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Review blog with emphasis on graphic novels and YA & MG fiction.
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1. Review: He’s So Fine by Jill Shalvis

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

While I’ve read a few other Jill Shalvis titles, He’s So Fine is the first in the Lucky Harbor series that I’ve picked up.  I’m wondering why I waited so long.  Like Olivia, I was charmed by Lucky Harbor and the people living there.  Cole is a great hero, and his buddies Sam and Tanner kept him humble.  Mr. Fix It, Cole seems able to repair everything but the tattered remains of his heart.  Or was it his pride that needed a patch job?  Whatever it was, he didn’t have enough pockets on his cargo pants to mend the damage.  He needed a little help from Olivia to get the job done.

Heroine Olivia is in need of some mending, too.  A former child star, she went on a binge of bad behavior after her TV show was canceled.  When everyone in her life moved on, she lashed out, tarnishing her image and causing the creation of countless Youtube videos and online posts chronicling her bad behavior.  With her money-grubbing mother and jealous sister, I’m not surprised that she had no guidance and no rock to anchor herself to.  I really sympathized with Olivia.  She carried the careers and jobs of many people for years, and then, when her “cute” days were over, she was tossed to the curb like yesterday’s trash.  Her TV family moved on, leaving her adrift.  Her real family was never emotionally there for her.  How awful.  To realize with sickening clarity that the only worth you have to others is your ability to finance their paychecks.  Until you can’t.  And then you are washed up and not worth the time of day.  Ugh.

When Cole takes an unexpected dip in the frigid water of the marina while working on his boat, Olivia quickly jumps to his rescue.  She bravely leaps onto his head, almost drowning him, all the while thinking that she is saving him.  The start of He’s So Fine had me hooked.  How could I not be, after an introduction like that one?  Shivering with the cold, Cole quickly shepherds his would be savior onto the boat, demanding that she divest herself of her wet clothing before hypothermia sets in.  I loved this whole scene, and it set the tone for their relationship.  There’s humor, and hotness, and two genuinely nice people who you want to get together.  They are both broken, so it’s no surprise that it takes a freezing dip in the ocean to jump start their love lives.

I like small town romances because of the quirky characters that inhabit them.  In He’s So Fine, Cole’s friends and family liven up his life.  Not always in a good way, but Cole is unflappable and always willing to lend a helping hand.  He practically carries a tool box around with him in his cargo pants.  He has to fix things, which makes it all the more troubling when he refuses to fix himself.   After losing his best friend in a terrible accident, he also loses the woman he loved, when she walked away from him at Gil’s funeral.  Cole has never gotten over Susan’s betrayal, and he’s just not willing to put himself out there to be hurt again.  But then Olivia jumps on his head, and the man has absolutely no chance of escaping unscathed. 

He’s So Fine kept me entertained from the first dip in the cold waters to Cole’s eating humble pie act at the end of the book.  I have have two other Lucky Harbor books stashed away on my Kindle (I don’t even remember purchasing them!), so I’m looking forward to more visits to the town, and meeting more of its inhabitants. 

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

For Olivia Bentley, Lucky Harbor is more than the town where she runs her new vintage shop. It’s the place where folks are friendly to strangers-and nobody knows her real name. Olivia does a good job of keeping her past buried, not getting too cozy with anyone . . . until she sees a man drowning. Suddenly she’s rushing into the surf, getting up close and personal with the hottest guy she’s ever laid hands on.

Charter boat captain Cole Donovan has no problem with a gorgeous woman throwing her arms around his neck in an effort to “save” him. In fact, he’d like to spend a lot more time skin-to-skin with Olivia. He’s just not expecting that real trouble is about to come her way. Will it bring her deeper into Cole’s heart, or will it be the end of Olivia’s days in little Lucky Harbor?

HE’S SO FINE is available in mass market paperback, ebook and audio book formats wherever books are sold

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1B0Lc5P

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1p1HaDH

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1qL9GMO

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1n3cobU

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1vUlsVJ

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1lkIft2

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The post Review: He’s So Fine by Jill Shalvis appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Holiday Heat Week Release Blitz and Giveaway!

Wow! I can’t believe that the holidays are just around the corner!  I love the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas because everyone is just so happy!  And there’s a slew of Christmas themed books releasing between now and the end of December, just to make sure you are in the right frame of mind for Santa’s visit.  To get a jump on the season, I have a bundle of holiday themed books up for grabs, thanks to Hachette Books, so settle down with a cup of coffee, read the excerpts, and make sure to enter the giveaway (US/CAN addresses only)!

 

RING IN THE HOLIDAYS by Katie Lane

Psychologist Ellie Simpson is about to get a healthy dose of sex therapy. Leaving her cheating boyfriend behind, she has everything she needs for a quick rebound: Vegas, plenty of champagne, and a proposition from the sexiest man she’s ever seen. As her handsome stranger helps her ring in the New Year-over and over again-Ellie finds herself blissfully losing all of her inhibitions. Attorney Matthew McPherson is good at making women lose things, like their minds and underwear. With his athletic build and soulful eyes, he doesn’t need to use his powers of persuasion or famous last name to get a woman into bed.  But when morning comes, Matthew finds Ellie is the only woman he can’t bear to leave-ever.  It’s enough to make him wonder if what happens in Vegas really has to stay there.

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About Katie Lane

Katie Lane is the USA Today bestselling author of the Deep in the Heart of Texas and Hunk for the Holiday series.  Katie lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and when she isn’t writing, enjoys reading, going to the gym, golfing, traveling, or just snuggling next to her high school sweetheart and cairn terrier Roo.
Learn more about Katie Lane at:
www.katielanebooks.com
Facebook.com/katielaneauthor
Twitter, @ktlane3

Excerpt:

Ellie looked like she struggled with a strong desire to beat him over the head with the gigantic purse she held in a stranglehold on her lap. “Then why did you show up at my office saying you needed help for sex addiction?”

He shrugged. “Because I was trying to get in your pants.” Her mouth fell open, and she stared at him in speechless shock. “What?” he said. “Did I shock the Virgin Queen? I guess honesty isn’t necessarily the best policy.”

It only took her a few seconds to regain her composure. “The only time I’ve ever heard anything remotely honest come out of your mouth was in Vegas. And even then, you weren’t completely honest.”

He leaned up until he was inches from her face. “Oh, I was honest that night. Completely. And did you like that, Dr. Simpson? Because there’s a lot more where that came from.” He pulled her onto his lap, knocking her purse to the floor as he pressed her back into the seat. “Here’s some honesty for you. I don’t like you, Dr. Simpson. I don’t like your height or your hair or the prudish clothes you wear.

And I especially don’t like your screwed up, narrow mind.” He slipped his hand up her rib cage, encasing her breast with his thumb and forefinger. “In fact, the only thing I do like is the way you fill out a sweater.” He knew he was being obnoxious and crass, but he didn’t care. He needed his own revenge, and he lowered his mouth to hers and took it out on her sweet flesh.

Even with anger still simmering beneath the surface, the kiss consumed him. Each sip and slide of lips and tongues was like a perfectly synchronized dance. And it was more than just physical perfection. It was an emotional connection. Like two souls who were reunited after being away from each other for too long.

Reunited souls? Good Lord, he had lost his mind. Matthew pulled back, wishing he could somehow start the entire evening over again. Or skip it entirely and go back to the day he’d seen her picture on the cover of that damned book. Or maybe before he met her in Vegas. No, he wasn’t ready to give up the night they had in Vegas. He just couldn’t survive a repeat.

 

A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER ANTHOLOGY: 

by Jill Shalvis, Dream a Little Dream: Melissa has kept every man at a safe distance-especially firefighter Ian, a sexy friend with sexy benefits. But Ian secretly longs for more. Luckily, ’tis the season for giving love a chance . . . 

by Kristen Ashley, Every Year: Holidays don’t come easy for Shy and his brother, Landon. But with the magic of Christmas, along with a little help from Tabby and her family, the Cage brothers are about to get the gift of a lifetime . . . 

by Hope Ramsay, Silent Night: Down on her luck and evicted from her apartment, single mother Maryanne hopes to start over in Last Chance. When the snow begins to fall, it looks like her baby might literally spend Christmas Eve in a manger. And Maryanne might celebrate the holiday with a handsome stranger. 

by Molly Cannon, Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas: Lincoln is a bachelor who’s set in his ways-until a professional organizer dressed up as Mrs. Claus changes his life, one tip at a time. . . 

by Marilyn Pappano, A Family for Christmas: War widow Ilena doesn’t mind spending Christmas alone. But when a new doctor blows into town with the winter wind, will she get her secret Christmas wish?

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Excerpt:

“Which one of these ornaments is yours?” she asked.

He took a funny- looking Santa Claus from the tree. “I made this in my third grade art class.”

Santa was made out of paper plates and construction paper. His hat was folded and bent, his beard was shaped from the rippled edge of the plate, and his button nose was falling off. Linc studied it critically, thinking it was pretty good for third grade. “I do my best work in construction paper and glue.”

“It deserves a place of honor, for sure,” she said solemnly. She reached out to take it from him and her fingers brushed his. He stopped short. It was impossible to ignore the electrical charge that zipped between them. If she’d been any other woman he wouldn’t have hesitated. He would have pulled her into his arms, crushing the silly ornament between their bodies, and kissing her right then and there.

She smiled invitingly and her lips parted a bit, enough so he could feel her soft breath on his cheek. Her eyes softened to a leaf green, and he felt his caution crumble and transform into a maddening urgency. He let the ornament fall to the ground.

Then he was kissing her. She tasted like peppermint tea and smelled like cinnamon and pine needles. Her body melded against his, her breasts pressing against his chest. He wrapped both arms around her like he was claiming something rare and long lost. His fingers tangled in her hair, pulling it from that infernal ponytail. Her mouth opened under his and while their tongues dueled, her hands roamed across his back. It wasn’t enough. Without another thought, he picked her up and headed down

the hall.

From Molly Cannon’s A MESSY LITTLE CHRISTMAS

About the authors

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
You can learn more at:
JillShalvis.com
Twitter @jillshalvis
Facebook.com/jillshalvis

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.
Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.
You can learn more at:
KristenAshley.net
Twitter @KristenAshley68
Facebook.com/kristenashleybooks 

Hope Ramsay grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you’ll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. She’s a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart and is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar.
You can learn more at:
HopeRamsay.com
Facebook, www.facebook.com/Hope.Ramsay
Twitter, @HopeRamsay.

Molly lives a charmed life in Texas with hernearly perfect husband and extremely large cat Nelson. When she’s not writing, she spends her days reading, taking dance classes with the hubby and watching all kinds of sports.
You can learn more at:
MollyCannon.com
Twitter, @cannonmolly

Known for her intensely emotional stories, Marilyn Pappano is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly eighty books. She has made regular appearances on bestseller lists and has received recognition for her work in the form of numerous awards. Though her husband’s Navy career took them across the United States, he and Ms. Pappano now live in Oklahoma high on a hill that overlooks her hometown. They have one son and daughter-in-law, an adorable grandson, and a pack of mischievous dogs.
You can learn more at:
MarilynPappano.com
Twitter, @MarilynPappano
Facebook.com/MarilynPappanoFanPage

IT HAPPENED AT CHRISTMAS by Debbie Mason

Free-spirited activist Skylar Davis is out of money and out of options. After using up her trust fund trying to save the world, she hides out in Christmas, hoping the kindness of friends will help her forget the reckless actions of her past. All goes well . . . until she comes face-to-face with one of her mistakes: the town’s gorgeous young mayor. Ethan O’Connor likes his life drama-free and predictable now that he’s about to make the move from small-town politics to the Colorado State Senate. Then Skye blows back into town, as impulsive and passionate as he remembers. If word ever got out about their night together-the night he’s never been able to forget-the scandal could cripple his career. Yet as he starts his campaign, Ethan finds that, like the town of Christmas itself, he can’t get Skye out of his head . . . or his heart.

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Excerpt:

Later that evening, Ethan sat at a table in the local sports bar, the Penalty Box, with Gage and their mutual friend Jack Flaherty. Brandi, wearing her waitress uniform—a black-and-white-striped jersey and a short black skirt—approached with a tray of drinks. “Compliments of the house. Sawyer named the drink after you, Mr. Senator-to-be. It’s a Prince Charming. Bourbon, cinnamon schnapps, Goldschläger, and root beer rimmed with coarse salt,” she explained as she set the drinks on the table. “Sawyer suggested you have a couple of them before you speak to your baby mama again.”

Gage and Jack laughed. “Har har,” Ethan muttered, slanting a look to where the owner, Sawyer Anderson, stood behind the bar taking orders. The tall, broad-shouldered ex-captain of the Colorado Flurries, a professional hockey team, gave Ethan a two-fingered salute and grinned. “Your friend’s a real comedian,” Ethan said to Jack.

“Yeah, he likes to think so,” Jack said, “but maybe this time he’s right. From what Grace said, you could use all the help you can get.”

