Monday, June 29, 2009

Welcome Special Guest Toni Andrews - Win a Copy of Cry Mercy!

UPDATE: The Winner of a Copy of Cry Mercy is...Blackroze37yahoo.com!! Send an email to cheekyreads @ gmail.com (without the spaces) with your mailing address and I'll get it to Toni!!


Today I'm pleased to welcome author Toni Andrews on the blog! Toni writes a wonderful first-person paranormal series and I'm delighted she is stopping by Cheeky Reads on her book tour and she's been nice enough to offer a copy of Cry Mercy to one lucky reader! Just make sure to leave a comment and you're entered to win!

Toni was nice enough to sit down and answer some questions for us, but first I thought you might want to check out this book trailer for Cry Mercy, Book Three in the Mercy Hollings series from Toni Andrews:







Welcome Toni and congrats on your new release Cry Mercy!

Since it’s the third book in your Mercy Hollings Series would you tell us a little bit about the series and your heroine Mercy?
The Mercy Hollings series is Urban Fantasy without “creatures;” no vampires or demons or werewolves—just people, but with a twist. Mercy has some special talents, including the ability to compel people to obey her. That sounds pretty cool, until you think about it for five minutes. Sometimes it gets away from her, especially when she loses her temper. Which she frequently does.

The first line of the first book is “I’ve never been certain I’m human.” Mercy was abandoned at birth and then given up by her adoptive parents when, as an adolescent, she began displaying some unusual abilities. She’s spent her life keeping people at a distance.

Now she has the closest thing she’s ever had to a normal life. But, all too often, it feels like her new world is just a carefully constructed house of cards. Some big wind is always coming along to blow it down.

If you were to describe Mercy in three words, what would they be?
Guarded. Loyal. Flawed.

You write in first person, which is hard for many writers but you do it so well! What drew you to first person and how do you think it helps your story resonate with readers?
I like to say that, as a writer, it’s never my goal to have you notice my words. I want you to NOT notice when the phone rings.
To really draw a reader into a story, you have to create a connection between the reader and the point of view character or characters. To do that effectively, you get the reader into the character’s heads, so that they experience the story along with them.
In my workshops, I teach point of view and character voice using a method I call “Walk Like John Wayne,” which is a line I stole from La Cage Aux Folles. It means to get into character the same way an actor would, who was playing the part on stage—to BE your point of view character. Then, write the story in first person, even if you’re going to change it later.
I write all first drafts in first person, even those that have multiple point of view characters and are eventually going to end up in third.

The Mercy series has quite the cast of eclectic characters - are any of them based on people from your life?
Some of them have characteristics of people I know, but my core characters are works of fiction. The more minor the character, the more likely he or she is based on someone I’ve met. Rocko from Beg for Mercy is absolutely based on an obnoxious man who used to hang around the area where I worked in South Miami. Mitzi, the diner owner from Cry Mercy, will be familiar to people who have lived in Balboa for long enough to remember the woman on whom she is based, although her name as been changed.

You books have received some great reviews. What’s one of your favorite comments or quotes from a fan or review?
I can’t recall a specific line, but I always like to hear that I’ve done an effective job of using the setting as an element in the story. This is something my favorite authors do, and it pleases me to know I’m getting the hang of it.
Also, I’m happy that people seem to relate to Mercy, even while recognizing her flaws, and that they appreciate the ethical struggles that come from having her special abilities.

What books are you currently reading or are in your TBR pile?
I’m reading Serpent in the Crown by Elizabeth Peters. I need to get caught up with Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Jodi Picoult’s newest book is on my shelf. Also, Rachel Vincent’s Prey and Black and White by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge. James Lee Burke has a new book out in August, too, with a new character—I’m always impatiently waiting for his next release.

You also produce a television show titled “So Many Books.” Can you tell us a little more about that?
Like most writers of popular fiction, I’ve been frustrated by the difficulties of getting publicity. So I started my own show. I interview one author or writing group each episode, and they get to really talk about their book and their process. It’s a lot of work, but fun, too.

What should readers look for next from you?
More Mercy Hollings books, of course. I’m working on a women’s fiction novel that my agent calls Sex in the City meets The First Wives Club, and I’ve got a contemporary romance circulating as well.

Thanks Toni! Don't forget to leave a comment below and you'll be entered to win a copy of Cry Mercy!

