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1. Interview and Giveaway: Erin Lindsey, Author of The Bloodbound

I enjoyed The Bloodbound, so I was thrilled when Erin Lindsey dropped by the virtual offices to answer a few questions.  Be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of her book!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Erin!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Erin Lindsey] Constantly daydreaming lover of words.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Bloodbound?

[Erin Lindsey] I wanted to write a classic fantasy adventure that was genuinely fun to read. A lot of the stuff out there in SF/F right now is pretty grim. That’s not a criticism – I’m including my own work in that category. The Nicolas Lenoir novels, which I write as EL Tettensor, are about as dark as it gets. But sometimes you’re looking for something lighter, something you can take to the beach on your summer vacation and enjoy every page. A cast of flawed, likable characters caught up in a heroic struggle, with enough romance and humour to keep the mood balanced. That’s what I was going for in this book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Erin Lindsey] This is tough, because I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s a scene about halfway through the book where the heroine, Alix, has just been reunited with someone important in her life, and she ends up really pouring her heart out. Up to that point, she’s been struggling with a lot – her new role as the king’s bodyguard, her first taste of real battle, some pretty tough personal decisions – and to have this person back in her life to share that with comes as a tremendous relief. The scene feels a little like sitting on the foot of your best friend’s bed, chewing over the things that are most important to you. It’s comfortable and intimate and peppered with laughter, and it leaves the reader feeling almost as relieved as Alix. It really came out well.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Erin Lindsey] Everything! Okay, I know that’s not an answer, but really – it was a joy to write. I’ve never written anything so fast, so flowing, in my entire life. I think I had the whole thing done in about three and a half months, which for a novel of 120K+ is pretty crazy. Part of that, I think, is that I was finally getting to tap into some themes that I’ve wanted to play with for a long time. Some of my favourite moments in literature, films, and even comic books inspired certain scenes in The Bloodbound. A relationship, say, or a particular type of dilemma, trying to capture the feel of that moment in a different way. There’s a lot of real-life history in there too. It felt like finally getting to play with a bunch of toys you’ve coveted for a long time.

I think, I hope, that the fun I had writing it comes through on the page, and will infect the reader as well.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Erin Lindsey] Chapstick. I know, I know! I’m trying to cut down, but it’s just so addictive!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Erin Lindsey] A stuffed gorilla, a chunk of black crystal from the Congo, and an extremely smug feline called Charlie Richard Parker.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Erin Lindsey] Biltong. It’s a South African type of beef jerky. If you haven’t tried it, DON’T; it’s even more addictive than Chapstick.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Erin Lindsey] Sherlock Holmes. Oh, wait – does this have to be a real person? In that case, Benedict Cumberbatch. Or his coat.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Erin Lindsey] I already have a superpower. I am Logic Woman, able to jump to a conclusion in a single bound. One day, I would like to do an appearance on Fox News. We’ll see if they’re as impervious to logic as they appear to be.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Erin Lindsey] My editor at Ace/Roc, the lovely Danielle Stockley, recently turned me on to Guy Gavriel Kay. I’ve read several of his books now, and enjoyed them all, but I particularly recommend A Song For Arbonne.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Erin Lindsey] Through my website, www.erin-lindsey.com, where you’ll find ways to reach me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and email. Stop by and say hi!

Of all those in the King of Alden’s retinue, the bloodbinders are the most prized. The magic they wield can forge invaluable weapons, ones that make soldiers like Lady Alix Black unerringly lethal. However, the bloodbinders’ powers can do so much more—and so much worse…

A cunning and impetuous scout, Alix only wishes to serve quietly on the edges of the action. But when the king is betrayed by his own brother and left to die at the hands of attacking Oridian forces, she winds up single-handedly saving her sovereign.

Suddenly, she is head of the king’s personal guard, an honor made all the more dubious by the king’s exile from his own court. Surrounded by enemies, Alix must help him reclaim his crown, all the while attempting to repel the relentless tide of invaders led by the Priest, most feared of Oridia’s lords.

But while Alix’s king commands her duty, both he and a fellow scout lay claim to her heart. And when the time comes, she may need to choose between the two men who need her most…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Erin Lindsey likes her stories the way she likes her chocolate: dark, exotic, and with a hint of bitterness. She has visited fifty countries on four continents, and brought a little something back from each of them to press inside the pages of her books. Erin Lindsey is also the pseudonym for E.L. Tettensor, whose Darkwalker series is published by Roc.

US addresses only please

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2. Spotlight and Giveaway: What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale

This morning I have a chance for you to win some books by Maya Rodale!  Check out the info about her latest release, What A Wallflower Wants, and then enter the giveaway below!

What a Wallflower Wants By: Maya Rodale

Bad Boys & Wallflowers # 3

Releasing September 30th, 2014

Avon

In the third novel in Maya Rodale’s charming Wallflower series, London’s Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .

Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret.

Everyone knows that she’s the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season-but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again.

John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody’s hero.

He’s a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future-that do not include a wife. When he finds himself stranded at a country inn with a captivating young woman, a delicate dance of seduction ensues. He knows he should keep his distance. And he definitely shouldn’t start falling in love with her.
When Prudence’s dark past comes back to haunt her, John must protect her-even though he risks revealing his own secrets that could destroy his future.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/what-wallflower-wants-bad-boys.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20705673-what-a-wallflower-wants

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Wallflower-Wants-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00I7UY8VM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407066354&sr=8-1&keywords=what+a+wallflower+wants

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-a-wallflower-wants-maya-rodale/1118477567?ean=9780062231284

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/what-a-wallflower-wants

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/what-a-wallflower-wants/id814087124?mt=11

Author Info

Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

Author Social Links

Website: www.mayarodale.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mayarodale

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mayarodalewriter

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/377744.Maya_Rodale

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print Set of Bad Boys & Wallflowers Series by Maya Rodale)

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3. Spotlight: By Winter’s Light by Stephanie Laurens

by winters light

Title: By Winter’s Light

Author: Stephanie Laurens

Date of Publication: October 28, 2014

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THE PERFECT HOLIDAY ROMANCE TO CURL UP BY THE FIRE

BY WINTER’S LIGHT

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Stephanie Laurens

Returns to Scotland and the Cynster Clan!

Combine romantic Scotland, the boisterous Cynster family, and a wintry storm, and you have the perfect recipe for a wonderful Christmas love story.

When all the members of the Cynster family gather together at Casphairn Manor for merriment and holiday tidings, they bring with them their faithful minders and teachers; including Daniel Crosbie, and Claire Meadows. Having met before, Daniel is determined this visit will allow him to show hesitant Claire that just because she is a widow, does not mean that love doesn’t strike twice.

Assisted by the younger generation of Cynsters, all aspiring matchmakers, together with the help of a wintry storm and unforeseen circumstances, BY WINTER’S LIGHT Claire begins to see Daniel for the worthy partner he would be.

Stephanie Laurens returns to her beloved Cynster clan with BY WINTER’S LIGHT. With all six families together for the holidays, she ushers in a new generation of Cynsters.

Combining love, holiday spirit, and a little bit of magic, Laurens once again weaves a tale that shows that true love can withstand anything life—or mother nature—throws at you.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // iBooks

You state that BY WINTER’S LIGHT is an essential volume for the Cynster novels going forward. Why is that?

One of the critical features of a long-running series is readers’ feelings of returning to places and people they know – of seeing heros and heroines they have come to know as individuals go through the challenge of finding love and marrying the right man or woman for them. Knowing at least one of these characters beforehand – understanding what has made them as they are, what their strengths are, and even more importantly what weaknesses they hide – allows greater interest, empathy, and absorption for the reader. 

In the case of the Cynster Next Generation, the children of the Bar Cynster couples, readers know who they are, but have seen very little of them. And as we all know, actions speak much louder than words about the caliber of people, of who they really are beneath the outer glamor. In BY WINTER’S LIGHT, readers see Lucilla, Marcus, Sebastian, Michael, Prudence, and Christopher in action, responding to external pressures and threats, and also to each other, and separately readers also learn more about Louisa and her emerging character.

Readers have more recently seen Lucilla and Marcus act in VISCOUNT BRECKENRIDGE TO THE RESCUE, but now they are a decade older, and we – both the readers and me as author – need to see more of the adults they are shaping up to be, which are insights BY WINTER’S LIGHT affords us. Unsurprisingly, the first pair of Cynster Next Generation romances are those of Lucilla and Marcus, and as they are twins, the stories are tightly linked.

Subsequently, working off the base of their characters revealed in this book, we’ll follow Sebastian, Michael, and Louisa through their romances, and later learn about Prudence and Christopher’s romances, too.


So there’s lots more Cynster novels in the pipeline?

Indeed! Lucilla’s book, THE TEMPTING OF THOMAS CARRICK, is already written, and will be released at the end of February, 2015. It will be followed by Marcus’s story, A MATCH FOR MARCUS CYNSTER, in late May, 2015. Further Cynster novels are scheduled for release in 2017.

There’s an obvious tradition that isn’t included – that of a Christmas tree. Why is that missing?

Christmas trees – the erecting and decorating of them – while echoing the decorating of a house with fir and holly, was a German custom. In the early 1800s, the only major house in England that sported a Christmas Tree was the Duchess of Rutland’s household at Belvoir Castle, because the Duchess was German. Only much later, after the marriage of Victoria to Albert, who introduced the custom of Christmas trees to the royal household, did the custom of Christmas trees become more widely adopted in England.

Victoria married Albert in 1840, so in 1837 in Scotland, the custom of a Christmas had not yet arrived.


If there was one thing you could say to readers when they pick up BY WINTER’S LIGHT, what would it be?

Put your feet up, kick back and relax, and enjoy the holidays Cynsters-style!

Excerpt: CHAPTER 1

December 23, 1837 Casphairn Manor, the Vale of Casphairn, Scotland

Daniel Crosbie felt as if all his Christmases had come at once. Letting his gaze travel the Great Hall of Casphairn Manor, filled to overflowing with six Cynster families and various associated household members, he allowed himself a moment to savor both his unexpected good fortune and his consequent hope.

About him, the combined households were enjoying the hearty dinner provided to welcome them to the celebration planned for the next ten days—as Daniel understood it, a combination of Christmas, the more ancient Yuletide, and Hogmanay. Seated about the long refectory-like tables on benches rather than chairs, with eyes alight and smiles on their faces, the assembled throng was in ebullient mood. Conversation and laughter abounded; delight and expectation shone in most faces, illuminated by the warm glow of the candlelight cast from massive circular chandeliers depending from thick chains from the high-domed ceiling. The central room about which the manor was built, the Great Hall lived up to its name; the space within its thick walls of pale gray stone was large enough to accommodate the Cynster contingent, all told about sixty strong, as well as the families of the various retainers who worked in and around the manor, which functioned like a small village.

With no family of his own still alive, Daniel had spent his last ten Christmases with the Cynster family for whom he acted as tutor—the family of Mr. Alasdair Cynster and his wife, Phyllida—but this was the first time in that decade that the Cynsters had come north for Christmas. The six Cynster families present—the six families closest to the dukedom of St. Ives, those of Devil, Duke of St. Ives, his brother Richard, and his cousins Vane, Harry, Rupert, and Alasdair—invariably came together at Christmastime. They were often joined by other connected families not present on this occasion; the long journey to the Vale, in the western Lowlands of Scotland, to the home of Richard Cynster and his wife Catriona in a season that had turned icy and cold with snow on the ground much earlier than expected had discouraged all but the most determined.

Out of long-established habit, Daniel glanced at his charges—soon to be erstwhile charges—seated at the next table with their cousins and second cousins. Aidan, now sixteen years old, and Evan, fifteen, had passed out of Daniel’s immediate care when they’d gone up to Eton, yet Daniel still kept an eye on the pair when they were home—an action their parents appreciated and which the boys, at ease with him after all the years, bore with good grace. At that moment, both were talking animatedly with their male cousins in a fashion that instantly, at least in Daniel’s mind, raised the question of what the group was planning. He made a mental note to inquire later. Jason, the youngest son of the family and the last of Daniel’s true charges, was similarly occupied with the group of Cynster offspring nearer his age. Now eleven, later in the coming year, Jason, too, would start his formal schooling—a circumstance which had, for Daniel, raised the uncomfortable question of what he would do then.

Once Jason left for Eton and there were no more boys in Alasdair Cynster’s household in Colyton, in Devon, for Daniel to tutor, what would he do for a living?

The question had plagued him for several months, not least because if he was ever to have a chance at the sort of life he now knew he wanted, and, if at all possible, was determined to claim, he needed to have secure employment—a place, a position, with a steady salary or stipend.

He’d been wracking his brains, trying to think of his options, of what might be possible, when Mr. Cynster—Alasdair—had called him into the library and laid before him a proposal that, in a nutshell, was the answer to all his prayers.

On several occasions over the years, Daniel had assisted Alasdair with his interests in ancient and antique jewelry, with documenting finds and establishing provenances, and also with cataloguing and adding to the collection of rare books Alasdair had inherited from the previous owner of the manor. Alasdair, supported by Phyllida, had suggested that, once Jason had departed with his brothers for Eton, if Daniel was happy to remain in Colyton as a member of their household, they would be delighted to engage him as Alasdair’s personal secretary, an amanuensis to assist with Alasdair’s ever-expanding interests.

The suggested stipend was generous, the conditions all Daniel could have hoped for. Not only would the new position suit him, it would solve all his difficulties.

Most importantly, it cleared the way for him to offer for Claire Meadows’s hand.

He glanced along the board to his right. Clad in a soft woolen gown in a muted shade of blue, Claire—Mrs. Meadows—was sitting on the opposite side of the table, two places down. She was the governess in Rupert Cynster’s household; as Rupert and Alasdair were brothers, Claire and Daniel were often thrown together when the families gathered. It was customary in such circumstances that the attending tutors and governesses banded together, sharing responsibilities and each other’s company, as they were at present. The manor’s governess, Miss Melinda Spotswood, a comfortable matronly sort with a backbone of forged iron, was chatting to Claire. On Melinda’s other side, opposite Daniel, sat Oswald Raven, tutor at the manor; a few years older than Daniel, Raven projected a debonair façade, but he was hardworking and devoted to his charges. Raven was chatting to Mr. Samuel Morris, who was seated alongside Daniel and hailed from Vane Cynster’s household in Kent; the oldest of the group, Morris was slightly rotund and had an unfailingly genial air, yet he was a sound scholar and very capable of exerting a firm hand on his charges’ reins.

