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Featured Author Friday – Rosalind James

featured author friday

Welcome to the second installment in Featured Author Friday. Today, I’m happy to feature Rosalind James. I’ve been reading Rosalind’s stuff for nearly three years after helping to do a cover reveal for one of her books on my blog. Her cover art caught my eye because of how simple and gorgeous it is, as well as how unique her voice was at the time. Her first series (Escape to New Zealand) was based around the All Black Rugby Team (just google them doing the Haka – a Maori traditional dance – prior to their games). She has since written another series featuring siblings based in California and her newest series will be published by Montlake Romance (one of the Amazon imprints) later on this year. On top of that, the audiobook of her first New Zealand book was just nominated for an Audie in the Romance category (for best romance audiobook of the year). I hope you like her stuff as much as I do!

RosalindInterview with Rosalind

Dee: I LOVE the titles of your books – how did you come up with them?
Rosalind: I love ironic titles. At first, my first book, JUST THIS ONCE (Escape to New Zealand) was going to be called “Rescue Me” (because Hannah keeps telling Drew she doesn’t need to be rescued), but then Rachel Gibson published a new book called…yep, “Rescue Me.” And since I’d written a sports romance and that’s what she’s known for, that ws a clear no-go zone. I had written a second book, and I knew it was going to be called JUST GOOD FRIENDS, and I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be cool if they all had “Just” titles—and were all ironic? So that’s where that one came from. And the series title, “Escape to New Zealand”—that one, I’m really proud of. My first two books were about women who escaped their lives and started over in New Zealand, and I felt like that was what the country had done for me. Beyond that, I just…don’t know. I figure it out when I’m most of the way done with the book, because the title has to fit the “feel” and mood of the book. Except NOTHING PERSONAL. I came up with that long before I even started writing. It came from that “The Godfather” thing: “It’s not personal, it’s business.” It’s a book about a business relationship, a somewhat insulting situation that’s foisted on the hero, that’s supposed to be “nothing personal.” Needless to say, it gets very personal! (Including in the conference room. Probably the steamiest scene I’ve ever written.)

Dee: How do you manage to divide your time between writing and all the other stuff you have to do to find readers and let people know about your books?
Rosalind: Man, that’s the $64,000 question! It can be hard sometimes. I got lucky early on with a free offer one week in that resulted in 2,000 books sold my first month, and another free offer four months in (plus a shout-out from the fabulous DEE—really. It gave me a big boost) that took me to the next level, with 20,000 books sold that month. And then I think word of mouth did a lot of marketing for me, so I wasn’t in the position of having to try to build from scratch. Nowadays, I admit that I don’t do as much marketing as some authors—or as much as I should, but once I’m writing a book, I just want to be doing that. I have an assistant who schedules promotions for me, thank goodness. Other than that–I generally have a really broad idea of where I want to be strategically, and then I try to follow the 80/20 rule: do the 20% of things that will give me the 80% of results. I enjoy interacting with readers on Facebook and so forth, and I’ll admit to a bias toward doing things I enjoy. But I’ve never chased Goodreads groups, spent time trying to connect with bloggers I don’t know, or the like—the really time-intensive stuff, mostly because I’m shy and hate the idea of poking around at somebody who isn’t interested. Shudder

Dee: If you weren’t writing romance, what would you write?
Rosalind: Well, I’ve started writing real-deal romantic suspense, and I’m loving that (I’ve written a couple of books with mystery/suspense elements, and now I’ve got a brand-new romantic suspense series for Montlake Romance), so perhaps thrillers? Not women’s fiction, even though I think I have quite a few readers who enjoy that genre most–I love the happy ending too much! What I love about romance is that it can deal with all kinds of love: not just lovers, but husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers, friends, even love of place and of country, which is something I write quite a bit about. It also catches people at those pivotal moments in their lives when they are making the big decisions—it’s a way to write about both two individuals’ and a couple’s journey. I love writing from the man’s point of view as well as the woman’s, too, and romance is the place where you can most easily do that. And I love to write sex, but I can’t do it until my couple is in love and knows each other well—which leaves out erotica, darn it. I guess we’d say I’m stuck!

