Review: Blue Knight by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Held hostage by the Insurrectos for weeks and forgotten by the world, Olivia has watched Daniel bed everyone women but her, who he can’t see. Daniel lives dangerously and is forced to use her window one night to avoid the guards. Naked and faced with a long-legged woman who doesn’t want him, his curiosity is piqued.

Under the hostile, suspicious gazes of the guards, they begin a game of heated seduction where the stakes are so high no one, not even their fellow hostages, must suspect there is a connection between them. As Daniel teaches her how to defy the guards the tension between them, both sexual and personal, spirals until it threatens to shatter.

Olivia learns that Daniel is not quite who she thought he was. Now she is fighting for Daniel’s life too, for if the Insurrectos find out who he really is, then the man she has come to love will be instantly executed…

FYI - This review contains spoilers

Stuck in a fancy hotel in war torn Vistaria, Olivia’s quite surprised when a naked man crawls into her window one night. It’s fellow diplomat, Daniel, who was sneaking out of her neighbor’s room. After an tension filled night with harsh words spoken between the two of them, life gets back to normal. Well, as normal as it can be for hostages. Daniel and Olivia begin a sexual relationship but it becomes much more in a very short time but it’s something they have to hide from their captors.

Olivia soon learns that Daniel isn’t who she thought. He played a British diplomat well but he’s really a loyalist Vistarian who is trying to save his country, and now Olivia, from being taken from him and his countrymen.

This is book 3 in the Guns ‘n’ Lovers series and it’s a good one. I have to admit that I didn’t LOVE the first book, Red Leopard, but it set a nice stage for the series. The second book, Black Heart, was very good and continued the struggle to get Vistaria back into its rightful hands but had a great romance as well. This book again continued the effort to regain the country but also had a lovely romance as well – if not a typical one.

The story lets us see further into Calli and Nick’s relationship (from book 1) and Nick’s attempts to receive help from US and Mexico as well as try to form some sort of cabinet to work with. But the main part of the book was the struggle inside the hotel that Olivia, Daniel and their fellow captives endured by the psychotic captors.

This is, at times, not an easy book to read. The author pulls no punches and makes it quite realistic, with torture and a rape scene (not with the h/h). While I found them hard to read I didn’t feel that they were put in there for sensationalism. These were things that real hostages would have endured and I while I had a hard time reading those scenes, I liked the book that much more because of them.

In the end I really liked the book. I liked the political aspects, the spy/mystery portion of it and of course the romance. I loved seeing two people fall in love in a less than stellar situation that may not have met in every day life.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

This book was received by the author for review. It releases from Ellora’s Cave on 10/1/10

What I Read Last Week

Well it was an interesting week last week to say the least.  This past Tuesday my boss told me that she plans on retiring next July.  This is a huge deal as I work at a church (I know, shocking lol) and finding a new priest is not an easy task. The next 9 months or so are going to be pretty stressful but hopefully we'll find someone that will be good for the well as someone I can work with! :)

Then my oldest brought home her 5 week progress report.  Shoot me.  Shoot me now.  Ug.  It was horrible to say the least - so there will definitely be some changes going on in my house.  One of the biggest issues, I've discovered, is that she doesn't hand in her assignments.  How hard can that be?  She does them - when they are asked for how can she not just get them out and hand them over?  IDK.  Anyway, hopefully we'll be able to pull her grades up by the first report card.  Cross fingers...and toes...maybe your arms and legs.  Oh, and prayers couldn't hurt either! lol

As far as reading went it was a strange week there as well.  I'm not sure if my bosses announcement effected what I was reading or not but it really didn't go as planned.  I felt kind of disconnected and discombobulated and any other "dis" word you can think of. Not that what I read was bad but I had a hard time choosing the next book I wanted to read - my decision making was at its worst. :) Despite that I ended up reading a few pretty good books. Hopefully this week will go a little smoother in the decision making process - I can only hope.

My first read of the week was Hot Finish by Erin McCarthy.  This is book 3 in the Fast Track series.  It was Suzanne and Ryder's story and was a tension filled reunion story.  Suzanne and Ryder find out after 2 years that they aren't actually divorced and then they figure out that they love each other and neither really wants to be divorced.  But getting to the point that they can actually be together without fighting, and figuring out their issues was a huge part of the book.  Suzanne had most of the issues and while I understood her feelings on some things I still got annoyed with her at times.  3.75 out of 5

Second up was Black Heart by Tracy Cooper-Posey.  This is book 2 in the Guns 'n' Lovers series and I liked it.  The story focuses - more or less - on Minnie who has escaped Vistaria after the revolution but still believes that her love, Duardo, who was shot and assumed dead, is still alive.  She refuses to believe he is dead and returns to Vistaria only to be captured by an evil man, Zalaya.  This was a great story.  It continues the story of Nick and Calli from book 1, their relationship and their movements to reclaim Vistaria.  Tracy has a great way of blending the romance in with the different aspects of the story and it was very well done. 4 out of 5

Next up was Blue Knight by Tracy Cooper-Posey.  This is book 3 in the same series as above and furthers the story of Vistaria.  I'll be posting my review for this one on Wednesday so check back. :)  4.5 out of 5

Next was my DIK reading challenge book for September - Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas.  This was a great story about a country woman and the non-typical hero/gentleman's club owner that she falls in love with.   Good stuff.  You can read my review here. 4.25 out of 5