All five had met and shared duties on several occasions before; the rapport between them was comfortable and relaxed. Over the coming days, they would, between them, keep an eye on the combined flock of Cynster children—the younger ones, at least. The oldest group, the seventeen-year-olds led by eighteen-year-old Sebastian Cynster, Marquess of Earith and future head of the house, could be relied on to take care of themselves, along with the large group of sixteen- and fifteen-year-old males. But there were six boys thirteen years and under, and seven girls ranging from eight to fourteen years old, and over them the tutors and governesses would need to exert control sufficient to ensure they remained suitably occupied.

There was no telling what the engaging devils would get up to if left unsupervised.

Being governess or tutor to Cynster children was never dull or boring.

Daniel had managed to keep his gaze from Claire for all of ten minutes. Despite the color and vibrancy, the noise and distraction—despite the many handsome and outright stunningly beautiful faces around about—hers was the shining star in his firmament; regardless of where they were, regardless of competing sights and sounds, she effortlessly drew his gaze and transfixed his attention.

She’d done so from the moment he’d first seen her at one of the family’s Summer Celebrations in Cambridgeshire several years ago. They’d subsequently met on and off at various family functions, at weddings in London, at major family birthdays, and at seasonal celebrations like the current one.

With each exposure, his attraction to Claire, his focus on her, had only grown more definite, more acute, until the obvious conclusion had stared him in the face, impossible to resist, much less deny.

Utterly impossible to ignore.

“If the weather holds,” Raven said, commanding Daniel’s attention with his gaze, “and the older crew go riding as they’re planning, then we’ll need to invent some suitable pastimes to keep our charges amused.”

Seated with his back to the table at which the Cynster children were gathered, Raven had turned and asked what the animated talk had been about. Riding out to assess the position and state of the deer herds had been the answer.

Daniel nodded. “If at all possible, let’s get those left to our care out of doors.”

“Indeed,” Melinda said, turning from Claire to join the conversation. “We need to take advantage of any clear days. If it is fine enough tomorrow, I was saying to Claire that the fourteen-year-olds—the girls—might like to gather greenery to decorate the hall.” Melinda gestured to the stone walls hosting various fireplaces and archways, all presently devoid of any seasonal touches. “It’s customary to decorate them on the twenty-fourth, which is tomorrow.”

“I’d heard,” Morris said, “that there’s some tradition about the Yule log that’s followed hereabouts.” He looked to Raven for confirmation.

Raven, his hair as dark as his name would suggest, nodded. “Yes, that’s an inspired idea. Not only is it necessary to collect the right-sized logs, but the logs have to be carved. That should keep the boys amused for hours. I’ll speak to the staff about organizing whatever’s needed.”

Daniel nodded again, and his gaze drifted once more to Claire; she’d been following the conversation, her calm expression indicating her agreement with the suggestions. With her glossy mid-brown hair burnished by the candlelight, with her delicate features and milky-white skin, her lips of pale rose, lush and full, and her large hazel eyes set under finely arched brown brows, she was, to his eyes, the epitome of womanhood.

That she was a widow—had been widowed at a young age—was neither here nor there, yet the experience had, it seemed, imbued her with a certain gravitas, leaving her more reserved, more cautious, and with a more sober and serious demeanor than might be expected of a well-bred lady of twenty-seven summers.

Her station—gentry-born but fallen on hard times—was similar to, or perhaps a touch higher than, Daniel’s; he didn’t really know. Nor did he truly care. They were both as they were here and now, and what happened next … that was up to them.

He’d come to Scotland, to the Vale, determined to put his luck to the test—to seize the opportunity to speak with Claire and plead his case, to learn if she shared his hopes and if she could come to share his dreams.

A gust of laughter and conversation drew his gaze to the high table.

The six Cynster couples were seated about the table on the raised dais along one side of the room, a traditional positioning most likely dating from medieval times. In addition to those twelve—middle-aged, perhaps, yet still vibrantly handsome, articulate, active, and engaged—there were three of the older generation at one end of the board. Helena, Dowager Duchess of St. Ives, mother of Devil and Richard and elder matriarch of the clan, was seated at the end of the table closest to the hearth, and had chosen to summon Algaria, Catriona’s aging mentor, and McArdle, the ancient butler of the manor, now retired, to join her there. The three were much of an age and, judging by their glances and gestures, were busy sharing pithy observations on all others in the hall. Having met the dowager and been the object of her scrutiny on several occasions, Daniel didn’t like to think of how much she, let alone black-eyed Algaria, was seeing.

A comment in a deep voice, followed by laughter, drew Daniel’s gaze back to the twelve Cynsters of the generation that currently ruled. Their children might have been growing apace, might already have been showing signs of the forceful, powerful individuals they had the potential to become, yet the twelve seated about the high table still dominated their world.

Daniel had observed them—those six couples in particular—for the past ten years. All the males had been born to wealth, but what they’d made of it—the lives each had successfully wrought—hadn’t been based solely on inherited advantage. Each of the six possessed a certain strength—a nuanced blend of power, ability, and insight—that Daniel appreciated, admired, and aspired to. It had taken him some time to realize from where that particular strength derived—namely, from the ladies. From their marriages. From the connection—the link that was so deep, so strong, so anchoring—that each of the six males shared with his wife.

Once he’d seen and understood, Daniel had wanted the same for himself.

His gaze shifted again to Claire. Once he’d met her, he’d known whom he wanted to share just such a link with.

Now he stood on the cusp of reaching for it—of chancing his hand and hoping he could persuade her to form such a connection with him.

Whatever gaining her assent required, he would do.

Now Fate in the form of Alasdair Cynster had cleared his path, it was time to screw his courage to the sticking point and act.

Hope, anticipation, and trepidation churned in his gut.

But he was there and so was she, and he was determined to move forward. He knew how he felt about her, and he thought she felt similarly toward him. His first step, plainly, was to determine whether he was correct in believing that—and whether with encouragement, “like” could grow into something more.

About Stephanie Laurens:

stephanie laurens#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing romances as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career when her first novel was accepted for publication, and with entirely becoming alacrity, she gave up writing about facts in favor of writing fiction.

Laurens’s novels are set in the time period of the British Regency, and her settings range from Scotland to India. Laurens has published fifty works of historical romance, including 29 New York Times bestsellers. All her works are continuously available in print and digital formats in English worldwide, and have been translated into many other languages. An international bestseller, among other accolades Laurens has received the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA Award for Best Romance Novella 2008, for The Fall of Rogue Gerrard.

Her continuing novels featuring the Cynster family are widely regarded as classics of the genre. Other series include the Bastion Club Novels and the Black Cobra Quartet. For information on upcoming releases and updates on novels yet to come, visit Stephanie’s website.

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4. #Bloggerblackout and What it Means to Me

A photo posted by Julie (@animejulie) on

It’s a known fact that puppies lower blood pressure, so here is a puppy.

In case you were wondering where the reviews have been the past few days, I have decided to participate in the #Bloggerblackout.  What’s that?  It’s a time to reconnect with why I blog.

There have been crazy things going on in the blogging sphere over the last few weeks, and if you aren’t aware of them, check out this post at Book Binge.  It sums up pretty much how I feel, with handy links if you want to read about what’s going on. I don’t feel like recapping; I’m recapped out.

Here are my thoughts on the situation:

Stalking is just wrong, and showing up unannounced on a reviewer’s doorstep with the intent to “confront” them because they didn’t like your book is beyond wrong. (I won’t even go into the issue of animal cruelty that the author admitted to – if you have been following my blog, you know already know how I feel about that!)

Physically attacking a people who panned a book is even worse, yet it happened not long ago. (what?  WHAT?!)

Authors who cheer the above actions or think that it’s childish and ridiculous to take a break from reviewing don’t deserve any of my time or attention.  Going forward, they more than likely won’t get any of it.  While I try to not let the actions of authors in Real Life color my feelings for their books, some actions are so egregious that even I can’t look the other way. 

I will not be reviewing any books until next week.  That’s at the earliest.  I have one review commitment that I will honor for next Tuesday.  I suspect things will get back to normal shortly after that.

I am not doing this to “punish” anyone.  I am not boycotting any publishers (with one exception, but I don’t normally read many of their books anyway).  I have no plans to review any books written by Hale, but then again, I never did.  The authors that have spoken out in her support haven’t been on my radar, so odds are, they have ensured that they remain that way.  There’s enough drama out there without me worrying about making an overly sensitive writer butt-hurt.

I just wanted to make one more comment, and that’s about the nonsense floating around that because I receive review books, I owe an author page time on my blog.  Sorry, this doesn’t work that way.  Even if all of the review copies stopped showing up in my mailbox, I would still have that massive TBR mountain to scale, as well as the library to haunt.  And, with my Scribd subscription, I have access to an awesome digital collection of unlimited reads for less than 10 bucks a month.

I work 60 hours a week.  I have a family I like to interact with.  I have animals to care for, as well as a house to maintain.  What I don’t have is an abundance of time.  Operating my blog costs me hundreds of dollars a year.  There are hosting fees, equipment expenses (because, yes, even my PCs breakdown and need to be repaired), and the most expensive resource of all – my time.  There are days when all I do is work at my RL job, and then rush home to work on my “fun” job.  I am not paid to blog.  I earn pennies on my affiliate links.  I have no incentive to spend this much time doing something that costs so much yet pays back so little. 

So why do I do it?  Because I love books, and I love sharing information and my thoughts about books.  I also enjoy interacting with other book lovers, bloggers, and authors.  Even after all of the nuttiness of the last few weeks, I still enjoy doing this.  I hope that you’ll continue to visit the Manga Maniac Cafe.  I’ve read some wonderful books over the last week, and I’m eager to share my thoughts on them.  I just need a little downtime to find a little balance during this latest bout of insanity, and I hope that you understand why I’m doing this.  There is a huge disconnect in the book blogging realm, and I really need to step back and recharge.

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5. Interview and Giveaway: Shannyn Schroeder, Author of Her Perfect Game

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Shannyn! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Shannyn Schroeder] Quiet, shy, hard-working, blunt

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Shannyn Schroeder] Her Perfect Game is the second novella in the Hot & Nerdy trilogy. It’s about a gamer/hacker girl who spends her spring break at a Comic Con-like convention. She’s there to network and hopefully win the hackfest, which will get her to DefCon in the summer. She wants to find a job, but she doesn’t have a degree. What she doesn’t count on is running into her ex, who is the one that got away three years ago.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Shannyn Schroeder] The concept was simple. I wanted to write three loosely connected stories about nerdy girls falling in love over spring break. I wanted the three girlfriends to be able to relate, but I wanted them to be nerdy in their own ways. So I have a math nerd, a computer nerd, and a science nerd.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Shannyn Schroeder] I LOVED writing Charlie (the heroine). She’s smart and capable, but she’s also vulnerable. She’s at a point in her life where she needs to make decisions about what she wants and she goes after it, even though she feels like a loser (we’ve all been there). She’s fun and a little snarky. I also enjoyed the research I had to do for the story. I am not a gamer, so I had a lot to learn.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Shannyn Schroeder] As much as I enjoyed doing the research for this story, it was also the most difficult part. I don’t play any video games and I know absolutely nothing about hacking. Doing the research was like entering a different world where everyone spoke a language that I didn’t understand.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Shannyn Schroeder] “Brave” by Sara Bareilles

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Shannyn Schroeder] My phone – which is funny because I hate talking on the phone

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Shannyn Schroeder] Diet coke, M&Ms, and piles of paper

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Shannyn Schroeder] Make It Count by Megan Erickson and Falling for Max by Shannon Stacey. I also read a novella by my friend Hanna Martine, Play for Me, that isn’t released yet, but it’s so good.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Shannyn Schroeder] I hang out with my three kids. I read every night before bed, and I watch lots of TV. The only reason I love fall is because there is so much to watch. The DVR is the best invention ever. I also love to bake, mostly cookies. I bake a lot when I’m stressed, so deadline time means lots of cookies around my house.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Shannyn Schroeder] Web site — http://www.shannynschroeder.com

Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6575201.Shannyn_Schroeder

Twitter — https://twitter.com/SSchroeder_

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shannyn-Schroeder/536050196443173

Her Perfect Game

Hot & Nerdy # 2

By: Shannyn Schroeder

Releasing October 26th, 2014

Kensington

Blurb

Spring break is supposed to be a week of fun in the sun for three childhood friends about to graduate from college. But one of them is ready to get her game on somewhere else…

Charlie Castle is an expert archer and a fierce warrior—in her favorite video game, anyway. But college life was a program she couldn’t quite master. To land a cybertech job without a degree, she’s entering a “hackfest” over spring break—where she also hopes to meet the sweet gamer who’s been flirting with her online. Instead, she runs into the hot guy who walked away years ago, and can’t fight the desire that comes rushing back.

Jonah Best has never gotten over Charlie, whose kisses were always as deliciously creative as her coding. But now that they’re face to face again, he doesn’t know how to admit that her online admirer is really him—or how to convince her that he’s offering her a job for her incredible skills, not her sex appeal. Can Jonah cut through their communication glitches and persuade Charlie that the next level up for them should be forever?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/her-perfect-game-hot-and-nerdy-2-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23000375-her-perfect-game?from_search=true

Buy Links Amazon | Barnes | iTunes

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Her-Perfect-Game-Hot-Nerdy-ebook/dp/B00KM9O6W2/ref=sr_1_9_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402932308&sr=1-9&keywords=shannyn+schroeder

B&N:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-perfect-game-shannyn-schroeder/1119633671?ean=9781601833341&itm=1&usri=shannyn+Schroeder

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/her-perfect-game/id883290114?mt=11

Author Info

Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the new Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

Author Links Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.shannynschroeder.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shannyn-Schroeder/536050196443173

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SSchroeder_

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6575201.Shannyn_Schroeder

Excerpt:

It took a second for Charlie to realize that she was being called a cheater. She stood. “What?” She looked up at the board. She and Override were still in second place, now only by five points, but Jane and her partner were fifty points behind.

“She had an unfair advantage. I wasn’t sure, but I suspected. It’s just not possible.”

Charlie glared at her. “I am not cheating. How could I?”

A nasty smirk stole across Jane’s face. “Someone fed you the answers.”

Charlie’s heart sank. She knew exactly where this was going. “No one gave me anything.”

“Should we ask your boyfriend over there?” She pointed at Jonah sitting by the door.

“First of all, he’s not my boyfriend. Second, he didn’t give me shit. I’ve worked through each task just like everyone else.”

Jane crossed her arms and waited. Carl looked back and forth between Jonah and Jane.

Jonah slid from the stool. “I didn’t give her anything. I didn’t create the challenge. Carl did.”

Of course, Jonah wouldn’t lie about their relationship.

Carl crossed the room to talk to Jonah. The harsh whispers carried across the room. Carl was asking about having a personal relationship with a competitor. Jonah nodded. She was screwed.

Her stomach sank. There was no coming back from this. “Fuck this.” She slammed her laptop shut and looked at Override. “Sorry if you get screwed here too. I did not cheat, but I refuse to get thrown out for doing nothing wrong.”

