Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Release Day Book Blast for THE SCANDAL IN KISSING AN HEIR at the Kinsborough Ball by Sophie Barnes


THE SCANDAL IN KISSING AN HEIR
at the Kingsborough Ball
by Sophie Barnes

When Lady Rebecca, daughter of the Earl of Airmont, faked maddness to avoid an undesirable marriage, she never thought she’d wind up secluded from society instead. Now with the Kingsborough Ball on the horizon, she’s determined to sneak out and meet the man of her dreams. There’s just one catch: not getting caught.

After losing the last of his monthly allowance in a game of cards Daniel Neville, rogue, reprobate and heir to the Marquisate of Wolvington, receives an ultimatum from his uncle: marry or get cut off without a penny. Faced with limited prospects due to his reputation, Neville can’t help but notice the beautiful young woman at the ball. He’s never seen her before and, better yet, she’s never met him either. This could just be a match made in heaven.

When Rebecca is unexpectedly shot at the ball and her cover is blown, the two are bound by the last thing either expected to find: a passion so binding that they will risk everything for the chance to be together.


About the Author:

Born in Denmark, Sophie has 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.

You find Sophie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. Feel free to visit her website at www.sophiebarnes.com.

THE SCANDAL IN KISSING AN HEIR, an At the Kinsborough 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 for purchasing information

   

Monday, December 30, 2013

Unwrapping a Review of SWEETEST MISTAKE, a Sweet, Texas novel by Candis Terry

I am a huge fan of Candis Terry’s stories and her newest, the Sweet, Texas series featuring the sexy Wilder boys is fast becoming my favorites. It’s for this reason that when I got the chance to read a galley of her upcoming release, SWEETEST MISTAKE, there was no doubt I was adding it to my reading list.

***eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.

Blurb for SWEETEST MISTAKE:

WHEN FRIENDS BECOME LOVERS . . .

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

IT CAN LEAD TO DISASTER OR . . .

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

THE SWEETEST MISTAKE.

*              *             *             *             *

Abby Morgan has returned to Sweet, Texas after being away far too long and having left without a word to anyone, especially Jackson Wilder – her best friend and the man she’d loved forever. After a failed marriage that has left her feeling rather worthless, unwanted, and alone, she wasn’t eager to discuss why she left home, or why she was back.

Jackson Wilder went off to fight for our country’s freedom, watched his brother die, and returned to find his best friend had abandoned him when he needed her most. Now she’s back and he’s intrigued as to why but the anger keeps getting in the way. Can these two fated lovebirds find their way back to each other or will their pride, frustrated anger, and their inability to keep their hands and their lips off each other get in the way.

Jackson is all out sexy, and all out stubborn but the most lovable pain in the ass hero I’ve ever met. Abby Morgan is my girl. She survived a marriage so like mine, except for the wealth, that I have to side with her. She’s forward, outspoken, and knows what she wants and will do whatever it takes to get it, including a striptease that drives Jackson wild even when he’s fighting his fear of losing control if he were to touch her. I’m wondering if Candis knows me better than she ever imagined. *wink*

SWEETEST MISTAKE, book two in the Sweet, Texas series by Candis Terry didn’t capture my heart and tear it to shreds like ANYTHING BUT SWEET did but I enjoyed every minute of it. Candis has created the most exceptional cast of characters living in Sweet, Texas. The Wilder family contains swoon-worthy men, a mother you want to roll up in a hug and take home with you, and townspeople that make you want to move to Sweet. I had a problem with how the ending was rushed but understand that sometimes these things happen. But don't worry, the story was filled with enough angst, flirtations, humor, sweet moments, and hot sexual tension to keep you glued to each page.

SWEETEST MISTAKE by Candis Terry is a funny, sweet, down home tale about friendship, falling in love, and regrets that can haunt you far down the road. It’s about what happens when two people fear admitting their feelings because they value the relationship that’s always been there not realizing that even the deepest love must start with a friendship. I highly recommend reading SWEETEST MISTAKE by Candis Terry for no other reason that it features the sexiest hero, the most likable heroine ever, and the Wilder men, who are absolute tens on any hot list.