Next was a book that I read for The Book Binge called A Gentleman's Savior by Charlene Roberts.  The story was about a woman who paints a picture of a man who ends up being her husband from a previous life.  She goes back in time but discovers that she hadn't lived long while married to Gabriel as she had been shot and killed.  Now she has to stop her own death and decide to stay in the present or go to the past and finish living that life.  Good book.  4 out of 5

Next was another story for The Book Binge called Tempting Alibi by Savannah Stuart.  This was the story of neighbors who have both been wanting to be with the other but neither has made a move for the past 7 months.  From opposite sides of the tracks while growing up the two start a relationship after Michaela becomes Scott's alibi.  3.25 out of 5

Another book for The Book Binge was Shattered Glass by AC Katt.  This was an m/m book about friends who start a rock band.  Two of the members - one who is much younger and was practically raised by the other - fall in love but are torn apart by a man bent on revenge.  This was an incredibly emotionally draining book.  The two men go through complete hell but then it's all A-ok by the end of the book. I didn't care for the story, unfortunately, and really didn't care if the characters got back together or not.  In the end, not my kind of book. 2 out of 5

My Tracy's TBR challenge book for the week was Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper.  This is the story of a small town librarian who is fired from her job, shot and killed and turned into a vampire all in one day.  The story follows her trials in her first few months of being a vampire as well as the mystery behind someone who's out to get her.  Cute book.  A lot of inner thought and tangents that I couldn't get into, but cute. 3 out of 5

My last book for the week was another romance book based on a true story.  This was Hard to Hold by Julie Leto and follows Michael and Anne's romance.  The road is not an easy one for the couple but they manage despite the obstacles.  I'll be posting my review on Friday...along with a giveaway so check back. 4 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

I pulled out an old playlist this past week and discovered it's amazing how many songs I forget about that I still love.  This is one of them.  These Walls by Teddy Geiger is from his 2006 album Underage Thinking which he recorded when he was 18, I think.  He has that kind of smoky voice that I love and obviously need to break out his album a little more often. Enjoy.

(I couldn't find a decent vid so this is basically music)

DIK Reading Challenge Review: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

She stood at danger's threshold— then love beckoned her in.

In the shelter of her country cottage, Sara Fielding puts pen to paper to create dreams. But curiosity has enticed the prim, well-bred gentlewoman out of her safe haven—and into Derek Craven's dangerous world.

A handsome, tough and tenacious Cockney, he rose from, poverty to become lord of London's most exclusive gambling house—a struggle that has left Derek Craven fabulously wealthy, but hardened and suspicious. And now duty demands he allow Sara Fielding into his world— with her impeccable manners and her infuriating innocence. But here, in a perilous shadow-realm of ever-shifting fortunes, even a proper "mouse" can be transformed into a breathtaking enchantress—and a world-weary gambler can be shaken to his cynical core by the power of passion. . .and the promise of love.

Sara Fielding is doing "research" down in a the rookery when she hears a man being attacked.  What she comes upon is Derek Craven, one of London's richest men, being attacked.  Sara helps Derek return to the gentleman's club that he owns.  She becomes friendly with Derek's factotum, Worthy, and he allows Sara to have run of the club during the day so that she can get information for her next novel.  But Derek's not thrilled about that at all.  He seems to have an attraction to Sara that he wants to do nothing about and he doesn't want her around.

Sara seems to be having a thing for Derek as well but she's almost engaged to Mr. Kingswood back in Greenwood Corners - where she hails from.  But once she returns to GC Mr Kingswood isn't thrilled with the woman that he thinks Sara's become.  

Spurred on by friends of Derek's as well as an evil ex-paramour of Derek's, Sara finds herself with Derek but is everything she'd thought it would be?

This was one of KristieJ's DIK picks and a book that many a friend have talked about as being really good.  I have to agree.  It was a really good book that i enjoyed reading.

I loved that Derek was not the typical romance hero.  He was born in the rookery, raised by prostitutes and had done some awful, abhorrent things in his life. But he was a man who needed love and Sara was there for him.  I can understand why he thought he didn't deserve her - he probably didn't, but it didn't stop their love from blossoming. 

Overall a very different romance but one I really enjoyed.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 

Yeah...I Got Nothin (NSFW)

So this would normally be a review posting day for me. But I've got nothing.  Not that I haven't read any books but I just want to read and not review right now and that's not working for the publishers and authors I've agreed to do reviews for! lol  Luckily I'm not behind but....I will be if I don't get my butt in gear and it will be an utter fail on my part.  However, that will not be today! :)  Today will be a day of rest with a little added candy for the eye. 
 Have a great Wednesday!

What I Read Last Week

Where are the weeks/months going?  I can't believe it's already the 3rd week in September!  Didn't summer just start?  Ok, I know my kids went back to school and all but it's just going too quickly! lol *sigh* Oh well, what's a body to do?

