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Archive for October, 2011

Today, Mary G once again visits us to talk about one of her favorite authors – Shiloh Walker. There’s also a review, which I “guess” is the most important part? 😉 Anyway, it’s a great post. I think Mary is fantastic, and I’m grateful she’s still willing to visit lil ‘ol me here, even though she’s a reviewer for USA Today’s Happily Ever After blog/site! So everyone please welcome Mary G!

I don’t know if it’s possible to convey the force that is Shiloh Walker. I don’t remember how I found her books. I think it was at the Chapter’s web-site – if you read this you’ll like…. Well I didn’t just like her books, I loved them. I proceeded to buy up her backlist, all in paperback, which wasn’t easy but so worth it. Shiloh writes deeply emotional, aching chest books. I found her writing so deep, thoughtful and mature that it was a shock to found out how young she is (she put up a birthday post on her blog). She’s young enough to be my umm, younger sister lol.

I have to tell you that the first time I met Shiloh was at the 2010 Lori Foster Reader/Author Event in Cincy, Ohio. It was noisy in the ballroom and this woman walked by & looked at me & asked me if I said something (which I hadn’t). I don’t know why but I asked her if she was Shiloh Walker. When she said yes, I jumped up with an “OMG, I’m Mary G” & I hugged the poor woman. I begged & pleaded & signed my life away and swore to total secrecy, to take a picture with her & my other fave Beth Kery. I stood between Beth & Shiloh and yelled “Somebody pinch me!” Not one of my coolest fan-girl moments. I got to sit at the same table as Beth & Shiloh on the Saturday night. One thing you might not know about Shiloh from her serious writing is how funny Shiloh is. When it was time to say goodbye I stood in the hallway with Shiloh & Lime. I told Shiloh how great her writing is & how it affected me. She just shrugged like she was just “regular”. Shiloh has that in common with my other faves – the best ones just don’t realize how good they are.

Mary G’s review:

If You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker
Romantic Suspense released by Ballantine Books on Oct 25, 2011

A CRY IN THE WOODS

The scream Lena Riddle hears in the woods behind her house is enough to curdle her blood—she has no doubt that a woman is in real danger. Unfortunately, with no physical evidence, the local law officers in small-town Ash, Kentucky, dismiss her claim. But Lena knows what she heard—and it leaves her filled with fear and frustration.

Ezra King is on leave from the state police, but he can’t escape the guilty memories that haunt his dreams. When he sees Lena, he is immediately drawn to her. He aches to touch her—to be touched by her—but is he too burdened by his tragic past to get close? When Ezra hears her story of an unknown woman’s screams, his instincts tell him that Lena’s life is also at risk—and his desire to protect her is as fierce as his need to possess her.

If You Hear Her is the first book in Shiloh Walker’s latest romantic suspense trilogy. It starts off in the voice of a kidnap victim. This book literally grabs you from the first page & doesn’t let go until the very end. Lena Riddle is a beautiful, blind chef and Ezra King is a State policeman on injury leave. Their paths collide one night in the B & B where Lena works and where Ezra has gone for some supper. Their chemistry is there from the beginning. It is especially poignant since Lena can only go by her other senses and she feels the chemistry like an entity. They get together once more for dinner. Ezra takes Lena’s number but doesn’t call her because he feels he’s in a bad place right now with his recuperation.

One night Lena hears screams coming from the woods by her house. When she goes to the police, they don’t believe her. Ezra is there to report joyriders wrecking his garden. He believes Lena. Ezra apologizes for not calling & they decide to stay friends. They start to hang out more and more – partly because Ezra wants to keep an eye on Lena & partly because he doesn’t want to stay away. The “friends only” deal doesn’t last thankfully & the sexual tension is built up nicely. Through the twists & turns of the suspense plot and the hot chemistry between Lena & Ezra, you won’t be able to put it down. I’m really impressed that this series is a little different. Instead of different villains for each book, we probably won’t know until the last book, who the villain is. Of course, Shiloh doesn’t need this plot twist to keep me hooked.

I’m looking forward to the next one already.

