Tuesday, January 29, 2013

While He Was Away Cover Reveal & Guest Post with Author Karen Schreck

I'm thrilled to be teaming up with Source Books to reveal the new cover for Karen Schreck's While He Was Away. You'll find this cover on the special edition of Karen's books. Yes I'd totally pick up this book based on the cover!  Check out this swoon-worthy cover....

What do you guys think? It makes you want to run right out and pick it up doesn't it? I'm also honored to have author Karen Schreck on the blog today. She's stopped by to talk about where her inspiration comes from. 

While He Was Away Walmart-Exclusive Cover Reveal
and How Inspiration Can Come From Anywhere:
Even a Trip to the Grocery Store and a Handful of Long-Lost Photographs
By Karen Schreck

I sometimes wonder what my mother would say if she knew that her story—one of the saddest, sweetest love stories I’ve ever heard—was retold in a new way in my young adult novel, While He Was Away.

Now Sourcebooks Fire is sharing the story yet again, in a second, exclusive edition, released nation-wide at Walmart.  The fact that Sourcebooks believed enough in While He Was Away to bring it to life the first time felt like a much-needed confirmation of years of hard work.  The fact that they are standing behind my book again in this way . . . well, it feels like a miracle.  I’m truly grateful.

I wonder what my mother would say to this incredible news? I like to think she would be grateful too.  I like to think she would be happy.  She wanted her story heard after all.  So much so that it was one of the last things she told me, just before she died.

One rainy night when I was fourteen, right before cancer left her to ill to talk, let alone drive a car, my mother said, “Come with me.  We’re going shopping.”  We drove to the little local market and wandered up and down the aisles, as she threw in a can of tuna, some dishwashing soap, and other little things we didn’t need.  We paid for these little things.  She looked anxious and tired, still she hadn’t said a thing; we hadn’t spoken a word.

It was only when we were parked in our driveway again that my mother said, “I was married once before when I was very young.  He died a hero in WWII.”

And that was that.  Soon after, she died.

I thought about my mother’s mysterious love story for many years.  I talked to relatives, found long-lost photographs.  The story took seed in me.  It flowered into a novel about a young women whose boyfriend leaves for the Iraq War.  In her loneliness, she seeks out a grandmother she’s never met, whose first husband died in WWII.  She seeks out a character inspired by mother.

A late night drive, a few words spoken in the dark.  Even things as simple as this can inspire a novel.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Review: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Release Date: November 27, 2012
Source: Purchased
Buy: Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | amazon

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars - sexy, funny, extra half star for Kitchen Aid mixer usage. Read it with a slice of zucchini bread on hand.

Synopsis: Caroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a KitchenAid mixer, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O.

Adding insult to O-less, since her move, she has an oversexed neighbor with the loudest late-night wallbanging she’s ever heard. Each moan, spank, and–was that a meow?–punctuates the fact that not only is she losing sleep, she still has, yep, you guessed it, no O.

Enter Simon Parker. (No, really, Simon, please enter.) When the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. Their late-night hallway encounter has, well, mixed results. Ahem. With walls this thin, the tension’s gonna be thick…

In her third novel, Alice Clayton returns to dish her trademark mix of silly and steamy. Banter, barbs, and strutting pussycats, plus the sexiest apple pie ever made, are dunked in a hot tub and set against the gorgeous San Francisco skyline in this hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight.

There are days when I miss "Sex and the City". That fun girlfriend chatter and camaraderie. The honesty that they had with each other. And I found exactly that in Alice Clayton's Wallbanger.

I'll admit I read this when it was fanfic and trust me, I read very few fanfics but this, this was funny and well written. So, I quickly fired up my ereader and purchased a copy. I realized that I read the fanfic so very long ago that I didn't remember much of it. And frankly, Wallbanger is it's own story. None of those annoying leftovers of fanfic threads are present. At least, they weren't for me.

Here's what I really loved about it -- the character development. Simon's just the annoying neighbor with a harem (okay, three girls) that cause a bit (understatement) of a ruckus in Caroline's life. Oh wow, I remembered a few places I had lived in that were like that. Thin walls tell all tales. And Caroline, well, she's doing great in her work life but not so much in her personal life. The Case of the Lost O is a major mystery to solve. I adored and related to Caroline (no, MMs, not over the lost O) but because she baked. She's a girl who knows her way around a kitchen and I loved that. I mean, I'm the girl who wanted to make macarons after reading a book about traveling in France. Caroline's also surrounded by two good friends who get her and a boss who understands. That made it so much more believable for me because often when things aren't working out in one area of our life, they are in another.

The other thing I loved -- the tension. Man, can Alice Clayton write that. Add to it some witty banter moments and I was already planning to read her other series, The Unidentified Redhead and Redhead Revealed. Plus, I was planning on baking some zucchini bread. Simon and Caroline's romantic arc had that perfectly paced rhythm of misunderstandings and interruptions and well, it had Clive. Clive can easily get a nomination for Best Supporting Feline in a witty, sexy romance.

