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Archive for July, 2012

The Lady is a Vamp by Lynsay Sands
*A review copy of this book was received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

One late night leads to . . .

Kidnapped! When Jeanne Louise Argeneau left work, she never thought she’d end up tied down by a good-looking mortal. More attracted than annoyed, she quickly realizes there is more to her abductor than meets the eye.

One desperate act leads to . . .

Love? Paul Jones has need of a vampire, and only Jeanne Louise will do. He just has to convince this beauty of a Vamp to help him . . . never imagining that he would fall in love. But with the immortal world’s answer to law enforcement hunting them, their time together is running out . . . and Paul and Jeanne Louise will need to risk everything to spend an eternity together.

Paul’s daughter is sick and he will do whatever it takes to save her, even kidnap an immortal.  Jeanne Louise has been dreaming of the day she would find her life mate, she just never expected him to also be her kidnapper.

In the beginning Jeanie may have been a prisoner but everything changed as soon as she realized Paul might be her life mate.  He was a good looking man and she was excited that she couldn’t read him; she only hoped the rest of the signs were there too.

Enforcers send this trio on the road and Jeanie does everything she can to make sure that Livy’s headaches are kept at bay, even if it causes her pain.  She helps the little girl eat so she can gain some of her strength back.  The sun seems to be helping her spirits as much as anything else.

Jeanie loves both Livy and Paul.  She would do anything for either one, except turn Livy.  She has only one turn and she’s hoping to use it on Paul, if he agrees to be her life mate.  Her hopes and dreams are within her grasp until and unfortunate accident changes everything.

This book takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride from start to finish.  There is such a strong emotional connection between not only Paul and Jeanie but also Livy and Jeanie.  It makes it that much harder to watch some of the events unfold.  You want them to have their happily ever after but they have so much to work through before they get to that point.

Paul and Jeanie want to work things out but they are different; Paul is mortal and Jeanie is immortal.  Paul just wants to feel like a man and Jeanie makes it hard by not letting him do anything for himself.  She is afraid that something is going to happen and she will lose him so she tends to be overprotective and over reacts to incidents.  There really is no happy medium for them as long as Paul remains human.

I love Lynsay Sands, she is one of my favorite paranormal authors and I have been reading this series from the beginning.  Her books are always such fun to read and have me laughing out loud.  This is the first one in the series that had me just about in tears.  I connected so strongly for with the characters and felt they were going through right alongside them.  When Jeanie had to make that split second decision, I kept thinking someone was going to step up to the plate.  In the end, I never expected things to happen the way they did.

Overall, I think The Lady is a Vamp is my favorite book in the Argeneau series.  I give this book 4½ Flaming Hearts. 

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Please Welcome Debra Kayn to the blog today.  Her newest release, Rodeo Rebel is the fourth book in her McDougal Series and is published by Entangled Publishing.

I had the pleasure of reviewing my first book by Debra about a year ago for Breathless Press and fell in love with her writing style. She also has books published through Carina Press, Entangled Publishing and Etopia Publishing.

I instantly connected with her McDougal Sisters books because their father was diagnosed with ALS and they had to watch the strongest person they knew become weak and helpless. My grandfather passed away from Lymphomia and it was hard to watch him suffer.

Debra is active on Twitter and Facebook and a lot of fun to talk to. I have gained a lot of respect for her both as a writer and person. I love that she takes time to interact with her fans.

I hope you enjoy the Q&A with her; it was a lot of fun:

Do you have a routine when you are writing?   Do you have a set time you write, certain number of days a week, word count, etc?

I write every day, but not a routine. Kids and animals always interrupt! I do love to write when it’s chaotic, so the more noise and action going on in the house lets me zone out and write. Silence is overrated! Lol I also love snacking on Wasabi peas while I write. They’re hot enough I don’t pig out. I learned my lesson after finishing off a bag of peanut M&M’s one night. Oops!

I’ve heard a lot of author’s mention play lists they listen to while writing, do you listen to music while you are working or do you have to have the quiet?

I listen to music, but I’m not aware of what’s playing. Okay, I take that back. Recently while writing a proposal, I listened to I’m Glad You Came by The Wanted over and over. That song fits the mood of the book so well. But, typically, I just want the “noise”.

I’m a Twitter junkie and I’m bad about reading Twitter posts when I am supposed to be working.   Do the social networking sites tempt you away from work when you are writing?  Do you allow yourself time on them or do you have to stay away from them completely while working?  How has social media affected your career as a writer?

Social media sights are total time sucks…I love them! I bounce on and off Twitter all day. I love talking to people, but hate promoting myself, so I’m big on conversations. It’s funny how that works though. When I released a biker series, I started getting a bunch of bikers following me. Who knew bikers had eReaders and would read my book.

Some authors like to read books in completely different genres than the one they write. What types of books do you find yourself reading?  Do you think these books influence what you write?

That’s so true. I love writing contemporary, but I also love reading YA books. In fact, reading them helps me slow the romance down in my own books. That first kiss is special whether you’re 16 years old or 30 years old, and has taught me to take my time writing and let my characters enjoy each other first.

What’s your favorite genre to read?  Why?  Who are some of your favorite authors to read?  Where is your favorite place to curl up with a good book?

My favorite is Contemporary. They’re real, and I can imagine myself in the stories. Some of my fav authors to read are Nora Roberts (of course!), Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Diana Palmer, Jeannie Watt and Linda Lael Miller.

I read every night in bed with my Kindle…my little light shining the words. I also try to squeeze reading time in during the summer when I’m sitting on the bank of our creek. I love losing hours of time hearing the water, the birds, and getting sucked into a story.

“Be careful or you’ll end up in my book!”  Do your characters have traits of friends and family?  Or are they completely new individuals?

I’m sure I have family and friends who have spotted similarities. I write what I know, so personalities pop up in characters all the time. My family has started to look sideways at my hubs lately, because he’s my hero…and a lot of my book’s heroes start to take on little habits of his.

Are you a full time writer or do you have to make time to write?  Is it difficult to juggle working, writing and family life?

I’m a full time writer. Between juggling farm chores, kids, homeschooling, and family time it’s nice to tell everyone I’m writing and sneak away to stare at the computer.

Lightning round!Favorite color? Pink

Favorite beverage? Water
Favorite Food? Shrimp
Favorite animal or pet? Hogs
Sweet snacks or salty? Salty
Morning person or night owl? Night owl
Mac or PC? PC
TV, Radio or Nothing when you are writing? Radio
And because you’re a romance author:  Sweet or smutty? Both!

Five Ways You Fuel Your Creativity

I’m a huge people watcher. I love creating stories for perfect strangers I see everywhere.

Reading, watching tv and movies. Sometimes a personality jumps out and gives you an idea.

Playing tennis. I think the adrenaline gives me more brain power.

Cooking helps motivate me. It’s such a routine chore for me that I can slip into my imagination while I make dinner.

Twitter gives me lots of unique people to view, and stories that spark inspiration.

Five Fun Facts About You, the Person

Met my husband on a blind date when I was 19 & married him. Still married!

I haven’t worked an evil day job since I was 20 years old

I’ve played tennis since I was 6 years old

I’m adopted

I hate ketchup, but love tomatoes

Now – will you tell us a little about Rodeo Rebel

Thank you so much for having me here today! Remember, if Rodeo Rebel reaches the top 100 by August 8th, I’m giving away a pair of cowgirl boots and a cowgirl hat. No purchase necessary! All the details are here http://www.debrakayn.com/2012/07/contest-if-rodeo-rebel-makes-it-to-top.html

Rodeo Rebel is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Blurb

When widower and land baron Cole Reardon acquired the Turner Grain Corporation, he didn’t know the company sponsored a bull rider. He refuses to support thrill-seekers dumb enough to get on the back of a crazed animal. He’s not willing to risk his fortune and livelihood when he has his daughter’s well-being to consider. Not even when the bull rider is the sexiest woman he’s ever seen.

Bull rider Florentine McDougal plans to turn pro after the season championship, fulfilling her lifelong dream of succeeding in a man’s world. That is, until Cole Reardon shows up and threatens to break his sponsorship contract with her. Now everything she’s worked for is less than eight seconds away from being destroyed.

Cole distracts Florentine with his sexy mouth and unreasonable demands, and he’s not going to compromise his integrity. But she’s not going to let him loose until she has pro status. And neither will come away from this dust-up unscathed.

About Debra:

Multi-published Romance Author, Debra Kayn, lives with her family in the beautiful coastal mountains of Oregon on a hobby farm. During the summer, she enjoys riding motorcycles, gardening, playing tennis, and fishing. During the winter, you’ll find her outside playing in the snow. A cold weather nut, she lives for the days she’s snowbound and fighting with the woodstove to keep the house warm when the power goes out. A huge animal lover, she always has a dog under her desk when she writes and chickens standing at the front door looking for a treat. She’s famous in her family for teaching a 270 lb pig named Harley to jog with her every morning.

Her love of family ties and laughter makes her a natural to write heartwarming contemporary stories to the delight of her readers. As someone who met her husband on a blind date when she was nineteen years old, she’s a believer of love at first sight and happily ever after.

Visit Debra’s website

Follow Debra on Twitter

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Rodeo Rebel (McDougal Sisters #4) by Debra Kayn
* I received a copy of this book from Entangled Publications in exchange for an honest review*

When widower and land baron Cole Reardon acquired the Turner Grain Corporation, he didn’t know the company sponsored a bull rider. He refuses to support thrill-seekers dumb enough to get on the back of a crazed animal. He’s not willing to risk his fortune and livelihood when he has his daughter’s well-being to consider. Not even when the bull rider is the sexiest woman he’s ever seen.

Bull rider Florentine McDougal plans to turn pro after the season championship, fulfilling her lifelong dream of succeeding in a man’s world. That is, until Cole Reardon shows up and threatens to break his sponsorship contract with her. Now everything she’s worked for is less than eight seconds away from being destroyed.

Cole distracts Florentine with his sexy mouth and unreasonable demands, and he’s not going to compromise his integrity. But she’s not going to let him loose until she has pro status. And neither will come away from this dust-up unscathed.

Florentine is back on the rodeo circuit and she is determined to finish on top, regardless what the men think.  She has dreamed of riding in the PBR for as long as she can remember and be an inspiration for young girls everywhere.  She loves her family and they are extremely supportive of her.  They are a tight knit family and when you hurt one, you have an enemy in all.

Cole Reardon became Florentine’s sponsor when he bought Turner Grain.  He wants her to let him out of the contract because he can’t condone someone taking unnecessary risks with their lives.  His ex-wife was that way and it led to her death and his daughter having to grow up without a mother.  Cole is drawn to Florentine even though she is the exact opposite type of person that he wants a future with.

This family is such an inspiration and you can’t help but fall in love with them.  They have had to come to terms with their father’s death, while finding the love of their lives.  They stick together and watch each other’s backs and when they love, they love with such fierceness and depth.

Florentine is trying to get through the rodeo trials and place in the finals so she can have some time off with her family.  Her sister is getting married and it’s time for their annual 4th of July barbeque.  She just wasn’t expecting to use the time recuperating from a bull riding injury.  She is conflicted because she is attracted to Cole but he just wants out of their contract.  The more she is around Cole and his daughter the more she realizes she wants more out of life.  She can still be a positive role model for young girls and have the family she desires.

Cole is a sexy cowboy and a single father.  He is concerned about his young daughter and is looking for a wife that will be a good influence in her life.  He is torn because he desires everything about Florentine, except her bull riding.  Her spirit and fire call to something in him that he thought was long dead but he can’t risk having a woman like that around his daughter.  The more time he spends with her, the more he realizes that there is more to Florentine than meets the eye.  That underneath that brazen bull rider lurks a sensitive, caring woman that he could easily fall in love with.

Florentine and Cole are explosive together, like fire and gasoline.  They are both stubborn and set in their ways but both are very lonely.  They are good for each other but they can’t see past their differences until they spend some time together on the McDougal ranch.  I loved watching the transformation in Cole and seeing the relationship between him and his daughter grow.

I absolutely adore this series and highly recommend you pick it up and read it from the beginning.  I give Rodeo Rebel 4½ Flaming Hearts. 

***Be sure and stop back by on Saturday, July 21st and check out my Interview with Debra and a chance to win a copy of Rodeo Rebel***

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Naked Angel (Club Burlesque #3) by Logan Belle
* I received a copy of this book from Kensington in exchange for an honest review*

It’s the biggest night of Mallory Dale’s life. She’s unveiling her sexy new burlesque club, The Painted Lady, and her boyfriend has a thrilling surprise for her. An injury forced ballerina Nadia Grant to hang up her toe shoes, so now she’s perfecting the art of the striptease and whipping the crowd at The Painted Lady into a frenzy.  Meanwhile, the club’s financial benefactor is endangering his marriage – and the business – when he begins a sizzling affair with a young costume designer. Just when they’re so close to having it all, will the stars of The Painted Lady lose everything?

Its opening night at The Painted Lady and the night is full of surprises for Mallory.  After her performance, she is surprised when her boyfriend Alec proposes to her in front of the crowd.  The night is going perfectly until Nadia loses it on stage.  A packed house, friends and a proposal, what better way to start their new adventure together?

Things quickly go downhill for the gang when their benefactor loses his money over a female.  They not only stand losing the club but they have also lost the fabulous costumer to Violet Offender.  Mallory knows that the only way to save their club is to win the Vegas Burlesque completion.  With Nadia and Maxes help they have the perfect costumes and routines for the show.

