Thursday, August 29, 2013

Special Release Day Celebration for WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO? by Aimée Duffy

Welcome to my Special Release Day Celebration for WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO?, the first book in the Indecent Proposals Trilogy by Aimée Duffy.   

Happy Release Day to my darling friend, Aimée Duffy! xoxo

If you missed my review of this wonderful novella, please feel free to click HERE and take a gander but come back because I’ve got an excerpt and a giveaway to make this a party!

Blurb for WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO?:

The first novella in a thrilling, pulse-racing new erotic romance series, Indecent Proposals. Three best friends, Shey, Eloisa and Georgia take on the most powerful and eligible men of the New York dating scene.

“'I'm not coming over.' Shey replied confidently.

'Then maybe you could return the favor now.'

Wait, he didn't mean...

'Slide your hand beneath your panties and tell me how ready you are for me.'

Oh my god, he did.”


Single Manhattanite Shey Lopez doesn't do one-night stands, or have relationships she can't control. Especially if giving in to playboy Calvin Jones means losing her heart in the process.

However, Mr Won't-Take-No-For-An-Answer always gets what he wants and there's only so many times a girl can resist such an enticing proposal...

*                  *                  *                  *                   *

Excerpt from WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO?:

‘I suppose you agree with her idiot boyfriend?’ Shey asked the stranger.

His lips twisted up at the corners and a sultry look darkened his eyes. ‘Hell no. I can think of better ways to entertain a lady.’

Her heart rate went crazy.

Mandy gasped, but was saved by the phone ringing. Shey didn’t have the same time to compose herself. She was lost in his gaze and that fiery burn scorching through her body. For the first time since she could remember, Shey couldn’t find her tongue. Those damn eyes messed with her head and she couldn’t break free from their spell if she tried.

He stepped closer and the burn intensified. She was so hot she wanted to rip the dress off and stand in front of an open freezer to cool down. Up close she could see a dark five o’clock shadow on his sculpted jaw. His throat was thick, just like his shoulders. The slightly crooked nose suggested he’d had it broken at some point in his life, but it didn’t deter from his harsh beauty. Shey was awestruck, and so turned on she thought she might come just from looking at him.

‘What’s your name, gorgeous?’ he asked.

The disinterest on his face made it seem like he was flirting out of habit rather than because he wanted to. Even still, there seemed to be a magnetic force between them, crackling in the air and sparking. Those eyes of his had darkened, contradicting his Mr. Cool Man front. No way was Shey going to make this easy for him.

‘Seriously? That the best line you’ve got?’ She forced a laugh, but it came out husky, damn it. ‘Next you’ll call my dad a thief for stealing the stars and putting them in my eyes.’

His brows shot up, but he composed himself in a heartbeat. With a smile, he leaned forward and brushed a kiss over her cheekbone. The spicy smell of him invaded her senses and her skin sizzled with the contact. Her body went hyperactive. Hands trembling, knees weakening and oh yeah, soaked right through her lacy thong. She had to get away from him before she did something crazy, like beg for those soft lips to touch her again.

‘Sweetheart, with you I don’t need any lines.’

Anger boiled through her veins, loosening his hold on her body. She didn’t even know his name and he had her salivating, for Christ’s sake. He was a cocky bastard, so sure he had her right where he wanted her, and the worst thing? He was absolutely right. Next time those lips touched her skin she’d be putty in his long-fingered hands.

‘It’ll take more than arrogance to win me over.’ Shey left the asshole unspoken. ‘I have somewhere to be.’ Without waiting for Mandy to get off the phone or for Mr. Cool to reply, she left the reception.

His voice trailed behind her. ‘I’ll see you soon, gorgeous.’

Yeah, big shot. In your dreams.

*               *             *             *             * 

About the Author:

All my life I’ve been dreaming up stories. My mum said when I was little I used to make all the My Little Pony figurines talk to each other, and even fall in love. Later, it was Barbie and Ken. In my teens, I played matchmaker with my friends at school.

When I wasn’t creating imaginary scenarios, I had my nose stuck in books, reading across genres and there was one thing I loved more than the escapism—the fact a story can touch me so deeply, like I was experiencing everything along with my characters. I knew from early on this was something I wanted to do for others.

Fast forward a few years, and the dream almost got lost in real life, but I still couldn’t shake it completely. Now I write sizzling romance with the hope of making my readers’ hearts race like they are falling in love for the first time.

