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Book Lovers Tag

Here’s a fun post for all. This is a Book Lovers Tag challenge. I came across this great tag over at D.G. Kaye Writer’s blog, where she invited anyone to join in. I thought it would be exciting to jump into the challenge, as besides being an author, I love reading romance novels (hence the blog’s namesake)! So, why not?

Do you have a specific place for reading?

Mostly, I read in bed, but now and then I cart one of my books to the living room or dining room and set up shop. And if I’m feeling really adventurous (this helps if we have pleasant weather, which is never a guarantee in Indiana), then I’ll sit outside on the patio and read to my heart’s content. 😉 Now and then, I actually read on the Kindle app on my tablet, but I’m more of a paperback/hardback kind of girl. The tactile sensation of a page turning still gets my bibliophile obsession going. I think it’s better to find a comfortable spot that practically absorbs you into the environment. The outside world with all its troubles can drift away, and then you’re on your merry way to discovering a new literary realm.

Bookmarks or random pieces of paper?

Sure, I have bookmarks. I’ve even collected quite a few to hand out at my own release parties. I don’t always use them for my own reading purposes, however. Yeah, I’m one of those freaks that dogears the pages, but I always bend the corner back to its old position when I’m finished. To each his (or her) own, I guess.

Can you just stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter?

Oh, I do my best to finish a chapter, unless I get so drowsy that I absolutely have to stop wherever I left off.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

No, I usually don’t eat while reading. Occasionally, I’ll snack on chips or dark chocolate, but mostly, I just keep hydrated. I can’t do much else besides read, especially if the book is that riveting. I like to immerse myself in the literary world and come up for air hours later.

Music or TV while reading?

Not at all. Are you crazy? Why would I let anything else distract me from reading? LOL.

One book at a time or several?

One at a time, but now and then, I’ll gradually work on a Kindle novel in between reading paperbacks.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

I often read at home, but I don’t have any trouble reading on a driving trip, as long as the lighting is sufficient. And I always, always take reading material with me when I go on vacation, even if it’s only for a day or two. I never know when the mood will strike me. In college, I used to read out on the quad or in hallways outside classrooms so I really have no trouble reading in the most random place.

Read out loud or silently?

Silently, though I am known to laugh outright at the funniest parts. It’s somewhat satisfying to earn a lifted eyebrow from passersby. I feel like it’s my literary world I’ve fallen into, so I am entitled to the occasional private joke.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

Never! When I was younger, I grew impatient with lengthy descriptions of the curtains and such in historical novels, but once I matured I understood that the novel as a whole made the reading experience. So now, I read everything.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I don’t try to abuse a book in any fashion. But I am known to go back and re-read well-loved books, so they get that creased and worn look on the spine at times. Never broken or bent in half, however. I happen to think those creases are like people. The more they’ve been around, the wiser and more loved the individuals are.

Do you write in your books?

Nope! In college, I used to annotate or highlight certain passages of textbooks for studying, but with the novels I read for pleasure, I want them to look as clean as possible.

That was fun! I invite you all to join the Book Lovers Tag challenge and share your reading habits. Feel free to link back to this post so I can visit and share yours too.

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Event, Marie Lavender, Message, Readers, Romance, Writing

A to Z Reflections

As some of you may already know, I put myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging during the month of April.

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Basically, it required participating bloggers to do a post every day focusing on each letter of the alphabet. Sundays were the only excluded days. As you can imagine, this was a lot of work.

So, what really compelled me to take on this challenge? Well, I have to give my talented author friend, Devika Fernando, some credit here. Last year, she took on the challenge with her blog and absolutely nailed it. Check out one of her posts here!

Therefore, this year it was with courage and a bit of fear that I said, sure, what the hell…I’ll try it too. I decided to use a rating system for each book I covered, almost like a book review but not quite the same.

scoring-heart-rating

To make a long story short, the experience was actually fun! 🙂 I not only got to revisit some titles on my shelf I hadn’t looked at for awhile, I also found some new books I wanted to try.

I hope you found some interesting reads as well. If you missed my A to Z Challenge posts, here they are in order:

 

–  Awakening the Fire by Ally Shields

Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts

– Courting the Countess by Barbara Pierce

Devil’s Embrace and Devil’s Daughter by Catherine Coulter

– Elsewhere by Linda Lee Williams

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

Heart of Gold by J.R. Ward

Identity by Cleo Scornavacca

Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

The Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts

Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

Martha’s Way Series by Mika Jolie

No Longer A Stranger by Joan Johnston

One Illicit Night by Sophia James

– Playing with Fire by Devika Fernando

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

Raising Landry by Andee Michelle

Sisters of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

To Tempt A Scotsman by Victoria Dahl

Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham

Victory Lane by Shelly Davis

Weather the Storm by Jean Ferris

X-Treme Dating by Cathy McDavid

You Make Me Feel Brand New by Chicki Brown

Zenith Rising by Marilyn Campbell

 

Perhaps you’ll find some interesting romance books in there, ranging from contemporary to historical, paranormal to fantasy, comedy to multicultural, even a time travel/science fiction. It was so much fun to participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, to see your comments and interact with you (many thanks for the shares and reblogging!), and to check out other bloggers’ sites who were part of the challenge. Here is a full list of the 1,348 participants this year. And to do my part, here are some links to a few other blogs from the April A to Z Challenge:

 

Thanks again for sticking it out with me during the challenge. I’m always happy to see some friendly faces around here. Please stay tuned for future posts on any random thoughts about love, articles or advice on romantic relationships…

Unsplash, Pixabay, 2016.