Dee: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Rosalind: Oh, lots of stuff is real life. My first book, JUST THIS ONCE, is pretty well autobiographical. (They say “write what you know,” so…) Some people have said that Hannah is “annoying.” I never realized how annoying I am, apparently! Some people have also said that my first hero, Drew, is too good to be true, and I laugh, because I took so much of Drew straight from my husband. (Who sadly is NOT the captain of the All Blacks, however.) The opening scene, where Hannah almost drowns in a rip, is based on something that happened to me in New Zealand. My new series (Paradise, Idaho) as well as my book WELCOME TO PARADISE, are set in the Idaho town where I grew up. And everyplace I talk about in the New Zealand series is someplace I visited. It’s so much fun to write about my characters doing some of the fun things I’ve done. Emotionally, too: many of the emotional situations are either situations I’ve been in, or are heavily influenced by something I went through myself. It has to resonate with me to resonate with readers, I think. Plus, I’ve always said I don’t have that much imagination, and it’s true. You know how authors are always saying they have hundreds of ideas stuffed in a file? I’ve had 14 ideas. Well, 16. The 14 books I’ve written so far, and the next two coming up!

Dee: Dog or Cat?
Rosalind: Dog all the way. (Don’t hate me, cat people! I’m allergic.) I used to foster Labrador Retrievers, and now I just have one: the one I couldn’t give up. His name is Charlie, and he’s my writing partner and a total goof. He’s 11 years old and 85 pounds of lovable fun.

Find Rosalind on Social Media
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

Buy Links for Rosalind’s Books
Escape from New Zealand
Just For You (Escape to New Zealand)
Just This Once (Escape to New Zealand Book 1) (Currently Free)
Just Good Friends (Escape to New Zealand Book 2)
Just For Now (Escape to New Zealand Book 3)
Just for Fun (Escape to New Zealand Book 4)
Just My Luck (Escape to New Zealand Book 5)
Just Not Mine (Escape to New Zealand Book 6)
Just Once More (Escape to New Zealand Book 7)
Escape To New Zealand Boxed Set (Books 1-3)
Sweet Talk Boxed Set (Ten NEW Contemporary Romances by Bestselling Authors to Benefit Diabetes Research plus BONUS Novel) (Currently Available for Pre-Order – Release Date – May 1, 2015)

The Kincaids
Welcome to Paradise (The Kincaids Book 1)
Nothing Personal (The Kincaids Book 2)
Asking for Trouble (The Kincaids Book 3)

Paradise, Idaho
Carry Me Home (Paradise, Idaho) (Currently Available for Pre-Order – Release Date – June 16, 2015)

And because it wouldn’t be an interview without a giveaway – I’m gifting one lucky commenter an ebook choice of one of Rosalind’s books (must be able to accept gifts from Amazon). Please make sure you leave your email address in the comments. The giveaway will close next Friday (the 24th of April)

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Featured Author Friday

 

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TBR Tuesday – 7 April 2015

TBR TuesdayDance Upon the Air
Author: Nora Roberts
Series: #1 in Three Sisters Island series

Date Purchased: November 11, 2010

Review: As long as I’ve been reading romance, Nora Roberts has been a staple in my library – she is one of the few authors I can normally just grab and go – but there are a lot of her backlist that I haven’t ventured in to, although I own many of them. Dance Upon the Air, first published in 2001, is one of them. I think I grabbed the audiobook at a sale on Audible a few years ago. Unfortunately for me, while it is one of her older works, I also felt too much like her other paranormal trilogies/quartets – even now they start blending together. While the audiobook itself wasn’t long (in the 11 hour range), the book itself just felt like it dragged and I spent a good chunk of the time wanting to slap the main characters. This was a 2 star listen for me. Dance Upon the Air was a 2 star listen for me, the narrator was slightly better (3 stars for it)

What book did you discover on Mt TBR this week?

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in TBR Tuesday, Uncategorized

 

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Featured Author Friday – Jamie Farrell

featured author friday

I’m so excited to have Jamie Farrell as my first author for my Featured Author Friday. Over the last two years, I’ve not only had the chance to get to read all of Jamie’s books, but also gotten to know her as a friend. I found out about Jamie’s writing through my college roommate, Jen, who knew her when they were stationed together as military wives. One of the things I love the most about her writing is her wacky sense of humor (which also occurs in real-life – I mean, how many people do you know would read the world Buffaloaf as Butt-loaf in the middle of a restaurant!).

jamieInterview with Jamie

Dee: Are you a writer that likes to plan and outline or do you have more of a ‘let it flow’ style?
Jamie: My voice is most raw and true when I just let it flow, but I’m not a natural plotter, so I tend to write myself into corners from time to time. I’ll have an idea of a plot point or two, and I’ll know a few things about my characters, but they tell me things in that first draft I never dreamed would happen. This also means that I do a lot of re-writing to get all the kinks worked out (because sometimes rainbow-spouting were-dragons appear randomly in that first draft of my feel-good contemporary romances, and those need to be edited out, sadly enough).

