Friday, August 31, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of BURNING EMBERS by Hannah Fielding

A few weeks back an author new to me - Hannah Fielding - wrote me to tell me about her new book, BURNING EMBERS from Omnific Publishing. She asked me to read and review. I was so intrigued by the nature of the this romance that I purchased the book rather than asking for a review copy. I'm still going to give Miss Fielding her honest and unscripted review.

Blurb for BURNING EMBERS:

Coral Sinclair is a beautiful but naïve twenty-five-year-old photographer who has just lost her father. She's leaving the life she's known and traveling to Kenya to take ownership of her inheritance--the plantation that was her childhood home--Mpingo. On the voyage from England, Coral meets an enigmatic stranger to whom she has a mystifying attraction. She sees him again days later on the beach near Mpingo, but Coral’s childhood nanny tells her the man is not to be trusted. It is rumored that Rafe de Monfort, owner of a neighboring plantation and a nightclub, is a notorious womanizer having an affair with her stepmother, which may have contributed to her father’s death.

Circumstance confirms Coral’s worst suspicions, but when Rafe’s life is in danger she is driven to make peace. A tentative romance blossoms amidst a meddling ex-fiancé, a jealous stepmother, a car accident, and the dangerous wilderness of Africa. Is Rafe just toying with a young woman’s affections? Is the notorious womanizer only after Coral’s inheritance? Or does Rafe’s troubled past color his every move, making him more vulnerable than Coral could ever imagine?

Set in 1970, this contemporary historical romance sends the seemingly doomed lovers down a destructive path wrought with greed, betrayal, revenge, passion, and love.


                         *                     *                      *                     *                       *

BURNING EMBERS is Hannah Fielding's debut novel and you all know how I love a debut author and their first novel. I was drawn to this one because of its unique setting, year, and because I thought there might be a mystery lurking in the background of this African set story.

Coral Sinclair has returned to her first love, her first home, Kenya after the man she planned to marry cheated on her and after she learned of her estranged father's death. All of her years in England with her mother and stepfather had not thwarted her desire to return to her beloved Kenya. Upon arrival, she realizes that although her memories of Kenya had not changed, Kenya had and so had her beloved African home, Mpingo. Her thoughts of the past were only pushed aside by the thoughts that now plagued her regarding the attractive stranger that she met on the boat. There was something about him that would not allow her brain or her body's awakening desires to forget him. The last thing she expected to discover was that he was her neighbor and had been a good friend of her father, a lover to her stepmother, and an artist who had painted her without ever meeting her.

Rafe de Montfort is a wealthy, charming, womanizing, and tortured man. He knew Coral Sinclair the moment he saw her on the boat because he'd painted her image so many times that he was unable to not recognize every detail of her face. His attraction to her drives him crazy with want of her yet he believes himself to be the last man worthy of her, her innocence and her trust.

BURNING EMBERS by Hannah Fielding is one of those books that as you're reading it, you're not wholly sure that you're enjoying it. It starts out slow - almost too slow. The first chapters are filled with too much backstory. It's information that we need to know but I think it could have been spread out a bit throughout the story. Once I was into the real story, I relaxed and tried to get to know the characters. The characters, although not as endearing as I'd like them to be, were interesting. They fit the era of the book and they were believable. Coral, was a tad too immature for a woman of twenty-five and it wasn't just because she was a virgin. She was, as Rafe referred to her, spoiled and immature. Rafe, on the other hand, was difficult to see as a mature man of thirty-five considering the era. Just as I had to remind myself that Coral was not a young debutante, I had to remind myself that Rafe was not a young twenty-something man.

I was also disappointed that the mystery that was hinted at in the first chapters of the book was never actually realized in the latter part. I never quite connected the mystery of the secret basement rooms - other than the portraits - to the warnings by the mishiriki or witch doctor and her yaha, Aluna's great dislike and distrust of Rafe.

The real star of BURNING EMBERS was the setting. Hannah Fielding created a backdrop for this story that held me spellbound. Using her travel experiences, she is able to weave a wonderful written image of Kenya and the time period so that I felt as if I was truly in Africa. It's her talent here that tells me that since this is her debut novel, she will grow as an author and I fully expect her next novel to be uniquely more intriguing. As a debut author, Hannah Fielding has won me with her imagery even as her storyline and characters were the weak points of her novel.  I am confident, having experienced her ability to use the written word to paint such a scenic backdrop, that she will only get better with her next novel. I will eagerly look forward to reading her next endeavor.

I recommend reading BURNING EMBERS by Hannah Fielding not because it's an expert work of literature but because it's a work that will capture you with its unique time setting and its beautiful imagery. It's a romantic book without exception and whereas you may not necessarily fall in love with the characters, you will surely fall in love with the setting.

Happy Reading Everyone!

