Thursday, April 30, 2009

Storm Glass

It can be very hard being the only student at school, when everyone considers you to be a one trick wonder. If anyone would know, Opal Cowan would. Opal is a glassmaker. As if only having one power wasn't bad enough, Opal also has to contend with the fact that she poisoned Yelena. Though Yelena has forgiven her and Opal can now call Yelena her friend.

Someone or some ones are sabotaging the Stormdancer clan. Their glass orbs are the clan's most powerful weapon against the storms energy. The Stormdancers use the orbs to contain the storm's energy. The problem is that the orbs keep breaking. This is a very bad thing, because for every orb that breaks a Stormdancer dies. The magicians have called a meeting with Opal. They tell Opal that they want her and second magician Zitora Cowan to travel to the Stormdancer clan and help figure out what is causing the orbs to break. It won't be easy as someone is after Opal. Opal will have to dig in deep within herself for the magic that she possess.

When I first heard that Mrs. Snyder was coming out with a new series, I was beyond myself excited. I loved her previous series with Yelena and was sorry when it ended. Maria V. Snyder is the first and only author who has ever truly turned me on to these types of books that incorporated fantasy and magic. I can still remember when I first read Poison Study. I finished the book in a matter of hours. I can also remember experiencing the tragedy when the release date for the next book kept changing. What I really loooooove about Mrs. Snyder's new Glass series is that it features Opal, a minor character from the prior books and allows her to become the main character, so that readers and fans can root for a new heroine. I am sitting on the edge of my seat for the next book..Sea Glass. I agree with Maria and the fact that I too also want to be a Stormdancer. I have one last comment and that is run to your local bookstore and treat yourself to a top rate author and her books!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Contest Winners

These five lucky readers/followers have all won a copy of this book. I have sent an email to the winners.

1. casey aubut said...
2. JULIE said...
3. Debs Desk said...
4. sharon54220 said...
5. Lianne said...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Axe of Iron: The Settlers

The year is 1008. A group of Northmen led by Halfdan Ingolfsson and accompanied by his second in command, Gudbjartur Einarsoon. Together they and their group leave their homes in Greenland and set out for the undiscovered, unpopulated land of Vinland. A place that will later be known as North America. Along the way, Halfdan and the rest of the Northmen come in contact with a group of people who call themselves Thalmiut of The People of the Deer. Though communication between the two civilizations is difficult at first, they eventually figure our a way to get along with each other. They teach each other how they live and survive. Will the Northmen be able to apply this new found knowledge and survive in this new land or will they give up and head back to Greenland?

Let me first start off by saying that when I read the summary for this book I thought it was interesting but stil had my concerns about whether I would really like it. I can say with one hundred percent total satification that I truly enjoyed Axe of Iron: The Settlers. It is not often that I come across a book that will amaze and surprise me in a good way but when it does happen I love those moments. I read and finished this book over the weekend. Mr. Hunsinger is a wonderful and talented author. He really knows how to tell a good story. It was like I could experience everything from the swaying of the ships to the hard labor of cutting up and preparing meat for the winter months to come. So my last words to you the reader is to pick your self up a copy of this book today and you will see what I am talking about.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fragile Eternity

Aislinn has become immortal, which means she is now a faery and the new Summer Queen. This would not have been possible if she and Keenan, the Summer Kind had not defeated Beira, the Winter Queen. Keenan is glad to have Aislinn as his queen. He has been waiting many centuries for his soul mate. The problem is that Aislinn does not feel the same way about Keenan. This is because her heart belongs to another. His name is Seth and he is a mortal. It tears Seth up inside to know that he can't be with Aislinn forever and that some day he will die and she will live on.

Sisters...Donia, Bananch, and Sorcha are up to no good. Bananch loves pain and suffering as she very well should. She represents war and destruction. She tells Donia that she needs to do something about Seth as he could cause problems for them all with his relationship to Aislinn. Donia agrees but does anyone listen to Besides she is a little too pre-occupied with Keenan. She and Keenan can't keep their hands off each other but as much as they want to be together they know that isn't possible. Winter and Summer just don't mix.

Fragile Eternity is the third book in the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. This is one series where you need to read the first book. I spent about the first third of the book trying to figure out who everyone was and what has transpired in the previous novel. Once I got all of the characters straightened out, I was able to sit back and really enjoy the story. The thing that most surprised me about this book was that it was a little on the dark side. I have no problems with that but it might be an issue with with some of the younger readers as this series is geared towards readers starting at age twelve and up. Plus the relationship between Aislinn and Seth is more grown up. There are some moments where it mentions them in bed together or Aislinn stripping her clothing off. I would suggest that if you are looking for a new author to read that you do give Melissa Marr a try as she won my heart over with Fragile Eternity. In fact I plan to go out and purchase the first book. Adults will enjoy this series as well. Come take a trip into Ms. Marr's world and see who comes out on top...good or evil.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Lost Hours

I want to thank Dorothy with Pump up your Book for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

Piper Mills really didn't know her grandmother or hand real desire to know her. Years ago, Piper's own dreams of becoming an Olympic equestrian champion rider were crushed...literally. Due to a mis-calculation on Piper's part, her horse didn't quite clear the jump. Piper was thrown from her horse, only to have the horse land on her. Piper was lucky to have survived though she may not think so, since she had ridden a horse again. Who can blame her.

Piper ends up heading back to Savannah, where she inherited her grand parents home as well as being the care giver for her grandmother. Piper finds some old torn pages from a scrapbook. She also located a secret room with a crib. Piper decides that her grandmother might actually have a story worth listening too. Unfortunately she passes away and the only other person alive, who knows the truth is not sharing anything. Piper realizes that you sometimes have to get past the pain to experience true happiness.

