What I Read Last Week

How are you? If you’re in America are you ready for tonight? Do you hand out candy? Go trick or treating with the kids? Turn off the lights in the house and pretend you’re not home? What do you do on Halloween?

Normally my husband and I switch off duties each year. One of us goes with the kids and carries a backpack to carry extra candy when their buckets get full and one of us stays home to hand out candy. This year, however, it will all change. Both of our kids want to go with their friends to trick or treat and since we get very few kids that come to our house (we live on a hill and no one wants to climb that damned thing to get candy) we think we might just go out for dinner! lol The rule of thumb is, if there’s no porch light on then you don’t go to the house. I’m thinking we turn off the light and go get Mexican food! lol Sounds good to me!

Uh…let’s see…I’m over at DIK for the next couple of days. Today I’m looking for Halloween romances and/or books with costume parties involved. Got any recs? Head on over and let me know.

Damn. I think that’s all I really have to talk about. That’s so sad. After a few weeks of fun I’m back to my boring normal life. What have you been up to? Anything fun?

This week I tried to catch up on my reading commitments because I was hella behind. I mean, really behind. I made a dent but I’m still trying to play catch up. Unfortunately this meant no m/m reads for me which made me sad. I need to work on that this week.

First up was Lord of the Wolfyn by Jessica Andersen. This is book 3 in the Royal House of Shadows. This one was my favorite of the 3 so far. This was Dayn’s book. He is a vampire like his father was but when his parents enact their spell and send him away from Elden they end up sending him to the land of the Wolfyn. He is accepted there for the most part but only because they have no idea who or what he is. After 20 years the woman he’s waited for appears from the human realm and she is to guide him to the portal back to Elden. Both Dayn and Reda, his guide, do a ton of growing in this book and I loved seeing that growth as well as the relationship that begins – first as just sex then as something more. I’m looking forward to reading the last book in the series, Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh. 4 out of 5

Next up was When Harriet Came Home by Coleen Kwan. This was a coming home story as well as a bit of an ugly duckling book. Harriet has come home after 10 years to be with her father who has had a car accident. She stayed away because she never felt welcome in her home town as she was heavy and wore glasses, but also because she had blown the whistle on the mayor of the town and created a huge scandal. She runs into her high school crush, Adam, who also happens to be the son of the former mayor who isn’t too happy to see her to say the least. But Adam soon gets over his bad feelings for Harriet and wants to try to start a relationship with her. Harriet still has self-esteem issues and is a hard nut to crack. I liked Adam and the whole coming home part of the story but I didn’t really care for Harriet in this story. She had her moments when I really started liking her but then she’d act like she was in high school and act incredibly immature and it just didn’t do her justice. Overall a cute story though. 3.25 out of 5

My next read was Telling Tales by Charlotte Stein. This was one I read for The Book Binge and it while it had a relationship in it I wouldn’t exactly call it a romance. It was about 4 friends in a writing group who used to hang out at their professors house in college. Now the professor is dead and he has left the house to the 4 friends but they must live in the house for a month in order to inherit. The four friends explore their writing and even act out some of the sexual parts of the stories. It was a highly erotic and sexual story that I honestly couldn’t figure out how to rate…so I didn’t. I wrote a review for The Book Binge so if you’re interested I’ll let you know when the review posts.

My next read was The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne. This is book 4 in her Spymaster’s Lady series and it was really, really great. It’s Adrian’s book and it was about how he fell in love with a French spy – of course he’s a British spy so that makes things difficult doesn’t it? Yes, it does! I read this one for The Book Binge as well so I’ll let you know when my review posts. 4.5 out of 5

Next was Destined Mate by Katie Reus. A great shifter story! I wrote a review and it will post on Thursday so keep your eyes open.

I hadn’t read a good mystery in a while so I was looking forward to reading Unfinished Business by W. Soliman. It did not disappoint. I’ll post my review of this on Wednesday so stay tuned.

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Sage Creek by Jill Gregory
Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis

Happy Reading!

I guess this is: the weekend day that starts with an "s" song

Wow I really blew it yesterday didn't I?  I completely forgot to post the Saturday Song cuz I was busy from the moment I woke up to the moment I fell asleep last night. That doesn't happen often - thank god. lol

This song has been banging around my mind for some reason.  My girls really like it so play it often and it's kind of catchy, I like it.  Hopefully you will too.  Here's Liar, Liar by Christina Grimmie. Enjoy!

Christmas is coming - so I'm focused on February by Storm Grant

(picture: Storm Grant in San Miguel, February 2011. Notice I’m leaning away from the rooftop edge with no railing. That’s a four-storey drop to the cobblestones below.)

Up in the mountains of Central Mexico, about a three-hour shuttle ride from Mexico City’s international airport, lies a writer’s paradise. Let me re-phrase that—lies an older* writer’s paradise. Indeed, it’s heaven for any older person who’s interested in art, music, literature, hiking, riding, or a spiritual retreat.

Every year, people flock there to escape winter, and to live an intellectual lifestyle for a week, a month, the entire winter. Many people move there permanently, although real estate isn’t as cheap as it once was. It’s called “Gringo culture” and it meshes well with local culture and brings in welcome tourist dollars.

Each week, everyone grabs a copy of L’Attencion, the local newspaper. It features a chronological list of all the activities, gallery openings, art classes offered, etc. We take a red pen to our copy and then compare notes: “I’m going to the Jazz documentary on Friday. Shall we go to the gallery opening before hand?”

