Friday, 30 September 2011

An announcement and the winner of Lucky Girl by Cate Lord!

Yay! Friday is finally here! And this time it doesn't only mean the week is finally over and we can enjoy the weekend, but also that I'm going on study leave and won't be back to work until November.

You see, my first bar exam will take place at the end of October and I'll have to retire a bit from blogging and ease up on the pleasure reading so that I can focus on studying and reading less entertaining stuff (laws and such *sighs*).

So if the blog is a bit less active in the next month (especially the last 2 weeks of October) that's because I'll be buried up to my nose in legal books cramming for my exam. (Of course knowing myself, until the exam date is looming near I won't be stressed out enough to study full steam so you'll see me pop up at places, but I'll have to seriously cut back on my online and blogging time for the time being.)

But now that you know about that, let me share with you who was lucky this time!


The lucky winner of an ebook copy of Lucky Girl by Cate Lord is

Johanna J!

Congratulations Johanna! I hope you'll enjoy Jess and Nick's adventures :-)

I have sent you two e-mails but both have come back as undeliverable it seems you misspelled your e-mail address in your comment, so please get back to me within 48 hours or I will have to draw a new winner. Thank you. 


Also there are still a couple of giveaways going on, you can enter them by clicking on the links on top of the blog and it will take you directly there. Trust me they are all giveaways for fantastic books, so you should definitely enter!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Guest post: When Historical Facts Fit Fiction by Maggie Robinson + Giveaway

Today I am happy to welcome Maggie Robinson to the blog, who stopped by Ex Libris on her blog tour celebrating the release of Mistress by Marriage the 3rd book in the Courtesan Court series, which let me tell you is a very steamy historical romance series! (So hot that don't even start to read it without a cold drink and a fan, you've been warned! *wink*) (You can read my review of Mistress by Marriage here.)

Please give a warm welcome to Maggie, and read on to discover some of her behind the scenes secrets! ;-)


Thanks so much for having me here today! I’ve had an exciting couple of months talking about my two recent releases all over the Internet. I’ve also just turned in a manuscript, and am working on something baby-fresh. So there are a whole lot of characters crowded into my head at the moment. It’s a very scary place to be. ;)

I really never know what’s going to happen when I sit down to write. I’m a hideous plotter, and nothing ever quite conforms to any proposal I submit. I tend to go off on tangents, or discover something unexpected that fits perfectly. Sometimes the writing is a struggle, but other times I get so lucky it’s kind of scary.

I have a novella “To Match a Thief” in Improper Gentlemen (Brava, August 2011). It’s kind of a comedy. No one is who they think they are, each character wearing various disguises/identities. My hero has risen from the slums, and wants to better himself to fit in with society. He’s gone from being an illiterate pickpocket to a captain of industry. So I had to decide how make him “cultured.”

Opera! I said to myself, the most culturific thing I could think of—and something I know nothing about. (In fact, most opera sounds like cats yowling in heat to me. I’m a rock and roll kind of girl with a splash of country music on the side. Although I cannot listen to music when I write—I just listen to the radio and sing along in the car when I’m driving.)

So I researched what might have been on the stage at the time the book was set and stumbled upon a production where the romantic male lead is always sung by a woman in disguise. No one is who they think they are indeed. What were the odds of finding an opera that so perfectly fit with the theme of my book? Stuff like this happens to me all the time and sometimes it makes me nervous. :-)

Which brings me to my latest release, Mistress by Marriage (Brava, September 2011). It’s set in the summer of 1820. My hero Edward wants a divorce from his wife Caroline. Guess what was happening that very same summer? King George IV (Prinny) was trying to divorce his wife…Caroline. Turns out that his Bill of Pain and Penalties before Parliament plays a key role in reuniting Edward and his Caroline. How handy for the accidental historian, LOL.

Research is always fun. I’ve found out a ton of weird things. Fashionable ladies used to shave their eyebrows off and glue mouseskin eyebrows on. A French castle was once stormed through a latrine drain—yep, the soldiers squeezed up through the sewer pipe. Yuck. Parliament would adjourn in the summer because London smelled so bad. More yuck. We won’t even talk about the safety of the water. People drank ale for breakfast—I would have been back asleep by midmorning.

So as much as I love to write about the past, I’m glad I live in the now and can sing in my car.

Do you like opera? Can you work with music or do you need absolute quiet to concentrate? What fun thing have you stumbled upon? One commenter will win both Improper Gentlemen and Mistress by Marriage!

Maggie Robinson is a former teacher, library clerk and mother of four who woke up in the middle of the night, absolutely compelled to create the perfect man and use as many adverbs as possible doing so. A transplanted New Yorker, she lives with her not-quite perfect husband in Maine, where the cold winters are ideal for staying inside and writing hot historical romances.

You can find Maggie at her Website / Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads 


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Maggie has generously offered signed paperback copies of Mistress by Marriage and Improper Gentlemen to a lucky commenter!


All you need to do to be entered is

1) answer Maggie's question: Do you like opera? Can you work with music or do you need absolute quiet to concentrate? What fun thing have you stumbled upon?

2) and leave me a way to contact you (e-mail address, Twitter handle, etc.)

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 7 October 2011!

Book Review: Mistress by Marriage by Maggie Robinson

Title: Mistress by Marriage
Author: Maggie Robinson
Series: Book #3 in the Courtesan Court series
Release Date: 30 August 2011
Number of pages: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington Brava
Source: eARC provided by author
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Book Depository

Grade: 3.5 stars

Novellus bonus!
Goodreads appetizer:

Too late for cold feet. . .

Baron Edward Christie prided himself on his reputation for even temperament and reserve. That was before he met Caroline Parker. Wedding a scandalous beauty by special license days after they met did not inspire respect for his sangfroid. Moving her to a notorious lovebirds' nest as punishment for her flighty nature was perhaps also a blow. And of course talk has gotten out of his irresistible clandestine visits. Christie must put his wife aside—if only he can get her out of his blood first.

Too hot to refuse. . .

