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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Review – Keeping You A Secret – Julie Anne Peters

keeping you a secretKeeping You A Secret
Author: Julie Anne Peters

Description:
With a steady boyfriend, the position of Student Council President, and a chance to go to an Ivy League college, high school life is just fine for Holland Jaeger. At least it seems to be. But when Cece Goddard comes to school, everything changes. Cece and Holland have undeniable feelings for each other, but how will others react to their developing relationship? This moving love story between two girls is a worthy successor to Nancy Garden’s classic young adult coming out novel, Annie on My Mind. With her characteristic humor and breezy style, Peters has captured the compelling emotions of young love.

Review:
Holland Jaeger is the girl who by all appearances has it all – the girl that everyone wants to emulate. But life isn’t always as simple as that, especially when she discovers that she is gay. Suddenly her whole life changes in the space of an afternoon – the loss of family and friends, of all that is known to her was written in such a way by Ms Peters that it was terrifying and yet this is what many GLBT youth go through when they come out. I felt for Holland, I got teary-eyed when everything in her life started to change, and yet at the same time, when she picked herself up and said screw it to everyone, I cheered for her.

I felt that the author did a good job of exploring not only the teenage psyche (am I or aren’t I? what is going on?) as well as society’s acceptance/non-acceptance, and the different facets within (family, friends, school community, GLBT community). You (or at least I) could tell from the writing that this was something near and dear to the author’s heart, and that it was something that she likely had experience in. Which was confirmed when I finished the book and read her letter to the readers. She discussed the idea of writing a coming-out book and what risk it was to her and her partner, and the fear of what it might incite. Stuff that was similar to events in the story itself. You can easily see why this book was not only a Lambda Literary Award Finalist in 2003 (losing to Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan) and an ALA Stonewall Honor Book (an award given by the American Library Association every year for GLBT books). I know that I will most likely be looking for more books by this author in the future to try. Overall, 4 stars.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Hard Evidence – Pamela Clare

hard evidenceHard Evidence
Author: Pamela Clare
Series: #2 in the I-team

Narrator: Kaleo Griffith
Run Time: 11 hours and 38 minutes
Producer: Tantor Media

Description:
After the murder of a teenage girl, a mysterious man in a black leather jacket was seen lurking near the crime scene. Investigative reporter Tessa Novak has him in her sights as the culprit…

That man was Julian Darcangelo, an undercover FBI agent working with the Denver police. He’s closing in on the trail of a human trafficker and killer. Tessa’s accusations could blow his cover, and he wants her off the investigation.

But just as Tessa has made Julian a target of interest, she is now a target of the killer. And as they are forced to trust each other, their physical attraction escalates as intensely as the threat from a ruthless murderer who wants to see both of them dead…

Review:
This review is likely going to be more of a rant, than a review, so if you enjoyed the series, I would say stay-clear, because I wasn’t happy at all. In fact, if I had been reading and not listening to the audiobook, the book would have gone flying across the room on multiple occasions and if I wasn’t buddy reading this with a friend (who disliked it as much as I did), I probably would have DNF’d it (but since she had already finished it, I couldn’t leave her hanging). This is one of those books where I look at my friends reviews and wonder, what the heck am I missing? In fact, on Goodreads, out of all of my friends that have read/reviewed the book (about 30 of them), it has over a 4 out of 5 average…so I guess it hit the spot for some people.

But oh my god…Tessa to me, was the epitome of TSTL (too stupid to live) – I lost track of the number of times that she put herself in an idioticly dumb situation and had to be “rescued” by Julian. Honestly, by about 3/4 of the way through, I was kind of hoping that he would just leave her to get out of her own mess (even though, we know that will never happen) – because it was obvious that she wasn’t going to learn. For a supposed top-notch investigative reporter, she made some really dumb moves. I mean, I get the part about needing to get the story and sometimes lives having to be sacrificing, but there is a point, especially when you are told about the danger that you are in, when (I would hope), any sane person would step back and evaluate the situation and figure out the greater good – get yourself killed now and not have the story, because well, you’ll be dead, or actually listen to the guys that know what they are doing, get the story and maybe survive…I mean argh!!!