She slid her computer into her bag and rushed out the door.

“Wait,” Jonah called.

She didn’t, but then he caught her by the arm. “What are you doing?”

Charlie yanked her arm from his grasp. “I’m not going to sit there and be accused of cheating because I slept with you.”

“Carl wasn’t going to throw you out. He knows I didn’t have access to anything he created.”

“Doesn’t matter. If I win, everyone in that room will question whether it was legitimate. Thanks for fucking this up for me.” She turned away, tears clawing at her throat.

“Whoa. What do you mean me? I didn’t do a damn thing.”

“That’s right, you didn’t. All you had to do was deny we had any kind of relationship.”

“Why the hell would I do that? I know you didn’t cheat, and lying wasn’t going to change that accusation.”

“Whatever.” She took a couple more steps before he moved in front of her.

“What’s the big deal? It’s a stupid small-time hackfest.”

“Not for me it wasn’t. I needed this win.”

“Charlie, you have to know that you didn’t really have a chance against Poison.”

Tears welled and burned her eyelids. “Thanks for the vote of confidence. I guess we’ll never know now.”

She tried to push past him, but he laid a hand on her shoulder. “Why are you so upset?”

Charlie swallowed hard. “I needed this win. This was my chance. The prize is Def Con. I can’t afford to get to Vegas and pay for a hotel and shit. And I need Def Con to network and find a job.”

“No, you don’t, Charlie. You’re good enough that all you have to do is send out your résumé after graduation. You won’t need to network. The jobs will be there.”

She swiped at her face, hating every tear that fell. “No, they won’t because there won’t be a graduation. I dropped out.”

He looked stunned, his mouth hanging open, and Charlie skirted around him. She couldn’t look at his face knowing in a moment it would be filled with disappointment. She raced to her room, packed her stuff, and checked out to go back to her regular life.

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6. Interview and Giveaway: A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Sonali! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Sonali Dev] A creative, idealistic, feminist mother.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Sonali Dev] A BOLLYWOOD AFFAIR is the story of Mili, a child bride who was married at the age of four in a tiny village in India and then abandoned by her husband. She’s all grown up now and finds herself at Eastern Michigan University in an attempt to make herself worthy of her husband so he will finally come claim her. And of Samir, a successful Bollywood director who owes everything to his big brother and will do anything to help his brother get rid of the wife who just crawled out of his past. It’s a story of two people trying to reconcile family bonds and cherished traditions with personal freedom and happiness.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Sonali Dev] A few summers ago, I was strolling along the riverwalk in my suburban Chicago town with my parents when they started reminiscing about a young couple they used to be friends with in India many years ago. Tragically, the husband died in an air crash just about a year into their marriage and his family from the village showed up with another young woman, who apparently was also his wife. He had been married to her when they were children. The family claimed all his assets, because his wife, who was now his second wife, wasn’t his wife at all because polygamy is illegal in India.

I just could not get that story out of my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about those two women. One was raised to believe she had a husband, when really she didn’t, and the other had a husband and yet really she didn’t. I absolutely had to write this story and trace the arc of the journeys I imagined for these women.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Sonali Dev] This story was actually one of the stories that gushed out of me. Samir and Mili were just fully developed people in my head and they were very cooperative and intent on telling their story. Every time they were on the page together it was magic and I just loved capturing that magic.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Sonali Dev] Trying to research and understand Child Marriage Laws in India was a bit of a challenge because it is illegal for girls younger than 18 and boys younger than 21 to marry in India. And yet because adults can force children into marriage the law does not punish the children who’ve been married nor can it not validate child marriages that have already occurred. It’s all very complicated and it was essential to the story so I had to read through all that legalese and then get a lawyer friend to translate it for me.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Sonali Dev] I know it’s cheesy, but I Hope You’ll Dance comes to mind.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Sonali Dev] My cell phone. I know, it’s awful. Until two years ago I had one of those archaic flip phones and I never even knew where it was. People complained all the time about me not answering my phone. My nephews used to tell me I should get a smart phone and that it would change my life and I used to scoff and be all patronizing about how shallow their lives were if they needed a smart phone to change it. But then my husband gave me an iPhone for my birthday and changed my life. I love it with the zeal of a convert. I mean, I literally feel bereft when it’s not on me. It’s really quite mortifying.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Sonali Dev] The cover of A Bollywood Affair framed in a frame my home chapter of the Romance Writers of America, the Windy City chapter gave me when I made my sale. They’ve all signed it and I love looking at it.

The deflated Mylar balloon from the amazing fortieth birthday party my husband threw for me.

A chart with Michael Hague’s story structure outline.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Sonali Dev] Undoubtedly President Obama.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Sonali Dev] I love Nalini Singh’s PsyChangelling books and I think Shield of Winter, Ivy and Vasics story was one of my favorite books in the series thus far (although I feel that way about so many of the books in that series). It was so sweet and romantic and intense. I just loved it.

I just reread Kristan Higgins Waiting on You and Molly O’Keefe’s Crazy Thing Called Love because I can never read those two books enough number of times.

I also recently read This Is Where I Leave You and it was so well written but so messed up I really enjoyed it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Sonali Dev] Does reading count? Or is that cheating? When I’m not writing or reading, I mostly hang out with my two teens and try to pry information out of them about their lives. I love to cook when it isn’t a chore. I’m also very handy and painting rooms and hammering nails into walls to hang things makes me quite heady with happiness.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Sonali Dev] I love love love to hear from readers. So please do get in touch with me.

Web: www.sonalidev.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/SonaliDev.author

Twitter: @Sonali_Dev

 
 
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Print Copy of A BOLLYWOOD AFFAIR (Three Chances to Win)
or $10.00 Amazon Gift Card
 
 
 
Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.

Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naïve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.

Heartfelt, witty, and thoroughly engaging, Sonali Dev’s debut is both a vivid exploration of modern India and a deeply honest story of love, in all its diversity.

Advance Praise for A Bollywood Affair:


“Sonali Dev is a fresh new voice in romance. A child bride who’s all grown up, a sexy Bollywood director, and deeply-felt emotions that will keep readers turning the pages. A Bollywood Affair has it all.” –Susan Elizabeth Phillips, New York Times Bestseller

“Deeply romantic and emotional, with characters I fell in love with, A Bollywood Affair is simply unputdownable. It’s sexy, it’s dramatic, but most of all, it’s a sweet, hot love story that made me sigh and smile and want to read it all over again as soon as I turned the last page.” -Nalini Singh, New York Times Bestseller




 
 
 
 
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Sonali Dev’s first literary work was a play about mistaken identities performed at her neighborhood Diwali extravaganza in Mumbai. She was eight years old. Despite this early success, Sonali spent the next few decades getting degrees in architecture and writing, migrating across the globe, and starting a family while writing for magazines and websites.

With the advent of her first gray hair her mad love for telling stories returned full force, and she now combines it with her insights into Indian culture to conjure up stories that make a mad tangle with her life as supermom, domestic goddess, and world traveler.

Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog.


Find Sonali Here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



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7. Guest Post and Giveaway: Anne Baron, Author of Scandalous Summer Nights

  Please welcome Anne Barton this morning!  She’s here to share Olivia’s top travel tips.

Olivia’s Top 5 Travel Tips

 

  1. Travel light. You don’t have to limit the number of pretty gowns or smart slippers in your portmanteau. If, however, you have an overbearing, protective brother whose goal in life is to curtail your freedom, I recommend leaving him at home. And if you can possibly manage it, forego your chaperone as well.

  2. Be willing to alter your itinerary. Plans sometimes go awry. If—or rather, when—the unexpected happens, a change of course is required. Try to be spontaneous and embrace it, even if you find yourself stranded and trapped in close quarters with a stubborn, impossible (and utterly irresistible) solicitor.

  3. Bring an emergency kit. A few medical supplies should suffice—headache powder, small bandages, and er, crutches. It never hurts to be prepared.

  4. Explore places off the beaten path. The most idyllic spots are often the ones that only the local villagers know about. Find a hill with a breathtaking view and have a picnic. Be a little daring and take a dip in the lake. (Swimsuit optional.)

  5. Choose a companion who makes your heart beat fast. Sometimes you choose your travel companion; sometimes he chooses you. But it helps if he’s smart, handsome, and a skilled boxer. And if he happens to be the man you’ve had a crush on for the last decade or so, even better… 

 

About SCANDALOUS SUMMER NIGHTS

Lady Olivia Sherbourne isn’t shy about speaking her mind, except when it comes to James Averill. For ten long years he has been her brother’s best friend and her heart’s only desire. But when Olivia hears James will soon set sail for an expedition to Egypt, she knows the time has come to make her move. It’s now or never . . . 

James has always found Olivia bewitchingly attractive, but what kind of gentleman takes up with his best friend’s sister? Not that he’s thinking particularly gentlemanly thoughts when she appears on his exploratory trip-three hundred miles from home!-and incites a tavern fight. No matter what the devil she’s doing there, it’s his duty to see her safely back to her family. But how safe will she be when every starlit night brings wicked temptation . . . ?

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B&N

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About Anne Barton

Anne Barton began swiping romance novels off her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager, so when she had the chance to spend a semester in London-home to her favorite heroes-she packed her bags and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.
Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anne found her way back to writing the stories she loves and in 2011 won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® for Regency Historical Romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband (who, sadly, is not a peer of the realm-but a great guy nonetheless) and her three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses include reality TV, cute-but-impractical shoes, and caffeinated beverages of all kinds.

Website

Twitter

Facebook

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8. Guest Post and Giveaway: Elle Daniels, Author of He’s No Prince Charming

Please welcome Elle Daniels to the virtual offices!

5 Things You’ll Never Find In Marcus’ Bedchamber by Elle Daniels

Marcus Bradley, Marquis of Fleetwood, (The Beast), is the hero of Elle Daniel’s début novel HE’S NO PRINCE CHARMING. A scarred man with a past to match, Marcus has spent his life keeping his younger sister safe. When he discovers a marriage contract will saddle her with a murderous husband, he takes drastic action to safeguard her future, even at the expense of his own.

Bedrooms, like medicine cabinets, tell a lot about a person—personal touches make them homey and reveals a person’s inner self. What kinds of things would you never find inside Marcus’ bedchamber? Well…

A Woman—other than his heroine, of course!

The Beast struggles in the female department. It’s a shame since he’s wants to give away his heart.

Mirrors

Marcus hates looking at himself. Not only does he have scars, but he looks remarkable like his father. His face reminds him of things best forgotten.

Anything Glass

With a valet that’s a bit of a klutz, nothing breakable lasts long. It’s the reason why the man’s been fired twenty-two times. To this day, Marcus doesn’t understand how Weller has never actually makes it out the door.

Childhood Mementos

Even if any had lasted through his tumultuous childhood, Marcus wouldn’t keep them around. For the same reason mirrors never make into his bedroom, little reminders are things he could do without. The flashbacks are bad enough.

A Romance Novel

At first, he never touched one because it would tease him with he could never have. With Danni in his life, well, why the hell does he need a love story when he’s living one everyday?

About HE’S NO PRINCE CHARMING

A wounded beast . . .

It took Marcus Bradley forever to find a suitable bride. And then he lost her-all because some meddling matchmaker with a crazy notion about “true love” helped her elope with another man. Now, to save his sister from a terrible marriage alliance, he needs a replacement-an heiress to be exact . . . and he knows just the woman to help him find one.

A spirited beauty . . .

Danielle Strafford believes everyone deserves a fairytale ending-even the monstrously scarred and notoriously brooding Marquis of Fleetwood. Not that he’s left her a choice. If she doesn’t help him secure a wife-by any means necessary-he’ll reveal her scandalous secrets.

A passion that will consume them both

The more time Marcus spends with Danielle, the less interested he is in any other woman. But the Beast must do the impossible: keep from losing his heart to a Beauty he is destined to lose.

About Elle Daniels

Elle Daniels grew up in a quiet, suburban town in Central Massachusetts – a town so lacking in excitement she was forced to live vicariously through novels. One day, discontent with her reading options, she took the matter into her own hands. So began Elle’s journey into all things romantic and fantastical. Still in her early twenties, she remains in that same small town, tagging along with her heroes and heroines on their madcap adventures. 

Social Media

http://elledaniels.com

@NovelsByElle

http://facebook.com/NovelsByElle

Buy links

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1tduJcG

Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/1w9jxyP

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/ZU1MGR

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1tA3ieg

Excerpt:

He stiffened as bitter memories rushed forth. A breathy sigh escaped Danni, drawing his mind from the past. Her face was pale and the dark lashes caressed her cheek, which seemed to glow in the sun’s rays. Her exhaled breath rushed through the small gap in her lips, creating a soft snore. He smiled. Unbelievably, she looked as if being next to him was exactly where she wanted to be.

He wondered how she’d ended up here, in his arms. Could she have wished to comfort him? Obviously she had attempted to care for him. What secrets had he exposed? What had convinced her to stay with him in that state, rather than run through the night for help? She was a miracle indeed.

An unfamiliar feeling of tenderness washed over him. Biting back a moan from the stiffness in his movements, he dared to brush a length of hair from her jaw, enjoying the softness of her skin. She sleepily pressed her hips against his, and a slow simmer seeped through the depths of his abdomen. He gritted his teeth, determined to remain the gentleman. Sharing this moment with Danni was more than he ever thought possible. He would not to push his luck.

Her hips shifted again, rubbing against his length. His instinct to return the movement roared. Desires he’d forgotten existed screamed to life. The physical aches in his joints and muscles were defeated by the agonizing need for her body.

His hand settled at her waist, his fingers pressed her lower, pulling her plaint body impossibly closer. Her head angled sleepily towards him as if sensing his intent. The beast inside him screamed to take her, but the gentleman he was fought back.

At Danni’s sigh of contentment, the beast won. He’d take only one kiss. Just one. He deserved as much for having to put up with her. His eyes slipped closed. His mind surged with the countless faces of women who’d rejected him, and he envisioned Danni’s horror if he woke her. But he could not stop himself. Fantasies of Danni writhing in passion beneath him flooded his mind. His imagination traced the outline of her ribs, felt her mouth moving hotly over him.

Another mewl passed her lips. Just a kiss. Just one and he’d never touch her again. Dipping his head, he brushed his mouth over hers. The first contact stunned him. His lips tingled with the smooth, soft sensation. His tongue slipped over them, savoring their warmth, pressing against them, deepening his kiss, tenderly. He drew away, knowing he must be content with that one stolen touch.

Suddenly, Danni’s caramel eyes snapped open, searing into his. He froze, millimeters from her face. He’d been caught. Bloody hell. Marcus braced himself for the screams, the curses, even—God forbid—the fainting. But he should have known better. This was Danni. She never did the expected.