Happy Reading Everyone and Happy New Year to all!

SWEETEST MISTAKE, a Sweet, Texas novel by Candis Terry, Avon Romance, release date – December 31, 2013, available in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click on links or cover for purchasing information

   

Friday, December 27, 2013

Unwrapping A Review of SINS OF A WICKED PRINCESS, book three of the Sinners Trio by Anna Randol

Already a huge fan of Anna Randol, I have been eagerly awaiting Wraith’s story in SINS OF A WICKED PRINCESS, book three of the Sinners Trio series. As usual, Anna didn’t disappoint - although I had hoped for more.

***Missed out on the galley so I purchased this one for my own personal reading but am more than willing to share my honest and unscripted review.

Blurb for SINS OF A WICKED PRINCESS:

In the scorching finale of Anna Randol's wickedly tempting Trio series, the Wraith takes on a mission—and a princess—he'll never forget…

Ian Maddox, aka the Wraith, is happy to leave his life as a spy— as soon as he discovers who's been trying to kill his friends. All clues lead him to the bedroom of an exiled princess. Yet Princess Juliana isn't the simpering royal he expects, and this irresistible beauty agrees to give him the information he seeks…for a price.

Princess Juliana has never cowered—not even as she fled her burning castle in the midst of a rebellion—so she won't tremble before the darkly charismatic man who appears in her bedchamber and holds a knife to her throat. Instead, she bargains with the infamous spy to help her retrieve sensitive documents and restore her kingdom. But Juliana quickly finds that Ian is no humble servant, and she never imagines that lessons in thievery will lead to schooling in seduction.

*             *              *             *             * 

Princess Juliana is trying to save her homeland, Lenoria, from both the French and the Spanish. Having seen her parents brutally murdered at the hands of a mob incited to kill by the nefarious Trio, she’s never cowered and never will. Not before the infamous spy, Wraith, nor the Duke who wishes to use her brother to steal her throne.

Ian Maddox is determined to discover who is behind the attempts on the lives of his friends, Madeline and Clayton, before they can succeed. His investigations lead him directly to a beautiful princess who pleads with him to teach her the ways of thievery and subterfuge.

Each has their own goals, each has their own mission, but when they discover their enemy is the same person, it’s more than their missions that bring them together. Now Ian worries how to keep Juliana safe and Juliana worries how to keep Ian with her always.

I fell in love with Ian ‘Wraith’ Maddox back in book one of the Sinners Trio, SINS OF THE VIRGIN, and had such high hopes for his story. Whereas, the story is wonderful, the mission adventurous and dangerous, and the falling in love romance delightful, I truly expected something a bit more dramatic from Wraith. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed SINS OF A WICKED PRINCESS by Anna Randol. She has once more created a cast of characters that will delight, entertain, and keep us on the edge of our seats as they make their way through the maze of questions, mysteries, and whodunits that Anna so skillfully concocts.

SINS OF A WICKED PRINCESS is exciting, filled with intrigue, dangerous explorations, devious plans, betrayal, and flirtations with definite steam factor. Ian is a hero that you want to have rescue you from the bad guys even as he sweeps you off your feet with his dramatic escapades. Juliana is smart, inquisitive, and a wonderful heroine who doesn’t back away from excitement, and danger but throws herself forward with enthusiasm. An eager enthusiasm that wins the heart of the most nefarious spy, thief, and all out sexy hero. Secondary characters are a delight and keep us enthralled, especially Eustace and Canterbury, and Apple is an absolute sweetheart.

I definitely recommend reading SINS OF A WICKED PRINCESS by Anna Randol if you’ve read Madeline and Clayton’s stories but I highly recommend reading it because it’s worth it. If you haven’t experienced the Sinners Trio by Anna Randol then by all means, do. Start from the beginning though, because they are that good. I only had one complaint - it’s been the same complaint throughout – too many editing errors. It’s very distracting. Read it though – it’s an amazing series.

