Saturday Song

Have I ever told you what a Marvel Comic freak I am?  No?  Well, it's true.  I grew up reading them and when Marvel started making live action movies I was in seventh freaking heaven.  Some are just not my cuppa...like Ghost Rider but for the most part I just can't get enough.  When The Avengers movie came out I was thrilled.  A whole host of my favorites heroes all in the same movie.  *sigh* Good stuff.  Well that movie came out on DVD/Blu-Ray this past week and in honor of that I had to play Live to Rise by Soundgarden.  Plus you get a bit of a peak at the movie. Enjoy.


Review: Season for Surrender by Theresa Romain

Honor Among Rogues

Alexander Edgeware, Lord Xavier, has quite a reputation—for daring, wagering, and wickedness in all its delightful forms. But the wager before him is hardly his preferred sport: Xavier must persuade a proper young lady to attend his famously naughty Christmas house party—and stay the full, ruinous two weeks. Worse, the lady is Louisa Oliver, a doe-eyed bookworm Xavier finds quite charming. Yet to refuse the challenge is impossible—he will simply have to appoint himself Miss Oliver’s protector…

Mischief Among Misses


Louisa knows her chance for a husband has passed. But she has no desire to retire into spinsterhood without enjoying a few grand adventures first. When Lord Xavier’s invitation arrives, Louisa is more intrigued than insulted. And once inside the rogues’ gallery, she just may have a thing or two to teach her gentlemen friends about daring…


Lord Xavier is a myth. The man has created a persona that he continues to live by that has kept him in good stead with the ton. He has a reputation for being quite the ladies man among other things and can’t pass a wager up to save his soul. His most regular betting partner is his cousin Lord Lockwood. One day they were sitting in their club and Lockwood came up with a bet concerning Xavier’s upcoming house party. Xavier was to invite a respectable single woman and she was to stay the full two weeks or Xavier would lose. Now Xavier’s house parties are not were respectable young women belong. They are hedonistic and could sometimes make a sailor blush. When the appointed woman, Louisa Oliver actually shows up both Lockwood and Xavier are a bit shocked.

Louisa Oliver has been hiding from life for the past nine months. She was engaged to a man who then fell in love with her step-sister and she’s been living with the scandal and whispers since then. She’s ready to live and to make some changes in her life…like, getting kissed, discovering some great new books, getting kissed some more. Well attending Lord Xavier’s house party is the first step in reaching her goals. What Louisa doesn’t expect is to discover that Xavier isn’t exactly who everyone thinks he is and when she finds the soft center under the crusty outer shell she’s quite happy with who he is inside.

Season for Surrender was a good Christmas novel. I very much liked the wit and poetry that was a huge part of the book as I thought it added a lot to the story (both characters loved Dante as well as others).

Louisa was such a great character. I really loved the fact that even though she had been a wallflower during her one horrible season she really wasn’t a shy, retiring miss. She was a book lover and a bit of a bluestocking and her intelligence rose up in every conversation. When she first starts talking to Xavier in his library he was only there to try to keep her at the party – trying to win the wager. But she soon showed him that there was much more to her than he thought and they were soon immersed in each other’s heads. Louisa was somewhat reluctant to believe that the man known as Xavier could be changed and could become who he truly was inside, Alex. Alex was amazing but he had lived his life as Lord Xavier for so long she wasn’t sure if he could cast off that persona in order to be with her.

Alex was wonderful. Xavier…not so much. I understood why Alex had created Xavier’s image as he had and it all came down to fear. Unfortunately as he got older I would have thought, being the smart man he was, he would have figured out that he could keep his reputation, be respected by the ton and still be the man he was inside. I did admire his determination to keep his cousin, Lockwood, from ruining Louisa’s reputation when things started to fall apart, that’s for sure.

In the end I thought it was a pretty darned good read. I will definitely be looking for more from this author in the future.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Theresa Romain

Guest Author: Annie Nicholas - Greener Grass and Other Things (+ a Giveaway!)

Who has never experienced the grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side syndrome?


I doubt there is many. It seems natural for any creature to strive for more or to desire better. Why would supernatural beings be any different?

My succubus, Pia Blyton, was sent to human school so she’d learn to fit in at an early age. Her parents didn’t foresee that it would seed desire in their young daughter’s future. Being surrounded by people who could share love showed Pia that there could be more to a relationship besides sex.

But is the grass greener? Her people view love as a weakness, something to be exploited. If she opens herself up to those possibilities will she prove them right?

Blurb:

After almost dying of starvation to remain faithful to a mortal lover, succubus Pia Blyton now shields her heart by feeding solely on men she won't fall for. The only trick is, to create energy to survive, she must achieve orgasm. At least that rules out bad sex with her three lovers. Too bad she's a sucker for falling in love.

When her demon lover doesn't arrive for their arranged rendezvous, Pia is forced to ask her vampire lover to step in before her energy becomes dangerously low. In return he demands a favor and Pia finds herself in the hotel suite of the mysterious Valerio Hunan, who seduces her with a devastating kiss. Too late Pia learns he's an incubus who wants to lure her into marriage—a marriage without love.

As an incubus used to bedding a variety of succubi, Val doesn't understand Pia's yearning for love. He needs a succubus wife to provide him with a steady source of energy. But he wants Pia for the passion and renewed interest in life she makes him feel. Can Pia convince Val that sex isn't just for survival and love is for more than the weak?