“Marcus… ,” she breathed, the air caressing his still tingling lips. For the barest moment she peered into his eyes, frozen with indecision, and then her gaze moved to stare at his lower lip, and with a curious hesitance she gently lifted her head and fused their mouths together. Shocked, he held still, his mind blank.

She was kissing him. Him.

Blood pounded in his ears as his mouth merged roughly with hers. Her arms linked around his neck, frantically fisting in his shirt, pulling him closer. Marcus didn’t have the strength to pull away, nor did he want to. With stunned disbelief, he cupped her neck, lacing his fingers through the tresses there, and held her head in place, terrified she would break free and run in terror at any second.

She continued to fascinate him the more time he spent with her. She was a puzzle he would gladly spend a lifetime trying to solve. She valued a marriage filled with love over the kind of status marriage that was so common in their times. She earned her living through trade, but often reminded him of a gentlewoman bred by the ton. Never afraid to share her opinion and outrage, she was vexing and downright stubborn. She also made him laugh and was a balm for his past. To her, he wasn’t the Beast, but a simple human being. He could not believe his luck at having found her.

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9. Guest Post and Giveaway: Robin Talley, Author of Lies We Tell Ourselves

 

Robin Talley hijacked the virtual dashboard this morning to chat about her research for Lies We Tell Ourselves.

Top 5 most surprising facts I learned while conducting research for Lies We Tell Ourselves:

I had to do a lot of research to write Lies We Tell Ourselves.

Since the story follows the relationship between a black girl and a white girl during the Virginia school integration crisis in 1959, I read memoirs, oral histories, and news articles about the desegregation process, trying to learn everything I could about what life was like for the students on the front lines of the battle.

But I also needed to know more run-of-the-mill facts about life for high school students in the late 1950s. So I spent a lot of time pouring over vintage yearbooks and reading up on day-to-day life at the time.

Here are a few eyebrow-raising tidbits about life in the 1950s:

1. You didn’t wash your hair every day.

Today’s routine of showering and shampooing daily would’ve sounded crazy in 1959. How often teenage girls actually washed their hair varied, but this vintage hair-care video suggests washing “with a mild soap” every two weeks:

By the way, in 1959, you basically had one hairstyle option if you were a teenage girl. Long hair and straight hair were both unthinkable. Your hair didn’t fall past your chin, and it was curly, and that was that. If your hair wasn’t naturally curly, you got a perm or you set it up in rollers every night. Presumably using the time you saved by only washing it every two weeks.

2. School dress codes were no joke.

No one ever wore jeans to school. Boys would wear khakis with belts and solid-colored Oxford shirts with socks to match. Girls, meanwhile, would never think of wearing pants to school at all. Everyone wore loafers, saddle shoes, or flats, since high heels were forbidden, except for dances. Skirts were long ? well below the knee ? and tights hadn’t been invented yet, so to stay warm in the winter, you either wore knee socks or you just shivered. This yearbook photo shows girls wearing thick coats over bare legs ? and somehow smiling in spite of it.

3. Relationships were no joke, either.

The rules for dating and romance were formal for high school students in the fifties. Boys asked girls on dates ? never the other way around, except for Sadie Hawkins dances ? and, after a sufficient number of outings to movies or football games, a boy might ask a girl to go steady. To do this, he’d give her something of his to wear ? an identity bracelet, a class ring, a football pin, a letter sweater ? and whatever it was, she’d wear that thing every day of her life until they broke up. Going-steady couples walked down the school hallways together with the boys carrying the girls’ books. My mother told me about a trend she remembered where girls would wear blouses that had loops of fabric at the back of the collar. She remembered one going-steady couple at her school who walked down the hall together with the boy’s finger looped through the fabric at the back of her blouse collar. It sounds like nothing short of a leash.

4. Double standards for girls were the norm.

As I mentioned up in #3, the decision of who dated whom and who went steady with whom was almost entirely up to boys ? they were the only ones who could suggest a date or a relationship. After that, though, it was up to girls to keep the boys in check. It was considered normal for boys to want to hook up, but girls were supposed to stop them, or else. Even if you were going steady, girls were still supposed to rein their boyfriends in when they got “carried away.” A girl who kissed on a first date was “easy.” So was a girl who wore a skirt that was deemed too tight. My aunt told me about one classmate she remembered who was known for routinely too far with boys ? meaning she and the boys she dated would engage in extended kissing sessions. The other girls at their school referred to this girl in whispered voices as a “make out.”

5. Air raid drills were part of life.

The 1950s were near the height of the Cold War. During classes, it was routine for a practice air-raid siren to go off. Students were expected to duck down under their desks or go out into the hallway and kneel against the wall with their arms over their heads. These tactics wouldn’t have helped in the slightest if there had been an actual nuclear attack, of course ? nuclear weapons do far too much damage for it to make a difference what position you’re in ? but they did a great job of freaking out the students who went through the drills, and of reminding them of the Communist threat that loomed over everyone’s heads.

About the book:

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever. 

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily. 

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept “separate but equal.” 

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another. 

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it.

US addresses only, please

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10. Spotlight and Giveaway: Compulsion by Martina Boone

I have a copy of Compulsion by Martina Boone to giveaway.  Here’s a description:

Beautiful Creatures meets The Body Finder in Compulsion, the first novel in a spellbinding new trilogy.

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

 

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

To increase your chance of winning, answer the question below:

The Question:

?If you could have any “everyday” magical gift, like finding lost things or knowing what people want, what gift would you want and why?

Here’s my answer:  I would like the ability to make people happy.  Now, that might sound kind of cheesy, but think about it for a second.  If your very presence magically made people happier, your own sense of well-being would automatically increase.  If you could make people feel joy at the sight of you, their treatment of you would improve, and your relationships with family, friends, and co-workers would always be harmonious.  It would be really hard to make anyone angry with you if you always made them happy! Talk about reducing stress! 

The Giveaway:

A finished copy of the book – US addresses only, please

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11. Guest Post and Giveaway: Lori Wilde, Author of Christmas at Twilight

Lori Wilde stopped by the virtual offices to share to Top 5, as well as an awesome giveaway!

Five things you would never find in Brian “Hutch” Hutchison’s dresser drawer.

  1. A pink “princess” tiara unless it was a present for his niece, Kimmie.

  2. Toe rings

  3. A hand fan

  4. A Speedo

  5. An ascot

Christmas at Twilight

Twilight, Texas # 5

By: Lori Wilde

Releasing October 28th, 2014

Avon Romance

Blurb

It’s Christmas in Twilight, Texas. The Cookie Club is baking, the town is decorated, and Delta Force Operator “Hutch” Hutchinson has finally, reluctantly, returned home . . .

. . . only to get pepper sprayed by the delicious- looking stranger who’s taken over his house. She says her name is Jane, and she immediately sets down ground rules. Top priority: no touching. For Hutch that isn’t easy—he was wounded in action, but one part is still working very well.

Then Hutch learns the truth. Jane harbors a frightening secret—she’s really Meredith Sommers, on the run from a dangerous ex-husband and desperately in need of the safety Hutch can provide. In that moment, he vows he’d do anything in his power to protect her. And as Christmas approaches, they discover that their love can conquer the past and overcome any obstacle—but what price will they pay?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/christmas-at-twilight-twilight-texas-5.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20705716-christmas-at-twilight?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Twilight-Texas-Novel-ebook/dp/B00I7V3X2Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408461643&sr=1-1&keywords=Christmas+at+Twilight%3A+A+Twilight%2C+Texas+Novel

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-at-twilight-lori-wilde/1118477575?ean=9780062310248

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/christmas-at-twilight

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/christmas-at-twilight/id814134806?mt=11

Author Info

Lori Wilde is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 70 works of romantic fiction. She is a two-time RITA award nominee, a four time Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice nominee and has won numerous other awards. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University and holds a certificate in nursing forensics. An animal lover, Lori is owned by several pets, and lives in Texas with her husband, Bill.

Author Links

Website: http://loriwilde.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lori-Wilde/126384860719020

Twitter: https://twitter.com/loriwilde

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38217.Lori_Wilde

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12. Spotlight and Giveaway: Black Raven’s Lady by Kathleen Harrington

 

Black Raven’s Lady
Highland Laird’s Trilogy # 3

By: Kathleen Harrington

Releasing October 21, 2014

Avon Romance

This exciting conclusion to the popular Highland Lairds Trilogy features a runaway lass and the laird who will do anything to protect her.

Feisty Lady Raine Cameron has been surrounded her whole life by gossip claiming she is not her father’s daughter. Determined to find her true heritage, the dark-haired beauty boards the Black Raven under false pretenses in search of the man who she believes is her father, a man who is also a traitor to Scotland. Only the Black Raven himself stands in her way…

Laird Keir MacNeil has a reputation for being a ruthless and powerful ship captain. On a mission to apprehend Scotland’s most wanted traitor, he never expected to see Raine on his ship. Keir vows to keep Raine out of harm’s way and return her to her family untarnished. But as his lust for her grows, he must choose between honor and the woman he never expected to desire.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/10/black-ravens-lady-highland-lairds.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17331365-black-raven-s-lady?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Ravens-Lady-Highland-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00BATKQNQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1413293401&sr=1-1&keywords=Black+Raven%27s+Lady%3A+Highland+Lairds

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-ravens-lady-kathleen-harrington/1120020438?ean=9780062226358

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/black-ravens-lady/id599879465?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/black-raven-s-lady

Author Info

Kathleen Harrington, winner of the Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence, has touched the hearts of readers across the country with her sparkling tales of high adventure and unending love. Her historical romances have been finalists for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice, Virginia Romance Writers’ HOLT Medallion, and the Phoenix Desert Rose Golden Quill. Her fabulous heroes have garnered the K.I.S.S. (Knight in Shining Silver) Award. She lives in Southern California.

Author Links

Website: http://www.kathleenharringtonbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathleenharringtonbooks?ref=br_rs
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kathleensbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/234108.Kathleen_Harrington

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Excerpt

PROLOGUE

June 1504

Archnacarry Manor

Western Highlands

“Come away with me tomorrow, Nina,” the dark-haired man implored. “Meet me here at daybreak, and we’ll flee together. If you love me, dearest, come with me.”

His deep brown eyes filled with tenderness, he drew the beautiful lass close and kissed her tenderly on the forehead, then used the edge of the yellow-and-black tartan pinned to his shoulder to wipe away her tears.

“My father has received an offer of marriage for me from Laird Cameron,” Nina replied, her voice shaking with fright. “Should I run away with you, Torcall, my parents might never forgive me. Perhaps, if we pleaded with them together, they would understand how much in love we are.”

“I can’t wait any longer, dearest,” Torcall said. “The king has pronounced my father a traitor and with him all our clan. I must go and help defend our home and our lands.”

Nina clutched his strong hand in both of hers and brought his fingers to her lips. Her hair, a stunning red-gold, gleamed in the forest’s dappled sunlight. “Oh, Torcall, I do love you so.”

“Don’t be afraid, darling lass,” he told her, his voice ringing with the optimism of youth. “We’ll go to Steòrnabhagh. My father’s castle on the Isle of Lewis is impregnable. We’ll be married there. One day I’ll be chief of Clan MacMurchaidh, Nina, and I will give you all the things I so long to give.”

She smiled, her blue eyes filling once more with tears. “Your love is all I need, my dear, and all I want.”

Torcall hugged her close, then bent his head to place a gentle kiss on her lips. “You’ll meet me here tomorrow, then?” he asked. “You’ll run away with me?”

Nina nodded, a smile curving her lips. “Aye, I’ll flee with you, Torcall. I’ll meet you here, right by this tall pine tree, when the sun rises tomorrow.”

In the faint light of the following morning, the glen where the couple had stood seemed to wait in hushed anticipation of the coming dawn . . .

Her heart pounding, Raine awoke with a start and stared at the bed’s canopy above her head. She’d first had the dream when she was fourteen years old. The year after her father, Gideon Cameron, had been murdered. Raine knew it wasn’t an ordinary dream. ’Twas a vision of her mother and Raine’s natural father.

~

CHAPTER ONE

“Then you’ve made up your mind,” Aunt Isabel said.

Raine looked up from her packing to see her aunt enter the bedchamber and quickly close the door behind her.

Isabel’s eyes twinkled mischievously. “I don’t suppose there’s anything I can do to prevent this foolhardy escapade?”

Raine returned to the task of shoving her journal, containing remedies for everything from gout to the relief of painful menses, into the leather satchel that held her herbal concoctions. “You won’t say anything until I’m gone?”

Isabel lifted her plump shoulders, but the smile curving her lips assured Raine of her intent to keep her own counsel. At least for the moment. “What exactly do you have planned, my dear?”

It was Raine’s turn to shrug. “All I know for certain is that I’m going to find my father.”

“Your father is buried in the kirk cemetery,” Isabel chided softly. “He was a brave and honest man.”

“Gideon Cameron was brave and honest and noble,” Raine agreed. “No one could have asked for a better father. But you and I both know, Aunt Isabel, that your older brother was not the man who sired me.” Raine knelt and reached under her bed to pull out a canvas bag.

“Have you tried asking your mother again?” Aunt Isabel suggested.

Raine gave a soft snort. Every time she’d touched on the subject, Lady Nina had reacted with swift admonishments, scolding Raine for even hinting that Gideon wasn’t her father. Though they loved each other dearly, the matter had caused a feeling of estrangement between mother and daughter.

“What should I say?” Raine asked. “Oh, by the by, Mama, I’m quite certain that you deceived the honorable man you married, and I was the by-blow of that traitorous liaison?”

“Don’t be too harsh in judging your mother, dearest,” Isabel admonished. “We mortals cannot choose with whom we fall in love. Why, even the faery folk show very limited willpower when it comes to their romantic proclivities.”

“Perhaps not. But we can resolve to act with honor and dignity. We’re not chained by our baser inclinations.”

Isabel sank down on the feather mattress, picked up a velvet gown, and started to fold it. Traces of oatmeal rested on her shoulders, sprinkled there to ward off the faeries. Bits and pieces fell on the smooth red velvet. “Where will you begin to look, Raine? Have you had another vision?”

Raine sat back on her heels and closed her eyes. “Not a vision, really. Well, sort of.” Bowing her head, she buried her face in her hands. “I’m not sure what I saw.” She looked up and met her aunt’s worried gaze. “But of one thing, I’m certain. If I don’t go now, ’twill be too late. I’ll never meet my father.”

Isabel nodded in understanding. “You could be heading into danger, child,” she cautioned. “Seeing what’s going to happen in a vision doesn’t mean you can prevent it. Quite the contrary.”

“I’ll be traveling with a group of Poor Clares who leave this morning from St. Margaret’s Nunnery. They’re to set up a hospital in Inverness dedicated to Saint Columba. They’ll carry the saint’s finger bone with them for protection.”