Happy Reading Everyone!

SINS OF A WICKED PRINCESS, a Sinners Trio novel by Anna Randol, Avon Romance, available in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click on links or cover below for purchasing information



   

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

CHRISTMAS EVE - A NIGHT OF WONDER, MAGIC, AND JOY!

As a Christmas gift to his children in 1822, Dr. Clement Moore wrote a poem. It was a simple gift perhaps, but one that represented his love and affection for his family. That poem has become one of the most beloved works throughout the world. So from me to you, may you continue to view the miracle of Christmas through a child’s eye and experience the joy & wonder of its magic.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
(originally titled A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS)
by Clement Clarke Moore

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"


And then just for fun, I thought you’d appreciate a little humor.

12 redneck days of Christmas by Jeff Foxworthy 


Merry Christmas to you all! May you be blessed with joy, laughter, and lots of love – as well as good reading.  xoxo

Friday, December 20, 2013

Special: Cover Reveal for COVER TO COVERS by Alexandrea Weis


COVER TO COVERS
by Alexandrea Weis

Coming February 1, 2014


A man driven by his desires 
Tyler Moore is considered cold, ruthless, and determined to get everything he wants. CEO of a flourishing oil company, he thrives on order and never gives up control to anyone.

The woman from his past 
Monique Delome has left her unhappy past behind to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Love is something she believes is better suited to the pages of her novels and not meant for real life.

Whether in the boardroom or the bedroom, 
Tyler Moore is always in charge. But when Monique Delome walks back into his life, everything changes. A successful romance author, all the sexy leading men Monique writes about strangely remind everyone of Tyler. Intrigued, Tyler sets out to seduce the one woman he could never forget. Soon Tyler gets more than he bargained for, and his grip on his well-ordered life is turned upside down.
    
Tyler Moore is about to find out what happens when a romantic tale jumps from the pages and comes to life between the sheets.   


About the Author:

Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Her first novel, TO MY SENSES, introduced readers to the world of Nicci Beauvoir and garnered numerous awards and rave reviews. Her popular second Nicci Beauvoir novel, RECOVERY, won the Gold Medal for Best Romantic Suspense from the 2011 Readers' Favorite Book Awards, and was named Best Romantic Suspense novel by the Spring 2011 NABE Pinnacle Book Awards. Her fourth novel, BROKEN WINGS, won Best Contemporary Romance at the NABE Pinnacle Book Awards in 2012, and the Silver Medal at the 2012 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards for Contemporary Romance. DIARY OF A ONE-NIGHT STAND, was released in August 2012 and was named a Paranormal Romance Guild's Best Reviewed of 2012. ACADIAN WALTZ was a finalist in the 2013 Readers' Favorite Book Awards for Best Contemporary Romance and Best Southern Fiction. A permitted wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.


Go to Alexandrea Weis Goodreads page for book Contest for 3 signed copies up
Mark the book To Read to enter the contest.

Unwrapping: Review of DESPERATELY SEEKING FIREMAN, a Bachelor Firemen novella by Jennifer Bernard

Hot firemen are Jennifer Bernard’s specialty and she’s hit the mark again with DESPERATELY SEEKING FIREMAN, a Bachelor Firemen novella releasing on December 31, 2013.

***eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.

Blurb for DESPERATELY SEEKING FIREMAN:

Fire Captain Jeb Stone and incredibly successful press secretary Nita Moreno have both been burned by love before. That's why neither of them is looking for more than a few steamy nights of passion.

When circumstances find them stranded on an island together, babysitting a cross-dressing senator and the very pregnant wife of San Gabriel's most famous captain, they allow the sparks they feel to take center stage. But as their feelings grow, can they each allow the other past the barriers both have built to protect their hearts?