Caroline Parker was prepared to hear the worst: that her husband had determined to divorce her, spare them both the torture of passion they can neither tame nor escape. But his plan is wickeder than any she's ever heard. Life as his wife is suffocating. But she cannot resist becoming her own husband's mistress. . .


This review was originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.


My Thoughts: I discovered Maggie Robinson's Courtesan Court series by chance when the first book in the series (Mistress by Mistake) was a Kindle freebie on Amazon. As I love historicals and the cover looked great and the blurb sounded unique I jumped right in and read it, and let me tell you, you don't come across nice surprises like that often. I loved Mistress by Mistake to pieces, it is the kind of book that I'll re-read often as a comfort book. I just wanted to tell you this introduction so you can see I went to read book #3 in the series, Mistress by Marriage with a lot of expectations.


Could one have an affair with one’s husband? Apparently so.

Mistress by Marriage is a very unique romance novel as it features a married couple as its hero and heroine: Edward, Baron Christie and his wife Caroline have been married for 6 years and have been living apart for 5 of those. These two are like fire and ice, cat and dog, always quarreling but when they jump at each other, they jump each other. Their chemistry is inflammable and usually most of their quarrels either end by fighting sex (make no mistake, it is definitely not make up sex) or door slamming.
Caroline had never fit easily into his routine. Edward had felt smothered by her affectionate attention, appalled by her artless conversation, her endless schemes, her temper. She had no place in his carefully-constructed Christie world. Except in bed.

Edward Christie is all that is proper and serious. He has been taught to behave with dignity and he wears his name and family legacy as one of the things most determining his character.

While Caroline is his complete opposite: starting with her fiery red curls, her loud mouth and explosive temper. Caroline's life has been as far away from respectable and proper as it can be: she grew up in a vice and pleasure house (her brother was running it), and she is no blushing virginal heroine. Caroline is a vibrant woman, her looks, her words her whole being screams to be noticed.
"You’re light and fire, Caroline, meant for love. For life. For laughter."
Her voice was low, all honey and sex. One could come to crisis simply listening to her read newspaper advertisements in The London List. Wanted, one man to muck out stalls. Serious inquiries only. Semen would be everywhere.

What I absolutely did not expect from Mistress by Marriage was the amount of humour and witty banter Maggie Robinson infused in the story.
"If I’m so cold, why do you love me, Caroline?" he asked quietly.
"I don’t know!" she cried. "It’s terribly inconvenient. I shall stop at once."

Caroline's sarcastic, acerbic thoughts about her husband made me chuckle out loud several times.
She’d be in a haze for the foreseeable future. But perhaps Edward would be similarly afflicted. She could only hope he’d be so befuddled from lust and lack of sleep that he’d walk in front of a dray cart and be crushed.

Despite Caroline's humour she was a character I couldn't warm to. She was too loud for me, I get that she is passionate and not a cold fish, but throwing hissyfits all the time like a spoiled brat, throwing vases around (even when she is at other people's home!) screams time for anger management to me, and I couldn't agree more with Edward when he said:

The curbing of your temper is, of course, the most critical. I cannot have you destroying property and screaming like a banshee every time you do not get your way.

The path of these two characters doesn't run easy, but after all the heartache, drama and fights I loved how Edward finally let himself confront his feelings instead of burying them and realized that deep under all the lust and attraction he truly did love Caroline. That he, the most proper English nobleman meticulously planned the kidnapping of his wife, down to the last small detail, it showed how important she, and their relationship was to him. It was incredibly endearing. :-))

"I didn’t have the same feelings toward Alice as I have for you. There. It feels good to say it. I mean no disrespect towards Alice---she will always be a part of me. She was my youth, as Andrew was yours. She gave me my children and was a wonderful wife and mother, but she wasn’t Caroline Parker. I can’t live without you, Caro. I don’t want to. I’ve tried, and it hasn’t worked."

I also enjoyed the small references to events and characters of the previous novels, it was a nice way to link the different novels of the series together.


Verdict: If you are looking for a seriously HOT historical romance series, search no more, you've found it! Even though Mistress by Marriage wasn't my favourite of the Courtesan Court series, I urge you to discover this series, it's like a historical erotica series, it doesn't come any hotter than this!

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 6/10
Writing: 8/10
Ending: 8/10
Cover: 8/10 - love the golden tones, it is my favourite cover of the series.

Buy it:
 
The BookDepository 


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Winners of the Caldwells Sisters Trilogy Books!


The travels-around-the-world giveaway by Lucianne Rivers has ended and it's time for me to announce who were lucky this time!

The lucky winner of an ebook copy of Hold Me is

Darlene!



and the lucky winner of an ebook copy of Thrill Me is

Candicxe J!


Congratulations Ladies! I'm sure you'll love the novellas, I have sent you an e-mail, please get back to me within 48 hours or I will have to draw a new winner. Thank you. 


Also there are still a couple of giveaways going on, hurry, some of them are ending soon! You can enter them by clicking on the links on top of the blog and it will take you directly there. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Book Review: Sins of the Angels by Linda Poitevin

Title: Sins of the Angels
Author: Linda Poitevin
Series: Book #1 in the Grigori Legacy series
Release Date: 27 September 2011
Number of pages: 336 pages
Publisher: Ace Books
Source: ebook provided by publisher through NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Book Depository

Grade: 4.5 stars

Novellus superbus!
Goodreads appetizer: A detective with a secret lineage. An undercover Hunter with a bullet-proof soul. And a world made to pay for the sins of an angel…

Homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis answers to no one. Especially not to the new partner assigned to her in the middle of a gruesome serial killer case—a partner who is obstructive, irritatingly magnetic, and arrogant as hell.

Aramael is a Power—a hunter of the Fallen Angels. A millennium ago, he sentenced his own brother to eternal exile for crimes against humanity. Now his brother is back and wreaking murderous havoc in the mortal realm. To find him, Aramael must play second to a human police officer who wants nothing to do with him and whose very bloodline threatens both his mission and his soul.

Now, faced with a fallen angel hell-bent on triggering the apocalypse, Alex and Aramael have no choice but to join forces, because only together can they stop the end of day.


