Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Beauty and the Bounty Hunter

It's Teaser Tuesday time!  
Here's how to play:

1) Grab your current read.
2) Open to a random page.
3) Share two (2) "teaser" sentences (or more, if you like) from somewhere on that page.
4) BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!  (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away!  You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
5) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser.

"He still wore the black trousers of the Russian aristocrat, but he'd removed the silky black shirt and lay bare-chested and barefoot, a glass of amber liquid in his long-fingered, magical hands.  
Those hands.  She still thought of  them some nights when she couldn't sleep."
~ page 32 of Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin. 
Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cover Swoon Sunday: The Sea King

The Sea King, the viking historical romance author Kim Lenox wrote under the pen name Jolie Mathis, is now available as a Nook First e-book.  I loved this book (and it's cover) when it was first in print.  I think the new cover is just as swoon-worthy.  What do you think?

Print Edition vs E-book Edition

 Note: The Sea King will soon be available for Kindle.  Yay!
Saturday, January 26, 2013

In My Mailbox (34)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won or received for review.

Yesterday I sold and bought a few books at my local used bookstore, then stopped by Barnes & Noble to purchase a new release I've been dying to read.  Here's what ended up in my shopping bag:


Amanda McCabe
Harlequin Historical Romance

This author is new to me. I bought the book because I like Harlequin Historicals and novels set during the Tudor era.  If I like this one -- the sequel To Court, Capture, and Conquer -- I'll definitely read more by this author.

Christopher Pike
Young Adult
I've read a lot of books by Christopher Pike.  I may have already read the stories in this book years ago.  Even so, I'm sure I won't be able to put this novel down.  I love Christopher Pike books!   


Márie Claremont
  Historical Romance 
I'm dying to read this book!!!  

This is the final book in the Jax series. *shedding a tear*  I like kick-ass heroines, and Sirantha Jax is the coolest one ever!  I can't wait to find out how the whole perfect series ends!


These e-books are currently available on Amazon for just 99 cents.  A great e-deal, no?  
Note: The low price is for a limited time only.
Historical Romance

The Warrior's Touch is the fourth MacEgan Brothers book.  It's a terrific medieval series. 

New Adults in Paris.  Oh, yeah!
Note: This is the original cover art.  Beverley has updated the artwork to match the cover designs for the upcoming books in her Language of Love series.

What's in your mailbox this week?
Friday, January 25, 2013

My Friday Love (1)

Happy Friday!  

It's been a looooong time since I've talked about the things I've loved during the week.  Ooops.  I confess this particular meme, which spotlights the things you really, really liked for the week, slipped my mind.  So, without further ado, here are my favorite things from this week:

Easy.  Easy to love.  Easy to recommend.  Easy to want more.  I'm talking about Easy, the new adult book by Tammara Webber.  I finished reading it this week.  It's the first New Adult book I've read, and I can guarantee it won't be the last.  I loved this book! 

The characters are extremely relatable and likable and real.  The heroine is vulnerable and genuine yet strong.  The hero is mysterious and tortured and beyond yummy.  The loyal friends are interesting and supportive.  The book deals with a lot of emotional, gritty issues, but they are so tastefully presented they make the story much stronger.  I found a few of the plot points to be predictable, but that didn't keep me from turning the pages. 

I especially enjoyed the college setting.  It took me back to my days on campus, waking across the quad, sitting for hours in class learning and studying, the afternoons I met my boyfriend (now my hubby) for lunch at the university's union.  Tammara Webber nailed this setting so accurately.  I can't wait to read what she writes next.  

American Horror Story: Asylum.  This show creeps me out, big time.  And yet, I couldn't not watch it.  The acting is that good.  Jessica Lange is freaking brilliant!  Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, and Zachary Quinto are no less amazing.  Bonus: Evan Peters is such a cutie.  I hear he's dating Emma Roberts.  Lucky girl.