*            *            *            *            *             

Nita Moreno believes her life is exactly as she wants it when she meets eyes with an incredibly handsome firefighter at the wedding of Melissa McQuire and Capt. Harry Brody. Three years later though, her life has fallen apart. Filled with heartache, and with a pain in the neck Senator to babysit, she’s confronted with a very pregnant Melissa Brody and tagging along with her is that gorgeous fireman who she discovers is now divorced.

Captain Jeb Stone hasn’t forgotten the beautiful bridesmaid who made it quite clear she wasn’t interested. Life takes a pleasant turn when he runs into her on Santa Lucia while doing a favor for his buddy, Capt. Brody. Now his hopes of winning her over begin to take shape.

Just when I think that Jennifer Bernard cannot possibly surpass her last fireman hero – Psycho, or any who came before – she does and oh, how she does it in Jeb Stone. I want this man under my tree for Christmas. 

One of the things I love most about reading Jennifer Bernard’s Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series is how real her characters are and how dreamily romantic they fall in love. Jeb Stone has lived a loveless life the past five years. He stayed married to his teenage love for the sake of his daughter but now feels he’ll never find what he needs to heal his heart and allow him to face a brighter future with someone at his side. That is, until he is reunited with Nita Moreno. The attraction was instant at the wedding but it’s fortified two-fold when they meet again on Santa Lucia. HOT Healing Sex seems to be a simple solution to scratch an itch plaguing both Nita and Jeb but neither is sure how to handle what happens next. Their attraction doesn’t cool but explodes as if gasoline’s been thrown on a fire.

Jennifer consistently conjures characters that touch our hearts with pain and heartache from the past, worries about the future, and fear of rejection as they succumb to intense attractions yet we continue to fall hard for them every time. Nita and Jeb are no different. They carry pain from the past, apprehension in going after what they want, and fear of giving in to what they need. The characters in DESPERATELY SEEKING FIREMAN are the story. We’re treated to the delightful Melissa McQuire Brody as she attempts to pursue a story while on the verge of giving birth at any moment. We experience the frantic over possessiveness of, the madly in love with his woman, Capt. Harry Brody who wants to wrap her up in a bubble if only he could catch her. Secondary characters delight us, making us smile and delight in their presence. And of course, we meet and fall in love with the sexy Jeb Stone and beautiful Nita Moreno who despite their fears and their priorities, soon fall prey to the most natural and amazing emotion of all - LOVE.

I highly recommend DESPERATELY SEEKING FIREMAN by Jennifer Bernard to anyone who has read any of the other Bachelor Firemen novels but especially if you read the first, THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME, as this gives you more of Melissa and the sexy Captain Brody. But if by chance, you haven't had a taste of Jennifer's HOT FIREMEN yet, then definitely pick up DESPERATELY SEEKING FIREMAN because you'll quickly be hooked and in love with Jeb Stone! I recommend the entire series to everyone who loves sexy heroes, delightful heroines, fun making secondary characters and stories that stay with you long after the last page is turned. Jennifer does HOT FIREMEN like no other.

Happy Reading Everyone!

DESPERATELY SEEKING FIREMAN, a Bachelor Firemen novella by Jennifer Bernard, release date – December 31, 2013, Avon Impulse, will be available in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes& Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click links or cover below for purchasing information

   

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Aftermath of the Most Recent Giveaway

First of all, I wish to congratulate both bn100 and Elizabeth Haney for each winning a copy of the amazing new paranormal romance by Tori L. Ridgewood, WIND AND SHADOW.

bn100 is the winner of a signed print copy of this fabulous story courtesy of Tori but I've decided to award Elizabeth a digital copy just because she played as well. These two wonderful and loyal readers of Unwrapping Romance were the only ones, among everyone who visited, to enter and I do so appreciate them. 


I feel I need to apologize to Tori for the low turnout. I truly do not understand the lack of interest. Folks, it was a chance at a FREE book. Not only a free book but one signed by the author, in print and in hand, and I truly don't understand the apathy.

I have made a decision based on the lack of interest in Giveaways I have offered in the past few months. Unless I hear from you, my readers, that you still desire me to run Giveaways, I will no longer be offering them whether the author offers them or not. 