And then there is Julian Darcangelo – which can I say, his name totally threw me for a loop because it just didn’t sound smooth (I think that is the word I am looking for), the Darc part just sounded forced…I actually liked it when he was referred to by his street name of Dark Angel – it sounded smoother (yes, weird I know). But he is supposed to be the quintessential bad boy, the federal agent working undercover…but if he was that good of an undercover agent, then why the heck did the bad guys know who he was…through like the entire book. I’m sorry, but the whole purpose of being undercover is so that you aren’t known…not having the head honcho of the organization you are pursuing know who you are, so that he can play you like a violin and man, did he ever…

Then there was the two of them together – oh gag me now – the guy gets shot in the back six times, trying to save her from a drive-by, but oh don’t worry because he is wearing kevlar, and then they go and get down and dirty not 30 minutes later…now, I have never been shot with real bullets (thankfully), but having been hit many times with paintballs/air-soft at close range, which have not even close to the same impact, that shit hurts – I couldn’t imagine doing anything after that, much less having sex…oh yeah, and then when he tries to “rescue” her, he gets himself captured – brilliant move there, Mr Federal Agent…it just kept getting worse and worse…

Close to the only saving grace, and I won’t even call it that, was Kaleo Griffith’s narration of the audiobook. He had a decently smooth narration style – although I wasn’t a fan of his southern belle accent which is what Tessa supposedly had…it just felt fake – I would have preferred if he had just read her part without over-emphasizing the accent. While I don’t speak spanish, the parts in that, sounded authentic (or as much as they can be to an untrained ear). But even his narration couldn’t make up for the mess that was the book in general…I would probably give the narration of the book 3/5 stars – it was decent – wasn’t the best I have ever listened to, but wasn’t the worst by far…

I have to wonder if it was because this series was so hyped up that I was so disappointed and maybe if I had read them when they first came out they would have been better – and i might not have been so much of a jaded reader…Overall 1.5 stars (and that is being generous)…I’m conflicted if I will continue the series or not – the first one was ok, definitely not as bad as this one, but it didn’t blow my socks off either…

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Audiobook Review

 

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Review – How to Misbehave – Ruthie Knox

how to misbehaveHow to Misbehave
Author: Ruthie Knox
Series: #1 in the Camelot series

E-book provided by the author for review

Description:
As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?

Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own–unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?

Review:
I’ve been reading romance novels for a long time (probably close to 16 years now, and I am barely in my 30’s)…so I have see the gamut of authors from the very good to the ehhh, to the what the heck did they just write. But it has been a long time, since I have come across an author like Ruthie Knox who reminds me why I fell in love with reading romances. Her characters just jump off the page, and you either way to hug them, or hit them upside the head (a la Gibbs in NCIS). Either way, when Ruthie Knox posted on her twitter about having review copies of her two new books (this being the first one in the series), I jumped on the opportunity to read/review it.

What can I say – for sure, she packed a whollop of a punch into a short read – I think it only took me just over an hour to read (came in at about 30k words and about 100 pages) – but I was sucked in. I love the contemporary take on the damsel in distress (see also Laura Kaye’s Heart in Darkness for a similar theme) and the strong guy, who is really soft on the inside. Yes, I am gushing, I know. all I can say is that I want more and I want it now (mocks stamping her feet in a tantrum) – thankfully, I have the next book in the series (also courtesy of the author) waiting for me. I really hope that the later books in the series (which they will from my understanding) will have cameos of Amber and Tony because I want to know more about them and their lives together – does everything workout for them. While their story was short, they (and all of her other characters) are ones that I become invested in. More books please, Ruthie Knox!! 4 stars overall of a solid (if short), contemporary romance.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Blog Tour – Just For Fun – Rosalind James

just for fun banner

just for funJust For Fun
Author: Rosalind James
Series: #4 in the Escape to New Zealand series

Description:
What if the person who broke your heart turned out to be the only one who could mend it?

