Thursday, 31 January 2013

Guest post by Michaela Debelius + Giveaway

Please give a warm welcome to today's guest who is none other than Michaela Debelius, author of the science fiction romance novel, Decoy. Maybe she is a still unknown author to you right now, but trust me, after reading her post you'll remember her name ;-) So without further ado I give you Michaela! (ps. and don't forget to leave a comment to be entered to win her book!)

Before I begin this tongue-in-cheek titled guest post, I’d like the thank Stella for having me. Thank you, Stella!

I Hate Writing Blog Posts AKA Why I Don’t Matter
by Michaela Debelius

I have a confession to make, though I imagine you’ve already deduced it from the title. I hate writing blog posts. But before you think I’m overly negative and move on to the next entry, let me explain.

First off, there’s a reason I don’t have a blog. It’s not because I’m lazy or prefer to ostracize myself from a proven method of exposure and therefore increased book sales, it’s because I feel the reader is being cheated. At this moment in time, you have no idea who I am. Michaela Debelius? How do you even pronounce that mouthful of syllables? Did she mean to write Michael? Let me scroll down to her picture and confirm this is, in fact, a woman.

While I certainly hope the picture does prove my estrogen dominance rather than draw-up more questions, there’s not much more I’d like you to know about me, and there’s a reason for that.

I get it. Amanda Hocking made millions by saturating a blog with every thought she felt readers would want to know. Taylor Swift has amassed quite an empire through a similar avenue. We live in a transparent world. There’s a reason Real Housewives of Any Given City is an automatic success even though it’s the same storyline with a different backdrop. People want to peek into the lives of others. It’s a fascination we have as a society, and I understand that. I just don’t want to be in it. It’s not that I strive to be the next J.D. Salinger, enigmatic and reclusive, it’s that I don’t want to cheat the reader from their rightful experience.

Up until the last five or ten years, all we ever knew about authors came from a few sentences found on the inner flap of a dust jacket, accompanied by, inevitably, a cheesy black and white photo. Maybe I read too much horror, but is there a law against smiling in those things?

Anyway, the advantage those authors had was their ability to blend into the prose. All the reader knew was the character. There’s a reason no one wants to see the puppeteer. It ruins the show. And, in my opinion, when an author becomes too prevalent in media or social networking, I hear them rather than the character. This happened to me with Stephenie Meyer. It happened after reading On Writing by Stephen King, though I was never a hardcore fan of his to begin with.

Herein lies something I am willing to admit to readers—I don’t spend time researching authors I enjoy. If there is one thing about me that’s obvious when speaking about writing it’s that I think Dean Koontz is a demi-god, untouchable and unsinkable. But there’s very little I know about him personally. What I do know I learned from his book A Big Little Life, which is an autobiographical story about his beloved dog, Trixie. Prior to that, I knew he lived in California, owned said dog, and he needed to get rid of the mustache—all information I collected from the backside of his paperbacks. Fortunately, he updated his headshot and I’ve subsequently discovered he’s lost the mustache. I’m not going to lie; I sleep a little better at night.

Although there is great value in operating a blog as an upcoming author, the most prominent advantage being exposure, I’m willing to forgo that, at least at this point in time. That’s not to say I think other writers are making a mistake, it’s just a decision I’ve made in handling my own career, a benefit to being self-published. I put a lot of hard work into each novel. I spend ample time with these characters. And after months of exploring their world, I want their voice to be heard. After all, I don’t matter. When a reader picks up my book, I don’t want them to see me. I want them to see Mercy Green, Noel Casey, and the legion of characters I have yet to create. They are what matter. Their lives hold the adventures. Me? I’m just a woman sitting behind a keyboard hoping to offer someone entertainment in the form of e-ink. After all, if I were half as interesting as a nineteen-year-old immortal or worked at a mysterious Army base, do you think I’d have time to write full-length novels?


Michaela Debelius is a fiction writer whose work incorporates elements of science fiction, romance, and suspense. Originally from New England, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and two furry children. Her second novel, Perpetual¸ is available now. 

For more information on Michaela and her books please visit her website at www.MichaelaDebelius.com.