Aimée Duffy has been published at Beachwalk Press and is currently publishing with the UK branch of Avon Romance – Harper Impulse. If you’d like to learn more about Aimée and her books, please visit her website and follow her blog. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Goodreads.

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt and it has you itching to read this first novella of what promises to be an exciting trilogy, because now we’re on to the party prize.

I asked Aimée where she got her inspiration and what was the craziest thing she ever did to catch a guy’s attention and here’s what she had to say:

*Blushes* from listening to my friends of course. ;o)
 As for catching a guy's attention, I like to ignore them. It usually works if someone is giving me the eyes when I'm out, I'll give them back for a bit, then ignore the sucker. If he doesn't have the brass ones to come over and ask for a date then he's not worth dating. heehee. 

Sounds like good advice for when a girl wonders what to do, eh? *wink*

So now it’s your turn. Aimée and I are celebrating the release of 
WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO?
by
GIVING AWAY A COPY OF THIS JUICY GEM 
TO ONE LUCKY COMMENTER.

Here’s how the GIVEAWAY will work. You MUST answer the following question in a comment here on the blog

WHAT’S THE CRAZIEST THING YOU EVER DID TO CATCH A GUY’S ATTENTION?

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! 
THANK FOR VISITING & PLAYING!

The winner will notified by email and announced in a special post on Sunday, September 1, 2013. If I fail to hear from the winner by end of day, Friday, September 6, 2013, another will be chosen – so watch your mailbox.

Good Luck and Happy Reading Everyone!

WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO?, book one in the Indecent Proposals Trilogy by Aimée Duffy, Harper Impulse, available in ebook formats at Amazon, AmazonUK, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click on links or cover below for purchasing information.



   

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Avon Addict Release Day Blitz for THE TROUBLE WITH BEING A DUKE by Sophie Barnes

Welcome to the Avon Addict Release Day Blitz for THE TROUBLE WITH BEING A DUKE by Sophie Barnes. How about that beautiful cover! I hope you enjoy the excerpt and stick around for the awesome giveaway being offered by Sophie and Avon Romance. Happy Reading Everyone!

Blurb for THE TROUBLE WITH BEING A DUKE:

Sometimes happily ever after . . .
Anthony Hurst, Duke of Kingsborough, knows the time has come for him to produce an heir. But first he must find a bride. When he meets the most exquisite woman at his masquerade ball, he thinks his search is over . . . until the breathtaking beauty runs off. With few clues other than her figure, her scent, and the memory of her kiss, Anthony must find his mystery lady.

. . . needs a little bit of help.
Isabella Chilcott can scarcely believe it: she is finally at the Kingsborough Ball. As a child, she dreamed of dancing a waltz here, and now, thanks to a gorgeous gown she’s found in the attic, Isabella is living her fairytale fantasy. And she’s waltzing with the Duke of Kingsborough himself! But she must escape before he discovers her secrets . . . for she is not who she pretends to be, and falling in love with Prince Charming is the last thing she can allow herself to do.

*                   *                   *                    *                   * 


Excerpt from THE TROUBLE WITH BEING A DUKE:

“It’s time, Mama,” Anthony Hurst, the seventh Duke of Kingsborough, said as he strode toward one of the tall windows in his mother’s bedroom and pulled aside the heavy velvet curtains, flooding the space with a bright beam of sunshine. Pausing for a moment, he looked out at the garden. The crocuses were beginning to bloom, adding a cheerful display of yellow and lilac to the dreary winter landscape.

“Why must you disturb me?”

Anthony turned at the sound of his mother’s voice, gritting his teeth at the lifelessness in it. He hated the morose atmosphere that had swamped Kingsborough Hall for the past year, and he hated how difficult it was proving to move past it. “It’s been thirteen months, Mama—that’s long enough.”

His mother, still dressed in her widow’s weeds, sighed from her seat in the corner, her light blue eyes squinting in the brightness as he pulled aside yet another curtain. Black did not suit her—it made her look pallid and brought out the silver streaks of gray in her hair. She had aged dramatically during the final stage of her husband’s life. It was almost five years since the first symptom of illness had surfaced—a lump in the former duke’s armpit. Three physicians had been consulted, all of them advising immediate surgery, and with no desire to meet a speedy end, the Duke of Kingsborough had complied.

Anthony knew it had been a painful procedure, and yet it had only been the first of several. So it had come as no surprise when his father had eventually called him into his study to say that he had refused further treatment—but it had still been bloody hard to hold back the tears in the face of such defeat, knowing without doubt what his father’s decision had meant.