“At least your wife’s talking to you. Thanks to him”—Gage jerked a thumb at Ethan—“mine isn’t.”

“She was until I defended him. Now I’m in the same boat as you,” Jack said, taking a long pull on his beer.

“Would someone like to explain how I’m the bad guy in this? She had no intention of telling me about the baby. As far as she’s concerned, I’m a sperm donor and have no rights.” And once his initial shock had passed, he started to get excited about the baby. He’d always hoped to be a father one day, and he was not about to let Skylar Davis take that away from him. “I asked her to marry me.”

He didn’t realize Brandi had hung around until she said, “No, you didn’t ask her. You told her you were getting married. At the courthouse. On Friday.”

“Yeah, and you also told her she was irresponsible and flighty and threw losing her trust fund in her face,” Gage said.

Brandi gasped. “You didn’t?”

“Come on, I didn’t say anything that any of you haven’t said or thought. Besides, I was pissed off. And I had good reason to be.” He might’ve had good reason to be angry, but he shouldn’t have let his temper get the best of him. The temper he didn’t have until he met Skylar Davis. “I sent her flowers and an apology, okay?”

Gage grimaced.

“What? You don’t think she’ll like them? The florist told me any woman would love them. I sent her three dozen roses.” Who knew flowers could be that expensive? But even Ethan realized he had to make some kind of gesture after what he’d said to Skye.

“Most women would, just not the one you sent them to,” Gage said.

Nell McBride, Evelyn Tate, and Stella Wright ambled over, dragging chairs to the table.

Evelyn beamed at him. “Don’t you worry, Ethan. We’re the love experts. And, dear, those roses you sent me were beautiful.” She fluttered her lashes.

“Yes, Ethan, that was very sweet of you to send them to us. But a little extravagant, don’t you think? I hope you didn’t send them to all your female supporters. Their husband’s might not be as understanding as mine,” Stella said.

Ethan rubbed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, ignoring Gage’s I-told-you-so look. “Did all three of you get a dozen roses?” he asked in hopes he misunderstood them and that Skye hadn’t sent his peace offering to the three older women.

“Yep, me, Stella, and Evelyn. But you didn’t have to bribe us. We’d vote for you anyhow. We want one of our own in the state senate, don’t we, girls?” Nell said as she pulled out a pad and pen. “And just as an FYI, when you put from a secret admirer, you’re not supposed to sign your name.”

IT HAPPENED AT CHRISTMAS excerpt #3

“Hey.” He gently tugged on her hair. “Thanks for doing this,” he said when she looked up at him. “We can take another picture of us when we get to the ranch.”

“No, this one’s good. I look like a Republican.”

He shook his head. “You’ve got a warped perception of Republicans, cupcake. We’re going to have to work on that.”

“Don’t waste your energy. My dad’s been trying to convert me since I was ten.”

“I’ve been told I can be pretty persuasive.”

“Republican women are easy,” she said, ignoring the effect his swoon-inducing voice had on her.

“Yeah? I seem to remember a certain Democrat who was pretty easy.” He waggled his eyebrows at her.

Jerk. But who was she trying to kid? She had been easy. “What was her name?” She ignored his laughter. “Stop talking so I can get this done.”

He grinned as he fiddled with the sound system. The Rolling Stones’ “Midnight Rambler” came through the speakers. His fingers tapping on the steering wheel, Ethan moved to the beat. Her lips twitched, and she struggled to focus on typing up the release. When he started singing, she started laughing.

“Hey, I’ve been told I have a good voice.”

“No, it’s not that. I like the Stones, too. We finally found something we agree on.”

“There’s hope for us yet, cupcake.”

The smile she gave him was forced. Once Jimmy was behind bars and Ethan won the election, their marriage would be over. A fluttery sensation in her stomach distracted her, and she gasped. It was stronger than before.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s the baby. She’s moving. Here.” Skye took his hand and placed it on her stomach. When there wasn’t any movement a few minutes later, she said. “Sorry, looks like she got her exercise for the day.”

“Never know, he might do it again.” Her husband’s hand felt heavy and warm and far too good where it was. He glanced at her, his thumb moving in a slow up-and-down caress.

“Maybe,” she agreed, her voice breathy, but then she realized what he said. “Peanut’s a she.”

“Peanut?” His lips twitched. “I thought it was Willow.”

“It was, but I like Peanut better. And don’t try to distract me. Our baby’s a girl.”

“A boy. But Peanut works.” He returned his hand to the steering wheel. “I’ve got to stop for gas. You need anything?”

“You should buy a hybrid.”

He gave her a look and turned up the radio, singing as he pulled into the station. Skye was about to roll her eyes when she felt the now-familiar movement. “She kicked again. I think you like your daddy’s voice, don’t you, Peanut?”

Pulling up beside the tanks, Ethan took off his seat belt. But instead of getting out, he placed a hand on her upper thigh and leaned over, bringing his mouth to her stomach. He started to sing one of Skye’s favorite songs, “Wild Horses.” She pressed her lips together to hold back a moan. She really needed to think before she spoke.

“Do you feel anything?” he asked, turning his head to look up at her. Skye swallowed and croaked, “No.”

His eyes darkened, and he brushed his lips over her stomach, the muscles clenching in response. “You sure?” he asked, his voice a seductive rasp.

About Debbie Mason

Debbie Mason is the bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series. Her books have been praised for their “likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots” (RT Book Reviews). She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their four wonderful children, an adorable grandbaby, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.
You can learn more at:
AuthorDebbieMason.com
Twitter @AuthorDebMason

MISTLETOE ON MAIN STREET by Olivia Miles

Briar Creek’s quaint shop windows, cozy homes nestled in snow, and neighborly residents are what Christmas dreams are made of–for everyone except Grace Madison. She left her hometown years ago to pursue a writing career. But when her father’s death leaves his bookstore empty, Grace must return to face why she fled Vermont in the first place: Luke Hastings, who still heats her up like a shot of smoky whiskey on a cold winter’s night. Grace is back, and Luke is worried. How much has she changed as a bestselling author in the big city? What memories will she stir up? And was the choice he made five years ago the biggest mistake of his life? Now, with their past, present, and future rocking around the Christmas tree, it’s time for Grace and Luke to face the music . . . and the mistletoe.

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Excerpt:

When he glanced over at her, she was staring into the fireplace, the dancing flames painting a warm glow on her porcelain complexion. Her eyes looked flat and far away.

“Everything okay?” Doubt ate at him, leaving him with the twisting feeling of dread. Had she changed her mind about staying in town?

“I was just thinking of how things played out between us, the effects they had on everything else. I—I wish I had handled it differently. I wish that I had been able to come back here.”

He swallowed the knot in his throat, refusing to feel any more guilt. She was a big girl, she had made her choice. Besides, she had been the one to leave him first. She had set all this in motion.

“If there is one thing I’ve learned in the past few days, it’s that regret is the worst type of emotion.” He met her eyes. “You can’t change the past, Grace, and you have to tell yourself that everything that happened led us to this moment.”

“This moment?” she repeated.

He held her gaze, managing a nod.

“You’re right, I know.” She gave a sad smile. “I miss my father sometimes. I wish I could have seen him more often than his visits to New York. I wish…I’d never left.”

Luke leaned over and tucked a strand of her hair back from her face, his fingertips tracing the smooth silk of her neck. Arousal burned deep inside him, and his pulse quickened. He reached over and took her wineglass from her hands, setting it on the coffee table. She stared into his eyes, expectation parting her mouth. He met her lips with his, their contact so light it was almost imperceptible, save the shiver that zipped down his spine at the sensation.

He grazed her mouth, slowly bringing her full lips to his. His hand came around her slim waist, his fingers warming at the softness of her sweater, itching to slide the material away and experience the even softer skin beneath.

She sighed into him and he parted her lips with his tongue, slowly lacing his tongue with hers and then pulling away to gaze into her eyes. The green of her irises shone in the firelight, the flames reflecting in the flecks of gold around her pupils. She lowered her eyes, smiling shyly, and her long, black lashes dusted the apples of her cheeks. He leaned in again as arousal burned deep and pressed her into his chest. He could feel every curve of her body as her ripe, firm breasts rose and fell with heavy breaths. He lowered his hand, caressing her waist, her hips, and then higher, to trace the contours of her breast and the swanlike arch of her neck. He kissed her lips, her neck, her ear, breathing deep into her skin, memorizing every taste of her skin, every touch.

The buzzing from the timer on the oven stirred his attention from her, and he groaned. He pulled away, throwing her a bashful grin. “We’re being chaperoned,” he said.

About Olivia Miles

Olivia Miles is a Chicago-based romance writer. Having grown up in New England, Olivia attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec before settling in Chicago where she lives with her husband, their daughter, and two ridiculously pampered pups.
When she is not chasing after her little ones, she is hard at work creating feisty heroines and alpha heroes with a heart. A city girl with a fondness for small town charm, Olivia enjoys highlighting both ways of life in her stories.
For more information on Olivia Miles, you can find her at:
http://oliviamilesbooks.com/
Twitter: @MsOliviaMiles
Facebook: http://facebook.com/AuthorOliviaMiles

Giveaway

Win a  set of all the books included in the blitz!   US/CAN addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Holiday Heat Week Release Blitz and Giveaway! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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3. Guest Post: Larissa Ione, Author of Chained by Night

Please give a warm welcome to special guest Larissa Ione!  I’ll have a review of Chained by Night soon, but in the meantime, check out what she has to say about hunky hero Hunter.

Hi everyone!

So…Julie asked an interesting question about the hero of Chained By Night, one I’m going to have fun answering. She asked:

What five things would Hunter never do on a date?

Hmmm…I think telling you what he would do on a date would be easier, but for starters, he would never get drunk. Yes, he enjoys his alcohol, but when he’s with a female, his instinct is to keep her safe, which means drinking in moderation and never losing his situational awareness. With vampire hunters around every corner, he needs to be alert.

He would also never look at another female while on a date. That’s just rude.

Hunter isn’t much for dating in the traditional sense, given that vampires aren’t exactly welcome in human establishments, but if he were to take a female out for dinner and a movie, he’d never let her pay. Unless she was evil. Or human.

The fourth thing he would never, ever do on a date is demand sex. No, this boy can read the opposite sex with the skill of a predator on the prowl, and he knows when she’s ready. But no means no…and he’s very, very patient…

Finally, Hunter would never talk about his ex-lovers. It’s just bad form. Plus, a lot of them are dead. Wouldn’t want to scare off the new lover! ?

THE FUTURE OF HIS TRIBE: Leader of the vampire clan MoonBound, Hunter will do what he must to save his people from extinction—or worse, a torturous eternity as vampire slaves and subjects of human experimentation. To keep his enemies at bay, he has agreed to mate a rival clan leader’s daughter in return for peace between the clans and an ally in the looming war with the humans.
THE LOVER OF HIS SOUL: But survival comes at a price. First, Hunter must break an ancient curse by successfully negotiating three deadly tests. Then he must resist the searing passions of the gorgeous vampire warrior he despises but is bound to mate. Will Hunter stay true to his word? Or will he risk everything for the woman he really loves: the vampire seductress’s identical twin sister?

The post Guest Post: Larissa Ione, Author of Chained by Night appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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4. Spotlight and Giveaway: Jagged by Kristen Ashley

Jagged is releasing in paperback, so I have a treat for you!  Check out the excerpt, and then enter the awesome giveaway below!

JAGGED by Kristen Ashley (September 30, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $7.00)

An old flame rekindled . . .
Zara Cinders always knew Ham Reece was the one, but he wasn’t interested in settling down. When she found someone who was, Ham walked out of her life. Three years later, Zara’s lost her business, her marriage, and she’s barely getting by in a tiny apartment on the wrong side of the tracks. As soon as Ham hears about Zara’s plight, he’s on her doorstep offering her a lifeline. Now, it will take every ounce of will power she possesses to resist all that he offers.


Ham was always a traveling man, never one to settle down in one town, with one woman, for more time than absolutely necessary. But Ham’s faced his own demons, and he’s learned a lot. About himself, and about the life he knows he’s meant to live. So when he hears that Zara’s having a rough time, he wants to be the one to help. In fact, he wants to do more than that for Zara. A lot more. But first, he must prove to Zara that he’s a changed man.

Buy Links:

B&N

BAM!

IndieBound

iBooks

Amazon

About the author:

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.  And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

“You’ve been waiting for me to come to you?”

“Babe, you’re my Zara, my cookie, so fuck yeah, I’ve been bidin’ my time, givin’ you space to sort your head out, but waitin’ to get you back, as in”—his hand slid up to cup my jaw and his face dipped closer—“back.”

Was he serious? Two months…no seven, if you counted when he came back after hatchet man got to him, I’d been in misery and he’d been waiting to get me back?

I felt my eyes narrow.

“Last night, you rolled off me and didn’t say a word about a chat before you went to the bathroom,” I reminded him.

“Zara, what we shared, so good, so hot, so close, us bein’ back to us, didn’t feel I needed to say a word,” he replied.