It’s a friendly place, with a central square that I call “hanging out in the caf for the senior set.” I like San Miguel because it’s so easy to meet people, and it gives me so much to do. Oh, sure, there are all kinds of activities here in Toronto, but this is different. This is something to do every day.

I always time my visits to allow me to attend the annual San Miguel Writer’s Conference. http://sanmiguelwritersconference2012.org/ In addition to excellent panels and workshops given by locals, they get great speakers. After all, who doesn’t want to go to Mexico in February? The keynote addresses are open to the public, so Barbara Kingsolver was hugely attended last year. This year, it’s Margaret Atwood.

But the big draw for me is that none of the attendees are professionals. “Huh?” you say? Yup. It’s attended by retired professionals who think they might have a book in them, and it’s almost always a memoir. So they have no idea how the publishing industry works or any interest in writing or publishing commercial fiction. What does that mean to me? That the big name agents and editors are left sit in the hotel lobby all by themselves. I’ve spent quality time with several agents, including former agent Nathan Bransford, Kirsten Nelsen, and Rosemary Stimola of Hunger Games success.

You get to know a person when you hang with them, and sometimes the person who was at the top of your “dream agent” list gets kicked off entirely. And sometimes you just click.

I understand the mountains surrounding SMA have mystical properties making them a sought-after spiritual retreat. There’s also a world-class riding school.

Don’t look for bars and parties (okay, Harry’s is hopping every night of the week). We’re a day’s journey from the closest beach. The weather is unpredictable (but still way better than Toronto in February.) But if you’re looking for a writer’s paradise, c’mon down.

Also, an excellent 3-course steak dinner is around $10, and a large, fully-equipped (but very run down) apartment is around $250 a week.

For more information on my writer’s paradise, click here: http://www.internetsanmiguel.com/

*I define “older” as 40 and up.

Speaking of online hangouts, where are yours? Where can your readers find you? 

Author Name: Gina Grant w/a Storm Grant

Email address: storm.grant@gmail.com

Website URL: www.stormgrant.com

What’s your current book list and where can we buy them? 

Sucks and Blows: paranormal short m/m story. To be re-released by Riptide Publishing October 2011

Shift Happens, paranormal romance/urban fantasy (m/m) available now from Amber Quill Press.

Acolyte, short horror story, available in Unspeakable from Blood Bound Books

Gym Dandy, gay romance novel, from MLR Press

Tart & Soul, fun and angsty m/m novelette about young hookers in love from Torquere Press

Lust in Translation, an erotic m/m love story in the charitable anthology I Do from MLR Press

Be Prepared, short m/m erotic piece in the charitable anthology Coming Together: with Pride from Phaze Books

Review: Tempted By His Target by Jill Sorenson

Wanted for the murder of a Mexican drug lord's son, party girl Isabel Sanborn fled to Oaxaca. Now she owes her life to Brandon Knox, a passing tourist who just saved her from a hit man.

But Knox is no accidental hero—he's an undercover U.S. marshal assigned to bring Isabel to justice. Instead, wanting to protect her, he joins her on the lam…with cartel goons and corrupt police in hot pursuit!

And as the danger escalates, sexual tension sizzles. For the first time in his career, Brandon considers jeopardizing his mission to safeguard his target. And though Isabel can elude the authorities, she can't escape her feelings….

The blurb gives you a great synopsis of the story so I'm going to head into my thoughts...

First I have to say that I love Sorenson's characters. They are always so well thought out and very realistic. We get background on them and thoughts into their family and I for one really appreciate that when I read.

In this story Brandon is assigned to bring Isabella in. As the reader we don't know exactly who he works for so at first you're not sure if he's a bad guy or a good guy. But soon I figured out that he played for the good team but he was torn. He assumed he knew who Isabella was based on her past but once he got to meet her he saw that she wasn't that person any longer and he found himself incredibly attracted to her. He knew this couldn't happen...yet, his feelings were pulling him every which way. I could honestly feel Brandon's confusion with knowing what he should do professionally and what his heart told him to do.

Isabella had been a party girl – only seeking friends who had the good drugs, etc. She was running fron the law so she wouldn't go to jail for murder – one she wasn't sure she didn't commit. She is so lonely in Mexico after being on her own for 2 years but has really found in herself a strength that she didn't realize she had before. The book really showed Isabella growing and learning some key things emotionally and that really worked for me. I thought she might have trusted Brandon a little too quickly based on her past but I think taking into consideration her loneliness she was kind of ripe for the picking if you will. Lol And Brandon and Isabella together. Holy hot fire Batman. Their sexual chemistry was pretty intense and when they did finally act on their attraction? Wow – pretty explosive.

I thought the book had a great blend of romance and suspense that worked together so well. I have to admit that sometimes with romantic suspense books I find myself skimming the suspense parts to get back to the romance...but I didn't here. The suspense part was just as engaging as the romance and woven so nicely into the scenes.

A quick, fast, energetic book that kept my attention from page 1. Definitely a book to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5

A Character Interview by L.A. Witt: Liam from A Chip In His Shoulder

L. A. Witt: Today I’m interviewing the star of my cyberpunk/vampire story, A Chip In His Shoulder (Riptide Publishing, November 14, 2011). Liam is a vampire as well as an assassin, and at the beginning of the story, he’s paid a large sum of money to murder Daniel, his own ex-lover. Liam, thanks for stopping by.

Liam: *narrows eyes*

LAW: *slightly alarmed* What?

Liam: You’re not very high on my list, just so you know.