It was a pretty quiet week around here. As I said on my Saturday Song post, my parents were in Maui this past week so I would take a late lunch and then go pick up my youngest daughter from school and bring her back to work with me.  That made life a little more interesting in the afternoons, but it was good to spend some extra time with her. :)

So let me get to telling you what I read:

First up was a book for The Book Binge called Lust Unleashed by Desiree Holt.  This was an interesting shifter story with a different twist.  A billionaire brings together a group of various law enforcement agents - some shifters, some not - to catch a beast called the Chupacabra.  All of the people have had loved ones or dear friends killed by the creature and they are determined to hunt it down and kill it.  During the first of these hunts shifter Jonah Grey meets the woman who end up being his mate.  It was a good book filled with a good mystery and great sex and a nice little twist at the end that will have me reading the next book in the series. 4 out of 5

Vampyres of Hollywood by Adrienne Barbeau and Michael Scott was next.  This was a contemporary story of Osvanna, a vampyre, and Peter King, a Beverly Hills detective, trying to find the killer of the people who know and work with Osvanna.  You can read my review here. 3.5 out of 5

Next up was Red Leopard by Tracy Cooper-Posey.  This story took place in a country called Vistaria that's on the brink of revolution.  Calli finds herself attracted to a man that goes by the name Red Leopard aka Nicholas Escobedo and that attraction is mutual.  However due to his position as the Presidents brother and her being American they cannot be together.  What happens when they can't deny their attraction any longer and the county breaks out in fighting?  This was a good book that I had some niggles with.  I liked the different setting and the sexual tension that you could cut with a knife - that was great.  The cousin who was a sex kitten was more down to earth than I thought she'd be but she still did some pretty reckless things.  When she pulls a doozer Calli runs to Nick for help because time is of the essence.  So what do Calli and Nick do because time is short and the cousin's life may be on the line?  They stop and have sex in a conference room.  Was it hot?  Yes, but hello?  The cousin?  Remember her, might die, etc.?  That was just so frustrating for me to read because Calli and Nick were both so much smarter than that! *sigh* oh well, I can't have it all my way. lol  3.25 out of 5

Next was another book for The Book Binge.  This was Play Fling by Amber Scott.  This was a book that kind of had 3 stories going on at the same time but they were all interlinked. It had Millie and AJ who are a cupid team trying to get Brooke together with her ex-husband, Jason.  Millie was kind of reincarnated - I think, that part's a little hazy - from a socialite to a cupid.  She must make a match for Brooke or her partner AJ will be reassigned.  Since she's in love with AJ she doesn't want that to happen.  She's determined to get Brooke and Jason back together.  But they don't want to be back together.  The next story is Brooke who is 37 and being pursued by 28 year old college student, Elliot.  He's just wonderful but she's concerned about the age difference.  Then there's Jason, the ex, who is actually gay and in love with Elliot's cousin, Gordon.  The story was very cute but Millie was making such a mash of things I just wanted to kick her out of the story and read about Brooke and Elliot! lol 3.5 out of 5

Next was Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake by Sarah MacLean.  I have an ARC of book 2 in this series so I figured I should probably finally read book 1! lol  It was good!  Calpurnia (Callie) has been in love with a rake for 10 years.  She's firmly on the shelf at age 27 but decides that she's going to do all the things that she's wanted to do that men get to do, but women don't.  She makes a list that includes, among other things,  kissing a man passionately, gambling at a gentlemen's club and attending a duel.  For the kiss she goes to the rake's house.  The Marquess of Ralston supplies her with the kiss and then ends up guiding her through the rest of her list.  I thought this book was so good. I love that Callie was plain but as Ralston got to know her he just thought she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. *sigh* I love that! A very sweet romance that I very much enjoyed reading. 4.25 out of 5

I read In The Rough by JB McDonald next. I have By Degrees by the same author, which I guess is the first book I should have read but got mixed up.  Oh well. Jay goes to Rick when he finds out that his ex wife's boyfriend has molested his eight year old daughter.  Jay has many, many, many issues from his childhood and teen years and needs to get his life together so that he can take custody of his daughter who is temporarily a ward of the court because the ex wife won't kick the boyfriend out of her house.  Rick loves Jay but knows that Jay isn't the committing kind so tries to keep his distance - even though they are occasional fuck-buddies.  This book shows Jay slowly getting his life together and Rick and Jay moving into a relationship.  The first thing about this book that I had a huge problem with was: if the court found out that the ex wife's boyfriend had molested a child they wouldn't worry about whether he was kicked out of the house or not - he would be in jail!  I had a really hard time dismissing that issue in my mind and kept going back to it. There were also flashbacks in this one but I didn't know who was having the flashback until half way through the book - that was kind of annoying.  I did like how they showed Jay getting his life back together but wished that there had been more of Rick and Jay after they'd decided to make a go of it as boyfriends. 3.5 out of 5

My Tracy's TBR challenge read for the week was The Hunt by Anne Marsh.  This was a fantasy shifter book.  Virgins enter a temple once a year and the warrior/were-cats hunt them to search for their mates.  The townspeople do this in exchange for protection from another world that had been destroying them.  It's much more civilized than it sounds when it's explained throughout the book but at first I was kind of thinking wtf? lol  Miu enters under the guise of a virgin, which she's not, in order to steal a necklace for her "master" who is holding her sister hostage.  Miu will stop at nothing to get the necklace.  Jafar is under instructions to follow her to see what she's up to, but he discovers she's his mate and when she's put under a death sentence he's more than willing to get her out of there.  This was a fun, light read.  Pretty fantastical in the end and everything gets wrapped up with a tidy bow, but there was some witty banter and good sex scenes that kept me reading. 3.25 out of 5

