Monday, November 30, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Here are just some of this weeks new releases just in time for the start of Holiday shopping season. There are tons of great new books out today so I tried to mix the choices I posted up a little so there is something for everyone. Happy reading and have a wonderful holiday!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Review: Sweet Seduction
By Maya Banks
4 Heart Review
Disclosure: ARC provided by author
Since this was an ARC, it didn't come with a back cover blurb so the only first impression I had to go on was the cover image. That cover image was quite amazing, as you can see from the image to the right. That image, when combined with the title of Sweet Seduction, let me know this book would be on the spicier side. This time, first impressions were a great indicator of what was inside.
Many might wonder, “Why an image of a woman alone?” Once you've read the book, you'll understand it perfectly. This is a book about a woman's fantasies and a man who loves her so much, that he'll do anything to fulfill them. Here's a peek at a blurb I found online.
He was the stuff erotic dreams are made of
Salon owner Julie Stanford wanted Nathan Tucker ever since she gave him his first massage. Getting paid to feel every inch of his body, stripped, oiled, and spread out in front of her? Stuff dreams are made of. But the sexy lug was oblivious to the signals she was sending—until she finished off his final rub-down with something extra. In fact, the best extra he ever had. Unfortunately, he came around too late. Now Julie’s moving on…
She was everything he’d dreamed of
The woman was driving him crazy. She lit fire to his insides then ran like a scalded cat. And now she’s going to someone else to have all her fantasies fulfilled? Over his dead body… He’s more than willing to give her what she wants, and as soon as he pins the little minx down, he’d show her his own brand of sweet seduction.
This was my first time reading Maya Banks, but I had heard great things so I was very excited to give this one a try. I wasn't disappointed. As part of a series, I had no problems reading this book as a stand alone, but do think I would have enjoyed it more, and understood the character relationships better, if I'd read the previous books in the series first.
The story started off with a bang and didn't really let up from there. Right from the beginning I like the character of Julie and knew she wouldn’t be taking any crap from the hero. Speaking of the first scene, if you read romances and can't wait for the “action” to start, then this is your book.
Julie was my kinda woman, she knew what she wanted but she wasn't prepared to wait around forever for it. Nathan was a good match for her as he was sweet and would always let her and her outspoken characteristics be the center of attention. He was a good foil for her.
I enjoyed the secondary characters and saw just enough of them to know that each heroine’s book showcases having their sexual fantasy fulfilled. I liked knowing that each book will have differing sexual situations and wouldn’t provide any cookie-cutter sex scenes.
There is more to this story than just the sex, and Maya does an excellent job of weaving in side plots that add to the central story. She has an awesome writer’s voice, and know exactly how to craft a good contemporary story.
One thing that did get me about this book was Nathan’s reasoning for not taking the Julie bait sooner. I felt like he didn’t really have a good excuse for denying his attraction at the beginning and based on his later actions, should have been the type of man to pick up her signals. Luckily, he gets over that real fast.
I can say that based on Sweet Seduction, I will be buying and reading the rest of the series. In speaking with Maya, I know that there are two more books to come, but I'm hoping for at least three so that we can get Cole's story. He intrigued me very much and I can't wait to hear how he came to be at Damon's and to be trusted with such a delicate job. If you want to know what that means, you’ll have to read the book! :)
Congrats! Send your mailing address to cheekyreads @ gmail.com (no spaces) and I’ll send your information to the publisher. Since they’ll be sending the books directly to you, please give them a little time.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Did that pique your interest? How about a fun excerpt?
The day the music died, Caterina Shaw did as well.
Not physically, although she understood the death of her body was inevitable. She had come to terms with that reality some time ago. She had even managed to deal with the blindness caused by the tumor eating away her brain. But then the pain had
become so great that it had silenced the music, stealing away the only thing that had made life worth the anguish.
“You understand this treatment is new and uncertain,” Dr. Rudy Wells explained, his voice smooth and comforting. The touch of his hand, warm and reassuring, came against hers as it rested on her thigh.