LAW: …

Liam: *significant look*

LAW: I’m assuming that’s a bad thing. I mean, when I’m talking to an assassin, I’d usually prefer not to be very high on his list, but in this case…

Liam: You’re assuming right. Now can we get this over with?

LAW: *shifting uncomfortably* Right. Of course. So, um, I’m curious about the implant on your temple.

Liam: *absently touches the crescent-shaped black metal mod beside his eye and tucked up against his hairline* It’s an old one. Doesn’t really do much anymore, so I just keep it around for aesthetic reasons.

LAW: Was that sarcastic?

Liam: No. Visible mods are a status symbol in the Sky. Sign of wealth and power. *taps mod* This one just helps me blend in whenever I go to the Sky for a job. Just happens this one is more or less obsolete now that I have the new ocular mod and a couple of others.

LAW: And what purpose did it serve?

Liam: I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

LAW: *blinks*

Liam: *stares*

LAW: *fidgets, clears throat* Moving right along. Going into A Chip In His Shoulder, what were your thoughts about the situation? About being sent in to kill your own ex-lover?

Liam: *deadpans* Positively giddy.

LAW: Was that…was that sarcasm?

Liam: No. This is how I show giddiness.

LAW: Oh. Okay. So, you were happy about being paid to kill Daniel?

Liam: I’d have done it for free, but his father didn’t need to know that.

LAW: Did you have any inkling about what was about to happen?

Liam: *exasperated sigh* Do I look stupid to you? If I had known I was about to be double-crossed, I never would have left the Gutter that night. And I would have taken out Daniel’s father at the first possible opportunity. Motherfucker…

LAW: Could you explain the Gutter to my readers?

Liam: The Sky is the absurdly wealthy part of the city where all the rich and powerful live in glass towers and pretend not to be aware of all the people suffering and dying in the Gutter. And the Gutter, that’s the shithole part of the city where people work their fingers to the bone in horrendous conditions and disgusting pollution in exchange for about half the wages a person needs to get by. And did I mention they’re making all the mods for the rich people living in the Sky? Rich, privileged fuckers don’t even bat an eye at the conditions people live in and work in down in the Gutter. Most of those people wouldn’t last five minutes in the Gutter. With any luck they’d be robbed blind and beaten within thirty seconds anyway.

LAW: *subtly crosses “I’m assuming the Gutter isn’t a place one would enjoy living” off list of possible questions and prompts* And how long have you been living there?

Liam: Five miserable fucking years.

LAW: I’m assuming, based on the conversations we had while I was writing A Chip In His Shoulder, you hold Daniel partly responsible for the fact that you’ve spent a half a decade in the Gutter, which also led to you becoming an assassin in the first place. Care to elaborate?

Liam: Partly responsible? That’s like saying his father was “partly responsible” for paying me $10 million to shoot the son of a bitch. Partly responsible, my ass.

LAW: Fair enough, I suppose. Is it true you’ll be back for a sequel? Possibly a novel-length story?

Liam: *inclining head* You’re the author. You tell me.

LAW: *gulp* Let me rephrase: A Chip In His Shoulder arguably lends itself to a potential sequel. Would you be willing to come back for such a sequel?

Liam: *silent for a long, long moment*

LAW: *getting kind of nervous*

Liam: *slow nod* I’d come back for a sequel. *pointed look* I’ll have a few demands before I agree to sign the contract, though.

LAW: Sure. Okay. Well, that’s all the time we have. Thank you, Liam, for stopping—*looks around* Where the hell did he go?

Liam: *gone*

LAW: *sigh* Gotta love vampire assassins. Quick, stealthy, and no freaking manners.

Liam: I heard that.

LAW: Crap… Well, um, I guess this wraps up my interview with Liam the vampire assassin of A Chip In His Shoulder. And I’m going to get the hell out of here, because I do not want to mess with this guy…

What I Read Last Week

Is it already Monday again? How does this keep happening so quickly? I swear I just wrote last weeks post! lol

Anyway, last week started out stressful but ended in a wonderful way. I went back to work on Monday and Tuesday after being gone for a week. What the hell was I thinking? Those were 2 of the most stressful days of working here and I’ve been here 10 years! I should have just taken the whole week off. Remind me of that the next time I plan time off, would you please?

On Wednesday I went and picked up the Queen of the Fucking Universe aka Kris at the train station. We took a detour to Olvera St. there in LA and had a great time perusing the authentic Hispanic goods they had to offer. The three days Kris was with me was more relaxing than anything else – but always fun of course. She loved sitting in my back yard and since the weather was so nice she did it often. We also got to explore the William S. Hart museum that’s here in my city. He was a silent film star and director back in the 1900’s. Kris also got to go Halloween costume shopping with me and the kids. She thought it would be fun and I thought it would be a PITA. We ended up both being right. (You get a little of everything with my kids). In the end it was a fantastic visit and I hated having to take her to the airport. My youngest asked on the way home, “why can’t Australia be right next to America?” Good freakin question! Let’s just say I miss her already.

On Saturday, the So Cal Bloggers threw Holly (from The Book Binge) a baby shower at her home. We had a wonderful time there as well and Holly got some great gifts. The few that stood out to me were the handmade ones – especially one a friend of hers made that is a sling thing that you can carry the baby in as well as breast feed without everyone seeing. A very cool gift indeed.

Yesterday….I seriously barely got off the couch! lol My youngest had spent the night at a friends house and was gone and the oldest just wanted to watch the episodes of CSI that she had DVR’d. The hubby was off with his friends and damned if I wanted to do anything but sleep and read. I’m a good mom. It’s true, you can say it.