Decoy by Michaela Debelius

Lieutenant Noel Casey is taken aback by her newest military assignment. Her usual routine of vaccine development is interrupted when she's assigned to analyze Killian, a genetically engineered soldier designed for exceptional strength and intelligence. She's not accustomed to working with human subjects, especially a person created for warfare, and Killian's indifference is making it difficult to see past his robotic demeanor.

When Noel is attacked outside Killian's containment quarters, he is forced to intervene. The altruistic act instantly transforms their relationship, though neither will admit to the shift in sentiment. The predator is now the protector in Noel's eyes, and she's thrown off by her growing captivation.

As if her infatuation with a virtual stranger isn't enough of a distraction, she begins having terrifying nightmares. Her cryptic dreams appear to harbor an elusive warning as she watches them materialize into existence, proving the nightly visions foretelling. She starts to suspect the military base is concealing far more than an experimental soldier, and she can't shake the feeling Killian is the axis of the chaos. Noel must decide whether she'll accept the unconvincing explanations offered by her peers, or reject her comfortable environment for an unimaginable truth. With her premonitions pointing towards a violent outcome and her irrational draw to Killian becoming impossible to ignore, she realizes the choice has already been made for her. Noel's understanding of science is about to be shattered.

Buy at Amazon - B&N - Kobo

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Michaela has generously offered an ebook copy of Decoy to a lucky commenter!


Just leave a comment and tell us whether you like to read about the authors behind the books, or if you don't care much about the person, just the story they created?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 8 February 2013!

Good luck!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Guest post by Kerry Schafer + Giveaway

Today I am happy to introduce you to Kerry Schafer who stops by today to tell you a bit about her debut novel, Between, an amazing looking and sounding, exciting urban fantasy story (seriously that cover is one of the bests I have seen)! So please give Kerry a warm welcome, read on and you could even win a copy of Between!


Reading, Writing, and The Other
by Kerry Schafer

Someone asked me the other day, "Do you only read Fantasy? Is that all you write? Isn't it hard to make up things like that?"

The short answers are – no, no, and no.

Let me explain.

My reading tastes are eclectic and I will read anything set in front of me, including ingredients on the cereal box and those little papers that come with medications from the pharmacy. You know the ones – folded by tiny and agile fingers into an origami that requires finesse and dexterity to unfold, covered in columns of words that sort of resemble English in places. (Over the years I've noticed that the actual printing on these inserts, and on the cereal boxes, has gotten increasingly more minute and deciphering them requires a pair of reading glasses. I blame the economy.)

But I digress.

I seem to go through phases with reading. At the end of high school I was on a Victorian kick – Dickens and Austen and Brontë. This was followed by a fantasy binge. European classics. Young Adult. I also often read by author. If I happen across a book I love, I'm likely to read everything that author ever wrote. My favorite genres at the moment tend to be thrillers, mysteries, and good old fashioned fantasies. I was honestly a little shocked to discover I'd written an Urban Fantasy, and had to run out and read a bunch of books in the genre to understand what I'd fallen into!

When I first started to write Between, which was called Swimming North at the time, I was planning to stay straight. I would write something that played with reality, but from the perspective of mental illness and altered perception. No fantasy worlds. No magical realism.

As it turns out, this is the hardest thing in the world for me to do. My mind wants to play with the other, to dip into all the possibilities of the unknown. So I was writing along and all of a sudden there was this wooden box, and inside it were these crystal spheres, and in each sphere was another reality.

But this was supposed to be a reality based tale. Magic marbles had no place here. So I tried deleting the box and the spheres. If you read Between, or even look at that awesome dragon on the cover, you'll see that I was not successful in my endeavor to squelch them. The book knew what it wanted to be, and in the end I agreed to listen. This led, in the end, to a world where dragons and magic and dreams all became real.


Kerry Schafer was born and raised in Canada, moved back and forth across the border several times, and finally settled on a compromise. She now lives in Washington state, but within an hour’s drive of her home and native land. Her childhood book collection traveled with her through all of those moves, and although she now owns a Kindle she continues to acquire books and bookshelves. During her lifetime, Kerry has worked as a lumber piler, an OB nurse, a secretary, and a substitute teacher, among other things. No matter where she lives or what she is doing, she finds a way to create writing time. Currently she balances writing and family with her work as a mental health counselor.

