Saturday, November 28, 2015

Whispers of the Dead by James Litherland

Title:  Whispers of the Dead
Series:  Miraibanashi #1 
Author:  James Litherland
Publication Date:  November 17/15 by Outpost Stories
Length:  276pgs
Genre:  SciFi
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

IN THE SHADOW of Mt. Fuji, in a far future Japan, the oppressive Batsu government controls the rebuilding of the devastated country, bestowing boons on privileged citizens while leaving most to fend for themselves on the fringes. After a disastrous job ends with Batsu enforcers hunting him, reformed thief Roshike runs—right into the heart of their regime, the fortified Gaku complex, to take on an almost impossible task. And he just might stand a slim chance of success, if only he’ll accept the help of a few friends. But first he has to choose the right ones.

My Review:

Ok. Litherland definitely has me hooked on this new series. I found myself completely wrapped up in the story, trying to guess what would come next while also loving the intricate world that he’s created. The plot was intriguing. Litherland kept me on my toes throughout, always wanting to know more yet loving where the story was in the moment. The characters that he has created round out the story well. They were the type of people that I instinctively wanted to get to know on every level. I loved how Litherland develops them slowly, leaving more for me to get to know later as if I had truly met these individuals in person.

World building in this novel was complex but also easy to follow. All aspects of the world came to life in very unique manner that really allowed me to picture it. I enjoyed the way that many aspects are developed subtly, creating an even more poignant and loud development. At the same time, Litherland has also left room for further development in future novels in the series.

Litherland is a wildly imaginative and skilful author who draws readers into the new and complex worlds that he creates. This is a fantastic launch to his new series.

Book Links 

Be sure to enter this fantastic giveaway for Whispers of the Dead  by James Litherland.
Prizes include 1 paperback copy of Whispers of the Dead (Canada & US only)
& 4 ecopies of the novel (mobi or epub, International)
Contest is open internationally, where applicable by law. 
Entries close at 11:59pm December 11/15. 
Winners will be drawn December 12/15. 
Winners will be notified via email to the email provided to the giveaway and will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

A Wrong Bed Christmas & Bon Appétit and a Book with authors Kimberly Van Meter & Liz Talley

Bon Appétit and a Book with author Kimberly Van Meter

I like a hot, sweet beverage when I'm reading. Here's a lovely recipe for crockpot hot chocolate! YUM!

Find Kimberly's favorite reading recipe here.

About Kimberly Van Meter:

KIMBERLY VAN METER started her writing career at the age of 16 when she finished her first novel, typing late nights and early mornings, on her mother’s old portable typewriter. She received The Call in March 2006 with Harlequin Superromance and hasn't looked back since. She currently writes for Harlequin Superromance and Harlequin Romantic Suspense.

Bon Appétit and a Book with author Liz Talley

In “Where There’s Smoke” a novella in the Wrong Bed Christmas book, my two characters Emma and Erik are stuck in an abandoned cabin with only a couple of granola bars, a box of expensive chocolates and a very nice bottle of wine. Not the worst to make a meal on, but if I were planning the perfect meal for being stranded with a sexy firefighter in the middle of Colorado, I’d go with something that would give me more energy for the night ahead ;) Here’s the perfect rustic yet filling dish would appeal to any red-blooded American man (who wasn’t a vegetarian):

Seduce Me Beef Stew*

1 lb of lean good quality stew meat
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp oil
2 onions (sliced into thin rings)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp tomato paste
2 cups of beef broth
3 cups sliced carrots
2 medium potatoes, sliced
1 cup green beans
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cold water

1. Coat beef with flour, shaking off excess. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil. Add beef and cook about 5-7 minutes until slightly browned. Remove beef to a separate plate.

2. Add onions and mushrooms to the pot; saute for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and saute for a minute or so. Return beef to the pot and stir in tomato paste. Next add broth and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for an hour.

3. Add carrots, potatoes and green beans. Cover partially and cook for 15-20 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch. Stir into stew and increase heat to a boil. Turn off and let cool slightly. Serve with cornbread or crusty French bread.

*Derived from Healthy Meals in Minutes

About Liz Talley:

LIZ TALLEY writes romance because falling in love is the best feeling a person can experience. A 2009 Golden Heart finalist in Regency romance, she's since found her niche with Harlequin Superromance writing sassy contemporaries with down-home warmth and Southern charm. She lives in North Louisiana surrounded by a loving family, a passel of animals, and towering loads of laundry.

Title:  A Wrong Bed Christmas:  Ignited/Where There's Smoke
Series:  The Wrong Bed
Author:  Kimberly Van Meter & Liz Talley
Publication Date:  October 20/15 by Harlequin
Length:  224pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

The Wrong Bed—But the Right Guy!