Ok – so what did I read last week. Well, until Sunday not all that much. Here’s the run down

First up was First Watch by Peter Hansen. This is a new book that is being published by Riptide Publishing. The story is not what I’d usually read but the blurb sounded good and it was. We follow Edouard who is wounded in WWI and left to die. He is asked in the dark of night “do you want to live” and he says yes. He has no idea that he has tied the entirety of his life to a monster. After many years of running, and also of suffering the touch of the monster Edouard seeks help from an old friend, Farid, and together they plan to kill the monster. The story is very puzzling at first and really throughout the book as I was forced to figure it all out little by little. The descriptions in the book were quite creative and the world pretty fascinating even though it was touched on quite lightly. The problem I had with the book for the most part is that we never really got an in depth look at any one character. We saw a little bit of each – enough to keep interested – but I just wanted more. I wanted more of the history behind the relationship of Edouard and Farid and even a bit more description of the monster and possibly its origins. Overall a good story and if there are more in the future in this world I’ll probably read them. 3.5 out of 5
FYI: Riptide will be doing a couple of posts here on the blog later this week so check back!

My next read was kind of a read slash listen. Something So Right by Elyse Mady was the book and I originally started reading the book but when I was on my way to Holly’s house I listened to the rest of the book. The story was about Lily and Sam who have been best friends since they were 12 and 14 years old. Sam has been in love with Lily for just as long but has never told her. Lily is 5 years out from a failed relationship where the man was emotionally and physically abusive. She doesn’t want a relationship with another man, ever, but decides after a kiss with Sam that they should use each other sexually for 2 weeks. That doesn’t exactly go as planned because Sam wants more. Lily has a hard time with her thoughts and feelings and doesn’t feel like she deserves someone as good as Sam. Thought I knew from the story that Lily’s self esteem had been beaten down by her fiancé I had a hard time with some of her thoughts and actions in the book. I loved Sam and frankly wanted him with someone else. lol The book had some great scenes between Lily and Sam though when they were just friends. So while the book was good I did have some issues with it. 3 out of 5

Next up was Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt. Oh how I love thee let me count the ways. This was book 3 in the Maiden Lane series and it was a keeper. Silence Hollingbrook heads to the “palace” that is Charming Mickey O’Connor’s stronghold. Mickey is an unrepentant pirate who has kidnapped Mary Darling – the child that Silence has been taking care of. Silence is 99.9% positive that Mary is Mickey’s daughter and Mickey confirms that. But Mick’s enemies are out to get anything that Mick cares about so he coerces Silence into staying at his palace as he won’t let Mary leave. But Mick’s got ulterior motives when it comes to Silence and he needs to all his thoughts together to find out exactly what his fascination with Silence is. The story goes in places I never expected and kept me turning pages (when I could finally sit down and read non-stop). I love the romance, I loved the suspense part of the story – just everything about it. Mick was SO not your typical hero but Hoyt did a damn fine job of making me love him and Silence together. To say that I’m anxious for the next book in the series would be an understatement. 5 out of 5

Tempted by His Target by Jill Sorenson was my last read of the week and it too was a very good book. The story revolves around a woman who is on the run from the law and is in Mexico. I won’t say more as I’m posting my review of this one later this week. I’m evil like that, I know.

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

This is a blast from the past.  I was...well, somewhere this past week and heard this song being piped in on the overhead speakers.  Sad that I can almost remember hearing it for the first time lo those many years ago (1999). lol I liked the song then and I still like it! Hopefully it will bring back good memories for you as well.  Here's Something So Right by Level 42.  Enjoy!

Review: Falke's Captive by Madison Layle & Anna Leigh Keaton

A graduate student working in animal genetics, Beth Coldwell is in town to track and tag big cats in the wild. Her prospects for the summer only improve when she meets Kelan and Reidar Falke and decides the sexy brothers are the right pair to fulfill her other, less than scientific, desires...

But her research is a threat to the Falke family secret. When Kelan, in cougar form, is captured, that secret comes closer than ever to being revealed. He escapes, but not before Beth draws a blood sample, and analysis shows this is no ordinary mountain lion.

Kelan and Reidar cannot deny the powerful attraction they feel toward Beth. She might just be their destined mate. But if they reveal themselves to her, will she embrace who they are or see them as just another science experiment?

The very first night that Beth Coldwell is in town she meets Kelan and Reidar Falke. They know she’s in town to work but they truly have no idea why she’s there – to study the genetics of pumas. Little does she know that she just met two puma shifters.

After having an argument with his brother Kelan does something that is forbidden and shifts and shifts and goes on a run in broad daylight. Granted he’s in the woods but he’s pissed off and needs to get grounded again. Beth, out to track puma’s see’s Kelan and promptly shoots him with her tranquilizer gun.

Kelan eventually frees himself but not before Beth and her professor get some of his blood. The Falke family is now in an uproar because they are about to be discovered and they must get the blood back before someone figures out what they truly are. On top of this Kelan and Reidar start sleeping with Beth because as fate would have it she is their mate.

This is book 2 in the Puma Nights series and it was a good one. I really love the mate trios in this series as there are 2 brothers to every woman.

In this story Beth is really just having a great time – as are Reidar and Kelan but it soon turns to something more. Reidar and Kelan are both in a big pickle, to say the least, as their family hates Beth for her role in the kidnapping and tranquilizing Kelan (even though she didn’t have a clue it was him).