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

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

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

Review:
i have to admit that Rosalind James is an author that I am glad to have discovered. I love reading romance novels, but over the last year or so, I found been finding that more and more of my favorites are just letting me down – so when I find someone new to read, I jump on the opportunity. A couple of months ago, I read the first book in the Escape to New Zealand series and quickly followed it up by reading the other two available ones over the next week…yeah, what I can say. So when I saw Just for Fun listed as a blog tour, I was excited.

I will however, be the first to admit, that the secret baby trope isn’t a favorite of mine in the romance genre, because most of the time, it revolves around the guy being a douchnozzle (since I can’t swear on amazon, this is a word that was devised by a fellow forum member). However, in this instance, I think that Ms James did a good job of walking the fine line between sappy/feel-good and crappy, jerkish hero – for the most part of loved Nic, but he for sure had a bit of an ego ;)

I enjoyed how she managed to bring characters from the previous three books in the series and integrate the various cameos – it is always good to take a peek into the future and see what the people from other books you have enjoyed are doing now. I can only hope that Ms. James will put me out of my misery and either write another book in the series, or start something new. I know that she was will going on my authors to stalk for more books shelf on Goodreads (yes, that is a good thing…it is also known as my auto-buy shelf).

rosalind jamesMeet Rosalind
Rosalind James is the author of the Kindle bestseller Just This Once and the three subsequent books in the Escape to New Zealand series. She is a former marketing executive who has lived all over the United States and in a number of other countries, traveling with her civil engineer husband. Most recently, she spent several years in Australia and New Zealand, where she fell in love with the people, the landscape, and the culture of both countries.

Visit http://www.rosalindjames.com to listen to the songs from the books, follow the characters on their travels, watch funny and fascinating New Zealand and rugby videos, and learn about what’s new!

Contact Rosalind
Website
Rosalind’s Twitter
Rosalind’s Facebook
Rosalind’s Goodreads

Purchasing:
Just for Fun (Escape to New Zealand) – Kindle
Just for Fun (Escape to New Zealand) – Paperback

The other three books in the series are also available on Amazon in Kindle or Paperback format

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Promo Tour – Sophie’s Run – Nicky Wells

spohie's run

sophie's run coverSophie’s Run
Author: Nicky Wells
Series: #2 in the Rockstar Romance Trilogy

Description:
Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

Who says that the road towards true love is straight and even? Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.

So she has finally found the man of her dreams! Well… she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet. But she misses her opportunity, and then her life goes crazy. Rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal.

Sophie has had enough. Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change. Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey eventually gets her life back on track.

Nicky wells
Meet Nicky:
Rock On! Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star and the girl next door. She recently signed her work with U.S. publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing. Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and occasional teaching assistant.

Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington,
D.C.

Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress, the second and third parts of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy.

You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook. Nicky is a featured author on the innovative reader/author project, loveahappyending.com and has joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Nicky also has author pages at Sapphire Star Publishing and, of course, Goodreads.

Contact Nicky:
Website
Nicky’s Twitter
Nicky’s Facebook

Click Here to Purchase from Amazon – Sophie’s Run (Rock Star Romance Series) or the previous book in the series: Sophie’s Turn (The Rock Star Romance)

Click here to be entered into the contest for a chance to win a copy – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

2013 Armchair Audies – Romance

Armchair Audies

What are the Armchair Audies?
The Armchair Audies are run by Jennifer over at the The Literate Housewife where all of us audiobook listeners can have an opportunity to listen to and review the audiobooks that have been nominated for the Audies. The Audies (for those who haven’t heard of them) are the annual awards for the audiobook community – similar to the Oscars, but on a much smaller scale.

The nominations were announced for the various categories this past week and I am excited to listen and review the ones that were nominated for the Romance category.

The nominees for Romance Novels in Audiobook form were:
Don’t Cry for Me, written by Sharon Sala, Narrated by Kathe Mazur, Produced by Audible,Inc.
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, written by Jennifer Ashley, Narrated by Angela Dawe, Produced by Tantor Media
Never Seduce a Scot, written by Maya Banks, Narrated by Kirsten Potter, Produced by Tantor Media
Scandalous Desires, written by Elizabeth Hoyt, Narrated by Ashford MacNab, Produced by Hachette Audio
The Witness, written by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Julia Whelan, Produced by Brilliance Audio

Of these nominations, I have only read one before (The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie) and 3 of the 5 narrators are new to me (Kathe Mazur and Julia Whelan have been on my previous listens list – Kathe for her narration of a couple books in Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles series and Julia Whelan for her narration of Amy in Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)).