Ignited by Kimberly Van Meter

What do you do when a sexy, naked fireman gets into your bed? If you're Alexis Matheson, you freak out. But now she's snowed in with Layton Davis, and suddenly Alexis's best intentions to behave seem to have disappeared up the chimney. Because a hot 'n' naughty firefighter in her bed might be the best Christmas surprise ever…

Where There's Smoke by Liz Talley

Emma Rose Brent is sure she's dreaming when Erik Matheson, her bestie's Überhot older brother—who she's been crushing on for years—mistakenly slips into her bed, all gloriously naked. But Emma must have been a very good girl this year, because she's been given the best gift of all: the chance to be really, really bad…

Praise for A Wrong Bed Christmas:

“These two authors work well to create one cohesive story with two distinct scenarios in their own voices.” –RT Book Reviews

“A fun and passionate duo of novellas to get you into the Christmas spirit.” –Goodreads Reviewer

“This was a delicious, delightful sexy read and I enjoyed every minute of it.” –Goodreads Reviewer

My Review:

I love how these stories were both fun & hot. The characters were well developed without letting me know all of their secrets. I enjoyed both couples immensely. Both authors put their characters in situations that lead to some very intimate moments. Yet at the same time, the situations are pricelessly endearing. I found myself wondering ‘what are the chances?’

I enjoyed these stories and how they tied together, while also standing well on their own. Both were enjoyable little Christmas numbers that left me both sated and wanting more.

Book Links 
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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Interview with author J.M. Harrison

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m an award winning and Amazon #1 author who writes to inspire, challenge and motivate people into opening their hearts and minds. I began to write following a mystical death experience in 2007.

Q ~ If you could have lunch with one person, dead, alive, or imaginary, who would it be and why?
The 19th century English author Charles Dickens. One of my favourite writers whose powerful characters and storylines caught the imagination of people worldover.

Q ~ What is your favourite electronic gadget?
The old reliable laptop. Couldn’t get by without it!

Q ~ How do you think people perceive authors?
From the conditioning of their own minds!

Q ~ What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." Mark Twain. The quote is simple yet wisdom to live by which returns great benefits.

Q ~ Ebooks, paperbacks, or hardcovers?
Paperbacks, as they’ve got a soul. You can have a personal relationship with a paperback, it becomes part of you and you become part of it. The touch, the feel, the memories.

Q ~ What is your favourite genre to read? To write?
To read it’s most types of spirituality, to write it’s visionary fiction like my new novel THE SOUL WHISPERER. The fiction genre allows creative freedom, and encourages individual expression. There are no limits unless you believe that there are!

Q ~ Do you have a favourite author? Do they influence your writing?
I don’t have a favourite author, but enjoy any book which is the clear result of hard work and passion.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
Yes, I had a mystical death experience in 2007. I fell to the floor and became separated from my body. I saw that I was not simply the human form I inhabit, but more. We are all souls with a divine spark, and not so different as we imagine.

Q ~ Do you have a personal support system? Who are your biggest supporters in life and in your endeavours?
Apart from my family, I would say it is my undiminished realization that we are individuals with a universal bond. My experiences have taught me there is far more to life than we are taught or can comprehend.

Q ~ When you write, do you lay out a solid outline before beginning, or start writing and iron out the kinks later?
I use inspiration and intuition. Realizing not to force the words, but allowing them to appear when you are in the flow supports creativity and authenticity.THE SOUL WHISPERER was written intuitively, and the outline came together in a couple of days while on holiday in France. I used the environment, the places I visited and the experiences to help me forge a story. In that way, I simply followed what opened up, and the book presented itself. Creative writing is not so much about you, but how and what you share.

Q ~ Do you have any writing rituals that you follow? What is your go-to snack while writing?
Coffee, music and looking out the window at nature. Love a bit of chocolate, but sometimes have to resort to raw carrots!

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming release The Soul Whisperer and what inspired you to write it?
In September 2013 I travelled to France and stayed in a lovely little 'gite' (cottage) hidden away in the heart of the Languedoc countryside. The French department of the Hérault is inspiring, covered in stunning steep rock formations and crystalline rivers - a place where the cleansing perfumed scent of wild herbs carried on the warm breeze is never far away.

As I unwound and relaxed, I was overcome by a sense of needing to write, which was in no way planned, and genuinely unexpected. But I followed the deep sense, purchasing a decent pen and a couple of notebooks. I sat on the picnic bench of the sunny terrace and began to scribble, and within a couple of days, I’d filled the two notebooks. I brought all the local places into the story, and everything that happened became part of the spiritual fantasy I was writing. Journeys and visits came alive in the story, as did people and places, fitting together like a real life jigsaw puzzle.

The stunning setting of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert became the ideal backdrop. A truly magical village, a charming sun-kissed square filled with ancient houses made of golden amber stone. The village is surrounded by tall, overhanging rock faces, as if they’re protecting its secret history. The impressive but somewhat daunting Abbey, the ‘Devil’s’ bridge standing tall over the gorge, the dramatic caves of Clamouse… I was entranced. A trip to Limoux enabled me to gather French names from the cemetery, and on the side of the road there, I sang an intuited chant, recording it with my Dictaphone… it all seemed to be part of the blossoming story.

I returned to the UK feeling fulfilled, and returned to work as usual. A few months later, an unexpected debacle at work led to many changes, including my departure. It was a difficult few months for all concerned. In the depths of not knowing what to do, I returned to my book. I started transcribing the notes from the two exercise books onto the laptop. Once I’d written the storyline, I contacted a few people, including a mainstream publisher. Each person responded positively, which gave me the encouragement I needed to spend the next 9 months working solidly on the manuscript.