Though I loved the sex in this book I would have liked to have seen a bit more romance. Yes, there was the fated mate aspect and there was hot and steamy sex, of course, but the romance itself was a bit lacking. I think because they fell for each other so quickly it put a damper on things for me but it made up for it in other way, as I’ve said.

Overall a fun book that definitely kept my attention.

Rating: 4 out of 5

What I Read Last Week & a NOLA update

Home sweet home…and all in one piece!

I got back from GayRomLit last night…well really early this morning and I gotta tell ya – I had so much damned fun! I loved meeting all the readers, bloggers and of course authors that I met over the 4 days and it’s a time I’ll remember forever. I’m going to do a whole NOLA/GayRomLit wrap up over at Janna’s blog so I’ll let you know when that comes around and post the link. (I’ll post more pictures later as I want to get everyone’s approval to show their mugs on here first)

After our extremely fun time at Lafitte in Exile on Thursday night we got to do beignets & café au lait, author readings and a cruise around the French quarter before we ate lunch and then headed to the Creole Queen riverboat for an author signing on the water. I got to meet great authors that I had read and met some that I hadn’t but now want to. Yes, it’s true…my wish list has grown considerably. Lol

We had a pretzel party, a wine and cheese party, a hurricane party and of course the gay bar crawl. I did make myself known on Saturday night when I spilled my margarita down the back of Joyee Flynn’s pants. Yeah, talk about an embarrassing moment. Lol But we eventually made our way over to Lafitte’s again and spent the night drinking margarita’s, laughing and having fun. The bartender, Jimmy, was awesome and just adorable.

I gotta tell you that there was that time I went into the bathroom Saturday night and of course there’s no lock on the door (yeah, cuz they do shit it in there and it’s not shit. Lol) and had to pee. I did my business and was getting re-clothed when this woman pushed the door open. She, at first, was mortified that she’d walked in on me doing my pants up but then she just decided what the hell, came in and started peeing while I was still half nekkid. Oh. My. God. Really? I just had to laugh – and I did…for a very long time.

Belinda McBride, Clare London, Clare's son David, Tam and moi

Squeee it's Marie Sexton!, Clare London and Kate McMurray
I can’t possibly tell you every moment that was fun and funny because there were so many of them but trust me when I say I had a really, really, really great time.

Now – this post is about what I read last week…more or less. Lol Not much. Seriously, I ended up reading more than I thought I did but 2 of those books were on the way to and from my destinations via planes. It’s amazing what you can get read when you’re on a plane – and in an airport. I totally forgot about the TBR Challenge and yeah, didn’t do it. I’ll try to catch up for next month. (oh and no author links this week, sorry.  I'm just too damned tired and frankly - you can keep google working quite nicely while you look up the author.)

Anyway, I started the week with ZA Maxfield’s The Book of Daniel. Such a great story and just as wonderful as the first 3 in the series. Daniel was as such a crossroads in his life and he wanted to just make everything good in it by lying to people but he suddenly couldn’t lie to save his soul. Then there was Cam who Daniel really loved but Daniel and Cam had a hard row to hoe. They eventually managed to work it all out and it was great. 4 out of 5

I was lucky enough to have my GRL author lunch with ZAM & William Cooper, among others.  Here we are after we all stuffed ourselves with great food.
Me, Kayla Jameth, Shae Connor, ZAM, William Cooper & K-Lee Klein

After that it was Falke’s Captive by Anna Leigh Keaton and Madison Layle. This was the second story in the Puma Nights series. The second half of the quadruplets, Reidar and Kelan fall for a woman who is town to do genetic testing. What they don’t know is that she’s come to do it on animals – namely puma’s. Oops. Kelan gets captured and his blood taken. The family scrambles to get the blood back before people find out about the family and shifters and Kelan and Reidar work to not fall in love with the beautiful woman. This was a good second installment of the series. I liked this one only slightly less than book 1 as I thought it was a bit romance light – more of a fated mate thing – but it worked. I’ll post my review soon. 4 out of 5

After that it was a short called Surprises: Romeo Club by Brita Adams. The story was about a man who goes in to fill out an application for a dating service and gets a bit more than he was expecting. (m/m) 3 out of 5

Last on the list was Sage Creek by Jill Gregory. This was about a woman heading home to her small town in Montana after she’s betrayed by her husband. She finds that she still has a crush on her best friends’ brother and lo and behold he has a crush on her too! There’s a lot going on in the book with their romance, her mom’s romance, her opening a bakery, the hero’s daughter and his ex-wife and a crazed stalker. While I liked the book as a whole sometimes it was a bit much to take. 3.25 out of 5

And that is it. I think I read about 15 pages while I was in NOLA and then I fell asleep. Lol Maybe I’ll catch up this week but yeah…probably not. Lol

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Holly Told Me To Read it! Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood

Happy Reading!!

Fun in New Orleans


How the hell are ya'll?  (I had to throw that ya'll in there cuz, ya know, I'm in the south)

I finally made it to New Orleans, Louisiana safe and sound and found the apartment that Tam, Chris, Kris, Janna, Leontine and Kassa and I are sharing.  It effin huge and really nice.  Tam did a great job finding it.

It's so great to see Chris, Tam and Kris again and absolutely wonderful to meet Janna, Leontine and Kassa - they're all so great!

We headed off to the French Quarter to have lunch and ate at Muriels.  Here's Tam standing outside...and here's Leontine eating a Po Boy.  Mmmm. :)

We registered for GayRomLit and then hung out looking at the goodie bags we got.  We had a opening Gala where we got to mingle with other attendees as well as talk to authors.