Was he for real? “Back to us” and he didn’t feel he needed to say a word?

“Well, you did,” I stated.

“I see that now,” he returned.

Okay, then, time for a different subject.

“You said you didn’t want my body,” I accused.

“I lied, Zara. Fuck, when have I ever not wanted in there?” he asked, a question that had one answer, that being never. But he didn’t give me the chance to give that answer, he kept talking. “I would have said anything to get you out of that shithole, get you safe, and get you with me.”

“You lied?” I asked.

“I lied,” Ham answered.

“Lied?” My voice was getting higher.

“Asked and answered, darlin’,” he clipped.

“So you thought it was a good idea to lie,” I noted unhappily.

“Babe, I came to you, we almost instantly got up in each other’s shit. You had a lot you were dealin’ with and one of those things didn’t need to be me. You weren’t lettin’ anyone do anything for you. You needed time to deal. I wanted you with me. I did what I had to do to give you that and make that happen for me.”

My head gave a jerk as what he said tardily hit me.

“You wanted me with you?”

He was beginning to look impatient.

“You’ve known me years. I ever go back?” he asked.

“Go back to what?”

“Go back anywhere.”

“Ham—”

“I don’t go back,” he declared.

“I don’t get—”

“Now I’m back in Gnaw Bone, back at The Dog, babe, why do you think that is?”

I didn’t speak. I was back to staring.

Because I knew why I wanted that to be.

I just rarely got what I wanted.

Then Graham Reece finally gave me what I wanted.

“Because you’re here.”

“Holy shit,” I whispered.

He stopped looking impatient, his eyes warmed, his face went soft, and his lips twitched.

But, “Yeah,” was all he said.

GIVEAWAY:

One winner gets a copy of JAGGED with a signed bookplate plus a Vera Bradley wristlet. Five winners get a copy of the book with signed bookplate. This giveaway runs through October 21 and is open to US/Canada only.

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5. Spotlight and Giveaway: He’s So Fine by Jill Shalvis

Book Summary:

For Olivia Bentley, Lucky Harbor is more than the town where she runs her new vintage shop. It’s the place where folks are friendly to strangers-and nobody knows her real name. Olivia does a good job of keeping her past buried, not getting too cozy with anyone . . . until she sees a man drowning. Suddenly she’s rushing into the surf, getting up close and personal with the hottest guy she’s ever laid hands on.

 

Charter boat captain Cole Donovan has no problem with a gorgeous woman throwing her arms around his neck in an effort to “save” him. In fact, he’d like to spend a lot more time skin-to-skin with Olivia. He’s just not expecting that real trouble is about to come her way. Will it bring her deeper into Cole’s heart, or will it be the end of Olivia’s days in little Lucky Harbor? 

Jill’s Bio:

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
You can learn more about Jill at:
JillShalvis.com
Twitter @jillshalvis

Facebook.com/jillshalvis 

 

HE’S SO FINE is available in mass market paperback, ebook and audio book formats wherever books are sold

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1B0Lc5P

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1p1HaDH

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1qL9GMO

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1n3cobU

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1vUlsVJ

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1lkIft2

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1qbcfrn

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6. [PR] Viz Media to Release Honey Blood!

I’m looking forward to reading this series. It’s the perfect time of year for to start a new supernatural romance!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VIZ MEDIA MIXES SWEET PASSION AND DARK INTRIGUE IN THE NEW MANGA SERIES

HONEY BLOOD

A Beautiful Girl Falls For The Old-World Charm Of A Mysterious Vampire Romance Writer—With His Own Taste For Blood!

New Shojo Series Launches In Print And Digitally!

San Francisco, CA, September 25, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, opens Fall with a fiery mixture of bloodthirsty romance and supernatural intrigue in Miko Mitsuki’s shojo manga series – HONEY BLOOD. Set for release under the Shojo Beat imprint, Volume 1 of the 3-part series launches on October 7th and is rated ‘T’ for Teens. Print volumes each carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

In the opening volume, everyone is on edge when a girl at Hinata Sorazono’s school is attacked by what seems to be a bloodsucking vampire. Hinata refuses to believe that vampires even exist, but then she meets her new neighbor, Junya Tokinaga, the author of an incredibly popular vampire romance novel. Dressed in a kimono with an old-world air about him, Junya has a taste of Hinata’s blood and tells her it’s sweet… Hinata can’t help but be drawn to Junya, but could it be that he’s actually a vampire—and worse yet, the culprit behind the attacks?!

“Junya Tokinaga is a mysterious and handsome man, so readers will swoon along with Hinata and become captivated by his complicated past and the bloodthirsty secret he hides,” says Amy Yu, Editor. “The stage is set for charged passion and love in this sultry series from Miko Mitsuki.”

HONEY BLOOD creator Miko Mitsuki hails from Kagoshima Prefecture in southernmost Japan and debuted with the manga title, Utakata, in 2003. She is currently working on projects for Sho-Comi magazine.

For more information on HONEY BLOOD, or other shojo manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan.  Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages.  VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products.  Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

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7. Spotlight and Giveaway: Hot Rebel by Lynn Raye Harris

This week, bestselling author Lynn Raye Harris celebrates the release of her romantic suspense Hot Rebel. Featuring a military hero, kick ass heroine, and a Middle Eastern mission gone bad, this is an action packed romance.   To celebrate the release, Lynn is hosting a $50 gift card giveaway, so please enter below!

Summary

A rebel on the run…

Victoria Royal is a traitor. Or so the U.S. government believes. Victoria was once a promising sniper in the Army, but now she’s gone rogue—worse, she’s just landed in the middle of a Hostile Operations Team mission in the desert and blasted it all to hell.

Nick “Brandy” Brandon doesn’t expect to run into Victoria when he’s bugging out from a mission gone wrong. It’s been more than three years since she disappeared from the sniper course they were in together, and he’s finally stopped thinking about her killer curves and smart mouth.

But now she’s back—and she’s far more dangerous than Nick ever believed possible… Is she really a traitor? Or is there something more at stake? He has to decide fast—because time’s running out and too many lives hang in the balance…

Excerpt

Driven by some emotion she couldn’t name, Victoria turned and walked back over to Nick. He was frowning at her when she reached up and pulled his head down. She pressed her lips to his cheek, felt the roughness of his stubble and breathed the smell of him—sand, spice, and cool water—deep into her lungs.

“Thanks for saving me,” she said, her lips close to his ear.

She started to step away, but he caught her close and turned his head, his lips meeting hers. The contact was shocking—and delicious in a way she hadn’t anticipated. She’d been kissed before, but this… this was better than any of those kisses had been.

His mouth was soft and hard against hers, his hands firm on her hips as he held her against him. The kiss was hot and tame all at once. Simultaneously the most arousing and most chaste kiss she’d ever had. He didn’t force her mouth open, didn’t thrust his tongue between her lips—he just kissed her hard and thoroughly before setting her away from him and taking a step backward.

And, God, she wanted his tongue so badly now. Wanted to feel it sliding against her own, stroking her senses higher.

But the kiss was over and he was looking at her, his jaw firm and a hard look in his eyes.

“You’re welcome,” he said, and it took her a moment to remember that she’d thanked him for saving her.

“I… I have to go.” Her cheeks flamed as she said it because he knew she had to leave as well as she did. The car was running, and she’d left the door open. She took a step backward, and then another.

Then she turned and got inside the car, determined not to look at him again. But she failed because she looked up, her gaze clashing with his right as she closed the door. And she didn’t look away as they drove off. Nick didn’t move from the spot she’d left him standing in.

It was only when the car turned and he was out of sight that she remembered how to breathe.

Goodreads Link

http://bit.ly/GoodreadsHotRebel

Buy Links

Amazon: http://bit.ly/AmazonHotRebel

iBooks: http://bit.ly/AppleHotRebel

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1mgY70t

Google Play: http://bit.ly/GoogleHotRebel

Author Biography

USA Today bestselling author Lynn Raye Harris burst onto the scene when she won a writing contest held by Harlequin. A former finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award and the National Readers Choice Award, Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome former military husband and two crazy cats. Lynn writes about hot military heroes, sizzling international billionaires, and the women who dare to tame them. Her books have been called “exceptional and emotional,” “intense,” and “sizzling.” To date, Lynn’s books have sold over 2 million copies worldwide.

Social Networking Links

Website: http://lynnrayeharris.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2973925.Lynn_Raye_Harris

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLynnRayeHarris

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnRayeHarris

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8. Win The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey!

I just read The Bloodbound by Ern Lindsey, and it’s a run, exciting read!  Here’s my review.  Want to win a copy? Just enter the giveaway below!

About the book:

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…

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9. Review: The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

The Bloodbound appeared in my mailbox about a month ago.  Until I had received an email from the publisher, I had never heard of it, and that’s extremely unusual when it comes to fantasy novels.  I am like a Bloodhound; I relentlessly sniff out new titles, especially when they contain romance elements and aren’t part of an already ongoing series.  And look at the cover?  Protagonist Alix is wearing plate mail and wielding a sword, with barely any flesh exposed.  Finally, a female warrior who looks like she’s actually ready to fight and not pose for the swim suit issue of Sports Illustrated.   Better yet, she actually kicks ass!  She saves her king, Erik, not once, but many times, placing herself at risk of imminent death each and every time.  She’s both physically and mentally tough.  Hooray!

Alix is a scout in the Alden army, serving her mandatory time in the military.  She’s also Lady Black, a member of one of the politically powerful banner houses.  Stealthy and brave, she takes her duties in the army seriously.  When it becomes clear that the King’s brother, Tom, has betrayed him, withdrawing his forces from the field of battle and leaving Erik to die, Alix ignores her orders to hold her position as lookout and rushes to save her king.  She hauls him from his horse to keep him from taking an arrow from an enemy archer, pulling the horse down on top of him.  The resulting injuries, knocking him senseless and breaking his leg, are small prices to pay for saving his life.  She carries him away from the fighting to safety, and the grateful Erik appoints her the head of his personal guard.

I really enjoyed Alix’s strength.  She doesn’t back down from a confrontation, and she always tries to do what’s right.  Her strong morale code and her impetuous nature often earn her the wrath of her commanding officer, but she doesn’t let that stop her from taking risks to keep Erik safe.  His attitude doesn’t help her, either.  Erik isn’t used to hiding behind others, and it’s not until an assassin attempts to take his life that he heeds Alix and follows her security instructions.  There were times at the beginning of the book when I thought Alix was the only character to display any sort of common sense, and I did fear for Erik’s safety.  He was is own worst enemy for most of the book, and his sense of self-preservation was sadly underdeveloped.

With an enemy army perched at the border of his kingdom, as well as his brother’s efforts to take control of the throne, Erik doesn’t know who he can trust outside of a small group of nobles.  Alix has proven her loyalty, so she is given a position of trust within his circle of supporters.  Alix proves herself to be politically astute time and again.  As Erik fights to protect both his people and his crown, his own beliefs are put to the test.  How will he keep control of the country, without tearing it apart from within and adhering to his own code of ethics? 

I enjoyed the political maneuvering, as well as the action peppered throughout the narrative.  The battles were exciting, and neither Alix nor Erik take a backseat during the action scenes.  They meet their opponents head on, blades swinging, unflinching.  I really got a sense of the chaos of battle, and found these sequences hard to put down.

There isn’t really a magic system, other than the bloodbinders.  Few and far between, these individuals can take the blood of a warrior and blend it with the steel of a sword, creating a weapon that is an extension of the wielder.  Alix has a bloodbound sword, which makes her even deadlier in a fight.  It is rumored that the invading Oridian’s have a priest able to bind warriors to himself.  These mindless thralls fight like berserkers, unmindful of wounds and throwing themselves into battle until they kill their targets, or are killed themselves.  Incapable of feeling pain or fear, the thralls are fearsome warriors that never retreat.  An all out battle with the Oridian thralls will cost the lives of many, many Aldens, and Erik despairs at victory.  With Tom dividing the country, the outcome doesn’t look good for Alden.  Erik’s one hope is to kill Madan, the Oridian priest, which will break the blood seal that’s been cast over the bloodbound warriors.

There is a lot going on in The Bloodbound, and while some of the world building elements were a little light, the story was interesting and kept me engrossed in the book.  If there was anything that detracted from the story, it was the love triangle between Alix, Liam, and Erik.  I am firmly in the I can’t stand love triangles camp, so even if this was the best love triangle in the world of love triangles, I still wouldn’t have liked it.  It’s a plot device that is far too overused in YA, and I don’t like it when it pops up in other reads. 

I enjoyed The Bloodbound, and the ending left off with room for another book, so I wouldn’t mind spending more time the characters.  Rig, Alix’s older brother, is a favorite, so I hope he gets more page time. Since his house needs an heir, I’m curious to see who he gets paired up with.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

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…

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10. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–Freaked Out 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’ve had an emotionally draining week.  One of the horses has been under the weather, and because conditions are the barn are currently not ideal, I’ve been worrying about her when I can’t stop by to check up on her.  Thankfully, my horse show family has been helping out when they are at the barn.  Thanks, guys!