“I understand,” she said and faced the direction of that calming voice.
Another person abruptly chimed in, his tones as strident and grating as a badly played oboe. “We’ll begin with laser surgery to remove the bulk of the tumor followed by two different courses of gene therapy.”
Two? she wondered and sensed Dr. Wells’ hesitation as well from the tremble that skated across his fingers. He removed his hand from hers and said, "Dr. Edwards believes that we can not only shut down the tumor growing in your
brain, but possibly regrow the portion of your optic nerve that the tumor
Caterina’s only wish when considering the experimental treatment had been to stop the pain so that she could play her cello once again. So that her last months would be filled with the vitality her music provided.
It was through her music that she lived. That her mother lived, Caterina thought, recalling the passion she had felt as a small child when her mother had played the piano for her; the way her mother’s fingers had coaxed life from the keys much like she now did with a stroke of her bow and the deft touch of her fingers on the strings of her cello.
Or at least like she had up until the cancer had put an end to her music, bringing her life to a close. Except now she was being told something different.
Caterina had never thought about eliminating the tumor. Every prognosis so far had been that she was terminal. Now these new doctors told her not only that might she live, but that she might actually see again too. She didn’t dare believe that she would be able to get her old life back completely, as well as her sight but . . .
“You think I’ll be able to recover? To see again?” Caterina asked, needing to be sure she had understood correctly.
“The risks are great, my dear,” Dr. Wells urged gently.
“But you qualify for the human trials because of the advanced state of your illness, Ms. Shaw,” Dr. Edwards added, annoyance at his partner evident in the staccato beats of his voice.
Her advanced state which could possibly bring death even with this treatment, Caterina thought. Not that she feared her end. What she did fear was letting the pain in her head rob her of the one thing she could not live without.
She knew without hesitation that it was worth any risk to regain that part of her. To drive back the illness so she could play her cello once more and reanimate her heart for as long as she had left if the treatments couldn’t stop the tumor.
“What do you need me to do?”
Copyright 2009 Caridad Pineiro
Now, I'm pleased to introduce Caridad!
People always ask how book ideas come to me, but in actuality, I usually get the ideas for the characters before the idea for the plot. When it came to SINS OF THE FLESH, Caterina’s character popped into my head first. I knew I wanted her to be vulnerable, but strong. I wanted her to be elegant and creative. I used to be a musician and that career seemed perfect for portraying those attributes.
As for Caterina being vulnerable, it came to me that she would have to be ill and with that suddenly came the idea for something else – a radical gene therapy.
Because I wanted that aspect of the book to be accurate, I did research into how gene therapies were being done, how DNA was replicated and tested, and how foreign genes incorporated into humans could be seen.
I discovered lots of interesting things, like that there were ways to replicate tissues perfectly with certain amphibious genes and that you could make people/animals glow in the dark by introducing fluorescent protein markers. These are real life things that some might see as “fiction” in the book.
As for the real “fiction” – Caterina’s skin changing capabilities and altered eyesight – I totally played around with what might happen if foreign DNAs were introduced into a human body.
Which I guess makes me think about what traits people might want to get by receiving foreign DNA. Would they want to be able to change their skin colors in order to hide? Or have extra-sensory vision to help them see through walls?
If I could have a special power, I would probably choose to have super strength. I’m protective by nature and would like to be able to take care of other people with my super strength. Kind of like Wonder Woman.
How about you? If it was possible to combine foreign DNA into your body, what traits do you think you would like to have?
Answer one of these questions or leave one for myself or Caridad and you'll be entered in the drawing to win one of five copies of Sins of The Flesh!
Bonus: +1 Entry for being a Follower, +1 for Tweeting this contest (leave your twitter name or the link in your comment).
Only comments that answer one of the questions or ask additional questions will be entered to win. Sorry, contest open only to US and Canada per the publisher.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Is it Thursday yet? LOL – I can’t wait because I’ve got two very cool things happening tomorrow. The first, is a special Guest Blog from Author Caridad Pineiro about her new release, Sins of The Flesh. Check out the blurb below and make sure to stop by to chat and a chance to win a copy!
