chick-Lit  Stephanie Evanovich - Big Girl Panties
  4. Childrens Book Kimberly Kinrade - The Three Lost Kids And Cupid's Curse
  5. Classics
  6. Cyberpunk
  7. Drama Kristina Riggle - The Whole Golden World
  8. Dystopian
  9. Educational Zealot: The Life & Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth
  10. Erotica  L. Marie Adeline - S.E.C.R.E.T.
  11. Espionage
  12. Fantasy Rhonda Riley - The Enchanted Life Of Adam Hope
  13. Graphic Novels Brian Shearer, Kelly Yates, Matthew Sturgess - A Fairytale Life
  14. Gothic
  15. Hard-Boiled
  16. Historical Fiction Cynthia Sally Haggard - The Twarted Queen
  17. Horror
  18. Humour Susan M. Boyer - Lowcountry Bombshell
  19. Literary Fiction Mitch Albom - The Time Keeper
  20. Magical Realism
  21. Mystery Sam Thomas - The Midwife's Tale
  22. Noir
  23. Non Fiction Betsy Prioleau - Swoon: The Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them
  24. Paranormal Marilyn Levinson - Getting Back To Normal
  25. Philosophical Lori Carson - The Original 1982
  26. Poetry Francesco Marciuliano - I Could Be On This And Other Poems By Cats
  27. Post-Apocalyptic Linda Bickle - The Outside
  28. Romance Mary Balogh - The Arrangement
  29. Science Fiction Jenny Colgan - Dark Horizons
  30. Steampunk Liesel Schwartz - The Conspiracy of Alchemists
  31. Supernatural
  32. Thriller Louise Millar - Accidents Happen
  33. True Crime
  34. Urban Fantasy
  35. Victorian Keegan Lace - Madame's Double Life
  36. Young Adult Sarah Norkus - The Secret Diary of Sarah Chamberlain
I'm going for the 36!

2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge

From Kimberly's Bookshelf

Here are the challenge details:

1. This challenge will begin on January 1st, 2013 and end December 31, 2013.

2. Books for this challenge can be from any genre and may include print books as well as e-books and audio books.

Choose a Level:

Latte 75 books

Cappuccino 100 books

Double-Espresso 150+ books

3. This challenge can cross-over to your other reading challenges.

4. You do not need a blog to participate! If you are not a blogger, you can post your reviews at Goodreads, Shelfari, or LibraryThing and link them up here.

5. I will create a new post each month with a linky for your reviews. Also, I'll be offering quarterly reader gifts to the top three participants. I'll announce the winners on the last day of every three months. And at the end of the challenge I'll have a special bonus for the top three overall participants.

I'm going for Double-Espresso!

Robin Bielman - Yours At Midgnight (1/3/2013)
Anne Gimpel - A Time For Everything (1/5/2013)
Sam Thomas - The Midwife's Tale (1/7/2013)
Wanda E. Brunstetter - Goodbye To Yesterday (1/9/2013)
T.J. Brown - Summerset Abbey (1/12/2013)
Jessica Hart - Hitched! (1/13/2013)
Diann Hunt - Bittersweet Surrender (1/15/2013)
June Kramin - I'll Try To Behave Myself (1/16/2013)
Jeanette Murray - No Mistletoe Required (1/18/2013)
Rosalind James - Just For Now (1/20/2013)
Cassandra Carr - Master Class (1/21/2013) @ Wenches
Tinney Sue Heath - A Thing Done (1/23/2013)
Margaret Lesh - Finding A Man For Sylvia (1/25/2013)
C.J. Ellison - Vanilla On Top (1/27/2013)
Mitch Albom - The Time Keeper) (1/31/2013)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Romance Reading Challenge 2013

Without further ado, here are the rules:

1. The challenge runs from January 1st, 2013 through December 31st, 2013.

2. "Romance" isn't limited to steamy Harlequin novels. There is a huge selection of books in this category such as contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance to name a few. As long as the story has romantic love between the two main characters your selection will fit this challenge. The novels do not need to have a happy ending either, there can also be unrequited love.

3. Choose at least 5 novels to read. You can change your choices at any time. Crossovers between other challenges are fine.

All kinds of books count, ebooks and audiobooks too. If you are looking for suggested reading see Best Romance Novels Today or Romance Novels on Wiki or check out Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

I read a lot of romance so I know I'll be doing more than just 5, but here are 4 I know I'll be reading.