Last up was The Accidental Wedding by Anne Gracie.  This was a fun book - almost a cottage romance, which I love.  The Honorable Nash Renfrew is on his way to claim an inheritance when his horse slips on mud and throws him into a wall.  Maddy sees the whole things and manages to get him to her cottage to save his life.  She cares for him while he's ill but when he awakes he has no idea who he is.  He's not able walk because of a hurt ankle so he must stay at Maddy's cottage with her and her 5 young siblings that she has charge of.  While at the cottage Maddy falls in love, but Nash doesn't believe in love matches after seeing his parents go through hell with their love match.  I really liked Maddy in this book.  She was a very strong character and wasn't afraid to stand up for herself - I loved that! (another Book Binge book) 4 out of 5 (this book releases on 10/5)

My Book Binge reviews that posted this past week:

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

Today is a little different. You see, my parents, who watch my kids after school went to Hawaii this past week. I know, life's rough. lol! Anyway, because of this I took late lunches all week and would pick up my yougest from school and bring her back to work with me. She would sit and do her homework while I worked, but she got rewards when she completed each item. One of those was watching a video.

So when I went to get the video for this week and post it she said, "No mama, you need to post these!"  I, of course, tried to steer her in my own direction stating that as much as I liked those videos I really didn't want to post them.  

Guess what?  Her pouty lip, her big blue eyes and her persistence won out and so today you get 2 of my youngest daughter's favorite songs from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from 1968. Enjoy!

Review: Vampyres of Hollywood by Adrienne Barbeau & Michael Scott

Hollywood, California: three gruesome deaths within two weeks and every one of them a major star - an Oscar winner, an ingénue, and an action hero. A serial killer is working through the Hollywood A-list and celebrities are running scared.

Each crime scene is worthy of a classic horror movie, and all three victims share a connection to the powerful scream queen, Ovsanna Moore. The stunning and formidable Moore is the legendary head of a Hollywood studio, as well as the writer and star of seventeen blockbuster horror films (and a few that went straight to DVD).

She’s also a 500 year old vampyre…but this is Hollywood after all, and no one ever looks their age.

Beverly Hills Police Detective Peter King knows a lot about the City of Angels, but he certainly doesn’t know that most of the famous actors in town are actually an established network of vampires. Or that secretive and seductive Ovsanna Moore happens to be their CEO.

Moore and King may be from opposite sides of the Hollywood Hills, but both have something to gain by stopping the killer who the tabloids have dubbed the Cinema Slayer. Ovsanna must protect her vampire legacy and her production schedule, while King just wants to keep his Beverly Hills beat as blood-free as possible. But when the horror queen and the cop with the movie star looks form an unholy alliance, sparks fly and so do the creatures of the night.

You know all that stuff that we’ve learned about vampyres in the movies? All fiction created by the vampyres themselves all to throw them off the scent of the real vamps. In this book the vampyres rule Hollywood. Orson Wells, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Peter Lorre, Rudolph Valentino and a host of others are all vamps and they are the Vampyres of Hollywood. The Elite. They have all faked their deaths but are still alive and kicking but in seclusion. They are also the people that Ovsanna has to answer to when the celebrities/vampyres that she created are starting to get murdered. When people close to her, that aren’t vampyres, start getting murdered the older vampyres decide to give her orders. Her orders: find the person who is killing everyone or you must “die”. Dying for Osvanna means that she fakes her death and goes into hiding for a century or so and then comes back as someone else. Osvanna doesn’t feel like this is an option that she wants to take so she sets out to find the murderer. In the meantime Beverly Hills Detective Peter King is on the case and trying to figure out what the heck is going on. He knows that Osvanna is lying to him but he can’t quite figure out why she’s doing it.

I really liked Peter King. He was a great character and had a wonderful dry wit. His sense of humor dried up a bit as the book went on but whose wouldn’t after seeing the gore of a mass murder? When he finally is told about vampyres he takes it with an acceptance that surprised me but I guess it’s Hollywood so you see just about everything. lol

Osvanna took a little more time for me to warm up to. Her character was brilliant yet very cold at first, but she seemed to defrost toward the end of the book. Actually the more I think about it I’m not sure that we got to know all that much about Osvanna’s character itself. We were told innumerous times who she’d known in the past and the things she’d done but I don’t think that we got to delve into Osvanna herself too much and maybe that’s why she seemed so aloof to me. IDK.

I found this book to be equal parts funny, gory and frustrating. The murders being told in great detail was pretty gory/nasty. Those of you who sicken easily at the description of people found decapitated and/or cut up in to small pieces may have a problem with this book. The frustrating part was the non stop descriptions of what Osvanna had done, objects she had from the past, who she knew, etc. It seemed that the world building – Osvanna’s world – was never ending. I think I would have liked to have gotten to know the woman herself more - as she was now rather than who/what she was or who she knew in the past. But there was also a lot of humor and that was quite nice to read – I did find myself laughing out loud several times when I started the book (mostly at Peter).

Overall I liked it. I didn’t love it but it was definitely entertaining. I have book 2 in the series and will be reading that soon.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I received this book from Authors on the Web for review.

And the Winner Is...

The winner of Meet Me In Manhattan  by Judith Arnold is:



Please email your snail mail address to me at redneyrae AT ca DOT rr DOT com and we can get that book out to you asap.