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and, as always – our favorite topic – learning about new romance authors and their book releases!

Have a wonderful May, everyone! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Love, Message, Multicultural/Interracial, Mystery, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, romantic comedy, Science Fiction, Time Travel, western, Young Adult

A to Z Challenge: Zenith Rising by Marilyn Campbell

As you probably already know by now, I put myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging this past month.

Z

For these posts, I gave an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that were on my TBR list (what I wanted to read so bad I couldn’t stand it!). For each book, I gave the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I wanted to read it. And for fun, I gave a heart rating! ♥

This was my scoring system:

scoring-heart-rating

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions helped you find a new favorite author, or further cemented your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our final book, shall we?

Zenith Rising by Marilyn Campbell

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Genre: Erotic Time Travel Romance

Blurb:

Maggie Harrison’s temp assignment sounds glamorous. As assistant to bestselling author Noah Nash, she’ll be staying in his penthouse suite at the legendary Davenport Hotel. However, Maggie is more interested in whether Noah will remember her from high school.Tales of ghosts and paranormal activity enticed Noah to set his next book in the Davenport, but his reason for hiring Maggie is entirely personal. He hopes the old spark can be fanned into a new flame. What happens between them is more like a raging wildfire.Their passionate reunion takes an even wilder turn when they’re suddenly transported to the Roaring Twenties, when the new hotel sparkled like champagne in a speakeasy…and several murders went unsolved. For Maggie and Noah to return home, they must prevent one of those deaths—but first they need to figure out which one.

A few choice lines from the book:

“So you’re saying fate had something to do with my being here today, with you.”

“It’s the only explanation that makes sense. I had an idea for a new book called Hotel Hellgate. One of those ‘you can check in but can’t check out’ stories.” He noted how she wrinkled her nose and laughed. “I take it you’re not a fan.”

“Sorry. It’s not you. It’s the genre.”

He shook his head. “Not a problem. I actually requested an assistant who wasn’t a huge fan. Anyway, after doing a lot of research about haunted hotels, I decided the Davenport had everything I was looking for but I had to wait five months to get a long-term reservation in this suite.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard they stay pretty booked up. Wait. Why this suite?”

“The founder, Robert Davenport, put a bullet through his brain here in 1930. At least that was the official ruling. The family always insisted foul play was involved. But this suite isn’t the only supposedly haunted place. There were a number of other unsolved deaths and disappearances in other parts of the hotel property. Plus there were thousands killed around here during the 1928 hurricane. And for a while during World War II this place was used as a hospital and not all the patients survived. In other words, if ghosts really do hang around, it seems probable this could be a good place to find them.”

“I’ve heard stories but I’m not sure I believe any of them.”

“I have no interest in proving or disproving those stories. I just figured it would make the perfect backdrop for mine. Anyway, when it got close to time for me to come here and get started, my assistant was too far along in her pregnancy to be away from her husband and home. I asked the hotel to send me five résumés to review. When I saw your name…” He remembered feeling his heart leap in his chest and excitement race through his bloodstream. “Well, I checked it out, confirmed you were the Maggie Harrison who helped me pass biology one year and told them to give you the job. If that’s not fate stepping in, I don’t know what else you could call it.”

“Synchronicity?”

He grinned. “Same difference. Point is, we were meant to get together again and I’m really looking forward to working with you. It’ll be like old times.” He was actually hoping it would be nothing like those days but that would have to be up to her.

“Okay, I’m sold. Only, can I ask one favor?”

His eyes widened. “Uh-oh. I seem to remember the last favor was a pretty big one.” That left me with a constant hard-on for an entire school year. “I’ve never been sure we came out even on that one.”

She gave him a little punch to his shoulder. “Smartass. This is a little request. Please don’t ever call me Sugarlips again.”

He grabbed her hand. “Only if you’ll stop punching me.”

“Deal,” she said with a giggle and gave him a quick peck on the mouth. Instantly she jerked away, looking more shocked than he felt. “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t…it just seemed…”

He leaned toward her, stopping an inch from her mouth and waited for her to retreat farther but she didn’t move. He could feel her breath exiting in tiny puffs from her parted lips. He lightly touched his lips to hers, giving her a chance to object but instead she sighed into his mouth. It was all the encouragement he needed. His mouth slanted over hers, urging her lips apart so he could taste the sweetness he remembered.

Her arms snaked around his neck and he pulled her into a full embrace, the way he had only once before but thought of countless times. His fingers traced the line of her neck and down her arm. She was all silk and heat, melting in his hands. She was no longer the pretty high school girl. She was one hundred percent woman now. But she was still Maggie.

He stroked her tongue with his and she sucked him deeper as she repositioned herself to be cradled in his arms. Her hands suddenly seemed to be all over him at once as though she didn’t know where she wanted to touch. He had wanted her as a horny teen. But that was nothing compared to the inferno of need she was raising in the man. His erection strained against his jeans and when her fingers brushed over it, he thought he would explode right then. He needed her to release the beast, hold it in her soft hands and take it into her body. But he also needed it to be her desire. His hand cupped her breast and found the puckered nipple. What more did he need?