Q ~ What is your favourite part or scene in the novel?
I think the final scene in the abbey. I don’t want to give it away, but I think that people will be touched and moved by the heartfelt words.

Q ~ What is your process for choosing character names?
Well, as I mentioned, for THE SOUL WHISPERER I went to a cemetery to find French names. I know it sounds a bit morbid, but it’s a rich environment! You can let your imagination run wild.

Q ~ Do you have a favourite character in the novel? Is this person based on someone, or multiple someones, in your life?
My favourite character is Jean-Michel. He’s based on many people, yet no one in particular. I like to take qualities I notice in people in real life and apply them to the fictional characters. In that way, you don’t become limited, and you remain free to create.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?
I am working on a series of autobiographical works entitled THE MYSTIC CHRONICLES.

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be yourself - tell the story in your own words. It's the story and characters (not your IQ) that readers are really interested in.

About the author:

J.M. Harrison is a British born Award Winning and Amazon#1 Author. His field of interest includes spirituality, consciousness and the soul. He began writing following a mystical death experience in 2007. Jonathan’s non-fiction titles to date include: We Are All One, Naked Being, YOU are THIS and a novel of Visionary Fiction entitledThe Soul Whisperer. He has taught alongside Barbara Marx-Hubbard, Marci Shimoff, Dr Bruce Lipton and others, as well as taking part in numerous media interviews in both Europe and the US.

About The Soul Whisperer:

Following personal tragedies and spiralling financial problems, Londoners Alex and Sara are desperate to find ways to rediscover their zest for life. A free holiday provides the perfect opportunity for a second chance, but not long after arriving in France they discover that all is not what it seems... A series of shocking revelations challenge their understanding of humanity, as they are propelled into a dangerous world governed by a ruthless occult society. Magical relics and extra-terrestrial objects promise to unlock incredible secrets, but what extremes will people go to in order to attain them? In a modern-day spiritual quest, Alex and Sara will be forced to take control of their destiny, facing their own demons along the way as time counts down, for them and the entire human race…

Check out this giveaway for The Soul Whisperer on Goodreads.

And available exclusively to Pure Jonel followers, head over to YouTube to watch the trailer for The Soul Whisperer.  Everyone who comments will be entered in author J.M. Harrison's draw for a paperback copy of the novel.  Be sure you comment on YouTube to be entered.
The video can be found here.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Sheikh's Christmas Conquest & Q&A with author Sharon Kendrick

1.) Can you bring us up to speed on The Sheikh’s Christmas Conquest

 It’s a shamelessly emotional story about a powerful Sheikh whose heart is empty because of something awful which happened in his past, and Olivia – a woman with demons of her own. Saladin needs something from Olivia - something she doesn’t want to give. Marooned in the snowy English countryside, the Sheikh’s most persuasive weapon is his sexual mastery and he sweeps Olivia off to his scorching desert kingdom. The trouble starts when a straightforward seduction becomes so much more...

2.) What was the first romance novel that you ever read? 

That would be PRIDE & PREJUDICE by Jane Austen (I still love it)

3.) What is one thing that you absolutely need when writing? 

My imagination! And coffee...

4.) What’s the best interaction you’ve ever had with a fan? 

 Once I wrote a trilogy centered on a single wedding dress and a woman in her eighties sent me a lovely long letter telling me about a similar wedding dress in her own family, and all the different people who had worn it.

5.) Who would you fan cast for Sheikh Saladin and Olivia? 

 The delicious Aiden Turner (who plays Poldark in popular UK TV drama) and Isla Fisher - for her red hair (just like Olivia’s) and her wonderful humor.

6.) Why do readers love Sheikh romances so much? 

 Ah. For me, that’s simple. Because a Sheikh symbolizes many of our secret fantasies about men. He’s dark. Powerful. Masterful. And he’s irresistibly sexy. What woman wouldn’t want to be taken by horseback across the burning sands to be ravished by a gorgeous desert king? My Sheikhs often appear sophisticated and can be found in Paris, or New York – but beneath their urbane exterior beats the indomitable heart of the true alpha male.

7.) Where have you traveled to and how has this informed your novels? 

 When I was a student nurse I travelled to the Middle East, which has been invaluable for my Sheikh books. Subsequently, I’ve taken in Australia, parts of the US and lots of Europe (especially Italy). I love to be immersed in countries and culture which are different from my own. When you’re on the outside looking in, that’s when your imagination is most on fire.

8.) Without giving away too much, what’s your favorite scene from The Sheikh’s Christmas Conquest

 Well, a reader has described the epilogue as “heartwarming” and I tend to agree with her, but I love the part where Saladin reveals to Olivia what happened in his past. Yet after he opens up, he immediately kills off any hope that there’s some kind of future for them.

9.) Do you have any conferences/book signings/events coming up? 

I’m going to several UK-based author gatherings and I’m very excited to be attending the buzzy RWA conference in San Diego in 2016 where I’ll be signing books for Harlequin. Hope to see you there!

10.) What are you working on next? 