A month later, however, the condition hadn’t worsened, and Anthony had begun to hope that perhaps it never would. But then, as if from one day to the next, his father’s health had declined with startling rapidity. Nothing could have been worse than looking on helplessly while a loved one had withered away and died, his body wracked by pain at every hour of both day and night. Even the memory of it was unbearable.

“Is that all?” His mother’s tiny voice was weak, forcing a wince from Anthony as he went over to her and gently took her delicate hand in his. “It seems like an eternity.”

“Mama,” he whispered, kneeling beside her, his heart aching for the woman who had once been so full of life. “So much more reason for us to end this.”

Her eyes met his with the same degree of hopelessness that he too had felt for so long. His father had always been so strong and healthy—the sort of man that everyone had thought would outlive them all. Suffering through his deterioration, inheriting his title and eventually taking his place as duke had been far from easy for Anthony. It was now more than a year since they had laid him to rest, and Anthony had decided that it was finally time for all of them to start living again. With that in mind, he had an idea that he hoped would capture his mother’s enthusiasm. “We shall host an event,” he announced, in a voice that sounded too old and serious for his own liking.

“An event?” His mother looked as if she’d much rather crawl back into bed and draw the covers over her head than listen to one more word of what he had to say.

“Not just any event, Mama,” he said, determined to make her listen and even more determined to uncover the woman who lay dormant somewhere beneath her beaten-down exterior. He knew she was there—somewhere. “It’s the end of February already, but if we hurry, we can probably manage to arrange a house party in time for Easter.” He saw that his mother was about to protest and quickly added, “It could commence with one of your infamous balls.”

She stilled for a moment as she stared back at him, time stretching out between them until he doubted she would ever respond. He was trying to think of something to say to break the silence when he saw her stir, understanding flickering behind her eyes. “We haven’t had one of those in years, Anthony. Do you really suppose . . .” Her words trailed off, but not with defeat this time. Anthony couldn’t help but notice a slight crease upon her brow. She was thinking—quite furiously, judging from the fact that she was now chewing on her lower lip. Her eyes gradually sharpened, and she leaned forward in her seat. “Perhaps it will help bring the family back together.”

Anthony certainly hoped so.

When his father had stopped fighting for his life, it had not taken long before his sister Louise had married and removed herself to her new home. Anthony had not questioned her motives at the time. She had been of a marriageable age (though perhaps a bit young), the Earl of Huntley had clearly been in a position to offer her the standard of living she’d been raised to expect, and Anthony had given the couple his blessing without much thought on the matter.

The truth of it was, compared to everything else he’d been faced with at the time—his father’s imminent demise, the payment of physicians’ bills that kept arriving daily, and his ever-increasing duties in regard to running the estate—his sister’s hasty decision to marry had been more of an inconvenience than anything else.

It was not until after his father had died that he’d wondered if she’d perhaps been looking for a means of escape, some justifiable reason not to face the devastating truth looming over them all on a daily basis. Of course she’d visited a number of times, but she’d given herself a viable excuse to leave whenever she’d had enough. Anthony couldn’t blame her. There had been times when he had longed to flee from it all himself.

His brother, Winston, had been more reliable. He was two years younger than Anthony, had married Sarah the vicar’s daughter at the age of only twenty, and was now the delighted father of twin boys. To support his growing family, he ran a small publishing house that he’d started with the financial support of their father. Of course there had been those who’d disapproved of a gentleman making such a career choice, but Winston’s love for books had prevented him from swaying in his decision, and his father had given his support—a clear sign that he’d considered his son’s happiness more important than seeking the approval of his peers and a perfect example of the sort of man he’d been.

Though based in London, Winston had still managed to make the three-hour journey to Moxley once a week throughout their father’s illness. But with Papa now gone, Winston was busy applying himself to the growth of his business, and he didn’t visit Moxley as often as he had. Anthony understood his brother’s reasoning, of course. He just missed him. That was all.

“I must speak with Mrs. Sterling immediately,” his mother suddenly pronounced, startling Anthony out of his reverie. His eyes focused on her, and he noticed that there was a rather resolute expression about her eyes.

Anthony blinked. A moment earlier, she had looked as though a single puff of air would have overturned her. Now, instead, her back straightened and she gave a firm nod before pulling her hand away from his and rising to her feet.

This was what he had hoped for, but he had never imagined how quickly his mother would rally when faced with a project so large that it would require her immediate attention. To be honest, he had feared she might feel overwhelmed and that it would only serve to cripple her even further.