BURNING EMBERS by Hannah Fielding, Omnific Publishing, available now in print and ebook formats.

                                                           

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wacky Wednesday: A VISIT WITH AUTHOR LISA RENEE JONES

If you read my review of IF I WERE YOU by Lisa Renee Jones on Monday's post then you know that I absolutely raved over that book and can't wait to read the next one - soooooon!! If you haven't read my review then, by all means, CLICK HERE, and then hurry back because the lady herself, Lisa Renee Jones, is joining us today for a chat and a Giveaway!!

Lisa is the author of over thirty novels and novellas across several genres. I've now discovered that she writes excellent erotic romance as well as paranormals featuring vampires and werewolves. In 2003, the award winning author sold her Austin, Texas based multi-state staffing agency and pursued her desire to write. This is quite an amazing switch considering in 1998, her staffing agency, LRJ Staffing, was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine and it had been recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and praised by Dallas Women Magazine.

I am personally glad she made the switch since I've benefited by having great stories to read. I am also very happy to have her here today so I hope you'll all join me in welcoming Lisa Renee Jones to UNWRAPPING ROMANCE.

Amy:  Hi Lisa, it's an absolute delight to have you here with us today. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to join us.
 
Perhaps you can tell us a little about yourself for the benefit of those who don't know you yet and maybe explain a bit about why you turned to writing.
 
Lisa:  I spent many years in the corporate world and had a point where I had a big opportunity but it would demand another five years. It thought -- if I do this -- will I ever chase my dream or will I feel I’m too old? So I walked away and many people thought I was nuts. I have family that didn’t support me to the extreme. I love that Will Smith quote, "If you aren’t with me when I’m at the bottom you aren’t with me when I’m on the top." That didn’t mean anything to me until I dared down this path and I saw how hard it can be to keep going when people act like you're insane. I stuck with it though and I’m glad I did.
 
Amy:  So are we, Lisa, so are we! That's a very inspirational quote - I'll have to remember that one. Your bookshelf consists of works from many different romance genres, including one of my faves, paranormal. So where do you get your inspiration?
 
Lisa:  I never liked paranormal until I met Diego and he is a zombie - vampire -comic book freak. He got me into paranormal and that really opened doors. He also loves scary things so making me see scary movies helped me write scared better, I think. Because I get SCARED. I’m the one everyone wants out of the movie!  : )
 
I have different frames of mind and music I use based on the genre. My Blaze are light and fun so I tend to have a light fun playlist and then dark and intense playlist for my suspense.
 
Amy:  Ah, music can be quite the mood setter as all of us romantics know.  : )
Is there a particular genre that you prefer over others or are you still testing the waters and so haven't found one yet?
 
Lisa:  I love suspense. It’s what my first proposal I ever wrote was and I’ve come full circle back to it and that makes me very happy.
 
Amy:  Well, IF I WERE YOU is definitely filled with suspense - especially that cliffhanger ending! You do a lot of series. I've heard some authors say that sometimes the next story starts writing itself even before the first one is done. Do you find this to be the case or does your muse simply drive you to keep the world she's helped you create going until she decides to do something else?
 
Lisa:  Oh yes! It does. I know what is happening in the next book while writing the book I’m writing. The characters start talking to you and screaming their story. With IF I WERE YOU I know the complete 3 book arc so I ended book 1 ready and eager to dig into book 2.
 
Amy:  Speaking of your newest release, IF I WERE YOU, which is the first book in the Inside Out Trilogy - you refer to it as Fifty Shades of Grey meets Basic Instinct. Before I read it, I heard whispering that it's even better than either of those. I can tell you, my dear readers - oh, wait, I already did in the review - it's a hundred times better than FIFTY SHADES. Were you inspired by either of these works or was there some other inspiration that led you to this series?
 
Lisa:  I am so very flattered to hear that kind of whisper! Actually I wrote a large portion of this LONG before Shades. It sat on a New York desk for a year with two editors' approval. A division of the pub got closed right when finally the 2nd took it to the final 3rd and it was axed. However, in that year The Shades craze hit and for once having that kind of delay seemed positive. It made the market ripe for this story.
 
The inspiration came when my fiancé was buying and selling storage units. This was long before the shows came out. He found a journal that had drama in it-even a murder next door. He was certain I HAD to write a story about a journal found in a storage unit, and so the creative juices simmered. I didn’t agree at first, but over time, I did.
 
Amy:  Well, fate obviously has a way of insinuating itself into our lives whether we want it to or not, doesn't it? I love that this story came out of reality and that your fella was so persistent that you write it. Thank you Diego!
Lisa, you told me once that of all of your books, IF I WERE YOU, is the one you're most excited about us reading. What it is about this story that makes it so special to you?
 