Heh. I asked Mary G what her grade would be, since this is a review, and she said…

RATING: A for A-mazing

So… I’m going to venture that’s a:

Grade: A+

SHILOH IS GIVING AWAY A $10.00 GIFT CARD TO B & N OR AMAZON (WINNER”S CHOICE). To win let us know – what author, besides Shiloh of course, would you love to meet.

See? Isn’t Mary cute? So go on – tell us! 😀

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One Last Night by Melanie Milburne
Contemporary romance released by Harlequin Presents May 24, 2011

When Maya met Giorgio Sabbatini, he married the penniless waif and stray despite her inferior breeding. So her decision to divorce him now is made with a heavy heart. Giorgio belongs to a notorious blue-blooded family, and their duty to maintain its lineage is unquestioning. Unable to give him the heir he craves, Maya knows she has to walk away.

But the ink on their divorce papers isn’t given the chance to dry; after one last reckless night of passion, there’s a very shocking announcement….

So you all know I’ve been reading a positively gluttonous amount of Harlequin Presents lately, and I’m not going to make any apologies for it. There have been some lemons, but some excellent ones as well. Perhaps the most interesting/odd thing about it is that I’m not reviewing a Helen Brooks title, as she’s been about 90% of my recent reading.

However, I enjoyed this book, and it’s the most recent one I finished, so review ahoy!

I want to say Maya is an interesting character, but she’s not, really. She’s rather typical, in fact, of a romance heroine. Nevertheless I liked her. She’s – once the book starts – smart, and has self respect. Her situation is a bit interesting, and difficult – she married Gio because she loved him, and hoped that he’d come to love her. Maya doesn’t believe it’s happened, and after five years and four miscarriages, she’s calling it quits. I thought that was an interesting element that added a lot to Maya and Gio’s strained relationship. Maya is generally sensible, but throughout the book she’s got pregnancy hormones going a bit crazy, but I think any non-pregnant could and would have easily said and felt the things she did. I also can sympathize with her thinking Gio doesn’t love her. Considering how emotionally unavailable he is, and their situation – both in how/why they got married and currently. She’s not a flighty heroine, for sure. I feel like I’m mucking up the explanation, but she’s not annoying, as many authors might have written her or made her out to be.

Giorgio was actually much more of a static character. I did, however, like that he admitted – both to himself and Maya – that he didn’t love her when he married her. He’s incredibly sexy and autocratic and I think we’re supposed to classify him as “alpha” but… I more got that he was cold. Something of an automaton, and almost a jerk. Not that he doesn’t care about other people – he’s fiercely protected and concerned about his family, but he does what he thinks is best without any consultation or explanation. In fact, Gio can come across as selfish, based on his “we’re going to be together – end of divorce proceedings” decision. I did, however, love his honesty. I appreciate that he’s trying and realizes (finally) how things looked from Maya’s point of view.  It shows he’s growing, and changing.

What I’m not quite clear on is why he married her in the first place. Sure, Ms. Milburne emphasizes many times the pressure and important for Giorgia to get married, and quickly. But why Maya? Considering he’s upper class all the way and she’s quite regular. He could have married anyone. I think the idea is we’re supposed to say “oh how sweet, Giorgio chose Maya out of all these women.” But Ms. Milburne never actually comes out and says it, and I’m not quite comfortable assuming that. I also don’t think I should have to. Especially as everyone is quite clear that when Giorgio married Maya, he didn’t love her. That happened later in their marriage – possibly even as late as when Maya left him six months before the book begins.

My other problem was how Giorgio and Maya reconcile. As in, they don’t exactly. They pretend to get back together to comfort Gio’s dying grandfather. Then Gio decides they’re going to stay together and that’s that. He doesn’t say why, or explain it to Maya… and she just goes along with it. Of course at this point, Gio does love Maya, he just never says it. I think that’s supposed to smooth the way for the reader to be happy for them.

The secondary characters were great, but I’m not going to seek out their stories. If I stumble across them, yay. If not, I’ve got other books. I also have this feeling the last Sabbatini brother’s book – Nic – will be him and his grandfather’s “spoilt heiress goddaughter” which is not my cuppa. I could be wrong. But I don’t want to be right.