I’m currently writing a story about a Prince who visits his ex-lover one last time, mainly to prove to himself that he’s finally gotten her out of his system. Only, guess what? He hasn’t! Fireworks erupt and all kinds of consequences follow. Oh, and I’ve got an unbelievably sexy Irish hero coming up in THE BILLIONAIRE’S DEFIANT ACQUISITION, which is out in April, 2016.

About the author:

SHARON KENDRICK is a popular British writer of over 75 romance novels. Kendrick’s books regularly top the sales charts for romance fiction on both sides of the Atlantic. Kendrick began writing for Harlequin because (a) she loved the books, and, (b) they were the only publishers she knew which would accept unsolicited manuscripts. Her first book was published without a single change which was a bit like throwing an extra dollop of fairy-dust into the mixture, which was magical enough already because now, to her surprise and delight: she was a writer!

Praise for Sharon Kendrick:

“Kendrick’s narrative brings her impeccably decadent settings to life as she switches from palatial sandscapes to urban London.” –RT Book Reviews

“Sharon Kendrick does a great job putting in the right plot twists to keep you turning the pages.” –Amazon Reviewer

"Kendrick's final Qurhah romance is a tearjerker starring a doomed, arrogant king and unsinkable heroine. The love story is commanding, the lush settings superb, the dialogue richly enhancing and the lovemaking blazing in this desert fairy tale.” –RT Book Reviews

“This story had more than a few tug-at-your-heartstrings moments, a brooding hero, and a heroine I adored.” –Goodreads Reviewer

Title:  The Sheikh's Christmas Conquest
Series:  The Bond of Billionaires #2
Author:   Sharon Kendrick
Publication Date:  October 20/15 by Harlequin
Length:  192pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Summoned by the sheikh!

Sheikh Saladin Al Mektala isn't used to being disobeyed. Incomprehensibly, the woman he summoned to help his favorite mare, the best horse whisperer in the world, turned his generous offer down! So he takes matters into his own hands.

The snow is falling, the fire is roaring and the mince pies are in the oven when innocent Olivia Miller finds a darkly handsome and physically compelling man on her doorstep. The sheikh she dared to refuse is here to whisk her off to his kingdom, and this time he won't take no for an answer!

A passionate read for Christmas nights!

My Review:

I loved the way that Kendrick combines horses with people, loss with recovery, and intimacy with friendship. The convergence of these different aspects created an intricate and fulfilling tale. The lives of her characters really filled out this as well. The contrast between their personalities and personal circumstances made getting to know them even more fun. The small moments of role reversal interspersed throughout kept me on my toes and allowed me to get to know them even better. The romance building between them was all the stronger and more compelling because of it.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas read. It was my first novel by this author, but I’ll definitely be looking for more of her work in the future.

Book Links 

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lucky Shot & Q&A with author BJ Daniels

1. How’s it feel to be back in Beartooth, Montana for the latest story in your Montana Hamiltons series, Lucky Shot?
I love my fictional Beartooth, Montana and some of my continuing characters like Nettie and the sheriff. It’s nice to have some older characters in love. J

2. Which hot actor/actress would you fancast as Max Malone and Kat Hamilton?
I think Paul Walker for Max and Emily Blunt for Kat.

3. Will new discoveries about Sarah Hamilton bring the family closer together or drive them apart?
LOL, we don’t know do we?  That’s what makes writing this series so much fun. The more I learn about Sarah, the more I’m just not sure about that woman. She’s been such a fun character and will continue to be I believe right to the end of the series. J That’s all I can tell you. Other than, more is revealed about Sarah with each book right to The End.

4. Buckmaster Hamilton goes through a lot in this story. How has his character developed over the course of the series?
Buck is a good man. He has been through a lot, but I believe that he wants the best for his family – and the country. I don’t think he always goes about fixing things the right way. Like all of us, he has regrets. Also he thinks he could have done a better job raising his daughters than he did. But we all feel that way at times. His one weakness is his love for Sarah.

5. Which of the Hamilton sisters is most likely to get you in trouble?
All six of them have been a handful, let me tell you. J They are all so different. I can see myself in all of them. I love Kat because she says what she thinks. That’s why most of the family would rather not ask her opinion on anything. J She’s...prickly – less so after Max comes into her life. We’ve all known someone like her who has secrets that make her pull away from other people.

6. Which sister is most like you?
LOL, that is a good question. I think I’m in all of them. Maybe especially Bo in Lone Rider. I’d like to think I could be tough when I needed to be.

But right now I’m writing the last book of the series, HONOR BOUND, and I can see myself in Ainsley. She is the oldest, the one everyone has leaned on for years. Something happens that makes her realize she’s never really cut loose and lived. I love that in her. I think we all would like to throw caution to the wind sometimes and just do what feels good – no matter the consequences. So, yeah, I’m like Ainsley at times.

7. Which sister frustrates you the most?
Olivia from WILD HORSES. I wanted her to stop crying and toughen up. J And she did. I can’t imagine what she went through at the beginning of the book, how traumatic that was for her or how terrifying. There is nothing worse than the possibility of losing the man you love. She needed to grow up and she did.