Lisa:  I think the fact that I lived with the story and the characters in my head for so long is part of the reasons. I got to know them. Also first person worked for me and this story. I really felt it allowed me to do a lot with the main characters. Also, it comes from a place where my fiancé and I have history. We went through some struggles with those units and that time in our life was a challenge. I think there is a lot of that history inside the story.
 
Amy:  As I said in my review, the first person/present pov of this story creates a real 'walk in her shoes' feeling and it works incredibly well. Like the trilogy starting with FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, this trilogy - INSIDE OUT - begins with IF I WERE YOU and continues through the next two books, so I'm curious, as my readers may be if they decide to become as addicted to this series as I am now - will we ever find out what happened to Rebecca and Ella?
(both of whom seemed to have disappeared without a clue in book one)
 
Lisa:   Yes, absolutely. In fact, you will get answers to Rebecca in book 2. Eventually you will find out about Ella, too -- but maybe not in #2.  : )
 
Amy:   Didn't think you'd give it away but it never hurts to ask. Love the mystery of it even as I have started to formulate my own theories. LOL!
When it comes to your own reading, do you have any favorite authors or genres that you prefer and have they had any influence on your writing?
 
Lisa:   I love Karen Moning- all of her books. I’ve never read one I didn’t like. She just makes characters come to life. For dark and gritty, I love Lauren McKenna. She has such raw sensuality to her books. They inspire me to greatness and I would have a fan girl moment with either of them.
 
Amy:  This whole interview has been a fan girl moment for me.  ; )
Okay, [taking a deep breath to relax] last question. If you could be ANY character in ANY book, not necessarily one of your own, which character would it be and why?
 
Lisa:   Oh that is a tough question. I wouldn’t be any of the characters but while I’m reading a good book by a great author I sure feel like the character. I love so much when an author does that to me. I aspire to do that to my readers.
 
Amy:  You have definitely succeeded with IF I WERE YOU - seriously, my dears, you literally experience being Sara McMillan in this story.
Lisa, thank you so very much for sharing your busy schedule with us and it's been an absolute thrill to have you here today. Congratulations on the release of IF I WERE YOU! I'm very much looking forward to the series and I hope we've inspired my readers, too. I hope you've enjoyed your visit as much as we enjoy reading your stories.
 
********************
It's Wacky Wednesday so we need a Giveaway!
 
Lisa has most graciously offered up a PRINT COPY of her upcoming September release from Harlequin Blaze - FOLLOW MY LEAD - as well as a $10 Amazon gift card to ONE LUCKY COMMENTER.
 
I'm also throwing into the pot an ECOPY of IF I WERE YOU to a SECOND LUCKY COMMENTER.
 
So that's 2 chances to win, my dears - 2 CHANCES TO WIN!
 
This Giveaway is OPEN TO EVERYONE - International included (void where prohibited by law, of course) but remember the formula for entry:
 
COMMENT + EMAIL ADDRESS = ENTRY
 
 You must leave a valid email address with your comment in order to be properly entered in this Giveaway - I really hate dropping comments  from the entries because there's no email address - so PLEASE leave your email address - remember you can write it out long to prevent SPAM, I don't mind. : )
 
QUESTION: 
HAVE YOU EVER FOUND SOMETHING HIDDEN AWAY THAT INSPIRED YOUR IMAGINATION TO CONJURE A STORY AROUND IT?
 
This Giveaway will run until 11:30PM EDT, Friday, August 31st. Two winners will be chosen at random and notified by EMAIL (see why it's important) and then their names will be announced on a special Saturday post. Good luck Everyone!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!! THANKS FOR VISITING!

Giveaway Prizes:

Blurb for FOLLOW MY LEAD, book 2 in Stepping Up, releasing Sept 18, 2012:
 
Stepping Up is back!
This season is going to be hotter—and more scandalous—than ever! After the roaring success of the first season, the pressure is on America's most popular reality dance show. And no one is feeling it as much as guest judge and TV presenter Darla James. This opportunity could make her career soar…or sink. But when her nemesis, the very hot and infuriating Blake Nelson, is asked to join the show, too, Darla wonders exactly what she's signed up for! But the sparks—on camera and off—between Darla and Blake are brighter than a Georgia firecracker, and all the tension between them has turned into wicked, mind-blowing, melt-your-brain sex. If anyone finds out, it will be the end of both their reputations—and the scandal of the television season. Then again, with chemistry like theirs, it might be worth it!