ZAM, Moi & Belinda McBride
After Tam and I ate at an adorable diner we all headed to Lafitte's in Exile for the Gentlemen's Juke-Joint Junket.  There I got to meet Patti from Caught in a Fab Romance and that was very cool as well - she's so nice! We had an open bar for well drinks and go-go type "dancers" standing on the bar in their underoos.  Well, a couple of them were. One guy must have gotten very warm while he was standing around because next thing ya know he was standing there in nothing but his shoes, a hat and a smile.  Hello.  Never a dull moment in NOLA! lol  Did I take pictures of the nekkid man? Uh, no, sorry.  You'll just have to imagine it...or head to one of the other ladies blogs and see if they took one! lol

Today we're off for beignets and cafe au lait, a vampire/ghost walking tour and a riverboatride/book signing.  Should be fun!

Sweet Home Alabama..um, and Tennessee

Well Alabama isn't my home but I've seen an awful lot of it since I've been here.  This morning we got up early and drove to Lynchburg, Tennessee and went to the Jack Daniels Distillery. It was a great drive even though it was pouring rain. I wish I could have seen the scenery better but it was still pretty.

The entrance of Jack Daniels.

Jack Daniels Distillery is an interesting place to say the least.  That Distillery is the only place in the worl dthat makes Jack Daniels.  It was quite  a tour and we had a great time. Funny that you can buy a commemorative bottle of Jack while you're there.  But Lynchburg is in a "dry" county which means that you can't buy alcohol anywhere in the county.  The tour guide was sure to mention that you were actually buying the bottle and just got the Jack for free that was inside the bottle. lol  You couldn't take pictures in the distillery but my sister Ann and I managed to get a picture with Jack Daniels himself.

After that we headed home, picked up Ann's husband who went with us to the NASA Space Center in Huntsville.

We got to see a movie about the Hubble which was really interesting and then got to see the museum which told all about the space program, astronauts and even had a Saturn that we could walk under. That thing's freakin HUGE! lol  Ann and I even got to be astronauts!

We're apparently super short...Like...carnie astronauts! lol
Here are a couple of the pictures I got.

It was a great day and after walking so much today I'll be sleeping well tonight!

What I Read Last Week

Hey there!

I’m writing this lovely post straight from lovely downtown Madison, Alabama. Ok, maybe not exactly downtown but close enough. :) I’m here visiting my sister before I head down to NOLA GayRomLit. I flew in yesterday and got here in the afternoon. My sister and her hubby then took me on a personal tour of United Launch Alliance (where my b-i-l works) and I got to see where the Delta and Atlas rockets are built. I actually stuck my head into a rocket that was about 90% built.

My head was in the center part near the top. lol

It was pretty freakin cool to walk through that huge place and see how each piece is made. I have to say a lot of it was WAY over my head (my brain just doesn’t work that way, ya know?) but I loved it. We then went out for some great German food and I got to eat schnitzel for the first time.

I had to get up at 2:30 in the morning to catch my 6am plane yesterday so I was asleep pretty early (for me) but now I’m rarin to go. We don’t actually have plans for the day but when we do…I’m up for it! Lol

I’m sure there was stuff that I want to tell you about this past week but frankly I can’t remember a thing right now. Lol

Since my brain’s in stall mode I’ll just get to what I read last week:

First up was Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh. The story continued from the last book but this one wasn’t about Elena and Raphael this was the story of Dmitri, Raphael’s second. Dmitri gets involved in a case with Honor is a Guild Hunter and they have an amazing connection. They also investigate some murders. I loved this book. I thought Dmitri was a great character and I loved seeing him in a closer way than we’ve seen him in previous books. I read this one for The Book Binge so I’ll let you know when my review posts. 5 out of 5

Next up was What a Duke Wants by Lavinia Kent. This was a great historical that I really enjoyed reading. You can read more about the book and my review here if you’d like. 4 out 5

Next up was Chicken Ranch: Hunger by Amanda Young. The story is about an 18 year old guy who comes out to his father and gets kicked out of the house. After being on the street he finds out about an all male brothel called Chicken Ranch. He decides to check it out as he’s desperate and ends up working there. He’s a virgin until Killian comes along and makes it great for him. Killian and Declan run into each other later and actually start dating though Declan is still working at CR. They have their issues but still fall in love and deal with it all. It was a great story of love and hope and I really liked it. 3.75 out of 5

Next was a free story called Once Upon a Dragon by Jambrea Jo Jones. This was a choose you own m/m story from Kris’s blog and it was a good one. It was simple, short and a destined mates story and it just hit me the right way. About shapeshifting dragons and one finds his destined mate living in a tower that he thought was deserted. 4 out of 5

My next read was If It Ain’t Love by Tamara Allen. Also a free short story, this one took place in the great depression and is about two men who meet in the Bowery and decide to share some time. That time turns into a relationship that sweet and loving. The story was quite poignant in the descriptions of the desperation felt by the people living in that time – the bread lines and need for a job – just very realistic. A great read. 4.5 out of 5

Next was Bridges by M.J. O’Shea – another free short. The story follows Dallas and Brooklyn in their hatred for each other starting in the 3rd grade. The pair grow up hating each other but then start working together after high school graduation. They find that they really can get along and end up falling in love. I loved this story so much! There was just something about the boys and their hatred turned love that really got to me and I couldn’t get enough of them. 5 out of 5