Nevertheless, the writing and flow was excellent. I enjoyed seeing Maya and Gio work on, and work out their issues. Albeit often not verbally. Giorgio internalizes everything and has a hard time communicating his feelings. I’m okay with that – it’s his personality, and part of Maya’s growth is her understanding and accepting that. It also goes to show that Gio does love Maya – and he does say he loves her. I suppose it’s the realization of the fact and culmination that I don’t quite “follow” as closely.

I did like the book, and even wavered with giving it a B- grade… and it started out as a “C+” review, but as I wrote the review I realized just how much some of the issues bothered me. :X Whoops.

Grade: C-

*ETA: Right! And if you’d like the chance to win and try your choice of any category romance by Olivia Gates… leave me a comment here! (Hint  – you have to click the link.) Yes, that give away is still open! I want thoughtful comments about categories!

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Two totally unrelated things, by the way.

I was totally knocked out on Tuesday with a migraine. I got up, almost threw up, and promptly crawled back into bed and spent nearly the whole day there. Yesterday and Today have been a sort of sad recovery.

Nevertheless I forgot that I’d been meaning to share a big money making/saving tip with all of you. Sadly we all missed out on the team challenge, those of you like me, and the others who don’t know about Swagbucks. I’m not going to link to it, because I’d like for the referral link to show. Let me explain – it’s a digital dollar, basically. You get these things called Swagbucks that you can exchange for a number of prizes or items. I pretty much always go for gift cards. To Amazon. So I can buy books. No, I don’t have a book problem, so let’s not talk about it, okay?

WordPress – or at least my site hates Swagbucks. No idea why. However, there’s a promo going on right now. If you haven’t signed up, I’d love for you to use my referral link: http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/limecello (you have to copy and paste it, sorry – that whole hating thing…)  It’d be super sweet. Also, if you sign up, please let me know beforehand so I can give you a code for 70 additional swagbucks! It doesn’t cost any money to use. It does have a “rewards” thing – like with credit cards, if you buy through them/their link you get X number of swagbucks, but that’s a “your choice” thing.

I’ve been using it for over two years, and never saw an increase in spam or security. In fact, what actually got me was that stupid writerspace hack. Arrgh. I’ve made a few hundred in gift cards. Based on my last count etc, I’d say ~$500 now? (Yeah  – that’s a lot of books. And shoes.)

I’m also blogging about this because now through Halloween there are these special “Holiday Collectors bucks” and you can get bonus SBs for collecting them. It’s just a search and win site – you use their search engine instead of say, Google, and you’re randomly awarded bucks. Anywhere from 7-50, which you can trade in for stuff. I’ve talked about it before. And explained how it works and how to use it “best.”

See? It’s cute!

So remember – consider signing up. (With my referral code, please!) But before you do – let me know so I can give you the code to enter while registering. (Otherwise I don’t think it works.) And then go and get stuff – gift cards, items for gifts, all the good stuff!

*ETA: I’ve posted the link – and actual link – in the comments! Hah, WordPress, I have outsmarted you!

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What a title, right?! Today we have Paula Roe sharing an exclusive excerpt with us! I first “discovered” Ms. Paula when I visited the Diamonds Down Under Blog – like, constantly. It’s a big part of why the Down Under Desire authors are such favorites of mine. I loved their books, and their personalities. I really should try to look them up … But I found Paula on Twitter – or she found me – whatever. And, here she is, visiting with all of you! Yay!

And before you say “but Lime – you forgot to add a cover!” Well, the book doesn’t come out until February 7 – so the cover isn’t even up yet! I’ll add it if I remember when it’s available. Instead, I’m sharing an adorable author photo that I found of Paula Roe.

Her Darkest Secret… Revealed
Banker Luke De Rossi must sell the Australian beach house he inherited from his mobster uncle, fast. But then he runs up against Beth Jones. Is she the rightful tenant? A reporter out for a scoop? His uncle’s lover? Luke wants answers – almost as much as he wants Beth.
The last thing Beth needs is this hunky magnet for media attention breathing down her neck. She has a lot to hide. And falling hard for Luke as he gets closer – and tries to evict her! – isn’t helping things. Separately, they have each made their bed. Now they’ll lie in it… together.