1. Robin Bielman - Yours At Midnight
2. Jessica Hart - Hitched
3. Diann Hunt - Bittersweet Surrender
4. June Kramin - I'll Try To Behave Myself
5. Rosalind James - Just For Now
6. Victoria Alexander - The Importance of Being Wicked
7. Kimberly Lang - The Downfall Of A Good Girl 
8. Beth Andrews - The Talk Of The Town
9. Christine Ridgway - Bungalow Nights
10. Aubrie Dionne - Playing The Maestro
11. Marcie Kremer - The Torch In The Forest 
12. Michelle Willingham - Undone By The Duke


Indie Fever Reading Challenge 2013

How it works:
1. Read and Review as many Indie Books as possible during this year.
2. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. However, you have to post a review on some site in order to participate. It can be on Goodreads and/or Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble and/or Smashwords.
3. If you are a blogger link up your permalink to the review posts. If you aren't a blogger, then link up the permalink to your reviews from whichever site you have chosen to post the review on.
4. The books can overlap with other reading challenges.
5. Books read may be any form (audio, print, e-book).
6. Post your links to your reviews each month to share with other participants.
7. The challenge runs from January 1, 2013 to December 1, 2013. Sign ups will be open till 30th November'2013

 How To Sign-Up and Join In:

1. Choose a challenge level listed below.
2. Create a post on your blog, in a group, or on a forum (where possible) to let others see what you’re aiming for (a predefined list of Authors/Books is optional).
3. Grab the badge and place it in your sign up post. Then link back to b00k r3vi3ws.
4. Grab the direct URL to your sign up post, not your blog, click the Linky List and enter your link.
5. Once you review a book it would be great for you to share them by submitting them on the Review List.
6. When you’re done it’s completion post time and you can share these on the completion/wrap-up List.

Challenge Level:

Amateur : Choose to read & review 4 - 8
Indie Books Lover : Choose to read & review 9 - 16
Indie Books Expert : Choose to read & review 17 - 28
Indie Books Fanatic : Choose to read & review 28 or above Indie Books

I'm going to go for the Expert level: Completed!

1. June Kramin - I'll Try To Behave Myself
2. Margaret Lesh - Finding A Man For Sylvia
3. Mercedes King - O Jackie
4. Kimberly Kinrade - The Three Lost Kids & Cupid's Curse
5. Lynn Ricci - Cursed
6. Kimberly Kinrade - Seduced By Innocence
7. Tonya Kappes - A Charming Wish
8. P.A. Staes - The Bruges Tapestry
9.  Amy Saunders - Cliffhanger
10. Diane Vallare - Buyer Beware
11.  Ava Catori - The Big,Not So Small, BBW Romance Dating Agency
12. A.W. Hartoin - Good Man Gone
13. Marion L. Thomas - Aqual Blue
14. David Niall Wilson - Nevermore
15 .Kathleen Irene Paterka - Fatty Patty
16. Various Authors - Candlelight & Kisses
17. Herbert Smith - The Eggstone Murders
18. Olivia Mayfield - The Inheritance
19. Joyce & Jim Lavene - Murderous Matrimony
20. Joanne Spears - Six Of One
21. Heather Wardell - Fifty Million Reasons
22. Keegan Lace - Madame's Double Life
23. Eammon Hickson - The History Maker
24. Heather Wardell - Everybody's Got A Story

Library Books Reading Challenge 2013

hosted by Gina at Book Dragon's Lair

Our love of reading can be expensive! Not only are we purchasing books but we also need space to keep them. I've started using the library (again) but couldn't find a challenge to help me. Here it is. There are a number of levels, for those who don't have a library card yet to those that live there. Enjoy!


  • choose a level - you may move up as needed, just not down.
  • check books out of the library
  • books may overlap with other challenges
  • any format allowed (print, ebook, audio)
  • reviews are not necessary but a list of books read is.
  • a blog is not necessary, just comment that you want to join in

  • Levels:

  • board book - 3
  • picture book - 6
  • early reader - 9
  • chapter book - 12
  • middle grades - 18
  • Young adult - 24
  • adult - 36  ~ This is the level I'm going for
  • just insert IV - 50 

  • 1. Mitch Albom - The Time Keeper
    2. Joanne Fluke - Cream Puff Murder
    3. Beverly Lewis - The Fiddler
    4. Debbie Macomber - Glad Tidings
    5. Paula McClain - The Paris Wife
    6. Nicola Marsh - What The Paparazzi Didn't See
    7. Sarah Morgan - A Night Of No Return 
    8. Denise Hildreth Jones - Secrets Over Sweet Tea
    9. C.H. Admirand - One Day In Apple Grove
    10. Anne Perry - A Christmas Garland

    I totally failed at this challenge :(

    Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013

    From Austenprose

    Time-line: The Regency Romance Reading Challenge runs January 1, through September 30, 2013.

    Levels of participation:

    Neophyte: 1 – 2 novels & short stories, Disciple 3 – 5 novels & short stories, Aficionada 6 – 9 novels & short stories. Enrollment: Sign up’s are open until July 01, 2013.

    First, select your level of participation.