My biggest worry right now is my mom.  She’s currently recuperating from surgery (all the way in Florida!), and I’m worried sick about her.  Mom, I hope you’re feeling better!  I hate that you are so far away and I can’t see you until November!!  Love you!

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:

Angels & Alphas: An Angelbound and Becoming Alpha Bundle  (.99)

A Patch of Darkness: Sierra Fox  (FREE for Kindle)

The Sekhmet Bed (The She-King Book 1)  (FREE for Kindle)

The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne)  (2.99 – I have been WAITING for this to go on sale!)

Hold On To Love (.99)

The Vault

The Gatekeeper’s Son

Mistletoe Wedding

 

The Love Match

Blame The Mistletoe

What a Wallflower Wants

Falling Sky

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

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

 Subscribe in a reader

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11. Interview with Frances Housden, Author of Chieftain by Command

[Magna Maniac Café] Good morning, Frances!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Frances Housden] Persistent.

[Magna Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Chieftain by Command?

[Frances Housden] After the death of the Comlyn Clan Chieftain, Gavyn Farquhar is commanded by King Malcolm Canmore to take his place, but first he must wed Kathryn Comlyn. An unwilling bride, Kathryn feels perfectly capable of leading the clan in her father’s stead and she leaves her new husband in no doubt of her feelings. The truth is that her disinclination suits Gavyn. His survey of the Comlyn fortress, Dun Bhuird has revealed that the defenses require expensive structural work. To earn the wealth necessary to keep the fortress and the way south safe from the Norsemen of Caithness, as the King expects, Gavyn intends that he and his men will spend time in France as mercenaries, even if it means leaving his young unbedded wife in the care of trusted retainers. His only words to Kathryn as he departs are that on his return he had better find her as he left her—intact.

[Magna Maniac Café] Can you describe your favorite scene?

[Frances Housden] To describe the scene that brought me to tears would act as a spoiler, but another favorite is when Gavyn and his men return from France without warning his wife. Kathryn awaits him bow in hand, fortunately for Gavyn she misses and later claims it was done deliberately, the readers will have to make up their own minds about that.

[Magna Maniac Café] What did you most enjoy about writing this book?

[Frances Housden] Having just written my RITA nominated book—The Chieftain’s Curse— my first in the Chieftain trilogy, I loved revisiting a lot of my original characters, Rob, Nhaimeth and Jamie—who are all somewhat older in this book—as well as Gavyn and Kathryn who played smaller parts the first time around. To be able to make your characters grow as you sit at the keyboard is very satisfying, also the ability to explore a new setting is exciting as this time the story has moved to the Cairngorms and northwest to Caithness where the Norsemen rule.

[Magna Maniac Café] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Frances Housden] A book, or my Kindle, loaded up with books. I’ve always felt that sitting down anywhere without a book in my hands is a waste of good reading time.

[Magna Maniac Café] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Frances Housden] Bluetooth keyboard and touchpad, as well as a pile of history books that I frequently use for research.

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

[Frances Housden] Coffee is always on the go, but a cup-a-soup and crackers help fill me up.

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

[Frances Housden] I think my friend, Nalini Singh, her writing appears to come with an ease I feel I lack, and when she’s not at home writing she’s traveling. I love to travel.

[Magna Maniac Café] You have been granted a superpower for one week. Which power would you choose and what would you do with it.

[Frances Housden] The power of healing would come in handy. My husband has Parkinson’s disease and I’d love to relieve him of that burden, also my mother had dementia before she passed away. I think that is a terrible way to end what has been a good and productive life. That is something I would love to help cure.

[Magna Maniac Café] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Frances Housden] Before I went to RWA 2014 I loaded some early Eloisa James onto my reader, her Pleasures trilogy. Now, Eloisa has a great way with fairytales I have never tried to emulate, not unless you are into the darker Brothers Grimm tales, but I do believe a writer has to stay true to the era they’re writing about and I always picture Cinderella in the beautiful Georgian dresses Eloisa describes.

[Magna Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?

[Frances Housden] Readers can get in touch with me on Facebook, or on Twitter @HousdenFwriter, as well as my website www.franceshousden.com

Title: Chieftain by Command

Author: Frances Housden

Genre: Historical Scottish Medieval

Release Date: September 2014

Format: eBook

Pagination: 142

Blurb:

From the bestselling, RITA-nominated author Frances Housden comes the gripping, sensual, suspenseful follow-up to The Chieftain’s Curse…

Gavyn Farquhar’s marriage is forged with a double-edged blade. Along with the Comlyn clan’s lands, a reward from the King, he is blessed with an unwilling bride, Kathryn Comlyn, and an ancient fort with few defences that desperately needs to be fortified before it can act as a sufficient buffer between Scotland and the Norsemen on its northern borders.

Gavyn needs wealth to meet his king’s demands, and he knows of only one way to get it — with his sword. Leaving his prickly bride behind in the hands of trusted advisors, he makes his way to the battlegrounds of France and the money that can be made there.

Two years married and Kathryn is still a virgin. A resentful virgin, certain that, like her father before her, she is perfectly capable of leading the Comlyn clan. In her usurper husband’s absence, she meets the clan’s needs, advising and ruling as well as any man.

But she is an intelligent woman, and she knows the only respect and power she will ever hold will be through her husband. And to wield it, she needs to make him love her. An easy task to set, but impossible to complete, when said husband has been gone for two years, and there is no word of his return. But Kathryn is undeterred. After all, a faint heart never won a Chieftain.

About the Author:

Frances Housden has only recently discovered the delights of writing Mediaeval Scottish stories—part fantasy and part memories of her early life in Scotland. Now living in New Zealand, she happily writes at home and lives vicarious adventures with her heroes and heroines. Frances is married to the man she travelled to the ends of the earth for, and together they have two sons and four grandchildren who make sure life is never dull. 

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12. Review and Giveaway: The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

I am beyond thrilled to be part of the 50th anniversary blog tour for Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three.  My history with Prydain goes WAY back.  The Book of Three was one of the first fantasy novels that I ever read, recommended to me by my uncle right after I finished the Narnia Chronicles.  I loved the world of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and I wanted to read more books in this wonderful new genre that I had just discovered.  I was 11 or 12, and armed with a list of books from my uncle, I hit the library and checked out as many as I could find.  The Book of Three and The White Mountains made the biggest impression on me, and I’ve been meaning to reread these treasures from my childhood for quite some time.  The problem: I was afraid that they wouldn’t stand up to the test of time.  The Book of Three is as old as I am, and I wondered if the years would be good to Taran and Eilonwy.  Would they still seem relevant after all this time?  You bet!  I loved the re-read as much as when I read the book for the first time!

Taran is an assistant pig-keeper, and he lives with Coll and Dalben in a remote hamlet.  Nothing much happens, and Taran is bored.  He dreams of swords and chivalry, or doing brave things and being more than he is.  When the animals go nuts one day, and Hen Wen, the oracular pig he helps care for, escapes her pen and flees in terror, Taran learns first hand that being a hero isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  It’s full of hardship and weariness, life-threatening danger, and fear.  It’s also full of new friends, patience, and learning who you are and how you’ll act when faced with the most fearsome foes imaginable.

The writing style is engaging and it didn’t feel dated at all.  I have tried to re-read other books from my past, and have been left disappointed.  The Book of Three still feels fresh and exciting, and if anything, I liked Eilonwy now even better than before.  She’s brave, fearless, and doesn’t wait for someone else to save her.  She’s self-assured (probably too much so!), and her sharp intelligence helps her and Taran out of many nasty situations.  She wants to pull her own weight, and she never loses her ability to think and reason her way out of trouble.  She even has common sense!  More than Taran, at least at first.

Taran begins his journey to save Hen Wen, and then all of Prydain, an impulsive, overly confident boy.  He arrives at the end of his travels far more mature than when he started.  He cares about his friends, even the ones he doubted at first, and doesn’t hesitate to put himself in harm’s way to save them.  He even comes to appreciate the predictable peace of home, and wants nothing more than to return to the old, boring life he took for granted.

If I have any complaints about The Book of Three, it’s about the final battle with the Horned King.  Most of the action takes place off page, and is related to Taran by a third party.  I felt ever so slightly ripped off by that, but it’s not enough of a gripe to mar my reading experience.

If you haven’t read the series before, I highly recommend it, for readers of all ages. 

 

Info about the 50th Anniversary editions:

Henry Holt Books for Young Readers is proud to publish this 50th Anniversary Edition of Lloyd Alexander’s classic The Book of Three, the first book in the Chronicles of Prydain, with a new introduction by Newbery Honor–winner Shannon Hale. This anniversary edition is filled with bonus materials, including an interview with Lloyd Alexander, a Prydain short story, the first chapter of the next Prydain book (The Black Cauldron, a Newbery Honor book), an author’s note, and a pronunciation guide.

I have a hardback copy of The Book of Three to give to one of you!  The book is BEAUTIFUL, so please enter below!  US/Canada only, please.

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Tour Schedule

The Book of Three 50th Anniversary Blog Tour

Monday September 22

YA Bibliophile

Tuesday September 23

Maria’s Melange

Wednesday September 24

The Book Wars

Thursday September 25

Bunbury in the Stacks

Friday September 26

Manga Maniac Café

Monday September 29

Read Now Sleep Later

Tuesday September 30

The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

Wednesday October 1

Word Spelunking

Thursday October 2

Proud Book Nerd

Friday October 3

Book Haven Extraordinaire

The post Review and Giveaway: The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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13. Interview with Cara Connelly, Author of The Wedding Vow and Giveaway

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

[Cara Connelly] Loves dogs, chocolate, and Prosecco!

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

[Cara Connelly] The Wedding Vow is an enemies-to-lovers story about billionaire art thief Adam LeCroix and Maddie St. Clair, the ex-prosecutor who nearly brought him down. Five years after her defeat, Maddie’s still smarting over it when Adam strolls into her law firm and coerces her into going to work for him. But what started out as revenge for him, and humiliation for her, gets complicated when these two strong people who are used to being in control of everything find themselves falling in love. They both have dark secrets and serious baggage. And they also have deep wounds which they never expected to reveal, much less to help each other heal. They fight it every step of the way!

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

[Cara Connelly] I love Adam and Maddie so much. They’re both so tough and prickly on the outside, it was magical for me to peel back their layers and discover the loving, caring people underneath.

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

[Cara Connelly] Peeling back those layers! I write by the seat of my pants, without an outline or any concrete idea where the story and the characters will take me. So I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to find when I got down to their cores. They ended up being so much more complex than I anticipated. They gave me a few scary moments along the way.

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

[Cara Connelly] My notebook! As I said, I write by the seat of my pants, and I’m often far from my computer when the next part of the story reveals itself to me. So if I don’t have something to write it down on, I get pretty frantic. I even keep waterproof paper and pencil in the shower! I get my best ideas there.

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

[Cara Connelly] You caught me at my treadmill desk, so there’s a lamp, a cuppa coffee (of course), and a funny stone bird sculpture that holds my laptop cord in place. (Let me just add here that I recommend a treadmill desk for everyone!)

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

[Cara Connelly] That’s an easy one. I’d trade with Chris Hemsworth’s wife! But don’t tell my husband…

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

[Cara Connelly] I just read Maggie McGinnis’s The Accidental Cowgirl – loved it! I also got a sneak peak at Autumn Jones Lake’s forthcoming Slow Burn – sexy, fun, wonderful characters! And I just picked up Karen Robards’ Her Last Whisper from the library – haven’t started it, but I loved the first two book in the series!

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

[Cara Connelly] I love to do just about anything with my husband Billy – even the mundane, everyday things are fun when we do them together. I love walking my dog Bella – we hit the trail almost every day. And I paint whenever I can – I’m not good AT ALL, but it’s very relaxing and challenges an entirely different part of my brain. I don’t watch much TV, but I never miss Supernatural, The Walking Dead, or Star Trek reruns. And I’m loving Outlander!

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

[Cara Connelly] I’m on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/cara.connelly.50 and www.facebook.com/caraconnellyromance.

You can follow me on twitter at: https://twitter.com/@cara_connelly

And of course you can always get the latest on my books, public appearances and other fun extras at www.caraconnelly.com.

Thanks for having me on Manga Maniac Café!