If you're in the mood for tension, banter and sexy moments, pick up Wallbanger and let me know what you think. In the mean time, I'm on pinterest looking up more recipes. Maybe one for brioche?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review: Tempting The Best Man (The Gamble Brothers) by J. Lynn

By: J. Lynn
Published by: Indulgence (Entangled)
Released on: April 23rd, 2012
Source: e-book from publisher
4 stars: I Enjoyed It!
Purchase from: Amazon 

Madison Daniels has worshipped her brother’s best friend since they were kids. Everyone thinks she and Chase Gamble would make the perfect couple, but there are two major flaws in their logic: 1) Chase has sworn off relationships of any kind, and 2) after blurring the line between friends and lovers for one night four years ago, they can’t stop bickering.
Forced together for her brother’s wedding getaway, Chase and Madison decide to call a truce for the happy couple. Except all bets are off when they’re forced to shack up in a tacky 70’s honeymoon suite and survive a multitude of “accidents” as the family tries to prove their “spark” can be used for more than fighting. That is, if they don’t strangle each other first… quoted from Goodreads

Every now and then I like to mix it up a bit and read something outside of the YA realm, and this was a book that was too good to pass up. Aside from already being a huge fan of Jennifer's writing, I was hooked the moment I read this book's synopsis.  WOW!  Talk about hot, witty, and addictive. Jennifer's hot character chemistry is something I've already fallen in love with from her YA series, but she takes that to a whole new level with Chase! 

Jennifer definitely knows how to write characters who are snarky, a little broken, and have an electrifying character chemistry. In other words she knows how to write hot. I loved the history that Madison and Chase have. Chase always been apart of her life given that he's one of her older brother's best friends. The chemistry the two have always had is something the both have denied despite it being obvious to everyone else. When things go from bad to worse for Madison at her brothers wedding, I couldn't help but laugh at the situation she finds herself in. First her car troubles, which Chase comes to rescue her from, and then accidental lodging at that puts Chase and Madison in the honeymoon suite together. It's comical, and hot to say the least, and what transpires is, well what you'd except. It's funny, it's raw, and it's complicated and holy wow it's hot! 

Aside from the hotness (I mean this is an adult book so of course there's lots of that), I loved the family dynamics. Madison's family is like a family to Chase and his two brothers and I loved feeling like I was apart of their reminiscing, their jabs at each other, and all this also allowed me to understand Chase more and his actions. I also loved the brothers and the relationships they have, and the relationships all the main characters have with Madison's parents. They're the type of parents you wish your friends in high school had so you could go hang out at their house.

Aside from a good storyline with rich characters, this is an adult romance book and believe me there is plenty of romance, and um other things that take place in this! This is one of those fabulous guilty pleasures that will wish you leaving book two was already out. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Review: Temptation's Kiss by Michelle Zink

Written by: Michelle Zink
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: December 3, 2012
Series: Shadowguard Series (Book #2)
Source: Purchased
Buy: Exclusive e-novella on amazon

Rating: 5 stars - I loved it, so sweet and so right.

Synopsis: Lily Montgomery is perfectly happy taking care of everyone else. That is, until her friendship with Shadowguard warrior, Kane Dawson, begins to blossom into something more. 

But Lily has a secret. One that will keep her from ever making her feelings known to Kane. 

One of the Shadowguard’s fiercest warriors, Kane has a soft spot for Lily. A long-standing member of the Shadowguard, he can’t figure out when his feelings for Ambrose Montgomery’s youngest daughter morphed from brotherly affection into desire and an unfamiliar longing that feels a lot like love. 

Kane holds himself in check knowing that Lily deserves better. A man in a suit, dinner at six every night, rosy-cheeked children who won’t have to worry that their father might be killed by one of the Legion’s wraiths. 

But when the pair are thrown together by a set of circumstances beyond their control, they are forced to confront their growing passion and decide if love is worth the risk of baring it all.

Kane and Lily -- such a sweet chemistry between them. In Michelle's talented hands the Shadowguard series gets more complex with each e-novella that's released. I loved book 1, Temptation's Heat, but this story had a delicious level of tension that made me keep turning pages. If you heard a happy sigh in that last sentence, you must be reading my mind. Yes, it's that kind of story.

I want to give credit to Michelle's publisher, Swoon Romance, for releasing this one novella at a time. I feel like I'm getting to know the world and the characters in a more detailed way and let's face it in a way that keeps me wanting to read more of the story.

Maybe I need to read more paranormal romance? I'm know I'm looking forward to many more Shadowguard stories.

Another aside re: new cover. Okay, the cover at the top is the one I downloaded when I bought the story in early December. The new cover is on the right. What are your thoughts, GP readers? I think I like the top one better.