The Lost Hours surprised me in a good way. It turned out to be a enduring, sweet read. I read this book in one afternoon. This is because I felt an connection with the characters in this story and wanted to know more about them. There was something about the simplicity of the story that worked. A part of this was also the location. Locations can sometimes help bring everything together and that is what Savannah, Georgia did. The South wins! Karen White won me over with this novel. I plan to check out more of her books. If you are looking for a new author to try then Karen White is it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Meet the First Family

I want to thank Miriam with Hachette for sending me a copy of this book to review.

The First Family brings back Secret Service agents turned private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell.

It was just like any other day. Everyone had gathered to celebrate the birthday party of the president's niece at Camp David. Suddenly the party turns sour really fast when Willa is kidnapped.

This is where Sean and Michelle come into the picture. Sean helped save the president years ago when he was a senator. The First Lady never forgot Sean. Even though the FBI and everyone else is looking for Willa, the First Lady trusts only one person and that is Sean. She calls him and begs him to take the case. Sean agrees with his his partner, Michelle.

Michelle has her own problems to deal and is distracted by them. Her mother has been murdered and her father is the prime suspect. Though Michelle would like to believe her father would never do anything like that, she can't help but feel that her father is hiding something. Michelle will have to try and put her demons aside in order to save a little girl.

This is only the second book I have read by David Baldacci. The best thing I like about him is that you can read any of his books without having to start at the beginning. This is a good thing as this is exactly what I did. I enjoyed reading this book but I had one problem with it. I was surprised how many times I kept putting this book down. This is because...why I love this types of suspence novels, I kept waiting and wondering when the " Oh my God, I can't put this book down" moment was going to happen. For me it really never got there but I still enjoy Mr. Baldacci and will keep on reading his books.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fatal Waters

I want to thank Iris Moss for sending me a copy of her book to review.

Marine biologist, Dr. Autumn Knight felt like her life was finally coming together after her broken engagement and the death of her fiancé, shark expert Cory Perkins six months ago in the waters of Hawaii.

Autumn was locking up for the night where she worked at Lakeside Aquarium, when she hears a splash. She sees a man face down floating in the tank. Autumn pulls the man out, only to have her nightmare begin all over again. The man is non other than Cory but that can't be right as Cory is suppose to be dead. Cory dies in Autumn's arms. Autumn suspects something is up and decides to do some investigate work. Autumn learns that Cory was living a very dangerous and secretative life.

Boris Zolo is a very wealthy man. He also happens to own one of the most expensive sea life collections. One of the items in his collection was a gigantic pearl that is estimated at a worth of forty-five million dollars. I say "was" because it was stolen. Boris has invited Autumn to come stay for a few days in Hawaii. She agrees. What she doesn't know is that Boris has invited her because she is the prime suspect. Autumn had better watch her back as the waters are deadly when surrounded by sharks.

Fatal Waters is a good, quick read. I liked that Autumn did not decide to sit back and let the authorities solve Cory's death. This book starts out strong. I could picture everything that was happening in detail. It was like I was in the water...watching and waiting for my impending death. Though I enjoyed the plot and Autumn, what I wished is that I felt a little more of a connection with the characters in this book. Because of this I won't always be fully focused on the story and would have to go back and re-read some parts. Aside from the characters, Iris Moss did a good job with this book. I would gladly read another one of her books.

You can purchase a copy here

Friday, April 17, 2009

Made in the USA Giveaway

Hello All. I don't have a book review ready for today so instead I am hosting a giveaway. Courtesy of Hachette I am giving away five copies of this book


The bestselling author of WHERE THE HEART IS returns with a heartrending tale of two children in search of a place to call home.Lutie McFee's history has taught her to avoid people, to places, and to almost everything. With her mother long dead and her father long gone to find his fortune in Las Vegas, 15-year-old Lutie lives in the god-forsaken town of Spearfish, South Dakota with her twelve-year-old brother, Fate, and Floy Satterfield, the 300-pound ex-girlfriend of her father.While Lutie shoplifts for kicks, Fate spends most of his time reading, watching weird TV shows and worrying about global warming and the endangerment of pandas.

As if their life is not dismal enough, one day, while shopping in their local Wal-Mart, Floy keels over and the two motherless kids are suddenly faced with the choice of becoming wards of the state or hightailing it out of town in Floy's old Pontiac. Choosing the latter, they head off to Las Vegas in search of a father who has no known address, no phone number and, clearly, no interest in the kids he left behind.

MADE IN THE U.S.A. is the alternately heartbreaking and life-affirming story of two gutsy children who must discover how cruel, unfair and frightening the world is before they come to a place they can finally call home.* Includes a Reading Group Guide

Open to US and Canada Only and NO PO Boxes. Contest ends May 1st. Please leave an email address.

Share with me your favorite thing made in the USA. It can be an item or even a celebrity. This will get you 3 entries.

If you are are a follower say so and that will get you 1 more entry.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Boneman's Daughter

I want to thank Miriam with Hachette for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Intelligence officer Ryan Evans has never been much of a husband to Celine or a father to his daughter, Bethany. In fact to avoid having to deal with Celine, Ryan volunteers for dangerous missions in far away counties. His latest mission has him gathering data in the Middle East. Ryan had called it a day and was travelling back to camp when the Humvee that he was riding in was attacked. Ryan gets knocked out. When Ryan awakes, he is in a room with a man by the name of Kahlid, who interrogates him. Kahlid teaches Ryan the value of life. He also shows Evans that you can break someone's bones without damaging the skin. Just when Ryan taught the end was near, he is able to escape and be rescued. Ryan is ready to put this whole ordeal behind him but the nightmare is just beginning.