Excerpt:

I gazed at the cars speeding by on the highway.
He squeezed my hand. “What ghosts am I battling, Pia? It’s not fair to expect me to fight for you and not tell me who I’m against. What drives you to these extremes? What has your father so tied in knots when it comes to you?”
“A human male.” I sensed Val grow stiff next to me. “Oh, I don’t love him anymore, but there was a time when I thought the universe revolved around him. Looking back, I see how young and stupid I was. I just don’t want to repeat my mistakes.” The quiet grew heavier as Val waited. I could escape by running out of the car into traffic but even that would be temporary. Eventually, I’d have to talk about it.
He gave me a small reassuring smile. “We were all young once.”
“I never liked feeding from strangers. Impersonal sex left me feeling cheap and empty. To support the need I dated mortals. I was just reaching my maturity and didn’t understand how out of control the need could get. I met Pierre in college. He was a medical student and I was on my way to dropping out.” I had to smile. “He was smart and kind and all the right things a girl could want. I fell hard. We moved in together. My family never knew. They assumed I was still living in the dorms at the college.” It was only after everything fell apart and I was tied to the contract with Sin that my father confessed he’d known. He once loved a mortal too in his youth, before he’d met my mothers, and had learned the value of caring for someone else. But he’d grown up in harder times and developed a stronger soul than mine to deal with the heartbreak.
I was feeble. My mistake had harmed so many, including my father. He blamed himself for my near death experience. That’s how Sin was able to make him sign that contract, proving to my father that love really was a weakness. Guilt now drove Dad to hover and shelter me.
Five years later, those emotions had faded but I should have known better. “I tried really hard to be a good girlfriend. I only fed from him.”
Val gasped. “Pia.”
“I know, I know. Stupid. It almost killed me. But he didn’t know what I was and our laws said I couldn’t tell him. He would have seen it as cheating, so I tried for our sake.”
Shaking his head, Val stayed quiet but his disapproval was evident.
“I lasted almost a year. I’d lost weight and was weak. He thought I was sick and kept trying to take me to doctors. Obviously, I couldn’t control it anymore. He caught me with the mailman.”
“Pia.”
“Oh no, don’t stop me now. You wanted to know. It gets worse. The mailman was married, but what mortal can resist a starving twenty-something succubus? He never had a chance.”
Val hung his head.
Oddly, incubi and succubi took marriage very, very seriously. It was an unwritten rule not to feed from married people of any race. “I broke three people’s hearts that day. I never heard from Pierre again and I never went looking. Shame sent me away. I left the city and hid from my family, refusing to feed.”
I smoothed my unwrinkled dress with trembling hands. “We done? Can I drive now?” Heat sizzled through my ears as my disgrace was laid out before him. “Am I taking you home?”
With a finger under my chin, he guided my face toward his. He gave me a chaste kiss. “I think I understand now. You’re walking a fine line.”


Purchase:  Kindle | Nook | Carina Press

Annie Nicholas
www.annienicholas.com

Giveaway: Annie is giving away one digital copy of Starved for Love to one lucky winner.  Leave a comment on this post, along with your email address, no later than7:00pm on Tuesday, October 7th to enter to win.

Holes in my shirts

So I thought I was going crazy.  Honestly, I was.  I would buy a shirt and sometimes within a week - sometimes a few days - I would get tiny holes in it right in front.  It NEVER happens to my hubby or kids' clothes, so what the hell?  I've been incredibly frustrated and even thought it might be my washer or dryer...but no.

I thought that this was a thing that just happened in Tracyland, but apparently not!  I googled "holes in my shirts" just for shits and giggles and low and behold there are boatloads of people out there trying to come up with a reason why this is happening! And hey, proof that I'm not crazy!  Ok, not crazy about that.

It apparently is common for women's shirts (mostly) and happens mostly with thinner t-shirt or stretch-type materials.

There are many thoughts as to the cause of these holes - here are a few:

  • Seatbelt rubbing on shirts
  • Shirts rubbing on belts (the kind that hold up your pants)
  • Shirts rubbing on brass buttons or edges of jeans - maybe even zipper pulls
  • Rubbing against granite counter tops 
**Seatbelt - it's a possibility...but why wouldn't my husband have the same problem?

**Rubbing on belt - again, a possibility...but my hubby's been wearing a belt longer than I have and he has no issues.  I think his shirts are made from thicker he-man materials so that may be it.

**Edge of jeans?  Well this one may be a problem but I get this even when I wear my work shirts with skirts or pants with regular buttons and still get holes. So...I don't think so. Maybe?

**Granite counter tops. Well, we have them and I do cook and do dishes in my kitchen - as some do - but I just don't think that smooth surface would create this problem. 

Frankly I have no idea what the cause of it is - I just want it to stop. lol  I can't afford to constantly be buying shirts.

So - does this happen to you?

Here are a couple of examples - these are NOT MY SHIRTS.  I just took these off the web because they were similar to my issues.



What I Read Last Week

Well it was another slow reading week for me but I seem to be so distracted (example: I started a book on Friday evening and I’m only about 55% done with it – ouch!). There are a lot of things going on with the kids and their school projects, ASB posters, etc. as well as my youngest daughter’s desire for me to watch movie after movie with her. lol We also went costume shopping for Halloween this weekend. I NEVER do it this early but my youngest will be attending a birthday party/Halloween party soon so we had to do it. She’ll make a very cute Mad Hatter. :)

Hopefully I’ll be better about organizing my time, reading and being online this week *crosses fingers*.

Since I don’t have much to say I’ll just post a picture of my cat. lol I can’t believe that Echo’s already 11 months old!

So what did I read?

I started off the week with my TBR Challenge read which was After the Night by Linda Howard. A really good book that I definitely recommend. You can read my review here. 4 out of 5

Next up was a novella by Eloisa James called Seduced by the Pirate. This is a companion novella to her novel The Ugly Duchess. In TUD we meet Griffin who is James’s cousin. He got married 14 years ago, didn’t consummate his marriage and now he’s headed home to be a husband. He gets a chilly reception from his wife, which was expected but what wasn’t expected was the fact that she now has 3 children! This was a very cute novella and I enjoyed it a lot. (releases 10/30, I believe) 4 out of 5

Next was Savage Hunger by Terry Spear. This is the first book in a new series about Jaguar shifters. The story revolves around a brother and sister who are jaguar shifters who are vacationing in the Amazon. The brother, Connor, had saved Kathleen, an Army captain, from certain death a year before and now he’s saving her again when he finds her lost. The sister, Maya, wants a mate for her brother but she also wants family for herself so she turns her into a shifter. The story revolves around the romance, the issues Kat has dealing with being a shifter, getting home to America and escaping from drug lords. It sounds like there’s a lot going on but the story was actually pretty slow. It was an entertaining read but didn’t knock my socks off. 3 out of 5 ( Read for Book Binge)