My Thoughts: It has been some time when I last read a book which sucked me in and held me in such death grip that I couldn't go to sleep and had to stay awake until 3am (on a weekday!) until I finished the story. And even after that I was pulsing with excitement and if I had Book #2 on hand I have no doubt I would have started reading it right away, not caring that I would have to get up in 4 short hours to go to work. That's how thrilling and amazing Linda Poitevin's urban fantasy debut novel is!

I was completely enthralled by Linda Poitevin's lyrical prose, her poetic descriptions were so evocative and vivid, the raw emotions squeezing my own heart:

The ache exploded, scattering its searing fragments throughout his body, spreading until it claimed every corner of his being as its own.
Her throat closed. Memories shifted in the long-ignored recesses of her mind, then began rising to the surface. Shit. She tried her damnedest to stop what she knew was coming, but her attempts shredded like tissue-paper boats adrift in a hurricane. Ruthless images stabbed at her, each leaving a new hole in her decades-old defenses.

The complexity of the worldbuilding and how every minor detail was thought out was fascinating. In the Grigori Legacy series Linda Poitevin builds on common religious views and puts her own twist on them. I really enjoyed those parts of the novel where I learned more about the angel hierarchy and how the system works (that for example humans can reject their own guardian angels).

And now time for me to talk about the main characters.

Alex, our emotionally scarred heroine is a weathered and kickass cop. She lost her parents at an early age and tried her best to escape the shadows and nightmares of her traumatic childhood which still haunt her.  Her strength and her not-backing-down attitude made her a worthy partner and opponent to any warrior angel, but it was her humanity and vulnerability which made her relatable and endeared her to me. And of course her dry humour was wonderful in lightening up the darkness of the story.

In face of Aramael's "irritating behaviour"(=every single breath he takes according to Alex's opinion):
Alex summoned up a saccharine smile and reminded herself that cops had a moral obligation not to commit murder.

Aramael is an angel like no other you have heard/read about. He is no white-robed, peaceful and pure messenger of God, oh no, he is a fierce, cursing, dark and dangerous, warrior kind of angel.
Her partner, but not her partner, at the center of the kitchen, with massive wings rising more than a foot above his head and trailing nearly to the floor. Golden wings, their feathers alive with a fire that seemed to surround each and every one of them. Shimmering, pulsing, hypnotically beautiful fire.
I can't tell you how happy I was to see that Aramael wasn't one of those too-good-to-do-anything-interesting ninny angels, but a vibrant, dangerous, sword-wielding-warrior-of-Heaven kind of angel. The kind of angel which is much closer to the original depiction of angels in the Bible than that of current pop culture. Aramael's presence was impressive: whenever he was on the scene it was like a magnetic pull, not only Alex but the reader was drawn to him all the while knowing, feeling that this pull might be something fatal like flame to the moth, but impossible to resist nonetheless.

The chemistry between Alex and Aramael was earth-shattering. The air between these two pulsed with so much current that it was palpable even across the pages. Both Alex and Aramael are extremely well fleshed out, strong characters and together they are a force to reckon with. The forbidden nature of their relationship heightens the tension of their undeniable attraction to each other, an attraction both of them tries to fight, but which proves to be more powerful than their ability to resist.
"I can’t feel this way about you," he muttered at last. Embers glowed among the ashes now. "I can’t," he snarled. "Don’t you understand? You have become the most important thing in my existence, and I am crippled by your very presence. Caim remains free because I cannot track him, cannot feel him. Because all I can feel is you."
What shook me was that the pull between Alex and Aramael ran deeper than just a physical, sexual attraction. They had a deeper connection, something which still remained a bit of a msytery at the end of Sins of the Angels and I cannot wait to learn and read more about them.

Besides the main characters Linda Poitevin introduces some interesting and entertaining supporting characters who I can't wait to see more of in later books (*hint* I'm talking of you Seth *hint*).

"Remember that, above all else, I demand faith from my angels. Not just trust."

Verdict: Sins of the Angels is a dark urban fantasy novel like you haven't read before. It is electric, thrilling and extremely intelligent. Linda Poitevin's worldbuilding is rich and layered and her writing is excellent. A fantastic new series which will appeal to urban fantasy, paranormal romance and thriller fans!

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 10/10 - wonderful!
Ending: 9/10
Cover: 10/10 - love it!

Buy it:

 
The BookDepository 


Interview with Linda Poitevin + Giveaway

Today I am incredibly happy and honoured to welcome to Ex Libris urban fantasy author Linda Poitevin, who is here today to celebrate the release of her debut novel Sins of the Angels, Book #1 in the Grigori Legacy series which got released today! Yay! *Stella puts on party hat and throws confetti*

As someone who was lucky enough to read Sins of the Angels prior to its official release trust me when I say that this is one mindblowing urban fantasy series! It has everything: fast paced action, rich worldbuilding, wit and humour, deep and layered characters, sizzling chemistry and much much more! (You can read my detailed review here.)

So read on to discover more about the series, the characters and Linda, the author behind the thrilling debut that is Sins of the Angels! (psst. there is also a fantastic giveaway waiting for you at the end, but to buy Sins of the Angels and read it right now just click on the links.)





Angels Gather Here Blog Tour - Click to view schedule


Stella: Hi Linda, welcome to Ex Libris! First of all CONGRATULATIONS on the release of your debut novel Sins of the Angels which was released today! I am extremely happy and honoured you are holding your virtual release party here :-D

Linda: Thank you so much, Stella, and thank you, too, for stepping in to offer me a last-minute party place—I’m thrilled to be here!

Stella: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Linda: I live just outside Ottawa, which is Canada’s capital, I’ve been married to the same wonderful man for 24 years, and I have three children—identical twin girls who are 20 years old and a third daughter who is 17. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom the entire time, and spent the last nine years home-schooling our youngest…which could explain why writing Sins of the Angels took almost 10 years! :-) In addition to my novels, I’m also a freelance writer and editor. I love to garden and read, and I love taking long walks with my dog, Charlie.