A serial killer by the name of Boneman has abducted Bethany. The Boneman received his name because he would take girls, break their bones and leave them for dead. Boneman only broke their bones because he was trying to be the perfect father to the perfect daughter and none of the girls were it but maybe Bethany will be that daughter. Ryan gets accused of being Boneman. So Ryan decides to take matters into his own hands.

Boneman's Daughter is the first novel that I have read by Mr. Dekker. I have seen his books all over and even own one of his other prior works but never got the chance to try them out till now. After completing this story, I plan to check out more of Ted Dekker's books, starting with the one I currently own. The story moves very fast and there are a lot of characters and movements going on that I thought I would have a hard time following along but this book was so well put together that you will lose yourself in it. Ryan is a very likable character. I felt myself pulling for him. Though I knew who Boneman was, I did not expect the twist near the end of the book. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Boneman's Daughter today.

Purchase the book here

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Midnight Revelations

I want to thank Karen M. Bence for sending me a copy of her book to review.

Sara, her husband, David and her son, Jack have just moved to Virginia. They have found the perfect house with lots and lots of acre for their horses. While out and about something catches Sara's eye. It is a large antique mirror. Sara walks into the antique shop and inquires about the mirror. The shop owner tells her that the mirror actually came from the house that she and her family just purchased. Sara buys the mirror and brings it home. That is when all of the strange things start to happen. First Sara sees a woman in the mirror, then Sara locates a locked diary. When her son has an accident, Sara seeks the help of the church hopefully that will be enough. There is something evil lurking in Sara's home and it wants her to know the truth but at what price?

Midnight Revelations by Karen M. Bence is book one in the Dark Whispers series. From the first page you will be drawn into Sara's world. It consists of evil presences, a mysterious man and the a desire to seek the truth. Ms. Bence's writing style is right on. Instantly you get an image of what she was trying to bring to the story. Sara is a very likable character. The storyline for the most part was good but for me I just wished the spook factor would have been turned up a few more notches. Other wise I had no problems with this book. So for anyone looking for a quick read, then you should give Midnight Revelations a try.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Please Look Again!

I want to thank John with St. Martin's for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Ellen Gleeson has just gotten home and retrieved the mail. She was getting read to put the mail down when something in the pile caught her attention. It was one of those white postcards that says “Have you seen this child?” The similarities between the missing boy and her son, Will is uncanny. It was like Ellen was looking at a picture of Will but Ellen knew that couldn’t be true as her son is an only child. Well that is what the adoption agency told her. A few days later and Ellen still can’t get the imagine of that little boy out of her mind. Ellen decides to so some investigative research of her own into whom the boy really is and why he looks so much like her son. All of Ellen’s snooping is making some people very nervous and when that happens people will go to any lengthens to hide the truth.

Lisa Scottoline takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride that will have you hanging on till the very end in Look Again. Fans of Lisa’s will be happy with this latest release. I don’t care who you are but I dare you not to weep, fight and cheer for Ellen as she does everything she can as a mother to hold on to her son. Beware of the wrath of a mother’s love for her son. I know I couldn’t stop reading. In fact every time I started to put this book down I would go running back to it. I am a fan of Ms. Scottoline and plan to be for a very long time. I urge you to make the right choice and take another look at Look Again.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Emily Hudson and her friend and partner, Joel Levy work for the United Nations as artifact experts. They and their team travel all over to different war torn countries to unearth and save artifacts from destruction. Emily and Joel are in Afghanistan when they are ambushed and held hostage. Their captor goes by the name of Borg. He believes that Emily has located Zelov’s hammer, a very priceless artifact. Borg is not a patient man. One way or another he will get what he wants.

You could call John Garrett a jack of all trades. He has worked for everyone from the CIA, MI6, and to just about anyone else who is willing to pay him. The CIA calls on John for a rescue mission to save Emily and Joel but it won’t be easy. Luckily for John he is up for the challenge.

Iris Johansen does it again with her latest Deadlock. From the first chapter you instantly get an adrenaline rush. The best part about reading an Iris Johansen story is that you can guarantee that the heroes and heroines won’t be any wilting flowers but strong survivors. I was really interested in Emily and John as they had depth to them. No matter how high the odds were stacked against them, they never gave up fighting. I read this book in one sitting. If you are looking for an action-packed, edge of your sit novel then you need to run out today and pick yourself up a copy of Deadlock.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

All of Me Contest

Attorney Jillian Samuels enjoys her job but she is ready to get away for some much needed peace and quiet. Jillian doesn't realize just how quickly she will get that R & R. Jillian's mentor passes away and leaves Jillian with the keys to his cottage. It is located in small town Salvation, Colorado. So Jillian packs up her things and hits the road for Colorado.

Tuck Manning is getting over the death of his wife. What someone neglected to inform him is that his life would be suddenly in a up heave with a unwanted guest. So you can imagine his surprise when in walks a beautiful woman...claiming that she is the new owner of the cottage and for him to get out. Jillian agrees to allow Tuck to stay for a few days on the condition that he can produce the papers showing he is the supposedly rightful owner of the cottage. Besides Tuck is pretty handy with his hands as well as easy on the eyes.