Handle With Care by Josephine Myles was a book that I was really looking forward to – unfortunately it wasn’t working for me and I ended up with a DNF. The story was slow for me and one hero seemed too reticent and one too eager – they just each rubbed me the wrong way. Bummer. DNF

When the Duchess Said Yes by Isabella Bradford was next and this one didn’t work for me at all. I really, really liked the first book in the series, but in this one I didn’t like either the hero or heroine nor the story all that much. The arranged marriage is one of my favorite tropes but in this case it just didn’t work. 1.5 out of 5 (Read for Book Binge)

Last for the week was Running Hot by Stephani Hecht. This is the story of a paramedic James who has a crush on doctor Calvin. Calvin has that same crush but neither one has ever made a move. When they do it’s hot and sexy. Unfortunately James believes that Calvin wouldn’t want anything more than a one night stand. He couldn’t be more wrong. Good novella – liked the characters and the story. 3 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Primal Possession by Katie Reus
The Greatest Love Story of All Time by Lucy Robinson


Happy Reading!

Review: Lord of Temptation by Lorraine Heath

Once upon a time, he was Lord Tristan Easton—now he is Crimson Jack, a notorious privateer beholden to none, whose only mistress is the sea. But all that will change when exquisite Lady Anne Hayworth hires his protection on a trip into danger and seduction. . .

Desperation brought Anne to the bronzed, blue-eyed buccaneer. But after the Captain demands a kiss as his payment, desire will keep her at his side. She has never known temptation like this—but to protect her heart, she knows she must leave him behind. Yet Tristan cannot easily forget the beauty—and when they meet again in a London ballroom, he vows he won't lose her a second time, as fiery passion reignited takes them into uncharted waters that could lead the second lost lord home. ..

Lady Anne Hayworth is determined to get to her fiancé in Scutari (what we know as Turkey). Her father and four brothers don’t want her going but she’s been in mourning for far too long over his death and she needs closure. She is given the name of Captain Crimson Jack and told that he is respectable and will get her there safely. When she locates the Captain she’s pretty sure he’s anything but respectable. After some time and some haggling they come to an agreement: Jack will take Anne to Scutari and the fee will be a kiss. Just one kiss at the time of Jack’s choosing.

Captain Crimson Jack was actually born Lord Tristan Easton. He and his two brothers went into hiding when Tristan was just 14 years old to get away from their murderous uncle. Tristan soon came to love the sea and has no plans to leave it any time soon. He HAS to be on the move or he just gets antsy. He is intrigued by Anne and wants her in his bed but he knows she’s a proper lady and won’t agree to that. He plans to seduce her into it anyway. His ploy in using the kiss as payment will, he hopes, reap him the reward of getting her right where he wants her.

Anne and Jack get along well but the attraction, on both sides, is a bit alarming for Anne. She is guilt ridden over how things went with her fiancé before he left to fight and she needs to mend things in her own mind if possible. Jack has no idea that the fiancé is dead and he’s not sure he wants Anne to head into Scutari and ruin all that wonderful sexual tension that has built up between the two of them. When they finally get to Scutari and Anne asks Jack to accompany her he’s surprised but agrees. He’s astonished to find the true reason for Anne’s visit and tries to comfort her in her grief.

On the return to England Anne is melancholy and soon decides that she needs to sleep with Jack for various reasons. They are amazing together and want nothing more than to continue but real life awaits Anne. She must get back to her life as the daughter of an Earl and find a husband. Jack isn’t happy but what can he do? When Jack – now Tristan - shows up at a ball Anne is shocked. She can’t believe that Tristan is a Lord but even as they continue their trysts Anne knows that Tristan will never leave the sea – and she wants a home & children…on land. They want different things in life and therefore must part.

The second book in the Lords of Pembrook series was oh so good. I loved reading about Tristan and Anne’s romance and learning bits and pieces about Tristan’s life after he went to sea. I think what I liked about this was that while Tristan had felt “at sea” emotionally after fleeing his uncle, and it did change who he was, he was still a pretty happy guy. He had learned to live a sea captain and embraced it. It was sad to see that he felt he couldn’t be the Lord that he was born to be, but he dealt nicely with that as well.

Anne was a strong woman in so many different ways. The fact that she was stubborn enough to stand up to her father and brothers and take off for Scutari on her own (with only a maid in tow) was wonderful. It showed a depth to her that I so enjoyed. Her dealings with Tristan were really quite realistic. She so wanted to be with him, and was off and on secretly, but she still had the thought that she needed to be loyal to her father’s wishes. It didn’t make her wishy-washy, which would have been so easy for her to fall into but she handled things with Tristan so well. I could see her angst and the emotional upheaval that was going on inside – wanting one thing but knowing that it’s not good for you. My heart broke for her more than once because of the choices she felt she was forced to make.

Overall the story was really wonderful. It did get a bit sappy at the end but nothing I couldn’t handle. I can’t wait to read about the third brother, Rafe, and see how he deals with falling in love. The man is just so angry at life and his brothers and he’s holding on to so much internally that I think his story will definitely be worth reading.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Lorraine Heath

TBR Challenge Review: After the Night by Linda Howard

This month’s reading suggestion: Paranormal or Romantic Suspense - I chose Romantic Suspense

FAITH DEVLIN: A poor, outcast child in Prescott, Louisiana, she'd always adored the town's golden boy from afar. But he called her white trash that sultry Southern night when his rich, respected father disappeared, along with her pretty Mom. Now Faith wanted to hate Gray Rouillard...not to feel a powerful surge of desire. But she couldn't quench her passion, any more than she could hide the truth about the past she had waited so long to unravel.

GRAY ROUILLARD: Even when he raised hell, he did it with style. Reckless, charming, and backed by Rouillard money, Gray controlled the town of Prescott -- and Devlin was a name he never wanted to hear again. But when he gazed at Faith Devlin, all he saw was a swirl of tangled sheets and her silken flesh beneath him. To care for her was impossible, unthinkable...because Gray Rouillard planned to use all his power to ruin her.