———————-

Beth glanced at him, intending only to linger a moment but instead ended up staring. A faint sheen of sweat hugged the shirt to his chest, a chest sprinkled with dark hair that tapered down until the buttons hindered her view.

The breath she swallowed dried her throat.

He was a very large, very muscular man in a pair of crisply cut pants and a creased shirt that probably cost more than a week’s wages.

A dark, dangerous-looking man now focused right in on her as if she was some kind of last meal, the musky smell of his sweat and a faint, woodsy aftershave mingling with her oils.

“Beth?”

“Yes?” Her voice came out as an unfamiliar croak.

“If you’re going to stop me, do it now because I’m about to break rule number two.”

She swallowed as he took those few steps towards her, reached out and slowly tugged her to him, giving her time to protest. But she didn’t. She couldn’t. She could pull away if she wanted, but resistance felt as appealing as wading through a pool of honey. It was as if he had her hypnotized and all she could do was let him drag his fingers through her hair. Sweep his thumbs over her jaw.

His eyes held hers, unwavering, hypnotic. His thumb pad deliberately caressed her bottom lip, rubbing against the soft contours.

The heat from his body curled into her like a flame. His mouth—so close, so kissable—feathered a warm breath over her bottom lip. Teasing. Testing. Beth felt the full blast of hot, urgent desire and wanted to groan aloud because it felt so good.

She felt like melting right there on the floor when he flicked his tongue out and touched the tip to her slightly parted lips. Every muscle in her body started to sing with anticipation. Her lungs couldn’t get enough air and her mind shorted out as pleasure-induced confusion flooded in. His mouth focused on her jawline, placing gentle nips along the length then sliding down into the hollow of her throat.

  Oh, sweet heaven.

He nipped at her jaw, following the trail left by his fingers. She let her eyes close in pleasure.

“Is this so bad?” His rough voice against her neck was doing a serious number on her nerves.

“No.” Not bad… so very good.

“So you have no objections to this?” He reached the base of her throat and gently nuzzled her flesh. She groaned. “Or this?”

His hand slid up her body, past her waist, over her ribs. When he reached the swell of her breast, she released a hiss.

Every tingling pulse rushed through her veins, making it impossible to fight the feeling. She realized she didn’t want to fight it. Maybe it was because she’d been alone for so long and had missed the physical side of passion. Maybe she needed to be touched after an eternity of nothing. Maybe she was secretly wishing he would make love to her.

Maybe it was his hot breath whispering in her ear, the urgent press of his groin against hers.

Beth could taste him in every pore. Like a fire that had started in the pit of her belly, her body was hot and molten—and then she was wrapping her arms around his neck, pulling him flush against her heat. She could see him behind her eyelids, could smell, feel, taste him.

It had been so long since she had been kissed.

Been wanted.

No one had touched her like this, in a way that she forgot all reason.

He was caressing the length of her back now and her skin itched for his fingers to touch her all over. Her breath came in short and irregular gasps, barely an inch away from his teasing lips. Was she whimpering like a love-starved virgin? She must be because Luke skimmed his bottom lip lightly over hers and whispered, “You want me to kiss you?”

“Mmm.”

Slowly, inch by aching inch, he covered her mouth with his.

Luke De Rossi not only looked like a kissing master, he was hands down one of the best. Her breath merged with his, stirring a long-forgotten ache deep inside, flaring up to lick her body in need. It attacked the part of her mind that controlled rational thought, eating away at her reservations.

He stroked his hands down her arms, creating shivering goose bumps in his wake.

“You want me to stop?” he muttered against her mouth. “I will if you want me to.”

She wanted to give in to him, so much that it made her chest ache. “I…”

She wanted him. For the first time in her life she wanted to leap on in and damn the consequences, grab everything he offered—every no-strings-attached kiss, every blood-boiling caress.

But that would mean giving something in return. Something she’d worked ten years to protect.

One lucky commenter will win a copy of one of Paula Roe’s back list books. Winner’s choice. So what’d you think? Do you have any questions about the book? Any questions for Paula? I’m sure you can think of something! (Said winner will be drawn on Saturday.)