Relief washed over Isabel’s round features. “Still,” she said, “perhaps you should take a strong servant to guard you.”

“The nuns will have a retinue of servants with them,” Raine reassured her. “Should it become necessary, I can hire a bodyguard at Moray Firth, until I can board the ship. But where I’m going, there’s only one man who can protect me.”

Isabel nodded, her hazel eyes filled with compassion. “You speak of Keir MacNeil, of course.”

Raine swallowed painfully. The thought of having to ask the chief of Clan MacNeil for help nearly choked her. “Of course.”

“Well, darling of my heart, if you were a voluptuous female of questionable repute, MacNeil would most likely hasten to your assistance. At the very least, you’d have his complete attention for the space of an evening. But as it is . . .”

There was no need for Lady Isabel to point out the fact that Raine’s figure lacked the curves so admired by the opposite sex. Her aunt raised her brows in calm speculation. “Since the two of you have never gotten along, I have to wonder why you think he’ll agree to help you find the man who sired you.”

“Pooh,” Raine countered. She pursed her lips and scowled. “Who could get along with The MacNeil? He’s loud and rough and a a braggart. He’s totally unlike his half brothers, Rory and Lachlan. Besides, the stubborn dolt has no belief whatsoever in magic.”

Isabel chuckled. “Well, Keir’s certainly no beauty, I grant you that. He doesn’t come close to matching Lachlan MacRath’s astonishing good looks and courtly manners. Nor Rory MacLean’s regal attractiveness.”

Raine looked away in an attempt to hide her feelings from her astute aunt. Since the summer she’d turned seventeen, Raine had fought an inexplicable attraction to Keir MacNeil. ’Twas a purely physical attraction. One she was determined to squelch, for the notorious womanizer seduced and discarded mistresses the way other men tossed out their stained shirts.

She rose to her feet and tossed the canvas bag on the bed beside her aunt. “Don’t bother folding that fancy gown, Auntie,” she said with a rueful smile. She bit her lower lip and blinked back the sudden tears that pooled in her eyes. “There won’t be dancing where I’m going. A few plain dresses will have to do.”

“Still,” her aunt said with a loving smile, “a lady should always take a few pretty gowns with her whenever she travels.”

Raine nodded and stuffed the red velvet along with several others into her bag.

“Pray, don’t be afraid, sweetie,” Isabel said in a hushed tone. “I believe ’tis your destiny to discover the identity of your natural father and learn why he left your mother while she carried his bairn. Be brave, niece, and do not falter.”

Raine sat down beside Lady Isabel, who immediately put an arm around her shoulders. “Sometimes,” Raine said,” I think I’m foolish searching for him, when he’s never made any attempt to find me. Perhaps he doesn’t even know I exist. He may deny that I’m his daughter.”

“You will never know the truth,” Isabel said, “unless you’re brave enough to search for the answer.”

It was barely dawn. The faint morning light peeked through the partially drawn curtains. Raine intended to leave the manor grounds before sunrise on the pretense of an early-morning ride. A sinking feeling churned in the pit of her stomach. ’Twas a ride from which she might never return.

She’d be traveling into the center of a storm.

War had come to the Highlands.

Six months before, Donald Dubh, the illegitimate son of Alexander Macdonald, the last high chief of the Isles, had been rescued from imprisonment in the island fortress of Innischonaill. A band of Macdonald clansmen had made their way unobserved through the heart of Campbell country, rowed silently across Loch Awe, rushed the castle, and freed its nineteen-year-old prisoner. He was immediately proclaimed lord of the Isles. The whole of the Hebrides rallied to his cause. Nearly every Macdonald in the Highlands and Isles, and their allies with them, rose up in rebellion against James Stewart.

The king of Scotland had designated Laird Keir MacNeil master and commander of a squadron in the royal fleet. The king had commissioned him to help put down the rebellion. Keir’s stated goal was to capture the traitors and bring them to Edinburgh for trial and hanging. One of those traitors was the man Raine believed to be her natural father, Torcall MacMurchaidh.

She had to reach him before Keir.

“I have something to give you,” Aunt Isabel said with an encouraging smile. She placed a smooth stone which had been chiseled into the shape of a heart in Raine’s palm. Uncounted years before, the stone had been engraved in an ancient language, incomprehensible today to most people. Only those familiar with the riddles and enchantments of the Tuatha De Danann—the faery race—could discern its meaning.

Raine brushed her thumb across the strange symbols. “What does it say?”

“ ’Tis a rune for your safety, my dear. Keep it with you at all times.” Isabel reached down and lifted a richly embroidered purse, filled with coins, off the bedcovers. She pulled the cords loose and dropped a handful more into the bag. “Here’s a few more gold unicorns to take with you, dear heart.”

Raine nodded as she placed the rune carefully inside her purse and fastened it on her girdle. Drawing a deep, steadying breath, she rose from the bed and held out her hands. Her aunt took them in her firm grasp and moved to stand beside Raine.

“When you reach the Isle of Lewis,” her aunt said, “you must go to the stones of wonder at Calanais. I’ve told you much about them, but you should visit the temple to the Mother of the Universe yourself.” Isabel clasped Raine by the shoulders and kissed her forehead. “I, too, have had a vision, my dear. I believe you will remain safe as long as you stay with Keir. ’Twill be very important that you are not separated from him during your journey.”

Raine slowly shook her head. “I don’t think the chief of Clan MacNeil will be agreeable to my hanging on to him like a bawling halflin.”

The picture that came to mind made them both laugh.

Laird Keir MacNeil was the most formidable warrior in the whole of Scotland. And beyond.

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13. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves: Home Sweet Home Edition

 

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

I’m back from OKC and trying to get all caught up at work and on the blog.  I have to say, I enjoy going out of town, but I miss my puppers when I’m gone.  Here are some pix of them.

Hahaha! I stole my brother’s toy! #dog #brat #spoiledrotten #rescue #toythief

A photo posted by Julie (@animejulie) on

Just letting my ears down after a hard week. TGIF! #dog #brat #spoiledrotten #selfie #rescue #princess

A photo posted by Julie (@animejulie) on

Somebody’s exhausted after doggie daycare #dog #brat #spoiledrotten #sleepy

A photo posted by Julie (@animejulie) on

Bumble: sometimes my sister isn’t so bad. #dog #sweetboy

A photo posted by Julie (@animejulie) on

 

 

 

Check out my current contests!  See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library.  Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

I got slammed by books over the last two weeks.  It’s like a book explosion.  It’s scaring me.

The Winner’s Crime

Illusion

The Millionaire Rogue

Jala’s Mask

The Secrets we Keep

Embassy Row #1: All Fall Down

The Terminals

Ignite

Court

Anomaly

The Tears of the Rose

Her Winning Formula

Broken Open

Texas Mail Order Bride

Riding for the Stars

The Sin Eaters Daughter

I also received a nice assortment of picture books that will be reviewed starting Jan 2015.

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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14. Spotlight and Giveaway: Court by Cat Patrick

I have enjoyed everything that I’ve read by Cat Patrick, so I was super excited to see that she has a new book coming out. I wanted to share with all of you because I think her writing is awesome…and well, there’s a giveaway you can enter!  So have at it!  Read about Court and then enter away!

 

court_96

Title: Court

Author: Cat Patrick

Date of Publication: October 23rd 2014

  goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47   About Court: For more than 400 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that’s survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn’t. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon — and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon’s lifelong best friend, already grapples with external struggles when he’s assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve — or destroy — everything, depending on your bloodline.

Money. Love. Power. Community. What’s your motivation?  

Amazon

  Q&A with Cat:

-Where did the idea came from?

After writing The Originals, I wanted to write something from multiple character perspectives. Around that time, I was thinking of my home state of Wyoming. A friend had recently driven through, and I thought about how people who aren’t from there don’t really know that much about Wyoming—it could be its own world, hiding secrets. It could be its own kingdom.

-Out of all the 4 perspectives, which is the hardest to write?

Surprisingly, the boys’ voices came easiest. (And there used to be two more!) As for one POV being more difficult than the others, I think the real challenge was developing each voice individually with only a heaping handful of chapters per character.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

Any craft grows with practice, and I hope that I’ve become a more controlled writer as I’ve published more books. I’m definitely more of a risk-taker than I was in the beginning, as well.

What 5 things would you like readers to know about you?

That I’m the greatest mommy in the world. (Say my children.) I love, and am inspired by, wind. I can kill it at Dance Central on Xbox. I share a birthday with one of my siblings. I once met Muhammad Ali.  

Excerpt: HAAKON

Before he was the enemy, James Haakon McHale III was just a seventeen-year-old in what most people knew as the state of Wyoming, wishing he was somewhere other than the predawn forest with a rifle in his grip.

“It’s colder than moonlight on a tombstone,” Haakon muttered, blowing on his fist. His thick-soled boots swish-thumped on the hard earth as he skillfully avoided twigs, rocks, and low branches.

Alexander Oxendine—youngest son of the Duke of Wind, wide receiver, video game button masher, and Haakon’s best friend—laughed into his collar. It could’ve been mistaken for a cough.

“It’s colder than a whore’s heart,” Alexander said, his tone cautiously low. They were the youngest members of the hunting party, and were only allowed to take part because of their rank. Haakon could think of a thousand superior privileges.

He glanced around to make sure none of the other men were paying attention—especially his father. Smirking, he said, “Colder than a polar bear’s balls.”

The pair stifled laughter.

“Than a witch’s—”

“Too easy.”

“Colder than a dead woman’s touch,” Alexander said.

Haakon checked again, dialed down his voice even more, and said, “It’s colder than Gwendolyn Rose’s kiss.”

“Quiet!”

It was Haakon’s father: dictator, fun-spoiler, and—regrettably for his son—the tenth ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, also known as the Realm, the monarchy hiding in plain sight in the depths of the Democracy known as the United States of America.

Every schoolchild knew the story. In 1670, after Joseph Dyer’s wife died in the Great Plague in London, he brought his five daughters to what would become the United States one hundred years later, seeking a better life. But it soon became apparent that his family would never thrive under strict Puritan rule in New England–which banned higher education for girls and taught submissiveness above all else, and which centered around extreme religious beliefs that were counter to Dyer’s own.

A friend, John Seymour, who was—controversially—married to a Native woman, suggested that they set out together in search of a new home deep within America’s treacherous unknown. Seymour’s wife had been attacked; her family persecuted. Seymour believed that rather than fighting the Natives, they should live in harmony with them.

Dyer, Seymour, and several other men and their families snuck away. After a long and dangerous journey, together they created their version of paradise: a kingdom that blended the best of England with Native cultures. Dyer was thought of as the Father of the Realm, and Seymour’s Native wife, who ensured their survival through tribal relations, the Mother.

Rather than cause a revolution, the founders decided to keep the kingdom secret. Inside the borders of what they’d eventually stake claim as Wyoming, they’d follow their own rules. Outsiders wouldn’t know they were different because they wouldn’t understand.

Outsiders weren’t to be trusted.

Dyer’s youngest daughter, captivated by the ancient Greek she wouldn’t have been allowed to learn in Puritan society, named the new kingdom Eurus, meaning <em>east wind</em>. She pronounced it “air-us.”

“But the winds here blow from the west,” Haakon had asked his father once—before Dad was King James. That was when it was okay to ask questions. When curiosity wasn’t an imposition.

“That’s right, Haakon,” his father had replied, straw between his teeth. They’d gone on a walk together. The sun was setting on an easy day. His dad had pointed toward the eastern horizon. “The wind here does primarily blow from the west, but our founders blew in from the east. That day, the wind changed directions.”

Haakon frowned away the memory of days never to return, and refocused on the trees. He walked as soundlessly as he could in his camo fleece jacket and vintage Levi’s, his rifle nestled in the crook of his left arm, a round in the chamber. He was on the left edge of the group, three rows behind his father. Evenly spaced gaps between them, the men were like migrating geese, locked in formation.

Geese hunting deer.

“Were you drinking last night?” Haakon’s father had demanded on the way to the meeting point that morning. “Is that why you’re so tired?”

“I’m tired because it’s so early that the birds aren’t even awake yet.”

“Good. Because you know what the consequences will be if you start drinking again.” They’d shared the backseat of the armored SUV; Haakon had done his best to preoccupy himself with his cell phone.

“Yes, sir, I know.”

“You need to turn that thing off before we arrive. And when’s your next haircut? You look slovenly.”

Will you just get off my back. Haakon had thought at the top of his lungs. What he’d said, though, was simply, “Yes, sir.”

There, in the forest, Haakon toyed with the idea of raising his gun and shooting King James square in the back of the head. Right there under his hat, just above the rise of his custom down hunting vest. He could do it. Even with the others present, he knew there’d be no trial, no trip to Corby. But offing his father wouldn’t solve anything. In fact, it would make life a lot worse. Because with his father gone, Haakon would be in charge.

Haakon would become the King of Eurus.

The thought made him want to puke.

 court_teaser1  

 

  About Cat Patrick:

Cat PatrickCat Patrick is an author of books for teens. Her debut novel, FORGOTTEN (available now), is about a girl who can remember the future instead of the past, and was praised by NYT bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher, as a “mindbending,” one-sitting read. The book is being translated into 21 languages and Paramount bought the movie rights, with True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld attached to star as the main character, London Lane.

Patrick’s second (unrelated) novel, REVIVED, is about a girl who’s part of a secret government program to test a drug that brings people back from the dead. REVIVED will be available in the US May 2012, and in the UK and Australia Summer 2012.

Patrick lives near Seattle with her husband and twin 3-year-olds, and is afraid of zombies, planes, and zombies on planes.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

 

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15. Guest Post and Giveaway: Loop by Karen Akins

Please give a warm welcome to Karen Akins this morning! She’s here to chat about her new release, LOOP.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today to celebrate the release of LOOP!

One of the things about writing any story is that as the creator, you know so much more about your characters than ends up on the page. It’s fun to be able to share some of these “extras” with readers. Smile

Without further ado, I give you…

The Top 5 Things Bree Never Leaves Home Without:

1. Her QuantCom. This handy little device is kind of like a temporal GPS, telling her where and when she is while she’s time traveling. At one point, Finn refers to it as “her security blanket,” and it kind of is. When I was thinking through what it would be like to be a time traveler, the Com was one of the first devices I thought up because it would help you feel a little more in control of your surroundings.

2. Comfy, non-descript clothing. Another detail that I thought through. I’m not sure that time travelers would really worry all that much about perfectly matching the styles of any era as long as they don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

3. Her heart-shaped locket. Bree’s mother is in a coma (which may be a bit more than it seems…dunh dunh dunhhhhhh), and one object that helps Bree feel closer to her mom is the photo locket that her mom gave her when she was younger. One thing I love about the cover of LOOP is that the space between them forms a heart, sort of an homage to the locket.