Blurb for IF I WERE YOU, book 1 in the Inside Out Trilogy:

How it began….
One day I was a high school teacher on summer break, leading a relatively uneventful but happy life. Or so I told myself. Later, I’d question that, as I would question pretty much everything I knew about me, my relationships, and my desires. It all began when my neighbor thrust a key to a storage unit at me. She’d bought it to make extra money after watching some storage auction show. Now she was on her way to the airport to elope with a man she barely knew, and she needed me to clear out the unit before the lease expires.
Soon, I was standing inside a small room that held the intimate details of another woman’s life, feeling uncomfortable , as if I was invading her privacy. Why had she let these items so neatly packed, possessions that she clearly cared about deeply, be lost at an auction? Driven to find out by some unnamed force, I began to dig, to discover this woman’s life, and yes, read her journals—-dark, erotic journals that I had no business reading. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I read on obsessively, living out fantasies through her words that I’d never dare experience on my own, compelled by the three men in her life, none of whom had names. I read onward until the last terrifying dark entry left me certain that something had happened to this woman. I had to find her and be sure she was okay.
Before long, I was taking her job for the summer at the art gallery, living her life, and she was nowhere to be found. I was becoming someone I didn’t know. I was becoming her…
The dark, passion it becomes…
Now, I am working at a prestigious gallery, where I have always dreamed of being, and I’ve been delivered to the doorstep of several men, all of which I envision as one I’ve read about in the journal. But there is one man that will call to me, that will awaken me in ways I never believed possible. That man is the ruggedly sexy artist, Chris Merit, who wants to paint me. He is rich and famous, and dark in ways I shouldn’t find intriguing, but I do. I so do. I don’t understand why his dark side appeals to me, but the attraction between us is rich with velvety promises of satisfaction. Chris is dark, and so are his desires, but I cannot turn away. He is damaged beneath his confident good looks and need for control, and in some way, I feel he needs me. I need him.
All I know for certain is that he knows me like I don’t even know me, and he says I know him. Still, I keep asking myself — do I know him? Did he know her, the journal writer, and where is she? And why doesn’t it seem to matter anymore? There is just him and me, and the burn for more.

*************************

If you're interested in learning more about Lisa's awesome book list, please feel free to visit her WEBSITE, and follow her on TWITTER and FACEBOOK.

Happy Reading Everyone!!

                                              

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

IT'S NEW RELEASE TUESDAY!!

It's the last Tuesday of the month and you know what that means!!
 
NEW RELEASES!!

So get your list ready because there are some awesome new releases to add to your to be read list!! Here's just a sampling to wet
your appetites !!


 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
Happy Reading Everyone!!
Don't forget to join me tomorrow when Lisa Renee Jones
will be joining me for some Wacky Wednesday fun and Giveaway!


                

Monday, August 27, 2012

Unwrapping Romance: Review of IF I WERE YOU by Lisa Renee Jones

I've been reading paranormals written by Lisa Renee Jones for some time after discovering her quite by chance so when she first started talking about this new trilogy that she claims is FIFTY SHADES OF GREY meets BASIC INSTINCT, I knew I had to give it a try. I was fortunate enough to get an eARC of IF I WERE YOU, book one in the Inside Out trilogy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unscripted review. Boy, am I so glad!!

Blurb for IF I WERE YOU:

How it began….
One day I was a high school teacher on summer break, leading a relatively uneventful but happy life. Or so I told myself. Later, I’d question that, as I would question pretty much everything I knew about me, my relationships, and my desires. It all began when my neighbor thrust a key to a storage unit at me. She’d bought it to make extra money after watching some storage auction show. Now she was on her way to the airport to elope with a man she barely knew, and she needed me to clear out the unit before the lease expires.
Soon, I was standing inside a small room that held the intimate details of another woman’s life, feeling uncomfortable , as if I was invading her privacy. Why had she let these items so neatly packed, possessions that she clearly cared about deeply, be lost at an auction? Driven to find out by some unnamed force, I began to dig, to discover this woman’s life, and yes, read her journals—-dark, erotic journals that I had no business reading. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I read on obsessively, living out fantasies through her words that I’d never dare experience on my own, compelled by the three men in her life, none of whom had names. I read onward until the last terrifying dark entry left me certain that something had happened to this woman. I had to find her and be sure she was okay.
Before long, I was taking her job for the summer at the art gallery, living her life, and she was nowhere to be found. I was becoming someone I didn’t know. I was becoming her…
 
The dark, passion it becomes…
Now, I am working at a prestigious gallery, where I have always dreamed of being, and I’ve been delivered to the doorstep of several men, all of which I envision as one I’ve read about in the journal. But there is one man that will call to me, that will awaken me in ways I never believed possible. That man is the ruggedly sexy artist, Chris Merit, who wants to paint me. He is rich and famous, and dark in ways I shouldn’t find intriguing, but I do. I so do. I don’t understand why his dark side appeals to me, but the attraction between us is rich with velvety promises of satisfaction. Chris is dark, and so are his desires, but I cannot turn away. He is damaged beneath his confident good looks and need for control, and in some way, I feel he needs me. I need him.
All I know for certain is that he knows me like I don’t even know me, and he says I know him. Still, I keep asking myself — do I know him? Did he know her, the journal writer, and where is she? And why doesn’t it seem to matter anymore? There is just him and me, and the burn for more.