All of Me is the latest release from contemporary and comedic author, Lori Wilde. This book is also part of the Wedding Veil Wishes series. I have to tell you that I have read several novels by Ms. Wilde and enjoyed them all. All of them have this great sense of humor. So I was excited to read this latest story. Sadly though this book missed some of its shimmer. While I thought Jillian and Tuck were good together I didn't feel the passion I kept waiting for. All of Me only had some of me and though it didn't win me over this time I hope that Ms. Wilde does next time.

Though I may not have enjoyd this book as much this time you might feel differently.

Courtesy of Hachette I am giving away 5 copies of this book.
Open to US and Canada and NO PO Boxes.

I will make this easy.

Leave a comment for 1 entry. If you want an extra entry then spread the word about this contest and leave a link back to where you did.

Contest ends April 25th.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Chocolate Lover's Club

I want to thank Joan with St. Martin's for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Four friends have joined together to form an exclusive group called the Chocolate Lover's Club. The only rule pretty much is that you have to be willing to drop everything if someone is in need of a supporting shoulder and of course...chocolate! Now that you now the rule, let me introduce you to the ladies. First there is Lucy Lombard. She is the founding member of the club and a fan of anything chocolate. Next comes Autumn, who's darkest desires can only be clamed by rich, dark chocolate. Then you have Naida. She is the only one out of the group who is a mother. She has a three year old son named Lewis. She like Lucy does not have a preference in what type of chocolate she likes but unlike Lucy she eats it without really savoring the experience. Lastly there is Chantal Hamilton. She and her wealthy husband, Ted moved to London from sunny California.

The gals meet regularly at a quiet cafe called Chocolate Heaven. Where else would four chocolate fanatics meet?The best part is that Heaven is run by two gay guys who are chocolate lovers as well. The business end is mainly run by Tristan, a former accountant. The real magic comes from the kitchen where Clive, a master chocolatier is most happy at. Lucy, Autumn, Naida, and Chantal get together to discuss their jobs, bosses, families, and their sex lives or in Chantal's case lack there of. I don't know what Ted is thinking not wanting Chantal. Maybe that is why Chantal finds herself at a swanky hotel trying to get some. If only she had thought the whole situation though, she won't be in the predicament that she now finds herself in. At least she has her friends to help her out.

Lucy, Autumn, Naida, and Chantal's lives may not be perfect but then who needs perfect when you have good friends served up with a side of delicious chocolate. The Chocolate Lover's Club hits you in all the right places and leaves you craving more. This is the ultimate chick-lit book. This is a good thing as you will want to tell all of your girlfriends to pick up a copy of this novel today. I enjoyed myself reading this story. I plan to keep my eye on Carole Matthews and what she writes next.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Darling Jim

No one could have ever imagined that recluse Moira Hegarty could commit such a heinous crime. What the authorities found in Ms. Hegarty’s house is beyond words. The police discover three bodies including Moira’s. Moira died from several blows to the head that caused part of her skull to cave in. Another body of a young woman is found in an upstairs bedroom. She is holding a shovel in her hands. She was stabbed about nineteen times. As the police are clearing out the bodies; they locate the third body. This girl died slowly of malnutrition and internal poisoning. The identities of the two girls are twenty-four year old Fiona and her sister twenty-two year old Roisin Walsh. The disturbing part is that Moira are the girl’s aunt.

Niall, a mailman discovers a diary at the post office. It is written by Fiona. She writes about her and her sister’s time in the house and meeting a man named Jim. Jim is a travelling storyteller. He tells this tale of a prince and wolves. Fiona becomes spellbound by Jim but the closer Fiona gets to Jim, the more she realizes just how evil and sinister he really is. Just what exactly is Jim hiding and what drove Fiona, Roisin, and Moira to kill each other?

Darling Jim is author Christian Moerk’s debut novel. This is a dark, gothic, and memorizing tale. The way Jim’s story intertwined with the Walsh sisters and their aunt is very intriguing. There are not enough words to describe this book. Once you pick up this book and start reading, you will find yourself drawn into a world where are not who they seem and anything can happen. I dare you to try and learn what is real from fiction. I though Mr. Moerk did a fine job with Darling Jim. He definitely shows he can write and capture the reader’s attention. I look forward to seeing what Mr. Moerk comes up with next.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hanging with Brian Rathbone

You may all remember a few weeks ago I featured my review on this book. It is a worth while read. Well I am happy to have Mr. Rathbone back as a guest.

I'd like to thank Cheryl for having me here today and I offer warm greetings to all of her readers.

Magic in the real world.

Though I am a writer of fantasy fiction, I have a scientific mind. When I created The World of Godsland fantasy series, I sought out magic in the real world. The things I found surprised me and inspired me. All around us are seemingly magical forces that often defy explanation and are seldom within our control. There is gravity and electromagnetism, the rotation of the planet and its effect on the weather, volcanism and so much more. It can be very exciting to find so many strange and wondrous phenomenon. There are years without summers, little ice ages, underground aquifers, ice caves, and even crystal caves.

Much of what occurs in The World of Godsland fantasy series is based on real science and physics, albeit sometimes loosely. I wanted to create a world that was magical and yet continued to make sense. I wanted magic and logic to fit more closely together, and I came up with a world much like our own, only with some extenuating circumstances; namely: a storm of comets.

Comets have always amazed me. They soar through space on a path all their own; seemingly random, yet predictable. Elliptical orbits send them far, far away until gravity pulls them back. I once read that comets could have been formed when planets drifted close enough to the Oort cloud for their gravity to yank free the ancient balls of ice and dirt and hurl them through the solar system. I imagined a large planet, driven by some massive collision, scudding along the edge of the Oort cloud and hurling an unbelievably massive stream of comets through space. Thus was born Istra, Goddess of the Night.