Abruptly her hand covered his and held it still as her whole body stiffened. “Wait. This is crazy. Noah, please…”

It took a moment for his body to catch up with her words. It took several more seconds for him to take his hand off her breast and take a deep breath. “Do I need to apologize?” he asked quietly.

She closed her eyes and shook her head. “Absolutely not. That was my fault. I broke our rule.” As gracefully as she could, she eased away and returned to her own space on the couch without looking at him.

He gave her chin a gentle nudge with his crooked index finger. “Hey. C’mon, Sugarlips. Talk to me. Tell me it’s too fast. Or you’re committed elsewhere. Or even you never mix business and pleasure. But don’t try to convince me you weren’t caught up in that as much as I was. And by the way, the ‘no kissing’ rule was never a good one.”

She slowly raised her eyelids. “Okay. It’s way too fast. Mixing business with pleasure is a really bad idea. And the rule was a good one. It was necessary. And considering what just happened, it still is. I’m very happy to see you again but I’m here to do a job, not…”

He waited for her to finish saying what she was not here to do but she just left it hanging. Meanwhile he was hanging on the fact she did not say she was committed elsewhere. He had thought the memory of the pain she had caused him would be enough to stave off any lingering desire but apparently neither memories nor time could keep him from banging his head against the same old brick wall. “You’re right. It was all your fault.” He winked at her and got a raised fist warning in return. “You were also right about having a job to do. I was thinking we could go over what I expect from you and some of my work habits first.”

Her demeanor changed from friend to professional in an instant. “Perfect. I’ll just get my notebook.”

As she headed for her room he said, “Let’s talk over dinner. Would you prefer the restaurant or room service?”

She glanced back over her shoulder and arched one brow at him. “I think leaving this room for a few hours would be the wiser option. Then we can come back here and pretend the last fifteen minutes never happened.”

“Swell,” he mumbled to himself. “We’re back to pretending.”

My Score:

Ooh…love the tension here! 🙂

I adore any time travel romance story, and I couldn’t resist adding this one to my Wishlist when I saw it! Also, knowing it’s from Ellora’s Cave, I expected it to be sexy and I was right!

It sounds fascinating, with a touch of paranormal and mystery. And who doesn’t like the Roaring Twenties? I can’t wait to find out what kind of trouble Maggie and Noah get into! And I just love a second chance romance. 😉

I give this one five hearts, for what looks like a fun ride!

five hearts

By the way, this is book one of the Crystal Island Series.

crystal islandseries

Well…that wraps up the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. This was a lot of fun! 🙂

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Stay tuned to the I Love Romance Blog for future posts about romantic relationships and romance novels! Feel free to follow my alternate blogs, Marie Lavender’s Books! and Writing in the Modern Age, where you can always catch past, present and future posts about writing, guest authors, new releases and other cool info! Check out my author website here to learn more about me and my books. You can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter here, to keep apprised of everything.

Have a wonderful rest of your April and an even better May! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Historical, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Time Travel

A to Z Challenge: You Make Me Feel Brand New by Chicki Brown

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

a2z-badge_2016

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

scoring-heart-rating

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

You Make Me Feel Brand New by Chicki Brown

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Genre: Multicultural Romance

Blurb:

One year ago, personal chef Jan Davis signed her divorce papers after a miserable twenty-five-year marriage. She is single again, and romantic attention is as foreign to her as ancient Carthaginian cuisine. When she meets her new client, sports management agent Mac Sinclair, who is eleven years younger, Jan’s life takes a complete turnaround. She’s thrilled, but everyone in her life isn’t as pleased.

A few choice lines from the book:

youmake1

youmake2

My Score:

This story certainly looks interesting! I am an avid believer in destiny, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. So, I say despite the age difference, should that really keep a fated couple apart?

Probably not.

I just added this book to my Wishlist, and I look forward to seeing how Jan and Mac’s story unfolds, how they finally figure everything out.

I give this one four hearts! 🙂

four hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: X-Treme Dating by Cathy McDavid

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

a2z-badge_2016

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

scoring-heart-rating

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

X-Treme Dating by Cathy McDavid

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Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

What happens when Survivor meets The Love Connection? Park Evenson is about to find out. She’s agreed to be a contestant on X- treme Dating, a hot new reality TV dating show.

As a child, when asked to play Truth or Dare, Park always picked dare. Now that she’s all grown up, nothing’s changed. She leaps from second-story windows without a net, drives at breakneck speed through heavy traffic, and rescues victims from burning buildings. All duties she performs on a regular basis as a firefighter for the City of Tucson. Name a challenge, and Park is up to it. Except one: she can’t meet the right guy.

Grant Hastings came to Hollywood seven years ago after graduating college to pursue his dream of becoming the next Steven Spielberg. When the big break never came, he settled for being one of the best camera operators in the business. Most days, that’s enough to keep him satisfied. Until he meets Park, a woman whose subtle, natural beauty is a refreshing change from the glamorous star wannabees he usually meets. Watching her through the camera viewfinder, he’s reminded of why he wanted to be a filmmaker in the first place. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, he must stand idly by while another man does his level best to score with Park. Worse yet, he has to film every move they make during the weekend-long date.