The Wedding Vow

Save the Date # 2: A Billionaire’s Demand

By: Cara Connelly

Releasing September 30th, 2014

Avon

Blurb

Cara Connelly’s second Save the Date novel proves that opposites do attract…
The Playboy
Sexy billionaire Adam LeCroix has a mission: hunt down the sultry spitfire he blames for his troubles, demand her help, and exact revenge while he’s at it. Maddie St. Clair will help him . . . or else.
The Prosecutor
Former prosecutor Maddie damn near nailed Adam for stealing, but the lucky bastard walked. Now, five years later, he’s back, arrogant as ever, giving her an ultimatum—work for him to collect the insurance money, or she’ll never work again.
The Problem
Maddie’s all about right and wrong. Adam’s shades of gray. So when he uncovers the hot body under her hard-ass veneer and she finds he’s a thief with a heart, can the law-and-order lawyer and the fast-and-loose felon put their prickly past behind them?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/the-wedding-vow-save-date-2_4.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20452191-the-wedding-vow?from_search=true

Buy Links

Purchase at Amazon | Barnes | iBooks | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wedding-Vow-Novel-Billionaires-Demand-ebook/dp/B00HPWUM5E/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1409831587

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-wedding-vow-cara-connelly/1118894134?ean=9780062282354

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-wedding-vow/id792997868?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-wedding-vow-4

 

Author Info

Cara Connelly is an award-winning author of contemporary romances. Her smart and sexy stories have won high praise, earning Cara several awards including the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart, the Valley Forge Romance Writers’ Sheila, and the Music City Romance Writers’ Melody of Love. Cara, who lives in rural upstate New York, works as appellate court attorney when she’s not crafting steamy novels of love and romance.

Author Social Links

Website: http://www.caraconnelly.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cara_connelly

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6921968.Cara_Connelly

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print Copy of THE WEDDING FAVOR (US ONLY) and a Second Prize TBD)

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The post Interview with Cara Connelly, Author of The Wedding Vow and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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14. Interview with Kari Edgren, Author of Goddess Born

 photo d717e629-6016-48de-86cc-d2e76f83f691.png

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

[Kari Edgren] Determined, Extroverted Introvert, impatient, and a daydreamer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Goddess Born?

[Kari Edgren] Goddess Born draws from a time when many of the Irish clans claimed kinship with the Tuatha Dé, or “tribe of the gods”. Eighteen-year-old Selah Kilbrid is a headstrong young woman, who upon her father’s death becomes one of the largest landholders in Colonial Pennsylvania. She is also the direct descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, with the power to heal and the charge to help those in need. As she navigates the many perils in a world dominated by men and superstition, she her must keep her identity hidden or risk being charged for a witch.

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

[Kari Edgren] When Selah takes her future by the horns at the docks and does something really brazen. Despite her unique ‘goddess’ ancestry, I see this scene as the first real leap of faith for the reader. In many ways it has more to do with Selah’s personal struggles as a woman in 1730 Pennsylvania than her unique powers. And I think it’s easy to relate to her impulsiveness as its something anyone could have done if pushed far enough.

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

[Kari Edgren] I loved writing Goddess Born. Every single part of it, which is odd since I usually detest writing description. Insert trees and shrubberies. Now let’s get back to the story… But not this time. For almost a year, I lived and breathed 1730 Pennsylvania. My behind may have been planted on the couch in present day Pacific NW, but the rest of me was far, far away, as my husband and kids can attest. The Colonial people in general, and Selah Kilbrid in specific, had become my reality. They fully absorbed me, from the months of research to the moment I typed the last word.

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

[Kari Edgren] I am obsessed with Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. I never leave the house without it, and even pack an extra tube if I’m staying somewhere overnight.

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

[Kari Edgren] Diet Coke, a homemade clay pencil holder that resembles Cyrano de Bergerac, and my writing notebook.

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

[Kari Edgren] Popcorn or Cheez-It. With Diet Coke of course.

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

[Kari Edgren] Eleanor of Aquitaine, just not while she was imprisoned.

[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?

[Kari Edgren] Does time travel count as a superpower? If so, I would go back to 18th century England before Victorianism took hold. Otherwise telekinesis, and I’m sure I would misuse it and cause all sorts of mayhem before the week was done.

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

[Kari Edgren] I just finished One Plus One by Jojo Moyes last night. What a beautiful testament to the power of strangers!

Blackmoore and Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson – her writing reminds me of a richly woven tapestry.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, since I lived in the Seattle area for twenty years.

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

[Kari Edgren] I can be found on the web at kariedgren.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KariEdgren

Thank you for hosting me today!

02_Goddess Born

Publication Date: May 29, 2014
Carina Press
eBook; ISBN: 9781426898365

Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Paranormal/New Adult

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2013 RWA Golden Heart© Finalist
2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist

The power to heal is her divine gift, the fear of discovery, her mortal curse.

Selah Kilbrid is caught between two worlds. A direct descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, she is bound by Tuatha Dé law to help those in need. Yet as a human, she must keep her unique abilities hidden or risk being charged for a witch. In 1730 Pennsylvania, the Quaker community of Hopewell has become a haven for religious freedom—and fanaticism—and there are those who would see her hanged if the truth were revealed.

For eighteen years, Selah safely navigates the narrow gap between duty and self-preservation, until the day a prominent minister uncovers her secret. Obsessed with her power, Nathan Crowley disregards her betrothal to a distant cousin from Ireland and demands marriage in exchange for his silence. Selah stalls for time, but when news reaches the Colonies of her cousin’s death, time has run out.

Rather than submit to Nathan, Selah coerces a stranger to pose as her husband. It’s a good plan—her only plan—even though Henry Alan harbors his own dark secrets. But when she returns to Hopewell a married woman, the real fight has just begun. As unseen forces move against her, Selah doesn’t know which poses the greater danger—a malignant shadow closing in from outside or the internal fire that threatens to consume her heart.

Book Two in the Goddess Born series will be published in November 2014 and Book Three in June 2015.

Buy the eBook


Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Carina Press

About the Author03_Kari Edgren


Kari Edgren did not dream of becoming a writer. Instead, she dreamed of everything else and was often made to stay inside during kindergarten recess to practice her letters. Despite doting parents and a decent school system, Ms. Edgren managed to make it through elementary school having completed only one book cover to cover – The Box Car Children, which she read approximately forty-seven times. Things improved during high school, but not until she read Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in college, did she truly understand the power of a book.

Ms. Edgren aspires to be a Vulcan, a world-acclaimed opera singer, and two inches taller. She resides in the Pacific NW where she spends a great deal of time torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts. Ms. Edgren hasn’t stopped dreaming, but has finally mastered her letters enough to put the stories on paper.

For more information please visit Kari Edgren’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sign Up for Kari Edgren’s Newsletter.

Goddess Born Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, September 22
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, September 23
Review at By the Book Reviews
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, September 24
Review at The Readers Hollow
Interview at Manga Maniac Cafe

Thursday, September 25
Review at Book Babe

Friday, September 26
Review at Curling Up With a Good Book

Sunday, September 28
Spotlight & Excerpt at Casual Readers

Monday, September 29
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review at The Mad Reviewer

Tuesday, September 30
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, October 1
Review & Excerpt at Book Lovers Paradise

Thursday, October 2
Review at Books, Etc.
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Friday, October 3
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, October 6
Review at Bookish
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, October 7
Spotlight & Giveaway at The Flashlight Reader

Wednesday, October 8
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, October 9
Review at The True Book Addict

Friday, October 10
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, October 13
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, October 14
Review at I’d So Rather Be Reading

Wednesday, October 15
Review at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, October 16
Review at A Book Geek
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, October 17
Review at Historical Tapestry

The post Interview with Kari Edgren, Author of Goddess Born appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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15. Review: Winning Ruby Heart by Jennifer Lohmann

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I had a hard time with Winning Ruby Heart.  I was fascinated with the premise, especially with all of the reports of terrible behavior by athletes during the last week.  While Ruby hasn’t committed domestic abuse, she has committed abuse of another kind: she doped before the Olympics, costing her a gold medal and leaving her reputation in tatters.  She was forced to forfeit the one thing she lived for.  Now she can no longer participate in any Olympic sport, and for a period of five years, she can’t compete in any sport at all. 

The story begins right after her five year suspension has ended.  Ruby has always loved running, and she can’t give it up.  She’s competing in her first ultramarathon, and as luck would have it, Micah Blackwell, the reporter responsible for crumpling up the last of her career and tossing it in the trash, is covering the race.  He recognizes Ruby and is instantly curious.  Why is she there?  What is she up to?  Is she breaking her suspension by participating in the race?  He smells a story, and he won’t rest until he’s uncovered it.  Besides, there’s an anchor slot available at his network, and he knows that this story will seal the deal for him and give him his dream job.

My biggest problem with Winning Ruby Heart was Ruby herself.  I didn’t understand her.  She was already the best in the world at her distance, so why did she allow herself to be talked into cheating?  She is firmly convinced that she would have won the race anyway, but she let her coach chide her into blood doping.  Everyone is doing it is not a good enough reason to risk your entire livelihood and your ability to participate in the one thing you love most in the world.  She knew the consequences if she got caught, but she cheated anyway.  Worse, when she was first interviewed by Micah, she wasn’t even repentant. With his skillful prodding, she came across as spoiled and self absorbed, and certainly unworthy of a second chance.

The romance left me unmoved as well.  At 29, Ruby has always been dependent on her parents.  She lives in their home, her father’s law firm has been handling her legal matters at no cost to her, and with no job, she has no means to support herself.  Her parents are fearful that she’ll embarrass them again, and they make no secret of their disapproval.  Once Micah reenters Ruby’s life, they know it’s only a matter of time before the family is paraded through the papers again, making their lives a nightmare.

I wasn’t convinced that Ruby and Micah made a good match.  Micah has had to work hard for everything he has, while Ruby was given the world on a silver platter – which she promptly threw away.  After an accident on the football field leaves Micah paralyzed, he turns all of the energy and dedication that made him a stand out player into becoming a stand out sports reporter.  And that was where all of my skepticism for their  HEA flourished.  When Micah was kicked on his backside, he found the strength and the willpower to reinvent himself.  Ruby crawled into a hole and hid.  I just don’t see them making it for the long haul, because I wonder what Ruby will do when things go south again?  Even with Micah’s support, she doesn’t come across as a fighter to me, and she’s not one to deal adequately with adversity.

I found the training interesting, and I can’t remember reading romance with a paralyzed hero in a long time.  I enjoyed the introduction of Dotty into Ruby’s life (because dogs make everything better), but overall, I was disappointed with Winning Ruby Heart.

Grade:  C

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

It’s a race to their beginning…

Exposing world-class athlete Ruby Heart’s cheating scandal five years ago made reporter Micah Blackwell’s career. Falling in love with her now could end it. Yet watching her determination to return to the top, he can’t resist the woman she has become. 

Working with Ruby to tell America her story, Micah falls deeper under her spell. But at a crucial moment, his feelings for her conflict with his job—the very thing that once saved him. Now he must choose between his skyrocketing career and the unlikely love of a good woman….

The post Review: Winning Ruby Heart by Jennifer Lohmann appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16. Guest Post and Giveaway: T J Kline, Author of Learning the Ropes

Please welcome TJ Kline to the virtual offices this morning!  She’s going to share her writing essentials list.  Check it out and be sure to enter the giveaway  below.

 

T.J. Kline’s Writing Quirks & Must-Haves

 

I like to think that I’m fairly laid back compared to most people. When I hear about celebrities that demand a list of items at every appearance, I wonder what makes them feel so entitled. But then I started to think about what I feel like I need in order to write and I realize it’s not entitlement as much as it is having the right circumstances in order to best perform. Like an athlete eating a proper diet to fuel a workout, there are certain things that put me in the frame of mind to work at the top of my game.

  1. Internet

I get that this might not make a lot of sense to some writers who find themselves distracted by the constant barrage of social media but I must have an internet connection. If, for no other reason, than I always have a thesaurus ready. I don’t have time to keep flipping in a physical one. I want a quick suggestion so I don’t lose my writing “zone.”

  1. A clean desk

I don’t demand an empty desk by any means but I do insist that I don’t have papers strung out across my work space. It needs to be tidy, dust free and, preferably, have a window nearby for natural lighting so that, when I get stuck in a scene, I can stare into space and figure it out in my head. Too much clutter makes me cringe so I do a weekly paper purge where everything is either filed away or thrown away.

  1. Coffee

It’s a bit cliché, I know, but I love my morning coffee. If I don’t have it, there better be a good reason (like Armageddon or a zombie apocalypse.) I like it strong, dark and with whipped cream. Hmmm, sounds like the hero of a romance novel. In my world, coffee is a hero!

  1. Quiet

With three teens, a husband, three dogs and three cats, we have a busy household. That busy-ness can get loud, rambunctious and chaotic, which makes writing difficult at times. My best writing moments are usually when I can shut out everything around me and focus on the story so once the last child leaves for school in the morning, I have the peace and quiet I love.

  1. Water

As much as I’d like to, my body doesn’t like to have coffee all day long. It does want to sleep at night. Once lunch time rolls around, I make the switch to water, and tons of it. I usually drink a gallon a day in the form of filtered water and seltzer water (coconut and apricot being my favorite flavored waters). And ice, lots of ice! I suppose I should add a bathroom to this list, as all of the water does make it a bit of a must.

  1. Good chair

This is a recent addition for me. I love to sit and write on the couch, or in a recliner, but I’ve been noticing more nerve issues with my back lately and upgraded my chair in my office to a plush, ergonomic one. It’s made a world of difference and now, I’m spoiled. I want nothing less.