                         *                      *                    *                     *                   *

This is Sara McMillan's story and when you read IF I WERE YOU, you will walk in her shoes in a way that will entice you, entrance you and capture you like no other story.

Tempted by a mysterious journal left by her neighbor and friend, Ella, Sara opens it and begins to read. She soon finds herself caught up in the erotic writings of a woman named Rebecca who is a complete mystery to her except for what she experiences through the woman's words. After being given free reign over the contents of a storage locker filled with Rebecca's possessions and even more journals, Sara embarks on a mission to discover who Rebecca is, where she has gone and what caused her to leave everything she owned in storage locker that has now been auctioned off to strangers.

As Sara steps into the shoes of Rebecca by being hired to take over the woman's job at an art gallery, we step into this new, exciting world of art, wine, expensive things, wealthy people and something far darker and possibly much more sinister. Lisa Renee Jones has chosen to write this extraordinary and suspenseful erotic romance in first person present and it works so magnificently well that you soon feel as if what you're reading is actually happening to you or wishing it was anyway. 

IF I WERE YOU by Lisa Renee Jones is the first book in the Inside Out Trilogy. Lisa refers to it as FIFTY SHADES OF GREY meets BASIC INSTINCT and it's easy to see the connection to the first, although it's a hundred times better, but I began to wonder where the latter came in until I reached the last chapter. I'm not going to tell you anymore except to say that it is a cliffhanger. It's a cliffhanger that will have leaping from your chair and begging for more. It's one of the best cliffhangers I've ever read in a series.

Reading IF I WERE YOU by Lisa Renee Jones is not just a great read, it's a great experience. It's rich with sensation, emotion, and when Sara begins to fall in love with Chris, you begin to fall in love with Chris as well. By the way, Chris Merit makes Christian Grey look like a nobody when it comes to romancing with wealth. Grey may have an appeal to some but I think every woman who reads IF I WERE YOU will be wishing for a Chris Merit to sweep her off her feet. Don't get me wrong, he's a tortured broken hero but he's nowhere near as screwed up as Christian Grey and so much more believable and endearing. Sara has her demons to deal with also but she's so much more relatable that when she's hurt, angry, or confused - so are you. As the reader, you become Sara McMillan. IF I WERE YOU is a masterpiece of characterization, emotions, and most of all uses the magic of words to transport you into your own imagination so thoroughly that you feel you are living the book rather than just reading it.

I highly recommend to anyone who loves great story-telling, great romance, mystery, falling in love, and delighting in imaginative and intellectual sensuality that acts on the brain like foreplay - read IF I WERE YOU by Lisa Renee Jones. I can't wait to read book two - BEING ME.  Thank you Lisa!

Happy Reading Everyone!

IF I WERE YOU by Lisa Renee Jones, self-published and available now in print and ebook formats.

                                                                    

Btw - be sure to stopy by on Wednesday when Lisa will join me to talk about herself and her books plus I do believe she's got a Giveaway. See you then.  : )

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mr. Joshua Embry Returns With News & Announcements

 
Mr. Joshua Embry enters the room with a broad smile, presents a low bow before gently tugging at his vest and taking his seat. Crossing his legs casually, he settles back with one arm resting on the arm of his chair before brushing something from the cloth of his trousers with the other hand. Comfortable and relaxed, he rests that arm across his thigh before glancing up. 
 
Greetings once more, my dear ladies of the blog.
I am still quite unsure exactly what this blog thing is but I do very much enjoy visiting.
 
Mrs. Valentini has given me the honor of presenting the award for which you all were seeking. I believe it is a work of literature by Miss Debbie Macomber known as FAMILY AFFAIR. I trust this is a most sought after book for reading since so many seemed so eager to obtain it.
 
I wish to thank you all very much for making me feel so welcome and for allowing me to impose upon your time. I am very fond of feminine company and enjoyed my time with all of you very much.
 
Suddenly, he stops. He glances off to the side. An arm reaches into view and hands him a slip of paper. He unfolds it and smiles.
 
Ahh, it seems a WINNER has been selected.
 
He looks up with a broad smile, that teasing dimple in his cheek making an appearance as his eyes twinkle in delight.
 
The WINNER of a print copy of FAMILY AFFAIR by Debbie Macomber is ---
 
ERIN
 
 
Congratulations to Miss Erin.  I believe Mrs. Valentini has already sent you a communication by something called email - yet another strange thing with which I am unfamiliar. She advises me to ask you to check your mail and your SPAM folder - these blog people have some unusual vernacular, do they not?
 
Well, it is time for me to make my farewells, my new friends. Thank you again for allowing me such a wonderful adventure with you. I hope to spend time with all of you again in the future. Adieu.
 