Connect with Kerry at her website - blog - Twitter - Facebook - Goodreads


Book #1 in The Between series

Maylor can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because she just broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a new town, or it could be the stress of her new job at the hospital. But perhaps it’s because her dreams have started to bleed through into her waking hours.

All of her life Vivian has rejected her mother’s insane ramblings about Dreamworlds for concrete science and fact, until an emergency room patient ranting about dragons spontaneously combusts before her eyes—forcing Viv to consider the idea that her visions of mythical beasts might be real.

And when a chance encounter leads her to a man she knows only from her dreams, Vivian finds herself falling into a world that seems strange and familiar all at once—a world where the line between dream and reality is hard to determine, and hard to control...

GIVEAWAY RULES:

One lucky commenter will win a paperback copy of Between by Kerry Schafer!


All you need to do is leave a comment and tell us do you read fantasy/urban fantasy books? Why do you/don't you? What do you like/dislike about the genre and these stories?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 15 February 2013!

Good luck!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Guest post by Laura Bickle + Giveaway

By now you must know what a big fan I am of Laura Bickle. She was one of the first authors I discovered thanks to blogging and her beautiful and evocative writing made her a memorable, must-read author and her novels unforgettable (get a first glimpse of that by reading my reviews of Embers and Dark Oracle). If you haven't had the pleasure of reading her Anya Kalinczyk or Oracle series yet, trust me you have to give them a try, they are both excellent! And now Laura stops by to tell you about The Hallowed Ones, her latest release, the first book in her brand new YA series! So please give her the warmest welcome and enter the giveaway to win your book of choice of any of Laura's novels! :-)

Avatars
by Laura Bickle

“How much of you goes into your heroine?”

I get asked this once in a while, and I think it’s an interesting question on many levels. It sort of suggests that a writer’s character is her idealized alter ego, Wonder Woman to the writer’s Diana Prince.

I think some of my characters have been very much like me, in terms of experience and thought processes. Anya Kalinczyk from EMBERS drew heavily on my background in criminal justice. Her relationship with her familiar, Sparky the fire salamander, mirrors relationships I’ve had with my pets. Tara Sheridan from DARK ORACLE knows everything I know about Tarot. Tara also has my tendency to watch and wait, to analyze situations before acting. Both Anya and Tara suffer from my deep-seated belief that love does not conquer all.

But sometimes a heroine isn’t an avatar. Sometimes, a character is entirely her own person, and very little in her world and experience intersects with my own.

Katie, the Amish protagonist of THE HALLOWED ONES, is like that. She’s a young woman of very strong faith in a powerful community. These aren’t things that are part of my daily life, so it was a challenge to do the research as an outsider, to work myself into her skin. Katie was foreign to me on many fronts – her belief in people, her strength and willingness to take risks. She values the collective more than her individual needs. These are not things that come easily to me.

But she grew of her own accord. Rather than pulling from my own views and experiences, she became her own person. I developed a lot of respect for her and her way of life. I began to understand her own internal logic and learn the larger ideals that motivated her. She was full of hope and idealism and her own naivete and strength.

Is there something of me in Katie? Almost certainly. I think it’s impossible to mold a character without leaving some of one’s fingerprints on her.

But she’s not an avatar. She’s her own person, and I learned a lot of respect for differences in the process. She became my teacher, and I’m grateful for that experience.

The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

Book #1 in the Hallowed Ones series

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

Laura Bickle's professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she's not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she can be found reaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs. She has written several contemporary fantasy nov-els for adults, and THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats. For more about Laura, connect with her at


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Being a huge fan of Laura's work I would like to offer a copy of any book written by Laura Bickle or Alayna Williams (her alter ego) to a lucky commenter!

a few of the books you could choose from

To be entered all you have to do is tell us about one of your favourite heroine/hero and in which way do they resemble you, or do you wish to be like them?

Giveaway is open worldwide (wherever the Book Depository ships) and ends on 15 February 2013!

Good luck!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Guest post by Stacey Kennedy + Giveaway

Today I am happy to welcome back to Ex Libris scorching erotica author Stacey Kennedy, who with her latest release widens her horizons as her new book, The Cat's Meowpublished by Entangled Publishing is an urban fantasy story! The Cat's Meow is all about cats, so I was curious to know what were some of the most memorable or favourite cats of Stacey's. Read on to discover them, and you could even win a copy of The Cat's Meow!