Dee: Are you working on another book right now? What is your writing schedule like? Do you write everyday or when you feel like it?
Jamie: I’m currently working on two books. One is a novella in the Officers’ Ex-Wives Club series, which will appear in the Small Town Summer anthology coming in July. The other is The Battle of The Boyfriends, the second book in my Misfit Brides of Bliss series.

I try to get up at 4 AM to write every day before my kids are up, except for weekends, and I will also sneak away to a coffee shop for a Sunday afternoon writing session at every opportunity. With three kids between 2 and 7 years old, and with the number of snow days, sick days, and weather-induced school delays, this has been a tough winter. But I still make progress, even when it’s slow. The business side of writing takes a good bit of time too!

Dee: Do you remember the first romance novel you ever read?
Jamie: Compared to my colleagues who were sneaking their moms’ Harlequins at young ages, I came “late” to the genre. I fell in love with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series in late college, and one afternoon, browsing the book store, I stumbled across a little sign that said, “If you like Janet Evanovich, you should try Jennifer Crusie!” I think my first true romance was Getting Rid of Bradley. I discovered Susan Andersen’s Marine series soon thereafter, and I was totally hooked.

Dee: What do you do when you get stuck on a scene or a storyline?
Jamie: I sleep on it, or sometimes I’ll take a shower. Showertime is thinking cap time. I like to play the “what if?” game, imagining various possibilities for what could happen, or I’ll analyze if my characters are properly motivated and defined. I’ll often discover I don’t know my characters well enough, so I’ll dig a little deeper into who they are and what makes them tick. If those tricks don’t work, I pick up the phone and I call Maria Geraci or Kelsey Browning. They’re my critique partners, and they always bring a fresh perspective and help me see things that I can’t, either because I’m looking at the story sideways or because I’m too close to see the big picture.

Dee: Chocolate or Bacon?
Jamie: GAH! Seriously? This is the meanest question ever!!! I love them both! Can I pick chocolate-covered bacon? No? Sheesh, Dee, you drive a hard interview. ;-) Okay. If I have to pick, I’ll take bacon, but only because nutritionally speaking, it’s both protein and fat, whereas the chocolate is mostly sugar. (grumble, grumble) (Also, *sob*! I think this means I’m finally admitting to being a responsible adult.)

Find Jamie on Social Media:
Website
Facebook
Pinterest
Twitter

Buy Links for Jamie’s Books:
Southern Fried Blues (The Officers’ Ex-Wives Club Book 1)
Mr. Good Enough
The Husband Games (Misfit Brides of Bliss Book 1)
Smittened (Misfit Brides of Bliss)

And because it wouldn’t be an interview without a giveaway – I’m gifting one lucky commenter an ebook choice of one of Jamie’s books (must be able to accept gifts from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble) or a print copy of Mr Good Enough. Please make sure you leave your email address in the comments. The giveaway will close next Friday (the 10th of April)

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Featured Author Friday

 

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TBR Tuesday – 31 March 2015

TBR TuesdayA Little Harmless Lie
Author: Melissa Schroeder
Series: #4 in the Harmless series

Date Purchased: December 14, 2010

Review: I honestly can’t believe I had forgotten about this series – it was one of the first erotic romance series I bought when I got my kindle back in 2009 (although I also purchased one of her books in print way back when as well). So it was kind of a shock to find not only this one, but at least one other one on the unread pile still. I enjoyed the dynamic between Dee and Micah and how she didn’t just bow down to him and the writing (as always) was hot. I’ll be digging into the pile to see what other books I have by Melissa still unread/buying the rest of the books in the series to get caught back up. 4 stars overall for a quick/hot read.

What about you guys – what book did you discover on Mt TBR this week?

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in TBR Tuesday

 

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Review – Get Lucky – Anthology

get luckyGet Lucky
Authors: Robin Covington, Nicola Marsh, Kelsey Browning, Avery Flynn, Kimberly Kincaid, Sara Humphreys
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Nicola Marsh – Walking the Line
Ellie is a decade older than Finn but that doesn’t stop the charming Irishman from wooing her.
Ellie doesn’t believe in the happily-ever-after dream any longer, not since hers imploded a long time ago. But can a smooth-talking Irishman sway a hard-hearted cynic to believe in love again?

This was my first time reading anything by Nicola Marsh and while I found the story intriguing, it just didn’t quite do it for it. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good older woman, younger man story but I didn’t ever really feel for Ellie- I found her annoying. But I enjoyed the author’s writing style, so I may check out something else by her in the future. I gave her installment 3 stars.

Kelsey Browning – Amazed by You
Author’s assistant Olivia McLaughlin must pull off an extravagant St. Patrick’s Day garden party to win a coveted promotion, but her success hinges on landscape designer Cody Kavanaugh, her old high school boyfriend. Now, Olivia must decide which she can’t live without—the job that will make her a success or the man offering her a second chance at love.