Review: The Promise by Brenda Joyce


After a record breaking sail from China, Alexi de Warenne’s moment of triumph quickly vanishes. At his welcoming party, his bewitching childhood friend Elysse O’Neill begins flirting with a shipmate, clearly punishing Alexi for his time at sea. But when Alexi finds Elysse desperately struggling in the man’s arms, tragedy ensues. Within days, Alexi weds her to save her honor—and leaves her to forge a new life.

And Pretense.

Elysse de Warenne rules the ton with her wit and grace, but the whispers of “abandoned bride” follow her ruthlessly. Elysse will never reveal the truth: that she hasn’t see her husband in six years—and they didn’t even consummate their marriage! When Alexi unexpectedly returns to England, Elysse will do whatever it takes to win his heart and claim her place at his side.

Alexi and Elysse have been friends since they first met at the ages of 8 & 9. Alexi at one point had thought that he would marry Elysse and that would be that. But then he grew up and discovered that there were other women and a world of debauchery waiting for him and gave up the idea of marriage completely. But Elysse and Alexi still have a connection that none can explain. But Elysse is now feeling something more for Alexi, desire.

On the night of Alexi’s welcome home party Elysse decides to makes Alexi jealous. She’s had a bit too much champagne, and Alexi's not paying enough attention to her, so she decides to take a walk with Alexi’s ship pilot and friend, William. But William wants Elysse a bit too much and takes things a bit too far. Things don’t work out well for William and in order to save Elysse’s reputation, Alexi agrees to marry her. While Elysse is shocked and stunned by everything that has happened she’s thrilled to be Alexi’s wife.

Unfortunately by the time the wedding takes place Alexi’s a different person – an angry, angry man. They marry but then Alexi takes off on his ship without his wife and without consummating the marriage.

Six years later: Elysse is living in London when she hears that Alexi’s ship is about to come in, literally. She also finds out that he’s bought a house in Oxford and has no plans on leaving London. Elysse has worked for years to make people believe that Alexi is a wonderful and doting husband and that they have a wonderful marriage. She can’t keep up the pretense if he’s living in a different house than her! She immediately moves in, much to Alexi’s chagrin and all hell breaks loose.

Let me start off by saying I love Joyce’s writing. She always manages to invoke deep emotion in me when I read her books. Unfortunately in this book, I hate to say, it wasn’t a good emotion.  My heart hurt for Elysse for most of the book - truly hurt.

Alexi was a bastard. There I’ve said it. Oh, he definitely had some redeeming qualities and without telling you too much of the book and how he finally stepped up to the plate, he did come through in the end. However, before that? A right bastard. I get his anger over the incident with his friend William. I get the anger at having to marry Elysse – even though he was the one to offer for her. I get that he was upset at what he thought was his wife’s current reputation when he got back to London but he never stopped to talk to her - he just didn't care. He wanted to hang on to his anger - I think because he'd lived with it for so long.  With Elysse it was either have sex or get out of his life. He left for six years and never came back! Did he think that would save her honor or make his anger less? IDK. When he did come back he was mean! *sigh* I guess after having read about him in previous books I expected a lot more from him and didn’t get it.  I really need to like my heroes in my romances and Alexi was not too likable for most of the book.

For Elysse’s part – wow, she had a will of iron. I had to admire that she’d lived through humiliation for six years. I didn’t get that she concocted a scandalous rep for herself but I guess a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do. She did have a couple of TSTL moments when I just rolled my eyes at her but for the most part she really carried the book, imho.

So in the end… really liked Elysse, really didn’t like Alexi for most of the book (which again, I really need to like the heroes in my romances!). Really still like Joyce’s writing and this book will not stop me from reading further in this series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I received this book from the publisher for review.

What I Read Last Week

Hello my fellow book lovers!

How the heck are ya?  I'm doing well.  There's not anything to report here so I'll get right to the books.

Actually I started the week reading a bunch of yaoi manga:
Reversible by various artists 2 out of 5 
Love Mode by Yuki Shimizu 3 out of 5 
Ka*Shin*Fu by Makoto Tateno 2 out of 5 
Golden Prince and Argent King by Kouko Agawa 3 out of 5 
Little Butterfly - Omnibus - by Hinako Takanaga 4 out of 5 

First up was Wicked Surrender by Jade Lee.  This was the story of the daughter of an actress who now ran a theatre.  She wants nothing more than to be found respectable so when the 4th son of an Earl proposes she accepts.  The problem is that she's not accepted by his set at all and things aren't exactly the way she expected them to be.  There's also the problem of her having feelings for her fiance's cousin and him constantly asking her to be his mistress.  I had some issues with the heroine of this book...and the hero at times as well but liked it for the most part.  I found out an interesting twist when I read the blurb for the next book in the series so I'll definitely be reading that one to find out what happens. This one I read for The Book Binge3.5 out of 5

Next was All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins.  Ok, Higgins makes me laugh.  I really love her sense of humor.  The story was about a woman who had been in love with a guy for years.  He was now her boss and at one point had had a 5 week relationship that she thought was going somewhere.  Turned out it wasn't quite great "timing" for her boss though.  Yeah, right.  Anyway, so she's decided to branch out in the dating scene and starts - eventually, in a round about kind of way, to date the new town vet. That's not before she goes on a couple of dates with men that's she's met on an online dating service (those were damned funny). It's a crazy time in her life and very emotional at times but it works.  This book was funny, heart-breaking, sad and fun all rolled into one.  There were points in the book when I found it too descriptive, or the heroine would go off on a tangent in her mind and those were a bit frustrating but overall I really liked it. 4 out of 5