In Prescott, Louisiana the Devlin family is considered trash. The father drinks as do the two oldest sons. The oldest daughter, though not that old is sleeps with just about anyone with 2 legs and the mother, Renee, though the mistress of the richest man in the area, Guy Rouillard, also sleeps around. The youngest daughter, Faith, keeps her nose clean, goes to school, takes care of her family and her little brother who has Down’s Syndrome. It doesn’t matter that Faith isn’t like the rest, she’s a Devlin so therefore is lumped in with all the rest.

Faith, though just 14 years old, has a huge crush on Gray Rouillard. He’s 8 years older but she doesn’t care she’s been half in love with him for forever and despite his hatred of her family has always treated her decently.

One night Renee Devlin and Guy Rouillard disappear. Everyone is town assumes that they have run off together though neither family can understand why – they each had families as well as non-stop access to each other – why would they head out of town? Despite the confusion the oldest Rouillard child, Gray, just 22 years old, kicks the Devlin family out of their home (which is on Rouillard land and they don’t pay rent) and then has the Sheriff department escort them out of town.

Now it’s twelve years later and Faith Devlin, though always traumatized by the night they were kicked out, has returned to her hometown. Despite the crappy way she was treated by all the townsfolk she feels like Prescott is where she belongs. She had a rough life but she had made something of herself and she’s not going to let the prejudices of those people bring her down. She’s also very anxious/excited to see Gray because she’s really never stopped loving him, even after that night.

Gray wants his family taken care of. They are so dysfunctional it’s ridiculous but he wants no more gossip about his father and Renee Devlin to read his mother and start upsetting her once again. He tries to get rid of Faith to make his family happy but his heart’s just not in it. His is peeved that Faith is snooping around town and asking questions about his father. He’s not sure what her angle is but he wants her to stop.

Faith suspects that more than the obvious happened the night her mother left town and she’s determined to discover the truth even after her life is threatened.

This was a really good book. I just had to start out by saying that. It wasn’t at all what I expected when I started reading, it was better.

First I had to completely admire Faith’s hutzpuh in returning to Prescott. I can’t say that after being treated so badly by everyone around that I would have had the fortitude to return. But not only did she return she didn’t let anyone make her feel inferior. She knew she wasn’t and she didn’t let them get her down. She was really quite smart in figuring everything out and though I think she was a bit crazy at time to do the things she did I understood her determination.

Gray was another matter. I think I had a love/hate relationship with that man. I liked the fact that he wanted to protect his family but not the rude way he went about it. I hated the way he treated Faith but then if he thought he’d hurt her he would immediately turn to a big softy. He was a very different kind of romance hero, that’s for sure.

Though I had the suspense part of it and the bad guy figured out at quite an early stage I loved reading about the journey that was made in order to get us to the reveal. Howard has a true gift when it comes to the ins and outs of a mystery.

Overall a very good book and one I definitely recommend reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Linda Howard

What I Read Last Week

Hello there!

Well another week has gone by and I'm not sure where it went. lol  I swear while I'm in the week I just need it to be the weekend and then BAM the weekend is over already.

Nothing too exciting happened this week so I'll get right on to what I read:

I started off the week with Deadlock by Moira Rogers.  This story is about Alec Jacobsen and his romance with Carmen Mendoza.  They start a thing that quickly becomes much more.  Alec is torn about what must be done with the Council seats and the Conclave after Carmen is kidnapped by her family and then almost spelled to turn into a wolf.  The story was very good and I really enjoyed reading it. 4 out of 5

Next up was Lord of Temptation by Lorraine Heath that comes out next week.  This is book 2 in the story about the lost Lords of Pembrook.  The 3 brothers escape their uncle who plans to murder them and go their separate ways to hide.  In this story we hear about Tristan and his plans to seduce the passenger he has.  This was a really good book and I definitely recommend it.  I'll be posting my review this week.

Genius and the Jock by Daisy Harris was up next - you can read my review here. 3 out of 5

Cipher by Moira Rogers is book 4 in the Southern Arcana series and I have to tell you it was an intense one.  This is Kat and Andrew's story and if you've been reading the series you know that the sexual tension between these two is off the charts.  In this book Andrew is helping Kat with info on her mom that she uncovered.  Her mom's been dead for years but there's obviously info that someone doesn't want to come out - or they do but they want what Kat finds all for themselves.  This was a good read but it wasn't as intense between Andrew and Kat as I thought it would be.  For staying away from each other for so long they easily get together and that portion of thing was kind of white washed IMHO.  The intensity came from the search for the info and what happens when the crazies who want the info come after Kat.  It was very sad and I was upset by the end of the book.  Still good, but not what I thought it would be.  3.75/4 out of 5

After the kind of dark read that was Cipher I needed something I KNEW would make me smile so I re-read The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan.  I love this novella.  Serena Barton sits in front of the Duke of Clermont's house demanding reparation.  The Duke gets his man, Hugh Marshall, to take care of it telling her that it was an employment issue.  What Hugh finds is a very different story and a wonderful woman who has been wronged by the Duke.  The story is very sweet and I love Hugh and Serena together.  5 out of 5

After that it was Not Proper Enough by Carolyn Jewel.  Book 2 in the Seducing the Scoundrels series.  Fenris has loved Lady Eugenia for years but acted like an ass before she met her husband.  Fenris will do almost anything to get Eugenia to see him and that he's changed.  Though Eugenia wants to hate Fenris he makes it damned hard and she finds she wants to be around him for the fun they have, both in and out of the bedroom.  A very good story but I didn't like it as much as I did Not Wicked Enough.  It still had a great intensity to it but it was on a different scale than NWE.  Read for Book Binge.  4 out of 5

Last for the week and another read for Book Binge was The Greatest Love Story of All Time by Lucy Robinson.  This is a story set in England and centers around Fran who is depressed because her boyfriend of 2 years has said that he wants a 3 month break.  She has NO idea why and is very confused.  Her friends talk her in to going on 8 dates before seeing Michael again just so she can see what's out there.  The story is about Fran dealing with her life, her job, her stalking of a woman she thinks is dating Michael and her strange but wonderful friends.  It's pretty darned funny and has a great Brit humor about it.  The love story itself was a bit of a shock as I wasn't expecting where the book went but it was all good in the end. 3.75 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Archangel's Storm by Nalini Singh

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

A few days ago we got GLEE back and oh my kids were so happy. lol  (I only watch the show occasionally.) Though we got to see new faces it was some of the "old" ones that I really loved.  This song, It's Time, sung by Darren Criss's character Blaine, was one of my favorites. ( I just love Blaine and Kurt together!)  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Guest Author: Elisabeth Barrett - The Importance of Family (+a Giveaway!)