It takes a lot of time and effort to not only prepare for a giveaway but to promote it over the days following the post leading up to the time the giveaway ends. Not to mention follow up with the winner. With the lack of interest, I feel like I'm not only wasting my time promoting the giveaway but also feel it's discouraging for an author to see such a lack of interest. 

Personally, I have better things to do. It takes time away from my reading and reviewing, and most importantly, away from my own writing. It's certainly making me think twice about promoting my book on Unwrapping Romance. I hoped to publish by Spring and was certainly willing to give away copies but if you're not interested in other authors' works, I don't know why you would be mine. 

I'd like some feedback on this because the final word will be with you, my readers. 

Giveaways or no Giveaways - you decide. Thank you.

Happy Reading Everyone! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Visit with Tori L. Ridgewood, author of WIND AND SHADOW, book one of the Talbot Trilogy + Review, Excerpt, & GIVEAWAY!

I’m doing something a little special today. First, I’m giving a brief review of the first book in an extraordinary new trilogy from Tori L. Ridgewood called the Talbot Trilogy and then I was fortunate enough to get Tori to answer a few questions for me. Tori has also been kind enough to give us a peek into book two of the Talbot Trilogy and also has a wonderful giveaway in store for you featuring this exciting new paranormal romance. So hang on to your panties and join the fun.

***eCopy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.

Blurb for WIND AND SHADOW:

Rayvin Woods, photographer and natural witch. She just wanted to start her life over again after a series of misadventures. She didn't count on rekindling a lost love when she came home to Talbot...or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life.

Grant Michaels, police officer. He thought Rayvin was a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger...but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it's too late?

Malcolm de Sade, cunning vampire, imprisoned underground for a year by Charlotte Fanning and Pike Mahonen ("Mist and Midnight", Midnight Thirsts). His accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambition on a small, sleepy town…

***

Facing the past can be a nightmare. It's worse when a vampire is stalking you.

*               *               *                *               *

WIND AND SHADOW by Tori L. Ridgewood is more than just your typical paranormal romance – it’s suspenseful with a mystery that will keep you on the edge as some surprises come to light.

Rayvin Woods, a natural witch, has returned to town after ten years away and her welcome is not altogether a good one especially when she learns there’s a vampire on the loose. And wow, what a villainous, evil vampire Malcom de Sade is. But Rayvin has even more problems awaiting her than the contemptuous bad guy ever. She has to deal with Grant Michaels whose hate for her is sealed in a false truth that makes him the most misguided of heroes.

WIND AND SHADOW, book one of the Talbot Trilogy by Tori L. Ridgewood is most definitely action-packed, exciting, as well as complicated with its many twists. There were a couple of times, when the story slowed a bit but it actually allows you to catch your breath and get ready for more. I would like to have known more about Rayvin and Grant’s history but I understand there’s only so much time for everything and with everything else that happens in this first book, perhaps we can catch up with their backstory later. Of course, I’m looking forward to Charlotte and Pike from MIST AND MIDNIGHT returning to town. I suggest you all catch up with this novella that started it all.

Tori definitely knows how to write great characters and I’m eager to read more of this exciting trilogy so I’m going to certainly recommend WIND AND SHADOW by Tori L. Ridgewood to everyone who enjoys a truly exciting, and adult paranormal romance with a lot of excellent urban fantasy attributes.

Now that I’ve had my say about this exciting new book, please join me in welcoming Tori Ridgewood, author of WIND AND SHADOW, book one of the Talbot Trilogy to Unwrapping Romance … 

Amy:  Welcome Tori, it's an absolute delight to have you with us today, and I'd like to thank you for taking time out of your busy day to join us.  

Perhaps you'd like to tell us a little bit about yourself for those who don't know you yet.