I read Her Laird, Her Lover by Sable Grey for The Book Binge.  This short story was about a woman who had been sent back into medieval times 3 years prior.  Her and her "mother", the woman who had taken her in, ran cons to make money.  One such con was run on a local Laird only her secret is discovered and eventually love blooms.  I really liked this story.  Grey managed to pack a lot of good stuff into 40 some pages. 4 out of 5

After that was Holiday Outing by Astrid Amara.  I'm not sure why I'm reading Hanakkuh stories in September but whatever. lol  It was good!  Jonah is going home to visit his parents for Hanakkuh and he's not thrilled about it.  He's gay and a gay fiction writer but his parents know neither of these facts.  They think that he lives in Seattle and isn't very successful.  Ethan, Jonah's old neighbor - the guy Jonah had the hots for while growing up - and the guy who outed him and got him beat up and shoved in lockers in high school, picks Jonah up from the airport and starts flirting with him.  Huh?  The story is of Ethan and Jonah's relationship as well as the search for a family heirloom that disappears during a blizzard and subsequent blackout.  This was a wonderful story!  I loved the mystery involved with all of Jonah's relatives as well as the budding relationship with Ethan and Jonah.  I definitely recommend this one.  4.5 out of 5

My Tracy's TBR challenge read for the week was Warsworn by Elizabeth Vaughan.  I read Warprize a while back and loved it.  Why it took me so long to read book 2 is beyond me.  This book followed Lara and Keir in their journey to the Plains.  The story was mostly about the Plague and how it hits their camp but also about Lara and Keir finding a better understanding and deeper love with each other.  I laughed in this one, I cried (a lot, which I never do) and I loved it.  Great book 4.5 out of 5

I had to immediately read Warlord by Elizabeth Vaughan after finishing Warsworn.  I didn't want to wait so I picked it up and devoured it.  It was just as good as books 1 and 2 and I loved it as well.  This had Lara and Keir in the Plains and the many obstacles they had to face in order to be together.  They had to face many dissenters and it certainly wasn't easy.  I really like Vaughan's writing and yes, found myself crying at the end of this one as well.  How does she do that? lol  4.5 out of 5

Next up was The Promise by Brenda Joyce.  This is book 13 in the de Warrene dynasty series and it comes out on the 28th.  I don't want to say anything about my thoughts since I'll be reviewing it this week.  This was Elysse O'Neill and Alexi de Warrene's story.

I read Whenever We Meet by Cerise DeLand for The Book Binge (yes, I'm trying to catch up!).  The story of a woman who is recovering from the death or her husband - even though they didn't have a great marriage.  She goes to Mexico to design a hotel and falls in love with her client.  He wants her but is willing to wait until she's comfortable with him.  He does have one requirement though - she has to kiss him hello whenever she enters a room that he's in and kiss him goodbye when she leaves. Interesting concept - I liked the first part of the book since I love kissing scenes but the end didn't really do it for me. (EC covers are not leaving much to the imagination these days are they?!) 3 out of 5

Next was another book for The Book Binge called Trouble in a Stetson by Regina Carlysle.  Lola and 2 of her friends leave Vegas for a grand adventure.  Lola was a showgirl (*sings* her name was Lola, she was a showgirl...nevermind) and got canned because she was too old - she's 30!  Right after that her fiance breaks it off with her and Lola and her friends have had enough of Vegas.  Lola and her friends make it to Mesa Blanco, Texas when their car breaks down.  They have no money and end up staying to get the car fixed and get some money to get on their way.  Lola meets the town sheriff though and they start a relationship.  Lola was done with men but Sam just calls to her and Sam was hurt by a previous relationship/marriage and doesn't want to get involved other than sex.  Yeah, that doesn't work out for either one of them.  lol  This was a very cute book.  I've liked what I've read of Carlysle's in the past and this one didn't disappoint.  4 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted this past week:

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

I call this one of my happy songs. I just get a smile on my face whenever I hear Me Being Me by Tim Blane. It’s got a catchy tune and I love the lyrics – especially the lines:

So if I ever get strange, my love
And start to mess it up
Please stick around- that’s just me being me
And if I ever get strange, my love
(way past the point you’re thinking of)
Please stick around- that’s just me being me
Yeah, that’s just me being me.

I can so relate! lol Anyway, enjoy!

Guest Post: Author Judith Arnold on Writing Reality Romance

 Writing Reality Romance Was a Novel Experience
For an Experienced Romance Writer
By Judith Arnold
After publishing 86 romance novels, Judith Arnold was asked to write her first Reality-Based Romance ™ which would tell the true love story of a real-life couple.  In this guest blog, Judith talks about what it was like to write “Meet Me In Manhattan, her 87th romance novel about the true love story of New York couple Erika Fredell and Ted Skala.

            I was thrilled when HCI Books invited me to write one of the launch titles for True Vows, their new line of romance novels based on real people.  Being the first person to do something is always exciting.  You’re a pioneer, venturing into the unknown.  No one can compare your work to former True Vows books, because there are no former True Vows books.  You’re the first, setting the tone for all who follow.