Please welcome author Elisabeth Barrett to the blog.  Elisabeth was nice enough to include Tracy's Place on her blog tour for her newest release Blaze of Winter.

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.” Anthony Brandt

Your family may drive you crazy, but no matter what they do, you still love them! Although it sounds cliché, I do believe that in a family, people often live up to the roles they’re assigned … or the roles they fall into. The annoying little brother. The superior older sister. The doting grandmother.

My latest novel, Blaze of Winter, tells the story of Theo Grayson, an author of swashbuckling adventures who returns to Star Harbor, Massachusetts to plot and write his next book. There he meets Avery Newbridge, a gentle social worker, who is taking some time to figure out her career and her life while she helps her aunt manage the Star Harbor Inn. Theo has a twin brother (Seb) and two older brothers (Val and Cole). Each brother left Star Harbor after high school but after many years away, one by one, each brother returns to Cape Cod. Of course, once the Grayson brothers are back home, it’s like they never left. Old habits die hard, and Theo can’t resist reverting to his prankster self when it comes to baiting Cole.

“What the hell are you doing?” Cole demanded, looming over Theo, who was stooping to throw a pair of socks into his large duffel bag. Theo should have known that it would never work for two huge men to share such a minuscule space.
“Thought you were working tonight,” he responded coolly.
“Hank’s on shift now,” Cole said, referring to one of his deputies. “But you didn’t answer my question.”
“I’m packing,” Theo finally said. “I’d have thought that much was obvious. You are the sheriff, right?” He glanced sidelong at his brother, a small smile forming on his lips.
“I can see that you’re packing. The real question is, why?”
Theo raised an eyebrow. “Are you going to ask me nicely?”
Cole rolled his eyes. “It’s annoying as crap when you dodge my questions. I’m just looking out for you. You know I won’t quit bugging you until you tell me what’s up. Are you heading back to California? Going to visit a friend?”
“Enough.” Val’s calm voice filled the tiny room. “Let him alone.”
Cole stepped back. “Our little brother won’t tell me where he’s going,” he said, his voice heavy with irritation, “because I didn’t ask nicely.”
“Where are you going?” Val asked mildly.
“To stay at the Inn. Our brother here,” Theo said, jerking his thumb at Cole, “is making me nervous.”
“I don’t blame you. You’ll get some good writing done there.”
“That’s what I’m hoping.” Though he wasn’t sure he could convince himself of that anymore. One more second in the presence of Avery Newbridge this afternoon and he would have lost whatever small amount of composure he had left. Slamming the door in her face had been inexcusably rude, but it wouldn’t have been any less rude if he’d shoved her up against the wall and kissed her senseless. And that’s exactly what he would have done had he stayed in that damned hallway. He never did things like that. Didn’t even contemplate them—unlike his twin, Seb. But for that woman, he was ready to do an about-face.
“Next time I’m going to ask nicely,” Cole muttered, breaking into his thoughts, before pushing past Val out of the room and up onto the deck.
Theo didn’t smile this time. It was too easy to get a rise out of Cole lately. Some days, he acted like he was still leading his Special Forces unit in Afghanistan. Taking a job as the sheriff of Star Harbor had been a good move for him, but he still had a hair-trigger temper. The change in Cole nagged at Theo, but he wasn’t sure what to do about it.

But of course, there’s always another brother to give a comeuppance, and Theo gets his in the very next scene, when his oldest brother, Val, deconstructs him with a few choice words.

Val picked up a blanket from the floor of the cabin and placed it on the bottom berth. “I’m just glad that you’re in town. It’ll give you a chance to start over.”
“Why exactly would I need to do that?”
“You’ve spent the last few years being someone you’re not.” Theo came up short. “I’m exactly who I always was.”
“No,” Val said, shaking his head. “You’re different. It’s inevitable. You leave home, you change. You were always smart, no doubt about it. But you could’ve cared less about what other people thought of you. Too many years in San Francisco made you care, and you’ve surrounded yourself with other people who care, too.” He paused. “Why do you think I live here instead of in Boston? Because Star Harbor grounds me. It keeps me sane. The people are real, and I can guarantee you they’re more interested in finding out about you as a person than the fact that you’re on the bestseller lists.”
“That’s enough,” Theo said gruffly, cutting him off.
Val sighed. “Look, I know you’re struggling. Hell, I would be too, if I was in your position. Seems like you just need some time to figure things out for yourself.”
Theo didn’t respond.
Val glanced up the short stairway, where Cole had disappeared. “I’d better go check on Sheriff Sunshine.” He ducked out of the cabin and headed to the deck.

The Grayson brothers are able to joke and fight with each other without worrying about causing offence because deep down, they genuinely love each other. Returning to Star Harbor meant coming home to family, and these men know that blood is way thicker than water. Their shared experiences and the support they gave each other while growing up strengthened their relationships, enabling them to weather any emotional storms.

About Elisabeth:

Raised in a sleepy little Connecticut town, Elisabeth draws on her upbringing to write small-town romances. Her summers spent living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard were the inspiration for the Star Harbor series, which kicked off with Deep Autumn Heat and continues with Blaze of Winter. Currently, Elisabeth lives in Northern California with her husband and three children. Her family is awesome. Find her online: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

About Blaze of Winter:

Winter heats up in this hot new Star Harbor romance, as another sexy Grayson brother, a wickedly handsome writer, plots his happily ever after with a sweet stranger.

Frustrated with her job in Boston, social worker Avery Newbridge welcomes the opportunity to reassess her life when family asks her to help manage the Star Harbor Inn. Trying to figure out her future is overwhelming enough, but she doesn’t count on distraction in the form of one Theo Grayson, the gorgeous, green-eyed author who she knows is trouble from the moment he saunters into the inn.