*Tori:  I’m 6’ 1.5”, I have dark brown hair (most of the time) that I prefer to wear short, and I’ve worn glasses since I was ten. I’ve been married since 1997, I have two school-age children, and I’m a full-time secondary school teacher. I enjoy traveling, collecting and making miniature furniture, rolling candles from beeswax sheets, scrapbooking, cross-stitch and quilting (mainly small projects), as well as writing plays for my students and the occasional poem. I’m a huge movie buff, too.

Amy:  Sounds like you keep very busy. Making miniature furniture sounds very interesting. I love dollhouses so I’d love to see your creations sometime.
I'm always intrigued about why some authors write paranormal. I understand why we read them (I'm addicted) but I have to wonder if the reason is perhaps the same. So why do you write paranormal? 

*Tori:  I write it because I’m fascinated by the supernatural in all ways. I love watching documentaries and reading studies about ghost hunters and cryptozoology as much as I love reading paranormal fiction and watching movies in the same genre. There is something so appealing about exploring this as-yet unknown element of our world, and I do it in fiction. My writing reflects the books, films, and research that I enjoy. The spells, for example, are real, though their efficacy has yet to be scientifically documented. When I write about the paranormal, I’m expressing wishful thinking that something more than the mundane can exist. It’s a heartfelt desire for adventure and magic, an appreciation of the mystical and mysterious, and a love letter to my favourite supernatural writers and filmmakers.

Amy: Wow, you’ve really delved deeply into all that makes your story so amazing. I would imagine the research alone makes your time enjoyable.
WIND AND SHADOW is your first full-length novel and the first book in the Talbot Trilogy. What inspired you to create this world of witches and vampires? 

*Tori: Part of it had to do with an unusual event that happened in the small town of Cobalt, Ontario in the late 1980s. The town was a hub of silver mining in the early part of the twentieth century, and tunnels run beneath houses and roads as well as in the bush outside of town limits. Lacking regular maintenance, one of those tunnels caved in around 1987, causing a hole big enough in a main street to swallow a car. It was advertised as the World’s Biggest Pothole until engineers were able to repair and reinforce it. But as I was living near Cobalt at the time, the event always fascinated me. After I moved back to the region as an adult, I kept thinking about it. What if it hadn’t been as simple as distressed and rotten pilings, or water seepage through pavement and rock? What if a creature had been trapped down there and seen an opportunity for escape? It wasn’t until I was on maternity leave with my second child that I finally started putting the ideas together. And the first answer came out of my love for horror fiction -- the creature who was trapped in the mine was a vampire.

That my protagonist is a witch came out of my love for and interest in witchcraft and Wicca, both in fiction and in my life. Magic(k) is compelling, but I don’t believe there are enough positive images of witches in fiction. I wanted my heroine to be intelligent, strong, and talented in ways that she’d have to keep secret -- Rayvin’s magick could make her a target for scientific researchers, given that it includes telekinesis and psychic abilities. It’s fun to imagine a world in which magick can happen as it does in Hollywood movies, in combination with the rituals and spells worked by real-life Pagans.

Amy: Fascinating inspiration and Rayvin is wonderful heroine. I love the movies featuring witches and it’s what immediately drew me to read WIND AND SHADOW.
Is paranormal romance where you see yourself staying as a writer or do feel you might dip into another genre, say suspense or contemporary, some day? Afterall, those elements already exist within WIND AND SHADOW so the leap would be small.

*Tori: I’m not confident that I would be able to do suspense anytime soon, though I appreciate the compliment. I don’t often read pure mysteries, though many of my favourite books include that element in the plot. Wind and Shadow takes place in the present day, and I am beginning to research current trends in language for a YA novel, but I also love historical periods and would enjoy writing a period story as well. My options are wide open!

Amy:  Ah ha, with all of the research you’ve done, a historical featuring the world of witchcraft would certainly be one I’d read.
Last question because I know you're busy, what do you read for fun and if you could be ANY character in ANY book (not necessarily your own), who would it be and why?

*Tori:  I read historical romances, paranormal romances, comedies, science fiction and fantasy, YA novels, anthologies, and non-fiction (biographies, research into the paranormal or life issues, and historical accounts). I also love fairy tales, ghost stories, travel stories, and the occasional crime novel.