Over the next couple of months, until the announcement of the winners on May 30, I will be listening and reviewing these audiobooks. So stay tuned and look for the Armchair Audie logo at the top of the review.

audie nominees romance

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Blog Tour – Caleb – Emma Lang

calebCaleb
Author: Emma Lang
Series: #3 in the Circle Eight series

Description:
A Texas Ranger, a lady blacksmith, a fierce passion, a dangerous game.
Caleb Graham has spent the last four years in too many dangerous situations to count. As a Texas Ranger, he knows no fear, or at least he never shows it. When he’s sent to force a blacksmith off government seized property, he runs face to face into the woman who will change his life.

Aurora Foster grew up on the very land the obnoxious Ranger is trying to throw her off of. Her parents and her husband died for it and there is no chance she would leave without a fight. A lady blacksmith might be an anomaly but she has the strength of the steel she forges and the courage to fight for what she believes is right.

When Aurora is inadvertently injured by Caleb, he seeks medical help from a neighboring ranch. The sprawling hacienda is full of the finer things in life and the one person Caleb never expected to see again… his youngest brother Benjamin. Forced to flee from a man who has kept the boy captive, the trio become traveling companions in a deadly game where no one wins.

Life turns upside down and sideways for Caleb and Aurora, caught in a game neither of them expected while they desperately try to save the boy who was lost to his family. Pursued and hunted, the three of them ride for the Circle Eight ranch. The unlikely pair of rescuers fight their attraction and for their lives.

Excerpt:

Caleb was pleasantly full of meatloaf and green beans, and even a piece of peach pie. The restaurant in the tiny town of Marks Creek was a treasure. He hadn’t had such a wonderful meal outside of the Circle Eight. He was in a good mood, surprisingly good.

Not only had he located Rory Foster but he had directions to the smithy. The mission was by far the easiest he’d ever been sent on. Now he had to convince Foster to leave the property. Texas had plans for that particular parcel of land and they had let him squat there long enough. Caleb didn’t know the particulars, and he didn’t want to know. All he had to do was carry out his orders and then ride back to headquarters for his next assignment.

It should be easy as the ride out to Foster’s smithy. Regardless of what a good mood he was in, Caleb made sure his pistol and rifle were both loaded. He was about to evict a man of what was perceived as “his” property. There would be resistance, but if Caleb was smart, he would control the situation from the moment he stepped foot on the property.

The area was beautiful with rolling hills, a plump creek running freely and the kind of thick grass cattle could get fat on. It was clear why the smithy stayed when the Republic of Texas told him to leave. Caleb might have stayed too if he’d been smack dab in the middle of such rich land.

He followed the smell of smoke and rode up to a square building with a sign that read “Foster’s Smithy” in faded red letters. It was a typical blacksmith’s shop, with large windows controlled by hinged wood panels. The smoke and heat could get fierce inside the building. There was an enormous stone forge inside and a large number of tools scattered around, not to mention an anvil that probably weighed more than a team of horses. It was a solid shop and Caleb felt a pinch of guilt for arriving to take it all away from Foster.

He dismounted and finally noticed the tiny shack in the shadows behind the smithy. It wasn’t quite a house, but it did have a door, one tiny window and a smoke stack, which meant there was a heat source inside, likely a stove of some sort. It must be where the blacksmith lived, modest as it was. There was great care taken in the actual smithy which told Caleb the man might be more difficult to remove than he expected.

“Foster?” Caleb walked into the larger building. The forge wasn’t fired up, the embers glowed orange. “Is anybody here?”

He hoped like hell nobody told the man there was a marshal on the way. If so, his job got even harder. Caleb kept his hand on his pistol as he walked around the building. Whoever the blacksmith was, he had skills. The iron work was top notch, even in the pieces that weren’t finished yet.

“Who are you?” A woman’s voice startled him from his perusal.