Huge thanks to Stella for letting me stop by and share my new release, The Cat's Meow. On the topic of cats, today I’ve been asked, “List your top 10 favorite cat characters either in Movies or Books!”

Here are 10 cats that I wish were real!

1. Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)
2. Crookshanks (Harry Potter)
3. Garfield
4. Puss (Puss in Boots)
5. Mr. Bigglesworth (Austin Powers)
6. Sylvester (Looney Tunes)
7. Mr. Jinx (Meet the Parents)
8. The Cat in the Hat
9. Hello Kitty (For my daughter because I know she wants to own her.)
10. Of course, Willow from the Magic & Mayhem series. ;-D

Now, tell me yours! Have I missed any awesome kitties?


Book 1 in the Witch's Brew series

A good witch always has a kick-ass back-up plan.

Libby is an Enchantress—a witch gifted by the Goddess to conjure spells. When a magical presence is detected around a recent string of feline slayings, Libby takes the case to uncover the reasons behind the odd deaths. Much to her displeasure, the coven also sends a sexy warlock, Kale, to assist her.

While having the muscle around proves to be useful, fighting the attraction between them is worse than a hex, especially considering Kale is keeping secrets. But soon, Libby has bigger problems than the elusive warlock when her spells turn up clues that point to something far more sinister than slaughtered cats.

Now Libby has landed herself in the midst of an uprising. She trusts no one and isn’t safe—not from the warlocks stirring up trouble. Not from the worrisome rebellion she can’t escape. And certainly not from Kale, who is weaving a very dangerous spell over her heart.


Stacey Kennedy’s novels are lighthearted fantasy with heart-squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and even give a good chuckle every now and again. But within the stories you’ll also find fast-paced action, life-threatening moments, and a big bad villain who needs to be destroyed. She lives in Southwestern Ontario with her husband and two children. If she’s not plugging away at a new story—which is rare because her muse is annoying—you’ll find her camping, curling up with the latest flick, or obsessing over Sons of Anarchy, Games of Thrones, Supernatural and Dexter.

Stacey welcomes comments from readers. You can find her at:



GIVEAWAY RULES:

Entangled Publishing has generously offered an ebook copy of The Cat's Meow by Stacey Kennedy to a lucky commenter!


All you need to do is leave a comment and tell us some of your favourite cat characters either in books or movies!

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 8 February 2013!

Good luck!

For more chances to win, follow the blog tour.

It's Monday, What Are you Reading? (#107)


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.

Hey Everyone,

How was your week/weekend? Mine was busy and getting busier, and besides that half the office is down with the flu so though I try to eat many oranges and strengthen my immune system I fear that my sore throat is a precursor of worse things... Well let's hope I'll manage to nip it in the bud.

Last week I over-indulged in Entangled's romances, from heart-warming to pulse racing, I read them all. But now I feel like a kid who has a stomach/toothache after all the candy she gobbled up, so I'll have to see what to read next to cleanse my palate. So here is what I have read in the past week:

Books I completed


This was my first story by Inara Scott and it blew me away, I loved it! Check out our dual review with Anna on Wednesday at Book Lovers Inc., where we discuss why this book was so great! :-)



Loved the cover of this book and the story was nice as well, I gobbled the pages, it was quite an addictive read I even had to sneak in a couple of pages during breaks at work. ;-)  My review will be posted soon.



I just love athlete heroes and this one combined that with a marriage of convenience, one of my favourite tropes, so if course I was game! :-D However, since the story is pretty much the same as Tempting the Player by J. Lynn, the comparison is inevitable.You might read my review of Tempting the Player here and my review of Game for Marriage will be posted soon.


Book I'm currently reading


And the last one in my Entangled Brazen reading escapades. Maybe I've over-indulged because I'm not enjoying this one as much as the others...


Book I can't wait to start 


I still haven't gotten around to starting this one, because it seems my copy vanished from my Kindle, and I always forgot to reload it once home. But I vow to read it this week. Scout's honour.


And what are you reading this week?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

And this week's winners are...


Hey Everyone!