If I could be any character in any book, I’d love to be Anne of Green Gables. I’ve been through my share of embarrassing situations and dreamy moments, but there is something about her forthright nature and imagination that I wish I could experience in her shoes. That, and her red hair. Anne experiences and endures much in her youth before going to live with Marilla and Matthew near Avonlea, but she never stops dreaming and believing that she will be happy. Her imagination causes her no end of trouble, but it also saves her from despairing (even when she’s in the depths of despair). She gives all of herself to everything she undertakes, appreciates the beauty of nature around her, and shines in crisis situations. I wish I could be Anne in her puffed sleeves, reciting “The Highwayman”, feeling Gilbert’s eyes on me and trying hard not to notice because I can never forgive him for calling me “Carrots” . . .

Amy:  I’m always amazed at how many authors of romance turn to ANNE OF GREEN GABLES for their choice. I think we’ve all been inspired by that story in some fashion.
Tori, thank you so very much for joining us today and for sharing WIND AND SHADOW with us. Congratulations on your new trilogy and I'm sure my readers are as excited as I am to read more. 

*Tori:  Thank you so much for having me! I’d love to share an excerpt from the coming sequel, BLOOD AND FIRE: Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy, due out at the end of February, 2014.

Amy:  Indeed, I know I’m adding it to my TBR list. If you all would like to read Chapter One from BLOOD AND FIRE, book two of the Talbot Trilogy by Tori L. Ridgewood, please feel free to click HERE and then come right back because Tori has a giveaway for you.

Tori, thank you so much for joining us today and I wish you the greatest success with this new and amazing trilogy. If you’d like to learn more about Tori and her stories, feel free to visit her at her blog, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

In the meantime, Tori has a giveaway to present.

*Tori:  My pleasure. Cheers.
I’d love to offer all North American readers a chance to win an autographed paperback copy of WIND AND SHADOW. To be entered in the giveaway, you must answer this question correctly:

What is the name of the prequel novella that leads into the Talbot Trilogy, and who are the main characters?

Amy:  Well, you heard the lady. If you’d like a chance at winning a signed print copy of WIND AND SHADOW, book one in the Talbot Trilogy by Tori L. Ridgewood, simply answer her question in a comment and be sure to leave a valid email address so I can contact you when you win.
(there's a very big hint and link in my review.)

Formula for entry:    
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU FOR PLAYING. 

This GIVEAWAY is open to US and Canada entries only except where prohibited.

This GIVEAWAY will run until 11:30PM EST on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at which time I will use a randomizer to pick one lucky entry to win Tori’s amazing book. The winner will notified by email hence the need for a valid email address and announced in a special post on Monday. If for any reason, I cannot contact the winner or don’t hear back by end of day on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, another winner will be randomly selected from the remaining entries.

Good Luck and Happy Reading Everyone!

About the Author:

After her first heartbreak, Tori found solace in two things: reading romance novels and listening to an after-dark radio program called Lovers and Other Strangers. Throughout the summer and fall of 1990, the new kid in town found reading fiction and writing her own short stories gave her a much needed creative outlet. Determined to become a published author, Tori amassed stacks of notebooks and boxes of filed-away stories, most only half-finished before another idea would overtake her and demand to be written down. Then, while on parental leave with her second baby, one story formed and refused to be packed away. Between teaching full-time, parenting, and life in general, it would take almost seven years before the first novel in her first trilogy would be completed. In the process, Tori finally found her stride as a writer.

At present, on her off-time, Tori not only enjoys reading, but also listening to an eclectic mix of music as she walks the family dog (Skittles), attempts to turn her thumb green, or makes needlework gifts for her friends and family members. She loves to travel, collect and make miniature furniture, and a good cup of tea during a thunderstorm or a blizzard. Under it all, she is always intrigued by history, the supernatural, vampire and shapeshifter mythology, romance, and other dangers.