He turned to find a man wearing a leather apron and cap, and trousers that had seen better days. Caleb shook his head and frowned at him.

“Ranger Caleb Graham. Who are you?” He couldn’t equate the husky woman’s voice with the blacksmith. Was he hiding her in the apron?

“Aurora Foster.”

The voice came from the man’s mouth. The ground shifted beneath his feet as realization hit him. Sweet heaven above. Rory Foster. Aurora Foster. Holy hell. The blacksmith he was there to evict was a woman? When he got back to headquarters, he’d give his commander a piece of his mind about this particular assignment.

“You’re a woman.”

“I can see why you’re a crack man of the law, ranger.” She raised one brow. “You’re trespassing.”

He swallowed his response to her sarcasm. She definitely wasn’t a wilting flower but the leather apron should have told him that. “You have that backwards, Mrs. Foster. You are the one trespassing. This property belongs to the Republic of Texas.”

Her mouth twisted. “That’s ridiculous. My parents settled this land twenty years ago. The republic can go find someone else to harass.” A very large, lethal looking sickle appeared in her hand from beneath the apron. “Now leave.”

Caleb took a few moments to study her. Taller than the average woman, she also had muscles most women didn’t. Honed, lean arms and long hands, a heart-shaped face with an upturned nose. The one thing that set her apart were the amber eyes currently staring holes in him. They were an unusual shade, like the colors of the embers in the forge behind him.

“I can’t do that.”

“Then I will make you.” She pulled a huge cleaver out with her other hand. The woman was a lethal weapon with all the blades she made.

Caleb decided to appeal to the woman’s logical side, if she had one. Truth was, he was distracted by the way she looked and spoke. He’d had plenty of experience with females, but no one like Aurora Foster. “You’re the blacksmith Rory Foster. Is that correct?”

“Only my friends call me Rory. You can call me Mrs. Foster as you ride off my land.” She ran the sickle down the edge of the cleaver. It made a screeching sound that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Was she going to chop him into pieces?

“It’s not your land.”

“That’s a pile of horse shit. This land belonged to my father and now it belongs to me.” Her tone and her expression told him he had a hell of a fight on his hands.

“Females can’t own property in Texas, Mrs. Foster. I’m guessing no one ever told you that. It’s understandable that you think this is yours—”

“I don’t think anything. I know.” She stepped closer, her hands tightening on the weapons. “Now get out before I make you leave.”

Caleb sighed. “I can’t leave.” He didn’t want to pull his pistol on the woman. Hell, even the most aggravating female deserved respect. “Ma’am, this is my job. I have an assignment to remove an illegal squatter off land owned by the Republic of Texas. I can’t leave until it’s done.”

She bared her teeth. “Get out of my smithy.”


About the Author:
emma langBeth Williamson, who also writes as Emma Lang, is an award-winning, bestselling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her books range from sensual to scorching hot. She is a Career Achievement Award Nominee in Erotic Romance by Romantic Times Magazine, in both 2009 and 2010.
Beth has always been a dreamer, never able to escape her imagination. It led her to the craft of writing romance novels. She’s passionate about purple, books, and her family. She has a weakness for shoes and purses, as well as bookstores. Her path in life has taken several right turns, but she’s been with the man of her dreams for more than 20 years.

Beth works full-time and writes romance novels evening, weekends, early mornings and whenever there is a break in the madness. She is compassionate, funny, a bit reserved at times, tenacious and a little quirky. Her cowboys and western romances speak of a bygone era, bringing her readers to an age where men were honest, hard and packing heat. For a change of pace, she also dives into some smokin’ hot contemporaries, bringing you heat, romance and snappy dialogue.
Life might be chaotic, as life usually is, but Beth always keeps a smile on her face, a song in her heart, and a cowboy on her mind. ;)

Links:
Beth’s Website
Beth’s Email
Beth’s Twitter

Contest:
It wouldn’t be a book launch without a giveaway ;) Beth has graciously offered a giveaway of an ebook copy of Caleb – so comment here to win! The contest will close on the 27th of February (last day of the blog tour) and winner will be drawn from random.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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