Another busy week and even busier weekend, so here is an extra quick winner announcement for you today: 

Congratulations to

the lucky winner of an ebook copy of A Little Bit Wicked by Robyn DeHart is

Mirjam


the lucky winner of an ebook copy of Kissing Kendall by Jennifer Shirk is

Georgette E


the lucky winner of a paperback copy of Immortal Craving by Kendra Leigh Castle is

Janie McGaugh


the lucky winner of a paperback copy of The Officer Breaks the Rules by Jeanette Murray is

Bonnie


Congratulations winners! I have sent you all an e-mail notifying you of your win, please get back to me within 48 hours or I will have to draw a new winner. Thank you.

There are some great giveaways which are still open, enter them before it's too late for the chance to win some great bookish prizes. You can find the links to the individual giveaways at the top of the blog. 

Hope you all had a nice weekend :-)

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Book Review: How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English

Title: How to Tame a Willful Wife
Author: Christy English
Series: Book #1 in the Shakespeare in Love series
Release Date: 6 November 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Number of pages: 352 pages
Source: ebook copy provided by publisher through NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's WebsiteAmazon, KindleBarnes and Noble, Book Depository US, Book Depository UK

Grade: 3 stars

Novellus bonus!
Goodreads appetizer: How To Tame A Willful Wife:

1. Forbid her from riding astride
2. Hide her dueling sword
3. Burn all her breeches and buy her silk drawers
4. Frisk her for hidden daggers
5. Don't get distracted while frisking her for hidden daggers...

Anthony Carrington, Earl of Ravensbrook, expects a biddable bride. A man of fiery passion tempered by the rigors of war into steely self-control, he demands obedience from his troops and his future wife. Regardless of how fetching she looks in breeches.

Promised to the Earl of Plump Pockets by her impoverished father, Caroline Montague is no simpering miss. She rides a war stallion named Hercules, fights with a blade, and can best most men with both bow and rifle. She finds Anthony autocratic, domineering, and...ridiculously gorgeous.

It's a duel of wit and wills in this charming retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. But the question is...who's taming whom?

My Thoughts: I LOVE Shakespeare retellings and The Taming of the Shrew is one of his plays I like the most, so as soon as I read the blurb of Christy English's latest novel and saw that it would be a Regency retelling of that story I was excited and impatient to read it.

We all know that The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare's most controversial plays, often criticized nowadays for its misogynistic ways, so I was curious to see how Christy English would manage this problem in her novel, which though set in Regency times is written for modern women. And I'm sorry to say that I'm not sure she managed it well.

While the story was certainly entertaining and kept me interested, while I had no problems with the main characters when on their own, once they got together and in their interaction with each other they just frustrated to no end.

Caroline is a quite modern woman for her time: she is independent of thought, intelligent and likes to be able to protect herself:

“Even if you have no respect for me, you must have a care for your own safety.” Anthony spoke calmly, his voice low. Caroline tilted her head as if to hear him better, a look of surprise on her face.

“I do respect you, Anthony. But I also respect myself. I am used to listening to my own judgment.”
“If you prefer blunted blades to ribbons and bonnets, that is your prerogative.”

She has many other interests beside the usual ones for which women were raised in her time (namely becoming a dutiful wife and mother of many children), she longs to see the world:

Caroline had never been on a ship, but she hungered for the sight of the ocean, the great swells that would carry her to far, undiscovered countries where the people had never heard a word of English spoken. Or to the wilds of Byzantium, where the great domes and marbled streets led from one delight to another, to Venice, where the very roads were made of water, where the air was filled with spices. Caroline knew she was foolish to think of such things. Like all women of her station, she would live out her life in her husband’s house, raising his children and keeping his home. She would go to London for the Season, for fittings and for balls. She would walk in the staid park of Regent’s Square, and take in the river Thames. London was as close as she was ever likely to get to the places she had read about in her father’s library.

At such times my heart ached for the very limited options and choices she had in her life, especially when reading about her quiet and sad resignation of her acceptance that this was the way of the world and she had no right to want more.

Anthony was a hero I'm feeling quite ambivalent about, couldn't put it better than Caroline herself:

Anthony was an honourable man, and often kind. He was controlling and infuriating and mad with jealousy and the need for control

He is acting very inconsistent: at times he is irritated and annoyed her independent and intelligent wife challenges him and fences, then at other times he is clearly proud of her and that she stands up to him.