    Second, copy the Regency Romance Reading Challenge graphic and include it in your blog post detailing the novels or short stories that you will read in 2013.

    Third, leave a comment linking back to your blog post in the comments of this announcement post. If you do not have a blog you can still participate. Just leave your commitment to the challenge in the comments below.

    Check Back Monthly: The Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013 officially begins on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 with my review of A Proper Companion. Check back on the 4th Wednesday of each month for our next review in the challenge. Your Participation: Once the challenge starts, leave a comment including the novel or short story that you finished and a link to your blog review. If you do not have a blog, just leave a comment about which novel or short story you finished with a brief reaction or remark. It’s that easy.

    I'm going for the Aficionada level of 6-9 books for 2013

    Friday, December 28, 2012

    Book Review: Doctor Who: The Magic Of Angels

    Author: Jacqueline Rayner
    Title: Doctor Who: The Magic Of Angels
    Publisher: BBC Books
    Publish Date: Feb 2, 2012
    Buy: Amazon
    Book Blurb: 'No one from this time will ever see that girl again...'The Doctor, Amy and Rory round off a sight-seeing tour round London with a trip to the theatre. That's when things start to go wrong.The Doctor wonders why so many young girls are going missing from the area. When he sees Sammy Star's amazing magic act, he thinks he knows the answer. Sammy's glamorous assistant disappears at the climax of the act - but this is no stage trick.The Doctor and his friends team up with residents of an old people's home to discover the truth. And together they find themselves face to face with a deadly Weeping Angel.Whatever you do - don't blink!A thrilling all-new adventure featuring the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

    Review: This is a BBC Quick Reads, so its only about 60 pages long. The plot with the reality star magician Sammy Star and the Weeping Angels is a good one. It is one I almost wished had been made into an episode, except I'm sick to death of the Weeping Angels.

    I actually preferred the action in this story to that of the episode that finished off the first half of series 7.

    So let's sum this up. The Magician has an Angel that is sending his assistants back in time so it looks like he's actually doing magic.

    Good job Sammy, you wanker!

    The Doctor, Amy and Rory discover his show on holiday in London while they are being tossed out of ever touristy thing they could visit.

    In the show they meet two old ladies that are terrified of the monster.

    So there are are characters.

    The only ones that come across as they should are the two old ladies Kylie and Amber, who were victims of the show, but have lived long enough to come and see it as their aged selves.

    GAH confusing..but it works.

    What I hated was how The Doctor, Amy and Rory seemed like caricatures of themselves. They just didn't seem right.

    The story itself is probably a more satisfying read for the younger crowd. I think older fans would simply be bored by it or annoyed at the way the characters are portrayed here.

    Still, after the last episode with The Ponds, it is a nice tale to read to revisit them.

    Rating: 3 flowers

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

    Bewitching Book Tours Book Review: A Marquess For Christmas

    Author: Vivienne Westlake
    Title: A Marquess For Christmas
    Publish Date: Dec 12, 2012
    Buy: Amazon
    Review Copy Provided By: Bewitching Book Tours & the author
    Book Blurb: A proper widow. A rakish marquess. He rescued her from thieves, but will she be able to save him from himself?

    When Violet Laurens is rescued from highwaymen, the furthest thing from her mind is that her heart might tumble next. She loves her independent life, no matter her lonely bed. The handsome stranger reawakens the passion she thought buried along with her husband, pushing her to new heights of desire. But she knows it’s only a matter of time before he remembers his name and leaves her.

    The dissolute Marquess of Kittrick has vowed never to marry, causing a rift in his family that sets him on the road just in time to do battle with ruffians intent on stealing a lady’s coins—and more. Discovering the fiery wanton beneath the widow’s oh-so-proper demeanor makes him want nothing more than to forget who he is for just a bit longer. Maybe forever.

    When Kit is forced to acknowledge who he is, will the truth trump their shared passion, and the love they can’t quite admit to? Or will Violet overcome her fear—and Kit his dissolute ways--and be able to lay claim to A Marquess for Christmas?

    Review: Vivienne Westlake is a good writer of regency romance. In A Marquess For Christmas she created a cast of characters that you will enjoy getting to know. There is only one flaw, it is an erotic regency.

    Now I don't have any problems with erotica. I like the genre now and then, but something about the sex scenes in this book didn't ring true for me. Violet likes a little light bondage, nothing major, but there is no rhyme or reason for this.

    That's not to say the sex scenes aren't smoking hot or really sexy, because they are, and as I said, I loved the chemistry between Violet and Kit, but for me, personally, the physical relationship wasn't quite what I wanted it to be.

    But back to the story.

    Kit gets clobbered defending Violet from Highwaymen. He has amnesia.

    Ah the old amnesia that isn't amnesia for long bit.