Clearly this was not the case, for not only had she already rung for her maid but she had also begun pacing about the room, checking off on her fingers all the items that would need addressing, all the while complaining about the limited amount of time Anthony had afforded her to prepare for such a grand event.

“We shall have to send out invitations immediately,” she gushed between mention of a possible ice sculpture and her thoughts regarding the flower arrangements that would have to be ordered.

Anthony’s head began to hurt, but he was pleased with the result of his plan. What he hadn’t mentioned, simply because he’d had no desire to excite his mother any further, was that he intended to use the event as a means to improve his acquaintance with the young ladies his mother undoubtedly meant to invite. His father’s demise had put everything into perspective for him, forcing him to realize just how fragile life could be. He needed an heir, and there was really no better time to start planning for one.

***

“Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow’d night, give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die, take him and—”

“Stop that right now,” Isabella’s mother warned as she lifted her gaze from her embroidery—a new set of pillowcases that the butcher’s wife had ordered, with flowering vines trailing along the edges.

Isabella was supposed to have been practicing her cutwork, but she was finding the process incredibly tedious and had paused to read a little instead. She had just gotten started on her favorite passage when her mother had cut her off as usual—at the exact same point. “But it’s the most romantic thing ever written, Mama.” Isabella should have known better than to goad her mother like this, but she could not help it—it was much too easy.

“Romantic?” Her mother frowned, her mouth scrunched in a manner that warned Isabella of the derision that lay ahead. “You are aware that the hero and heroine both die because of some ridiculous misunderstanding, are you not?”

“Of course, but —”

“Not to mention that the passage you’re presently reciting starts not only with Juliet considering her dear heart’s demise but the prospect of having him chopped up and—”

“Cut up, Mama—into little stars, so that—”

“Honestly.” Her mother shook her head as she returned her attention to the rose petal she was stabbing with her needle, as if it had been Shakespeare himself and she meant to make him pay for subjecting her to his play. “I’ve never understood why anyone would think it romantic for a young couple to kill themselves in the name of love.”

Isabella stifled a grin as she set the book aside and reached for her cutwork. “I do believe you’re the only person I know who can criticize the loveliest play ever written as if Mr. Shakespeare had penned it with the sole purpose of offending you. Considering how much you love Papa, I would have thought you’d be more romantically inclined, yet I’m beginning to wonder if you even know what romance is.” She said it in jest, but when she looked up, her mother’s eyes had widened and her jaw had gone slack. “I’m sorry,” Isabella quickly muttered. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

Her mother took a deep breath, held it, and then released it very slowly before bowing her head once more to her work. “No,” she said. “I don’t suppose you did.”

Drat it all, Isabella thought as she drew her needle through the piece of white linen she was holding. It had been neat and crisp when she’d started on it, but it had long since taken on the appearance of a crumpled rag. She shook her head at her carelessness—not in regard to the fabric but because of her mother. She’d unintentionally hurt her feelings, and not for the first time. She really ought to have learned her lesson by now. Glancing at the book she’d been reading, she made a mental note not to bring it into her mother’s presence ever again. It only resulted in trouble.

She let out a small sigh. All she wanted was a confidante—someone with whom to share her dreams of true love and a happily ever after. In spite of what she’d said, she knew that her parents were happy. It was obvious from the way they looked at each other and the manner in which they addressed each other with cheerful smiles.

Isabella wished for that, but she also wished for more—she wished for magic. Lord knew she had spent hours on end, dreaming about meeting a gallant stranger—a prince, perhaps—who would declare his undying love for her before carrying her off to his castle on a magnificent white stallion . . . or perhaps in a golden carriage similar to the one she’d imagined Cendrillon riding in the fairy tale she’d loved so dearly as a child.

“Isabella?”

Isabella blinked, realizing her mother must have been telling her something that required her attention. “Sorry, Mama, my thoughts were elsewhere. You were saying?”

Her mother frowned. “I know how fond you are of Romeo and Juliet. I didn’t mean to mock it in any way, it’s just . . . while I do appreciate Shakespeare’s talent, his notion of romance is, in my opinion, lacking—at least in this instance.” Tying off a thread, she folded the pillowcase and placed it in her embroidery basket. “Sacrificing yourself for the sake of love is not romantic, Isabella—it’s rash, thoughtless, and completely meaningless. Real romance comes from small and selfless gestures, from private moments spent in one another’s company or a shared kiss when no one else is looking. It’s showing the person you care about that they’re just as important to you as you are to yourself, if not more so. Most importantly, it’s what tells them that you love them, without the need for words.”