Secondly, I’m guest blogging over at McIntyre’s House of Muse! I’m honored to have been asked by author Amanda McIntyre to be a guest on her Thursday Coffee Talk post.
What will we be chatting about? One hint: I’m going to make your holiday shopping easier! Make sure you pop over to join the fun and win a FANTASTIC prize! Here’s the link.
Now, for a sneak peak at Sins of the Flesh…
Caterina Shaw’s days are numbered. Her only chance for survival is a highly experimental gene treatment – a risk she willingly takes. But now Caternia barely recognizes herself. She has new, terrifying powers, an exotic, arresting body – and she’s been accused of a savage murder, sending her on the run.
Mick Carrera is a mercenary and an expert at capturing elusive, clever prey. Yet the woman he’s hunting down is far from the vicious killer he’s been told to expect: Caterina is wounded, vulnerable, and a startling mystery of medical science. Even more, she’s a beautiful woman whose innocent sensuality tempts Mick to show her exactly how thrilling pleasure can be. the heat that builds between them is irresistible, but surrendering to it could kill them both…for a dangerous group is plotting its next move using Caterina as its deadly pawn.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
It’s Tuesday again, and that means I try to feature the new books that are releasing this week. The list isn’t definitive, and I’m not endorsing the books listed, just providing you with the information to hopefully find some great new reads and maybe even new to you authors! Happy Reading!
One book I am endorsing this week is Prime Evil By Heather Long. I thought Heather’s debut novella Remembering Ashby was a fantastic read and look for a review of Prime Evil here on Cheeky Reads soon. If you’re a fan of paranormal romance – especially with kick-ass witches as the heroine, then you should check this out. (The Kindle Edition is here.)
Dragon Storm by Bianca D’Arc (Link)
Forbidden by Karen Erickson (Link)
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Huge thanks again to author Judi Fennell for being with us this week! Check out my review of In Over Her Head and head over to Judi’s website for a look at Wild Blue Under and the upcoming third book in the series Catch of a Lifetime.
Congrats! Send your mailing address to cheekyreads @ gmail.com (without the spaces) and I’ll get it over to Judi’s publisher to mail out to you.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Kate Bergeron is the beautiful and mysterious former mistress of a cloth merchant...and the latest beauty to capture the interest of the Prince of Wales. Mired in a disastrous divorce, the Prince attempts to distract attention from his next amorous pursuit by ordering Grayson Christopher, the eligible Duke of Darlington, to pretend to London society that he is having the affair with Kate.
When Grayson reluctantly agrees to his Prince's demand, he finds the lady no more willing than he is. Kate will grudgingly act the part in public, but her favors are not for sale to any man.
As Grayson and Kate mimic ardor for the world to see, they find what started as a deception becoming all too real. And when passion flames into love, their predicament becomes extreme. For while marriage between a duke and a courtesan could never happen, Kate knows in her heart that she is willing to accept nothing less...
I love reading about soundtracks authors have for their stories. It's like the story collage idea - both of which I think are really cool, but both of which I don't do.
I will say that Microsoft's OneNote has changed the story collage idea somewhat for me. I now take the research that I used to mark as "Favorite" on my Internet Explorer toolbar and copy and paste it into a OneNote document, so I can go back and look at the buildings/maps/etc. when I'm working somewhere offline, but the soundtrack thing still eludes me.
I do write to music, but I use it more as white noise than any kind of inspiration. Oh, I started out with an ocean sounds CD, hoping to get inspiration from the seagull and dolphin song, but, more often than not, I'd find myself getting lulled to sleep by the wave action. I love listening to the ocean, but when you're writing action/adventure/life-and-death scenes, the last thing you want to do is fall asleep. Makes for a pretty boring action scene if it puts the author to sleep.
So I uploaded a bunch of classical and new age music. Instrumental as opposed to lyrical because I can't write new scenes with lyrics be-bopping around in my head that I start to sing to. (And if you've heard me sing, you'll know why this isn't a good thing—especially for those around me. Okay, I'm not that bad, but Simon Cowell definitely won't be calling.)