4. Hair clip. Bree’s pretty non-fussy, so it would be pretty utilitarian with maybe a little bit of sparkle that her best friend Mimi insisted on attaching to it.

5. Lip gloss. Navigating the space-time continuum can be pretty chapping on the lips, y’all. One detail about Bree’s lip gloss that I had to cut out was that it changes shades to perfectly complement the wearer’s skin tone.

Bonus: One thing she would be SO tempted to sneak back with her? Girl Scout Thin Mints.

Thanks again for having me! I hope everyone enjoys LOOP. <3

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

US addresses only, please

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16. Series Spotlight and Giveaway: Sweet Texas Series by Candis Terry

 
Enter to Win
Signed Copy of SOMETHING SWEETER,
Halloween Socks and Halloween Candy!

 
 
HE’S STUBBORN AND THOROUGHLY MALE . . .

If Charlotte Brooks thinks she and her TV makeover show can turn Reno Wilder’s hometown upside down, he’ll be happy to prove her wrong. The x-Marine has seen too much turmoil and he likes Sweet, Texas, just the way it is. Traditional. Familiar. A little dull. Everything Charli isn’t. But instead of backing off from his scowls like everyone else, Charli digs in her skyscraper heels.

SHE’S TENACIOUS AND WICKEDLY TEMPTING . . .

Reno Wilder is a one-man unwelcoming committee, but Charli isn’t budging. It’s clear the gorgeous cowboy needs an overhaul just as much as Sweet. Someone needs to break him out of that gruff shell and show him how fun and rewarding a little change can be.

THEY’RE ABOUT TO FIND THAT LOVE IS ANYTHING BUT PREDICTABLE.




 
 
 
WHEN FRIENDS BECOME LOVERS . . .

Firefighter and former Marine Jackson Wilder has tough guy down to an art, but he’s learned the hard way that promises were made to be broken. Abigail Morgan was once his best friend, his first kiss, his first love, his first everything. He’d just forgotten to mention all that to her and she blew out of his life. Five years later, she’s back and he’s battling a load of mistrust for her disappearing act. But for some reason he just can’t keep his lips—or his hands—to himself.

IT CAN LEAD TO DISASTER OR . . .

When her stint as a trophy wife abruptly ends, Abby returns home to Sweet, Texas, and comes face-to-face with Jackson—her biggest and sexiest mistake. Time and distance did nothing to squash her love for the act-first-think-later stubborn hunk of a man, and when he suggests they renew their old just-friends vow, Abby realizes she wants more. She’d cut and run once. Could she do it again? Or could she tempt him enough to break his promise?

THE SWEETEST MISTAKE.





 
 
The men in Texas are hard to resist . . .

Seattle event planner Allison Lane is an expert at delivering the perfect wedding—even if she might not exactly believe in the whole “’til death do us part” thing. When her father decides to tie the knot with a woman he barely knows, Allison heads to Sweet, Texas, to make sure his new honey is the real deal. What she didn’t expect to find at the local honky-tonk was a sexy Southern man as bent on charming her pants off as he is on blowing her “true love doesn’t exist” theory all to hell.

And they always promise . . .

Veterinarian, former Marine, and Sweet’s favorite playboy Jesse Wilder takes one look at Allison and knows she’s a handful of trouble he can’t deny. But even after a sizzling kiss and obvious mutual attraction, it seems Allison has no such problem. When Jesse uncovers her sweet side, can he crush his playboy image, melt her cynical heart, and change her mind about taking a trip down the aisle?
 



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Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to chasing down wayward steers. Only one thing has remained the same: her passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.

 
 

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17. Interview with Chrys Fey, Author of 30 Seconds

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Chrys! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Chrys Fey] Rock obsessed auntie who writes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about 30 Seconds?

[Chrys Fey] 30 Seconds is a romantic-suspense novella about a woman who finds herself in the middle of a war between a police force and the Mob.

When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he’s made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He’s determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob’s death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart’s life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she’s dodging bullets, she’s falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat?

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Chrys Fey] Oh there are so many! My favorite action scene is when Dani Hart runs from the Mob. They chase her out of the hospital where she works, down a packed street in the heart of Cleveland, and into an alley. They openly shoot at her, too, not caring that civilians are everywhere. It’s an intense, heart-pounding scene. I also love the scene when Dani and Blake have a snowball fight. It’s light and funny, a moment they desperately needed.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Chrys Fey] Getting to know Blake and Dani. They were interesting characters from the first time they popped into my head. Blake arrived thanks to a dream and Dani showed up shortly after I had a layover in the Cleveland, Ohio airport on my way to Michigan. Dani is a tough doctor who loves rock music and horror movies. Blake is a sexy cop who struggles with his commitment to protect Dani due to his growing desires.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Chrys Fey] Chap Stick.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Chrys Fey] A witch’s cauldron that I turned into a writer’s cauldron with pens, pencils and scrap paper, “Queen of the Damned” by Anne Rice, and my Skull Candy headphones.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Chrys Fey] Sandwiches are my go to meal if I work through lunch, but when it gets to be around two or three in the afternoon anything sweet will do.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Chrys Fey] I would trade places with my character Dani to spend some time with Blake, a sexy police officer. Do you blame me? *wink*

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Chrys Fey] I would want the power to blink my body from one place to another, so I could go to all the places I’ve dreamed about visiting, like Ireland, Venice, and London.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Chrys Fey] Moonless by Crystal Collier, Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc by PK Hrezo, and Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

Chrys Fey] I am very active on Facebook and my blog. I love to read and reply back to comments from readers; it’s the highlight of my day.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/chrysfey

Blog: www.writewithfey.blogspot.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ChrysFey

Amazon: www.authorcentral.amazon.com/chrysfey

Title: 30 Seconds

Author: Chrys Fey

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Length: Novella (105 pages)

Format: eBook

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Published: September 10th, 2014

Bio:

Chrys Fey is a lover of rock music just like Dani Hart in 30 Seconds. Whenever she’s writing at her desk, headphones are always emitting the sounds of her musical muses -especially that of her favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars, the inspiration behind the title.

30 Seconds is her second eBook with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Hurricane Crimes, is also available on Amazon.

Discover her writing tips on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook. She loves to get to know her readers!

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18. Review: The Doctor’s Fake Fiancée by Victoria James

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

When Victoria James asked if I wanted to review her latest release, I had to think about it for all of about 2 seconds.  I have read and enjoyed the other Red River books, so I was eager to jump into The Doctor’s Fake Fiancée.  I’ll admit that I’m always nervous to accept requests from authors, because what if I don’t like their book?  I’m happy to report that once I started this one, I wasn’t concerned about that any longer.  While not every aspect of the story worked for me, most of it pushed all the right buttons.

Grace is a single mother struggling to raise her son without help from anyone.  Her mother, her only source of support, passed away, leaving her with no one to rely on.  Her ex walked out on her while she was pregnant, and even her father is a distant memory.  He walked out on her, too, when she was a young girl, leaving her mother to raise her by herself.  Grace has never had much, but she works hard and provides a loving home for her son. 

The story begins with a terrible car accident; both Grace and Christopher are trapped in her car, with the fiery wreck of a truck threatening to blow at any moment.  Thankfully, Dr.  Evan Manning comes to their rescue, saving both mother and son.  Evan and Christopher are injured during the ordeal, and Evan’s surgical career is over. 

A year later, Grace has managed to locate Evan.  She wants to thank him for saving her and Christopher.  Evan is filling in at the clinic in his hometown of Red River, and he’s hating every minute of it.  He longs for the fast-paced environment of the ER.  The slow pace of the clinic, and the nosy patients, are driving him batty.  He’s not much of a people person, and one of the things he missed least about his hometown is how everyone feels the need to know everyone else’s business.  He’s even so grumpy that the clinic’s long-term receptionist quits and walks out on him.

When Grace and Christopher appear, he’s less than pleased.  He doesn’t want to remember the accident that robbed him of his career.  But then he realizes that maybe their timing is perfect.  He needs a replacement receptionist, and Grace has worked in clinics previously.  He offers Grace a job, as well as a temporary gig – all she has to do is pretend to be his fiancée.  He’s applied for a job as the CEO of a chain of plastic surgery clinics.  It’s not the high pressure excitement of the O.R., but it should be challenging and keep him from losing his mind  to boredom.  To cement the position, he needs a wife.  Or a fiancée.   The company is very family oriented, and he wants all the leverage he can get, so Grace’s sudden appearance is timely.

This was probably the weakest plot point for me.  Grace is unemployed and has rent to pay and a young child to take care of, so I can see her being desperate enough to go along with Evan’s proposal.  He offers her a place to stay, offers to pay the rent on her Toronto apartment, and will even spring for a new wardrobe, because his fiancée is expected to look sophisticated and fashionable.  He’s a complete stranger, and yes, while he did save their lives a year ago, she doesn’t know him, and she can’t be sure that he’s trustworthy.  While I do love the fairy tale simplicity of this set up, I am just too suspicious accept him at face value this early in the game.

What I enjoyed most about The Doctor’s Fake Fiancée was Evan’s growth from a self-absorbed man who put his career before everything else in his life, into a man who learned the importance of family, friends, and roots.  Evan thought that all of the answers to his dissatisfaction with his life would be found in Toronto, as the CEO of Medcorp.  Nothing else mattered to him but snagging that job.  Not his brothers or their wives or their children, or the many people who tried to get him to open up to them and accept how important he was to the community.  For such a smart guy, it takes him an awfully long time to realize what really mattered, and that a big fat paycheck and a lifetime of shuffling around papers wasn’t it.  Evan’s life before he met Grace was so empty and devoid of emotion, it’s no wonder he had a hard time connecting with his own feelings.  They had gone dormant, and it took the shock of a loving woman and a rambunctious boy to jolt them back to wakefulness.

The Doctor’s Fake Fiancée is a sweet, feel good read.  I enjoyed the Red River series,  and the author has become a favorite on my reading list.  I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by author

From Amazon:

Their marriage bargain is just what the doctor ordered…

Former surgeon and self-professed life-long bachelor Evan Manning has one thing on his mind—to reclaim the career that a car accident stole from him. But when he’s forced to return to his hometown of Red River, Evan comes face-to-face with the gorgeous woman who’s haunted his dreams for the last year—the woman he rescued from the burning car that injured his hand. Now Evan needs her help. In a month, he’ll have the job opportunity of a lifetime…he just needs a wife to get it.

Artist Grace Matheson is down on her luck again…until she walks into Evan Manning’s office. When her sexy former hero hears that she needs work, he offers her a job and a home—if she’ll pretend she’s his fiancée. Grace knows she shouldn’t fall for him. Once the month is up, Evan will be back to his old life. But the more time they spend together, the more real their feelings become—and the more likely heartbreak is.

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19. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves – Hanging Out in OKC

 

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

After our departure debacle, we arrived in OKC and have been enjoying a week of beautiful horses, beautiful weather, and fair to middling food.  I have been watching the show and trying to catch up on some reading, and that is really about it!

Have you had any adventures during the last week?

Check out my current contests!  See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library.  Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

Scandalous Summer Nights

Can’t Wait

Christmas at Twilight

Black Raven’s Lady

Control

Possess

The Orphan Army

Six


Lies We Tell Ourselves

Covering Kendall

Touching Paradise

After the End

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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20. Guest Post and Giveaway: Jenny Colgan, Author of Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe

This morning, Jenny Colgan shares Issy’s must haves for the kitchen.  Be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a digital copy of Christmas at the Cupcake Café!

Issy’s Top 5 must haves:

*A good mixer. Kenwood, the British brand is the best: they also come in gorgeous colours!

*a cooling rack. You need to get air under your cakes to finish baking them properly when they’re out the oven!

*a measuring jug. Sometimes you don’t even need to get the scales out if you can approximate from the jug and it’s an easy cake!

* a skewer to poke in and see if your cake is done

* springform cake tins. These are the ones with the bottoms that come out. If you’re clumsy like me, they’re a godsend!

 

Christmas at the Cupcake Café

Cupcake Café # 2

By: Jenny Colgan

Releasing October 14th, 2014

William Morrow

Issy Randall, proud owner of The Cupcake Cafe, is in love and couldn’t be happier. Her new business is thriving and she is surrounded by close friends, even if her cupcake colleagues Pearl and Caroline don’t seem quite as upbeat about the upcoming season of snow and merriment. But when her boyfriend Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to face up to the prospect of a long-distance romance. And when the Christmas rush at the cafe – with its increased demand for her delectable creations – begins to take its toll, Issy has to decide what she holds most dear.

This December, Issy will have to rely on all her reserves of courage, good nature and cinnamon, to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas, one way or another. . .

Indulge yourself and your sweet-toothed friends with Jenny Colgan’s new novel, simply bursting with Christmas cupcake recipes and seasonal sugar-fuelled fun.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/christmas-at-cupcake-cafe-cupcake-cafe.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13596423-christmas-at-the-cupcake-caf?ac=1

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-at-Cupcake-Cafe-Novel-ebook/dp/B00K53EH56/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1410452461

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-at-the-cupcake-cafe-jenny-colgan/1113460040?ean=9780062371188

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/christmas-at-the-cupcake-cafe/id524415333?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/christmas-at-the-cupcake-cafe-1/zhaR2ygNd0ie4dITpEBkPA

Author Info

Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including Christmas at the Cupcake Café and The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, which are also published by Sphere. Meet Me at the Cupcake Café won the 2012 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, as was Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and France.

Author Links

Website: http://www.jennycolgan.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennycolganbooks
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JennyColgan
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/39272.Jenny_Colgan

Rafflecopter Giveaway (2 e-copies of CHRISTMAS AT THE CUPCAKE CAFE)

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21. Teaser and Giveaway: Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler

This morning I have an exclusive teaser from Paige Tyler’s Her Lone Wolf, as well as a giveaway. Please check it out, and make sure to follow the other blogs on the tour!

Her Lone Wolf

Series: X-Ops Book 2

Author: Paige Tyler

Pubdate: November 4th, 2014

ISBN: 9781402292125

Leaving him was Impossible…

It took everything she had for FBI Special Agent Danica Beckett to walk away from the man she loved. But if she wants to save his life, she has to keep her distance. Now, with a killer on the loose and the stakes higher than ever before, the Department of Covert Ops is forcing these former lovers into an uneasy alliance…whether they like it or not.

Seeing her again is even worse

The last thing Clayne Buchanan wants is to be shackled to the woman who broke his heart. She gets under his skin in a way no one ever has and makes him want things he has no right to anymore. All he has to do is suffer through this case and he can be free of her for good. But when Clayne finds out why Danica left in the first place, everything he’s tried to bury comes roaring back—and there’s no way this wolf shifter is going to let her get away this time.