Stella: The writing style and lyrical descriptions of Sins of the Angels was breathtakingly beautiful and moving. Is this the first book you have written or are there previous stories you have penned which haven’t been published (yet)?

Linda: Thank you so much, Stella. I take the craft of writing very seriously, so your compliment means the world to me. :-) I did have one other novel published by a small press—it was a contemporary romance and didn’t actually make it onto bookstore shelves, but the few people who did read it seemed to enjoy it! No publication apart from that, but I’ve been writing ever since I learned how, so I’ve certainly had lots of practice.

Stella: Sins of the Angels is the first novel in the Grigori Legacy series. Can you tell us a bit more about the unique world your stories are set in?

Linda: I pulled heavily from traditional angel mythology in writing the series, wanting to combine the stories with which we’re familiar (Lucifer’s fall, the Grigori watchers, the half-angel/half-human Nephilim) with our very modern world. I tried to stick with the mythology as closely as I could, but I wasn’t averse to exercising my creative license wherever needed: the One (God) is a woman; I rearranged the angelic hierarchy, and still have a few more surprises up my sleeve in the rest of the series.

Stella: What can we expect of Sins of the Angels?

Linda: A kick-ass novel that crosses a number of genres (mystery, police procedural, urban fantasy), making it appeal, I think (hope!), to a wide variety of readers. There’s lots of action and a few twists, and it even has a strong romantic element for paranormal fans. :-)

Stella: Can you please give a short profile introduction of the main characters?

Linda:

Alexandra Jarvis
Height: 5’10”
Build: Athletic
Hair: Long, blonde, worn back in a ponytail most of the time
Eyes: Blue
Distinguishing marks: None at the beginning of the book, many by the end.
My favorite quote: “If you say it’s not that simple one more time, I swear to God I will kick you in the balls—angel or no angel.”

Aramael
Height: 6’4”
Build: Think Greek god
Hair: Dark
Eyes: Gray
Distinguishing marks: None. Angels bear no permanent scars.
My favorite quote, when Alex asks what kind of angel he is: “Not the nice kind.”


Stella: Alex is a tough, independent, yet vulnerable and scarred young woman. Will you explore her past and childhood more in the subsequent book(s) or will her story mostly move forward?

Linda: While there may be a few glimpses of her history, Alex’s story will mostly move forward—she simply isn’t the type to dwell in the past.

Stella: And Aramael *sighs* He is quite the hero: tall, dark with such an intense charisma that the buzzing energy was palpable between the lines. It was interesting to see him (and a few other angels) show such a different image from the usual meek white robed peaceful pure goodness angels: he is cursing, dangerous, an intimidating warrior! Is it his specialty or are all the angels in the Grigori Legacy series more human and complex?

Linda: All the angels in the series are definitely complex, but Aramael’s kind (the Powers) are probably the most volatile due to the role they play. They get to do Heaven’s dirty work in tracking down and exiling Fallen Ones, and the kind of negative energy required to do so really leaves its mark on them.

Stella: You have quite a complex angel hierarchy established in your Grigori Legacy series, could you just quickly give a brief overview of it to the readers? Will all nine choirs of angels appear in the series?

Linda: Starting from the top: Archangels are the highest (ninth) choir and most powerful of all angels; Seraphim make up the eighth choir and are Heaven’s administrators; Dominions are the seventh choir and supervise the Powers, who are next in line as the sixth choir and are the hunters of the Fallen; Thrones, the fifth choir, have yet to make an appearance in the series; Principalities are in the fourth choir and are Heaven’s scribes; Cherubim are in the third choir and (so far) I have no plans to use them; Virtues of the second choir are the administrative assistants; and Guardian angels of the first choir play the same role of assisting humans in the Grigori Legacy as they do in mythology.

Stella: Can you tell us your plans about the future, what shall we expect from you, what is next on your schedule?

Linda: At the moment I’m working (frantically, might I add!) on revisions to book 2, Sins of the Son which are due in three days’ time. (Pardon me a moment while I hyperventilate!!!) I’m only contracted for the first two books at this point, but I have a total of four planned—and, being an optimist, I’ve already started work on the third. Beyond this series, I also have an idea for another, so I’m doing some early research for that, too. In the immediate future, of course, I’ll be continuing on my ‘Angels Gather Here Blog Tour’ for Sins of the Angels.

Stella: Sins of the Son, the second book in the Grigori Legacy series is planned for release in the spring of 2012. Can you tell us if Alex and Aramael will be the hero/heroine of this novel as well or will some other main characters take their turn in the spotlight?

Linda: Alex and Aramael both return, but the story very much centers around Seth. I also introduce another prominent figure in the character of the Archangel Michael. Oh, and you’ll get to meet Lucifer, too *shudder*.

Stella: Can you tell us what inspired the Girgori Legacy series? Was there a specific moment/event/idea which set the idea of the story in motion?

Linda: My stories tend to begin with a scene or two in my head. In the case of Sins of the Angels, the song Angel by Sarah McLachlan inspired such a scene which eventually grew into a story (that was supposed to be a paranormal romance). A good friend of mine read the early draft and we started talking about the whole realm of angel mythology—she had a Catholic school background and was a fountain of information. I started doing some research on my own and thinking a lot of what-if questions and pretty soon the single story had morphed into an entire urban fantasy series filled with subplots and darker undertones, and even an element of mystery. Interestingly, the scene in my head that inspired the novel never made it onto paper even in the earliest drafts.

Stella: The angelic hierarchy resembles a lot the religious one. Which makes me wonder what kind of research did you do?

Linda: For the angel part of the book, I did a lot of reading both on the Internet and at the library. For the police procedures, I’m lucky enough to be married to my own personal reference center—my husband is a sergeant with the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and is a real stickler for getting the police details right. If he doesn’t have the answer I need, he usually knows someone who does. His former partner, a female officer, acted as one of my beta readers as well, and really helped inspire a lot of Alex’s character.

Stella: The Grigori Legacy series is an urban fantasy series. What kind of books/genres do you like to read?