8. Which sister is most likely to surprise us all?
Ainsley in HONOR BOUND. I think once we decide to stop being the Old Us, anything can happen.

9. What can we expect for the next Montana Hamiltons story?
I had fun writing HARD RAIN (out in March) because I got to know the first twin, Harper. I also got to “dig up” more about the Hamilton family and expose more of Sarah. I love the idea of old secrets coming back to haunt us. And there is nothing like a body turning up to do that. J

Then we meet Cassidy, the other identical twin, in INTO DUST (July), who has spent her life distancing herself from the family because she wants to be her own person. All that will be behind her when her mother’s past and The Prophecy change her life forever. This was a fun one.

10. What are you working on next?
I’m finishing up the series with HONOR BOUND, Ainsley’s story and the cowboy/agent who rides into her life. We finally find out everything about Sarah and have to say goodbye to the Hamiltons. Boo hoo. It won’t be easy. I’ve come to love them all.

But I will be starting a new six-book series called, GILT EDGE. I’m taking several characters from Beartooth with me, Nettie and Sheriff Curry. I think readers will love the new family and their secrets and the danger that is right out their backdoor.

About the author:

B.J. DANIELS, a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, wrote her first book after a career as an award-winning newspaper journalist and author of 37 published short stories. That first book, Odd Man Out, received a four and a half star review from Romantic Times magazine and went on to be nominated for Best Intrigue for that year. Since then she has won numerous awards including a career achievement award for romantic suspense and numerous nominations and awards for best book. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Thriller Writers, Kiss of Death and Romance Writers of America.

Praise for New York Times bestselling author B.J. Daniels
“This fast paced and suspenseful novel had me hooked from cover to cover. Daniels has created an in-depth and complex novel that left me guessing throughout.” – Pure Jonel

“Filled with twists and turns as well as incredible danger, B.J. Daniels’ storytelling will have you captivated and intrigued.” – Cataromance

“…Daniels’ new Montana Hamiltons series will draw readers in with its genuine characters, multiple storylines and intense conflict set against the beautiful Montana landscape.” –RT Book Reviews

“B.J. Daniels has done it again! Just when I think her books couldn’t get any better, she obliterates all my expectations. A true storyteller in every sense of the word.” –Cocktails and Books

“B.J. Daniels will absolutely move to the top of your list of must-read authors.” –Fresh Fiction

Title:  Lucky Shot
Series:  The Montana Hamiltons #3
Author:  BJ Daniels
Publication Date:  November 24/15 by HQN Books
Length:  368pgs
Genre:  romantic suspense
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

He's determined to uncover the truth behind a decades-old disappearance—even if it kills him...

When hotshot reporter Max Malone gets a rare shot of Buckmaster Hamilton with a blonde woman near Beartooth, Montana, he chases down one of the senator's daughters to verify that the woman is his supposedly long-dead first wife. But Kat Hamilton won't give him the time of day, let alone any information about her mother.

With his tousled blond hair, sexy stubble and an old straw cowboy hat topping off his long, lean frame, Kat can just tell Max isn't used to female sources denying him anything. But when her own life is put in jeopardy, it's Max who comes to her rescue. Seems someone is prepared to kill to keep the past in the past. Kat can't deny she needs Max to find out what happened to her mother, but will getting closer and closer to each other lead them to the truth... or to danger?

My Review:

Daniels has definitely ramped up the suspense of the series more than a few notches with this one. The secrets and intrigue meld with danger and excitement. I love how Daniels melds it all together with the lives of her characters. The plot kept me guessing throughout, while also allowing me to fall in love with the fantastic locale that Daniels has created as the backdrop for this tale.

Once again Daniels has created realistic, loveable characters with an edge. The complete development of their personalities and lives introduces you to new friends rather than simply storybook characters. The antagonism between the main characters was fantastic. The realism drew me in to the story while at the same time completely captivating me. As individuals they were intriguing and complex, and as a couple they were explosive.

This is one of those stories you simply can’t put down because you absolutely have to know what happens next. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others or to re-read it time and time again.

Book Links 
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Stepbrother, Mine by Opal Carew

Title:  Stepbrother, Mine by Opal Carew
Series:  Stepbrother, Mine #1-3
Author:  Opal Carew
Publication Date:  November 24/15 by St.  Martin's Griffin
Length:  288pgs
Genre:  erotic romance
Shelf:  Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

How far will she go to get the life she's always wanted? Dana's always had a clear vision of how her life would go and how she'd get there, but when her father dies during her final year of college, her whole world threatens to topple down. In desperate need of money, she takes a drastic step. She decides to auction off her virginity.

Mason is used to getting what he wants. The head of his own corporate empire, he has wealth, means, and no shortage of beautiful women ready to fulfill his every need. But despite having it all, Mason is bored. Until he comes face-to-face with a woman from his past. Unable to let Dana slip away again, Mason bids on the one thing he's always wanted, even if it is completely forbidden. He's fantasied about having her to himself for years, touching her smooth skin, tasting her sweet lips, but Dana is off-limits, or is she? What started out as a way for each of them to get what they've always wanted is about to turn into so much more….