Gone was the wild woman who had defied him at every turn since he had met her, the woman who had leaped over hedges on horseback to escape him. He had tamed her, and the taming was as sweet as he might have wished for. In the relaxation of the moment, a niggling sense of disappointment filled his breast to mingle with his bliss. He thought of the woman he had seen besting all comers on the archery range, the woman who had thrown a knife at him not once, but twice. That woman was strong enough to bear fine sons. He hoped that strength still lived in her, though her wedding vows seemed to have made her as docile and warm in bed as he might have wished.

I know that he had to have nuances not to make the readers dislike him for his overbearing ways, but he changed his ways on a whim, with no explanation or motivation for the reader to understand him. And when he got back to his macho misogynist thinking it really made me see red at times. He never gave his wife a chance to talk things through and it was clear that he didn't see her as his partner in life.

“I told you in Pembroke’s house never to speak to him, much less dance with him. How dare you disobey me.”

“Anthony, this is the prince’s ball, and Viscount Carlyle is his guest, as we are. I do not understand you.”

“I do not ask you to understand. I ask you to do as I say.”

“You ask nothing. You give orders with no explanation. How many times must I tell you I am not a hound to come to heel.”
“You are my wife, Caroline. You will obey me.”
“I cannot look at you. Pembroke will take you home.”

“I will not go. You must talk to me.” Caroline tried to pull away, but Anthony caught her arm once more in his grip. She winced, her arm bruised, but he did not release her.

“You will do as you are told. You are my wife.”

“I am not your whore, to be ordered about as you please.”

“You are my wife, and you will obey me.”

What frustrated me was that whenever Caroline stood up to Anthony, if he came close she took a glimpse at his manly beauty (because yes it was mentioned every time) and she melted like a puddle of need, forgetting her objections and arguments. She became an airhead governed by lust:

Anthony stood close behind her, breathing in the scent of her, suppressing the desire to kiss the curve of her throat.

As always, his nakedness made her throat go dry. Caroline took in his beauty and was distracted from her irritation. It seemed she could not stay angry with him whenever his clothes came off.
She felt an overwhelming urge to tell him she would accept any humiliation he served her, she would overlook every mistress he tossed in her face, if only he would touch her again.
Her throat closed, and any words she might have spoken were swallowed in her attempt to clear it. Caroline stared at him, taking in his beauty,

and he just closed every discussion with "you are my wife, obey me".

Verdict: How to Tame a Willful Wife was a nice but flawed read. I expected more and was left disappointed regarding the romantic relationship and dynamics between the hero and heroine. In my opinion Christy English did not succeed in making the hero a sympathetic character the reader could understand and relate too,  he was too stuck in the old misogynist times and customs  while with the heroine belittling herself and giving up her opinion at the promise of making love made me lose my respect and sympathy for her. Besides this quite glaring complaint I enjoyed the writing and will probably check out other stories by Christy English, but this one left me ambivalent and frustrated.

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 6/10
Writing 7/10
Ending 6/10
Cover 9/10

Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

Buy it:

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery



Friday, 25 January 2013

Guest post by Bronwen Evans + Giveaway

Today I am happy to welcome back to Ex Libris Bronwen Evans who until now was known as a historical romance (even more particularly a Regency) author, but with her latest release, The Reluctant Wife, published by Entangled Publishing's Indulgence line she ventures into the land of contemporary romance! So I was curious to know how different was it to pen a story set nowadays? And since for her HR books she must have done lots of research, how did she prepare for her first contemporary romance? Did it  necessitate some research as well? So please give a warm welcome to Bronwen and if you leave your answer you could win one of her Regency novels ;-) 

Hi Stella,

Thanks for having me guest blog, it’s exciting to be here talking about my first contemporary release, THE RELUCTANT WIFE.

I’m frequently asked why write a contemporary? To be honest there were several reasons. I felt like a change. I don’t want to ever get bored with writing my Regency romances, which I love. I thought writing contemporary romances as well, would keep my writing fresh. I can write Regency in the morning and contemporary in the afternoon. It certainly helps with writers block when you have two stories on the go at once. If one story is a bit slow going, I simply swap to the other.