A few choice lines from the book:

xtrme1

xtrme2

My Score:

This one sure looks interesting! Who hasn’t had a crush on someone when that individual is dating another person? It sounds like Grant is in that situation. And Park? Well, she appears to be a fascinating character!

Let’s face it. How often do you see a female firefighter paired with a cameraman in a romance novel? Hmm…interesting. This unlikely couple has potential. I’m ready to see the sparks fly! I’ve added this title to my Wishlist, and I look forward to reading it! 🙂

I give this one four hearts, for creativity, what looks to be a good amount of conflict, and I can just imagine the sexual tension. 😉

four hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Weather the Storm by Jean Ferris

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

a2z-badge_2016

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

scoring-heart-rating

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Weather the Storm by Jean Ferris

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Genre: YA Historical Romance

Blurb:

When Raider takes Rosie to England she finds no living kin-and long buried family secrets. When Raider offers to take Rosie to New Orleans, she sees no other option. But it is a journey that brings her closer than ever to the daring buccaneer who has captured her heart yet farther from the romantic dream that torments her. As the war rages at sea, Rosie once again watches Raider sail into battle, driven by the obsession that consumes him, and taking with him the love that has become the very soul of Rosie’s life.

Also in the trilogy:
Into the Wind
and
Song of the Sea

 

A few choice lines from the book:

“The most extraordinary thing has happened,” she blurted. “I’ve just discovered I might have been a countess.”

The expression on his face remained impassive. It didn’t surprise her that he didn’t believe her. She could hardly believe it herself.

“There was a letter from my mother in Aunt Polly’s Bible,” she went on, in spite of his face. “Maybe that’s why the Bible was locked up; to keep the letter safe. My mother was a countess before she married my father, a Portuguese countess. I know it sounds unbelievable, but I believe it. My locket has her family crest. They disowned her when she married my father and she lost her title, but if they hadn’t done that, I would’ve been a countess!”

Why was she bothering him with this? He clearly thought it was preposterous. She did herself. And it didn’t make the slightest bit of difference in what her life would be like now. But she’d had to tell someone, and who else was there? And once, he might have cared.

Finally he spoke, his face unchanged, but his voice hollow. “I thought it might be something like that.”

“You…what?” She felt almost as if he’d struck her. “What are you talking about?”

“I don’t quite know how to…” He seemed unsure, almost embarrassed. He turned away from her and leaned his shoulder against a stable post, his hands in his pockets. The cloth of his jacket stretched across his wide shoulders. She stayed where she was because she was shaking too much to move.

“What are you talking about?” she asked again, somehow frightened.

“I have a jewel cask,” he said, not turning around. “I’ve had it for five years. My brother and I took it from a pirate ship that had taken it from a Portuguese barkentine on its way to Brazil. You may not be aware that the entire Portuguese court fled Portugal for Brazil, its colony in the New World, in November of 1807 when General Junot invaded. The capital of Portugal has been in Rio since January of 1808. When the nobility fled, they took everything with them: their books, jewels, archives, everything. Rich pickings for pirates, and many of the Portuguese ships were captured, looted and sunk. The cask I have once held a treasure in jewels of some highborn Portuguese family, all of whom are probably lying at the bottom of the sea now.”

“I don’t understand,” Rosie said when he was silent.

“I sold all the jewels long ago. They brought a great deal of money. A great deal. But I kept the cask. I’m not sure even why. I liked the look of it.” He paused again. When he spoke, his voice was so low she could hardly hear him. “It has a design on the lid. A silver hind with a golden apple around her neck.”

“A silver…? The same as on my locket?”

“Exactly the same. The same as in the story you told me when I was ill. Those jewels must have belonged to your mother’s family. You could have had a countess’s fortune if not her title.”

With the idea of a title not fully assimilated, the notion of a fortune seemed simply impossible. Rosie shook her head, as if to dislodge a swarm of gnats.

Finally Raider turned to face her. “I seem to have spent my life ruining yours. Even before I knew you.”

He looked so genuinely stricken her heart contracted. This lost fortune was too abstract for her to take seriously; in fact, it seemed to be causing him more pain than it did her. The notion that her mother had loved her enough to make the deathbed effort to speak to her across all these years meant far more to her than any kind of fortune.

She put her hand out to him. “It doesn’t matter. How could you know? And if you hadn’t told me, I’d never have known either. It will make no difference in what I do.”

“I should repay you. The jewels were yours.” He ignored her hand, which she withdrew into the folds of her skirt.

She was rather taken aback by such evidence of probity in his character, and at the same time, pleased. Perhaps the man she imagined to be hidden behind Raider’s alternately cool and hot facade actually existed.

“You can repay me by taking me to New Orleans,” she said, without knowing in advance that she was going to say it. “I’ve decided to accept your offer. Fowey isn’t a place where I could feel at home, if only because of the weather.” As she spoke, she recognized within herself the truth of what she said. And congratulated herself for finding the strength to say it, knowing what the price would be: more unrequited time with him, more anticipation of the painful farewell. “In New Orleans,” she went on, sound surer and more adult than she felt, “with its mix of people, I think I’m more likely to find a place for myself. That will be enough.”