Oh and did I forget to mention – the inspiration for the characters – in looks at least, are Katherine Heigl and Olivier Martinez Gabriel Aubry. And… I mean, I know who Olivier Martinez is. But I’d never seen this picture of him. (Which I actually didn’t even recognize?) And yes he’s that hot that I have to share it.

See? I totally wasn’t lying to you. Hello, Mr. Martinez. I think this might be the best I’ve seen him look. I also think I’m going to have to hunt down the movie where he looks like this… but anyway – back to the book. Excerpt. Does it change your perception or opinion to know the hero looks like this?

ETA: I said I’d share it when it became available, and here it is! The cover! Isn’t it fantastic? Oh my gosh – and I just realized I didn’t mention the title in the post. Bed of Lies! Whee!

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Winners!

Remember when I gave y’all dangerous free reign to ask me anything? I’m actually a bit surprised, and grateful at the same time. 😉 Nobody asked me anything scandalous or embarrassing. Whew!

Well, this time I used randomizer.org*, and the winners of that giveaway are Liz and JoAnne! Liz – please send me your email, and we’ll work out an ebook for you to get. JoAnne, you are to email me your address please so your prize is sent out to you. Isn’t that fortuitous? It worked out perfectly for two winners and two formats! You can use the form at the top of the blog, and please do get back to me by Thursday, October 27 at the latest. Thanks!

Now – curiosity again re: the ARCs etc – what genre do you like? And… who would be able to commit to writing a review? I don’t think I’ll do a mass effort – at least not at this point – but I could very well likely hook up at least a few people with various books…

*With the randomizer.org thing … everyone who commented on that post left something of substance or was interactive, so I was more than happy to leave it to the internet gods of random. However, I definitely reserve the right to only consider/draw names from people who leave “real” comments now and in the future. Just an FYI – I’ve mentioned/imposed it as of a week or two ago. 🙂 [Not that most of you who are reading this will even have to “worry” about that. Just… venting my spleen a bit I suppose.]

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That’s today! So… I guess I started my “making a difference” thing a bit early. 😉 Otherwise? Today? I puttered around with my dad. Does keeping family peace etc count as doing good/making a difference? 😉 Maybe not doing that would’ve made a bad difference…

I can’t promise I’ll stop harping on issues… but do let me know if it ever gets annoying or I should slow it down a bit. Apparently I’ve already offended some people… so… whatever. Can’t win ’em all, of course, but I never want to be a nuisance, you know?

My Sadeyes don’t have a game today – it’s our bye week so I’m not glued to the tv. Did a lot of cooking – maybe I’ll share the recipe for one or two. Do you guys like sweet/savory food? I actually don’t, which made today interesting…

How’s everyone doing? Did you know it was Make a Difference Day here in the States? Did you do anything to help make a difference?

And! What books are all of you looking forward to? I want to know – would any of you ever be interested in writing a review for me if you got an ARC of a book? Of course it’d have to be reviewed in a timely manner… but hey – you’d get an ARC! I’d love to know if this is something I should consider pursuing. Thanks!

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Eli’s Book Depository Winner

Hi everyone! So the winner of the $10 GC to Book Depository from Eli’s Guest Post is Chelsea B. Please send me your info by Tuesday, October 25 to claim your prize. (There’s the contact form at the top.) Eli told me that she read each and every comment – she just wasn’t able to leave one of her own/respond to them. (More technological issues abound!)

Remember, if you tell me about category romances, you still have a chance to win a signed Olivia Gates back list book. I’m going for substance now, so wow me and you’ll win. Or you know, not even just wow me, just say something of substance.

I’m also asking all of you to open your hearts a little and considering doing your part to help out with a really sad situation. Gently used toys, books, clothing, box tops/labels from every household goods and foods, money, whatever. And if that’s not enough incentive, Sarah M. Anderson is also going to give away a book to someone. She’s a Harlequin Desire author. 😀 See? I really want you guys to try some categories! 😉

So that’s what’s going on! What about all of you? Anything planned for the weekend?

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