    Its a plot that's been done before...and recently I've read a few books with this theme. I'm on the fence with this one, because I watch too much news and know that Kit's injury really should have been life threatening and some of their bed gymnastics probably shouldn't have been done. I mean he got smashed in the head with a ROCK!

    OK, off my pedestal now.

    Yes, there were two things that bothered me with the story. Would they keep me from recommending the book or Vivienne Westlake as a writer? No, they wouldn't because there are too many pluses to the story.

    And they are:

    1. Great secondary characters, Bella and Freddy (Kit's sister and brother-in-law)

    2. A believable relationship between the hero and heroine.

    3. The relationship between Kit and Bella. These siblings are quite a pair!

    4. A hero that gives as good as he takes. (And yeah, that involves the smokin' hot sex scenes)

    This is a great read for anyone that loves regency romance.

    Rating: 4 flowers

    Wednesday, December 26, 2012

    Cruisin' Thru The Cozies Reading Challenge 2013

    From Socrates Book Reviews

    1. Choose the level you wish to participate:

    Level 1 - Snoop - Read at least 6 books

    Level 2 - Investigator - Read 7-12 books

    Level 3 - Super Sleuth - Read 13 or more books

    2. The challenge runs from January 1, 2013 and ends December 31, 2013.

    3. You don't have to choose your books in advance. If you do, you can change your list at any time during the year. Books can overlap with other challenges.

    4. Books can be in any format - paper, audio, all counts!

    5. You don't have to post a review, but I'm sure others would love to know about the books you are reading and may even want to add it to their reading lists.

    I'm going for the Super Sleuth level since I made that level this past year.

    Mindy Starns Clark - Beauty To Die For
    Joanne Fluke - Cream Puff Murder
    Leslie Meier - Chocolate Covered Murder
    Joanne Fluke - Fudge Cupcake Murder
    Tonya Kappes - A Charming Wish
    Jennifer Harlow - What's A Witch To Do
    Suzanne Calkins - A Murder At Rosamund's Gate
    Amy Saunders - Cliffhanger
    Diane Vallare - Buyer, Beware
    Billie Thomas - Murder On The First Day Of The Year
    Jim & Joyce Lavene - Buried By Buttercups
    Leslie Matthews - Mr Tea & The Traveling Teacup
    Joanna Campbell Slan - Death Of A Dowager
    Larissa Reinhart - Portrait Of A Dead Guy
    Sam Cheever - Yesterday's News
    Daryl Wood Gerber - Final Sentence
    Reba White Williams - Restrike
    Teresa Trent - Buzzkill
    A.W. Hartoin - A Good Man Gone
    Kate Eileen Shannon - Social Insecurity
    Susan M. Boyer - Lowcountry Bombshell
    Victoria Hamilton - Bran New Death
    Sheila Webster Boneham - The Money Bird
    Meg Cabot - The Bride Wore Size 12
    Larissa Reinhart - Still Life In Brunswick Stew
    Ovidia Yu - Aunty Lee's Delights
    Barbara Jean Coast - Strangled By Silk
    Herbert Smith - The Eggstone Murders
    Joanne Phillips - Murder At The Maples
    Jim & Joyce Lavene - Murderous Matrimony
    Catherine Lloyd - Death Comes To The Village
    Various Authors - Heartbreak Motel
    Sharon Pape - Sketcher In The Rye

    33 books! Challenge Completed!

    Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2013

    From Historical Tapestry
    Here are the details:

    Each month, a new post dedicated to the HF Challenge will be created. To participate, you only have to follow the rules: everyone can participate, even those who don't have a blog (you can add your book title and thoughts in the comment section if you wish) add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your blog link, but the correct address that will guide us directly to your review) any kind of historical fiction is accepted (HF fantasy, HF young adult,...) During these following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels:

    20th century reader - 2 books 
    Victorian reader - 5 books 
    Renaissance Reader - 10 books 
    Medieval - 15 books 
    Ancient History -25+ books

    You can tailor the challenge to suit you in whichever way you like! For example, I know of one participant who over the last couple of years has only read historical mysteries as it suits their own reading tastes!

    To join the challenge you only need to make a post about it, grab the button below if you like and leave your link in Mr Linky below or just leave a link to your blog if you are not yet ready to post about it yet. If you don't have a blog you can just leave a comment for this post saying that you are joining.

    The challenge runs from 1 January to 31 December 2013.

    I'm going for the Renaissance Reader level.