I’m a huge fan of Kelsey’s and this story was no different. I loved Olivia as a character, and her relationship with Cody was cute – i’m a sucker for a reunited type romance. although I will say that Sadie, Olivia’s slightly (ok, mostly) neurotic employer. I can’t wait to see if she gets a story in the future. I gave Amazed by You 4.5 stars.

Robin Covington – One Little Kiss
Trapped by a snowstorm in the same place at the same time, Leighton and Jonas must decide if their hot night together was the end of their story or if they started forever with just one little kiss…

This story was a hard one of me to rate – because I did enjoy it but towards the end I found myself wanting more. I would love to see it taken and turned into a full-length story because there was so much potential and everything just felt rushed for me. But it had Robin’s familiar writing style and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff in the future. This story got 3.5 stars from me.

Avery Flynn – Big, Bad Red
There’s nothing little or naive about this Red Riding Hood. Red runs the biggest fencing operation for fairytale treasures out of the back of Granny’s Pub. But when she comes into possession of the Caladbolg sword things get hairy–as in hot, sexy Liam MacTíre the werewolf hairy.

I’ll admit that I am a total sucker for fairy tale retellings and Big Bad Red hit all my happy buttons. I loved Red as a character and the story was hot (oh holy heck was it hot). I would love to see more books written in this world and I know that i’ll be checking out Avery’s other Fairytale retellings (since I already love her contemporary romances). Big, Bad Red got 3.5 stars from me.

Sara Humphreys – Luck of the Irish
Banished to the mirrored realm for hundreds of years, Declan Aherne had nothing but time to plot his revenge and mourn the loss of his beloved wife. But when a beautiful human woman, with a familiar amulet, stares into the mirror….Declan’s luck was about to change.

Sarah Humphrey’s was the second new author in the anthology to me. I really liked the idea of a Leprechaum as a hero – i mean seriously, how cool is that? And the story that Sara wove was great, intriguing and complex. Unfortunately, the ending left me feeling kind of irked because it didn’t really end and unfortuntely, that dropped my rating for this installment down to 3 stars.

Kimberly Kincaid – Something Borrowed
When her successful brother announces his plans for an impromptu wedding in Ireland, unlucky-in-love chef Sasha Arrington is stuck between the Blarney Stone and a hard place. Sasha needs a wingman for her brother’s wedding, and the romantic destination could be just what James Sullivan needs to tempt Sasha out of the friend zone.

I’m in a toss-up over whether Kimberly’s contribution or Kelsey’s is my favorite. There was something about Sasha and Sully’s story that just hit all my happy buttons. I loved the sexual tension between them and it kind of reminded me of the movie, The Wedding Date, which I will always watch when I get a chance. Although I will say, really Sully, UVa…no, just no. I gave Something Borrowed 4.5 stars.

Overall I really enjoyed all 6 books in this anthology and I will be checking out the two new authors (Nicola Marsh and Sara Humphrey) in the future. but my 2 favorite stories by far were Kelsey Browning and Kimberly Kincaid’s. Overall, I gave the anthology 4 stars.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Our Totally, Ridiculous, Made-up Christmas Relationship – Brittainy C. Cherry

totally ridiculousOur Totally, Ridiculous, Made-up Christmas Relationship
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
All families have secrets, and Jules Stone’s is no exception. Deciding not to follow in her family’s Oscar-winning footsteps, Jules chooses to take a more behind-the-scenes career in one of the Top 10 Talent Agencies in Chicago. After being dumped five hours before spending Christmas with her dysfunctional family, she needs a plan to avoid their judgmental eyes.

Enter: Kayden Reece.

Kayden is the black sheep of his family, being the one actor drowning in a world of doctors and lawyers. Never really getting a jumpstart at his acting career or landing a big time role, he can feel his dad’s disappointment soaking into his spirit.

When Kayden gets a chance to meet and sign with a big name agent at Walter and Jacks Talent Agency, he’s ready to prove everyone wrong. Jules stumbles into the building in shambles, ugly crying, and begging to pay an actor a big sum of money to be her made-up boyfriend for five days, Kayden jumps at the opportunity—finally able to say he landed a role.

When secrets start to unravel, Kayden and Jules must learn that all families have their baggage, sometimes co-stars fall in lust, and it’s important to always have invisible mistletoe hanging around.