So yes, I was thrilled…but also apprehensive.  Since selling my first book, a Silhouette Desire, in 1983, I’ve seen eighty-six of my romance novels published.  I’ve written comedies, dramas, novellas, single-titles—but True Vows was an entirely new concept: romance novels based on actual, living couples.  HCI Books even came up with a name for this brand-new genre: Reality-Based Romance ™.  

In all those previous eighty-six novels, I had made everything up.  I’d created the characters, the stories, the conflicts.  Could I write a novel in which the characters were real people?  Could I shape a dramatic, passionate romance story out of an actual courtship?  

            Once I learned about the real-life romance of Ted Skala and Erika Fredell, I knew I could.  Ted and Erika’s romance was a classic reunion story.  They’d fallen in love their final year of high school, spent the summer after graduation infatuated with each other, and then parted ways amid much heartbreak when Erika headed off to college.  Sixteen years later, they both wound up working in Manhattan.  Ted was in a serious relationship with another woman, but he couldn’t bring himself to take the next step with her.  Erika had dated but never fallen in love, and she’d accepted the likelihood that she would remain single for the rest of her life.  And then Ted and Erika met for a drink, a meeting that made them question the directions their lives had taken, the choices they’d made and the deepest yearnings of their hearts.

            I love reunion stories—the idea that a flame you thought had burned to ash years ago might in fact have been smoldering all those years, only to flare anew when you and your former lover find each other again.  I’ve written fictional reunion stories before, but Ted and Erika’s story actually happened.  I turned it into novel, adding characters, juicing up the dialogue—if only we could speak as cleverly in real life as characters do in novels!—and shaping the story so it followed a dramatic arc, with all the elements readers expect in the best romance fiction.  But Ted and Erika are real people, which adds an entirely new element to the reading experience.  (In fact, you can see a photo of me with Ted and Erika by clicking here.)

Writing Ted and Erika’s story was a joy.  I was completely swept up in its epic drama, the wild passion of their teenage love and their more complex, nuanced emotions when they met again as adults.  If you love reunion stories as much as I do, you’ll love Meet Me In Manhattan.
            To try out Reality Romance, you can read the first three chapters of “Meet Me in Manhattan” for free, by clicking this link.

From Tracy: Intrigued by what you read?  One lucky commenter will win a copy of Meet Me In Manhattan by Judith Arnold.  Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment on the previous post before 11:59pm (pacific) on 9/14/10.  Winner will be announced on 9/15/10.  Good luck!

Please join me in giving a big thank you to Judith Arnold for being my guest today!

Review: Meet Me In Manhattan by Judith Arnold - Book Tour Info and Book Giveaway

Welcome to the True Vows Book Tour!

Introducing True Vows, a daring new series from HCI Books — that will rock the romance world and redefine memoir forever. It’s Reality-based, or RB Romance™ where the inspiration of each novel is ripped from the headlines and based on personal interviews with real couples whose love stories read like the best in romantic fiction. Esteemed authors Judith Arnold, Alison Kent, and Julie Leto are beloved story-tellers whose distinctive styles have won them large and loyal followings. Readers trust them to deliver compelling, page-turning reads, and beginning this fall romance readers will not be disappointed. They will be captivated by the unexpected—an experience that transcends anything that’s ever been offered in the genre before.
When fantasy meets reality anything can happen. Believe it. It’s true.

Today I’m reviewing Meet Me In Manhattan by Judith Arnold

You can get more information about the True Vows book tour here – as well as a list of all of the sites the tour will be on.

Ted Skala and Erika Fredell were the perfect New Jersey high school sweethearts. Like many teens Ted and Erika spent plenty of time in parked cars under the stars, but there was so much more between them than the chemistry that ignited their courtship, and Ted couldn't imagine a life without Erika. By graduation he was ready to get engaged. Erika, however, was ready to spread her wings and faraway she flew to college. She broke his heart. She sailed the world.

Fast forward 15 years. Living in Manhattan, Erika successfully climbs the corporate ladder but her love life stinks. Ted is also living the life of a successful businessman in Manhattan, and he's involved in a serious relationship. Problem is, he still can't get Erika out of his system. When fate intervenes and their paths cross, the result is emotionally explosive and that old black magic is back with the force of a super nova. But Erika once ravaged his heart: How can Ted ever trust her again? And now that he's seriously involved with another woman, how can Erika hope for a second chance with the man she never should have let go?

Ted’s had a crush on Erika for two years. But Erika’s was too into her horses and her horse competition and Ted didn’t think that she’d have time for him. Now they’re seniors and Erika has a crush on Ted as well. A mutual friend finally gets the two together and they spend a fun yet intense summer together before Erika leaves New Jersey for college in Colorado.

Although the two are in love Erika knows that she needs to stick with her plan for her college and her life even though that means leaving Ted behind. Unfortunately this does not end well for Ted and he’s left heartbroken.

The book tells the story of Erika and Ted and their time together during that one hot summer. It touches on the events in Ted and Erika’s live that bring them both to Manhattan 15 years after their breakup. Then it tells us how Ted and Erika finally decide to live happily ever after.

I gotta tell ya I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading the book. It’s not like I could finish reading and then say to myself – yeah, that was good, but I would have liked to have had it end this or that way. I mean, it ended the way it ended because it really happened that way! Lol

The love story: They were so cute together when they were in high school but I just never felt that Erika was on the same wave length as Ted. His was more of an obsessive love – which he admits when he’s an adult – and it was kind of creepy to me. He had a hard life, which seemed more or less self-induced, but he got his shit together and made something of himself which was very admirable.