“It’s not enough to satisfy me.” He stood looking at her through the gloom of the stable, his eyes catching what light there was. “My debt to you is greater than that.”

“Then I cancel your debt. You owe me nothing now other than passage away from here.” His insistence mystified her. Still, how unaccountable it was that he was the one to find her family jewels. It was as if their lives were fated to intersect, if only for an interval, if only glancingly.

“You can sell the land your aunt owned,” he said, as if he hadn’t heard her. “That will give you a stake. We should try to take care of that before we leave. That means this afternoon or tomorrow. If there’s anything from her trunk you want to take with you, you should arrange for that, too.” He had the inward look of someone preoccupied with plans. And what he was planning was her life. Again.

“Stop doing that,” she said, exasperated. “You keep taking over and making all the plans without ever asking me. This is my life, not yours.”

She was right. He couldn’t seem to stop trying to make them the same. “Do forgive me,” he said, willing mischief into his voice and his eyes, protecting his emotions once again by teasing. “Just what is it you think we should be doing in order to get on with this enterprise?”

“Well…of course I should see about selling that land. And there are a few things I’d like to have from the trunk. Oh, don’t look so pleased with yourself. I could have thought of those things without your help. You’re not going to be around forever to do my thinking for me, so you’d better let me have some practice.”

She was right; of course she was. “Very well,” he said.

My Score:

This book, along with the others in the series, has been on my shelf for a long time. I read it many years ago, probably when I was a teenager. I take it out now and then to remind myself of those rampant emotions in one’s youth, the heartaches and how simple, yet complicated, love could be somehow in the past. This series is the perfect example of how a good romance should be. It’s not without danger or conflict between the hero and heroine, though.

This series is also set in the Regency era, one of my favorite time periods. 😉

But seriously, this book is excellent. Rosie and Raider’s journey is one you’ll fall for over and over again. I’d recommend reading the series together to get the full effect!

seriesYAhistrom

I’d give this one five hearts!

five hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Young Adult

A to Z Challenge: Victory Lane by Shelly Davis

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

a2z-badge_2016

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

scoring-heart-rating

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Victory Lane by Shelly Davis

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Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Toni Rizzo has done everything she can to escape a past full of cruelty and pain. With the help of her father, her closest friends and family, she becomes stronger but she can never truly move on. The strength she does find allows her to pursue her dreams – to be a mechanical engineer on a race team. But the team she is assigned to, could be trouble. Her childhood crush on the famous driver and her inability to get beyond her past could destroy her dreams.

Julius Fuller is used to having whatever he wants. Whether it’s in the driver’s seat or with women, he’s never denied. Since the one woman who was supposed to love him destroyed his world, Julius doesn’t let anyone in. The only people Julius cares about are his family and his team. He knew there was a woman interning with his crew chief, but when he sees her for the first time he’s dumbstruck. She’s beautiful and when pushed, she’s fierce. His instant attraction to her unnerves him.

Two people traumatized by past events, each has the ability to help or ruin the other. Toni wants things she never thought she deserved. Julius sees a future beyond racing for the first time in years. But Julius knows Toni’s hiding a big secret.

When Julius reaches the finish line, will Toni be there?

How long will Julius be able to wait before reaching his personal Victory Lane?

A few choice lines from the book:

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My Score:

I love conflict…in stories, that is, characters with dark pasts or secrets they’d rather not come to light. And the conflict with Toni and Julius is appealing, not to mention the obvious sexual tension. I like the added element of the childhood crush, because all too often those crushes are destroyed by reality.

I haven’t read this title yet, but I have added it to my Amazon Wishlist! I hope I can get my hands on a copy soon! 🙂

I give this one four hearts.

four hearts

This looks to be book one of the Shady Falls Series.

6 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham

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Genre: Paranormal Romantic Mystery

Blurb: When Sarah McKinley is finally able to buy and restore the historic Florida mansion that she has always loved, she dismisses the horror stories of past residents vanishing and a long-dead housekeeper who practiced black magic. Then, in the midst of renovations, she makes a grim discovery. Hidden within the walls of Sarah’s dream house are the remains of dozens of bodies—some dating back over a century.

The door to the past is blown wide open when Caleb Anderson, a private investigator, shows up at the mansion. He believes several current missing-persons cases are linked to the house and its dark past. Working together to find the connection and stop a contemporary killer, Sarah and Caleb are compelled to research the history of the haunted house, growing closer to each other even as the solution to the murders eludes them.

But there is one who knows the truth…a spirit who follows every move they make. Soon Caleb begins to fear that if he can’t stay a step ahead, he could lose Sarah to a killer with an ability to transcend time in a quest for blood and sacrifice.

A few choice lines from the book:

“I feel like such an idiot for bursting in on you this morning, and at least this explains why I was so…confused.”

She was palpably sincere. Her eyes were silver in the moonlight, and he could smell the faint scent of her perfume. Somewhere in his core, he felt a stirring and a warmth. He’d wanted to touch her from the minute he’d seen her, but he’d never been more tempted than he was at that moment.

He needed to walk her home, see that she was safe.