Not only does he have a talent for writing swashbuckling adventures, but Theo also has a soft spot for big-hearted damsels in distress, especially a woman who’s great at helping everyone—except herself. Avery’s demons challenge him, but for desire this hot, he isn’t backing down. With every kiss and heated whisper Theo promises her his heart . . . if only Avery is willing to open up and accept it.

View an excerpt of Blaze of Winter on Scribd: Click here.

Order Blaze of Winter: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the iBookstore (Apple)!

Giveaway:

One commenter will be randomly selected to win a NetGalley preview of BLAZE OF WINTER. Contest ends September 18th at midnight (EDT). You’ll need a NetGalley account, and to answer the question below: What do you love about your family?

Review: Genius and the Jock by Daisy Harris

First and goal. Three years ago, football star Griff Parker shared a locker room sexual encounter with brainy scholarship kid Raj Mehir. That stolen blow job turned Griff’s worldview upside down, unlocking desires he wasn’t ready to face.

Now a senior, Griff’s working in Holsum College’s biology lab, where he’s in direct contact with his freshman crush. Raj wants nothing to do with him or the memory of that afternoon. Too bad. Griff's falling hard for Raj, battling his way past every one of his sexy scientist's defenses.

Raj Mehir knows he’s gay. But he's locked that knowledge tightly inside and has no desire to change that. But he does have desire for Griff. In a big way. Now he's experimenting with Griff and inching closer to the closet door.

Double overtime. Two deeply closeted guys. Two hearts on the line. One term to change everything.

Griff and Raj are both gay and living in the closet. In their freshman year Griff, the muscled football player treats Raj badly but they have a sexual “moment” in the locker room. After that they don't talk to each other at all.

Three years later Griff gets a job at the biology lab and runs into Raj. Raj wants nothing to do with Griff but the pair find some common ground because they are the only ones who knows the other is gay, and start a small friendship. The friendship soon turns sexual but there's a lot going on in each of the guys' heads. Griff is scared to come out to his football team as well as his parents and Raj's very proper Indian family doesn't want to hear about him liking guys. On the other hand if and when they do come out can they be together when they do?

I found this 7th installment in the Men of Holsum College series quite different from the others I've read. I couldn't quite get a handle one Raj or Griffin and it was a bit frustrating, I must admit.

Raj was very devoted to his studies and getting a fellowship at MIT, keeping his family happy and moving about life in his own little cocoon. When Griffin happened along Raj knew he was attracted to the guy but after being treated badly 3 years prior he wasn't anxious to start anything up. That lasted about a minute and a half and I quite frankly had to wonder if they got together originally because of the secret between them.

When it came to sex Raj was very reluctant at first. He seemed so...well, kind of shy and innocent. But when they finally got down to business and Raj figured out what he liked in bed he was rough and domineering. This wasn't a bad thing but it seemed as he was going from mouse to mountain and then back – it put me off a bit. Raj also seemed, even at the end of the story when he was 100% with Griffin, very lonely and I found that odd.  At that point in their relationship I expected him to be happier. Yes, he was happy, but not completely.

Griffin was a good guy. He had a good personality and sounded oh so hot. Lol He had a great sense of humor and knew how to look at the brighter side of life, it seemed, even when troubles were weighing him down.

The issue I had with the book was that I didn't feel the love. I got the sex – it was great. I got the attraction – that was wonderful. I got the bond that the men felt with each other over their families and coming out and just being together, but when it came down to it, it just didn't feel right to me when the I love you's were spoken. It felt to me like Raj and Griffin were much younger than they were and that they had a shit ton of growing up to do before they could even think about love. For me that made the book much less of an emotional read than the previous books and I admit I was a bit disappointed as I know how well Harris can write that emotional bond.

The book was good and it was definitely an enjoyable read but in the end there was just something missing for me.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Daisy Harris

What I Read Last Week

Late again. *sigh* Sorry!

Well it was another slow week for me last week. I’m not sure what my issue is with picking up books and putting them down again but it’s frustrating! lol I think I’ve had a bit of ADD lately. I just need to focus!

I went to an Irish Pub Night fundraiser on Saturday night that we held here at the church and it was SO much fun. There was live Celtic music and they had the Irish Pride Dancers as well. It was just a really fun way to end the week.

Ok, on to what I read this past week:

I started the week with book 2 in the Iron Seas series – Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook. This book was, for me at least, very different from book 1 but just as good. I love the world Brook’s has created – it’s fun, daring, scary and I just adore reading about it. The characters in this book, Archimedes and Yasmeen, are tough as nails but can have a soft chewy inside. They’re so darned perfect for each other and I loved their unconventional romance. Wonderful story! 5 out of 5

Next was The Inconvenient Duchess by Christine Merrill. This was one I got for free on my Kindle and it was the story of Lady Miranda who gets married to a Duke but only because he’s trying to save her reputation (there’s a bit more to it than that but I won’t go into all of it). The circumstances were chivalrous, but odd. Marcus is a hard, uncompromising man, or so she thinks, and his brother is a charmer. The brother, however, has ulterior motives and tries to seduce the new wife. She’s stronger than she looks and keeps him away. Meanwhile Marcus and Miranda start to get to know each other and fall in love. It was a good story that definitely kept my interest. I thought the brother was a complete cad – even when he seemed oh so innocent. I wish that Marcus and Miranda would have had more time for their romance though. It seemed that it was starting out with baby steps and I was enjoying that getting to know you stage and then it went full boar to the “I can’t live without you” type story. IDK, it was a little disconcerting but overall a pretty good story. 3.75 out of 5

My next read was a short called Come Cuddle Me by Missy Welsh. This is the story of a guy who sends his new address to two of his friends on a website called Pronblr – along with a half naked pictures and a cute note saying “come cuddle me.” Those friends then send it out to the public and soon his door is getting beaten down with interested parties. Luckily his supposedly straight next door neighbor comes to his rescue and they end up cuddling cuz the neighbor’s not straight at all. It’s a very cute story and I definitely liked it. I couldn’t quite figure out what his “friends” thought would happen when they went public with his home address. I would have had a thing or two to say about that. lol 3 out of 5