Joshua rises from his chair bows elegantly, straightens his vest and turns away but suddenly stops, he turns back and smiles.
 
Forgive me, I nearly forgot to mention that Mrs. Valentini wants you all to be aware that there is less than a week's time remaining to make your application to become one of the next group of super readers called ... (off to the side - what was the name? Ah yes,) ... Avon Addicts.  Again, Mrs. Valentini knows of things that baffle me but I assume you know of what she speaks. Again, my dears - Adieu.
 
With a smile and a nod of his head, Joshua Embry walks away. 
 
**************************
 
 
Yes, folks, there is less than one week left to apply for a chance to be one of the next group of super readers, the Avon Addicts. If you love to read, if you love Avon Romances, if you love talking about them and spreading the word, if you love free books and are willing to give your opinion on them, you may be just what Avon Romance is looking for to be chosen as one the next lucky 25. Hurry though, the deadline is August 31, 2012.  Sorry, it's open only to US Residents.
 
If you'd like to get my impressions of what it's like to be an Avon Addict before applying, feel free to read my interview at the Happy-Ever-After Blog on USA Today Online - just click HERE
 


 
Are you an Avon Addict? Can you name all of the members of Avon’s most famous families, such as the Bridgertons and the Cynsters? Did you once curl up under the covers with a Kathleen E. Woodiwiss classic, flashlight in hand, hoping your parents didn’t find you reading after lights-out? Are the Chicago Stars your favorite football team? Do you wish you had a Seattle Chinooks jersey Is Bones the sexiest vampire alive? Then you may very well be an Avon Addict.
If you think you have what it takes to be an Avon Addict, apply HERE to achieve official status!
What you’ll receive:

Avon Addicts will receive special monthly packages containing advance copies of forthcoming books to read and share with friends; fun promotional items (swag!), and other goodies. We will send our Addicts early copies of hand-selected Avon, Avon Impulse and Avon Red titles. We ask that they share their feelings about these books on their social sharing sites, on the Avon website, and/or online as customer feedback retailers!
We hope the Avon Addict program helps us reward our most devoted readers—and we know your enthusiasm is absolutely infectious…so we hope you’ll help make everyone as excited about our extraordinary books and talented authors as you are. You want to get your fix? 25 Avon Addicts will be selected by September 7, 2012 by the Avon Editorial and Marketing group.

Happy Reading Everyone!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of THE DEVIL'S MATCH by Victoria Vane - a Devil DeVere novella

Wow, the Devil DeVere Series by Victoria Vane just keeps getting better and better! THE DEVIL'S MATCH is the story of the Devil himself, Viscount Ludovic DeVere and it's everything wonderful. I hope that you have been following the Devil DeVere Series with me - if not, then please do for you won't be disappointed with this amazing series of Georgian Romance novellas starting with, A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE, continuing with THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS, then building some backstory with THE DEVIL YOU KNOW and culminating with this installment, THE DEVIL'S MATCH. Release date - TODAY!
Actually, Victoria has informed us that there will be two more novellas added to the series but in this one - the Devil truly does meet his match.


Blurb for THE DEVIL'S MATCH:

Once burned twice shy…
But when old flames come together…
Passion reignites

When burned onceArriving in London as her goddaughter’s chaperone, Baroness Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley wants to avoid her erstwhile lover at all costs. Once nearly consumed by passion, four years has reduced the former inferno to bitterness and ashes.

By an old flame A world-weary master of seduction, Ludovic ”The Devil” DeVere is bored with his chosen life of debauchery. When Diana’s charge disappears, she is forced to seek help from the devil’s lair, and their mutual desire reignites with undeniable ferocity.

Fire is best fought with fireWhile DeVere is hell-bent to have her back in his bed, Diana is equally determined to bring him to his knees…by acquiring some sensual secrets of her own.

                       *                  *                  *                 *                 *

Viscount Ludovic DeVere has been hiding his heart because of his past, his parents, and his lack of faith in his ability to be a good match for anyone. But over the past five years, he's hidden himself even deeper as he tries to forget the one woman who managed to crawl beneath his skin and touch his heart. Living in denial of his desire for Lady Diana, his denial that he is worthy of her love, denial that he can keep living his life wandering from woman to woman all the while still craving the one who he pushed away for the sake of honor.

Baroness Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley has never forgotten or forgiven the one man who brought her body, her spirit and her heart to life then left her with nothing but a memory. Her anger at him and at herself for still desiring him pushes her to deny herself, her needs and her desires until she comes face to face with him when her god-daughter Vesta marrys his brother. Not wishing to give into the pull that still exists between them, she tries her best to resist but when a lost wager puts her in the position of giving into her desires without losing face, she pulls out all the stops.