I also wanted to expand my saleability. Writing is a passion for me but it’s also my income. There is a saying, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Plus I wanted to write for Liz Pelletier and the Entangled Publishing team. I knew Liz from Savvy Authors and I really liked her business model. It works really well for the author and everyone in the publishing process. However, when I was contracted for The Reluctant Wife they didn’t have a historical line, so I thought I’d try writing a contemporary for them. They do now have the Scandalous line, so maybe I’ll write a historical for them too...

However, the big reason for writing this story in particular, was to focus on a particular women’s issue in today’s modern world. An issue that is personal to me-endometriosis. The topic of this story would not fit the Regency era as it would have likely led to the death of the heroine. A scary thought and definitely not a HEA.

Because the story’s topic is personal, I didn’t have to do too much research as Abby’s experiences are similar to mine. I also work part-time for a surgical association so had resources on tap so to speak. I can’t tell you too much or it will spoil the plot.

I set the book in Italy because I wanted a catholic, traditional type country that still had nobility and titles. My hero is Conte Dante Lombardi. I just can’t stay away from those slightly arrogant, self-assured men. With his family business empire, which he had to step up and run at the age of twenty, Dante can’t help but come across a bit on the arrogant side, but like a yummy cream filled caramel chocolate he’s got a soft centre.

Gilles Marini as Dante
I’ve also spent a lot of time in Italy so I could picture the setting perfectly. I lived in England for eight years and visited Italy often. I love the country. The fashion, food, culture and of course the delicious men. After all, my catch phrase is tall, dark and handsome. And Dante is certainly all three...

So, no, I didn’t find writing a contemporary too difficult. Of course there are differences. Language for one. Regency language is very formal. Then there is the fact that you have to think like a modern woman instead of a female who has little or no rights. However, Dante wasn’t difficult to write as I knew, given his title, looks, money and responsibilities, he probably wasn’t much different from your average Regency rake.

Here’s an excerpt from The Reluctant Wife which demonstrates this aspect perfectly...

“My grandmother will want to know why I have decided to return to you. I’d rather not let her know the real reason. It will upset her and she needs to be stress-free.”

Dante raised an eyebrow and nodded. “What would she believe?”

Abby bit her lip and clamped her hands together to stop herself from biting her nails. Her grandmother would notice. “Um. The only reason she would take at face value is that we realized we have been idiots and that we love each other too much to throw everything away for silly pride.”

“You could tell her I told you the truth about trying to contact you when you first left. We both realized we’d made mistakes and we want to give it another try.”

“I’ll tell her that when I got here, I saw you were absolutely miserable without me, and you begged me to come home.”

“Begged?”

She laughed. “Okay, begged might be a bit far-fetched. I can’t ever see you begging for anything. I’ll tell her that we’ve both grown up and we spent the whole first night talking everything through.”

“And?”

“And I realized that I should fight for my marriage and you realized you couldn’t live without me, so we compromised.”

Dante made a grunting noise.

“I understand you don’t know the meaning of the word compromise, but for my grandmother, can you please try?”

“No.”

Her mouth dropped open. His hand reached over and gently pushed her jaw closed, and he ran his thumb along the outline of her bottom lip, sending a thrilling fizzle through her.

“I’ll do it for you, mio fiore.”

Sigh. I love a strong man who will do anything for his family. I hope you enjoy THE RELUCTANT WIFE. Feel free to email me and let me know.


About Bron:

New Zealander Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She’s always indulged her love for story-telling, and is constantly gobbling up movies, books and theatre. Her head is filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer?

She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Her debut Regency romance, Invitation to Ruin won the RomCon 2012 Readers Crown Best Historical and was an RT Reviewers’ Choice Nominee Best First Historical 2011. To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield was a FINALIST in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 2012. Look out for her first Entangled Publishing contemporary Indulgence release in late 2012, The Reluctant Wife.

Bronwen loves hearing from avid romance readers at romance@bronwenevans.com

Connect with Bronwen at her website - blog - Facebook - Twitter

The Reluctant Wife by Bronwen Evans

Abby Taylor walked out on her irresistible husband three years ago. Now she has no choice but to return to Italy to ask him for a favor. To pay for her grandmother's heart operation she needs his money, but it comes with strings attached.

Conte Dante Lombardi has it all—an Italian villa, a successful family business, and a noble title. But he needs a child to carry on his legacy and time is running out. He also hopes to satisfy the desire Abby rouses in him.