Following her elliptical orbit, Istra spends 3,000 years in deep space only to return to the skies over Godsland and cast the world into a 150-year cycle of Power. All knowledge gained during the last age of Power has been lost, and only vague prophecies remain. How the men and women of Godsland react to this amazing and threatening new time will determine the fate of mankind.If you look hard enough, you may find that magic is already all around you. And if you happen to find yourself reading The Dawning of Power, you may find yourself asking, "Could that really happen?" I'll leave it to you to decide.

Brian Rathbone

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark

Lady Lydia Bestwick has sent a very disturbing letter to Lady Anne Addison. Lady Bestwick requires Lady Addison's help. Anne immediately heads for Yorkshire, particularly Darkefell Manor. When Anne arrives she gets the most unexpected welcome. She stumbles across a dead mangled body. Anne now understands why Lady Bestwick is so concerned. Anne knows that there has got to be an explanation for the wild beast attacked that Lydia is worried about. Someone who is not happy about Anne's snooping is the Marquess of Darkefell. The Marquess has a reason for being annoyed as he has a deep, dark secret that if uncovered could cause havoc.

I thought the concept for this story was a good one. It encompassed the best of both worlds... historical and paranormal. Plus the plot was a little on the dark and mysterious side. While I liked the storyline, I did have a small issue with the characters. I wished that they drew me in more to their world. Anne and the Marquess both seemed intriguing but for some reason I couldn't get into them that much. On the other hand I really enjoyed the location setting as I felt that it helped set the storyline. I do want to give kudos to Donna Lea Simpson for her book Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark.

Talking with author Donna Lee Simpson

Use of the Gothic in Romance Fiction

I’ve been accused of writing Gothic historical romances; it’s something I come upon again and again in descriptions of my novels, including Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark (Sourcebooks, Casablanca – April 2009).

But what is a Gothic and does the description fit my books? Anne M. Marble, in a Writing World article on the sub-genres of romance says, “The typical Gothic romance combines moody atmosphere and suspense with a brooding hero and a heroine who is unsure of whether she can trust the hero.”

Well, let’s take a look at Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark. Brooding hero? Check. Heroine unsure whether she can trust him? Check. Moody atmosphere and suspense? Check and check!

Well, gee, I guess I do write Gothic romances! Maybe it just comes naturally to me!
It’s not that I’ve never read one. Once upon a time you could tell a Gothic because there was always a spooky castle on the cover, with a girl running from it in a floaty dress, pursued by wisps of smoke, or ectoplasm or something! I’ve read a few, both contemporary and historical. But what makes a novel a Gothic, historical or contemporary?

The usual set up of a Gothic, historic or modern, has the heroine trapped somewhere with a man who may be some kind of dangerous, murdering madman. Or… he may just be a nice misunderstood guy, but he insists on keeping secrets from the heroine and everyone else! The one facet of the heroine’s character that is vital to the Gothic plot is that she cannot leave the mystery alone. She doesn’t pack her bags and escape the castle in a timely fashion, she doesn’t just shut her mouth and ignore the weirdness, she’s compelled to pick away at the hero’s mysterious behavior, open the door to the forbidden room, or descend to the cellar from which the weird, clanking noises come.

So in this sense I suppose Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark does follow classic Gothic sensibility. There are mysteries, weird things afoot at night, and Lord Anthony Darkefell, the dark brooding hero, is not telling all he knows. Lady Anne Addison is the ultimate intrepid heroine, not willing to let the mystery rest. She must know the truth! However, Gothic heroines often seem to blunder mindlessly through the novel, making discoveries by accident, and Lady Anne uses all of her wits and considerable skepticism.

One enormous difference between Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark and the true Gothic is the use of the hero’s viewpoint. Gothic novels never feature the hero’s viewpoint, because to do so dilutes the ‘unknown’; a viewpoint character exposes some of their soul to the reader, or it’s not proper characterization. I wanted readers to get to know Darkefell, to understand him, and his changing feelings for Anne. I also wanted to express that where Darkefell was hiding things, it was because he felt compelled to. He’s very protective of his family and their name, and things haven’t gone well in the last few years; he’s shielding his family from public censure and suspicion.

Another big difference between my Lady Anne books and classic Gothic style, is, you never get a sequel to a Gothic. But Lady Anne and the Ghost’s Revenge (Sourcebooks Casablanca – August 2009) furthers the adventures, and Lady Anne and the Gypsy Curse (Sourcebooks Casablanca – November 2009) heightens the romantic entanglement between the two Lady Anne and Darkefell.

I hope you all enjoy the books, and I would be interested in hearing if you feel there are Gothic elements in the book, and how they work to the story’s benefit or detriment. I had a great time with these characters; they often do quite unexpected things! When Anne climbs the mysterious tower and gets trapped, she swallows her pride and hails the hero, who has a laugh at her expense until he finds out that someone locked her in there! My sense is I’m having a little fun with gothic sensibility.

Visit me at for more information on the Lady Anne series!

Monday, April 6, 2009

SEALed with a Promise

Navy SEAL Caleb "Do-Lord" Delaude grew up dirt poor. It was only him and his mother. His father left them. His fahter could have done something about their situation as he was wealthy but instead he never acknowledged them. Caleb decided to make something of his life and joined the Navy. He trained hard and became one of the best SEALs the Navy ever had. He vowed though to get his revenge aganist his father. No matter how long it took.