Next was Summer School by Tam Ames. This was the story of Jeremy who is an English teacher that needs extra money and agrees to spend his summer teaching History – of which he knows nothing. He’s in a bad place because his relationship of 8 years had ended when he caught his partner cheating. Lucas is a excited about his first teaching assistant’s job but when he meets angry Jeremy he’s not so sure how the summer will go. When Jeremy’s air conditioner gives out with no fix in sight Lucas takes him back to his house and the two start what they each believe will be a fling. It turns out to be much, much more. I have to say that while I felt sorry for Jeremy for all he’d been through with his previous boyfriend he was a bit tough to like at first. Once he calmed down I really liked him and I liked him with Lucas a whole lot. This was a very good story that was hot and sexy. Good job, Tam. 4 out of 5

Last for the week was Crossroads by Moira Rogers. This is book 2 in the Southern Arcana series and it was just as good as book 1. This book has Derek FINALLY deciding to go for it with Nicole Peyton and when they do it’s like taking a lit match to dynamite. They are almost inseparable from the start but pack politics and Nick’s sister take precedence over Nick’s decisions and she heads to New York to take her rightful place. Luckily Derek doesn’t give up that easily. I think what I really like about this series is that there’s romance in abundance (in a rough shifter kind of way) but the overall story arc is one of politics and the running of the shifters in America. It’s really great to read about and I have to admit that I’m really liking this series so far. 4 out of 5

My Book Binge Reviews that posted last week:
About That Night by Julie James


Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

I'm not a HUGE fan of Katy Perry's but there are a few songs I really like of hers and Wide Awake is one of them.  Enjoy!




Eye Candy (cuz I'm falling down on the job)

I suck. Really. I've completely fallen down on the job and haven't posted anything in a couple of days. My brain has apparently been somewhere else this week and well, this just wasn't at the top of the list of "things to worry about" list this week - sorry! I love you all so thought I'd post a bit of eye candy for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy and I'll do better in the future, I promise!





Review: Pride and Politics by Daisy Harris

Aloof and arrogant, Holsum College Junior Hunter Ford has enjoyed all the perks of being from one of America's most prominent families. Hunter can have anything he wants—except time away from his family's political spotlight and the image consultant hired to keep him there.

Steve’s job is simple—make Hunter toe the line for the duration of his uncle’s vice-presidential campaign. This is the break Steve's been waiting for and a chance to provide a better life for his deaf sister. But he didn't count on an attraction to the broken scion—one that rearranges everything Steve thought he knew about himself.

As Steve melts Hunter's icy exterior, the heat between them threatens more than just their hearts. Then a ghost from Hunter’s past shows up on the campaign, challenging Hunter’s stability, and straining Steve’s ability to defend and protect the man he’s growing to love.

Steve is hired by Hunter’s uncle to be his personal image consultant for the duration of his uncle’s campaign, which Hunter has been roped into. Steve’s not thrilled at basically babysitting a spoiled rich boy and frankly Hunter’s not thrilled at having his actions watched and judged.

Steve, during the course of the campaign, comes to see Hunter in a new light and discovers that maybe he’s not the person Steve thought he was. For Hunter he discovers that there is finally someone who sees beneath the façade that he’s so carefully cultivated and sees him for who he really is inside.

I have to admit that when I saw that Hunter Ford was one of the main characters in this story I was excited but yet leery of reading the story, if that makes any sense. Hunter was a complete shit in the two previous books that he was in and quite frankly I wasn’t sure that he was redeemable in any way, shape or form. I should have had more faith. lol  Hunter starts out as his normal cocky self and remains that way for a while. As we get to know him, however, we see another side to Hunter. The one that’s been hurt by not only other people but also by his own family and their complete lack of belief in him. In Hunter’s family it’s all about image first and anything that might tarnish that image isn’t to be tolerated. We see that in Hunter’s life there have been things that he’s had to deal with that no one should have to and yet Hunter did and did it basically alone as he had no support from his family. It shed new light on the true man that Hunter was. Now, I do wish that Hunter himself had told Steve about his family’s demands of perfection in his formative years (as well as now) but he didn’t actually come out and verbalize that. We got this mostly from watching Hunter. While this was good I would have liked Hunter to open up a bit more to Steve that way.

Steve was really on the ball when it came to keeping Hunter in line. He was serious about his job and wasn’t going to let some rich kid who always gets his way fuck it up. As the campaign went on and they moved from city to city Steve learned more about Hunter, his life and his background and Steve opened his mind a bit more. He really wanted Hunter physically from moment one but wasn’t about to let himself get sucked in by his lust. Yeah, that didn’t last all that long and when the pair did finally come together it was oh so good. I loved seeing the attraction between the two turn in to so much more. Steve also had a sister who was deaf and had just gone to college.  I thought this part was cute but honestly I wasn't sure why it was there.  Maybe to show that Steve was a responsible person and he really needed the money and that's why he put up with Hunter?  IDK.

In the end Harris gave us another wonderful read. She certainly redeemed Hunter in my eyes and gave us a very different but really great love story. Now obviously this book is better if you’ve read the series as you get to see Hunter’s not so shining moments in previous books, but this can definitely be read as a standalone as well.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Daisy Harris

What I Read Last Week

Happy Tuesday!

I know I’m a day behind but I took yesterday off of blogging to be with the kids. We had a fun time watching movies and playing Fish with Attitude which my youngest is addicted to. lol

Last week was a pretty boring week in my neck of the woods and that was just fine with me. Calm and boring is a good thing. :) I hope you all had a good week as well.

It was kind of a frenetic reading week for me. I kept picking up books, reading about 50 pages and then putting them down again and picking up another where I would do the same thing. It’s not that the books weren’t good (and I will go back and finish them), but they just weren’t hitting my “oh yeah this is what I want” button. Because of this I didn’t end up reading all that much (for me) but it was a good week.

I started the week with the 6th book in the Men of Holsum College series call Pride and Politics by Daisy Harris. This was Hunter’s story and for those who’ve read the series I think you’ll want to read this one as we see Hunter in a new light. I’ll post my review this week.