Aslyum has much more than the original: the Catholic church, sexual repression, Nazis, eugenics, the Devil, misogyny, interracial relationships, serial killing and aliens.  The plot was, by no means, simple and yet somehow it worked.  It was crazy and brutal and sad, with just the right amount of horror thrills.  I loved the dramatic showdown ending.  Internet rumors are swirling about the next season focusing on the Salem Witch trials.  Oooooooo!  I can hardly wait!

RT Book Reviews.  The post office dropped off the March issue of RT Book Reviews magazine this week.  Yay!  I always let out a crazy little squeal when I see my favorite magazine in my mail box.  A digital version of the magazine is now available.  I haven't looked at that version yet, as I love perusing the print edition and highlighting all of the books that I want to read.


Beauty and the Bounty Hunter.  I received this book as a Christmas gift from my hubby. 

I don't normally read romance novels set in the Wild West.  I'm not sure why that is, considering how much I enjoy Western movies.  Anyway, I was so intrigued by the blurb for this book by Lori Austin, I knew I just had to read it.  When you read the title, you probably think the bounty hunter refers to the hero, right.  Nope.  The bounty hunter is the heroine. The hero is a sexy con artist.    

Sam and Dean go medieval!  In this week's episode of Supernatural the sexy demon-hunting Winchester brothers wind up at a LARP Renn-fest, where they run into Net-girl extraordinaire Charlie -- played by the adorable Felicia Day, who I adore.  The story was zany and weird and funny.  The best part: Dean dons chainmail.  Jensen Ackles looks good in anything, am I right?  But he's damn fine in medieval garb!  There were so many hilarious moments in this episode, it's hard to single out just one.  Oh, wait, that's not true.  The ending was my favorite.  When Dean donned facepaint and a wig and rallied the troops with the speech from Braveheart, I almost died laughing.

Sam's hair in a ponytail is too funny.

That's my Friday Love.  What are you loving this week?
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Easy

It's Teaser Tuesday time!  
Here's how to play:

1) Grab your current read.
2) Open to a random page.
3) Share two (2) "teaser" sentences (or more, if you like) from somewhere on that page.
4) BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!  (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away!  You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
5) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser.


"Rather than raising his voice like everyone else, he leaned close to my ear and asked, 'Dance with me?'  I felt his warm breath and inhaled the scent of his aftershave -- something basic and male -- before he withdrew, his eyes on mine, waiting for my answer.  An enthusiastic nudge between my shoulder blades told me Erin's vote: Go dance with him."
~ page 48 of Easy by Tammara Webber.
Monday, January 21, 2013

Tips From The Renaissance Spa

Beauty is as beauty does, and in the Renaissance the doing was a complicated art that was taken quite seriously.


Herbal essence: Elder flowers improves skin tone.  Rosemary restores the hair.  Geranium leaves color the cheeks.  Brushing with sage whitenes the teeth.  For that fresh breath moment, try a little spiced wine as a mouthwash.

Tudor cosmetics, Barley Hall

For skin as smooth as Mary Queen of Scots', bathe daily in elderberry wine.  

 Mary Queen of Scots, 1559

If you're planning on getting used to this luxury, take steps to see that you're not imprisoned -- pressed elderberries aren't on the dungeon menu.  

Joely Richardson as Queen Elizabeth, Anonymous (2011)

Want a supple white complexion?  Soak raw veal in hot milk for several hours.  Then place the veal on your cheeks and watch it work its wonderful magic on your ruddy cheeks.

Secret formula of "The Early of Oxford's Perfume", worn exclusively until now by Queen Elizabeth: Add eight grains of musk to eight spoonfuls of rose water, with three spoonfuls of damask water and a quarter ounce of sugar; boil five hours and strain.

Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

Want to be an egghead?  Wear egg whites and honey to condition your skin.  To erase those wrinkles, slap on layers of white lead --and now that necklines have taken a plunge, do remember to dab some on your neck and bosom, too.  For a spot of color in your cheeks, rub on some mercuric sulphide.

Better still, when in England, wash your face with your own urine to keep your complexion smooth and pale.  (For the squeamish: one part rose water, one part wine).