Paige Tyler is the USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them. Visit www.paigetylertheauthor.com.

An Excerpt:

“Now I’d like to introduce Danica Beckett, one of the lead agents on the case. She’ll brief us on what we know up to this point in the investigation.”

Clayne stiffened at the name, sure he must have heard wrong. But then he smelled a scent so familiar, so intoxicating that he knew he hadn’t. The air left his lungs and he suddenly couldn’t breathe. He gripped the folder in his hand in an effort to keep his claws from coming out. Danica-freaking-Beckett. He felt as if he’d just been kicked in the balls.

He didn’t dare look at her as she walked to the front of the room and took her place at the podium, afraid if he did he might completely lose it. Not that he needed to look. He knew every inch of her body from her full, luscious lips to the tiny beauty mark on her right hip, and everywhere in between. Her face had haunted him every moment of the day and night for the past two years until he thought he’d go insane.

But one memory seared hotter than all the others. When the woman he’d loved more than life itself had looked at him with cold, hard eyes and told him she never wanted to see him again.

“Thank you, Agent Carhart.”

Her voice might as well have been that of a siren’s call for all the power he had to resist it. Unable to help himself, Clayne lifted his head to look at her. She was dressed in a dark pantsuit with a blue blouse underneath, her silky brunette hair up in that twist thing she always did when she was working.

It had been two years since Danica had dumped his ass, and she looked even more beautiful than she had the last time he’d seen her. That only made it worse. It would have been easier if she’d let herself go to hell. It hurt to gaze at her. Getting away from him had clearly done wonders for her.

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Make sure to follow all the blogs on Paige’s teaser tour so you can read all of the excerpts!

20-Oct

Manga Maniac Café

http://www.mangamaniaccafe.com/

Teaser Excerpt 1

21-Oct

Bitten by Love

http://www.bittenbylovereviews.com/

Teaser Excerpt 2

22-Oct

Long and Short Reviews

http://www.longandshortreviews.com/

Teaser Excerpt 3

23-Oct

Joyfully Reviewed

http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/

Teaser Excerpt 4

24-Oct

Love Romance Passion

http://www.loveromancepassion.com/

Teaser Excerpt 5

Weekend

27-Oct

Reading Between the Wines

http://readingbetweenthewinesblog.com/

Teaser Excerpt 6

28-Oct

Anna’s Book Blog

http://annavivian.blogspot.com/

Teaser Excerpt 7

29-Oct

Literary Escapism

http://www.literaryescapism.com/

Teaser Excerpt 3

30-Oct

The Reading Café

http://www.thereadingcafe.com/

Teaser Excerpt 9

31-Oct

Romancing the Dark Side

http://romancingthedarkside.com/

Teaser Excerpt 10

The post Teaser and Giveaway: Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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22. Giveaway: Win Kindle Fire from Kimberley Griffiths Little, Author of Forbidden

Here’s an awesome giveaway that I wanted to share. You can win a Kindle Fire, as well as a ton of other goodies!  Kimberley Griffiths Little is celebrating the release of her historical novel FORBIDDEN with a giveaway!  Check it out!

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.

 

 

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter. TO ENTER:

  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to forbiddengiveaway@gmail.com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.
PRIZES:

(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB — choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt)

2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson

3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White

4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt

5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf

6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)

7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings

8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)

9. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)

10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards

11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)

(1) SECOND PLACE WINNER:
1. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
(13) RUNNERS-UP WINNERS:
1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.
Follow Kimberley:
About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com.
Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

The post Giveaway: Win Kindle Fire from Kimberley Griffiths Little, Author of Forbidden appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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23. Interview with Maya Banks, Author of Keep Me Safe and Giveaway

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Maya! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Maya Banks] Introverted, cave-dweller, book-lover, LOVES-to-dish-romance!, SO grateful to my readers.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Maya Banks] Keep Me Safe is a LONG awaited story for me. I’ve wanted to write this story and book 3 for SO long. I’ve had those two stories in my head for YEARS. But a concise peek (and I’m not very concise!) is that Ramie has psychic abilities, unique abilities, that enable her to track kidnapping victims by touching an object belonging to the victim. She makes a connection to them, but the downside is that she experiences every thing the victim does once she makes that connection. Everything. So it’s rather horrifying. She’s an empath who is only able to feel or detect the evil in people. Never the good. So her “gift” is more of a curse since she’s never able to feel the GOOD.

Caleb hunts her down when his sister is abducted and they’ve exhausted all leads. He knows he’s racing against the clock and when Ramie refuses because she’s at her breaking point, he “forces” her compliance by shoving his sister’s scarf into her hands and holding her hands around it. And promptly sends her to hell.

Horrified by what he’s done, he’s determined to make it up to her. But she disappears and no amount of searching on his part is able to unearth her. Until she contacts him a year later because she’s in terrible danger and doesn’t know who else to turn to.

And well, thus begins their journey :)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Maya Banks] As stated above, this is a story I’ve literally had in my head for many years. And the first thing that came to me was a single scene where the hero forces the heroine’s compliance when she initially refuses his request for her to help find his kidnapped sister. The hero has no idea what hell he has just unleashed on the heroine and has no idea the toll it takes on her and is appalled when he discovers just what he’s done.

That scene, which is the opening scene of Keep Me Safe, was the basis for the entire story and subsequent series. Book 3 in the Slow Burn series, Safe At Last, is ALSO a story that I have had the idea living in my head for many years and I’m THRILLED not only to get to write Caleb and Ramie’s story, but Zack’s and Gracie’s story in book 3. (Finally!)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Maya Banks] Everything! Every single word. After waiting so long to be able to bring this story to light I loved every scene.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Maya Banks] Honestly nothing. When you’ve had as long as I have to think about this story you don’t encounter many “bumps in the road” simply because you’ve had so long to go over the possibilities, arrange and rearrange constantly until you KNOW exactly what you want to do with the story.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Maya Banks] Uh well I think it changes often or at least I can’t think of ONE song that would fit me all the time. I’m extremely eclectic and my music tastes range WIDELY.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Maya Banks] My laptop.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Maya Banks] While I DO have an office and a desk, I don’t always use it. I tend to switch places (writing spots) and currently my office isn’t it, so my desk is pretty clean!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Maya Banks] Ok as you’re no doubt discovering I’m a really boring person! I honestly can’t think of anyone I’d like to trade places with because I’m a FIRM believer in “the grass is always greener…until you get there”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Maya Banks] I’ve had VERY little reading time this year because I’ve been sidelines by health issues :( I’ve mostly been reading my OWN stories as I write them lol. BUT reading is ESSENTIAL for me. Especially after I come off an exhausting, stressful deadline. Reading helps me recharge the batteries and helps me rediscover my love of romance and it motivates me to go write another kickass book.

But at the same time, sometimes, especially when I DON’T have a lot of time, I don’t want to risk a new author or a new title that I’m unsure that I’ll LIKE. It’s at times like these that I fall back on my “comfort re-reads”  These are books that I love no matter HOW many times I re-read them. I’ve literally read them dozens and DOZENS of time because I KNOW they won’t disappoint me and the make me happy and motivate me to write something truly special.

So after coming off a VERY exhausting, DRAINING deadline a week ago, I was WASTED but I needed a “comfort re-read” so I chose three of Kresley Cole’s books in her IAD series and just went to bed and curled up with my super comfy pillows (I LOVE my down pillows and I LOVE my bed and down comforter and my AWESOME linens) Bed accessories are my one indulgence. So I took two days and just decompressed and read some Kresley Cole books just to give my brain a rest and make it “happy”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Maya Banks] I am VERY close to my family. I have an EXTREMELY close and open relationship with all thee of my teenage children. I know, I know! Shocking, right?? And my favorite thing in the WORLD is simply being able to put my work away after finishing a deadline and even if it’s just all crashing on the couch together and watching a movie, or gathering in the kitchen over a family meal and discussing what’s going on with them and school, these are the times I savor the most. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.

I also love to travel and I am NOT a planner. If my husband and I actually try to sit down and plan out a trip down to the minutest detail months in advance, we become overwhelmed and frustrated and can never decide exactly what we want to do. We LOVE taking spur of the moment trips with no more than a day’s notice and we seem to be less frustrated with the “details” when we just GO instead of trying to plan it all out.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Maya Banks] I hang out on Facebook and Twitter quite frequently. And I’m always available via email and my website always contains the latest, up to date information on all my books and releases. Links are below

www.facebook.com/authormayabanks

twitter.com/@maya_banks

www.mayabanks.com

maya@mayabanks.com

Keep Me Safe

Slow Burn # 1

By: Maya Banks

Releasing October 7th, 2014

Avon

A sizzling story of a woman who risks her life and her heart to find a wealthy man’s missing sister—the first novel in a sexy new romantic suspense series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks

When Caleb Devereaux’s younger sister is kidnapped, this scion of a powerful and wealthy family turns to an unlikely source for help: a beautiful and sensitive woman with a gift for finding answers others cannot.

While Ramie can connect to victims and locate them by feeling their pain, her ability comes with a price. Every time she uses it, it costs her a piece of herself. Helping the infuriatingly attractive and impatient Caleb successfully find his sister nearly destroys her. Even though his sexual intensity draws her like a magnet, she needs to get as far away from him as she can.

Deeply remorseful for the pain he’s caused, Caleb is determined to make things right. But just when he thinks Ramie’s vanished forever, she reappears. She’s in trouble and she needs his help. Now, Caleb will do risk everything to protect her—including his heart. . . .

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/keep-me-safe-slow-burn-1-by-maya-banks.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20910177-keep-me-safe?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Keep-Me-Safe-Novel-Novels-ebook/dp/B00H20H5NG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408970888&sr=8-1&keywords=keep+me+safe

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/keep-me-safe-maya-banks/1117650167?ean=9780062312464

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/keep-me-safe/id771083448?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/keep-me-safe-1

Author Info

Maya Banks is a #1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the KGI novels, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels.
She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties and a Calico who’s been with her as long as her youngest child. She’s an avid reader of romance and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who’ll listen! She very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook and Twitter as well as in her Yahoo! Group.

Author Links

Website: http://mayabanks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMayaBanks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maya_banks
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/24978.Maya_Banks

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Caleb Devereaux turned out of the sharp switchback and onto the driveway leading up to the tiny mountain cabin, swearing when he hit pothole after pothole. Fury and impatience simmered in his blood but the anticipation of having finally found Ramie St. Claire after an exhaustive search kept his mood from being completely black.

Ramie was his sister, Tori’s, only hope.

The moment Tori was kidnapped, Caleb had begun his search for Ramie St. Claire. She certainly wasn’t the first person on most people’s go-to list when looking for a loved one. Ramie was psychic and had been helpful in locating victims in the past. While many would be skeptical, Caleb absolutely believed in Ramie’s abilities.

His own sister had psychic abilities.

He and his brothers, Beau and Quinn, had always been extremely overprotective of their baby sister. With good reason. Caleb was the head of a veritable empire. Security was always top priority. They’d always feared kidnapping for ransom, but in their worst nightmares they’d never imagined that Tori would simply disappear and be at the mercy of a madman.

There’d been no ransom demand. Simply a video of Tori bound hand and foot and the maniacal laughter of her captor as he told Caleb to kiss his sister goodbye.

He just prayed he wasn’t too late. God, don’t let it be too late for Tori.

It infuriated him that Ramie St. Claire had simply dropped off the map three months ago. No trace of her, no forwarding address. No evidence that she even existed. How could she simply disappear when she was such an invaluable aid in finding kidnap victims and missing persons? How selfish of her to simply refuse, by her actions, to help anyone?

He’d worked himself into a rage by the time he finally pulled up to the small cabin that looked as though it wouldn’t weather the upcoming winter at all. He wasn’t even certain there would be electricity. Only a person determined not to be found would live in a place like this.

He got out and strode to the ramshackle front door, his fist up and pounding. The door shook and rattled under the force of his knock. Only silence greeted him and it sent his blood pressure soaring.

“Miss St. Claire!” he roared. “Answer the goddamn door!”

He beat on the door again, shouting again for her to answer. He likely looked and sounded like the madman holding his sister, but at this point he didn’t care. He was beyond desperation. It had taken every resource available to him to finally track Ramie down. No way in hell he was leaving until he’d gotten the information he’d come for.

Then the door swung open and he was greeted by the sight of a petite woman with wary, gray eyes. He was momentarily taken aback, going silent as he stared at Ramie St. Claire for the first time in person.

The photos he’d seen of her didn’t do her justice. There was a delicate air to her as though she were recovering from an illness, but it in no way detracted from her beauty. She looked…fragile. He felt a brief moment of guilt for what he was about to ask her to do, but he brushed it away. There was no price too high to pay for his sister’s life.

“I can’t help you.”

Her softly spoken words slid like velvet over his ears, a direct contrast from the anger her refusal caused. He hadn’t even made his request yet and she was already giving him the brush-off.

“You don’t even know what it is I want,” he said in an icy tone that would wither most people.

“It’s rather obvious,” she said wearily, fatigue drooping her eyelids. “Why else would you come all this way? I don’t even want to know how you found me. It’s obvious I did a piss poor job of covering my tracks if you managed to find me here.”

Caleb frowned. Had she been ill? Was that why she’d dropped out of sight so she could recover? It didn’t matter why now that he’d found her. He didn’t care what her reasons were.

“With your abilities why would you purposely make yourself difficult to find?” he demanded. “My sister’s life is at stake here, Miss St. Claire. I’m not merely asking you to help me. I’m not leaving until you do.”

She shook her head adamantly, fear chasing the lethargy from her eyes. “I can’t.”

There was quiet desperation to her words that told him there was more to her refusal than what appeared on the surface. Something was wrong and yet he couldn’t summon any regret for forcing her compliance. Not when Tori’s life hung in the balance.

He reached inside his jacket and pulled out Tori’s scarf. The one item they’d found at the sight where she must have been taken. In the parking lot of a grocery store beside the open door of her car. He should have never let her go alone. He’d failed her. Failed to protect her. Failed to ensure proper security.

Ramie immediately backed away, a desperate cry on her lips. He shoved forward, forcing the scarf into her hands and holding her and the scarf so there was no escape. She emitted a broken sob and she looked up at him, stricken, her face going unnaturally pale. Her pupils flared and then clouded, pain and devastation clearly outlined on her features.

“No,” she whispered. “Not again. Oh God, not again. I won’t survive it.”

Her knees buckled and she would have gone down, but he caught her, ensuring the scarf never lost contact with her hands. He watched in horror as Ramie’s body sagged, slipping from his grasp despite his best effort to support her weight. She was simply lifeless, as limp as a rag doll. He quickly followed her down to the floor, determined that she not lose her grip on Tori’s scarf. But it didn’t seem to matter now. Ramie was somewhere else.