He needed to keep his hands off her.

“Actually, you barging in that way was rather titillating,” he said, unable to prevent a smile.

She laughed, her cheeks turning a becoming shade of rose, but she didn’t look away. “Look, what I’m trying to explain to you is that I’m not a lunatic and I don’t usually go banging on a men’s doors and yelling at them. I guess I did have a dream, but if you look at this, you can see why I thought what I did. I mean…this could be a picture of you.”

“Point taken,” he assured her, then shook his head sadly.

“What?”

“I’m afraid this means you’re not going to barge in on me again.”

“I upset Bertie. I think I’d better behave from now on,” she said, turning away. “I need to explain things to her, and apologize.”

“Show her the picture. She’ll understand,” he said.

She smiled and started walking. He stayed by her side, shoving his hands in his pockets to keep himself from reaching for her, determined not to act like a jackass and ruin this tenuous connection between them. The night was warm, but with a sea breeze that stirred her hair as they walked and carried a tantalizing whiff of her perfume. He found himself noticing everything about her. The silky sheen of her hair and the way it swayed on her shoulders as she walked.

The way she walked.

The way she was built.

Her skin was smooth, and she was wearing a sleeveless knit dress that revealed a lot of that skin, and molded her curves so tightly that he had to swallow. Hard.

She had a great mouth, generous and well-defined. Beautiful lips. Perfect nose. He remembered how it had felt to have her underneath him that morning, the feel of her flesh against his.

He almost tripped over a cobblestone as they moved down Avila, ready to make the right that would lead them to St. George.

“Are you all right?” she asked.

“Yes, just clumsy,” he assured her.

“It was strange that day, when I saw you just staring at the house,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful old house,” he said.

“But it seemed as if you were drawn to it.”

I’m drawn to its owner.

“I like historic architecture,” he said lamely. They had reached her house, and stood staring up at it. The mansion had been magnificently constructed. That night, however, he felt as if the darkened windows were eyes, staring back at them. It was if something brooding was living inside the house. He gave himself a mental shake; he wasn’t prone to whimsy or flights of fantasy. It was a house.

A house and nothing more. But history happened in houses. Events occurred. The good, the bad and the very ugly.

Adam said there were two kinds of hauntings. Residual, the events of the past happening over and over again. And active, or intelligent, when spirits remained behind, chained by the trauma of their deaths. They could even learn to move objects and travel from place to place, which was why Abe Lincoln could be seen both striding the halls of the White House, or sitting in the seat where he’d been shot at Ford’s Theatre.

He couldn’t communicate with ghosts himself, but he worked with a number of intelligent and completely sane people who did speak with those long gone.

But this house…

It was as if the house itself wanted to tell him something.

He was suddenly anxious to get back inside.

But not tonight.

“Caleb?” Sarah said softly, studying him.

He turned to her. Her eyes were so wide and concerned.

Silver and beautiful.

“Let’s get you safely inside, okay?” he suggested.

And maybe, just maybe, I can stay awhile, he thought.

My Score:

Take two people brought together by the disappearances of several women, some odd historical events related to Sarah’s house and another murder, throw in some ghosts and a passion that can’t denied…and you have the recipe for a pretty riveting novel. Oh, yeah, and throw in some old magic? Yeah, that’s certainly the kind of tale I can get into.

The romance between Caleb, an investigator new to town, and Sarah, the new owner of a historic property where some old remains are found, develops naturally instead of immediately. For the rest, you’ll just have to read it to find out what happens next.

I give this one four hearts!

four hearts

Oh, just a quick note…this is part of the Harrison Investigation Series, comprised of eight novels.

9 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: To Tempt A Scotsman by Victoria Dahl

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating!❤

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

To Tempt A Scotsman by Victoria Dahl

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Genre: Historical Romance

Blurb:

She Has Nothing Left To Lose–

After finding herself at the center of a very public scandal that left one man dead and another on the run, Lady Alexandra Huntington has exiled herself to her brother’s estate and is content to manage his affairs. But the arrival of darkly handsome Collin Blackburn awakens her curiosity and her desire–and the advantage of being a fallen woman is that she can be ruined only once. . .

Except Her Heart. . .

After a promise sworn to his father, Collin Blackburn is compelled to seek the aid of the woman who brought about his brother’s death in a senseless duel. Yet Lady Alexandra is not the shameless femme fatale he expected. In fact, Collin suspects she is guilty of nothing more than a hunger to experience passion, and the brawny Scot is certainly equipped to oblige. But the quick-witted, keenly sensual Alexandra has a few lessons of her own to impart–on life, love, and the delicious joys of succumbing to temptation. . .

A few choice lines from the book:

Yorkshire, June 1844

. . . The man stood only a few feet inside the door, tall and dark and glowering at Prescott. That alone was interesting. No one glowered at her brother’s butler. Prescott controlled access to a young and powerful duke.

Alexandra felt her prickling interest grow stronger. She edged a little farther into the room.

“If you’d care to leave a card, sir–”

“I do not have a card.” The man’s eyes flicked toward her, pinned her for a bare moment. He could not suspect who she was in her current attire, with her black hair pulled into a tight knot and the jacket hiding her curves. Still, Alexandra straightened at the brush of that silver gaze, even as it moved back to Prescott. The butler stood silent, not the least affected by the man’s coolness. Ten seconds passed. Then twenty.