  1. Music

I know, I said I like quiet but I also like the option of music to fit my story. Most of the time, that means country music but having Spotify (I am in no way affiliated, I just love it) I’m able to set up several playlists and pick whatever tunes fit my mood. I also love the fact that I can add and subtract music easily so that I don’t find myself singing instead of writing.

  1. Colored pens

Colored pens are my little guilty pleasure. Recently, I found several packs in my desk, unopened, because I just can’t ever have enough. I love writing notes in color. I’m sure there is some psychological reason for it but I don’t really care. All I know is I will use a black or blue pen if I must, but if you give me a purple, turquoise or green pen, I’ll write notes and plot all day long without getting tired or bored.

  1. Post-its

Yes, another guilty purchase but this one serves a purpose. I buy colored Post-its in various sizes but these are what I plot stories on. I keep a notebook nearby, labeled by chapter, and when an idea hits, it goes on a Post-it. Usually, one idea leads to several and I find I can plot entire chapters this way. Or, I take the notebook and Post-its with me on the road and plot while waiting in line. Each color will represent a different point of view (Hero/Heroine) or plot point (conflict/love) and the colors let me see if I have too much of any point of view, conflict or love scenes at a glance.

  1. Melt Warmer

Who wouldn’t want their work area to smell nice? You know these things where you put a square of scented wax over a light bulb to melt. I have them in several rooms but I tend to keep scents to suit the seasons. Summer is vanilla or fruit, Fall is pumpkin or spices and Winter is some sort of peppermint.

I’ve come to realize that it’s not a matter of being an entitled diva to want these things but knowing they help me work better, faster and just make me a happier writer.

 

Learning the Ropes

Rodeo #3

By: T.J. Kline

Releasing September 30th

Avon Impulse

Blurb

Rule #1 – Don’t lose focus…

Barrel racer Alicia Kanani has had a long road to the top – and she’s not quite there yet. Finances have always been tight, and in the glitz and glam world of professional rodeo, that means that second best is probably the best she can hope for. With the National Finals coming up, she’s certainly not looking for a pair of cowboys to distract her.

Rule #2 – Don’t gamble what you can’t live without…

Playboy Chris Thomas is sure Alicia’s the perfect woman for his level-headed team roping partner, David Greenly. It seems like a match, until Chris realizes he wants Alicia for himself. The stakes have been raised; David and Chris are supposed to be a team, and this time, they’re on opposite sides.

Can Alicia rope this playboy’s heart, or will they find themselves too tangled up to let true love in?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/learning-ropes-by-tj-kline.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22608150-learning-the-ropes?from_search=true

Buy Links

Purchase at: Amazon | Barnes | iBooks | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Ropes-T-J-Kline-ebook/dp/B00LEYI3WI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409594534&sr=8-1&keywords=Learning+the+Ropes

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/learning-the-ropes-t-j-kline/1119887872?ean=9780062370082

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/learning-the-ropes-5/pk7uh6BF-k6BbX_Xd_JJCQ?MixID=pk7uh6BF-k6BbX_Xd_JJCQ&PageNumber=1

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/br/book/learning-the-ropes/id894886146?l=en&mt=11

Author Info

T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and Rodeo Queen competitions since the age of 14 and has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has written several articles about rodeo for small periodicals, as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter, and has published a nonfiction health book and two inspirational fiction titles under the name Tina Klinesmith. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah. In her spare time, she can be found laughing hysterically with her husband, children, and their menagerie of pets in Northern California.

Author Links

http://tinaklinesmith.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TKlinesmith

https://twitter.com/TinaKlinesmith

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7379969.T_J_Kline

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Digital Set of RODEO QUEEN and THE COWBOY AND THE ANGEL and Second Winner for Print Copy of THE COWBOY AND THE ANGEL)

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17. Trailer Reveal! Night Sky by Suzanne Brockmann and Melanie Brockmann

I haven’t shared a trailer in a while, and since I’m looking forward to Night Sky, I decided to pass this one along.  What do you think? Are you going to add Night Sky to you TBR stack?

Night Sky

By Suzanne Brockmann and Melanie Brockmann

Sourcebooks Fire ? October 7, 2014

ISBN: 9-781-4926-0144-9 ? Hardcover/$16.99 ? Ages 14+

Preo-order here Amazon BN.com

“Original and exciting, NIGHT SKY propels readers into a dangerous future. Loved it.” –Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of Made For You and the Wicked Lovely series.

“A gripping page-turner from first to last…the start of something that can only be described as ‘greater-than.’” –Kirkus STARRED review

“Action-packed, mysterious, charming and witty. I’m ready for more!” — Gena Showalter, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Alice in Zombieland

“Full of adventure, humor, and just the right amount of Brockmann wit…I love this book!” –P.C. Cast, New York Times bestselling co-author of the House of Night series.

Hunted. Kidnapped. Bled. Destiny can be dangerous…

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann makes her young adult debut with a pulse-pounding novel of paranormal suspense set in the same world as her highly acclaimed and bestselling romance Born to Darkness, alongside her daughter and co-author Melanie. Young girls are being murdered for the secret that’s in their blood. When Skylar’s neighbor becomes the next victim, she must use her newly discovered abilities to save her before it’s too late.

Sixteen-year-old Skylar Reid is thrown into a strange world when she discovers that she has unique telekinetic and telepathic powers.  After Sasha, the child she babysits, is kidnapped and believed to be murdered, Sky and her best friend Calvin are approached by Dana, a mysterious girl who has super-abilities similar to Sky’s.  With the help of Dana and her sidekick Milo, the four teens embark on a quest to discover who killed Sasha, and to bring the killers to justice.

With Dana as Skylar’s surly and life-toughened mentor, Sky attempts to harness her powers to aid them in their quest. Complicating an already complex relationship with the older girl, Sky starts to fall for the dangerously handsome and enigmatic Milo – and begins to suspect that the attraction is mutual. But then Sky realizes that Sasha might still be alive, and the unlikely foursome’s mission becomes one of search and rescue, pitting the heroic teens against a very deadly enemy.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Suzanne Brockman, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author, has won 2 RITA awards, numerous RT Reviewers’ Choice, and RWA’s #1 Favorite Book of the Year three years running. She has written over 50 books, and is widely recognized as a “superstar of romantic suspense” (USA Today). Suzanne and her daughter, Melanie Brockmann, have been creative partners, on and off, for many years. Their first project was an impromptu musical duet, when then-six-month-old Melanie surprised and delighted Suz by matching her pitch and singing back to her. Suzanne splits her time between Florida and Massachusetts while Mel lives in Sarasota, Florida. NIGHT SKY is Mel’s debut and Suzanne’s 55th book. Visit Suzanne at www.SuzanneBrockmann.com.

Suzanne’s website and a link to her virtual signings: http://www.suzannebrockmann.com/about/ns-virtual-signing/

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18. Teaser and Giveaway: Ruining Mr. Perfect by Marie Harte

This morning I have a special treat! I have an excerpt from Marie Harte’s Ruining Mr Perfect, as well as an awesome giveaway! 

IT’S NOT EASY BEING RIGHT

Vanessa Campbell is a CPA by day and a perfectionist by night. She’s fit, successful…and decidedly lonely. She can’t stop thinking about the youngest McCauley brother, Cameron. He’s just like her: smart, attractive, and usually right—except when dealing with her.

BUT SOMEONE’S GOT TO DO IT

Cameron McCauley likes Vanessa a little too much. She’s a blond goddess with a razor-sharp tongue. She hates to be wrong, just like him. But she can hold a grudge and is stubborn to a fault—also like him.

A past disagreement has them rubbing each other the wrong way. Cam is dying to shake Vanessa up—get her to let loose. But if he succeeds, can his heart handle it?

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit www.marieharte.com and fall in love.

An Excerpt

How she’d ever called him average with a straight face, she didn’t know. The man was her every fantasy made flesh. A great body, handsome face, and amazing mind. And God, he could kiss. As much as she wished she didn’t continually replay their embrace, she hadn’t forgotten that kiss at Christmas.

“Oh?” Damn, she sounded out of breath.

Cameron stalked her until she realized he’d backed her into a corner of the kitchen, away from the view from the hallway.

“Cameron?”

He planted his hands on either side of her on the counter. What the hell?

“The guys are on break while we order pizza. The crap kind from a chain.” He sighed. “What can you do?” He glanced at her popcorn and grinned. “Oh, that’s my favorite. Just a bit of oil and it pops up a storm.” He looked back at her mouth. “Great taste.” Pause. “I just came over to say what a good job you did being firm with Colin.”

“Ah, okay.”

He moved in closer.

“Cameron?” she squeaked on a whisper, for some odd reason not wanting the others to know he was here with her.

“Your lips are so red. So pretty. Do you wear lipstick?” He leaned in and kissed her before she could answer or even think to refuse.

Vanessa stood still, letting him control the kiss, his lips soft yet firm, his tongue sipping then penetrating slowly. No rush, but a leisurely exploration that turned her knees to jelly.

He moaned low in his throat and deepened the kiss. Not enough to overpower her, but enough that she felt a raging lust to wrap her legs around him and hold on until the storm passed.

Instead she remained frozen, her hands gravitating to his waist, her mouth under his.

He eased back. His blue eyes looked cloudy, his lips slick from their kiss. He smiled, and the curl of that grin shook her foundation, made her want with a passion that shocked her.

“No lipstick.” He wiped a thumb across her lower lip. “See?”

“Yeah.” She unconsciously gripped his hips, and he shifted, putting his hard body flush against hers.

“I need to get back,” he said to her mouth.

“Yeah.”

“They’ll be waiting on me.”

She heard Colin’s laughter and Maddie’s creature-roar from the living room, and once again answered, “Yeah.”

Cameron kissed her again, and when he let go, she felt lightheaded.

Pre-Order Now:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/YuEjvW

BAM: http://bit.ly/XNlwet

B&N: http://bit.ly/YuEqrh

Chapters: http://bit.ly/1vmjvFg

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1skZooG

iTunes: http://bit.ly/1pMMCbH

Kobo: http://bit.ly/WOUP8r

About the author:

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit http://marieharte.com and fall in love.

Check out all of the teasers by visiting the following blogs! 

Visit From the TBR Pile http://fromthetbrpile.blogspot.com/ for tomorrow’s excerpt

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19. Interview with Laura Drewry, Author or Prima Donna and Giveaway

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

[Laura Drewry] Happily blessed cheesecake-loving bibliophile

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

[Laura Drewry] PRIMA DONNA is the second book in my new series which revolves around four women, each of whom has her own struggles she must learn to manage or overcome. Regan’s been so busy dealing with the loss of her business and the emotional and financial stress of her mother’s illness, she just doesn’t have the time, the interest, or the energy it takes to be in a relationship. What she could use, though, is a distraction, and that’s what she thinks she’s getting with Carter. Like her, he’s spent his life dodging any mention of commitment, minivans or picket fences, but it’s New Year’s Eve, they’re both consenting adults, so why shouldn’t they have this one night together?

One night and they’ll both move on with their lives, or so they think, but life has other plans for them.

It’s a story of how two people, who’ve spent their lives keeping everyone at bay, learn that sometimes being strong means letting yourself be vulnerable.

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

[Laura Drewry] Carter and Regan first appeared in PLAIN JAYNE (the first book in this series) and I knew as soon as they presented themselves to me that theirs would be the next story. Carter was the easiest – I knew right from the get-go that he was a play-boy type with a heart of gold. I usually have a picture I base my characters on, not because the character looks like that person, but because there’s something in the expression or the body language in the photo that speaks to me. In Carter’s case, it was a photo of a hot guy who looks like trouble, but there was something about the way his head tipped a little, and the way he’s looking at the camera that made me think there was something behind the façade. He’s more than what most people think, maybe he knows he’s a bit of a dog, that it’s worked for him all these years and he gets what he wants, but maybe he’s tired of all that. Maybe he’s looking for someone who’ll expect more of him, who won’t put up with his crap, who’ll make him want to be a better man.

When we first met Regan in PLAIN JAYNE, the future of her salon was up in the air and we got a glimpse into her mindset about long-term relationships. One thing I knew right away with Regan was that she’d grown up in a difficult family situation, but it took a lot of digging and trying different ideas before the real story came out. And the funny thing is, as many writers will tell you, it doesn’t matter what we think the story should be; it’s the characters who ultimately decide and Regan’s story just wouldn’t work until I figured out what and where she came from. (It sounds crazy, I know! LOL)

Once I understood who each of them were, what they’d lived through, and what their fears were, the story just progressed from there.

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

[Laura Drewry] One of my favourite things was the way Regan put Carter in his place. All his life he’s been ‘the golden one’ who gets what he wants, when he wants it, but Regan isn’t having any part of that. Sure Carter’s cute and all, but unlike every other woman he’s been with, she doesn’t cotton to the idea that the sun rises and sets on him – no matter how cute he is. She’s not going to be his flavor of the month, and she has no problem telling him that.