Angels of Darkness by Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh, Sharon Shinn and Ilona Andrews was a book about angels. I really liked all of the stories in this book. I adore Andrews, Brook and Singh’s writing so I knew I’d like those. Shin’s and Andrews ended up being a bit of a surprise. Shin I’d never read but I really liked the story about a blind angel and the woman who helps him deal with life. Andrews’ story was a bit of surprise as well as it was a new world that they introduced about demons and aliens and though it was different I really liked it and can’t wait to read more about it. I read this one for The Book Binge. 4 out of 5

Last on the list for the week was another book I read for The Book Binge called A Bride Unveiled by Jillian Hunter. I really liked this book. It even had some things in it that I usually don’t care for and I still really liked it. It was the story of childhood friends finding each other again. Yes, the woman is engaged when they meet but it’s like she hardly knows her fiancé. No excuse to cheat on him but it still worked for me. I’ll let you know when my review posts. 4.5 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Serpent’s Kiss by Thea Harrison

Happy Reading!!

Saturday Song

For your listening pleasure...Blow Me Away by Breaking Benjamin.  Have a great Saturday!

Read Pink - Breast Cancer Awareness and Penguin Group

It’s time to think pink to shrink cancer

What’s black and white and pink all over? The initiative by the Penguin Group (USA) called Read Pink™ in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This literary embrace of a life-saving cause last year resulted in nearly 400,000 best-selling romances shipped with Read Pink seals and information about the charity it supports – the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. In 2010 and 2011, some 12,000 floor displays also carried the Read Pink message. The result raised awareness for BCRF, the only cancer organization to receive A+ from the Institute for Philanthropy.

“We are delighted to be able to continue this initiative in support of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation for a second time. We hope that awareness for the Foundation’s work will only grow by bringing more attention to this important cause,” said Leslie Gelbman, President of Mass Market Publishing, Penguin Group (USA). To mark the occasion, Penguin Group (USA) is again making a $25,000 donation to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

“The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is very grateful to be part of Penguin’s Read Pink program again this year,” said Myra J. Biblowit, President, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “This visible initiative will certainly raise awareness about BCRF.”

The donation provides vital funds to support the mission of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. As Dr. Laura J. Esserman, director of the Carole Franc Buck Breast Cancer Center at the University of California at San Francisco said,. “[BCRF] awards support leaders in translational science and assume that they will be able to best dispense the funds. This is invaluable. Most grants require a year’s lead time before ideas can be funded. The BCRF funds allow you to plan ideas a few months ahead, and are flexible in support. The awards also come with the promise of continuity to explore new ideas as they arise. I also really appreciate the annual awards ceremony and the expression of thanks to the scientists. We don’t often get that and it really is rewarding and inspiring to see that people appreciate us, even if we don’t come up with all of the answers. It is an expression of thanks for the efforts we put forward to try to find answers.”

The novels chosen for Read Pink 2011 are eight bestselling mass market titles by some of Penguin Group (USA)’s most beloved female authors. Included this year are Nora Roberts, Catherine Anderson, Christina Dodd, Jillian Hunter, Lynn Kurland, Amanda Quick, Bertrice Small and Lauren Willig. More than 300,000 copies of the special editions will be printed featuring Read Pink seals on the covers. In addition, Penguin Group (USA) is including information in the back of each book in an effort to make readers aware of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and encourage them to become actively involved in supporting the organization.

For more details about the Read Pink initiative and to view a complete list of the participating retail outlets, please visit www.penguin.com/readpink.


About The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® was founded in 1993 by Evelyn H. Lauder as an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding innovative clinical and translational research. In October 2011, BCRF will award $36.5 million to 186 scientists across the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and China. Currently, more than 90 cents of every dollar donated is directed to breast cancer research and awareness programs. With exceptionally low administrative costs, BCRF continues to be one of the most efficient organizations in the country. BCRF has received an“A+” from The American Institute of Philanthropy. For more information about BCRF, visit www.bcrfcure.org.

About Penguin Group (USA)
Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group (www.penguin.com) is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.


Review: What A Duke Wants by Lavinia Kent

What woman would refuse a Duke’s kiss? 

Running from a dark secret past, Isabella Masters craves peace and stability, a life far from the prying eyes of society. 

She does not dream of landing a lord. 

But in the arms of a stranger with magnificent eyes, she loses herself in one breath-stealing kiss— only to discover she has been misled by a reluctant Duke. 

Angered but enthralled, she dares not submit . . . though her passionate heart begs her to. He cannot wed her . . . but he must not lose her. 

Only one possibility remains— one too scandalous to consider . . . yet too tempting to resist.

Four years ago Isabella Masters brother was going to force her to marry a man that she did not want. The man, Foxworthy, gave her the creeps and was blackmailing the brother to boot. She ended up killing the man, retrieving the blackmail info and running for her life. Instead of the gentle life she knew she worked as a companion - but when our story begins she is working as a baby nurse for a fussy baby named Joey. Isabella is in the stable yard of a travel inn trying to get Joey to sleep when she meets a man and they begin conversing. They have a great conversation and another the next day. The man and his party – which is the Duke of Strattington’s party – seem to travel and stop at the same places (they’re all headed to London for the King’s coronation) so the pair begin meeting for a short time each night and get to know each other better as time goes on.

Eventually Isabella decides that she must seduce the man so that he can help her escape. She’s being chased but she knows not why or by whom. She assumes it’s because of Foxworthy but she really doesn’t know for sure – she just knows she needs to get away. Isabella starts her seduction but it is interrupted. She then finds out that the man she thinks of as an estate agent for the Duke is really the Duke himself.