THE DEVIL'S MATCH by Victoria Vane is the cherry on the top of the best series of Georgian historical romance novellas I've ever read. Pulled together, they form a fabulous story of the men and women who claim the Devil DeVere as part of their lives and family.  THE DEVIL'S MATCH is hot enough to fry your ereader, heat your own wild imagination and leave you as satisfied as the Devil himself and his beautiful match. The epilogue will make you smile as their happily-ever-after culminates in a most spectacular and unexpected ending.

I'm very serious when I tell you that if you haven't yet started to read this series, please do! It is extraordinary writing, research instilled, steamy beyond erotic and the characters are the most endearing, get under your skin, cheer for a group of people you will ever want to know.

Victoria Vane once said she had ventured into this genre as an experiment. She has most definitely found her niche, her power, and her calling. Brava, Victoria. This series and especially this final novella, THE DEVIL'S MATCH, has my blessing of five stars. Thank you for such an extraordinary and wonderful four months of reading.

I highly recommend THE DEVIL'S MATCH by Victoria Vane along with the rest of the series. They are a MUST READ for anyone who loves historically accurate, sexy good times, good humor and romance that will have you swooning all the while wishing you could be whisked away to this amazing and romantic time gone by.

Happy Reading Everyone!

THE DEVIL'S MATCH by Victoria Vane, Breathless Press, available now in ebook format from Breathless Press or Amazon.com (click on cover below)

                                                                 

**This digital ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review. Thank you Victoria.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wacky Wednesday: A Little Help From A Friend

A tall man, elegantly dressed in perfectly tailored light brown suede trousers tucked into dark brown riding boots with silver buckled straps that show off strong legs, enters the room. Under his short brown riding coat, he wears an embroidered vest of burgundy and a stylishly tied white linen cravat tied at his neck over a white high collar. His light brown hair with its golden highlights as if he's spent time in the sun is worn tied back in a neat queue that rests fashionably over the back of his high collar. His face is handsome with a strong brow, straight nose, square jaw and eyes the color of warm brandy shadowed by thick dark lashes. His full mouth is firm yet yielding. He bows elegantly and when he stands erect that full firm mouth has spread into an endearing smile that now makes the shadow of a dimple evident in his left cheek.

Greetings dear readers. Joshua Embry, at your service. My dearest friend, Mrs. Valentini, has asked me to attend you today. I hope you don't mind my appearance in her stead. She feels she has overdone recently and I do believe she might have suffered a brief fainting spell on an evening past but she will not confirm this with me.

He takes a seat, crossing his long legs casually as he fingers the edge of one of his sleeves.

I've only just arrived back in Virginia after an extended stay in England under the tutelage of my uncle in his financial firm. Oh, my pardon. I promised I would inform you of my state. I am living in this the year, 1799, and am quite happy to be home again in the rolling hills of Virginia on my father's farm, Green Mount. It truly is fine to be at home again. Family is important and sorely missed after two years away.

His eyes lower and he teases at some lint on his leg. When he raises his face, he wears a slight frown.

Mrs. Valentini is writing my pathetic story. I call it pathetic because, fool that I am, it seems I have lost the love of the only woman I desire. It helps not that I have returned home with a future wife in tow that I have no desire for whatsoever.

He sits up straight in his chair and drops his raised foot to the floor.

Oh, please, do understand that I have not coerced some young woman to marry me whom I have no desire for but instead I have been trapped in an arrangement that I feel I must honor yet do not have any want of - whatsoever.

He leans back in his chair with a very audible sigh. He glances away then back.

Miss Bradford is - well, for lack of another term - quite a harpy. I know it is not desirable of me to speak so about a woman to whom I am about to become officially betrothed but seriously, she is one of the most odious people I have ever encountered. Second, possibly, only to her brother, Martin Bradford - a most irritating and pompous man. 

He sighs once more. His expression of sadness evident to all even as he tries to hide it.

'Tis Miss Pelt that has captured my very heart. I believe she's owned it since we were children yet it appears she no longer holds any desire for me. I once thought she did and I begged her to wait for my return from England. It was only two years, my dears, is that too long to ask a woman to wait if she loves a man?

He sighs again.

I wrote to her even before I reached the shores of England but never received a response. I wrote so many times yet she never answered.  After close to a year, I quit tearing my heart out on paper. I wrote to my sisters. Only Emily, dear innocent Emily, had the courage to tell me of the man who came to Green Mount to see Miss Pelt. I believe she said he was from Charleston where Anna, - er, Miss Pelt, went to school.  I don't think Emily understood the implication but I knew then that I had lost my true love.

He shifts in his chair uncomfortably.