WIND AND SHADOW, a Talbot Trilogy novel by Tori L. Ridgewood, Melange Books, available now in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.
***click on the links or cover below for purchasing information

   

Monday, December 9, 2013

Unwrapping: Review of UNSPOKEN BONDS by Michelle Grey

I’m always interested in the next book in a series especially if I’ve already gotten a sneak peek into what’s coming next. So after reading DANGEROUS ALLY by Michelle Grey, I was very intrigued to read Rachel’s story in UNSPOKEN BONDS. Thank you, Michelle.

***eCopy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.

Blurb for UNSPOKEN BONDS:

Being summoned to the emergency room to interpret for deaf patients is nothing new for Rachel Mansfield. But finding herself interpreting for a scared, abandoned little girl with nothing but a note pinned to her shirt?

Well, that’s a first.

An instant bond forms between them, and Rachel’s protective instincts kick into high gear as Lily’s mysterious past meets an uncertain future. As hours turn into days, Rachel’s biggest worry is that they won’t find Lily’s family. Until she meets Lily’s uncle, Garrett. Then he becomes her biggest worry.

Betrayed by his family, Garrett Staker knows his path. He’s plotted every step. And as he closes in on his most important business goal, one thing is certain -- his plan doesn’t include assuming responsibility for a niece who was presumed dead after his sister’s murder.

Despite the undercurrent of attraction, Rachel and Garrett are at odds over Lily’s future. But as Garrett’s business comes under attack from within, and the questions about Lily’s past loom larger, they must find a way to work together. Their lives, and Lily’s, depend on it.

*               *              *              *              *

Rachel Mansfield has spent her life taking care of others including her many siblings so when a little girl named Lily is left at the hospital with a note pinned to her shirt, she opens her heart to yet one more child. What Rachel doesn’t expect is how attached she would become to Lily and how her life would change when she meets Lily’s uncle – Garrett Staker.

Garrett Staker is all business even when it comes to his personal life. He loved his sister dearly and with her death, he pushed himself into his business world further so he is shocked when he's notified that his niece, Lily, is alive after having been believed murdered alongside her mother. His world is turned upside down, first by disbelief, and then the way a little green-eyed sweetheart wiggles her way into his heart and how her champion, Rachel, captures it.

UNSPOKEN BONDS by Michelle Grey starts out slow but once the relationship between Garrett, Rachel, and Lily starts to grow as a family, the story picks up. I appreciated Lily’s deafness as part of the story but I feel that Michelle tends to get bogged down in the details and dwells far too much on aspects of her stories that while endearing tend to slow the pace of the plot. The true story exists within the growing family relationship that builds between the three main characters and the underlying mystery of the murder of Lily’s mother and her subsequent disappearance, as well as the question of who is trying to sabotage Garrett’s business. Michelle did well with all of those connections.

Michelle Grey has a talent for creating realistic characters with whom we can connect. It took me a long while to warm up to Garrett because he was so very distant but as he began to let his guard down, he became more amenable. His brother, Jack, is a much more likable hero but eventually Garrett had my full attention. Rachel is wonderful, caring, and bighearted and Lily couldn’t be more adorable and more real than if she’d been an actual little girl sitting with me while I read.

Whereas I wouldn’t say that UNSPOKEN BONDS is a one of the year’s best, I will recommend it to anyone who loves good characters, strong family bonding, less heat sexually, and a story that might just have you reaching for a tissue occasionally. It’s heart touching and sweet even as you wish to smack Garrett for his selfishness. But before long, you’ll find yourself cheering Garrett on as he begins to realize that with Lily and Rachel, he really does have it all.


About the Author:

Romantic Suspense and Mystery author Michelle Grey is an ovarian cancer survivor and a happily married mother of four. She enjoys every day to the fullest and is an avid reader, an addicted author, and one blessed and thankful human being.


Happy Reading Everyone!

UNSPOKEN BONDS by Michelle Grey, Lucky 13 Unlimited, 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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