Mark Smythe is the Duke of Strattington but he has a love/hate relationship with the Duke. He feels like he’s two people and he can’t quite mesh the two. Since becoming the Duke, which he never thought would happen in a million years, everyone has treated him differently and he’s never sure if what he’s doing or how he’s acting is the “correct” way. When he meets Isabella she treats him like a man – not a Duke. He loves talking to her because she’s honest and doesn’t try to cozy up to him or fear him because of his title. He wants to tell her the truth about his identity but he doesn’t want to give up the camaraderie that he’s built with her.

Eventually when things come to light Isabella is at a crossroads. She has no money and no where to go but the Duke is offering her a chance to become his mistress. She does care for him but she wants a home and family and a normal life, not to be someone’s plaything. She agrees but she has to head to London where she might be recognized. As time passes she realizes that she cannot stay with Mark as she feels that he is two different people and Mark doesn’t want to let her go – though he knows that he can never truly have her the way he wants her.

When the book started out I loved the verbal sparring and conversations that Mark and Isabella had. It was light and fun and though I could feel Isabella’s distress at her situation I was more aware of the playfulness of the couple when they were together. Once Isabella became Mark’s mistress the book became much more somber. Their relationship, at times, was fun and playful but the overall feel of the book was much more serious.

Isabella wanted the things that a normal woman would want at that time period – home, family, children to love and of course a loving husband. She fell in love with Mark but she wasn’t the type of woman that could be a man’s mistress and be happy. She wanted more and knew that she could never have that (with anyone) because of her past. She wasn’t honest with Mark about who exactly she was and what she had done – or the fact that men were after her. She didn’t want to cause him trouble or start a scandal but I wish she would have had enough faith in him to trust him to be able to help.

For Mark’s part he was just so conflicted. He was falling in love with Isabella (even though he wouldn’t admit that he was) and didn’t want her to leave him – but he knew that she wanted more. He wanted her to be happy but he really wanted her to be happy with him. It was a little heartbreaking. He also had no clue how to keep a mistress. He’d never done so before and was taking the advice of his valet (who was a complete ass and I wish he would have been fired during the course of the book!) which wasn’t good advice at all. I was so happy when a fellow duke pulled Mark aside and explained about being a duke. I wanted to hug that man! lol

The suspense part of the book played a role in Isabella’s decisions so I can’t say that I wish it wasn’t part of the book but it didn’t do a whole lot for me. It explained things and gave another reason for Mark to protect his woman but I didn’t love it.

There was also a part in the book that involved Annie – aka Lady Richard Tenant. She was part of the Duchesses of London series and there was some unfinished business with her and her husband. Hopefully Ms. Kent will continue that story in future books.

Overall it was a very good love story that was a bit bittersweet. I loved the hero and heroine and was quite happy when they got their HEA.

Rating: 4 out of 5

What I Read Last Week

Hey There!

I can’t believe Monday is already half over and I’m just now writing this out. Sorry to be so behind but that’s about my life right now.

I’m trying to get reading for GayRomLit. It doesn’t start until the 13th but I leave on Sunday the 9th to go visit my sister in Alabama for a few days first. Getting myself ready is one thing but getting the rest of the family ready for my absence is taking up way more time than it should! Really? I do THAT MUCH? lol It sounds ridiculous but when I sit down to organize it all for my husband I realize there’s a lot to do and remember and take care of and  shuttle around and etc., etc. Who knew? Anyway, I’ll be leaving whether it’s all done or not so I try to not to stress but yeah, easier said than done, right? :)

I didn’t get as much reading done (kind of like last week) as normal but what I read was good. I want to read the free book of shorts that the authors from GRL put out but so far I haven’t been able to get to it – that puppy is like 800 and some odd pages! Maybe on the plane…

What I did end up reading…

I started out with Bounty of Love by Scotty Cade. This was a great book about a man who’s fiancé and parents are killed the night before his wedding. He mourns his fiancé and is determined to find out who and why. He is aided by FBI agent and eventually the pair fall in love. If you’d like more info you can read my review here. 4 out of 5 (nice hot men on the cover too!)

Next up was Bad Boys Do by Victoria Dahl. This is book 2 in the Donovan Brothers Brewery series and it was a good one. I absolutely loved Jaime even though I felt so sorry for him at times. You can read my full review here. 4 out of 5

After that it was Skin Dive by Ava Gray that I read for The Book Binge. This is book 4 in the Skin series and it was oh so good as well. This was the story of Taye who can pull electricity and Gillie who is a healer. They escape from a Foundation facility and try to make it out in the world without being caught and pulled back in. They succeed to a point but eventually seek help from a group of resisters that they join. Gillie and Taye’s relationship was so intense but Taye constantly pushed Gillie away thinking that he wasn’t good enough for her. It just broke my heart. He was also hiding another secret from Gillie and this was another factor in his decision. The romance was good and bittersweet at times and the book was a really good read. 4 out of 5

Last on the list for the week was Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis that I also read for The Book Binge. Book 2 of the Animal series and this was Dell’s book. He has series commitment issues and Jade, his receptionist, has trust issues. Jade was attacked in Chicago and basically ran away – Dell is trying to help her but the pair can’t seem to keep their hands off of each other. Doesn’t matter how they feel though as Jade is returning to Chicago. This was a great book – different from book 1 but still with the hot sex, wonderful romance and fun humor that Shalvis always gives us. 4 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:

Happy Reading!