Toni's web site: http://toniandrews.com/
Where to send your Self Addressed Stamped Envelope to get a signed book plate for your copy: http://toniandrews.com/CryMercyTour.htm
Toni's Blog: http://tinyurl.com/ToniBlog
Toni's TV show: http://toniandrews.com/SoManyBooks.htm
Cry Mercy Trailer: http://tinyurl.com/75vl4s
Book Rx, Toni's "Book Doctor" service: http://toniandrews.com/BookRx.htm

Links to purchase the book:
Mira Books (discounted while they last!) http://tinyurl.com/oe8tkdAmazon Link: http://tinyurl.com/CryMercyAmazon UK Link: http://tinyurl.com/prh6ejBarnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/pxrx9fIndigo Books (Canada): http://tinyurl.com/qcycafRendezvous Romance (Australia) http://tinyurl.com/r4g56z

Friday, June 26, 2009

Book Review: I Shot You Babe by Leslie Langtry


Book Review: I Shot You Babe
By Leslie Langtry

Book Four in the Greatest Hits Mysteries
Dorchester Publishing
Release Date: June 30th
4 Heart Review

Coney Bombay is one hot assassin with an Ivy League PhD who travels the world operating carnival rides. He also likes to knit and has a pet guinea pig names Sartre. Even in his wild family of killers, Cy stands out. But after a series of run-ins with perennial grad student Veronica Gale, the cool cat is starting to
feel a little hot under the collar.

In her research, Ronnie Gale has seen a lot. Problem is, she hasn't actually done a lot. The mysterious Cy Bombay seems about to change all that with a whirlwind adventure that will take them form a small-town country fair to the outer reaches of Mongolia. But when love is on the line and there's a murder to be solved, will Ronnie really be willing to climb out of the ivory tower and get a little down and dirty?
What a great voice! I could tell from the first few pages that Leslie Langtry had a very distinctive way of telling a story and one that I would thoroughly enjoy.

I loved that the point of view of the story is told from the male perspective, make that the point of view of a hitman with a guinea pig for a companion. The dry wit and dark humor, combined with the idea of a family who has run an international assassin organization for centuries, makes for a fantastic read.

Don't let all the talk about hitmen and assassins fool you- this is a fresh contemporary romance with a big dash of suspense and some great characters!

The one issue I had was that Leslie's way of Cy and Ronnie running into each other is too far out to be believed. There were just too many coincidental meetings to have been purely accidental and not somehow pre-arranged. If just one of the run-ins had been set-up by Cy (or Ronnie) then it would have done much for the believability of the story.

I'll be adding Leslie's previous Greatest Hits Mysteries to my to buy pile – even though the story had a few issues, she has a voice that is distinctive,completely original, and I want to hear the stories for the rest of the family! Check out all of her books at her website.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chat with the Hilarious Dakota Cassidy Thursday @ 9pm EST

The Knight Agency blog is hosting an online chat with the freakin fantabulous Dakota Cassidy tomorrow night! I listened to a few panels Dakota did at conferences and she is hilarious so I expect this to be a lively chat.

Details from the blog posting are listed below.

CHAT INFO:
What: Online Chat with Dakota Cassidy

When: Thursday, June 25th @ 9pm ET

Where: TKA Chat Room

How Do You Chat: Visit the chat room here: http://client1.addonchat.com/sc.php?id=115545.

Enter a username and password (this can be any combination).

Your computer must be Java enabled to chat

Hope to chat with you there ~ Sabrina

Book Review: Desire Untamed by Pamela Palmer


Book Review: Desire Untamed
By Pamela Palmer
Avon Books
Releases: June 30, 2009
4 Heart Review
Read an excerpt!

They are called Feral Warriors – an elite band of immortals who can change shape at will. Sworn to rid the world of evil, consumed by sorcery and seduction, their wild natures are primed for release...

Kara MacAllister's quiet small-town life is transformed forever the night a powerful stranger rips her from her home, claiming she is the chosen one – the key to his survival. Spiriting her away into the rain-soaked night, Lyon reveals a truth Kara can barely credit. She's immortal, and the only one who can save his race.

But only when their lives are threatened by an ancient evil will Kara and Lyon realize they have found a love they would risk their immortal souls to claim...and a fierce primal desire that could never, ever be tamed.

The first of a new series called the Feral Warriors, this SMOKIN' HOT book does a fantastic job of setting up Pamela's new paranormal world. She didn't bog the story down in setting up the details, instead she let them unfold as the story progresses. You learn new insight alongside the heroine Kara as she discovers her destiny.

I'm very happy to say this book includes many types of shape-shifters. Normally, one particular breed is the main type of shape-shifter in a series, but the Feral Warriors series features characters of all sorts and that makes it much more interesting.

Also impressive was how Pamela made her sex scenes work as central plot points throughout the book. Many great romance writers have said that the sex in their books should move the story forward and have a purpose (well, a purpose beyond just getting it on – lol), and Pamela understands this well. That's not to say her scenes aren't hot – they most definitely are!