    1. Sam Thomas - The Midwife's Tale
    2. TJ Brown - Summerset Abbey
    3. Tinney Sue Heath - A Thing Done
    4. Mercedes King - O Jackie!
    5. P.A. Staes - The Bruges Tapestry 
    6. Cynthia Sally Haggard - Twarted Queen
    7. Mary Hart Perry - Seducing The Princess
    8. Suzanne Calkins - A Murder At Rosamund's Gate
    9. M.J. Rose - Seduction
    10. Sandra Byrd - Roses Have Thorns
    11. Jean Fullerton - Call Nurse Millie
    12. Jeanne Kalogridis - The Inquisitor's Wife
    13. Nicole Galland - Godiva 
    14. C.W. Gortner - The Tudor Conspiracy
    15. Andrea Zuvich - His Last Mistress
    16. Jennifer Kaufman - Freud's Mistress
    17. Paula McClain - The Paris Wife

    Completed and exceeded!

    Tuesday, December 25, 2012

    A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Merry Christmas

    This chick wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas!

    May we all have trees like this one... from the North Manchester Public library!

    Friday, December 21, 2012

    Historical Fiction Book Review: The Raven's Heart

    Publication Date: September 11, 2012
    Bywater Books

    Scotland, 1561, and a ship comes across the North Sea carrying home Mary, the young, charismatic Queen of Scots, returning after 13 years in the French court to wrest back control of her throne.

    The Blackadder family has long awaited for the Queen’s return to bring them justice. Alison Blackadder, disguised as a boy from childhood to protect her from the murderous clan that stole their lands, must learn to be a lady-in-waiting to the Queen, building a web of dependence and reward.

    Just as the Queen can trust nobody, Alison discovers lies, danger and treachery at every turn. Then, unexpectedly, she finds love…

    This sweeping, imaginative and original tale of political intrigue, misplaced loyalty, secret passion and implacable revenge is based on real characters and events from the reign of Mary Queen of Scots. The Raven’s Heart is a breathtaking epic from a bold, fresh Australian voice.

    Review: When you say the name Blackadder, it is hard not to think of the British sitcome staring Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Laurie. Heck the second series was even set in the time of Elizabeth I. But tv shows. The author, I'm sure is sick of hearing all about that.

    This book revolves around Mary, Queen of Scots.

    This book really took me back in time, which is exactly what I want historical novels to do. It was the perfect mix of fact and fiction that kept me turning the pages.

    Oh and the cover art is stunning!

    Rating: 5 flowers

     About the Author

    Yes, Jesse Blackadder really was born with that surname. When she finally had enough of people asking if she was related to Rowan Atkinson, she travelled to Scotland to find the origins of her surname. Her novel The Raven’s Heart grew from there. It won the Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Development Award in 2009 and was published in Feb 2011.

    Jesse is an award winning Australian novelist, short story writer and freelance journalist, fascinated by landscapes and belonging. Her first novel was After the Party (Hardie Grant Books 2005), which made the Australian Book Review list of all time favourite Australian novels in February 2010. She’s been a writer in residence in Sitka Alaska, in outback New South Wales, at Byron Bay and at Varuna in the Blue Mountains. Jesse’s next book, which she is writing as part of a Doctor of Creative Arts at the University of Western Sydney, is about the first woman to see Antarctica and Jesse recently travelled to Antarctica as part of her research.

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

    Bewitching Book Tours Release Day Blitz: A Marquess For Christmas

    A Marquess for Christmas
    Vivienne Westlake

    Genre: Regency, erotic romance, historical romance

    Word Count: approx. 25K-30K
    Cover Artist: Vivienne Westlake

    Book Description:

    A proper widow. A rakish marquess. He rescued her from thieves, but will she be able to save him from himself?

     When Violet Laurens is rescued from highwaymen, the furthest thing from her mind is that her heart might tumble next. She loves her independent life, no matter her lonely bed. The handsome stranger reawakens the passion she thought buried along with her husband, pushing her to new heights of desire. But she knows it’s only a matter of time before he remembers his name and leaves her.

     The dissolute Marquess of Kittrick has vowed never to marry, causing a rift in his family that sets him on the road just in time to do battle with ruffians intent on stealing a lady’s coins—and more. Discovering the fiery wanton beneath the widow’s oh-so-proper demeanor makes him want nothing more than to forget who he is for just a bit longer. Maybe forever.

     When Kit is forced to acknowledge who he is, will the truth trump their shared passion, and the love they can’t quite admit to? Or will Violet overcome her fear—and Kit his dissolute ways--and be able to lay claim to A Marquess for Christmas?

    About the Author:

    Vivienne Westlake has been reading and writing romance since the age of fifteen. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and when she’s not plotting stories about sexy heroes and sassy heroines, she’s buying a book on British history, watching the latest teen vampire show, doing an art project or singing karaoke with friends. Vivienne is an active member of Romance Writers of America, Romance Divas, and Indie Romance Ink.