Linda: I have very eclectic reading tastes. I do read in the UF genre (my favorite authors are Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Charlaine Harris, and Patricia Briggs), but I also read a lot of whatever my family brings home or friends pass on to me. This has included Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods, A Short History of Nearly Everything and others); Tom Clancy, James Patterson, John Grisham, Kathy Reichs, and many YA authors. I also love some of the classics, including Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo.

Stella: And when you are not reading or writing what do you like to do in your free time?

Linda: In addition to my creative writing, I do freelance writing and editing from home, so there isn’t a lot of ‘free’ time, lol. I do try to maintain balance, however, and so I garden, try to meet with friends for coffee a couple of times a week, and take lovely long walks in the woods and along the river with my dog, Charlie.

Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?

Linda: If my husband is away and I’m alone at night, I’m petrified of something reaching out from under the bed to grab me as I get in. Seriously. I have to be in bed and covered up before I can turn out the light…and if the light switch is too far away, I line myself up to leap into bed from about three feet away. It’s sad, I know, but true.

Stella: Thank you very much Linda for stopping by, it was a pleasure!

Linda: Stella, thank you for having me! You were an absolute angel (the nice kind!) to juggle your schedule so I didn’t have to party alone today and I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate it!

Now tell me, do you have a favorite angel character and if so, who? Do you prefer your angels to be mild and heavenly or strong and warrior-like?


Linda Poitevin is the author of a new urban fantasy series, The Grigori Legacy, from Ace Books. Book one, SINS OF THE ANGELS, will be out September 27/11. Book two, SINS OF THE SON, follows in May 2012. In her other life, Linda is wife, mother, friend, gardener, coffee snob, freelance writer, and zookeeper of too many pets.


You can find Linda at her website, blog, Twitter and Facebook.

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Penguin has generously offered 2 copies of Sins of the Angels to 2 lucky commenters!


If international readers win they will receive an ebook copy through NetGalley, US/Canadian residents will have their choice of paperback or ebook.

All you have to do is:

1) leave a comment answering Linda's questions above: do you have a favorite angel character and if so, who? Do you prefer your angels to be mild and heavenly or strong and warrior-like?

2) and leave me a way to contact you (e-mail address, Twitter handle, etc.). 

International Grand Prize Giveaway:

Linda will be giving away 3 paperback copies to international readers drawn from all the comments left on the blog tour. If you would like to be entered in this part of the contest, please say so in your comment!

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 12 November 2011!

Monday, 26 September 2011

My fascination with the past - guest post by Beth Trissel + Giveaway

I have always loved history. It was one of my favourite classes in school and I also loved reading history themed novels. In my opinion one of the most fascinating time period and historical event is the French Revolution. Not only was it a time of constant change, but it is amazing that more than 200 years later we are still living and experiencing some of its legacies (parlamentarism, democracy, etc.). Please welcome Beth Trissel who is here today to tell you about her new historical romance release Into the Lion's Heart, which of course you might have guessed is set at the time of the French Revolution!


My fascination with the past and those who’ve gone before us is the ongoing inspiration behind my work. Most of my historical and light paranormal romances are set in America with the exception of Somewhere My Lass which includes the Scottish Highlands. In my first English historical romance, Into the Lion’s Heart, I more deeply explored my British heritage.

Set in 1789 England, the story opens with the hero, Captain Dalton Evans (fought in the American Revolution) journeying to Dover to meet the ship carrying a distant cousin, Mademoiselle Sophia Devereux, who’s fleeing the French Revolution. Pause here to note all the research the revolution took, not to mention Georgian England in general, Cornwall in particular, rum smuggling, stage coach travel and sailing in the late 18th century... Back to Dalton who’s irked with his mission, not only because he finds it tedious, but he resents the French, partly as a result of their aid to the Americans during the war and some of the Frenchmen he fought during that lost cause. Plus he thinks French aristocrats are arrogant. However, the young woman he rescues from the sinking ship is nothing like he expects and rocks his world.

Even though the story is a short, it took as much research as a full novel, during which I discovered this is a fascinating time period on both sides of the channel. I’m already hooked on The Scarlet Pimpernel, having read all the books in that series several times and watched every film version (ask about my favorites) and am drawn to other novels and productions set in this era, such as the rich epic series, Poldark.
And my research into the explosion across the English Channel made me aware of how many émigrés fled France during the initial year of the revolution. Many were aristocrats, including the king’s own brothers. Most all of the nobility who did not flee while they still could were guillotined during the subsequent reign of terror. Among key events in 1789 that caused nobles to become émigrés: July 17, the beginning of the Great Fear, the peasantry revolt against feudalism and a number of urban disturbances and revolts. Insurrection and the spirit of popular sovereignty spread throughout France. In rural areas, many went beyond this: some burned title-deeds and no small number of châteaux.

The Women's March on Versailles, one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. “The march began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. The market women and their various allies grew into a mob of thousands and, encouraged by revolutionary agitators, they ransacked the city armory for weapons and marched to the royal palace at Versailles. The crowd besieged the palace and in a violent confrontation successfully pressed their demands upon King Louis XVI. The next day, the crowd compelled the king, his family, and the entire French Assembly to return with them to Paris.”

King Louis XV1 and his queen Marie Antoinette never successfully escaped Paris and were later imprisoned and beheaded.

From Women’s History: “Reportedly planned by Marie Antoinette, the escape of the royal couple from Paris was stopped at Varennes on October 21, 1791. Imprisoned with the king, Marie Antoinette continued to plot. She hoped for foreign intervention to end the revolution and free the royal family. She urged her brother, the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, to intervene, and supported a declaration of war against Austria in April, 1792, which she hoped would result in the defeat of France.”

What are some of your favorite historical romance settings?

And now, a bit about Into the Lion’s Heart which kicks off the new historical line the Wild Rose Press is debuting called Love Letters, the idea being that a letter must be responsible for bringing the hero and heroine together.