My Review:

What a novel! Carew is off and running from page one with a captivating premise and a hot & bothered story. The solid narrative and vivid descriptions combine to create a seamless whole for readers to immerse themselves in.

I enjoyed the complexity of the relationship between the main characters. The conflict between desires, social pressures, and right & wrong all come into play. At the same time, what truly makes these characters who they are is the way that they interact with one another when no one else is around. I appreciated getting to know them on all these different levels. It really brought the whole story together for me, making it more than simply a racy tale.

Carew never fails to make me feel like I’m walking through the pages of her story, rather than simply reading it. Stepbrother, Mine was no exception.

Book Links 
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Monday, November 23, 2015

A Christmas Vow of Seduction & Q&A with author Maisey Yates

1.) Can you bring us up to speed on A Christmas Vow of Seduction and the Princes of Petras series? 

The Princes of Petras centers around two brothers – Andres, the spare and notorious playboys, and his older brother, Kairos, who has always done his duty to his country, but never to his heart. The series starts with A Christmas Vow of Seduction, and with Andres, when he’s gifted a princess from a neighboring country to be his wife. The strong-willed princess Zara refuses, but Andres is determined to step up and do his duty for the first time ever. But in order to do that, he has to seduce his intended bride before Christmas.

2.) What was the first romance novel that you ever read? 

It was a Presents by Miranda Lee and for the life of me I can’t remember the title.

3.) What is one thing that you absolutely need when writing? 

Coffee. I can write almost anywhere, any time under any circumstances but I need to have had my caffeine.

4.) What’s the best interaction you’ve ever had with a fan? 

I feel like there have been so many good ones! But one that stands out is when I went to register for RWA at the Nationals conference and said my name and the woman running the registration went: OH. MAISEY. I LOVE YOUR BOOKS!

5.) Who would you fan cast for Prince Andres and Princess Zara? 

Pedro Soltz and Emmy Rossum

6.) Why do you think romance readers love reading about royalty so much? 

Royalty is such a big fantasy, but the great thing about romance is you get to dig down deep and crack it open and show that, at their hearts, these people aren’t that different. They want love too. I think that’s a universal truth in romance and that’s one thing I love about it.

7.) What is your favorite type of hero to write about? 

Hmm…I do love a bad boy.

8.) Without giving away too much, what’s your favorite scene from A Christmas Vow of Seduction?

I think it’s the first love scene. The hero is very intense, and I like that. ;)

9.) Do you have any conferences/book signings/events coming up? 

Nothing soon! Not until Summer 2016.

10.) What are you working on next? 

Right now I’m working on the 6th book in my Western Contemporary series, Copper Ridge.

About the author:

USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it's been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn't have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard.

Praise for Maisey Yates:

“Yates writes a story with emotional depth, intense heartache and love that is hard fought for and eventually won.” –RT Book Reviews

“Maisey Yates digs deep into the characters to produce an emotional journey.” –Red Hot Books

“Yates does an amazing job of bringing the ending around in the nick of time and creating the perfect lead.”  –Portland Book Review

“It’s a happy, happy day when I get to read a book by Maisey Yates. She has a very strong voice which is funny, emotional, and not just a little bit sarcastic.” –Buried by Books

Title:  A Christmas Vow of Seduction
Series:  The Princes of Petras #1
Author:  Maisey Yates
Publication Date:  October 20/15 by Harlequin
Length:  192pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

A Christmas present for the man who has everything…

With one band of gold Prince Andres of Petras can erase his past—albeit pleasurable—sins. But his prospective bride is untamable Princess Zara, so the playboy prince must seduce her into compliance and crown her by Christmas!

The wayward princess of Tirimia has spent years hiding her untouched heart, and her convenient husband-to-be seems determined to keep it that way. Yet his caresses promise a sensual awakening that's impossible to resist. But once Zara's given him her hand and her body, it won't be long before he has her heart…

A passionate read for Christmas nights!

My Review:

What a wildly captivating novel. Yates develops the intricate culture in which her characters find themselves. The contrast between it and the final relationship between the characters was distinct and created a creative and heartfelt novel for readers to loose themselves in. Not only that, but as is Yates’ hallmark, the characters are well developed emotionally and intellectually. The complete picture that this creates of both of them as individuals as well as of them as a couple was fantastic.

This was a solid and enjoyable novel that I really had fun reading. Yates had me thinking and falling in love with her characters throughout. I’d definitely recommend it to others.

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A Christmas Homecoming by Melissa McClone

Title:  A Christmas Homecoming
Series:  Bar V's Ranch Series
Author:  Melissa McClone
Publication Date:  October 25/15 by Tule Publishing
Length:  206pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

A kiss is just a kiss… 

Unless it’s under the mistletoe.

Ellie Smith is determined to make up for Christmases past by spreading holiday cheer throughout the Bar V5 dude ranch, but tech “bah, humbug” billionaire, Josiah Whittaker, refuses to bask in the spirit of the season.

Unwilling to let the geek-to-gorgeous Josiah win, Ellie plans to give him a Christmas he’ll never forget. But after a simple kiss under the mistletoe, Ellie and Josiah both start questioning everything. Can Christmas really bring the gift neither one of them were expecting: true love?