It is at Jax's wedding, where Caleb is best man that he meets Emmie Caddington. She is a bit of a wallflower. She dresses in bland clothing that does nothing for her figure. She is happier to let someone else be in the spot light then her. Caleb learns that Emmie shares a connection with his father. He decides to get close to her and in turn bring himself one step closer to his father.

SEALed with a Promise is the second book in this series. SEALed with a Promise turned out to be a ok read. I really enjoyed reading about this brand of Navy SEALs. Besides who doesn't love a handsome man both in as well as out of uniform. This book is Caleb "Do-Lord" Delaude's story. Caleb is the type of guy you picture when you dream of a Navy SEAL. He is tough, made of steel and gets the job done. On the other hand, I also found him to be a little stand offish and a bit of a bully. I don't know if this was because of him being a SEAL or not. He was bossy towards Emmie, which I didn't see any reason why he had to be so mean. Emmie really frustrated me. She was weak and would let people around her try and dictate her. She didn't really stand up for herself and act till about a third of the way from the very end. Mary Margaret Daughtridge is a new author to me. I do have to say that I am glad I gave her a try.

Leading Man looking for his Leading Lady

Ladies get ready to meet the men of your dreams. I am honored to share with you my interview with Mary Margret Daughtridge.

I want to thank you for allowing me to interview you.

Thank you, Cheryl. I like answering questions better than trying to guess what will interest you or your readers.

Can you please share a little about yourself?

I’m an NLP Master Practitioner. NLP is the stuff the guy on “I Can Make You Thin” uses. And yes, it really is that effective for change work—though I don’t like to do weight issues. I think other kinds of change are much more likely to pay off in increased happiness.

Although I’ve written all my life, I never considered myself a “writer” until I decided to write a romance novel. It was like I finally found out who I had been all my life.

What is your favorite food?

Now that’s a hard one! I’m a bit of a “foodie.” Making up my mind in a restaurant is a struggle because I want to try everything. I slyly encourage my fellow diners to order different selections, so I can taste theirs.

If I had to choose a food, I’d say eggs. I like them whether boiled, fried, poached, or baked. And I like all the egg-based recipes like frittatas, soufflés, quiches, custards, and mousses.

One of my most favorite dishes is spoon bread, a southern recipe. It’s not really a bread. It’s more of side dish made of eggs and cornmeal. Butter it, serve it with some steamed asparagus and you have a meal.

When you like to vacation, where do you like to go?

There are two kinds of vacation. The kind that I save my money for are out-of-town workshops. I get to travel, I’m guaranteed interesting people to hang out with, and learning something new is always just plain fun.

For the laze around, eat too much, and read for hours kind of vacation, nothing is better than my beloved Topsail Island, where SEALed With a Kiss is set. From Topsail, it’s only thirty minutes to Wilmington NC where I happily play tourist in the historic section. I used Wilmington as the background for SEALed With a Promise.

What was the best advice ever given to you?

I don’t know about the best advice ever, but I can tell you the best advice I’ve gotten lately:
Don’t try to write what’s hot. Write the kind of book you love to read.

“Do what you love,” is always good advice, but there’s more to it. On the way to being published you will have to read your book over and over and over. You had better begin with lo-o-o-ving it!

What made you decide to write romances?

I’m taking the above advice. I’m writing what I love. I love character study, I love examining relationships, and I love a story that offers hope. I love thinking, in some small way I’ve contributed to people’s lives. While I appreciate great literature, the books that have gotten me through the really dark periods in my life were all genre fiction.

Of all the genres, romance is the most psychological. It gives the writer scope to explore the characters’ motivations at every turn. I’m able to draw on my personal strengths of understanding what makes people tick, having a high tolerance for ambiguity, and being non-judgmental.

A romance novel at heart is always the story of a relationship. If a person likes to think about relationships, examine them, study the different components, what better genre than romance?

My books are fiction. Still, my personal goal for every book is to create a relationship for good, but not idealized, people that would work in real life.

How much research do you do for each of your books?

I have no idea how to quantify it. I’m an omnivorous reader, I love to learn, and I have a most retentive brain. I set out to learn one thing, but that leads to something else and something else. My fear is that I will accidentally plagiarize since I draw from so many sources and my memory for when and where I picked up an idea is capricious.

One good thing about it. I now have an excuse for wasting hours tracking down this or that arcane bit of trivia. I say “I’m researching.” [snicker]

I also get to do my other favorite thing which is talk to people about their lives. When it comes to capturing SEALs in a way that’s believable, the most helpful research has been interviews with former SEALs.

Sealed with a Promise is Chief Petty Officer Caleb “Do-Lord” Dulaude’ story. He was a secondary character in Sealed with a Kiss. Please share more about Sealed with a Promise.

The first person who got SEALed With a Promise was me! I didn’t start out meaning to write a SEAL series. I only intended to create a foil for Jax in the opening scene of SEALed With A Kiss, but the name Do-Lord popped in my head. The next thing I knew I had promised (note the word) I’d give him an HEA of his own.

But I ask you, what kind of name is Do-Lord for a romance hero? The kind who hides his genius IQ behind slow-talking, good ole boy charm, that’s what.

There’s a little well-controlled bad boy in every SEAL. In Do-Lord there’s a lot. He’s learned most of what he knows about honor, loyalty, and responsibility from being a SEAL—not from his boyhood on the dirty fringes of society. Only a few SEALs know how brilliant he is, and none of them know who Caleb DuLaude really is.