I cannot relieve myself of my love for her. I thought that when we saw each other again here at Green Mount - oh, my pardon, I forgot to inform you that she is the governess for my darling Emily. Of that I do not envy her for my sister is quite a handful. I thought that once she saw me that all would be as it was but I have not been able to get even a brief moment with her. I need so to explain that I have no desire to wed Miss Bradford but I know not how to address the situation to my father or to the harpy, herself. I wish not to dishonor my father's good name by breaking a contract that has been so long in existence. I have decided that arranged marriages are not always a good thing. I also have to admit my own cowardice in attempting to beg my freedom from this unwanted committment.

Would it be so terrible in this new age of ours for me to marry a governess? We fought for our freedom from a cruel monarchy yet are still kept prisoner by such outdated societal expectations.

I must admit to knowledge that she has no father and that her mother was never married but I care not for it is Anna - er, Miss Pelt - that holds my heart so dear not society. Society be damned, I say. If I wish to marry a bastard girl then I should be allowed to do so.

He suddenly blushes and covers his mouth. He squirms uncomfortably in his chair. Dropping his hand to pull at his cravat, he gives a small smile even as his cheeks remain flushed with emotion.

My most sincerest apologies, my dears, I should not have expressed myself so passionately. I do apologize for abusing your sensibilities so. Please forgive my outburst.

He bows his head a moment then continues in a much more composed manner.

Mrs. Valentini has told me that she has a plan to resolve my situation and bring me together with my beloved Anna, - er, Miss Pelt - but it's more than that. I fear how to leave this contract without angering my father and losing his respect forever.  When milady asked me to step in for her, I had no intention of telling you my complaints but somehow I feel as if a load has been lifted from my shoulders. I know you are her dearest friends and quite informed in the ways of romance so perhaps you might have an idea of how I can remedy my plight. How do I tell my father, a most respected man, that I have no wish to continue my contractual duty to Miss Bradford but instead wish to marry my sister's governess?

Oh my word, I nearly forgot my purpose for being here. Mrs. Valentini has requested me to present you with the blurb - whatever that is - for FAMILY AFFAIR by a Miss Debbie Macomber and to inform you that she is giving away a print copy of this piece of literature.  I'm not sure of what giving away literature is about but I am willing to oversee it's happening. I'm not sure as to when Mrs. Valentini will return but I am willing to carry on any discussion that may incur or questions that may arise. I would also very much enjoy your recommendations for my plight.

And so now, I present the blurb.

He shrugs his shoulders and smiles, a twinkle lighting his warm brown eyes.

Blurb for FAMILY AFFAIR:

Contains Debbie's novella "Family Affair" originally published in 1994 in Purrfect Love, a Harper/Monogram multi-author anthology, and "The Bet," a short story by Darlene Panzera

Rediscover the joy of #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber's delightful tale of unexpected love, second chances, and a cat named Dog.

Lacey Lancaster has always longed to be a wife and mother. However, after a painful divorce, she decides it's time to lay low for a while in her charming San Francisco apartment with her beautiful Abyssinian cat, Cleo.

Everything would be wonderful, except for her utterly impossible neighbor Jack Walker. When he's not arguing day and night with his girlfriend, begging her to move in with him, he's chasing down his cat named Dog, who seems determined to get Cleo to succumb to his feline advances.

Then Lacey discovers the awful truth-Cleo is in the family way and Dog's to blame. She's furious that neither Jack nor his amorous animal seem too upset about the situation.

But Lacey learns that things are not quite as they seem. Jack's "girlfriend" is really his sister-and his intentions toward Lacey are very honorable. And though she's not quite sure about Dog, Lacey begins to discover the tender joy of falling in love all over again.

                      *                       *                     *                      *                      *      

GIVEAWAY:

I hope you will make my dear friend, Mr. Embry, welcome and feel free to converse with him, he has free reign of the blog until my return. I should only be gone a day, perhaps less but in the meantime, I've got a print copy for 1 lucky commenter. Remember the formula for entry:

Comment + email address =  ENTRY

This Giveaway of FAMILY AFFAIR by Debbie Macomber will run through 11:30 PM EDT on Friday, August 24, 2012. One lucky commenter will be chosen at random and notified by email (see why email is important) and I will announce to everyone the name of the winner in a special post on Saturday. Giveaway is OPEN to US Residents Only.  Good Luck!

Joshua Embry: [looking around cautiously before lowering his voice]
 I look forward to your comments, my dears, and any assistance you can provide me in solving my plight of the heart. Thank you.

Well, my dear ladies, it seems this contest is NOW CLOSED! I expect that Mrs. Valentini will be giving me the name of the lucky lady who will be receiving Miss Macomber's literature very soon. Thank you all for joining me here. It was a most delightful visit. Farewell until we meet again. Adieu.

Happy Reading Everyone!

FAMILY AFFAIR by Debbie Macomber, Avon Romance, originally published 1994, newly republished along with a novella, THE BET by Darlene Panzera, the winner of an Avon Contest, available now in print and ebook format.
                                                                  

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