As the French Revolution rages, the English nobility offer sanctuary to many a refugee. Captain Dalton Evans arrives in Dover to meet a distant cousin, expecting to see a spoiled aristocrat. Instead, he's conquered by the simplicity of his new charge. And his best friend Thomas Archer isn't immune to her artless charm, either.

Cecile Beaumont didn't choose to travel across the Channel. And she certainly didn't expect that impersonating her own mistress would introduce her to a most mesmerizing man. Now she must play out the masquerade, or risk life, freedom – and her heart.

Into the Lion’s Heart is available in digital download from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon kindle, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers.


Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my children, grandbabies, and assorted animals. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. In addition to American settings, I also write historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles.

You can find me at my website, blog, Twitter and Facebook.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Beth is giving away an ebook copy of Into the Lion's Heart to a lucky commenter!

All you have to do is:

1) leave a comment/question for Beth or answer Beth's question: What are some of your favorite historical romance settings?
2) leave me a way to contact you if you win (e-mail, Twitter handle, etc.)

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends 3 October 2011!

Good luck!


Sunday, 25 September 2011

It's Monday, What Are you Reading? (#50)


It's Monday, What are you reading? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read and the books to be finished this week.

I just love it when putting together these It's Monday posts I realize what a productive week I had reading-wise. Of course besides the pride and satisfaction there is the downside that I have to search for pics and links for more books *sighs* :-) But anyway, today I am happy and won't even notice that, so let me tell you about all the books I read this past week:


Books I completed 


Mistress by Marriage
(Book #3 in the Mistress series)

Maggie Robinson will stop by on Thursday (September 29) with a guest post and giveaway, so I'll tell you more about Mistress by Marriage and the other books in the series, ok? Until then let me just tell you that if you are looking for some seriously HOT historical romances, you've found them! This series is like a historical erotica series, burning!


Sins of the Angel by Linda Poitevin

Wow! This book was harmful to my health as it kept me up until 3am on a week night and I couldn't sleep until I finished reading it. Amazingly rich worldbuilding, brilliant writing style, but I'll just tell you more about it in my review which I'll post on September 27, the day Linda Poitevin will stop by Ex Libris to celebrate the release of Sins of the Angels! So mark your calendars, you don't want to miss it!



You all know I am a big Lavinia Kent fan and What a Duke Wants was another wonderful addition to her historical romances. It is a great sensual and cute historical romance, one I gobbled up in less than a day it was so addictive. My review will be posted next week.



Another fantastic book I read the past week (it seems it was the week of great books). I loved Tempted by His Target! What an exciting, action packed story and I loved how masterfully Jill Sorenson escalated the sexual tension between the H/H until the very air vibrated! My detailed review will be posted next week. (Also Jill Sorenson has been doing a photo-virtual tour on her blog of all the places the characters visit in the novel, so make sure to stop by and look around a bit, I highly enjoyed her photo illustrated posts :-)



A fun and steamy erotic short story! My review will be posted on October 7 at Book Lovers Inc.


Book I am currently reading

A Bloody Good Secret: Secret McQueen, Book 2
(Book #2 in the Secret McQueen series)

I finally got around to read the #2 Secret McQueen Book and it is great to meet again all the beloved characters! :-D


Books I can't wait to start soon

Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins

Ever since I read All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins I've been a die hard fan of her stories, so when I heard she will have another release this year I made a happy dance! :-D Mark your calendars: Until There Was You will be released on October 25!  



And what are you reading this week?


Saturday, 24 September 2011

Winner of Every Savage Can Reproduce by Enid Wilson!


Hey Everyone! I hope everyone is having a great weekend and that it's just as sunny and nice where you are as it is here! Spent the late afternoon hours in the garden reading a magazine and soaking up the sun. The perfect chill out afternoon after a morning of shopping ;-p 

The giveaway for an ebook copy of Every Savage Can Reproduce by Enid Wilson has ended and the lucky winner is

Mary!

Congratulations Mary! I hope you'll enjoy the book, I have sent you an e-mail, please get back to me within 48 hours or I will have to draw a new winner. Thank you. 


Also there are still a couple of giveaways going on, you can enter them by clicking on the links on top of the blog and it will take you directly there. 

Have a great weekend everyone! :-)


Thursday, 22 September 2011

The One Where I Discovered the Military Romance Subgenre


Today I'm here to tell you a secret. Last week I was in a crazy frenzy. You know the kind when all you can think about is how fantastic a story was and you keep thinking about it long after it finished.

Want to know what started it? I read a novel which opened my eyes and made me discover a whole new world of romance stories: the military romance subgenre!

Is how starts this week's Romance & Me post over at Book Lovers Inc. where I tell you what exactly is military romance and how it is different from romantic suspense. And will also recommend a few great reads in the genre if you'd like to discover some gems!

Stop by, read why I fell for this subgenre and if you know of any great books in the genre, please share your recommendations!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Book Review: Lucky Girl by Cate Lord

Title: Lucky Girl
Author: Cate Lord
Release Date: 5 September 2011
Number of pages: 268 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Source: ebook provided by publisher through NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon

Grade: 3.5 stars

Novellus bonus!
Goodreads appetizer: Jessica Devlin isn’t looking for love. Heartbroken after being dumped by her unfaithful ex-fiancé, she’s determined to have a fabulous time during her vacation in England where she’ll be maid-of-honor at her cousin’s wedding. After working overtime as beauty editor of Orlando’s O Tart magazine, avoiding dating, and putting on ten pounds, Jess is ready to toss her past like an empty lipstick tube and party like a single gal.

But when she steps into the church on her cousin’s wedding day, she sees the one man who could sabotage her plan—James-Bond-gorgeous Nick Mondinello. She’s never forgotten the London marketing exec who held her in his arms after her beloved grandfather’s funeral two years ago. Ambitious, and lusted after by women everywhere, Nick is completely wrong for guarded, Plain Jane Jess.

Could Spy Man Nick ever fall for her? Nope. Not unless Jess is one lucky girl.


My Thoughts: I'll start by a confession. I knew I wanted to read Lucky Girl long before I knew anything about the story or read the blurb. All it took was one glance at the cute and beautiful cover and I was a goner. But I believe you can understand me, just look at it, doesn't it make you want to read it? *sighs*

So now that I've gotten this off my chest let me tell you about the story.