With a stiff shrug, the stranger finally gave in to the impossibility of intimidating Prescott. “Please tell her I need to speak with her. I’m at the Red Rose.”

She watched as he turned, felt the soft tug of her impetuous nature. Who in the world was he? He should have been cowed by the butler’s utter indifference, but he looked self-assured to the very fiber of his being even as he was turned away.

His brown hair needed trimming and he appeared to have forgotten his cravat as well as his calling card, but the perfect cut of his brown coat spoke of wealth. And a Scot’s burr softened his deep voice—and sped her pulse.

Surely her brother would never speak of her to someone he didn’t trust. “Prescott.”

Ever unflappable, Prescott simply stepped aside. “My lady. A Mr. Collin Blackburn to see you.”

“Thank you, Prescott.”

Collin Blackburn froze at the sound of her voice. She watched him turn and step back inside, watched his eyes slide past her to search the corners of the huge entry for a more likely figure, but when he realized who she was, only the barest lift of russet brows betrayed his shock. “Lady Alexandra.”

She let him stare a moment, let him take in the oddness of her attire. No gentleman had ever seen her in riding breeches before, none other than her brother. She was dressed inappropriately, indecently even, but it mattered not in the least. She was a fallen woman. She’d earned the freedom to do as she pleased, so she let him look his fill and took the chance to study him as well.

He stood as tall as her brother but wider. Wide shoulders, broad chest. Definitely no padding in that coat. His body wasn’t bulky though. He was, in a word, solid.

His face looked purely masculine. Not handsome exactly, but stark and compelling. The slightly crooked nose spoke of an old fight, but his high cheekbones and wide mouth turned the mind to more pleasurable pursuits. She glanced back to the clear gray eyes that studied her so intently and saw his pupils tighten when he met her gaze.

“Thank you for seeing me.”

“Prescott, would you have tea brought to the office, please? Mr. Blackburn?” Gesturing back toward the hall, she spun on her heel to lead the way. Her long red coat opened as she turned, and she felt the hem brush against the buff riding breeches that hugged the curve of her thigh and hip. There was no mistaking the widening of his eyes, even at the corner of her vision. He’d had quite the view.

Gritting her teeth against the thrill that chased through her, Alexandra buttoned the coat and hurried toward the door of her cramped office. The morning room would be more appropriate, she supposed, but not dressed like this. Her men’s clothes would be a startling sight against a backdrop of flowered upholstery.

Alexandra stepped into the office and waved Blackburn toward a pair of chairs by the window. He waited until she took the chair opposite his, then sat and crossed a booted ankle over his knee.

“What did you wish to discuss with me, Mr. Blackburn?”

He let a heartbeat pass, then another. He watched her and frowned. A lock of hair fell over his brow when he finally inclined his head. “I’m here to ask a few questions.”

“Questions?”

“About Damien St. Claire.”

The name tightened the muscles of her jaw in a painful bunch. Blood rushed to her ears, roared like crashing waves. She couldn’t move for a long moment, couldn’t make her throat work. A deep breath forced it open. “I think that you should leave,” she said very carefully, very evenly.

Blackburn shook his head, began to protest, but she stood and stabbed a finger at the door. “No. It’s obvious my brother did not send you here. Leave. You can find your way out.” She pushed past him to the desk and dropped into the seat behind it, hands frantically shuffling papers. A rush of hurt surged in her chest. Why would she think he’d be different than any other man?

Standing with slow purpose, he stepped toward her and leaned to rest his fists on the desktop. His jaw looked as hard as hers felt. “Lady Alexandra, I need to know what happened between you and St. Claire–and John Tibbenham.”

“Truly? How does it involve you?” Making an obvious show of widening her eyes, she looked up at him with mock dismay. “Oh, I’m sorry. You must have been one of my lovers. I find it so hard to recall them all.”

His eyes narrowed as if her words had been a slap, then a sneer twisted his mouth as he leaned close. “Believe me, my lady. If I’d been one of your lovers, you’d remember it.”

“Really?” Alexandra let her gaze drift down to rest on the front of his trousers.

His fists tightened to rock on her desk. “Dinna think–” he began, but she cut him off again.

“You are not the first man to come here on the scent of easy prey. A ruined woman who just happens to be an heiress? Is that what you were thinking? Not very original, Mr. Blackburn. Please get out of my home.”

“John Tibbenham was my brother.”

Alexandra stared at him for a moment, rage trapped like ice in her chest, cracking against her ribs. When his words sunk past the roar of blood in her ears, she flinched and looked down, back to her rumpled papers, away from the hate in his eyes. The heat that had rushed to her cheeks drained away.

My Score:

The 1800s is one of my favorite time periods; I don’t care if it’s early, mid or late. I just love all of it. And who can resist a steamy Victorian tale with a handsome Scottish hero? Not me! 😉

When Collin Blackburn approaches Lady Alexandra to exact revenge for her part in his brother’s death, he is shocked to learn the truth, that the lady isn’t who he thought she was. She’s innocent, a pawn in an evil man’s game.