    Excerpt: “He still sleeps fitfully, my lady.” Avery put his hand to the man’s head. “A little warm. We should get some ice and keep his temperature down.”
    “And you have checked his bandages?” The bleeding had stopped, but the chance of infection was high. She stood by the four poster bed, looking down at her savior, who lay still and quiet, despite the people in the room.
    “Yes, the wound is not healed, but neither is it as gruesome as it was yesterday.”
    “And he has not awoken?”
    “He tosses and murmurs and has managed the chamber pot a couple of times, but he does not speak and his eyes are glazed and unfocused.”
    It had been two days since the incident. She prayed it was the laudanum keeping him so dazed and not his injury. But they could not be sure yet.
    “If he does not awaken in the next day or two, we shall have to fetch Doctor Littleton. For now, let us keep him cool and make sure that someone checks on him every hour.”
    Violet went to the window and opened it.  The sky was cloudy and the ground covered with a thin layer of snow. “The fresh, cool air should do him good.” She rang the bell then went back to the bed and sat down. The man’s hands felt hot under hers, but she raised them to her cheek to be sure. Definitely too warm.
    “My lady?” Miriam entered the room.
    “Go and fetch some ice please. If there’s no ice, send a footman outside and gather snow. We need to keep him cool until his fever breaks.”
    She leaned over to the small bedside table,  dipped a cloth into a small ceramic basin, and wrung it out. “I will see to him for a while, Avery.” She looked up at him and smiled. “Thank you.”
    Gently, she took the cloth and wiped the man’s face, always conscious of the bandage. She hummed as she worked. It was a very old song that she’d learned as a girl. Sometimes her mother would sing it as she stitched.
    Come live with me and be my love and we will all the pleasures prove. The hill and valley, dale and field, and all the craggy mountains yield.”
    She washed his arms, noting each twist and turn of muscle. She even tested it with her finger to see if it was as firm as it appeared. Nothing about him was soft-- except for his lips and the silky threads of his hair.
    She brushed the towel over his neck and down to the exposed skin at the opening of his tunic. The hair there was thin and fine. She couldn’t help but stare as she swept over his chest. His nipples were wide, but tightened into little nubs when she touched them.
    What would it feel like to run her palms over them? Would they react to her as they did to the damp cloth? What about her mouth?
    Violet turned away and blushed. She closed her eyes and willed herself to remember him fighting off the thief and the moment when he’d taken the fateful blow. She needed to focus on her task and not on the yearnings she felt for a man she barely knew.
    She might be fantasizing about a man of base morals or a man with a wife and four children. Or, what if he was a clergyman? That she doubted considering his skill with weapons and his readiness to fight, but what gentleman would watch an innocent woman get attacked by thieves and not come to her rescue?
    A man does what needs must. Even a man of the cloth will take up a pistol if his life or his country demanded it. She had seen boys barely old enough to carry a gun with gaping holes in their chest and villages ravaged and burned in the war.
    And this man would die like the rest, if she did not do her duty to him. He’d saved her and now she must do the same for him.
    With such thoughts distracting her, she didn’t realize she’d paused her singing until she heard a low, gravelly voice.
    She looked down to see dark eyes watching her.
    “You are awake!”
    “Sing,” he repeated, but he’d barely finished the word when a ragged cough took over his body.
    A belt of straw and ivy buds, with coral clasps and amber studs, and if these pictures may thee move, come live with me and—”
    “Be my love.” His voice was hoarse, even more than she expected for someone who’d slept for two days. She lifted from the bed to pour water from the pitcher into a cup.
    When she lifted the cup to his lips, he coughed and it dribbled down his chin. “Easy.” They tried again, but still, most of the water ended up down his chest. His tunic absorbed the excess liquid and clung tightly to his body, so she could see every line and curve. His nipples hardened again.
    “Let me try this another way,” she said. This time, she dipped her fingers into the cup and let the water drip into his mouth.
    He opened wide for more. She leaned closer, her bosom near his face, and poured more water from her fingers.
    After the third time, he put her two fingers to his lips and sucked them. A flash of heat shot through her limbs. If she’d been standing, she would have faltered and lost her balance.
    His mouth was hot and she suspected it had little to do with his fever.
    “More,” he whispered. He stared at her and she could not move, could not speak.
    There was a knock behind them and that jolted her out of her frozen state. Miriam stood in the doorway with ice and more water. The man groaned.
    She motioned for the maid to come in. As soon as the girl was close, Violet took a tiny chip of ice and put it in the man’s mouth.
    The ice would help his thirst, but she also was afraid for him to speak. The need in his eyes was too real, too close to the desire that she felt. But he was a stranger. A beautiful, dark, bewitching stranger who had risked his life for her, yet she knew almost nothing about him.
    A fact that she could remedy. No. What was she thinking? He was wounded, disoriented, and who knows if he mistook her for his wife or some mistress. A sharp pang twisted in her gut. Did he have a mistress? She’d already considered that he could be married, but she hadn’t thought about the possibility of a mistress.
    He was a virile, handsome man with a body any sculptor would worship and carve into stone. She’d seen it all, every wicked inch of him. The thought of that body being pleasured by some other woman made her ill.
    “Do you or the gentleman need anything else, my lady?”
    “Perhaps the cook has some broth. But please make sure it is tepid, not hot.”
    Miriam set down the tray of ice and curtsied before exiting the room.
    He rubbed his temples, then when Miriam was gone, he turned back to her. Though he whispered the word, “Water,” his eyes said something else.
    She plopped another ice sliver into his mouth. He sucked on it, watching her still. She felt a flush run down from her ears to her belly. If she didn’t know better, she’d have thought his fever was catching.
    A foolish part of her longed to demand if he had a mistress, but she bit her lip. That was not the first question she should ask him. And, he was so weak, it was better if he didn’t speak at all.
    She put her hand to his mouth. “Do not try to speak, sir. You are weary and hoarse.”
    He opened his mouth and before he could argue, she fed him another ice chip.
    “You have a fever and you need to rest.”
    His forehead was still warm. It could be a long night if his fever didn’t break. But he was at least alert for now, which was a good sign.
    She stood up, intending to move aside the blankets and leave him with the sheet, but he reached for her arm.
    “Don’t.” Under his stare, she froze again. “Do not. Leave.” Though the words were gravelly and low, it was a command, not a plea.
    “Very well.”
    She pulled aside the blankets, careful not to touch his thighs, and moved a chair close to the bed. The mere foot of space between her seat and the bed seemed much farther. Every little movement made her aware of the hard chair beneath her and the cool air brushing over her skin.
    She missed the heat of his body next to hers.