Caleb AKA Do-Lord has an old, old score to settle with the hugely powerful US Senator, Teague Calhoun, and because he’s a SEAL, he has the skills. All he needs now is an opportunity. His only limitation is that he cannot allow his actions to bring dishonor to his fellow SEALs.

What better camouflage for his interest in Calhoun than a friendly little fling with Emelina Caddington, PhD, who has entrée into Calhoun’s inner circle?

Emmie might be an absentminded professor, but she’s no dummy, and she knows a bad boy when she sees one. She’s thought she was one of a “couple” before and been wrong. From now on, she’s not entering any relationship unless it’s SEALed With a Promise.

How many books can we expect there to be in your Navy Seal series?


Honestly, I don’t know. Every time I think this book may be the last, another guy pops up and says, “I’m next!”

Right now I’m working on Davy’s book. You’ll meet him in SEALed With a Promise.

A young George Clooney lookalike, Davy’s life has always been easy. Charmed really. He’s always said, if he died for his SEAL buddies, he’d die happy. Everyone tells him, when he’s blown forty feet by an enemy grenade—but not killed—it’s more proof of his phenomenal luck.

Maybe. Maybe not.

As far as he’s concerned if he had died that day, he would have been happy and his family would have been better off. Because unfortunately, he was literally worth more dead than alive. Now to pull his family out of a financial crisis, his only choice is to marry a woman who needs a husband, quick, but doesn’t want one.

In one way though, his luck is still holding. She is hot!

JJ thinks she’s getting a man who will never be around. She should think again.

Working title: Her Fate Was SEALed.

I thought Davy was the last one, but when Davy suddenly had to get married, a fellow SEAL named Garth Bladen came along to stand up for him.

Behind his back, some guys in NAVINTEL (Naval Intelligence) call Garth “Darth Vader.” They do not call him that to his face.

If your books were to be made into movies, who would play the parts of the leading men?

Matthew McConnaughey would be Do-Lord for sure. McConnaughey’s bad-boy twinkle that makes him look like he’s laughing at some joke only he knows, and his Texas drawl, capture Do-Lord perfectly.

Jax, hero of SEALed With A Kiss? I don’t know. Nicholas Cage is a little too old for the part now but Jax has the same straight eyebrows and the very focused, intelligent look. The Nicholas Cage in Guarding Tess would be perfect. Jax has “Patrick Dempsey” eyes and that same warm but slightly distant look Dempsey wears. Maybe one of your readers can suggest an early-thirties actor with the same qualities.

Any last words to the readers?

How about a question for them?
As you can see, what my heroes have in common is their smarts and their drive. Looks aside, what qualities attract you most in a hero?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ruby's Slippers

Dottie Meyers and Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz have many things in common. They both own a little black dog and they both live on a farm in Kansas. Just like Dorothy; Dottie gets knocked unconscious by some debris during a tornado. Unfortunately Dottie does not end up in the wonderful world of Oz. Dottie instead wakes up in a nursing home in California. Dottie receives a mysterious package. Inside the package is a pair of ruby red slippers. The slippers were left by Dottie’s father. Someone who she has not seen since she was a little girl. Dottie decides to go on a road trip to find her father. She is accompanied by some really wild and crazy companions.

I don’t know where to start. There are so many things I liked about this book…from the beginning, everything in the middle, till the very end. Who I enjoyed the most through was Sophia. She is a little old lady that Dottie meets in the nursing home and one of Dottie’s travelling buddies. She had this great sense of humor but watch out for her driving. Another fun element I liked about this story was Ms. Ellis’s innovative way on how she incorporated all the characters from the Wizard of Oz into Ruby’s Slippers. Leanna Ellis proves with this book that there is no place like home.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tender Graces

I want to thank Deborah with Belle Books for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Virginia Kate Carey is heading back home to West Virginia to care for her estranged mother. If it wasn’t for the diary her mother sent her Virginia won’t be going back. When Virginia opens and starts reading the diary she travels back in time to when her mother and father first met. Her mother was a wild child back then and her father was very well educated and loved to quote Shakespeare. In fact this was exactly how Virginia’s father won over her mother. You could call these times…happier times. A time when Virginia’s mother loved and cared for her family. Sadly through love wasn’t enough and Virginia’s family split. Her father moved to Louisiana to be with his new wife. Eventually Virginia and her brothers ended up with their father, leaving their mother alone.

Tender Graces is a story about going home, finding love, sorrow, and grace. Let me tell you that I instantly fell in love with Virginia and her family. It was like I was walking in Virginia’s shoes every step of the way. I really enjoyed the simplicity of this story but at the same time having the characters and story be so powerful. This story had me spellbound. I had a hard time putting it down. Tender Graces is author, Kathryn Magendie’s first novel. I can’t believe this is Ms. Magendie’s first book. I can’t wait to see how Kathryn Madendie tops Tender Graces.

Check out Kathryn's website

Friday, April 3, 2009

Whisper of Warning

I want to thank Ms. Griffin for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Courtney Glass is in big trouble. She is being convicted of killing her lover John David Alvin. Courtney says she is innocent but the facts are stacked pretty high against Courtney. The gun that killed Mr. Alvin is registered to Courtney. You can’t get any clearer evidence than that. Office Will Hodges wants to believe Courtney but he also knows that he has to be sharp on his feet. Just because he feels something for Ms. Glass does not mean she is innocent. In fact she could be a cold hard killer. Office Hodges will need to get to the bottom of the truth and fast before someone else breaths their last breath.