Isabella stared at her mother, suddenly feeling she wasn’t entirely the person Isabella had always thought her to be. There was a more sensitive side to her than Isabella had ever imagined, or perhaps it was just that this was the first time her mother had ever talked openly about her own thoughts on the subject of romance. Of course Isabella knew that her mother wasn’t a cynic when it came to matters of the heart, for her devotion to her husband bordered on the ridiculous. It was just that her mother did not understand why anyone would choose to write poetry rather than tell the person in question how they actually felt about them, and the idea that any lady might enjoy a piece of music written in her honor seemed silly to her—or at least that was what she’d once said.

Isabella was about to question her mother about the most romantic thing her father had ever done, but just as she opened her mouth, her mother rose to her feet and said, “You’d better ready yourself in time for Mr. Roberts’s visit. You know he’s never late.”

It was true. Timothy Roberts was the most predictable man Isabella had ever known. Not that this was necessarily a bad thing—after all, Marjorie, their maid-of-all-work, always knew precisely when to put the pie in the oven so it would be ready in time for his visit. And he had been visiting a lot lately. Every Sunday afternoon at precisely three’ o clock, for an entire year.

There was very little doubt about his intentions at this point (though he had yet to propose), and Isabella’s parents were overjoyed. Her father, who’d arranged the whole thing, was quite proud of himself for securing such a fine match for his daughter. He should have been too, for while they were bordering on a state of impoverishment, Mr. Roberts was a wealthy man who’d struck up a business specializing in luxury carriages.

Isabella’s father had worked in his employ for the past five years, test-driving each vehicle before it was delivered to the client, and while Isabella wasn’t entirely sure of what her father might have told Mr. Roberts about her, the man had one day appeared for tea, and had continued to do so since.

With a sigh, Isabella gathered up her things, feeling not the least bit enthusiastic about Mr. Roberts’s impending visit. Not because she didn’t like him (it was difficult to form an opinion due to his reserve), and certainly not because he had done anything to offend or upset her. On the contrary, he was always the perfect gentleman, adhering to etiquette in the most stringent manner possible.

No, the problem was far simpler than that—she just did not love him, and what was worse, she had long since come to realize that she never would.

*            *           *           *            * 

About the Author:

Born in Denmark, SOPHIE BARNES spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian. She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all - she’s been married to the same man three times - in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion: writing. When she’s not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.

Visit Sophie Barne’s website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Giveaway:  anyone leaving a comment is entered to win one of three (3) prizes for this blog tour (all commenters on ANY of the stops are eligible).
Two (2) runner ups will get a signed copy of LADY ALEXANDRA’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, and one lucky winner will get 1 “gold” filigree masquerade mask, 1 golden silk scarf, 1 crystal beaded necklace, 1 Victorian style soap-box and soap, 1 signed copy of TROUBLE WITH BEING THE DUKE, 3 book marks, 3 magnets, 1 tote bag, and a digital book bundle including: HOW MISS RUTHERFORD GOT HER GROOVE BACK, LADY ALEXANDRA’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, & FIVE GOLDEN RINGS.
 *** that’s some prize package, huh? Please use the Rafflecopter to enter. Good Luck and Happy Reading Everyone.

If you’d like to visit the other stops on the Avon Addict Blog Tour click
HERE.

THE TROUBLE WITH BEING A DUKE, an At The Kingsborough Ball novel by Sophie Barnes, Avon Romance, available now in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click on links or cover below for purchasing information.

   

Monday, August 26, 2013

Release Day Blitz for TWO ROADS by L.M. Augustine

Release Day Blitz for TWO ROADS by L.M. Augustine

Blurb for TWO ROADS:

The only person poetry-loving Cali Monroe hates more than herself is Logan Waters, the geeky kid who lives in the dorm building next to hers.

Ever since Cali's parents told her she would amount to nothing, she has felt entirely inadequate. Friendless and alone, she takes on the mean girl role in hopes it will make her feel better--and Logan serves as the perfect target. He infuriates her with his obnoxiously long lashes, his all too perfect dimpled smile, and his complete lack of personality outside of his intelligence. It doesn't hurt that he's part of the reason her brother is dead, either. So Cali hates him, and he returns the favor. Thus, their prank-filled, insult-driven rivalry is born, and torturing Logan quickly becomes the highlight of her life.