Based on the cover and premise I was expecting a cute, quirky and funny romantic chick lit and I was not disappointed. Lucky Girl is a light, fluffy, wedding cakes and rose petals and lots of bubbly kind of story, one that will make you chuckle and cringe a lot while rooting all along for Jess our curvy and quirky heroine.

I enjoyed Cate Lord's easy storytelling and how the story pulled me in. I loved Jess' tongue-in-cheek self-deprecating and quirky humour and Nick is a dreamy hero: tall, dark, handsome, mysterious and speaking with a British accent, what more could a girl want?

As said in Jess' own words:
"Nick seems like a decent guy," I said. "Intelligent. Sexy as sin. I’d bet most of the women in this room would toss their panties to have a chance in his bed."

One of my favourite unique quirkiness of this novel were the "talking names". Jess works as a beauty editor at an American magazine and she tends to give make up shade fantasy names to people (Dominique was only referred to as Sex Crazed all through the novel), which was very entertaining and gave a unique spot of colour to the story.

The story is told through Jess' narrative and due to this the reader can really identify with her and see her side of the story but unfortunately miss out on what happens outside of Jess' POV, namely what is going on with Nick. He kept himself away and he remained a mystery until almost the last minute. Sure we got to see some glimpses which showed what a warm-hearted and kind man he was, but I would have loved to read what went on inside his head and the development of his feelings for Jess.

I enjoyed all the spyreferences and winks, my favourite small detail was how Jess and Nick kept messaging each other through secret spy coded notes, it was so cute!

As a woman I know that we are all critical and have plenty of insecurities when it comes to our bodies, but Jess' constant agonizing over her weight/belly/curves got on my nerves after some time. Especially that whenever she looked or referred to her body it was always to say something negative and demoralizing. The self-hatred she had against her body was painful to read, so hurtful to her self-perception and lack of confidence.

It seemed to me that Jess lived in a wordl of her own with constantly imagining her favourite TV show the Plucky Penguin characters and what they would do in such events, which sure made the story entertaining, but I felt it was too much from a nearly 30 year old adult.

At the end I was very glad that Cate Lord didn't make the heroine abandon everything and move continents, but felt disappointed that the HEA had to happen with an obligatory marriage proposal after only three weeks! Wouldn't a simple "Move in with me please?" be just as romantic and touching?

Verdict: You'll laugh, you'll sigh and you'll bite your nails cringing for Jess our Bridget Jones-y heroine while reading about her adventures in green and posh England. If you want a light and fluffy but chuckle out loud quirky romance you'll have a great time reading Lucky Girl.

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 8/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 7/10
Cover: 10/10 - love it!

Buy it:

 
The BookDepository 


Interview with Cate Lord + Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming to Ex Libris Cate Lord, whose latest novel, a quirky funny contemporary romance (Lucky Girl) was released just recently. If you want a light and fluffy but chuckle out loud quirky romance you'll have a great time reading Lucky Girl. You'll laugh, you'll sigh and you'll bite your nails cringing for Jess our Bridget Jones-y heroine while reading about her adventures in green and posh England. (You can read my review here.)

Stella: Hi Cate! Thanks so much for not only including Ex Libris on your blog tour but also accepting to be interviewed by me, thank you! :-)

Cate: You’re very welcome! And thank you. I really appreciate the interview. :-)

Stella: Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Cate: Sure thing! I’ve been writing since I was about four years old, and wrote my first novella at age twelve and first full-length book at sixteen. While it took me many years to finally see one of my novels in print, I never gave up on my dream of being a published author. Part of me always believed I was destined to be a novelist. :-)

I live in Central Florida and have been married more than 19 years to a smart, witty, lovable Brit. And yes, my husband drives a Mini Cooper (although he’s over six feet tall!) :-) We have a teenage daughter in High School. We also have a three -year-old male rescue kitty who believes I am his personal slave. :-)

Cate Lord is my contemporary pen name, and Lucky Girl is the first Chick Lit romantic comedy I’ve written using this pseudonym. I’ve also written six award-winning medieval historical romances under the name Catherine Kean. I decided to use different pen names for my contemporary and historical books because they’re very different in style and tone. Readers buying a Cate Lord novel are going to get a humorous, sexy, quirky romance, whereas a Catherine Kean book is dramatic, emotional, and enriched with historical detail.

Stella: Your latest novel Lucky Girl, which is a witty and very funny romance was released last week (Congratulations by the way!). What can we expect of Lucky Girl? Would you call it a contemporary romance or rather chick lit? (and can I just say congratulations on the beautiful and cute cover, I love it!)

Cate: Thanks so much for your congratulations! :-) I’m thrilled to see Lucky Girl published, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect cover design! :-) I adore it.

In terms of genre, I wouldn’t categorize Lucky Girl as pure Chick Lit. While it’s written in first person like most Chick Lit novels, and has a Chick Lit tone, at heart the story is a romance.

Stella: Can you tell readers what inspired Lucky Girl? Was there a specific moment or was it rather a string of events/people?

Cate: Actually, a bit of both! :-) Lucky Girl is very loosely based on a year I lived and studied in England. I stayed with my aunt and uncle in Hertfordshire and on weekdays, traveled by train down to London to attend classes. On weekends, I partied with a great group of friends I’d met through my English cousins. At one party I went to with them, I met the charming Brit who later became my husband. I often wonder how different my life would be, if I hadn’t gone to the UK to study.

Stella: I enjoyed all the witty allusions to Nick as his Gorgeous Spyness and the spy references and wondered: who is your favourite James Bond? *winks*

Cate: I liked Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, but I think my favorite is Daniel Craig. There’s something about his stare that’s so intense and mesmerizing.

Stella: I really liked all the fun “talking” lipstick and other make up shade names serving as aliases for characters (with my best friend making up fun and catchy shade names has been one of our hobbies since high school). If you were a lipstick shade what would you be called?