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

[Laura Drewry] Keeping Regan true to her character. It would’ve been very easy to just let her transfer some of her burdens over to Carter or her friends, but that’s not who Regan is and she needed to remain true to that even as her character grew and she learned to trust.

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

[Laura Drewry] The Beatles “Paperback Writer” of course. LOL

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

[Laura Drewry] My iPhone. Sad, but true. I hate carrying a purse and my phone case is one of the ones that looks like a book and holds the necessities, and like most people, I have the all-important Kindle app on my phone so I’m never without something to read.

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

[Laura Drewry] My favourite coffee mug, Post-It notes covered in ideas & notes for the book I’m working on, and my niece’s birthday present.

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

[Laura Drewry] That’s a tough one. I’ve got a pretty good gig going on in my life, and I can’t honestly think of one person I’d seriously like to change places with. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind job-shadowing Joe Girardi for a game or two if it meant I could be in the dugout and watch my man, Jeter, up close, but would I want to be either one of them? Nope.

Would I want to be one of my favourite authors for a day? No, but I wouldn’t mind being a fly on their wall just to watch how they work and what their process is (okay, that sounds creepy – LOL – but I don’t mean it in a stalker-kind-of-way, just in the ‘I’m completely fascinated by how other people write’ kind of way).

Hmmmm. Oooh, I’ve got it – I’d change places with someone like Michael Phelps or Jamie Oliver because I can’t swim and I hate to cook, so maybe if I spent a little time as one of them, I could change that. I’m sure if you quizzed my husband or boys, they’d unanimously vote for Jamie Oliver. LOL

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

[Laura Drewry] ‘Dr. Sleep’ – Stephen King
‘PUSH’ – Eve Silver
‘At the Duke’s Wedding’ – a 4-novella anthology by Caroline Linden, Miranda Neville, Katharine Ashe & Maya Rodale.

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

[Laura Drewry] I love to read (of course!), watching movies, going on road trips and watching the Yankees play ball. Oh, and my husband has recently taken on bee-keeping, so I’m learning all about that and I’m teaching myself how to make candles.

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

[Laura Drewry] I love hearing from readers! Here are some ways they can reach me:

On my website at www.lauradrewry.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-Drewry-Author/229599547078623

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lauradrewry (@lauradrewry)

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

Pinterst: http://www.pinterest.com/ldrewry/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/lauraleedrewry

Tumblr: http://lauradrewry.tumblr.com/

Prima Donna

By: Laura Drewry

Releasing September 23rd, 2014

Loveswept

In USA Today bestselling author Laura Drewry’s witty, sizzling, and tender romance for readers of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery, a woman who can’t slow down discovers that the perfect guy is in hot pursuit.

Even when her hair salon goes under and she’s on the brink of breaking, Regan Burke keeps her “I’m just fine” attitude. She’s had a tough life, coping with a difficult family and keeping her act together . . . barely. Right now, she just needs a job, any job, so she can pay her mother’s medical bills. It’s the exact wrong time for Carter Scott to come into her life—and to be so damn sexy, so distracting, and so determined to get close.

Carter isn’t looking for anything serious—his heart belongs to the kids who depend on his pediatric practice—but something about Regan makes him reconsider. Maybe it’s the scars she hides so well, the secrets she can’t share. Carter knows all about that kind of pain, and he wants to help. But offering Regan a job in his office only makes things worse, even if their chemistry is off the charts. Lucky for them both, Carter isn’t about to let go of love without a fight.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/prima-donna-by-laura-drewry.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20945514-prima-donna?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IBZ60E6?ie=UTF8&tag=randohouseinc-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B00IBZ60E6

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prima-donna-laura-drewry/1118851140?ean=9780804177740

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/prima-donna/id841782953?mt=11&uo=4&at=10lrom

Author Info

Laura Drewry had been scribbling things for years before she decided to seriously sit down and write. After spending eight years in the Canadian north, Laura now lives back home in southwestern British Columbia with her husband, three sons, a turtle named Sheldon, and an extremely energetic German shepherd. She loves old tattered books, good movies, country music, and the New York Yankees.

Author Links

Website: http://www.lauradrewry.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-Drewry-Author/229599547078623

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lauradrewry

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/994651.Laura_Drewry

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 Gift Card to Book Retailer of Choice and Copy of PLAIN JAYNE by Laura Drewry )

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20. Interview with Lynna Banning, Author of The Lone Sheriff and Giveaway

 

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

[Lynna Banning] Shy, smart, determined, and hard-working

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

[Lynna Banning] I am partial to “wounded warriors,” and was drawn to an orphan of undetermined heritage (maybe part Indian, maybe part Mexican, but he doesn’t really know) who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and in adulthood worked his way up to being sheriff. I saddled him with a privileged back-East girl whom he sees as a “piece of rich fluff” but who earns his respect, then his admiration, and then his love based on her wit and strength of character.

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

[Lynna Banning] My favorite scene is the opening one, where Jericho meets the train from Chicago, expecting a male Pinkerton agent, and instead finds himself looking at Madison O’Donnell, who turns out to be a very beautiful lady Pinkerton detective with a feathered hat and a mint-green parasol.

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

[Lynna Banning] Working out the push-pull dialogue and interaction between Jericho and Maddie, with his stubborn streak and her very smart one-ups-manship capabilities.

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

[Lynna Banning] A book, whatever I’m reading at the moment.

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

[Lynna Banning] A photograph of my husband; a straw-basket bed for my cat; and a fluffy feather duster for my computer keyboard.

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

[Lynna Banning] Anything chocolate. Sometimes if I’m out of peanut butter cups I pour out a handful of chocolate chips and nibble on those.

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

[Lynna Banning] A reporter on 60 Minutes, interviewing women historical romance writers.

[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?

[Lynna Banning] My superpower would be the ability to bring clarity of thinking and humanitarian regard to people who are abusing other people, whether in the home, the community, or the nation—any nation.

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

[Lynna Banning] Tracy Chevalier’s “The Last Runaway”; Christina Dodd’s “Candle in the Window”; “Duty” by Robert Gates; and my annual re-reading of “Anne of Green Gables,” by Lucy Montgomery.

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

[Lynna Banning] I love to hear from readers! Write me at P.O. Box 324, Felton, California 95018. Email me at carowoolston@att.net. My web page is www.lynnabanning.net.

THE LONE SHERIFF

LYNNA BANNING

Harlequin Western historical ~ 75k words

As if tracking down train robbers isn’t enough, now Sheriff Jericho Silver’s backup detective is a gun-toting, head-turning beauty who sure spells trouble.

Madison O’Donnell had the perfect life—a beautiful home and all the ladies

luncheons she could stomach—but it left her bored to tears. Now the determined widow fills her days with daring deeds and wild adventures, including working with Jericho. But he insists on her returning to the city where she belongs and finds she is one lady who refuses to take no for an answer.

Buy links: Amazon B&N Harlequin Romance

Excerpt:

None of them looked remotely like a Pinkerton man. A Pinkerton agent would no doubt be wearing a proper suit. But the only male who looked the least bit citified was Ike Bruhn, home from his honeymoon with his new bride.

Sandy jiggled at his side. “Ya see ’im?”

“Nope,” Jerico grunted.

“Maybe he missed the train,” his deputy suggested.

“Naw, must be here somewhere. Look for a gent in a gray suit.” Pinkerton men always wore grey to blend in with crowds. He scanned the thronged station platform again.

“Check inside, Sandy. Maybe he slipped past me.”

His deputy jogged off and Jericho perused the crowd a third time. Nothing. Maybe Mr. Detective had chickened out at the prospect of fingering an elusive outlaw gang that was robbing trains. He narrowed his eyes and turned to check the station once more when someone stumbled smack into him.

“Oh, I am terribly sorry.” An extremely pretty young woman carrying a green-striped parasol gazed up at him. Her voice sounded like rich whiskey sliding over smooth river stones and for a moment Jericho forgot what he’d come for. She only came up to his shoulder and on her dark, piled-up hair sat the most ridiculous concoction of feathers and stuffed birds he’d ever laid eyes on.

He sucked in a breath to apologize, then wished he hadn’t. Goddam she smelled good. Soap and something flowery.

Made his head swim.

He stepped back. “’Scuse me, ma’am.”

She waved a gloved hand and peered at his chest. “Oh, you are the sheriff.”

“Yeah, I am.”

She smiled and his mouth went dry. “You are just the man I want to see.”

Jericho swallowed. “You have a problem?”

“Oh, no.” She twirled her parasol. “You have the problem. I have come to help.” She waited, an expectant look on her face.

“Help?” Jerico echoed.

“Of course.” The whiskey in her voice was now sliding over some pointy rocks. “I am Madison O’Donnell. The Smoke River Bank hired me to help catch the gang robbing their gold shipments.”

Jericho stared at her.

“I believe you were expecting me?”

He snapped his jaw shut. He sure as hell wasn’t expecting her. The last thing he’d expected was this frilly-looking female with her ridiculous hat. In her green-striped dress and twirling her parasol like that she made him think of a dish of cool mint ice cream.

“Whatever is the matter, Sheriff? You have gone quite pale? Are you ill?”

He jerked at the question. Not ill, just gutshot. “Uh, yeah. I mean No, I’m not ill. Just . . . surprised.”

She lowered her voice. “Most Pinkerton clients are surprised when they meet me. It will pass.”

Hell no, it won’t.

Madison O’Donnell picked up her travel bag. “Shall we go?”

Not on your life. “Uh, my deputy’s inside the station house. ’Scuse me, ma’am.” He strode past her without looking back. Inside, he found Sandy talking to the ticket seller.

“Charlie says nobody’s come in except the two Weatherby women. You want me to hang around and – ?”

Biography for Lynna Banning:

Lynna Banning combines a lifelong love of history and literature into a satisfying career as a writer. Born in Oregon, she has lived in Northern California most of her life. After graduating from Scripps College she embarked on a career as an editor and technical writer, and later as a high school English teacher.

An amateur pianist and harpsichordist, Lynna performs on psaltery and harp in a medieval music ensemble, and she also plays cortholt, recorders, and tar (drum). She enjoys hearing from her readers. You may write to her directly at P.O. Box 324, Felton, CA 95018, USA, or at carowoolston@att.net. Visit Lynna’s website at www.lynnabanning.net.

*** *** ***

Giveaway: Seven(7) copies of The Lone Sheriff…Seven(7) lucky winners

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21. Novella Review: Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I really enjoyed Meeting Her Match.  This novella features an unconventional hero, and honestly, when we are first introduced to Marcus, all I could think was, “No!  He can’t be the hero!”  He is clumsy, he can’t look Hannah in the eye, and he’s completely tongue-tied in her presence.  Turns out our sweet hero has been in love with Hannah since he was a young lad, and he turns into a dithering clod whenever she is near. 

Hannah, who has spent many hours secretly finding matches for the eligible singles in town, has failed to find a match for herself.  She’s a busy gal, though, so it’s not surprising that she hasn’t found a man to get hitched to yet.  She’s the school teacher, she helps her sickly mother tend to her huge brood of siblings, and the timing never seems right for her.  Her fiancé was killed in a freak accident, and she’s been drifting through life ever since. 

When tragedy strikes her family, Hannah finds herself even more harried than before.  Then, when her father practically kicks her out of the house, she’s heartbroken.  She mopes about, feeling sorry for herself, not seeing the handsome, caring man that’s right in front of her.  Instead,  because of Marcus’ shy ways, she thinks that he doesn’t like her, even though nothing could be further from the truth.

With the meddling of the townsfolk, Hannah finally gets a clue.  This is a cute read, with likeable characters and a heroine who deserves a HEA.  The only glitch for me was that the ending took too long to wrap up.  Otherwise, this is a great time killer if you’ve got about an hour to fill.

Grade:  B

Review copy read on Scribd

From Amazon:

When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker’s son how much she cares for him?

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22. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Rake’s Handbook (Including Field Guide) by Sally Orr

The Rake’s Handbook sounds like a cute read!  Check out the excerpt and enter the giveaway below!

The Rake’s Handbook (Including Field Guide) by Sally Orr (Historical Romance; The Rake’s Handbook, Book 1; ISBN: 9781492602118)

Summary:

The definitive guide to seduction…

The Rake’s Handbook was written on a dare, and soon took the ton by storm. Now its author, Ross Thornbury, is publicly reviled by the ladies—who are, of course, forbidden to read the handbook—but privately revered by the gentlemen. Unfortunately, Ross’s notoriety is working against him and he flees London painfully aware of the shortcomings of his own jaded heart.

Spirited young widow Elinor Colton lives next to Ross’s country estate. She’s appalled not only by his rakish reputation, but also by his progressive industrial plans. Elinor is sure she is immune to Ross’s seductive ways. But he keeps coming around…impressing her with his vision for England’s future and stunning her with his smiles.

How does one resist the man who wrote the manual on love?