    Guest Post And Book Review: Taylor Dean - I Have People

    Ten things you don’t know about I Have People:

    1.      I Have People is about ‘out-of-control’ anger.
    2.      I Have People is also about memory loss.
    3.      I Have People is about recognizing a good man versus a bad one.
    4.      The title, I Have People, was born when I found myself with an empty nest for the first time. As my children called home incessantly, I realized I HAVE PEOPLE and I always will.
    5.      My inspiration for I Have People came from a strong dislike of people who can’t control their tempers.
    6.      My hope for I Have People is that women will read it and realize that verbal and physical abuse is NOT OKAY! EVER!
    7.      I’ve written TWO different versions of I Have People. The published version is the first version and it is my favorite.
    8.      The second version of I Have People is NOT an amnesia story. Turns out, amnesia was the way to go. Hence, the second version will never see the light of day. I’ve already forgotten about it. What other story?
    9.      My heroine’s name, Holly Noel, came from a friend who had a Christmas baby and named her Holly Noel. LOVE!
    10.  Gabriel (the hero) and Holly (the heroine) both have Christmas names. Holly Noel (obvious) and Gabriel (the annunciation).

    Contemporary Romance
    Title: I Have People
    Author: Taylor Dean
    Date Published: 9/20/2012

    Excerpt: The first thing that registered in Holly’s slowly awakening mind was the fact that air was being blown up her nose, fast and uncomfortable, whizzing into her in a most unwelcome fashion. The impulse to swipe at the annoying apparatus seemed unachievable. She lived in a dark world where movement was not possible. The second thing that registered was the blast of air on her skin. She heard the low hum of the air conditioner and felt the air as if it was millions of icy needles pricking her skin. The shiver that coursed through her surprised her. It was at that moment that she felt her body come alive. She felt her blood pumping through her body, she felt her heartbeat increase rapidly, she felt goose bumps rise up in rebellion to the icy air. She felt her lungs inflate and deflate with a deep, cleansing breath.
    Next, someone was touching her arm, caressing it gently. “Holly, can you hear me?”
    Yes, she wanted to scream, I can hear you. Her lips moved, but no sound emerged, only a whoosh of air.
    “Stay calm, Holly. Everything’s going to be fine. Can you squeeze my hand? If you can hear me, squeeze my hand.”
    Holly immediately squeezed the hand that touched hers. I can hear you, please help me, I’m trapped. Help me out of here, please.
    “Excellent, Holly. You’re doing great.”
    She fought to form a word, to call out to the one person who she knew could help her. Her breath seemed to stick in her throat, but then made it past the hurdle and whooshed out of her in a small whisper . . . “Gaaabriellll.”
    In her next moment of consciousness, someone was speaking to her. “Holly, wake up, sweetie. C’mon, we know you can do it, just open your eyes. Try, Holly, try.”
    The words seemed to be coming at her through a very long tunnel. Bright lights made her blink several times. A number of people surrounded her, all looking down on her with smiles. She didn’t recognize anyone. They were doctors and nurses—checking her pulse, listening to her heart with a cold stethoscope, touching her toes and saying, “Can you feel that?”
    “Yessssss,” she said, irritated. Then her eyes landed on a familiar face. “Angela?” she whispered.
    Angela was crying, tears pouring down her face. “Yes, sweetie, it’s me.”
    The doctor was overhead next. “Welcome back. We’ve been waiting for you to wake up. We’ll talk more later. I’ll leave you to visit with your friend for now.”
    Everyone left the room except Angela. Dear, sweet Angela. Her best friend in the whole wide world.
    Angela continued to cry. “Oh Holly, I’m sorry. I just can’t help myself.”
    Why was Angela crying? What was going on? “Where am I?” Confusion gripped her, why couldn’t she think straight?
    “You’re in the hospital, sweetie. You’ve been in a coma and we’ve been waiting for you to wake up for the longest time. You’re going to be okay, though, you’re just fine. Don’t worry about anything.”
    In spite of the comforting words, Holly felt herself panic. Hospital? Coma? “I’m okay?”