But when Cali's parents set them up on a blind date, she begins to realize Logan might not be as boring as she always thought. He shares her love of poetry, takes a sadistic pleasure in making fun of crepes, and he makes her blush when he calls her smile pretty.

And hey, maybe those long lashes of his aren't that obnoxious after all…

***Two Roads is New Adult Romance about finding love, standing out, and
learning to embrace who you are. It contains some language and mild sexual content.

About the Author:

L.M. Augustine is a YA romance author who is obsessed with writing about dorky teenagers, love, and happy endings. He currently lives in New England, where he spends far too much time reading books and screaming at his computer, and he believes that the solution to the world’s problems can be found in chocolate cake. CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE is his first novel.

To learn more about the author, visit his website and feel free to follow his on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.

GIVEAWAY:   10 Signed Bookmarks – please use the Rafflecopter for entry. Good Luck and Happy Reading Everyone!




TWO ROADS by L.M. Augustine, self-publish, available in print and ebook formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
***click on links above or cover below for purchasing information.

   

Unwrapping: Erotic Romance - How Far Do You Want Your Romance Reading To Go?

THE SEEN TRILOGY

I read many kinds of romance, as you well know if you follow my reviews. I read romances that are sweet, charming, and make you sigh with the delicacy of the romantic nature. I read exciting romances filled with paranormal creatures and danger, and thrill with the intensity of otherworldly romance. I read suspenseful, edge of the seat romances, that keep you from turning out the light, and I read erotic romance – not erotica, not porn – erotic romance.

What’s the difference you might ask? Since the onslaught of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY by E.L. James and the description Mommy Porn being applied to romance novels, I believe the distinction is important.

Erotic Romance is a story written about the development of a romantic relationship through sexual interaction. The sex is an inherent part of the story, character growth, and relationship development, and cannot be removed without damaging the storyline. A Happily Ever After is an absolute REQUIREMENT of any romance including an erotic romance.

I enjoy erotic romance. Whether historical, paranormal, or contemporary in setting, I love steeping myself in the sexiness that some writers are capable of pulling from their imaginative depths to manifest in words on a page that leave me begging for more or in desperate need of a cold shower. Erotic romance is not for everyone and some works are more extreme than others, which is why I’m cautious about what I recommend to my dear readers. I’ve reviewed erotic romance here at Unwrapping Romance. I’ve reviewed some based in BDSM but those stories had an intriguing and captivating plot that was simply involved the eroticism of BDSM. Yes, I’ve enjoyed those reads, not because of the eroticism or uniqueness of the BDSM storyline, but because the writing was extraordinary and the characters had depth and pulled me in so deep that I was compelled to keep reading.

While on vacation, I decided to read The Seen Trilogy by Cynthia Sax, an erotic romance series from Avon Red. Reading it made me think back to when I read FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and why I had no desire to read on after book one. I was unable to connect to the characters in FSofG. I found the writing style amateurish, and when I reached the end of book one, I was so angry and annoyed by both the characters and the author that I knew right away that I would never pay out the high price for book two in the series. I had no desire to discover where their relationship took them.

Reading The Seen Trilogy was different although left me feeling somewhat the same. I purchased this trilogy for my own reading, without a request to read and review, and it turned out to be quick reading while stuck in a hotel room at the beach with three days of constant rain. Of course, the fact that I only paid 99¢ per novella helped a lot.

The Seen Trilogy consists of HE WATCHES ME, HE TOUCHES ME, and HE CLAIMS ME. When I finished reading the first book, HE WATCHES ME, I shut off my reader and gave reading book two, HE TOUCHES ME, serious thought. I decided to give Cynthia a second chance and decided to see where the story went. By the time I reached the end of book two, I was becoming very discouraged but when I saw her teaser for book three, HE CLAIMS ME, I hoped for the best - the shocking finale to the trilogy.

At first intrigued by the voyeurism of the story, I started reading, eager to become engrossed in this first person, present tense erotic romance. I tried to connect with Anna Sampson. I tried to understand her insecurities and her desire to remain invisible, but soon found myself annoyed with her easy acceptance of being so completely and perversely open to her neighbor, Gabriel Blaine. I began to question whether this was truly erotic romance or simply poorly disguised erotica bordering on porn.

To review each book as individuals would give away far too much to you if you should choose to read these erotic novellas for yourself. I’d like to leave it up to you, as a reader because I do believe wholeheartedly that there is a book for every reader and a reader for every book. The Seen Trilogy left me in a strange place. I enjoyed it, but not so much. I found the writing style exceptional, yet tired of the use of certain words being used repeatedly. I found the characters too one dimensional to connect with them on a level where I could feel any compassion for them. And finally, I found the subject matter, the mode of eroticism, well … creepy.