My Review:

McClone definitely brings Christmas to life with this warm and inviting novel. The story was intricately crafted and really drew me in. I enjoyed each aspect as it came together. At the same time, it was a light and easy read that I really connected with. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and becoming part of their lives for this short while. They were fun and inviting individuals that I got to know as if they were my neighbours. I found myself becoming more and more invested in their lives.

This novel was cute, sweet, funny, & heartfelt. This is definitely a Marietta Christmas that I won’t soon forget.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fair Trade by Katie Kenyhercz

Title:  Fair Trade
Series:  Las Vegas Sinners
Author:  Katie Kenyhercz
Publication Date:  December 7/15 by Crimson Romance
Length:  174pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

When ambitious Olivia Parker is offered the prime position of assistant physician for the Las Vegas Sinners hockey team, she’s determined to prove she belongs there. But it’s lonely at the top. Her professional focus has lost her countless personal relationships, and now she’s ready for a fresh start. What she’s not ready for is her gorgeous new patient showing her everything she’s been missing. Could a shot at real love be worth risking her ethical code?

Grayson Gunn happily played his entire career for his hometown team, never having won hockey’s greatest prize. A surprise trade to the Sinners gives him one last chance at the Cup before he hangs up his skates, and nothing will stand in his way, not even the injuries that send him to the team’s pretty new doctor. A little flirtation now that he’s on his way out of the NHL can’t hurt though…right? But when he gets a second chance to keep playing, Grayson is torn between the game he’s lived for and the woman he can’t seem to live without.

My Review:

Kenyhercz really brings hockey to life in a way that makes it palpable to the masses yet stays true to the sport. The story is wildly romantic, yet still brings the realities of life together in a manner that had me completely enchanted. The intimate descriptions bring both life at the rink and the characters forward in a manner that allowed me to interact with the story.

I love the cast of characters that Kenyhercz brings forward in this novel. Not only do we get to spend more time with those that I’ve come to love throughout the series, but the new characters that we meet took the series to a whole new level for me. I loved getting to know the main characters, as well as the fact that they were not rookies. The mix of work and romance and the inescapable predicament that they find themselves in really had me wondering how it would all work out. I also just loved getting to know these two as individuals. They were so much fun and so loveable.

Real lives, real people, real romance, it’s the perfect mix for a fantastic afternoon’s read.

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Infinitas by David N. Sebastian

Title:  Infinitas
Series:  Destiny is an Adventure #1
Author:  David N. Sebastian
Publication Date:  October 6/15
Length:  290pgs
Genre:  YA fantasy
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

For centuries, the world of Aeon has lived in shadow, ruled and oppressed by a great evil. The land is overrun by creatures of the dark. Its people cower without protection, without hope…until now.

Prophecy spoke of a chosen one who will bring an end to the dragon sorceress, and on that day were born two. Kali and Drake. Cousins and warriors, devoted to their duty and to each other. They embrace their fates. Together with their friends, Ferra and Harold, they embark on a perilous journey, tempting evil at every turn, for they are being hunted. With danger and death on their heels, they must battle forces of nature and magic, calling forth their courage to conquer not only the sorceress herself, but an even greater enemy. Fear.
From a small woodland village to the stone keep of Infinitas, only one thing is certain.

Destiny is an adventure.

My Review:

What a story! Vivid descriptions don’t just bring this world to life, but also brought me into the world. Sebastian’s world building allowed me to picture this new world which was simultaneously familiar yet completely unique, blending fantasy with reality to create something new.

The characters in this novel were vividly developed and age appropriate. I appreciated how they were stretched to their limits throughout their quest, becoming more yet never loosing who they were. At the same time, they were also fun individuals to get to know and I honestly wanted to know their stories.

This is a fantastic start to Sebastian’s new YA fantasy series. I, for one, definitely can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Romancing the Guardian & an interview with author Ali Atwood

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Well, over the last two decades I’ve lived and worked in the U S and British Isles for long stretches of time. I think that qualifies me as a Mid-Atlantic species.:) Though reading has always been one of my greatest pleasures, I didn’t pick up a romance book until I was twenty-four. It hooked me and started me on the road to publishing. In my spare time, I enjoy horseback riding and golf.

Q ~ If you could go anywhere, real or imagined, where would it be and why?
Since I love sci-fi romance books and I’ve written a few myself, I would love to go into outer space to get a close–up look at the earth and stars. Amazingly, they say space tourism will kick-off within the next decade. Unfortunately, with a price tag in the millions, space will have to wait until I win the lottery.

Q ~ Are you a dog person, a cat person, or does some other critter strike your fancy?
Dog, I’m pack leader to three of them, LOL.

Q ~ How do you feel about self-publishing?
I haven’t ruled it out for the future. For now, I’ll stick with Extasy Books. They’re very good to their authors.

Q ~ Do you have a favourite author? Do they influence your writing?
That’s a difficult one. There are too many to list. I do know that every good book I read enriches me and illustrates that there are no boundaries to the number of fictional lives that can be lived.

Q ~ What’s the best thing that’s happened since you began writing? The worst?
The best was receiving my first fan letter. The worst was opening my first rejection letter.