Though the story starts with Ted contacting Erika after 15 years and them meeting for a drink in a local restaurant it then went back 15 years and took us to the time of their high school days. I have to admit that I was surprised that we spend so much time in the past and hearing what happened to them during the time they were apart. I have to admit I would have liked to have seen more on the romance end from after they met and were adults.

Also, reading a real life romance through an author made me think – is that what the person really thought, or said or did? Is the author taking creative license? How do the secondary characters feel about being talked about in the book? I have to say that it was a little distracting for me.

In the end it was a cute book. As for the real life couple…I have to say that I hope they’re extremely happy in their relationship for many years to come.

Rating 3.5 out of 5

I also have one copy of Meet Me In Manhattan to give away to one lucky winner (US/Canada only, No PO Boxes). Just leave a comment on this post by 11:59pm on Sept. 14, 2010 and I’ll announce the winner on Thursday, Sept. 15.

What I Read Last Week

Greetings to all!

And...Happy Labor Day to those in the US!  I hope you're enjoying the holiday and hopefully you, like me, have the day off.  Talk about a lazy day.  Wow.  I wish I could say I'm being uber productive today - besides laundry - but I really hate to lie to my friends. lol  None of us want to leave the house because it's been so stinking hot here.  I want to know when I moved to the sun.  I must have blocked that out somewhere along the way but that's apparently where I live because it's hot like the sun here!  It's been over 100 - F (that's over 38 C) every day this past week.  Right now says it's 90 here but the thermometer that's in my back yard - that's in the shade - says it's 100.  That's actually cool. lol

So what happened in Tracyland this week?  Not a whole hell of a lot.  We went to my youngest daughter's back to school night and met her teacher.  I loved her!  She's fun and funny but has her shit together.  She seems like a great teacher and my daughter likes her a lot - super important!  The teacher also loves math which makes her a perfect match for my youngest since she loves math as well.  (I know, she's sick, she gets that from my hubby *shudders*) lol

Anyway, on to what I read this past week:

First up was Coronets and Steel by Sherwood Smith.  This is one I read for The Book Binge.  It was the story of a graduate student who goes looking for her ancestry and winds up with a lot more than she bargained for. The book has a lot of history in it, and even though it's not my thing I really enjoyed it.  4.25 out of 5

Next was another book for The Book Binge called Marriage in Moonlust by Kate Hill.  This is about a woman who is given to the local vampire family as their monthly blood sacrifice but she ends up falling in love with one of the vampires instead.  A little rushed on the love but not bad. 3.25 out of 5

Next was Savage Sanctuary by Jacqueline Barbary.  This was a story of a shapeshifter that is on the run and the man who runs the sanctuary that he's taken to.  They fall in love and face trials and tribulations.  3 out of 5  You can read my review here.

Next was Sureblood by Susan Grant.  This was a sci-fi book about warring clans in space and the leaders of those clans that fall in love.  Pretty good book.  I had some issues with it but on the whole I liked it.  3.75 out of 5  You can read my review here.

My Tracy's TBR challenge read for the week was The Name of the Game by Willa Okati.  This was the story of a gay man, Clay, who is in love with his straight cop roommate, Seth.  Seth is in the relationship from hell with Sophie the psycho and it's decided that Seth will tell Sophie he's gay to get out of it.  It works to a point, but then Seth starts really having feelings and desires for Clay.  This was a good book but it was a bit much on the dramatic for me.  The men had Sophie to deal with but then they threw in speed dating for Clay as well as some other issues.  And did the characters ever work?  Uh, not that I could tell.  I just found it really wasn't my cup of tea. 3 out of 5

Next up was Meet Me In Manhattan by Judith Arnold.  This here is an absolutely true romance.  That's right, the book was written about the true life romance of Ted and Erika.  It's also part of the True Vows series and  I'll be posting my review of the book on Wednesday as part of the book tour so check back.

Mistress of the Night by Charlotte Featherstone had been in my ereader waaaaay too long so I finally decided it was time to read it. I originally bought it based on the info about the tortured hero - I love those.  And boy was Blaine tortured.  You see he had epilepsy and back then it was not a illness that was A-ok.  If you had the "falling sickness" then you were thought to be possessed by a demon and Blaine was afraid that his secret would get out and he would be committed to Bedlam.  He vowed to never get married and never have a child.  But he fell in love with Madeline and he couldn't seem to keep himself away from her.  I really liked the book a lot.  Blaine could be a right bastard at times while pushing Madeline away and yeah, I hated him for it, but he was so afraid.  The problem was, he was so afraid that she'd find his secret out and be repulsed by him that he ended up living in hell because he couldn't be with her the way he wanted.  Very good book but if you read it be prepared to hate Blaine at times along the way.   4 out of 5

And last but not least I re-read Lord of the White Hell book 1 by Ginn Hale.  And you know, it was just as great the second time reading it as it was the first.  I re-read in preparation for reading book 2 and I wanted to completely refresh my memory.  Man I just love Javier and Kiram.  Good people.  I reviewed this back in June - you can read my review here if you're interested. 5 out of 5

My Book Binge review that posted last week:
Seduced by a Highlander by Paula Quinn

Happy Reading