Next up was Primal Possession by Katie Reus. I read this one for Book Binge so I’ll let you know when my review posts. This is book 2 in the Moon Shifter series and continues the Cordona-Armstrong pack’s fight with the Anti-paranormal league. Sure the name of the League is ridiculous but those guys are wily and show up when you least expect it. They want all shifters gone and they’re not afraid to kidnap, torture and kill to get what they want. While that’s going on we get the romance between December and Liam that began in book 1. Liam isn’t leaving December’s side after all the crap she’s gone through but December has a huge reason that she hesitates getting involved with a shifter. Their romance is not a sweet romantic one but they have their moments during the book that were really great. Definitely worth reading. 4 out of 5

Then I read Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City by Meljean Brook. Though this book just came out it really takes place between books 1 & 2 in the Iron Seas series. This is a slice of life from Mina and Rhys’ marriage and has to do with their semi-adopted daughter Anne the Tinker as well as a murder that Mina is investigating and how those two are connected. It’s a fantastic story and I loved seeing how both Mina and Rhys were dealing with marriage and Mina’s job. 5 out of 5

My next read was Her Wicked Ways by Darcy Burke. I read my mom’s review for this one on Book Binge and got interested. Unfortunately I didn’t like it quite as much as she did. It was good but I did have some issues. The story is about a duke’s daughter, Miranda, who is reckless and is sent to live with her mother’s relatives in the country. She is banned from social visits and is not living in the riches she has been raised. She goes with her cousin to help at an orphanage and she’s disgusted but eventually warms to the place. Fox is a man whose family has run the orphanage for many, many years. He’s short on money though and turns to being a highwayman to get funds. He ends up falling in love with Miranda but she can’t marry him because really, he’s no one. The story was good and I really loved Fox so, so much. Unfortunately I didn’t love Miranda all that much. I would think that she was warming up and changing and then she’d do something heartless and ridiculously self-centered and she’s take a whole bunch of steps backward. It was frustrating. By the time that she realized she loved Fox it was way too late for me – I wanted him to have someone else. *sigh* It was still a good story though and Fox was worth reading about. 3 out of 5

Last for the week - and my Tracy’s TBR Challenge read was Redemption by Olivia Duncan Craig. This is the story of Jason who has decided to sell himself as a bond-mate. This means that whoever purchases his contract will have his services for the next 20 years. His contract is purchased by Devin who is a rich exec who wants a personal assistant who won’t leave (as previous ones have) and a companion. Both Devin and Jason have been instructed to not get attached but how can you not when you spend so much time with the other. There are definitely issues that Jason had to work through with Devin and some just broke my heart. On top of the relationship there was the issue of Jason’s family and why he went the bond-mate route. The time period was in the future where they have intergalactic travel and trade, they can fly shuttles as well as drive on the ground, they have these bond-mates, but really most of the rest of it was very contemporary. I liked that the world was “normal” yet futuristic. I didn’t have to learn 10 or 20 new words for money, food, etc. which I never really like in sci-fi or futuristic reads. It was easy to read and a really good story, imho. 4 out of 5

My Book Binge review that posted last week:
When You Wish Upon a Duke by Isabella Bradford

Happy Reading!

Mini Review: Turn to Darkness by Jaime Rush

Shea is used to taking care of herself. She has special powers, and she knows how to use them. She's pushed away the ugliness of her past, just like she pushed away Greer, the only man who had ever reached beyond her defenses.

All Greer wants is to love Shea, though that comes at a high price for him: as a shapeshifter, once he takes her as his mate, he'll never be able to let go. So maybe it's for the best that she's made it clear she is not interested in anything romantic.

But when Shea's traumatic past combines with a new danger, nothing will stop Greer from protecting the woman he loves, even if it means losing any chance he has of a future with her.

Shea is a little put out when she comes home from work one day and finds her “friend” Darius waiting for her in her driveway. Darius has been kicked out of his house and he wants to stay with Shea. Shea feels a little weird about Darius staying with her but when he won’t take no for an answer she doesn’t really have much of a choice.

Greer is also Shea’s friend and he wants to be more to her. Shea does think of Greer and is attracted to him but she was seriously hurt emotionally and physically six years earlier and has closed herself off from men and emotions. Greer is willing to help her work through her issues but first they have to find out who’s trying to kill them. Turns out it’s their fathers.

This is part of the Offspring series but is a spinoff with new characters. I hadn’t read any of the series but this sounded interesting enough to pique my interest.

I liked the way this story was written as it flowed nicely. I didn’t get too much information about exactly what “Darkness” is (apparently some kind of magic that helps turn them into shapeshifters and/or smoke) but I got enough to easily follow along with the story.

Greer was a great guy and I really liked reading about him and how he was with Shea. He quickly discovered – in a roundabout way – what had happened to Shea and he was very understanding. Though Shea was determined to keep him away she couldn’t deny the feelings she had for him. Though this wasn’t a total romance there was enough in there to satisfy my romantic soul.

Darius was horrible. lol Rush must be a good writer to squick me out and make me hate Darius so much. She did a great job writing the man so that you thoroughly disliked him by the end of the book. :)

Overall it was a good novella and for me one that was good enough for me to be interested in going back and reading from the beginning of the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Jaime Rush

Blaze of Winter by Elisabeth Barrett Sneak Peek

While I haven't actually read the first book in the Star Harbor series by Elisabeth Barret (yet) I have it and will definitely be reading it SOON. I met Elisabeth at RWA and if her books are as fun and funny as she is then I'm sure I'll enjoy them! The second book in the series, Blaze of Winter, comes out on Monday, Sept. 10th and here's a few pages to whet your whistle:

BLAZE OF WINTER by Elisabeth Barrett

Saturday Song

If I haven't said it before...I LOVE Seether.  I do.  There are very few songs that they sing that I dislike.  I love it when I find a band that I can listen to without having to skip through my iPod to get the songs I like better. (Yes, I know, I should delete the others, I'm just too lazy. lol)  Anyway, one of my favorites from their Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray album is Here and Now. So, so very good. Hope you like it as much as I do.  Enjoy!