There's no rhyme or reason to the music I listen to. I like to listen to anything I won't get caught up in. Some songs are slow, some fast, some loud, some soft, some well-known, some not so. Beethoven, Yanni, Tchaikovsky, Irish Step Dance music, the soundtrack from Robin Hood… a very eclectic list that I've created on my iTunes list. I have a playlist titled "Writing Music" that goes on right after I upload the most current edition of my WIP.
I guess that is a soundtrack of sorts, but to me, a soundtrack signifies songs that fit the mood of your story. The tone and rhythm. If I wrote to the rhythm of what I listen to, I think I might make readers (and myself) seasick, as I just hit "Shuffle" and what comes out, comes out. It basically becomes something to block out sounds around me so I can focus on what's in my head. I find that I don’t even notice the music after a while, that the characters' voices become easier to hear. Although, when I do take out the earphones, it's amazing how quiet everything is.
That being said, when it comes time to editing (around the third pass through) I can listen to music that I can sing to - but I have to listen to it for a while before I can get beyond the words. Case in point, I watch the show Real Housewives on Bravo and one of the Atlanta Housewives recently released a dance song, "Tardy for the Party." It's a catchy little ditty and I've found (now that I've played it a gazillion times) it's upbeat enough to read through action scenes and I'm no longer singing along, so it's perfect background music.
But after listening to it for five hour stretches, I have to say, it's looking to be replaced. Soon.
I'd love to hear what other people listen to. How do you write/read a story if there are lyrics playing in your head at the same time? How do you choose which songs you'll write/read to?
And while you're listening to your favorite writing music, feel free to stop by my website, http://www.judifennell.com/, and register to win one of two remaining romantic beach getaway weekends (the first has already been awarded), to either the Atlantis Inn in Ocean City, NJ (http://www.atlantisinn.com/) or the Hibiscus House in West Palm Beach, FL (www.HibiscusHouse.com).
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
After last weeks HUGE palooza of a release day, things are slightly calmer this week – and my pocketbook is thankful! this week I’m featuring all the new releases from Samhain Publishing. Happy Reading!
Monday, November 9, 2009
I just saw this news and thought I would share…
Tonight authors CL Wilson, Joy Nash & Emily Bryan will be at WritersSpace for a chat and to give away signed copies of their new books, QUEEN OF SONG AND SOUL, SILVER SILENCE and THE CHRISTMAS BALL.
Join the chat tonight at 9-10PM EST at the WritersSpace link above!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
Friday, November 6, 2009
We have some amazing guest authors lined up for the month of November, so I wanted to do a special post highlighting them.
Not only will we be rocking it with some awesome romance authors, but they’ll be giving away books! So be sure to mark your calendars and stop by on the dates below:
Cheeky Reads Guest Authors:
Nov. 11th - Judi Fennell - Author of Wild Blue Under
Nov. 12th - Julia London - Author of A Courtesan's Scandal
Nov. 16th - Robin Kaye - Author of Breakfast in Bed
Nov. 19th - Caridad Pineiro - Author of Sins of the Flesh
Guest Blog Events:
Nov. 19th - Guest blogging @ McIntyre's House of Muse
Huge thanks again to author Maria Geraci for her fun interview and chatting with us all day. Her books are fantastic and I highly recommend them if you love a great story with strong female friendships and characters!
The winner of a copy of Bunco Babes Gone Wild from Maria is:
Congrats Marilyn! Please send your name and mailing address to me at cheekyreads @ gmail.com (no spaces) and I’ll get your information over to Maria.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
You have no idea how excited I am to introduce our guest author today. Maria Geraci’s first book, Bunco Babes Tell All was my absolute favorite Summer 2009 read! So good, I actually read it twice in one month. Seriously. It’s the kind of book I hope for every time I crack open a new book.