Her eyes glazed over and her body began to twitch spasmodically. She curled into a fetal position, the fragility of such a self-protective measure gutting him. She moaned softly and then began to weep.

“Please don’t hurt me again. Please, I’m begging you. I can’t take any more. If you’re going to kill me, just do it. Quit torturing me.”

Chill bumps spread rapidly up Caleb’s nape as Ramie’s voice, which sounded nearly identical to Tori’s, filled his ears. Dear God, was he witnessing what was happening to his sister through Ramie?

The scene Ramie was painting was horrifying. Not only for the fact that his sister was even now enduring the absolute worse. But from all appearances, Ramie was suffering with her.

He’d certainly done his research on Ramie St. Claire’s abilities but there was little information beyond her astonishing success record. No mention of how she managed to help victims or what it did to her. God help them all. What had he done?

Her body jerked and it took only a moment for Caleb to realize what was happening. It was too unmistakable. Bile rose in his throat and he had to suck in steadying breaths to keep from heaving the contents of his stomach on the floor. Tears burned his eyelids as he helplessly watched his sister being raped through the window of Ramie’s awareness.

Ramie’s weeping tore at his heart and he gathered her into his arms, not knowing what else to do but rock her gently. “Tori?” He whispered his sister’s name experimentally, not knowing if a link had been established through Ramie. “Can you hear me? It’s Caleb. Tell me where you are, honey. I’ll come for you. Hold on please. Don’t give up, no matter how bad it is.”

Ramie’s head jerked sideways and the imprint of a hand immediately appeared on her cheek. Caleb was horrified, unsure of what to do now that he’d crossed a line he couldn’t come back from. He tried to push back his guilt, telling himself that anything that helped him recover his sister was worth it. But was torturing an innocent woman worth it?

He hadn’t given her a choice. She’d told him no and yet he’d forced this on her not knowing the heavy toll it would take. He had no idea how her powers worked and now that he did he was sick to his soul. No wonder she’d been so resistant. No wonder she’d told him she couldn’t do it anymore.

“Ramie. Ramie!” he said in a more forceful voice. “Come back to me, Ramie. Come back so you can tell me how to find her.”

Ramie’s eyes were opened but so distant that he knew she wasn’t here. The imprint of the hand on her face was bright and vivid, red against deathly white skin. There was a look of such defeat and despair in her eyes that once again he found himself battling tears.

Suddenly she hunched inward, her entire body jolting as though absorbing a blow. She wrapped her arms around her stomach and he realized that she’d been kicked. Or rather Tori had been kicked. It was a horrific, helpless feeling to know that two women were being victimized, one because of him.

Then she simply rolled away, her cheek lying against the cold floor, her eyes fixed and vacant. She was completely still and terror gripped him. Was Tori dead? Oh dear God! Had he just witnessed his sister’s murder?

“Ramie! Wake up! God, please wake up. Tell me how to find her. Tell me that she’s still alive!”

He picked Ramie’s slight weight up, swearing because she was so thin and fragile, weighing nothing in his arms. He carried her to the worn sofa and carefully laid her down, not wanting to hurt her any more than she’d already been hurt.

He sat on the edge, gathering her icy hands in his, rubbing, trying to infuse warmth. He had no idea what to do. Should he take her to a hospital?

Then after several long moments, she blinked and seemed to come out of her trance. Pain immediately swamped her features and she began to silently weep again, each tear cutting him to ribbons.

“Is she still alive?” he asked anxiously. “Do you know how to find her?”

“Yes,” Ramie said dully.

Hope surged in his heart and he found himself nearly crushing her hands in his.

“Tell me where,” he urged.

Slowly and painfully she whispered the location down to the minutest detail. Chills once again slithered up his spine at the precision in which she described not only the location but the kidnapper. She even provided a license plate number.

He picked up his phone and immediately called his brother, relaying the information that Ramie had provided. When he was done, he stared helplessly down at Ramie, grateful and yet deeply regretful for what he’d just subjected her to.

“What do I need to do to help you?” he asked softly.

Resignation dulled her eyes even further. “There’s nothing you can do,” she said in a flat voice. “Just go.”

“The hell I’ll just leave you here!”

He was already calculating in his head that he could simply bring her with him. He could get her the care she so obviously needed at the same time Tori was receiving what she needed.

“Your sister needs you. Just go. I’ll be fine.”

The lie was so obvious, but it seemed to be all she could muster. He was torn between rushing to be with Tori and staying to ensure Ramie would be all right. But how could she be? Two women would live with this for the rest of their lives. His precious sister and the woman he’d forced to help him never knowing the price she’d pay.

“Please,” she begged, her voice breaking. “Just go and leave me be. I gave you what you wanted. I helped you, now go. It’s the least you can do.”

Caleb stood, wiping a hand over his hair and down the back of his neck in agitation. “I’ll go, but I’m coming back, Ramie. I’m going to make this up to you.”

“You can never take this back,” she whispered. “There’s no making up for what’s been done. Just go and take care of your sister. She needs you.”

She closed her eyes, tears seeping from her eyelids. How could he just leave her like she asked? And yet how could he not go and ensure that his sister was safely recovered? He’d never felt so torn in his life.

“If you have any humanity whatsoever, you’ll leave and never tell anyone where you found me,” Ramie said hoarsely. “Please, I’m begging you. Just go. He plans to kill her tomorrow. At dawn. You don’t have much time.”

Her words proved to be the impetus, driving him to action. But goddamn it, he would make this up to her. Somehow, someway.

Regret swamped him. Worse was the fact that even knowing now what he hadn’t known before, he couldn’t say he would have done anything differently. Not when it meant the difference between Tori’s life and death. But at least now he better understood Ramie’s resistance. No longer did he look at her and think she was selfish and cruel. Now he realized her disappearance had been self-preservation. He didn’t know she’d survived this in the past. He just prayed he wasn’t the tipping point in pushing her so far over the edge she’d never recover.

Caleb closed his eyes and then gently touched her cheek. “I’m so sorry. You’ll never know how much. My family and I owe you more than I can ever repay. I’ll go for now and pray to God I’m not too late. But I’m coming back, Ramie. Count on it. I’ll make this up to you if it’s the very last thing I do.”

Rafflecopter Giveaway (FIVE Print Copies of KEEP ME SAFE)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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24. Interview with Sidney Halston, Author of Full Contact and Giveaway

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Sidney!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Sidney Halston] First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to interview me this morning. I’m so excited. Okay so, this is hard question, isn’t it. I guess I’d say: Mother, reader, daring, daydreamer, playful.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Sidney Halston] I can’t wait for you all to meet Slade Martin! FULL CONTACT is the 2nd novel from my WORTH THE FIGHT series. It is a stand-alone, however, you’ll get a better feel for the entire town and the sub-characters if you first read AGAINST THE CAGE (Book #1, WORTH THE FIGHT series).

FULL CONTACT takes place in Tarpon Springs, Florida. It begins when Jessica Cross is released from the hospital after being horribly beaten by her ex-boyfriend. Ultimate bad boy, Slade, the owner of Worth the Fight Academy, an MMA Training Academy, vows to protect Jessica from her ex. The book is funny and sexy but heartfelt and tender, especially when the dirty talking Slade becomes putty in Jessica’s hand. I hope you all read it love it as much as I loved writing it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Sidney Halston] My husband is a black belt in jiu-jitsu. I absolutely love the brotherhood between the men at his Academy, and noticed the same kind of camaraderie even with the opponents at matches. It gave me the idea of building this world based on Worth the Fight Academy, where the men have grown up together, and regardless of whether they are tearing each other apart in a cage or hugging it out after a grueling match, at the end, they can all go out and have a beer together. It’s the two sides of these strong males that I love. For this particular book, the plot stemmed from the first novel, AGAINST THE CAGE. It starts off where book #1 leaves off. She’s been beaten and feels broken. Slade’s guilt for not protecting her consumes him. Will she let him in—a bad boy to the core…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Sidney Halston] Oh Slade has a dirty mouth. It was so fun writing it!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Sidney Halston] The fight scenes always give me a hard time. They’ve become easier to write, but I’m so concerned about the accuracy of how to write them, that they take me a long time.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Sidney Halston] Talk Dirty to Me, by Jason Derulo. HEE HEE.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Sidney Halston] My Kindle. I take it everywhere. Hey…you never know when you’ll have a moment to read.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Sidney Halston] A notepad, my cell phone, and photo of my kids and husband.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Sidney Halston] This is a tough question. I’m not really sure. I enjoy my life and it’s gotten so interesting with all the people I’ve met. I don’t think I’d trade with anyone. There are some characters in some of my favorite books, that make me want to jump into the book and be that character for a day, but that’s fiction.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Sidney Halston] I love to read and I read often. Kristen Ashley’s my favorite and I just adore her. I love Jessica Clare’s Hit Man series and Laura Kaye’s Hard Inked Series. I recently discovered Tammy Falkner’s The Reed Brother’s series, which I devoured in less than a week. I loved it. I really like anything Toni Aleo writes. She’s awesome and I also really like Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City series. It’s hilarious!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Sidney Halston] Like I said, I love to read. But, I also love spending time with my husband and kids. During the weekend we are pretty much inseparable and we do everything from going grocery shopping together to the movies. I like spending time with them. There’s nothing better that hearing your kids say something silly or completely inappropriate to make your day brighter.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Sidney Halston] WebSite: www.sidneyhalston.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sidneyhalston

Twitter: @sidneyhalston

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22469198-full-contact

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/shalston/

Thank you so much for chatting with me this morning. I hope you all pick up a copy of FULL CONTACT and let me know what you think. I love interacting with my readers! XOXO

 

Full Contact

Worth the Fight # 2

By: Sidney Halston

Releasing October 28th, 2014

Loveswept

Sidney Halston returns to steamy Tarpon Springs, Florida, where a hell-raising bad boy prepares to get down and dirty for the woman he loves.

How could she have been so stupid? When Jessica Cross decides to give her violently jealous boyfriend—the otherwise influential and charming Dennis Stavros—a second chance, she very nearly becomes a statistic. After weeks of healing from a broken rib and collapsed lung, and with Dennis behind bars, Jessica finally feels ready to come out of hiding. But will she ever be able to take a chance on love again with someone new?

Mixed martial arts fighter Slade Martin knows he has a bad reputation. Hell, he’s probably earned it. So it won’t be easy to convince beautiful, vulnerable Jessica that she can trust him—that from the moment she walked into his life, she’s been the only one he’s wanted. Powerful and confident, Slade knows he can honor his vow to protect Jessica body and soul. Winning her heart will be another matter . . . but a woman like Jessica is worth the fight.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/full-contact-worth-fight-2-by-sidney.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22469198-full-contact?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/135224-worth-the-fight

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Full-Contact-Worth-Sidney-Halston-ebook/dp/B00K4C3RHC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1410966326&sr=1-1&keywords=Full+Contact%3A+Worth+the+Fight+Series
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/full-contact-sidney-halston/1119434740?ean=9780553390971

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/full-contact/id889685362?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/full-contact-2

Author Info

Sidney Halston lives her life by one simple rule: “Just do it.” And that’s exactly what she did. At the age of thirty, having never written anything other than a legal brief, she picked up a pen for the first time to pursue her dream of becoming an author. That first stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Halston lives in South Florida with her husband and children.

Author Links

Website: http://sidneyhalston.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sidneyhalston
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SidneyHalston
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6916557.Sidney_Halston

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 Book Seller Gift Card and Loveswept Mug & Tote)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Sidney Halston, Author of Full Contact and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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25. Spotlight: Spy Fall by Diana Quincy

I have a spotlight for Diana Quincy’s Spy Fall, which looks like a fun read.  The heroine jumps out of airplanes.    She’s got to be nuts!

Blurb:

When a fiery French parachutist lands on a drunken Lord Cosmo Dunsmore, he surmises she’s an angel sent from above. But is she a spy after something far more sinister than his debauched soul?

A fearless parachutist is out of her depth …

 

Mari Lamarre is gaining fame for her daring aeronautic endeavors, but her riskiest adventure begins when she collides with the darkly charismatic son of the Marquess of Aldridge. If her mission succeeds, Cosmo’s father will be ruined.
A rakehell falls for a dangerous woman …

Surrendering to a fierce passion, the two embark on a torrid affair, even as Cosmo vows to protect his family at all costs. But in doing so, will he risk losing the captivating beauty who’s swept into his life and made off with his heart?

Author Bio:

Diana Quincy is an award-winning former television journalist who decided she’d rather make up stories where a happy ending is always guaranteed. Diana’s reporting background is probably the reason many of her books are inspired by true-life events.

Growing up as a foreign service brat, Diana visited many countries and is now settled in Virginia with her husband and two sons. When not bent over her laptop or trying to keep up with laundry, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family and dreams of traveling much more than her current schedule (and budget) allows.

Social Media Links:

Website|Twitter|Facebook|Goodreads|Pinterest

Website: http://www.dianaquincy.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Diana_Quincy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DianaQuincyRomance

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dianaquincy/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7045151.Diana_Quincy

Buy Link: Amazon Exclusive for the first six months

Click cover for product page

Excerpt:

They reached the hot air balloon, where a stable groom stood waiting to assist her. She stooped to untie one of the thick cables tethering the contraption to the ground.

“What I have in mind will give you great pleasure,” she said quietly.

His inky eyes went alert. “Is that so?”

“Release that cable, if you please,” she called to the groom.

He tipped his cap. “Yes, miss.” And proceeded to do just that.

Gesturing toward the other cable, she said to Cosmo. “Untie that, will you?”

“Whatever for?” He glanced at it before frowning back in her direction. “If you completely untether it, the balloon will fly away, as you well know.”

“Exactly.” She leapt into the wicker boat. “Allons. Let us go.”

“Go where? You want me to go up in that?” He took a step back. “I most certainly will not.”

She leaned over the edge of the gondola. “Pour le plaisir, remember?”

Shaking his head, he backed away. Switching to French so the groom wouldn’t understand, he said, “This is most assuredly not the sort of pleasure I meant.”

“You can show me what you do have in mind,” she said in the same language, as she bent over to retrieve and throw sand-filled ballasts out of the gondola.

“Come away from there and I gladly will.”

“I prefer that you come in here.” She offered him the most wickedly sensual smile in her feminine arsenal.

He blinked. Then swallowed. “Angel, you will be the death of me.”

“Perhaps just a little death.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. La petite mort was the French term for the peak of sensual pleasure. “Is that a naughty French reference? Or are you teasing me?”

She laughed aloud, exhilarated at the thought of soaring into the clouds with him. “You shall have to fly with me to find out.”

The post Spotlight: Spy Fall by Diana Quincy appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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