But, Alexandra is the Errant Heiress, the center of such scandal, and she knows it’s not smart to want Collin. Still, when do we ever listen to reason? Especially with a fine gentleman kissing her senseless. When he puts her in her place and respectfully declines the offer of her body, Alexandra realizes she’s never wanted a man as much as she does with Collin. What does a girl do when she can’t have what she wants? She gets creative!

In her attempt to catch herself a Scotsman, all kinds of trouble ensues. I think you’ll enjoy the ride just as much as I did. I give this one four hearts! 😀

four hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Sisters of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Sisters of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

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Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb: 

Emaline Hoffbrau is a beautiful, confident vampire. After losing the vampire man she loved, she doubts that her soul mate exists. When the charming Garrett Thompson comes along, he turns her world upside-down. Can Garrett accept what Emaline is? Or will he break her heart in a different way?

Juliana Slater is a gorgeous, manipulative vampire. She’s married to Chad Browning, a “regular man.” Although Chad loves Juliana, he’s not sure he wants to be her husband anymore. Will a tragedy decide their fate? Or can the two of them forgive each other and learn to trust again?

Gretchen Eberhardt is living with Bertram Fulbright, a sexy vampire and “ladies’ man.” To complicate matters, he’s slept with her best fang friends. Can a vampire couple find lasting love together? Or will Bert abandon Gretchen for another woman one day?

A few choice lines from the book:

Best fang friends…

When Emaline returned to their table, Juliana grabbed her arm.  “Guess who I just saw?”

“Garrett,” she said as she sat down.  “I have no idea what he’s doing here, Hilliard.  I told him I never wanted to see him again.”

“He must want to see you, Emaline.”

“He doesn’t have the balls to come over, not with all of us sitting at this table.”

Juliana arched a brow.  “Really?  Well, if I’m not mistaken, that’s him heading our way right now.”

Emaline looked, and sure enough, it was Garrett…long, lean, and just as handsome as ever.  Her heart skipped several beats.  As if right on cue, Hilliard put his arm around her.

“Happy Saint Patrick’s Day,” Garrett said, grinning like a leprechaun.  His gaze drifted from Emaline to the cake.  “Are you getting married, Gretchen?”

Everyone was smiling at him, except Hilliard and Emaline.

Gretchen nodded.  “To this guy right here.”

“Hey, congratulations.”

Bert shook the hand he extended.  He glanced around the table.  “It’s nice to see you again, Juliana.  Sorry, I don’t know the rest of you…”

Emaline’s rudeness forced Juliana to introduce Garrett to everyone else.  His hazel eyes twinkled with alcohol and merriment as he watched her.

“Just wanted to say hi, Em.  Now, you don’t have to be afraid you’ll run into me.”

“Garrett, would you please just leave?” she said.

“Yeah, sure.  Have fun.”  His smile faded as he walked away.

Juliana stared at her.  “God, Emaline.  You didn’t have to be so mean to him.”

“Don’t you understand?  He views us as curiosities.”

Bert shrugged a shoulder.  “We are curiosities.”

“I don’t care.  I still think he had a lot of nerve coming over here when he can see I’m with someone else.”

Amused, Hilliard said, “I guess you shouldn’t have slept with him, then…or bitten him.”

Emaline flushed.  “I told you that in confidence, Doctor.”

All the women laughed, Carly the loudest.  “My, you are a busy girl, Emaline,” she teased.  “Seriously, it took a lot of courage for Garrett to come over here.  Hilliard doesn’t give a damn, do you, Hilly?”

“I only give a damn if he’s harassing her.  If not, then it’s Emaline’s call.”

“What is it you don’t like about him, honey?” Sonya asked.

“Maybe he’s no good in bed.  Most men aren’t,” Anke said, and she and Elsa snickered and nudged each other.  Bert chuckled, shaking his head.

Gretchen observed her.  “You should apologize to Garrett.  You hurt his feelings.”

Juliana nodded.  “Yes, you should.  Not that I recommend taking up with a regular man.  Right now, I could drain Chad dry and leave his lifeless body in a heap somewhere.”

Hilliard filled Juliana’s and his wine goblets.  “You never know, Emaline.  Garrett could be your heart’s true desire.”

“Oh, for God’s sake.  Now you sound like my poor, misguided mother.”

“Gretchen’s mother is misguided.  Yours is sage and sweet-tempered,” Bert said.

Emaline frowned, sure that everyone and everything was against her.  She started to pass around plates.  “Juliana, cut the cake.  Then maybe Bert will cut the crap.”

That brought a round of laughter.  Gretchen gazed at her fiancé, her dark eyes glittering almost as brightly as her three-carat diamond.

A sick knot formed in the pit of Emaline’s stomach.

My Score:

The author, Linda, is a close friend of mine, and I have to say I have been dying to read Sisters of the Night ever since I read the first book in the Blood & Company Series, Old Town Nights! I absolutely loved it and when there were other sequels, I knew I’d love them too!

Now, though I haven’t yet read Sisters, I do have it on my Kindle. I’ve just been so swamped with work. I do plan to read it as soon as I can.

I give this book five hearts, because who can resist three paranormal romance tales in one book? Or a book about vampires? Not me! 🙂

five hearts

And readers, don’t forget to check out the whole series!

Blood & Company Series

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance