22 November 2010

Getting creative - Blog Design for sale...

Many of you who come here know I love to get creative. I love creating buttons, badges, banners and I changed many times in my personal blog design in 2008-2009 but I finally found “my look”. It was then that I had no outlet for my creativity anymore and was searching for other ways. That is when the yellow brick road led me to a blog design program named Artisteer. Well a whole new world opened up to me! I always loved doing blog design but I don’t know how to write codes, work the HTML magic so to speak, but the frustration and grey hairs vanished with the discovery of this program. Now I could do what I do best, work on a visual level and I can tell you, I’m having a blast. So much fun that I created 3 new blog design, but, it’s just sitting on my computer…and I think it’s a waste.

 I’m not saying I’m professional, I’m not an artist of any kind but perhaps I can make some else happy? Who knows, right?! So here I have three blog designs and for a friendly price it can be yours…any feedback is appreciated, I’m still a grasshopper *wink*

Blogdesign info - click on the image for full screen size:
  • Price is 37.50 dollars
  • Title and subtext can be personalized at request.
  • I will install for free but I will need personal blog inlog information, or I can send you a .doc file / e-mail with the html codes so you can install it yourself!
  • I can make a blog button for 5 dollar more price.

Blogdesign info - click on the image for full screen size:
  • Price is 37.50 dollars
  • Title and subtext can be personalized at request.
  • I will install for free but I will need personal blog inlog information, or I can send you a .doc file / e-mail with the html codes so you can install it yourself!
  • I can make a blog button for 5 dollar more price.
Blog design info - click on the image for full screen size:
  • Price is 40 dollars
  • Title and subtext can be personalized at request.
  • I will install for free but I will need personal blog inlog information, or I can send you a .doc file / e-mail with the html codes so you can install it yourself!
  • I can make a blog button for 5 dollar more price.
All payments via paypal please.

I do recommend anyone who has an ounce of creativity to buy the Artisteer program yourself, the home edition is worth the investment in my opinion!

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Happy Monday for two winners

Commenter 12 won a choice in a signed copy of AWAKENED BY A KISS or THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED

Danielle Gorman said...
For me I just like it when my characters already know eachother. I like them to have some sort of past. May it be friends to lovers, enimies to lover, reconciliation, or past loves. I just want them to know eachother.

Lila, I can't wait to read this and now I super curious about the ugly duckling story.

Congratz Danielle, I'll e-mail you so you can give me your choice in book from Lila DiPasqua

Commenter 18 won the buttons boasting allegiance and a copy of A Discovery Of Witches will be send in the early days of 2011.

EVA SB said...
I think I have to choose 'Carrie' - the original.
It was one of the first horror movies I ever watched. I couldn't sleep for several days afterwards and it has made me nervous of horror movies ever since.

Congratz Eva, I'll e-mail you too for you addy!

Have a great monday :)
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19 November 2010

Review: Lila DiPasqua - Awakened By A Kiss

Website Author - Purchase - Facebook - Twitter

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade; 1 edition (August 3, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425235564
ISBN-13: 978-0425235560
Intro cover summary:
Three classic fairytales—“Sleeping Beauty,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Little Red Riding Hood”—cleverly retold with enough sensual twists to prove wickedly ever after does exist…

My Review: Sleeping Beau: Five years ago, the notorious rake, Adrien d’Aspe, Marquis de Beaulain, was awakened by a sensuous kiss—and experienced a night of raw ecstasy that was branded into his memory. Years later, he spots his mysterious seductress—and this time, he has no intention of letting her go…

With SLEEPING BEAU I got my first taste of Lila DiPasqua and I was instantly enamored. I must admit I’m not an avid reader of soiree settings and nobility but DiPasqua blends a decadent time period of the French sun king with vivid characters, intrigue and spine-melting passion in to such wickedly charming stories.

Adrian is a notorious lover of the fairer sex but as the story develops he surprised me with his depth of character. Catherine is a sensuous and spirited woman, she knows how the world works and yet also has a healthy defiance of it. The unexpected recognition of each other delivers a push-pull of erotic provocation and is a significant aspect within the romantic progress. The cat and mouse game where Adrian pursues Catherine with an ardent fervor of a man wanting to relive that one night filled with sensual rapture. There is also an abundance in enlivened dialogues between the main couple that set a wonderful pace in the story telling and rapidly made me flip the pages.

I was entertained with SLEEPING BEAU, which turned out to be a sexy historic novella and was wondering what more Lila DiPasqua had in store for me.

3 stars

Little Red Writing: Nicolas de Savignac, Comte de Lambelle, has been assigned by the King to uncover the secret identity of the author writing scandalous stories about powerful courtiers. He never expected his investigation would lead to his grandmother's house, or to a ravishing woman who would stir his deepest hunger…

With LITTLE RED WRITING I found out what was in store for me. The longest of the three novella’s and with a theme I loved from the start. Three sister, from whom one writes confronting stories about the debauchery of entitled men. In Sleeping Beau it was revolving a lot around the sexual attraction and though that is plenty present in Little Red Writing I enjoyed it even more with the secrecy plot weaved through it.

Nicolas “le Loup” is potently male, a bit shrewd when a Musketeer needs to be and devilishly charming. Anne de Vignon has crashed and burned once in the romance and has erected walls around her still very romantic heart. She is audacious, intelligent and passionate. Nicolas and Anne are instantaneously attracted to one another and it is known to the reader with hot bouts of sensuous encounters. The back and forth innuendo is glossed over by polite conversations but it is this kind of verbal sparring that makes the attraction sizzle outside of the bedchamber. Add the conflict that lies within discovering the truth, which caused quite some tension in the ending, and the romance took it up a notch for me.

LITTLE RED WRITING is pure naughtiness and turned out to be quite the bed time story!

3.5 stars

Bewitching in Boots: Elisabeth de Roussel, daughter of the King, is accustomed to getting what she wants—and she wants Tristan de Tiersonnier, Comte de Saint-Marcel, an ex-commander of the King’s private Guard. A recent injury has forced Tristan to leave his distinguished position, but Elisabeth is determined to make him see he's every bit the man he once was—and more than man enough for her..

Lila DiPasqua saved the best for last with Elisabeth ‘s daring plan to seduce Tristan. I get excited when a woman takes matters in her own hand and in the process aggravates the hero to no end. BEWITCHING IN BOOTS is a story of 85 pages but from the get-go I reveled in the chemistry between the two leading characters. Elisabeth is feisty, smart and has a take-charge attitude which clashes head-on with Tristan’s commanding confidence and blunt attitude. From the moment she appears on his doorstep he practically roars no in her face to every request and she defies him each and every time.

The dance between Elisabeth and Tristan is taunting them both but when the turnaround comes it is hello to the erupting lust. The interplay changes between them in the bed room, there Tristan’s commanding air can teach Elisabeth quite a bit about pleasure and it set the pages on fire. Even with the fast paced storytelling I was engrossed in their character dynamic and the question whether or not Elisabeth would succeed in her plan.

BEWITCHING IN BOOTS is a clash of fiery will power and erotic delight. A story after my own heart!

4 stars

All novella’s in AWAKENED BY A KISS are based on a rich historic backdrop, a dash of fairy tale origin and an intense sexual attraction from which the deeper romantic feelings grow. The emphasis lies on the eroticism rather than an intricate romance making it light-hearted, entertaining and sensual storytelling that steams up the pages. Debut author Lila DiPasqua, created a very unique voice for herself which I enjoyed immensly.

Anthology overall rating; 3.5 stars

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18 November 2010

Getting acquainted with Karen Moning's FEVER series & read-along @ Fiction Vixen

When I read the announcement that Mandi, Tori & Fiction Vixen were going to do a read along of the FEVER series and have discussions of the books I was in doubt. Would I, Should I but most of all, could I? These last 6 weeks I’ve turned in to a tortoise reader and I have a few requests I still need to read and review. But then I thought about it and I realized how long ago it was since I read Darkfever. I’m one of the peeps who’ve read every single Fever book in its release week, so that means I read Darkfever in 2006 o_0 I’m definitely in need of a refresher course ASAP. So I decided to hop on the reread/along train and go for it.

When I thought about rereading the series I realized I didn’t have to review it anymore but could write down some of the juice parts/quotes I would find in each Fever book. I will grab every opportunity to celebrate the awesome writer Karen Moning is, how much I adore the characters and world she has given me to visit over and over again. Of course I was curious and I had to reread my review of Darkfever as well and OMG, I was suddenly confronted again with my state of mind after reading it! I wanted a Dageus-type hero, I wanted scorching sexing, I wanted sweep-off-my-feet romance and Karen Moning gave me something else…

A large part of what my first, frantic reaction to Darkfever was:

My review in 2006: Ok, this book should come with a warning! Or maybe it's already out there and I just didn't pick it up. Have you ever read the previous books of Karen Moning and expect the same? Well, forget it! Longing for a delicious dark Fae or Highlander as a hero? Dig up your magnifying glass. Do you want romance, passion and plundering bodies? Give the snooze button another hit! For Karen Moning turns into another direction and yet you read an original Moning story all the way!!

Mackayla is an average 22 year old with normal wants and needs, but with one phone call her life takes a dramatic turn. Her sister and best friend Alina was murdered in Ireland and she leaves Mackayla a message which doesn't make sense. It doesn't take long for Mac to decide to go to Ireland and figure out what her sister tried to tell her.

With this first book in the FEVER series Karen Moning takes us further into the realm of the Tuathé de Danaan, the Seelie and Unseelie. From the very first page I wandered into Mackayla's world, feeling her emotions, despair, andgrief, but also her determination to find that what destroyed her sisters light. With every page the suspense is building up, question's rise with Mac as she develops a new perspective of the world and you hope that she finds her answers. V'Lane and Barrons make me want more. V'Lane as a death-by-sex Fae (God I love that expression of Mac) makes a woman throb for everything a male body has to offer (How can Karen Moning do this to us!! I wanted plundering wild passion and hungry devouring bodies as only she can write it. She puts us on a diet and ladies, I'm starving!) Then there is Barrons, he's so mysterious about who he is and Karen Moning gives us just a few hints of information, talk about torture!!!

All my comments on this book is given with a wink because with her unique and rich writing style Karen Moning gives us an Urban Fantasy novel of world class and although I missed the romance aspect a little bit she fills it up with an amazing fast paced story, an incredible heroine and a quest of mega proportion's in a world that's just not the same anymore.

I've closed this book that left me wanting for more and now I'll eagerly await the release of Blood Fever!

4 stars

Without further ado I will give you the quotes I picked from DARKFEVER *grin*

At first I thought Mac to be a carefree girl and I really feared I might not relate to her. Since it was all written from the 1st person it is pivotal to get that connection or else much is lost for me. Next is a quote that made me feel that first connection with Mac. I have a similar relationship with my sister and could relate to all Mac felt:

Quote Mac – Those weeks remain forever foggy to me. I wept the entire time, vision and memory blurred by tears. My tears were involuntary. My soul was leaking. Alina wasn’t just my sister; she was my best friend.
The next is what made me laugh so much:

Tuatha Dé -> Mac’s version: too-ah-day

Another one?


Sinsar Dubh -> Mac’s version: shi-sadu

One more :)

Side-seer -> Mac’s version: She-seer

Also one of the most frequent phrases of Mac is Petunia which means ass. She and her sister were taught not to cuss so they created code words for it.

Alright, on the next quote.

Aahhhhh it’s a good one – “and then we meet Jericho Barrons”:
The room had been full of books before, now it was full of him. About thirty, six foot two or three, he had dark hair, golden skin, and dark eyes. His features were strong, chiseled. I couldn’t pinpoint his nationality any more than I could his accent; some kind of European crossed with Old World Mediterranean or maybe an ancestor with dark Gypsy blood. He wore an elegant, dark grey Italian suit, a crisp white shirt, and a muted patterned tie. He wasn’t handsome. That was too calm a word. He was intensely masculine. He was sexual. He attracted. There was an omnipresent carnality about him, in his dark eyes, in his full mouth, in the way he stood.
Aren’t you a puddle of want after reading this cause I certainly was.

Another quote from Mac which triggered a grin from me:
Mythological race? Dark King? Magic? Was this all some kind of joke? Alina didn’t get into woo-woo stuff anymore than I did. We both loved to read and watch the occasional movie, but we always went for the run-of-the-mill mysteries, thrillers, or romantic comedies, none of the bizarre paranormal stuff. Vampires? Eew. Dead. Enough said. Time-travel? Ha, give me creature comforts over a hulking highlander with the manners of a caveman any day. Werewolves? Oh please, just plain stupid. Who wants to get it on with a man who’s ruled by his inner dog? As if all men aren’t anyway, even without the lycanthrope genre.
Uhm, what can I say, I felt slightly disconnected to Mac when she ranted about a highlander with the manners of a caveman – I would so go for that. Anyone else besides me?

I hear many talk about Jericho Barrons but on page 154 – “Hello V’Lane” *rowr*
Even today, after all that I’ve seen, I couldn’t begin to describe V’Lane, prince of the Tuathe Dé Danaan. There are some things that are simply immense, too rich to be contained in words. This is the best that I can offer; imagine a tall, powerful mighty archangel, frighteningly male, terrifyingly beautiful. Then paint him the most exquisite shades of chestnut, bronze, and gold you can possibly imagine. Give him a mane shimmering with strands of cinnamon gilded by sunlight, skin of tawny velvet, and eyes of liquid amber, kissed by molten gold.. The Fae was unutterably beautiful.
And the last quote is another one of Mac’s quirky humor I love so much:
We’ve got to find the Sinsar Dubh, Alina had said. Everything depends on it. What depended on it? I had a sinking feeling the answer to that question was one of those Fate-of-the-World things. I didn’t do Fate-of-the-World things. That wasn’t in my job description. I poured drafts and mixed drinks, wiped counters and washed glasses. After work I swept up.
After reading DARKFEVER for the second time I realize it instantly drew me back in to the world of the Tuatha Dé, of Mac, Barrons and V’Lane. I couldn’t get enough of the dry barbs coming from Barrons and the humor and resilience of Mac. The FEVER series might’ve been a complete turnaround in the romance storytelling of Karen Moning, it is her writing voice, her vivid characters and rich world building that remained the same and I fell hard and fast for it all!

Now I’m wandering over to Fiction Vixen to have a fantastic time and talk some more in their discussion on DARKFEVER. 

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17 November 2010

Review: Eve Langlais - Wickedest Witch

Author Website - Purchase - Facebook

ISBN 978-1-59578-764-4
Release date: october 25, 2010
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Originally written for for TRR

Cover Summary:
Evangaline is not a very nice witch, but ask her if she cares. However, she does have a healthy sexual appetite, and when an uncouth shifter starts appearing in her fantasies, it's not long before she makes her erotic mind play a reality. But everyone knows a wicked witch can't fall in love, or can she?

Ryker, a hot and muscled shifter, knows his size and dominating presence intimidates women, all except for one curvy witch he just can't get out of his mind. Set to a task only the two of them can accomplish, he discovers wickedness has its uses, especially in the bedroom.

Dealing with vamps, a wedding from hell and a cackling gnome named Rumpelstiltskin, will these two wicked beings survive and, even more disturbing, decide to stay together?

My Review: Of all the bars in town, the wickedest witch had to walk into his. When Evangeline meets the devilish shape shifter Ryker, sparks sizzle in the air. After a lame one liner, Ryker's attempt to get Evangeline into bed crashes and burns quickly. However, Rumpelstiltskin has a job for them, thereby throwing two people with a combustible chemistry together. A battle of wills ensues…

Eve Langlais entered into my book world with a story of two deliciously wicked, slightly evil characters who grabbed my attention with their quips and quirks from the start. Both Evangeline and Ryker have infamous reputations and they are unapologetic about it. They are both ‘in your face' direct which made their acerbic verbal sparring such a joy to read. I felt a devilish grin spread across my face more than a time or two and I love how they resonated with me.

From the first page, Evangeline showed me why she is called the wickedest witch and she remained a temperamental woman throughout the story. Even though I thought her giggles were out of character, it was just a minor discretion in the whole. Her thoughts on carnal pleasure, on love and on Ryker contained enough snark to make up for her incidental burst of giggles.

Ryker, now he is the kind of hero I can't get enough of; he is crass, sarcastic, big, bad and for the right woman, can purr like only a feline shifter can. He is unafraid to taunt Evangeline, to throw verbal barbs her way and deal with the consequences. Ryker gives as good as he gets and he turns the ride to their happily ever after quite a bit fierier.

What was also fiery was the eroticism, because with such a strong chemistry between the main characters I didn't expect anything less than hot and bothered between them and Eve Langlais delivers. It isn't in the diversity of the carnal play but in the hunger, the directness of their need and how they seize it that becomes so titillating to read. There is one moment on the hood of a car that was…WOW, sizzling!

Everything else was secondary to the developing relationship. The small supportive cast fleshed out the back story of the main characters. The mystery was nice but for me just a reason to thrust Evangeline and Ryker together. I must say that towards the end some corners were cut in the mystery and happily ever after solution which gave me the impression things suddenly happened a bit too fast, too soon. Yet what really stood out for me was the flavor and flair of the characters and with a ‘call it like I see it' writing style, it served the characterization well. This is what held my focus throughout the novella and because the author gave the humor, attraction and dialogues in spades, I didn't really miss anything else.

WICKEDEST WITCH is a good example of how well a novella can work when the chemistry between the hero and heroine leaps off the pages. Ryker and Evangeline are a deviously good pairing I couldn't get enough of.

4 stars

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15 November 2010

Review: An unexpected raw romance -> Alyssa Turner - Bittersweet

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Received .pdf copy from author for review.

Cover Summary:
An intimate tale of love, sex and loss.

What happens when the line between love and despair is blurred? Sabrina must find out if she has room in her heart for both. Her devoted, disabled husband has planned a Valentine’s Day to remember. Her biggest surprise – that unrestrained passion can heal her deepest wound. If Sabrina can let ecstasy wash away her pain, she will have been given the most valuable Valentine’s gift of all: a love that endures through eternity.

About the author,
Alyssa Turner’s writings address a woman’s desire to really have it all – including the things she’s not supposed to want. New to the erotic romance scene, Alyssa enjoys painting pictures in her literary works with a creative use of metaphor and detailed visual imagery. Her publishing credits include, Two For One, a featured story in Best Women’s Erotica 2011, edited by Violet Blue, print publication in November 2010, Bittersweet, Xcite Books e-publication September 2010 and Criminal Behavior, a Mainstream Erotica monthly finalist.

My Review: I’ve been surprised by a few erotic romance writers in the last few months and Alyssa Turner is one of them. I have to admit though that I’m a reader who loves the details in a story. Prolonged scenes full of sensualism, heated dialogues or really delving in to the mind of a character is what brings me to my reader’s happy place. Still, even though Alyssa Turner only gave me a 53 page long story she gave me all of that in the core and with an intensity I love. In mere pages I understood there was a combustible spark between Keith and Sabrina, igniting some fierce emotions. Over a period of time it resulted in a deep love, even if the trope was one of a newly appointed professor at the NYU and his student, which felt a bit corny at first.

I was quickly fast forward to the time where they were married for years but catastrophe had struck in the form of a car accident which left Keith paralyzed from the waist down. Because the story is told from Sabrina’s point of view I initially got to understand how it affected her and how she now perceived their once strong relationship. It is then that Keith comes with an outrageous proposal. Since a while he has a new assistant, Evan, and Keith wants him to give to Sabrina what he can’t anymore.

Well, up till then I was engaged in the story. Curious how this situation would play itself out. It is only pages later that Keith explains his reasoning behind his proposal that Evan should take his place. From there on out there were such conflicting emotions in me. At one hand I understood that Keith and Sabrina had a different outlook on life but what about their love? At one hand I got titillating new emotions blooming with Sabrina but also her devastating pain and a love that is tried and tested. The rawness of the emotions washed over my via the writing voice of Alyssa Turner. I had some initial reluctance to accept the new budding feelings from Sabrina and yet, the proposal, the choices made, it was all born from the love Sabrina and Keith feel.

Keith who is this strong driven personality is stuck in heart breaking circumstances. I got his desperation, his endless love for his wife and his happiness at finding a part lost between him and Sabrina. In between there is Evan, never diminishing the love between this strong pair but supportive, promising a new beginning and to feel a spectrum of emotions again for the first time. The somewhat unorthodox relationship exposed individual wants and needs which captivated me in both its intricacy and its simplicity. Like Keith said to Sabrina:

“That’s what you think you should be doing. Sometimes you have to let your instincts take the lead. There is nothing wrong with your sensibilities or what they are telling you.”
“Stop trying to make this sound so easy.”
He sighed, twisting a lock of my hair around his finger. “But it is, Sabrina. It’s as simple as we make it.”
I’m not saying BITTERSWEET is a perfect story. The quickness of storytelling diminishes some of the flow. Some scenes could’ve used more elaboration to create a deeper connection to the characters. Even though I would’ve enjoyed to have the author explore Sabrina’s double edged feelings even more in this novella I believe the saying “sometimes less is more” fits this story to a tee. What captivated me from the get-go are the conflicting emotions due to a terrible situation. It evoked such strong emotions with me! Alyssa Turner places her characters in the most devastating situations and still manages to let love shine in all its facets. The title is very apt for the story because even though I was torn in two it is the dose of realism that lends a beauty to the story and it struck a chord with me.

I was crying and smiling by the end for the three characters I loved to meet for this short time. Alyssa Turner evokes powerful emotions with her novella; BITTERSWEET. I hope to hear more from her!

4 stars

Quote Sabrina:
Though I would never freely admit that he had the upper hand, he knew when I’d been outdone and preferred to take his spoils in the sound of my pleasured sighs. Disputes always led to sex. Arguments equaled passion. With Keith, it was an outright brawl every time; one that made my eventual submission a delectable turn-on for both of us.
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12 November 2010

Column: I've got the fever for & more

I’ve almost been absent from my virtual world for seven days and I can tell you, I didn’t like it much. Last friday started with me getting ready for a weekend away with Pearl to my sister, Natascha. My bag was packed, pillow included because I can sleep everywhere but I need my own pillow for my head to rest upon :) A quiche was made for Saturday night dinner, books for Pearl and Natascha were packed to give and my e-reader was charged to the max. It was stormy weather when Pearl and I left but chatter boxes that we are those three hour drives go by in the blink of an eye. Although we arrived around 0.30 AM did we do the sensible thing, drink our cup of tea and go to bed? Heck no, we talked, and talked and oh yeah, talked some more and we hit the mattress at 4.30-ish. Of course Natascha was up at 8 AM walking her dog Bodhi, who enamored both me and Pearl with his utterly charming behavior. Saturday and Sunday was filled with lots of laughter, lots of talk, some TV watching, lunching in the city and to my shock, very little reading. Yes, when we are together we are not ashamed to have a reading hour or two, it is ingrained in our system, we need to have it to function properly.

So when I got home on Sunday evening I was tired, talked to hubby for an hour and decided to go to bed. Monday was about catching up in the household, a dreadful job but I have to do it *sigh* Then I had to edit my review of SAFE WORDS and post it on my blog. I can still get a bit sad thinking about how the story was a letdown for me :(( But then Tuesday hit and my neck started to cramp up which is a BIG sign for a tension headache episode…I can try anything, from hot showers - to massage - to keeping a very low profile but by nightfall I was already having a splitting headache. *deep sigh* I know by now what I was in for. A day of excruciating headache, then a day of nausea and throwing up and then a day of having a head that feels all muscles have been bruised. Medicine can help to a certain degree but often it doesn’t so I try to ride it all out…

I’m always so happy when I feel myself again and catch up as quickly as I can with everyone and everything in my virtual world. So today is an awesome day, no headache, hubby came home from work at 7.30 AM saying he got the day off due to safety measures taken with the stormy wind outside YAY and he’s taking me in to the city for some shopping :) I never say no to hubby and I shopping. It is going to be a wonderful prelude to a weekend where I got some awesome reads on the agenda. Today I will finish Wickedest Witch, which is a hot, funny read. My Friday night date is the final novella in Awakened By A Kiss and the Saturday is all focused on Clare London’s 72 HOURS and Sunday is my re-read afternoon with Karen Moning’s DARKFEVER. Mandi/Tori at Smexybooks and Sophia at Fiction Vixen have planned a FEVER re-read session which I’m planning to attend! On those days I will also have a FEVER quote post (the quote post is an idea by Pearl) since I have already reviewed each book. We can never have too many tantalizing quotes out there of this series!!

For more info on the FEVER re-read go here or here

So my week has been with ups and downs but I look forward to some great reading time!

What's on your to-do list this weekend?

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08 November 2010

Review: Chris Owen/Jodi Payne - Safe Words

Author Website CO / JP - Purchase E-Book - Facebook JP - Twitter CO/JP

About Safe Words, A Deviations Novel
by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne
350 pages / 79700 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-044-2
Ebook zipped file contains - html, lit, Adobe and Sony optimized pdf, prc, epub, also available in paperback
Book Origin: Personal E-Book Library

Cover Summary:
In Safe Words, which picks up where the Deviations series left off, Tobias, Noah and Phan are all working on finding their place, both at Bradford's club and in their personal lives. They're all living together, and Tobias has taken on the roll of full-time Dom, which he loves, but finds incredibly challenging.

While Noah finds comfort in the new state of things and is looking forward to deeper submission, Phan is finding it harder to strike a balance. Too many changes happening too fast are making Phan act out, and neither Tobias nor Noah are sure how to deal with it. Life is not perfect for Bradford, either, as he discovers new feelings for his sub Nikki. Can Tobias help his friend, manage his job teaching the other Doms, and his relationships with Noah and Phan, or will the house that he's built for himself fall down around their ears?

The Deviations series includes: Deviations Submission, Deviations Domination, Deviations Discipline and Deviations Bondage. 

My Review: From the first novel in the DEVIATIONS series the author duo Chris Owen and Jodi Payne captivated me with a triangular developing relationship. Not only did they give me some high quality BDSM that rocked the eroticism, but also intricate characters who got under my skin very quickly. I thought it all ended with book four; BONDAGE, so color me surprised to find out my favorite BDSM series got a fifth novel release. Of course I immediately bought it and fired up my e-reader, eager to become a part again in the emotional journey of Dominant, Tobias and his two subs, Noah and Phantom. All I discovered while reading however was that the continuance of this series with SAFE WORDS wasn’t up to par with its previous releases.

It isn’t that Tobias, Noah or Phantom are suddenly different, or that the eroticism fails to heat up the pages. Neither is it the love, for it is evident from start to finish this threesome has something unique going on. I think a part of what diminished the magic in SAFE WORDS is that at the end of book four; BONDAGE I knew Tobias, Noah and Phantom could concur any minor difficulties left to deal with in this ménage. By then they were so deeply in love, their communications skills good and the major problems were solved. That left very little within SAFE WORDS to deal with which showed in the first hundred pages. The day to day activities were at the forefront. It was getting up, making breakfast, having a morning discipline for Noah and Phantom, getting to work together, discuss work related problems, go home, have some sexing, cuddling and go to sleep. It was monotonous and the storyline became tedious for me, lacking the depth in which previous struggles were solved.

Tobias, Noah and Phantom still have that intricate connection though but save one issue for Phantom and a short clash between the three of them, that connection wasn’t challenged much. For lovers of this series it still gives a nice return to the three men with their vibrant personalities. Men who I’ve become very attached to over the course of this series. Tobias is ever the even tempered, giving man who loves to be a Dom. He has his hands full with his two subs, Noah and Phantom. Noah is a man who enjoys the challenge and he is a steady influence on Phantom. Phantom on the other hand is a live wire of emotions and body movement. Each of these three men has his strengths and weaknesses but together they are a unit and their interpersonal connection is translated in the dialogues which is full of humor, passion and everything else they feel.

Every ingredient in the DEVIATIONS series was present but subdued. I can’t say there was bad writing or that that characters had a completely turn around in their behavior. Even the sex play was spine-tingling and there was also some character growth in the latter part of the story. Still, I can’t deny I missed something. Whether it was an intense romantic development, more struggles within the ménage or a higher level of engaging storytelling, I can’t pin point my fingers to the exact thing that made this entry feel so off for me. Perhaps it comes down to the fact that by the end of SAFE WORDS I felt I could’ve done without it and still feel absolutely fantastic about this series. Now I feel let down while the characters are still so very dear to me.

Whatever magic Chris Owen and Jodi Payne possess it isn’t really happening in SAFE WORDS creating a story I could’ve done without in this series.

2.5 stars

Quote Smexing in the hallway:
Noah pinned Phan with both hands and worked Phan's cock with a practiced tongue in the ways he knew from experience drove Phan wild. Little tricks like pulling away and letting the cool air in for a moment before swallowing him deep again, or digging his thumbs into the hollows under Phan's hip bones.

Phan was more than a lover; he was Noah's closest friend, and Noah wanted it to be good, wanted Phan to feel how much Noah cared about him with every muscle in his body.

Phan's legs started to shake right about the time that the words dried up and Phan's hands dug in harder, clinging. With a gasp and a long groan, Phan started to come, his whole body giving a long shudder as he released pulse after pulse into Noah's throat, moaning and whispering Noah's name.

Noah waited for Phan to finish, swallowing everything his lover had to offer and then gently licking and kissing his way up Phan's body until they stood toe to toe. "Hell, yes," he said softly and then kissed Phan gently, curling his arms around Phan's waist.

Phan leaned, holding on. "You didn't have to do that," he whispered. "But I'm awfully glad you did."

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04 November 2010

New winners galore!

I've tried and tried for ways to get in touch with the previous two winners of the Tairen Soul party but they haven't returned any of my attempts. So I have Decided after more then a week to pick new winners with random.org:

*The winner of the first prize: (1) Complete set of Tairen Soul novels, collector cards, + Fading Lands T-shirt
Spav said...

Since I haven't read the series yet, I would like to win the prize #1.
Posted badge on my blog sidebar:
* and the winner of the second prize: (2) copy of Crown Of Crystal Flame, collector cards, Steli mug

Natascha said...
I'd like to put my hand up for:

(2) copy of Crown Of Crystal Flame, collector cards, Steli mug

I've got a post ready for tomorrow on my blog, flashing the badge and ofcourse, promoting Crown Of Crystal Flame! I've had the pleasure of reading the first 3 books, the fourth is on my next to read list in awaiting this release.

For those who are new to this series and are going to start: You are so lucky to have the whole series still laying ahead of you!!!

I also have a Sinners giveaway which means the winner will receive a signed copy of Backstage Pass, and random choose the lucky:

Mika said...

Well, I never received a love letter. I'm not a big romance-turned person (except in books) and it would probably have no effect on me. Only if it was incredibly well written!


I will get in touch with you today for addy's so the authors can send you all the prizes. Congratz and happy reading everyone! 

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03 November 2010

Guestpost: THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED….Where did you get your ideas for that?


A Fiery Tales Collection
By Lila DiPasqua
Berkley (Sensation)
ISBN: 978-0425237007


Inspired by “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Ugly Duckling, and “The Princess and the Pea,” Lila DiPasqua spins three sexy tales that give new meaning to the term bedtime story…

The Marquis’ New Clothes: To save her cousin, Aimee de Miran must retrieve a jeweled ring from the most sinfully seductive man at court, the Marquis de Nattes. But to search his considerable wardrobe she’ll have to get very close to the notorious rake…and soon she finds herself very close to him indeed, with his clothes—and hers—utterly forgotten…

The Lovely Duckling: Reputed for his carnal skills, Joseph d’Alumbert prefers amorous encounters without emotional entanglement—until a quick-witted lady stirs tender feelings and hot desire. Emilie de Sarron suffered burns to her body as an infant, and keeps her scars—and her heart—well hidden. But Joseph is determined to peel away her inhibitions, one slow steamy kiss at a time, to reveal the beautiful swan inside…

The Princess and the Diamonds: Princess Gabrielle can’t sleep at night. There is something hard in her bed. No, not just the stolen diamonds tucked under her mattress, but the handsome Marquis on it….whose carnal talents she can’t resist. But he threatens her secret mission, and worse, she stands to lose far more than the diamonds---her heart is at stake….

“…Strong-minded heroines you can relate to, breathtaking carnally gifted male leads…DiPasqua writes with a comfortable elegance and grace, and in turn, crafts a sexy collection that readers will love.” – Fresh Fiction.

“Ripe with steamy affairs, these lusty stories are hot enough to warm the coldest winter night.” – Publishers Weekly

Read an excerpt of THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED – http://www.liladipasqua.com/princessbook.html

Read an excerpt of AWAKNED BY A KISS— http://www.liladipasqua.com/awakenbook.html

About the Author:
Lila DiPasqua writes wicked & witty historical romance for Penguin/Berkley. She lives with her real-life hero husband and three children and is a firm believer in the happily-ever-after. She loves history and enjoys traveling. She has been to four continents so far. Her novels, AWAKENED BY A KISS, and THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED are featured in Doubleday as well as Rhapsody Book Clubs. To learn more about Lila and her books, visit http://www.liladipasqua.com/

Guestpost: THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED….Where did you get your ideas for that?

I get asked this question a lot. The short answer is: I get ideas for my stories from a variety of places. I’ll hear a conversation on the train. Or see a commercial on TV that will trigger something in my imagination. Oh, and then there are history books. . . They’re a great source of inspiration, too! Suddenly, I’m seeing characters forming in my mind and bits and pieces of scenes playing out in my head!

As for my November historical romance release, THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED (Berkley Sensation), I’d like to share with you how it all came about.

You see, last year my agent landed me a two-book deal with Berkley. It was the summer of 2009. In fact, it was the day before the RWA National Conference in Washington D.C. I flew down to Nationals and got to meet my agent and editor in person for the first time.

It was all so incredible! I was reeling and totally on cloud nine.

I knew that while I was at the conference, I was going to be having a meeting with my fabulous editor to discuss what to do for book two. Book one, AWAKENED BY A KISS (out now!), was already done. My editor loved AWAKENED BY A KISS so much, there were practically no changes to it from the version my agent submitted – that included the title! What you find on the shelves when you pick up AWAKENED BY A KISS – with the exception of one scene my brilliant agent convinced me to drop and about five sentences added here and subtracted there–is the book I wrote from start to finish. Originally.

So, there I was at Nationals, knowing that I’d have to toss out some ideas to my editor. She wanted three more fairy tale retellings (Fiery Tales) in the next book (just like AWAKENED BY A KISS). Which fairy tales should I pick for THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED? And how was I going to twist the fairy tales to make them my own?

On the plane to Washington, I already knew I wanted to do The Emperor’s New Clothes. And, no. I wasn’t going to have my hero parade down the street naked and have people laugh at him (like in the original tale). Definitely NOT sexy. :) In my mind’s eye I could see Adam de Vey, Marquis de Nattes forming. He was very smart and very sexy—tall, dark and oh so wickedly handsome. He loved the finer things in life; he had a penchant for expensive clothes and beautiful women. And an abundance of both!

That’s when Aimee de Miran popped into my mind. His perfect match. A countess, a widow. And the only woman Adam couldn’t have. Why? A couple of reasons, actually. First, she was married to his good friend—that is until 3 years ago when Aimee’s husband passed away. Second, she doesn’t like him. At all! She believes he’s as big a womanizer as her late husband had been. Her husband had broken Aimee’s heart with his infidelities. Another libertine is the last man she’d ever want. Throw in a newly arrived wardrobe for Adam, accidentally drop an important ring into his pocket and add a desperate Aimee who must seduce this master of seduction in order to get close enough to search his pockets and locate the ring. . .and well, let the fire and fun begin!

On my next blog stop, I’ll talk about my inspiration for The Lovely Duckling (my Ugly Duckling story!). Check my blog at http://liladipasqua.blogspot.com/  to see where I am tomorrow! Trust me, this is one story you want to hear. My inspiration came from the most incredible women. :)

Question: What are you favorite story lines in a romance? Enemies to lovers? Marriage of convenience? Secret baby? A Cinderella tale? Maybe an Ugly Duckling story? Let’s talk romance!

One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of AWAKENED BY A KISS or THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED---winner’s choice! GIVEAWAY OPEN WORLDWIDE.

02 November 2010

ARC Review: Evangeline Collins - Seven Nights To Forever

Website author - Purchase

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade; Original edition (November 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425236838
ISBN-13: 978-0425236833

Cover Summary:
She offered him one week of pleasure. No more and no less...

Some sacrifices are more difficult than others. Left destitute after her father's death, Rose Marlowe has debts to settle and a younger brother to support. But she also possesses an unmatched beauty-one that could command quite a price...

Now, every month, Rose secretly travels from her country home to spend one week at a decadent London brothel, where she's become a sought-after prize. Elegant and accomplished in the art of pleasure, she spends her nights fulfilling the fantasies of the gentlemen of the ton while denying the wish buried deep in her heart.

Then one night a wealthy merchant gentleman walks through her door. Handsome, kind and compassionate, with a lonely soul that matches her own, James Archer is not her usual client. Falling in love with a client, never mind a married one, is unthinkable. Yet Rose can't help but lose herself in his arms as one night becomes seven-and seven nights lead to a chance at forever...

You can find my review -here

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01 November 2010

ARC Review: Nalini Singh - Play Of Passion

Author website - Purchase - Facebook - Twitter

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley; Original edition (November 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425237796
ISBN-13: 978-0425237793
Book #12 in the Psy/Changeling series

Cover Summary:
In his position as tracker for the SnowDancer pack, it’s up to Drew Kincaid to rein in rogue changelings who have lost control of their animal halves—even if it means killing those who have gone too far. But nothing in his life has prepared him for the battle he must now wage to win the heart of a woman who makes his body ignite…and who threatens to enslave his wolf.

Lieutenant Indigo Riviere doesn’t easily allow skin privileges, especially of the sensual kind—and the last person she expects to find herself craving is the most wickedly playful male in the den. Everything she knows tells her to pull back before the flames burn them both to ash…but she hasn’t counted on Drew’s will.

Now, two of SnowDancer’s most stubborn wolves find themselves playing a hot, sexy game even as lethal danger stalks the very place they call home…

My review can be found -here-  

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