As Abby uncovers why he’s in such a hurry for a child, she falls in love with him again … just as she realizes it might be impossible to keep her end of the deal.


Buy at Amazon - B&N

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Bronwen has generously offering a print or an ebook copy of her May 2012 Regency historical, Invitation to Scandal to a lucky commenter!


To be entered just leave a comment guessing what mio fiore means in Italian.

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 2 February 2013!

Good luck!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Guest post by Gina Gordon + Giveaway

Please give a warm welcome to one of the latest romance authors who has joined the Entangled Brazen team: Gina Gordon! Gina is celebrating the release of Recipe for Satisfaction, the first book in her brand new sexy series about the Madewood Brothers (which sounds utterly delicious ;-p), so read on to see what the book is about. ;-) 


Office Romances
by Gina Gordon

I do love office romance plots. Late nights in the boardroom, early morning strategy meetings, business trips with adjacent hotel rooms. There are just so many opportunities to develop an epic romance.

Although Recipe for Satisfaction doesn’t take place in an office, Sterling and Jack have a working relationship. No matter how hard they try and fight it, the line between employee and employer blurs pretty quickly.

With an office romance comes the element of the forbidden. A relationship is always more exciting when you have to sneak around in stairwells and elevators, bathroom stalls and kitchenettes. And sex is much more explosive when there’s a possibility of someone walking in at any moment.

But I think the biggest reason office romances resonate with readers is because they’re a real life fantasy. A lot of us spend obscene amounts of time in an office environment every weekday. And depending on the type of office job you do, it can be boring, monotonous, maybe even stifling.

When you think about it, office workers spend most of their waking hours, not with their significant others, but with their co-workers. It’s easy for connections to be made and feelings to develop when you’re spending so much time together. And isn’t that time much more enjoyable when you throw in passionate and sweaty sexual acts?

Source: best Daily Dates
Office romances are relatable and it’s easy to understand why romance readers devour this type of plot. Because who hasn’t had a fantasy about that sexy man from accounting who walks by your cubicle every morning?

Thank you for the visit!

When her dream of becoming a mafia princess didn’t pan out, Gina Gordon went after her second dream…becoming a writer. And she hasn’t looked back.

Gina, a self-proclaimed happily ever after junkie and cupcake connoisseuse, loves spinning contemporary tales of knee bending first kisses, unconditional love and super-hot sex. She broke out onto the romance scene with her #1 Amazon Bestselling erotic short story Her Five Favorite Words that’s been called a “deliciously naughty tale” by Joyfully Reviewed.

When not chained to her computer, you can find Gina sipping Starbucks, making cupcakes or feeding her addiction to celebrity gossip. She lives in Milton, Ontario with her husband and lovable dog.

For more info on Gina and her books connect with her at



Recipe for Satisfaction by Gina Gordon

Book #1 in the Madewood Brothers series

Being the financial caretaker for her deadbeat parents isn’t the life professional organizer Sterling Andrews dreamed of. Tired of being the dependable—and boring—daughter, Sterling decides to have a little fun. And what could be more fun than seducing rich bad boy chef, Jack Vaughn? Except, after one scintillating night together, Sterling’s not only lusting for Jack, she’s working for him. And remaining professional becomes harder every day.

Already a major success thanks to his exclusive restaurants, Jack Vaughn is looking for something more. Ultra responsible Sterling is unlike anyone Jack has met…but she’s his employee. Unwilling to give her up, Jack makes Sterling an offer she can’t refuse—for four sexy weekends, he’ll indulge her most wicked fantasies with no professional strings attached. But will mixing business with pleasure spell disaster? Or will they find the recipe for satisfaction?


Buy at Amazon - B&N

GIVEAWAY RULES:

There are TWO giveaways:

Blog giveaway

Entangled Publishing has generously offering an ebook copy of Recipe for Satisfaction by Gina Gordon to a lucky commenter!

To be entered just leave a comment answering 's question: do you enjoy reading office romances? What is your favourite set-up?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 2 February 2013!


Grand prize giveaway

To be entered to win a prize pack including a $25 USD Amazon gift card and an ebook copy of Recipe for Satisfaction by Gina Gordon just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 22 February 2013!

Good luck!

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