I had to keep reminding myself that Anna Sampson was a grown woman and not a young teen on the cusp of womanhood. She was entirely too virginal with fears of being touched, consumed, and seen, yet she opened her legs easily to a man who while fully dressed sniffed around her nakedness like an abusive stalker. My mind kept traveling back to Ana Steele of FSofG with her virginal thoughts and excessive desire to please  – is it coincidence that both of these heroines have the same initials?

I wanted to like Gabriel Blaine but I just didn’t know him well enough to do so. I found his love and desire to protect Anna more obsession than passion. I began to create a separate scenario, one that would help me make sense of where this relationship was going. I imagined that Blaine’s past connected with Anna’s father in prison leaving him indebted to the man and now he felt compelled to watch over and protect the man's daughter. I suppose it was my way of creating a story to make sense of all the sex scenes. I think that had I been allowed to know Blaine just a bit better, learn what made him tick so to speak, perhaps then I might have fallen for him the same way Anna imagined herself doing. I know more about Christian Grey and his past from one book than I know of Gabriel Blaine from three.

I’m still at a loss as to how I feel about The Seen Trilogy. The writing was excellent, but the characters lacked the depth I needed to connect with them. The story had great potential, but was flat and lacked the emotional layers to compel me to care about the characters, yet I was still pulled forward – like a voyeur – to finish reading the series.

Was it because of the sex scenes? I don’t think so. Was it because in each of us there is that need to know, need to see what happens next? I think so. I know I kept hoping that something new, something intrinsically exciting was going to happen that would make the story come together like a mystery that needed solving but in the end, it was simply creepy and certainly not romantic – not for me anyway.

I’ve read a lot of erotic romance and I will read more in the future. I will certainly be willing to read more from Cynthia Sax, but I can’t help but wonder if the need to be so completely different from other sexy reads overpowered this one and the sex got away from her.

My question to you, my readers, is this – when reading erotic romance, are you just looking for the extremes in sex scenes or do you still expect an equal amount of romance-building storyline?

I know that I want to know the characters who are exploring their sexuality, not just their sex. 

I’m not making a recommendation for The Seen Trilogy by Cynthia Sax, but instead I’m leaving it up to you. I do suggest that if you read them, read them in order, and one right after the other. It’s more complete that way.

Happy Reading Everyone!

HE WATCHES ME by Cynthia Sax, Avon Red, available in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.

HE TOUCHES ME by Cynthia Sax, Avon Red, available in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.

HE CLAIMS ME by Cynthia Sax, Avon Red, available in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click on the links above or covers below for purchasing information.

    
   

Saturday, August 24, 2013

And A Copy of HOW TO MARRY A HIGHLANDER by Katharine Ashe Goes To ...



THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO 
VISITED AND PLAYED
FOR A DIGITAL COPY 
of 
HOW TO MARRY A HIGHLANDER 
by
KATHARINE ASHE

THE WINNER IS:

JUNE M

CONGRATULATIONS TO JUNE.
SHE HAS BEEN NOTIFIED BY EMAIL, SO I HOPE SHE'LL
CHECK HER SPAM FOLDER IN
CASE THE MESSAGE GOES IN THERE.
SHE WILL HAVE UNTIL END OF DAY
THURSDAY, AUGUST 29TH TO RESPOND
OR ANOTHER WINNER WILL BE SELECTED.

THANK YOU AGAIN TO EVERYONE WHO VISITED.
I DO IT ALL FOR YOU.
IF YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS ANY REVIEWS, 
BLOG TOURS, OR AUTHOR INTERVIEWS
PLEASE FOLLOW BY EMAIL BY CLICKING HERE.

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tasty Review Blog Tour for HOW TO MARRY A HIGHLANDER by Katharine Ashe + #Giveaway!

Welcome to my Stop on the Tasty Book Review Tour for HOW TO MARRY A HIGHLANDER by Katharine Ashe. As a fan of Katharine’s Falcon Club Series, I was very excited to learn that the Earl of Eads, Duncan to his friends, was getting his own happily-ever-after. Enjoy my review and stick around for a special non-Tour giveaway – you’ll only be able to enter here!

***I was provided an eARC via Edelweiss from the publisher but opted to purchase my own copy with the knowledge that I would provide an honest and unscripted review.