The chemistry between Office Hodges and Courtney Glass was just right. I say this because it did not deter from the plot but at the same time it their relationship made sense with the storyline. Whisper of Warning is the second book I have read by Laura Griffin. Just like with the last book, I really enjoy Ms. Griffin’s writing style and flair. Ms. Griffin really knows how to bait and hook the reader into the story and her characters. She adds twists at all the right moments without giving away anything. I recommend picking up a copy of this book today and see for yourself how great Laura Griffin really is.

Check out Ms Griffin's website

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Traitor's Wife

Eleanor is the niece of King Edward the second. Eleanor gets married to the young and dashing High le Despenser. Hugh and Eleanor are very happy together. Eleanor has even more to be happy about when Queen Isabella appoints her as one of her ladies in waiting. As Eleanor spends more time in the presence of Kind Edward, she realizes that he is not the king she pictured him to be.

Eleanor and King Edward start to become very close. You could say almost to the point that if you saw them you would think they were lovers. A big reason for this is because Hugh is always gone on missions. Something terrible happens and Hugh is accused of conspiracy and is exiled. Hugh is later tried and convicted to be a traitor. He is executed. Eleanor takes on the burden of raising her and Hugh’s children, all the while learning to adapt as being known as the traitor’s wife.

Susan Higginbotham takes a historical period and updates it for modern times. She does it without losing any of the integrity that has made this time period great. I have to admit that I am not familiar with Eleanor but after reading this book, I now want to research more information about Eleanor. For historical fans everywhere you could not ask for a better book than The Traitor’s Wife.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Romancing with Kathryn Nelson

I am happy to have Kathryn Nelson stopping by. I got a chance to interview her. I hope you enjoy it.

I want to thank you for allowing me to interview you.

I assure you, the pleasure is mine. The writing of Pemberley Manor was the funniest thing I’ve ever done, and I love to revisit it.

What is something that readers don’t know about you that they would be surprised to learn?

Pretty much everything, I’d guess – there’s really nothing in my background that would lead anyone to think I would write a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. I’ve spent the best years of my life working with my family in an electrical contracting business.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

I’m sure some people I know would vote for marrying my husband, Abdulla, and moving to Kuwait, but they’d be wrong. The only thing I’ve done that raises the hair on my neck when I think about it was a job on a building rehab. My brother was replacing the sewer line on an early 1900’s building. The pipe ran through a vaulted brick tunnel about 15 feet underground, but we couldn’t figure out where the street connection was. I crawled through the tunnel on my hands and knees with a rope tied around me to measure the distance to the end so we would know where to dig. The top of the tunnel brushed my shoulders, the bottom was wet and wormy, and I pushed a flashlight ahead of me to see what might be coming, although I didn’t really want to know. Totally creepy and probably stupid, but we did get the measurement.

What is your favorite movie?

“My Life as a Dog” – in Swedish with English subtitles. At least most days. But “As Good as it Gets” comes in a close second. If you’d asked what video I’ve watched the most, it would have to be the 1995 BBC/A&E production of Pride and Prejudice. For a while, that was a total obsession.

What do you think makes historical romances so appealing?

Not having to live that way has a big appeal for me. I think we tend to romanticize the past, but really, would anyone want to wear those layers of clothes? As a woman, it’s lovely to imagine being cared for by a dashing and hopefully wealthy man, but the reality was much uglier. As much as we scorn her, Mrs. Bennet was the true realist in Jane Austen’s novel – it was terribly urgent to marry off the daughters, and there was nothing romantic about the reality of spinsterhood.

You are deserted on an island. Your dream man comes to rescue you, who is it and why?

Cheesy as it might sound, it would have to be my husband, Abdulla. After thirty-odd years of ups and downs, I know he would come if he could, and there’s no one I’d rather spend a night on a raft with.

But if he brought Colin Firth or Richard Gere along as first mate, I wouldn’t object...

How did you react when you first saw your books on the shelves at a bookstore?

Although the first edition of Pemberley Manor came out in 2006, I still haven’t seen a book at a bookstore – only on Amazon and other web sellers. I can only imagine. My mentor, Diana Birchall, sent a picture out to all of her friends of herself on the floor next to the shelf where her first book sat. I assume I’m going to feel as good as she looked.

Can you please share with readers what they can expect from Pemberley Manor?

I think it depends on the reader – on what they bring to the story. It has been reviewed as both the worst and the best sequel to Pride and Prejudice. For me, the question of why so many authors have chosen to do these sequels remains a fascination. It is certainly a tribute to Jane Austen that we can’t seem to leave her characters alone.

I started writing this story to spend more time with Elizabeth and Darcy and to experiment with Jane Austen’s amazing style of prose. I quickly became obsessed with the question of Darcy’s past, and what impact it would have on his happiness in the future. In that sense, Pemberley Manor takes a modern, analytical, approach, creating a messy family history that could explain his prickly exterior while remaining true to his honest and decent nature. Elizabeth must mature quickly to help her husband face the past he would rather forget.

And then who could resist bringing Caroline Bingley around and allowing Elizabeth to sport with her a bit? Would Jane’s kindness ever really have an impact on Caroline’s snarky arrogance? I hope readers will just have fun wandering through the story.

What can fans expect from you next?

Pemberley Manor was unintentional as a novel – I simply couldn’t stop once I’d started. My intention, and the novel that is nearly finished, is a more contemporary story of family ties set in 20th Century Minnesota. The story my good friends want me to write is the adventures of a Minnesota girl in Kuwait, and my family brushes with alcoholism, bipolar disorder, Down syndrome and jubilation. But I’m still living that story.

But at the end of the day, I sometimes think about the red leather journal that Darcy’s father left for him, and I wonder what it says…So, who knows?