Q ~ Do you have a personal support system? Who are your biggest supporters in life and in your endeavours?
My hubby and family are totally supportive of my scribblings, and my best friend, Sandy, is my beta reader.

Q ~ Do you have any writing rituals that you follow? What is your go-to snack while writing?
For personal and household reasons, I operate best in the early morning. And I spend a great deal of time staring out the window while I work through scenes in my mind. I wish I could say my go to snack was something healthy, but it’s not, it’s homemade brownies. Yum!

Q ~ When you write, do you try to reach a specific word count or simply write until you are done?
I don’t try for a specific word count, unless I’m on deadline, but when I do have a whole day to myself, I might work for twelve to fifteen hours until the ideas dry up, then I’m done.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release Romancing The Guardian and what inspired you to write it?
As much as I love writing sci-fi romance, I thought it was time for a change, which led to the Shifters and Lovers series, set in the present day. Romancing The Guardian, is book # 2 of the series and features Rick Cantrell and Jordan Riker. Rick is an up and coming actor with a stalker on his trail, and Jordan is a lion shifter hired to protect Cantrell. While there is instant chemistry between the men, Rick is still not out and must consider his options carefully. That is, if the stalker doesn’t get him first.

Q ~ What was the most difficult part of the process while writing Romancing The Guardian?
Since it’s an MM romance, it was difficult to tutor myself to think like a man.

Q ~ What is your favourite part or scene in the novel?
I think the desert scene, where Rick and Jordan are especially romantic with each other.

Q ~ When you write, do you lay out a solid outline before beginning, or start writing and iron out the kinks later?
Since I’m a pantser, I write out a rough outline, let the story lead me and tweak it during final edits.

Q ~ Do you have a favourite character in the novel? Is this person based on someone, or multiple someone’s, in your life?
My characters are usually a composite of people I’ve known. I like Rick a lot because he’s an unassuming guy, despite his fame and money. Then again, Jordon rang my bell because I’m a sucker for a sexy geek.

Q ~ Of the works you’ve written, which is your favourite? Is there also a character that holds a special place in your heart?
Okay, I’ll admit I do have a special spot in my heart for Huntress At Large. I loved the Lexine character and hunky hero, Blane Sabastian.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?
Biker’s Run (book # 3 of the Shifters and Lovers series) is now under contract and will be out early in 2016, hopefully January. After that, comes Alex ( book # 1 of the Urban Wizards trilogy). The story is still in the rough draft stage, but I can tell I’m going to have fun with it.

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would tell them to write every day, even if you only have ten minutes to spare, and definitely do not let rejection discourage you. Keep writing, keep improving and keep submitting your manuscripts.

Thank you for hosting me, Jonel.

About this author:

Ali Atwood is a transplanted Brit, living the outdoor life in Florida. Her previous careers could fill a catalogue—everything from flight attendant to ice cream parlor owner. Since Ali has traveled over much of the world, she draws from that knowledge to create unique characters and backdrops. Aside from writing, Ali enjoys horseback riding and golf. She has eclectic taste in music, a fondness for French champagne and a slight obsession with social media.

Ali welcomes comments from readers and answers emails as soon as she can.

Title:  Romancing the Guardian
Series:  Shifters and Lovers #2
Author:  Ali Atwood
Publication Date:  September 8/15 by eXtasy Publishing
Length:  79pgs
Genre:  paranormal romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Rick Cantrell is an up and coming actor, who’s been featured in the top ten of the sexiest men’s polls. He also has a stalker on his trail.

Jordan Riker is a lion shifter with a difficult past. He quit his pride due to his controlling father’s demands, and he was burned by his boyfriend shortly after. Now, he’s a newbie bodyguard, assigned to protect the seriously hot, Rick Cantrell. Though Jordan is immediately drawn to the charismatic actor and recognizes the connection between them, he resists Cantrell’s sexual advances to uphold his professional standards and guard his heart from further hurt.

Rick Cantrell is a never-take-no-for-an-answer kind of guy. Despite his bodyguard’s best efforts to push him away, Rick thinks he may have the man of his dreams in Jordan Riker.

My Review:

Atwood once again brings her world of shifter bodyguards to life. I loved the vividness with which this novella was written. Everything was slightly larger than life without being over the top. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions that brought the world and the action surrounding the characters to life. This novella was well written and edited. Atwood brings forward her intimate yet very enticing story with a definite flair.

Atwood`s straightforward and captivating portrayal of acting behind the scenes really drew me to the characters. Getting a real sense of what they`re going through made it easy to identify with and feel for the. The natural banter between the main characters was also very appealing. I felt like I was actually there with them. I also found myself growing close to the characters. I love the feeling when they become part of your life rather than simply names on paper, and Atwood definitely does it with this one.

For something quick, hot, and still in depth, Atwood is definitely my go-to author.

Book Links 

Before you leave!
Be sure to enter this fantastic giveaway for 3 pdf copies of Ali Atwood`s latest release, Romancing the Guardian.
Contest is open internationally, where applicable by law. 
Entries close at 11:59pm November 27/15. 
Winners will be drawn November 28/15. 
Winners will be notified via email to the email provided to the giveaway and will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

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