Cate: Great question! How about Cheeky Coral Cate? :-)

Stella: Plucky Penguin and Chicky Dee were the main characters in a favourite TV show of Jess and they play quite a pivotal role in the story. Could you tell a few words about them and their role in the novel for readers who haven’t read Lucky Girl yet?

Cate: I loved Plucky Penguin and Chicky Dee! They are the hero and heroine of a cancelled British TV cartoon called The Adventures of Plucky Penguin. The show ran for 23 episodes, and inspired a line of collectible figurines. Plucky Penguin is a suave, charming, James Bond type spy extraordinaire—and yes, also a penguin—whose mission is to save the world from destruction. Chicky Dee is his gutsy blonde sidekick who saves his feather-covered butt time and again using nifty spy gadgets, including an Instant-Ice Zapper Gun.

I’ve been asked if The Adventures of Plucky Penguin was a real show. Nope. :-) It’s purely a product of my rather quirky imagination. The show works perfectly for my story, though, because Jess constantly imagines Nick as Plucky Penguin, and herself as his Chicky Dee. This adds extra humor and is one of the elements that makes their romance unique.

Stella: Jess tries to live life as her role model, sassy and brave Chicky Dee would. Did you have your own Plucky Penguin show? One you cherished and which gave you inspiration on how to deal with your day to day challenges? Or one which simply cheered you up enough to make you forget about your troubles for a short while?

Cate: Hmm. Not that I can think of right now. :-)

Stella: You write historical romance novels under the name of Catherine Kean. What made you want to try out a different subgenre of romance and venture into chick lit-dom with Lucky Girl?

Cate: My muse encouraged me to try something new. :-) While I love penning medieval romances, and plan to write more, I was eager to stretch my creativity a bit. Once the idea for Lucky Girl popped into my mind, I couldn’t stop thinking about the book, and knew it was a project I had to write to completion. I’m so glad I did!

Stella: If you could time travel and witness history for a few days with your own eyes, what time period would you choose and where would you go? Why?


Cate: Excellent question! Given the choice, I’d love to visit England in the Victorian era. It was a time of tremendous change, invention, and creativity, and I think it would be fascinating to take a peek back then. I’m sure that visit would make me appreciate electricity and modern conveniences all the more.

Stella: Do you plan on maybe trying out another romance subgenre?

Cate: I’m actually working on two paranormal romances right now—one contemporary and one historical. Great fun!

Stella: Can you tell us about your future plans, what can we expect next from you?

Cate: I plan to write many more books, perhaps even follow-on books from Lucky Girl. I have several “irons in the fire” right now, as the saying goes, but can’t say more. I encourage readers to visit my websites to keep up with my writing news.

Stella: You say in your bio you have a very spoiled cat, was he/she the inspiration for Casanova? Does he/she also only eat homecooked meals?

Cate: I do have a spoiled cat. Extremely spoiled, but he’s so darned cute, I can’t help it. :-) His name is Kai, and he’s a three-year-old male rescue kitty we adopted as a kitten from the local animal shelter. He wasn’t the inspiration for Casanova; that was one of my previous cats, an orange tabby (also a rescue kitty) who passed away a while ago. Kai, however, is my writing buddy and was by my side while I did revisions and copy edits on Lucky Girl.
No, none of my cats have eaten home cooked meals. :-) I got that idea from the time my mom bought a pedigree Himalayan kitten from a breeder, who gave her a special recipe and instructed her to cook food for the kitten. It was essentially ground beef and vegetables and a few other ingredients I can’t remember now. My mother made a few batches of the special food and then switched to dry cat chow. :-) I can’t say I blame her.

Stella: And can you tell us what you like to do in your free time when you are not writing funny romance novels for us? :-)

Cate: I love to cook and bake. Trying out a new recipe (usually one I’ve found on Food Network) is one of my favorite things to do on quiet weekends, and my family is always willing to taste-test!  I also enjoy going to the local farmers’ markets, browsing antique stores with my daughter, shopping expeditions with my daughter, watching movies and Sci-Fi TV series with my family (we’re hooked on Battlestar Galactica, V, and Dr. Who right now), and planting flowers in my garden. In the fall and winter months, I also like walking on the local nature trail.

Stella: Thank you very much Cate for answering my questions and congratulations on the release of Lucky Girl!

Cate: Thanks! I really enjoyed the interview. :-)

Cate Lord is the contemporary pen name of multi‐award‐winning historical romance author Catherine Kean. Her novels have garnered numerous accolades, including two Reviewer’s Choice Awards and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Her books also finaled in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the 2008 National Readers’ Choice Awards. Grateful for her wildly active imagination and plenty of story ideas, Cate is busy working on her next book. She lives in Central Florida with her husband, daughter, and a very spoiled cat.

Connect with Cate: Facebook / Goodreads / CateLord.com


Lucky Girl by Cate Lord

Jessica Devlin isn’t looking for love. Heartbroken after being dumped by her unfaithful ex-fiancé, she’s determined to have a fabulous time during her vacation in England where she’ll be maid-of-honor at her cousin’s wedding. After working overtime as beauty editor of Orlando’s O Tart magazine, avoiding dating, and putting on ten pounds, Jess is ready to toss her past like an empty lipstick tube and party like a single gal.

But when she steps into the church on her cousin’s wedding day, she sees the one man who could sabotage her plan—James-Bond-gorgeous Nick Mondinello. She’s never forgotten the London marketing exec who held her in his arms after her beloved grandfather’s funeral two years ago. Ambitious, and lusted after by women everywhere, Nick is completely wrong for guarded, Plain Jane Jess.

Could Spy Man Nick ever fall for her? Nope. Not unless Jess is one lucky girl.

Find Lucky Girl at Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Powell's | BAM | Diesel | Books On Board








 

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Thanks to Entangled Publishing one lucky commenter will win an ebook copy of Lucky Girl!


All you have to do is

1) leave a question/comment for Cate, and
2) leave a way for me to contact you (e-mail address, Twitter handle, etc.)

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 28 September 2011!

Good luck!

Related Posts with Thumbnails