About the Author:

Sally Orr worked for thirty years in medical research, specializing in the discovery of gene function. After joining an English history message board, she posted many, many examples of absolute tomfoolery. As a result, a cyber-friend challenged her to write a novel. Since she is a hopeless Anglophile, it’s not surprising that her first book is a Regency romance. Sally lives with her husband in San Diego, surrounded by too many nerdy books and not enough old English cars. 

Social Media:

Website | @OrrSally | Facebook | Goodreads

Pre-order:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | iBooks

 

Excerpt:

“You really are a rake,” she whispered, the sight and feel of their joined hands warming her cheeks. “A proper gentleman would never hold a lady thus. I have been warned about your charms. Perhaps I too should write everything down. Pen a handbook to instruct my widowed sisters what to expect upon attempted seduction and how to fight it.”

“Factual or satirical?”

She bit her lower lip to stop an indelicate reply.

“I could write that handbook too.”

His boast made her smile. “I seem to have found another trait of a rake.”

“Humph. I’d be delighted to show you all of my traits. Perhaps start with chapter one?” The determination in his voice indicated he was quite willing to comply.

“Please do, sir,” she replied in a facetious tone, tugging her hand free. “But I can already tell that I’ll stop reading your book after the table of contents. You know, all of those funny pages in the front of the book numbered v and i.”

He chuckled softly, then stared at her until he captured her gaze. “My handbook starts with fine eyes.” He reached up and swept back a ringlet that had fallen over her eye and carefully tucked the curl under her bonnet.

Her heartbeat raced.

“The eyes are followed by a notable vee.” His gaze lowered to the upper edge of her bodice and lingered in the center.

“Oh my, if that’s the table of contents, I don’t dare read chapter one.”

“I’d be pleased to read you all of the chapters. There are a total of . . .” He glanced at her leisurely, from the top of her leghorn bonnet down to her sensible half boots. His focus returned up to her neck—almost. His chest broadened as he inhaled. “Ten.”

“Ten.”

He gave her a smoldering look from under heavy lashes. “Ten in volume one,” he continued in a silky baritone. “Let’s start with chapter one.” He leaned forward slowly, staring at her mouth, as if he might take liberties and kiss her. The distance between them shortened to inches. Close enough to feel his warm breath.

Giveaway:

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: The Rake’s Handbook (Including Field Guide) by Sally Orr appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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23. Interview with Roberta Capizzi, Author of Hold On to Love and Giveaway

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

[Roberta Capizzi] Bookworm. Daydreamer. Creative. Irelandholic (this is a word I’ve created myself)

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

[Roberta Capizzi] Hold On To Love is a romance but it’s also a story about finding yourself and standing up for your dreams.

 

Alyssa leads a wealthy life in New York, a life most people would envy, but she’s not happy. So after contemplating jumping off the 34th floor of a building, she decides to take a break and go on a holiday in a remote, small town in Wyoming. There she meets Sean, the handsome son of the owners of the ranch she’s staying in, but he’s a grouch and whenever they’re together, they end up fighting.

Sean is a good man but a past heartbreak had him build a wall around his heart, especially when it comes to rich people. When he thinks Alyssa may be nothing but a spoilt daddy’s girl, he turns into a porcupine and prays for the days to fly, so that he can get rid of her once and for all.

It’s only when the both put aside their prejudices and start looking beyond the surface that they realize there’s more than they thought and as they get closer, things start to change. But Alyssa will have to go back to New York and Sean can’t leave his family business in Wyoming. Finding a way to overcome the distance and get their happily-ever-after will be a tough challenge for both of them.

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

[Roberta Capizzi] There are a few books about the hero being a rich man and the heroine being your next-door girl who falls for him, but for once I wanted it to be the other way around. Then I came across a few pictures of Wyoming and after a little research I decided that the hero would have to be a cowboy (because, like an author friend pointed out, it’s all about the hat!) and then I came up with the idea of the heroine being a wealthy woman from New York. This would entitle a lot of expectations on the heroine’s side and the pressure would lead her to seek a temporary escape. Then the rest of the story developed from that.

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

[Roberta Capizzi] I enjoyed writing the small town and country life setting. After all the research, I’ve come to love Wyoming and ranch life and I hope someday I’ll be able to visit. And I had fun writing the constant banter between Sean and Alyssa.

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

[Roberta Capizzi] Making it feel real was the biggest challenge because I’ve never been to Wyoming nor have I ever stayed in a ranch.

Even though Wind Creek is a fictional town, I wanted it to feel like a real Wyoming town so I had to check out lots of websites and read about rodeos, dude ranches and farm life.

I also had to go through quite a few website about how to help a cow giving birth because there’s this scene in the book when Sean and Alyssa finally bond, and I wanted it to be as real as possible. In the end, I didn’t include all the details, since the word count was already high enough but now I guess I could bring a calf into the world without any problem at all. lol

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

[Roberta Capizzi] I created a playlist on Spotify with some songs that I feel sort of represent Alyssa and Sean’s story, but I’ll take the first from the playlist, It’s My Life by Bon Jovi. I chose it because of the line “It’s now or never, I ain’t gonna live forever, I just wanna live while I’m alive” – I pictured Alyssa singing it out loud when she decided to take the holiday.

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

[Roberta Capizzi] My “Mary Poppins” bag, which is actually my everyday bag, but since it’s always stuffed with almost the entire content of my house – because you never know what you might need – I like to call it that way. I guess it’s only a plant and a lamp short from being the real Mary Poppins’ bag.

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

[Roberta Capizzi] My Kindle. The cap of a Guinness bottle. Indescribable mess. LOL

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

[Roberta Capizzi] Uh-oh, tough question. Can I say Michael Buble’s wife? :)

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

[Roberta Capizzi] There are so many! I’m a bookworm and read a lot, but I’ll narrow it down to the very latest ones I’ve read and loved. The Time Of My Life by Cecelia Ahern, Batter Up by Robyn Neeley, Dylan’s Redemption by Jennifer Ryan and Broken by Lauren Layne.

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

[Roberta Capizzi] If I said “read” would it sound too boring? Apart from lounging on the couch with a book (or my Kindle) I also have some creative hobbies, like decorating ceramic objects (mugs, vases, things like that) or creating jewelry with beads. I also like watching movies or going to the movie theater, and I enjoy musicals but Italy isn’t a country famous for those. I guess if I lived in New York I’d spend most of my time in Broadway.

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

[Roberta Capizzi] Since starting this fantastic adventure as an indie author (and blogger) I’ve met so many amazing people and some of them have become close friends even if they live on the other side of the world.

I love interacting with other bookworms and talking about books, since none of my friends read more than a book or two a year (yikes!) – so if you’re on any social media and love books, stop by and say hello!

I have a website about my books, and also a blog where I help other indie authors promote their works and where I publish my reviews. I have a Facebook page connected to the blog, and I’m on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Thank you for hosting me!

Hold On To Love

By: Roberta Capizzi

Releasing June 13, 2014

Self-Published

Blurb

Three weeks. All Alyssa O’Riordan needs is three weeks away from her wealthy life in New York City, to clear her mind and decide what she wants from her life. A dude ranch in Wyoming seems like the perfect place for a temporary escape from the cage her life has become. What she doesn’t expect is to come face-to-face with a handsome cowboy, who’s just as grumpy and rough as he is good-looking. All of a sudden, the promise of a relaxing, invigorating holiday seems long gone.

Three weeks. For Sean Maclaine, three weeks around the new guest feel like an eternity. After his first-hand experience with the upper class, rich daddy’s girls have become his worst nightmare, so when Alyssa O’Riordan shows up at his family’s ranch, he knows the time won’t go by fast enough. All he has to do is stay away from her, and count the hours until she finally goes back to New York.

Three weeks. Will three weeks be long enough for them to get over their prejudices and start looking beyond the surface?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/hold-on-to-love-by-roberta-capizzi.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21409151-hold-on-to-love?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KY513BQ

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hold-on-to-love-roberta-capizzi/1119720898?ean=2940046003055

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/446941

Spotify playlist: 

Book trailer:

 

Author Info

An avid reader since her childhood years and being an only child, Roberta always enjoyed the company of her fictional friends from the children’s books she loved reading, while she dreamed of writing her own stories one day.It was when she discovered novels by authors Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy in her teenage years that she realized it was time she put down in words the stories she had kept well hidden in her mind until then.

What started as a hobby, soon turned into a real passion and a way of life, until she could no longer keep the stories to herself, and decided to get over her fears and share them with the world.Roberta lives in Italy, but her dream is to move out of her country and live either in a thatched cottage in the Irish countryside or in a country house with a swing on the back porch, somewhere in the United States, where she would love to spend her days writing novels as a full-time job, and maybe one day even get as far as writing a screenplay for a movie.

Author Links

Website: http://robertacapizziauthor.wordpress.com/
Blog: http://robertasdreamworld.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RobertasDreamworld
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SligoRoo
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6869696.Roberta_Capizzi

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Swag Pack consisting of Hold On To Love bookmark, magnetic calendar, pocket calendar, and postcard)

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24. Spotlight and Giveaway: Slow Hand by Victoria Vane

I have another giveaway for you!  This time, check out Slow Hand by Victoria Vane.  A cowboy lawyer…yeah, I’ll take that!

Slow Hand by Victoria Vane (Contemporary Western Romance; Hot Cowboy Nights, Book 1; ISBN: 9781492601128)

Summary:

In rural Montana…

Wade Knowlton is a hardworking lawyer who’s torn between his small-town Montana law practice and a struggling family ranch. He’s on the brink of exhaustion from trying to save everybody and everything, when gorgeous Nicole Powell walks into his office. She’s a damsel in distress and the breath of fresh air he needs.

Even the lawyers wear boots…

Nicole Powell is a sassy Southern girl who has officially sworn off cowboys after a spate of bad seeds—until her father’s death sends her to Montana and into the arms of a man who seems too good to be true. Her instincts tell her to high tail it out of Montana, but she can’t resist a cowboy with a slow hand…

About the Author:

Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.

Social Media:

Website | Facebook | @AuthorVictoriaV | Goodreads | Pinterest

Pre-order:

Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound

 

Excerpt:

He went to work on his shirt buttons. His collar was soon wide open revealing a generous show of muscular chest that make her hands itch to rip it off him. She diverted her gaze and curled her itchy hands by her sides.

“Have no fear, cowboy,” Nikki replied in a tone meant to disguise the warm flush that had come over her. “I corralled all my wild impulses long ago.”

“Did you, now?” He still stood in doorway, head cocked. “Somehow, I think you may have missed a few strays.”

“Maybe I need to make myself clearer. I have an aversion to cocky cowboys.”

Just keep telling yourself that, Nikki. Maybe if you repeat it often enough it’ll become true.

“Is that so?” His brows flew upward. “I can’t say I ever met a woman with an actual aversion to me.”

“Don’t take it personally. It’s nothing against you in particular, but to your type.”

“And what do you think you know about my type?”

“Since I don’t have a pole handy, enough to keep you at arms-length. Besides that, this whole line of conversation is entirely inappropriate in light of professional ethics, don’t you think? You are my attorney, after all.”

“Well, darlin’,” he scratched his unshaven jaw, “there’s a little hitch to that.”

“What do you mean? You said you’d help me.”

“And I will, but you can’t engage my professional services until I know who you are.”

“I’ve told you who I am!” she insisted.

“Sweetheart, I’m a lawyer, and according to the law, your claim don’t weigh without authentication.”

“Authentication?”

“Proof.”

“So what are you saying? That you don’t believe me?”

“I’m not saying that at all. Only that our professional relationship will commence once you get your I.D. In the interim,” His gaze slid over her in a way that threatened to melt her insides, “you’d best find yourself a nice, long, sturdy pole.”

Giveaway:

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25. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–My Critters 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 wanted to share a few pictures of my Itty Bitty Babies this morning.

This is Poppy.  You can clearly see how exhausted she is.  She’s a social puppy and spends all of her time making new friends at daycare, which requires a refreshing nap once she gets home. She’s also a drama queen, but I’ll save that for another post.

Here she is again.  Plotting mischief, because that is what she does best.

Here, Poppy is feigning concern for Bumble’s ear health. She licks his ears until he is drowsy, then she bites him somewhere.  She’s just not nice some days!

Poor, put upon Bumble. Just asking for a cuddle. He needs reassurance after his sister bullies him unmercifully.

This is Pixie.  I let Elsa ride her for a lesson yesterday, if she promised to send me pictures (and clean all the mud off my silly mare).  Elsa said she was really good!

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:

Attack on Titan: Before the Fall – I’m not a huge fan of the manga, but I’ll give the light novel a try

True Fire by Gary Meehan

The Free – This got some great reviews, so I decided to try it

The Younger Gods

 

Darling Beast

Learning the Ropes

The Wedding Vow

The Night Belongs to Firemen

Temple Boys

Not Pictured

The Book of Three 50th Anniversary Edition by Lloyd Alexander (I just re-read this, and I loved it just as much as when I was 12)

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen

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

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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