Maria is not only an insanely talented writer, but a very nice lady and that’s why it’s such a pleasure to have her at Cheeky Reads today. In fact, she’s so nice she’s giving away a copy of of Bunco Babes Gone Wild to a lucky reader! Just make sure to leave a comment and you’re entered to win!
Now, please welcome Maria to Cheeky Reads!
Bunco Babes Tell All was your first book -- check out the 5 Heart Review from Cheeky Reads here. Please tell our readers a little about that book and it's characters and set-up your newest release, Bunco Babes Gone Wild.
First, let me thank you for allowing me to be a guest today on your blog! I love talking about my books, so this was a lot of fun for me.
Bunco Babes Tell All is the story of Kitty Burke and her tightly knit group, the Bunco Babes. Every Thursday night, they drink margaritas, roll dice, and gossip about the people in their small north Florida town. Kitty is the only Babe who’s not married. It’s been tough for her to find a guy- but all that changes on the eve before her 35th birthday when a mysterious stranger crashes her Bunco party to unclog her toilet. Luckily for Kitty, it’s not the only thing he “unclogs.” Basically, it’s a fun, quirky, sexy women’s fiction novel (how’s that for adjectives?)
The follow up book, Bunco Babes Gone Wild, picks up a few months after BBTA ends. All the main characters from the first book are present, but there’s a new heroine- Georgia Meyer. She’s what I like to call the “anti-Babe”. Unlike Kitty, the heroine from the first novel, Georgia isn’t a girl’s kind of girl. She’s a workaholic accountant who’s never really made time for the simple pleasures of life. She comes to visit her sister in Whispering Bay, Florida, and immediately becomes embroiled in the Babes’ antics. Plus, there’s this hunky guy who makes her rethink her current love life…
You have your own Bunco group that helped inspire you to create these stories. Are your characters modeled after your friends? If so, how do they take seeing their personality traits played out in your books?
My own Bunco group, the Bunco Broads of Tallahassee, helped inspire the friendship angle of the books. But the characters aren’t based on anyone in particular. It’s funny, my friends will point to a character and say, “Is that me?” I always answer, no!
Like most readers I'm all about connecting with the hero and heroine in a book. So, I always ask authors to describe their hero in three words.
For Steve I’d have to say: cautious, reliable, mysterious.
For Dave (the hero in BBGW): funny, loyal, easy-going (uh, oh, is that four words?)
What about your heroine? What three words would best describe her?
Kitty is loyal, self-conscious, vulnerable.
Georgia is smart, driven, but clueless.
What was it about their story that you drew you to them or made it fun to create their HEA? I loved them so I have to ask!
Kitty is an “every woman” kind of character. In my book, Steve refers to her as “the nice one.” I think that there are a lot of “Kittys” out there. Women who are pretty, smart, nice, but maybe a little (or a lot) self-conscious about their looks, their jobs, their own sense of self-worth. Initially, I wasn’t sure what sort of ending I was going to give her. Since this is women’s fiction, I knew I’d give her a HEA, but not necessarily because she’d found a man. After I wrote the shower scene between her and Steve, I knew I wanted to give her a HEA plus a man! And you know, Steve wasn’t a pushover. Any guy who’s been married and divorced 3 times is going to come into a relationship with a lot of baggage, so I had to make her work for it.
What has been your favorite Bunco Babes scene to write so far and why?
The Black Tie Bunco party scene in Bunco Babes Gone Wild has so far been my favorite to write. Partly because there’s a lot going on. There’s action, romance, a little drama, and hopefully a lot of laughs. But also because once I wrote that scene the rest of the book seemed to just fly for me.
Does Bunco Babes Gone Wild give us an update of Kitty and Steve from Bunco Babes Tell all?
Kitty and Steve are secondary characters in BBGW and while I loved writing them, I had to be careful not to give them too much to do in the story, otherwise I was afraid they’d take it over! I’ll be honest, I’m not really through with Kitty and Steve. I would love to write a direct sequel to their story, but so far, that’s not in the works. Maybe I’ll write it up as a short story and put it on my website as a free read. Mmmm… now that’s an idea.