For a brisk, cleansing body rub, mix rosemary, cedar, and turpentine with alcohol.  Dip sponges into this mixture and squeeze out into your body and hair.  Stay away from an open flame unless you really want to be a hot number!

Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: The Sweetest Dark

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released.  This week I choose...

Author - Shana Abé
Genre - Young Adult Historical /Paranormal
Publisher - Random House
Release Date - April 9, 2013

Lora Jones has always known that she's different.  On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl.  Yet Lora's been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she's far more than what she seems.

England, 1915.  Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention.  Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England's southern coast.  Iverson's eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen.  And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.
Jesse is the school's groundskeeper -- a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is.  Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own.  
Both hold the answers to her past.  One is the key to her future.  And both will aim to win her heart.  As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she's only  just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves. 

Shana Abé is my favorite romance author.  The Sweetest Dark is her debut YA novel based on her popular Drákon dragon series.  I'm really looking forward to reading this new teen adventure set in post-Victorian London!

 -- Book blurb courtesy of Amazon -- 
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Forbidden Jewel of India

It's Teaser Tuesday time!  
Here's how to play:

1) Grab your current read.
2) Open to a random page.
3) Share two (2) "teaser" sentences (or more, if you like) from somewhere on that page.
4) BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!  (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away!  You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
5) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser.


"Instinctively his arms closed, cuddling her close.  Against his body he could feel her, rounded and slender and trembling, and he smoothed his hand down her back, the fine hairs escaping from her plait catching on the roughened skin of his palms.  Could she feel his heart pound, his pulse race?  Was it the aftermath of the encounter with the snake or something far more dangerous, a response equally as primitive?"
~ page 77 of Forbidden Jewel of India by Louise Allen.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cover Swoon Sunday: To Wed a Wicked Highlander

Do you like Bad Boys of the Highlands?  I do!  So I'm anxious to read To Wed a Wicked Highlander, the third book in the Bad Boys of the Highlands trilogy by Victoria Roberts.  The book won't be released until September 2013.  It seems like a long way off, I know, but don't fret.  While you wait you can swoon over this gorgeous photo of the hot cover model.

I ♥ a Highlander with rockin' six-pack abs!
Saturday, January 12, 2013

But For A Song

If he hadn't lost his voice, Mainbocher might have become the successful singer he yearned to be.  Instead, he turned to designing, in 1930 becoming the first American to open a successful haute couture house in Paris.


 Mainbocher, 1941, Vogue

His trouser suit of striped cotton imitated the suites of workmen.  

 Navy WAVES uniform designed by Mainbocher

Marsha Hunt in Mainbocher tweed ensemble, 1935

1950's strapless gown

Mainbocher silk dress, June 1956, Vogue

But he is best remembered for his evening wear.  He designed the wedding gown Mrs. Wallis Simpson wore when she wed the Duke of Windsor.  

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor at Chateau De Conde, France, 1937

And Mainbocher created the popular color "Wallis Blue".

The Duke and Duchess with their dog, Miami, 1941

Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Thursday, January 10, 2013

Worshop: Writing Dialogue for your Scottish/Irish Romance

Do you write Celtic romance?  Then this workshop is for you!

Celtic Hearts Romance Writers

Learn the mechanics of writing dialogue, and how to make your characters' conversations pop using Scottish/Irish "flare".

Date: January 14 - 25, 2013
Instructor: Eliza Knight
Fee: Free/CHRW members; $20/Non-members

Click here for workshop details, instructor bio, and to register. 

There's still time to register before class begins, so don't delay!  Eliza is a wonderful instructor with loads of knowledge to share.  I've signed up.  You should too!   

 -- Copy courtesy of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers -- Photo credit: lovek.org
Saturday, January 5, 2013

Winter Writing Festival

The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival starts on January 10th!

I've participated in this writing festival before, and it proved very helpful to me.  My favorite part of the festival is that you can set your own goals.  Anything goes.  You decide what you want to do to turn your productivity up a notch. 

Through the bleakest part of winter -- January 10, 2013 through the end of February -- the Ruby Winter Writing Festival can help keep your creative fires burning, with support, advice, inspiration, frequent live chats, and fun prizes for participants.