    “Yes, honey, you’re going to be fine.”
    “Where’s Gabe? I need Gabe.” Her throat hurt. Her voice was scratchy and unrecognizable even to her own ears.
    Angela’s sobs stopped abruptly. “What?”
    “Gabriel. Where is he?” she uttered with extreme difficulty.
    “I . . . I’m not sure.”
    “Tell my husband I’m awake,” she mumbled through an irritated throat. Angela was quiet and had gone very still. “Tell him, please tell him.”
     Holly wiggled her toes and stretched her legs. She wiggled her fingers and lifted her arms off the bed, proud of herself for being able to accomplish these tasks. She could feel every part of her coming back to life.
     “Why isn’t Gabriel here?” Holly asked again, feeling devastated. Angela was silent for several moments, looking at her as if she didn’t know her. Holly’s head came off the pillow, “What is it? What’s wrong? Did something happen to Gabe? Tell me, Angela, I want to know,” she said in a raspy whisper.
    Angela rubbed her arm softly. “Holly, please don’t get worked up. Calm down. Nothing’s happened to Gabriel. He’s perfectly fine.”
    Holly let out her breath and collapsed onto her pillow. “You had me worried. Why isn’t he here?” She was tiring quickly. It took all of her strength to utter the words.
    “We . . . we weren’t sure when you would wake up, honey. Don’t worry, I’ll call him.”
    Holly felt fuzzy and her thoughts were jumbled. “Why am I so tired? What happened to me?”
    “The doctor said it was best for your memories to come back to you all on your own. I’m not supposed to tell you anything or prompt you. The important thing is that you’re going to be okay.”
    “Oh, all right.” I’m going to be okay. I’m going to be okay. The words ran through her mind as if a mantra. Holly closed her eyes and tried to think, tried to command her thoughts to return to her. The only thing that wafted through her mind were her memories of Gabriel. His blond hair. His perfect smile. His brown eyes. His kiss. Her worried gaze met Angela’s wide eyes. “I . . . I can’t remember anything. Except Gabriel, of courssssse. I could never forget my husssssband.” Her words were beginning to slur.
    Angela’s smile died on her face.
     “Why do you look sssssso upssset?”
    “I’m not upset. I just . . . I just wish he was here to see you wake up, that’s all. He’ll be so . . . disappointed.”
    Holly’s eyes slowly closed as she whispered, “He’s always late for everything. He’s never in a hurry. Remember that, Angela?”
    “Yes, Holly, I . . . I remember.”
    Holly quietly fell back to sleep, the conversation, completely wearing her out.

    Review: I think I might have mentioned that Taylor Dean is one of the best discoveries I've made this year as far as authors go. I've read 3 of her books so far, Lancaster House, Sierra and now I Have People. There's one element that binds them together, suspense.

    I'm so glad that my copy of I Have People was an ebook, because the suspense in this book would have been to tempting for me otherwise. I know if this had been a physical copy I would have been flipping the pages to find out what happens.

    Like all of Taylor's other books, I find it hard to review the story without giving away things that you really shouldn't know unless you've read the book.

    Here are some things I can tell you.

    1. This book deals with domestic violence.

    2. Holly is at times the stereotypical battered wife as well as a head strong female. You will love her and be frustrated with her all at the same time.

    3. Gabe is the man you absolutely want to have in your life.

    4. Ange is the bff we all need and want.

    I really liked how Taylor built the suspense around Holly's accident and the other characters in the book. She gave you just enough information to keep you turning the pages, but not enough to make you go "A ha!'

    If you haven't read one of Taylor's books yet, you really should pick one up. They are all emotionally charged and full of wonderful characters that you can't help but love and root for.

    Rating: 5 flowers

    Author Bio
    Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding that she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense—you’ll find all sub-genres of romance in her line-up. 

    Twitter - @taylordeanbooks
    Links to Buy 

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