Everyone I've spoken to about Bunco Babes Gone Wild loved it! How does it feel as a new author, to have that kind of excitement over your work? Any fun reader/fan stories you can share with us?
Having someone write to me or tell me they enjoy my stories is like being a kid and waking up Christmas morning! It’s like the best feeling in the world.
I had a reader write to me whose husband was in the military and they went through long separations. She told me reading my book has rekindled her feelings of love (and lust!) for her husband. I felt so touched that she’d take the time out of her busy life to write me.
Read any good books lately that you would recommend to our readers? Authors always seem to have the inside track on great new authors!
I’m an avid reader of all things, but of course, I love romance! Can’t Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards is a fantastic read. For a fun, campy, spooky YA try: Bite Me! by Melissa Francis. Now, in all fairness, both Mel and Louisa are my critique partners, but I wouldn’t be critiquing their work if I didn’t love what they write. I recently finished According to Jane by Marilyn Brant and I can’t recommend that highly enough. I also love historical romance. Anything by Madeline Hunter is on my immediate buy list. She has a new series coming out in January and I’m practically drooling just thinking about it. She writes the best heroes. Ever.
Where can readers find you next and is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
I’m going to be doing some local book signings in both Florida and south Georgia to promote the new book, and I’m really looking forward to that. In between and afterward, you can find me glued to my computer! I have a late January deadline for my next book so I’ll be hard at work getting that finished. Right now, that book is tentatively titled The Boyfriend of the Month Club. It’s a not a Bunco Babes book, but I think it’s just as fun and sexy and quirky. At least I hope my readers think so!
Maria, thank you so much for the great interview and for being with us today!
So, Cheeky Readers what questions do you have for Maria? Have you ever played Bunco? What’s book have you read recently that you would recommend? Let us know and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Bunco Babes Gone Wild!
Special Bonus: Tweet or blog about this giveaway and you’ll get an extra entry! Just mention it in the comments with a link.
Sorry, this contest is open to US residents only. Winner will be announced on Thursday Nov. 5th. Good Luck and Happy Reading!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
As part of a new regular feature here at Cheeky Reads, I’m posting some of the new releases out today. Be sure to check your local bookstore for even more great new books since I can’t list them all here! Happy Reading!
Skin Game By Ava Gray - I’ve heard nothing but awesomeness about this book so I can’t wait to go pick it up. Ava Gray is the alter-ego of Ann Aguirre.
Bunco Babes Gone Wild By Maria Geraci – Maria will be a with us here at Cheeky Reads tomorrow and giving away a copy of this book! Her first book, Bunco Babes Tell All was a 5 Heart Review!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Last week I threw out the first ever Cheeky Reads Reader Challenge. I asked for a volunteer to read and review So Into You by Sandra Hill for a 2nd Chance Review.
You see, I LOVED the hero/heroine, but was really distracted by the Cajun dialogue, the HUGE cast of side characters that didn’t add anything to the story and that I wanted to see the h/h have more time with each other to grow.
Well, all you awesome Cheeky Readers responded, and I’ve selected our very first Reader Challenge Reviewer – Cheeky Girl Bella!
Bella will receive a copy of So Into You directly from me and will have two week to read and write a review for us. Bella will get to keep the copy of the book, but I ask for total honestly, even if she thinks my review was total crap and loved the whole book! That’s why I think 2nd Chance Reviews matter – every reader has their own opinion and it’s a book I was torn over the review and rating I gave it.
So, Bella please email me at cheekyreads @ gmail.com (without the spaces) so I can get your mailing address.
Congrats Bella and we look forward to your review!
I selected one random winner of an autographed copy of The Last Celtic Witch, the first in Lyn’s series, and that winner is…
I also mentioned random giveaways to readers as well, so additional winners are:
RKCharron – A Copy of A Perfect Darkness by Jaime Rush
CathyM – A copy of Amazon Ink from Lori Devoti
Congrats everyone and I hope you enjoyed Friday’s interview.
Please email your mailing address to cheekyreads @ gmail.com (no spaces) so I can ship your prizes!