Unlike NaNoWriMo and other writing challenges that have a one-size-fits-all approach, the Ruby Festival is designed for you.  It's based on a point system, with the goal of earning one point per day.  Everyone gets one bonus point on the first day for stopping by the Ruby blog and making a public commitment to take part in the Festival.  Then, for each of the 49 days of the Festival (including January 10), you work to earn an additional point -- and you decide what it takes to earn that point.

Here are some examples of the sorts of things you might define as worth one point:

 -- Writing X number of words or pages
 -- Deep revising Y number of pages
 -- Polishing Z number of pages
 -- Freewriting / brainstorming for Q number of minutes / hours
 -- Doing R number of 20-minute writing sprints
 -- Keeping butt in chair and hands on keyboard for S number of hours

For instance, one person might commit to earning points according to the following terms:

 -- Writing 500 words per day OR
 -- Deep revising 10 pages per day OR
 -- Doing a final polish on 25 pages per day

Any day that person meets ANY of those goals, she gets a point.

You set the goals that meet your personal writing style and writing needs.  If you can't meet your goal on any particular day, you can certainly double or triple or quadruple your goal on another day to catch up.  All goals are equally worthy.  It's not a competition, it's a supportive process for moving forward with your writing.

Check in on the Ruby blog every Friday during the Festival to report your progress.  If you reach the end of February with a nice round 50 points, you win!!

What's not to love? 

I'm going to stick with the same goal I had last year -- write 500 words a day -- because it worked for me.  The lower number made the goal seem more achievable, and I often wrote double my word count.  Last year I even wrote on the weekends, something I rarely do because that's designated family time to me.  But the point of the Festival is to push yourself a little in order to see results.  And I did.  This year I plan to do the same.  I may even participate in a writing sprint...or two.  How about you? 

Check out the Winter Writing Festival homepage and get ready to write!

 -- Text and photo courtesy of Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood --
Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Timespell

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released.  This week I choose...

Author - Diana Paz
Genre - YA Time Travel
Publisher - Rhemalda Publishing
Release Date - April 1, 2013

In TIMESPELL, the brash and impulsive Julia must team up with her sweet and straight-laced best friend, Angie, and the malicious and power-hungry Kaitlyn in order to keep the witch-like powers of her inheritance.  But these powers come at a cost.  The girls are bound to serve the Fates, and their first mission sends them back in time to Marie Antoinette's Paris and eventually, into the chaos and war of the French Revolution.

A time travel YA set in Marie Antoinette's Paris...OMG!  I love the premise of this book!!!  It's going to the top of my must-read list. 
  -- Book blurb from Diana Paz's website --
Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January Releases

Happy New Year!!!

I love the New Year.  It's my hubby's birthday.  It's a new beginning.  It's the perfect time to reflect on where you've been and make resolutions to renew your commitments.  It's also the time when new books are released!

Here are the novels I want to read:


Dreams of the Highlander by Sarah Hoss -- Due this month from Soul Mate Publishing
Forbidden Jewel of India by Louise Allen -- Release date December 18

I look forward to reading Dreams of the Highlander for two reasons: 1) As you know (if you read my blog regularly), I ♥ Highlanders.  A lot.  2) This is the second release by my friend and Celtic Hearts chapter-mate, Sarah Hoss.  Yay!

I like romances set in exotic locations.  Forbidden Jewel of India by new-to-me author Louise Allen is sure to help me (mentally) escape the endless Pacific Northwest gloom.    


 Cleopatra Ascending by Maureen Lipinski -- January 8
Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes -- January 22
Shades of Earth by Beth Revis -- January 15

A YA novel about Cleopatra, reincarnation, and Egypt.  What's not to love?

This YA about teen assassins, murder conspiracies, and betrayal sounds like a real page-turner.

I'm counting down the days until the release of Shades of Earth.  I really liked the first two books in this sci-fi trilogy, and am anxious to find out what happens next!

Which books do you want to read in the New Year?