Review:
Sometimes when you are home with bronchitis and feeling cruddy, a cute romance is just what you need and Our Totally, Ridiculous, Made-up Christmas Relationship hit all my happy buttons. Last week I was lucky enough to get an unplanned 3 day vacation from work (unfortunately, not by choice) and while looking for something to read, I came across this book in Kindle Unlimited. Honestly, I think someone had recommended it, but darn if I can remember.

Anyways, I will admit that the title at first made me chuckle and then shake my head – because honestly, I was expecting a comedy of errors type plot device – I mean, at least, that is what I would image when you use the word ridiculous in a title. But it turned out to be a rather sweet romance – although I will admit that the secondary characters (family members mostly) were so whacked out that maybe ridiculous is an appropriate description.

While I’m not always a fan of the fake marriage/marriage of convenience plot device (I mean, since normally its needing to pose in order to get an inheritance or a job), in this case it worked for me, because it revolved around the simple desire of wanting to show your family that you are successful/loved etc. Yeah, maybe a bit cheesy, but when you are introduced to Jules family, you’ll find out why I say that. And opposite to that, there was Kayden’s family that was (pardon my french) a bunch of assholes (well, aside from his mom). They were the most obnoxious group of people I’ve read about in a good long while. One of the things I really liked about the book was that there wasn’t the huge secret/big misunderstanding trope that is used so frequently. While there was a bit of one, it didn’t take up the whole plot and was resolved relatively quickly.

Overall, a cute contemp romance that will just (hopefully) make you feel happy inside ;)

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – The Risk – Skye Jordan

the riskThe Risk
Author: Skye Jordan
Series: #1 in the Xtreme Heros series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Former Olympian turned physical therapist to the elite Julia Bailey knows all about pushing the limits. But when a sexual harassment suit costs her a dream job—not to mention her reputation—she takes on the biggest risk of her life. Rehabilitating the X Games’ most notorious bad boy might be just what she needs to secure the funds for her own treatment center. Problem is, the only kind of recovery her new client is interested in is under-the-covers freestyle—gear optional.

Daredevil snowboarder Noah Hunt is a rock star—on and off the slopes. A recent accident might have him down, but he’s far from out. He doesn’t care what the sexy therapist with the sweet curves says. He’s got sponsors to impress and trophies to collect, and taking things slow and steady just ain’t his style. A little dirty talk and a sizzling night later, Julia learns just how fast and hard he likes to play. Too bad for him, his heart goes all in, and one wrong move could cost him more than just his career.

Review:
Skye Jordan is a name that I have heard thrown around both groups on Goodreads and on Amazon as a author I should try, but as seems to be the case, I have a book of hers sitting on the pile, but not yet gotten around to reading. So when the opportunity arose to review her newest book as part of the launch blog tour I was intrigued enough by the description and by the cover (I mean, seriously, have you SEEN the cover?!?!) that I knew I wanted to try it and for the most part I wasn’t disappointed.

From the get-go you could tell how much research the author had done not only into the world of snowboarding (which I know very little about), but also physical therapy (while never having busted my ankle, some of the techniques described have been used on me during various periods of recovery from other sports injuries). It added a sense of realism to the story – although I will admit that you could tell some of the process had been speed-up to fit with the storyline. However, from the description, I kind of expected more about the issues Julia had prior to working with Noah, but they were fairly hidden away/downplayed in the story – which was a bit of a let-down (I always figure if something is important enough to be featured prominently in the blurb, then why not include it more in the storyline…otherwise, it just feels as though it was added for angst and not really conducive to the story).

I liked the whole development between Noah and Julia as a relationship in general – but then I’m a sucker for doctor/patient and other healthcare themed romances. It very vaguely reminded me of an old school Sandra Brown (Adam’s Fall) but with the physical therapist being a former athlete. The romance between Noah and Julia felt hot and yet sweet at the same time – I actually like how she tortured him a bit before giving in and how she was willing to fight people who said “i’m the specialist that’s why” when it came to his health. My least favorite part of their romance was the random thoughts that Noah had towards the end that felt a bit 50shades-ish – it didn’t add to the story at all, and honestly felt like it was just added in as a shock factor. It was because of that, that I actually lowered my rating from 4 stars, down to 3.5 – it just felt unnecessary/didn’t work for me (don’t get me wrong, I read erotic romance regularly, but in this instance, it just wasn’t needed (IMHO).

Overall, I enjoyed the Risk – the romance was for the most part really well done and Ms Jordan did a good job developing the sexual tension between Noah and Julia. I will be curious to see where she takes the series with future books and I know that I will be moving other books that I have by her up my to-read pile.

Buy Links:
Amazon – The Risk (Xtreme Heroes 1)
Barnes and Noble – The Risk
Apple – The Risk
Kobo – The Risk

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Book Review

 

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