I understand that the names of the feral warriors being variations on the name of their animal forms does make it easy to identify them, but this was the one thing with the series that bothered me. Pamela does offer insight that the men take on these names after they discover they are Feral Warriors, but it still seems hokey to me. I felt a little like it was a cheat sheet to the characters instead of having to flesh out all the personalities (which there would not have been room in this book to cover them all, so this does actually work well with the story). But, I should stress that's just the feeling I had reading the book and I could see others not having an issue with this at all.

I'm really excited about this series and can't wait to get my hands on the next Warrior - uhm, I mean the next Feral Warrior book :) - Obsession Untamed releases in August and Passion Untamed comes out in September.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Win a Copy of Pleasuring the Pirate by Emily Bryan!


The lovely Mrs. Emily Bryan is a guest at Author Diana Rubino's blog today and they are giving away a copy of Emily's Pleasuring the Pirate to a lucky commenter!

It's another great interview and who doesn't want to win one of Emily's books! Me, me, me...raises hand!

If you aren't familiar with my love of Emily's books check out my posts here and here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Audio Lovin": Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot


Queen of Babble Audio Version
By Meg Cabot
Ready by: Justine Eyre
Books on Tape
2 Heart Review

So I'm catching up on all the reviews for all the audio books I've been listening to lately. I spent a lot of time in my car driving and was starting to forget all the audio books that had crossed my path. Enjoy and if you don't do the audio book thing, check out my post here about why I think they are the bomb. Yes, I did just totally dork out. :)

Having listened to the audio books of the previous Queen of Babble titles, I was already familiar with the characters and the readers voice and inflection. I think that made this particular audio book easier to get into despite a lead female character who had slightly annoyed me previously.

The gang's all here again, with the hero Luke starting to show his true colors and steady sidekick Chazz suddenly deciding he's loved Lizzie for years. After the very first book, I had high hopes for Luke as a real hero and was disappointed that he turned out to be such a...well...wanker.

Having Lizzie and Chazz come together does work perfectly, but there was something about the ending that left me unsatisfied. It seemed like a bit of a cop-out by Lizzie and by Chazz as neither gets what they had said they wanted. But, I guess compromise is what it's all about.

I really enjoyed the Ava Geck character and would have liked for her to play a bigger par t of the story. The way Ava and Lizzie come together at the end was a nice touch and you could see Ava grow as direct result of Lizzie's influence.

The loss of Lizzie's grandmother was very well done and threaded throughout the story so well that you felt it didn't just serve as a senseless plot twist.

If you've read the other Queen of Babble books, I recommend you read or listen to this one as well. It's a great ending to a story even if this book lacks a little something.

Friday, June 19, 2009

PRICELESS: Friday Fun From SBTB

Those Smart Bitches are fantastic and they have one incredibly hilarious post today! If you are looking for some cheap Friday fun to get your weekend started, you must head on over there immediately and check out "Crimes Against Photoshop."

http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/crimes-against-photoshop/

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Audio Lovin': REVIEW of The Magic of You by Johanna Lindsey

The Magic of You Audio Version
By Johanna Lindsey
Read By Laural Merlington
Brilliance Audio
4 Heart Review


As wild and reckless as the most incorrigible of her male cousins, young Amy Malory has reached marriageable age, and she has set her amorous sights on a most unsuitable mate: the handsome, straitlaced ship's captain who once nearly had her uncle James hung for piracy.

Warren Anderson is shocked by the brazen advances of his despised enemy's high-spirited niece. Still tormented by past treachery, he is determined to resist Amy's charms. But an overpowering yearning for the enchanting minx threatens to defeat his defiant heart...and force its sensuous surrender to a love that could stoke the fires of a perilous family feud.

So, I'm not shy about how much I love the Malory series! I cannot get enough of them and love the interaction between the Malory family and the Andersons who can't seem to stop marrying their women! The books do such a great job of creating male characters both full of emotion and who are also men of action. We get so much insight into the thoughts and feelings of Lindsey's men and I guess that’s a big part of what draws me to these stories – that I love the outward gruff and toughness of the men juxtaposed with their internal old softies.

This Malory book is no different. In fact, Warren is the gruffest of the Andersons having been badly hurt and thrown over by the woman he loved years before. Hearing him struggle to maintain his Oscar the Grouch routine is loads of fun, especially when headstrong Amy tries her hardest to make him smile at every turn.

Amy is every bit a Malory and it's interesting to see a female of the family get hit with the love bug. She doesn't disappoint as she shows the Malory spunk and determination to make Warren hers. I enjoyed Amy as a character and found her to be a perfect foil for Warren.

I believe this is the same reader of the other Malory audio books I've listened to, and she does manage to give all the characters their own distinctive personalities. You never have to guess who is speaking and she inflects just the right emotion into her voice for each situation.