Due to an injury Nadia has had to quit performing ballet.  She and Mallory have been sharing rehearsal space for a while and Mallory offers her a chance to perform at The Painted Lady she decides to give it a try.  She continues to struggle with her performances while Max feels like she is degrading herself when she performs.   In the end she finds a compromise they can both live with.

This was a fabulous conclusion to the Club Burlesque trilogy.  It pulled me in just as quickly as Fallen Angel did and I didn’t want to put the book down.

It was packed full of emotion and I loved the fact that it wasn’t just about Alec and Mallory.  We got to visit with some old favorites and we got to learn more about new ones.  I’m glad that Violet Offender was in this book but not a primary focus, I like her but a little bit can go a long way with her.

Both Mallory and Nadia are going through several personal struggles with their relationships.  Their men want them to quit dancing on stage but for different reasons.  Mallory loves performing on stage and is thrilled to be running the club, she isn’t sure if she wants to quit dancing when she and Alec get married.  Nadia can no longer perform ballet and it is killing her.  She has so much creative energy and no outlet for it until Mallory offers her the chance to perform at the club.  Even that doesn’t fulfill her like ballet did.

There are so many side stories all connected together that the author risks it being too much; in this case it just works.  Each individual storyline has such an impact on the overall story that you would be missing something without them.  Each person has ties with several other characters that it is obvious that we would be lost without them.

The story is well written and pulls you in from the beginning.  It gives us a glimpse into the world of Burlesque, which intrigues me greatly.  The characters are interesting and have complex relationships with one another and the ending was fabulous.

I love this series and highly recommend that it be read in order, however these books can be read as a stand alone.  I enjoyed this series so much that I bought a copy of Blue Angel to read.  I give Naked Angel 4½ Flaming Hearts. 

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His Strength (Men of Valor#2) by Kiru Taye
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

When a warrior seeks to claim a free-spirited woman, he soon discovers a tigress unwilling to be caged.

As a young widow, Nneka yearns to be released from the obligations to her late husband’s family, and live as an independent woman. With a past colored by a brutal father, she’ll never yield to another man willingly, and will do just about anything to attain that freedom, including flouting the laws of the land.

Ikem was unable to claim Nneka once because his lineage meant he wasn’t good enough. Now fate has given him another chance, but he quickly discovers that claiming this unpredictable wildcat is easier said than done. Will he be able to convince her that succumbing to their passion is the key to her freedom?

Ikem has wanted to claim Nneka for as long as he could remember.  His proposal was rejected because he wasn’t “born of the soil” even though he had lived in their village all his life.  He was essentially a visitor, and couldn’t offer her a future according to their customs.  Now she is a widow that has been in morning for a year and he is determined to make her his.

Nneka is a strong woman that desires to be set free from her “duty” to her deceased husband’s family once her mourning period is up.  She wants to be her own person and not have to depend on a man for anything.  She is very uncomfortable with her brother-in-law’s advances and continues to bide her time until her father-in-law will release her.  She desires Ikem but she is afraid that he will want to control her life; the total opposite of her husband.

Ikem has remained single since his proposal for marriage was rejected by Nneka’s family.  He hasn’t had a problem with the women and he’s worked hard to become a member of his village, rather than just a “guest”.  He has been biding his time until Nneka’s morning period is over and he plans to offer another proposal for her hand and this time he isn’t willing to take no for an answer.

During her period of mourning Nneka’s head had been shaven, she isn’t adorned in jewelry or beads and her clothing is drab and shapeless.  Through it all Ikem sees the woman inside and she is intrigued by him.  She desires him and wants what only he can give her but she is also afraid that he will want to control her.

They are a well matched pair, both are strong individuals but very lonely.  Ikem has managed to make a name for himself with the ladies but there is no relationship involved.  Nneka’s husband was a weak man that was unable to fulfill her passions.  In one kiss, Ikem showed her what she had been missing and she was hungry for more.

This story takes place in a village in Southeast Nigeria.  We are introduced to several of their customs but I would have liked to learn a little more about them.  It is always interesting to learn about new places when I am reading.  The characters were appealing and I enjoyed reading their story.  I am glad that he didn’t give up on them and the brother-in-law got what he deserved.

Overall I enjoyed this His Strength and give it 3½ Flaming Hearts.     

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Boots and Chaps (Ugly Stick Saloon #1) by Myla Jackson
* I purchased a copy of this book for my personal library*

She gave up stripping to go legit…until three Kiowa cowboys bring on the down-and-dirty.