Blurb for HOW TO MARRY A HIGHLANDER:

An intrepid lady takes on an impossible task to win an irresistible lord.

With seven troublesome half-sisters to marry off, Duncan, the Earl of Eads, has one problem: he’s broke. With the prospect of marriage to the pompous local curate, Miss Teresa Finch-Freeworth has one dream: to wed the handsome Highlander she saw at a ball.

How does a desperate lady convince a reluctant laird that she’s the perfect bride for him? She strikes a wager! If she can find seven husbands for seven sisters, the earl must marry her. But when Duncan gives her a deadline even the most audacious matchmaker can’t meet — one month — Teresa sets terms too: with each bridegroom she finds, the earl must pay her increasingly intimate rewards . . .

*                    *                   *                   *                    *

Teresa Finch-Freeworth is enamored with one man, with broad shoulders and beautiful blue eyes, while facing the prospect of marriage to the odious and pious Mr. Waldon. After learning that the Earl of Eads, the man who has filled her thoughts and her dreams these past eighteen months is to be in London seeking husbands for his seven sisters, yes seven of them, Teresa concocts a plan that will either win her the man of her dreams or ruin her forever.

Duncan, the Earl of Eads, is a man with a past and a man with a heart that will never love again – if he has his way. Fearful of falling in love and losing another woman to childbirth, Duncan escaped London eighteen months ago after spying the most beautiful woman to cross his path since he lost his beloved wife and son. Now that woman, stubborn, beautiful, tempting and persistent, has offered him a wager that if he loses will make him face his fears and his desire for her.

Teresa is determined to win a kiss, a touch, and make love to the handsome Scotsman who stole her heart across a ballroom. With the assistance of her faithful brother, Tobias, she slowly introduces the Scotswomen to London, and to London Society. Luck is with her as each finds love, except one. There is the problem of one sister who has no desire to marry – ever. Will this destroy her chance to win Duncan’s heart?

I am a huge fan of Katharine Ashe’s Falcon Club series and HOW TO MARRY A HIGHLANDER is a wonderful addition to the group even though it is a bit of departure from the normal intensity of romance we are used to seeing from Ms. Ashe. Teresa finds herself in the role of matchmaker extraordinaire with the task of finding husbands for each of Duncan’s seven sisters in order to win him as a husband, or so she hopes. Katharine introduces us to a wonderful group of women, all with different personalities and assets. Poor as church mice, with no hopes for marriages back in Scotland, these seven young women need all the help they can get, and Teresa becomes their fairy godmother/matchmaker.

As usual, Katharine’s characters are full of life. There’s humor, some touching moments, jealousies, and a few accidents that some of us might be able to relate to in our own experiences. We are blessed with visits from Lady Heliotrope Beaufetheringstone, whom some of you may know if you visit The Ballroom Blog, as well as the handsome and debonair, Mr. Derek Knightly from Maya Rodale’s The Writing Girl Series. This novella is an adventure beyond just being a romance between two people, it's matchmaker heaven.

I enjoyed this novella so much, even though the time that Duncan and Teresa was not as much as I would’ve liked, the story was delightful, the characters intriguing and lively, and Duncan was  … well, Duncan, a man of few words. I would love to read more regarding this handsome Scotsman and his seven effervescent sisters.

I highly recommend HOW TO MARRY A HIGHLANDER by Katharine Ashe to anyone who loves romance in numbers and a good matchmaking story.

About the Author:

Katharine Ashe lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A
professor of European history, she has made her home in California, Italy, France, and the northern US. She is a two-time nominee and 2011 winner of the Reviewers’ Choice Awards for Best Historical Romantic Adventure, and her novella A LADY’S WISH launched HarperCollins Publishers’ Avon Impulse imprint in 2011. Her books have been recommended by Woman’s World Magazine, Booklist, Library Journal, Barnes & Noble, the San Francisco & Sacramento Book Review, Durham County Libraries, and the Library of Virginia.  She adores hearing from readers so please feel free to visit her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Giveaway: 

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED. Thank you for visiting and playing. 

I would love to hear what you think of the idea of doing something wild and crazy to win a man as Teresa does in HOW TO MARRY A HIGHLANDER.
So ... what’s the craziest thing you ever did to win a man?

Happy Reading Everyone and Good Luck!

HOW TO MARRY A HIGHLANDER, a Falcon Club novella by Katharine Ashe, Avon Romance, available now in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click on links or cover below for purchasing information.



   

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