What can I say – It's another terrific Malory book by Johanna Lindsey and I just can't get enough of them! Whether you read them or listen to them, check out this Malory series if you like historical romance. You won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Romance Authors Rock! (And I'm really not a kiss-ass)


Okay, so some of you might be saying to yourself "She is too nice and just posts about the good books she reads", but honestly I'm having a major issue lately - EVERY book I'm picking up lately has been really good.

I don't know if this is because I've gotten better at judging a book by its cover (yeah I know that's hokey) or if the quality of work being published is just getting better and better. I used to have at least a few books here and there that I struggled to get through. (That's my weird habit, I HAVE to finish every book I start no better how bad - it's just my thing.)

So hang with me and believe that every review I write is my honest to goodness real reaction to a story and the writing. I created this blog as a place to share my love of romance books and that includes the good and the bad. Even with the books I loved, I usually try to add some critique if something about the characters or story seemed off.

Is it horrible of me to WANT to run across a bad book to balance out my blog posts? That's the way I've felt lately. But I've decided so what if all my reviews lately have been positive. I just hope my posts start a discussion and help other book lovers see what to add to their TBR pile!

Let me know - do you like a blog more if it has as many bad reviews as it does good, or do you just look for an honest blogger whose tastes run along the same lines as your own?

Happy Reading! Sabrina

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's Emily Bryan Week at Royal Reviews!


The Ladies over at Royal Reviews have outdone themselves! They are hosting Emily Bryan week and since you know well the love I hold for Emily's Vexing the Viscount, I had to share the news!

Today they are hosting a fantastic chat with Emily, and she's there to respond to your questions and comments. You can also enter to win free books!

Check out Royal Reviews and Emily Bryan week today!



Monday, June 15, 2009

REVIEW: Twin Temptation By Cara Summers



By Cara Summers
Harlequin Blaze - June 2009
4 Heart Review

She didn't know she had a twin...

Maddie Farrell is about to get a double surprise – not only is she an heiress, she has a secret twin sister! What's more, their inheritance depends on temporarily switching places.

And she certainly didn't know sex could be this
good...

Unexpected bonus? Sex with her sister's super hot roommate, Jase Campbell! But he's just a passing - if mind blowing – distraction.

But double the pleasure can also mean double the trouble...

Because as soon as the twin switch is over, Maddie's heading home. Unless she can't outrun the killer who'd rather see her dead than inherit. Or Jase, who'd like to keep blowing her mind – permanently!
Who knew you could wrap a nicely detailed mystery, suspense and romance all in one neat little Harlequin Blaze package? I mean, I knew it could be done, but this book is jam-packed! Somehow Cara manages to keep all the plot points flowing, while still making sure the romance shines. That's why this book deserves extra attention and is truly a step above!

Cara Summers expertly weaves the romance of Maddie and Jase, the mysteries of who killed Eva and robbed her store, and the suspense of who was trying to kill Maddie. It's a lot of story that Cara manages to fit into the traditional Harlequin mold, and she does it extremely well.

The mystery has you guessing, the suspense has you wondering who's around the next corner and the romance has you fanning yourself from all the heat coming from the page. This is three great stories combined into one detailed and well plotted book. What's more, is that Cara even manages to nicely set-up and hint at the “sister” story to this book that will be released in July and features Maddie's twin sister Jordan and her experiences at outrunning a murder plot.

The only thing keeping this from being a 5 Heart Review, was that I didn't feel I got to know Maddie enough to connect emotionally with her. I liked her and thought she and Jase worked well together, but with all the other things taking place in the book something had to go and that was getting to know Maddie better.

That said, you still can't go wrong picking up this book, and I'll venture to say you should pick up the sister's story in July titled Twin Seduction.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Deidre Knight & Gena Showalter Chatting Live Tonight @ 9pm ET!

Join authors Deidre Knight and Gena Showalter in a chat at The Knight Agency chat room tonight, Thursday, June 11th @ 9pm ET!!

Both ladies will be dishing about their latest releases and can't wait to answer your questions. Of course there will be trivia and fab prizes.

Check out the full details and how to enter the chat here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thank You

I wanted to say thank you for all the lovely messages you all sent.

After losing my mother a little over a year ago, I had been watching my father's health slowly decline but I wasn't really prepared for him to go yet. So I thank you for your thoughts as they have done so much to help me get through this past week.

I'm back home now and will begin some new posts soon. I'd read some great books before this that I haven't posted reviews of yet, so keep on the lookout.

Thank you again and big hugs!

Sabrina

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Blog Will be Quiet This Week

Just a quick post to let you know the blog will be quiet this week. My father has passed away and I'm not sure when I'll be back to posting and/or have Internet access.

There are many exciting things coming up on the blog including some awesome author interviews, so don't forget about Cheeky Reads - I'll be back soon.

Sabrina

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