Jackson Gray Wolf is turning thirty, and what does he have to show for it? A ranch. No wife, no kids, no dates. He’s had his eye on the pretty owner of the Ugly Stick Saloon, but their one accidental encounter was interrupted before he could get her out of her take-me-now red cowboy boots.

Audrey Anderson isn’t in the market for a man. Been there, done that, has the scars to prove it. She retired her pole-dancing boots after purchasing the Ugly Stick Saloon, and now manages a stable of strippers. When she winds up one stripper short for a private party, she’s forced to slip on a mask and into the role of the mysterious Kiki.

Jackson didn’t want the birthday bash his twin brothers are throwing him, but his vow to ignore the rented stripper goes awry when she shows him exactly how far she’s willing to go—for all three of them.

Audrey can’t forget the sizzling heat between her and one sexy Kiowa in particular. Jackson. Trouble is, she’s not sure if he wants the bold, brassy Kiki, or if he’s ready for the wounded woman underneath.

Warning: This title contains hot scenes with multiple partners, with a little BDSM on the side. Caution—it could melt your e-reader!

Audrey is the tough as nails owner of the The Ugly Stick Saloon.  She hung up her dancing chaps when she moved to Temptation and bought the bar.  Now thanks to Charli, both she and her chaps are coming out of retirement.  After her long dry spell, she never expected to find someone willing to fulfill all her needs.

Jackson’s birthday is coming up and his brothers are determined to give him a night he won’t forget.  While at The Ugly Stick Saloon, they book a stripper for a private party on their ranch.  Little did they realize that the stripper they booked for Jackson’s birthday was Audrey?

I couldn’t wait to read this story because it goes hand in hand with the Dirty Tricks series.  We saw Audrey and Jackson dancing around each other and then they were a couple, all told from Charli’s perspective.  I loved finally seeing how their story unfolded and they ended up together in this book.

Audrey and Jackson are perfect together.  They are both strong individuals that have worked hard to get where they are in life.  Both of them had personal issues they needed to work out plus neither one had time for dating or anything else.  With a little help from Charli and his brothers, the two of them finally connected.

Kiki’s strip tease with the boys was sexy as hell.  It was obvious that the sexy Kiowa Indians enjoyed their play time as much as she did.  Jackson had to convince Audrey that he was series and was willing to give her whatever she needed.  Although he wasn’t crazy about sharing her, he was extremely turned on watching her with his brothers.  He was supportive of her needs and didn’t think they were wrong or dirty.  Hell, he even danced naked in front of a bar full of women for her, if that’s not love I don’t know what it is.

The main characters are interesting and compelling, while being perfect for one another.  The secondary characters added additional depth to the book; I was surprised to see that there was more to Mark and Luke than party boys.  It was nice to see characters from the Dirty Tricks series in this book too, a nice tie in to the series.

I loved this book and can’t wait to read the next installment in the Ugly Stick Saloon series.  I give Boots and Chaps 4 Flaming Hearts. 

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Climax – The Zodiac Club #14 by Tammy Valentine
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

 

Twelve star signs, four friends, one extraordinary year. Izzy’s sexual adventure through the zodiac reaches its steamy conclusion, with a few final surprises in store.

As Izzy’s sexual adventure round the horoscope reaches its steamy conclusion, she and the other members of the Zodiac Club learn there are still a few surprises in store.

Izzy has completed her journey through the Zodiac signs and has learned a lot about herself through this experience.  As she and the Zodiac club meet she reveals that her date was not only with a Pisces but with an Aquarius too.  It’s hard to believe that they started on this journey a year ago and now it’s over.

As the final story begins, Izzy and the girls are taking a trip back through each of the signs and comparing them to Jessica’s predictions.  Izzy seems to enjoy revisiting each of her Zodiacs, even the couple that really surprised her.  Most of her dates opened her up to new experiences that she would never have believed possible.

Izzy is a strong, confident woman that has become more secure in her sexuality over the past year.  She has always been sure of herself professionally but her personal life had been lacking.  She needed this boost to her self-confidence to help her realize that what she wants/needs sexually is just as important.

I loved this series of short stories and would love to see them put together in one book.  Each installment covered a different zodiac sign with Jack Weston making an appearance in each book.  As we got further and further into the series, I kept hoping that Izzy would end up with Jack because they seemed to have a genuine connection.

I have to say that this was my favorite installment in the Zodiac series.  I loved the recap with the girls and it was the perfect ending to this series.  I give Climax 4 Flaming Hearts.   

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