Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking Forward to 2012 - Reading Resolution

With every new year, there inevitably comes the need to start fresh and "fix" those parts of our life we either don't like, want to tweak or just plain want to accomplish.

We've all created the lists year after year. Even here on Cheeky Reads I've listed the things I would like to see change about the blog in the coming year, but this year I want to do something different.

This year I want to select just 1 thing in a few areas of my life that I love and just focus more on that. Instead of focusing on changing designs, writing more blogs, doing more contests, etc, I want my resolution this year to focus on what I love and then to just do more of it this year.

So, in the area of my life this blog fits into I'm making my resolution to be to focus on selecting and choosing books to read and review that I think fit the genres and storylines I love most.

 Most bloggers know what I'm talking about. As a reviewer you can be bombarded with requests to review books and for me there can be a lot of pressure to say yes to everyone! I really hate saying no to anyone who contacts me because I feel so honored that they've contacted me.

But, what ends up happening is that I get overwhelmed and can't keep up. I even decided this past year to add additional reviewers to Cheeky Reads. A decision I'm so happy I made! But I found myself making sure I sent them the books that best matched their personal preferences and then left myself the "other" books.

Sop this year I'm pledging to myself to make sure I take on books I really want to read. I'll still send my reviewers the books that suit them as well, but I'll have to say no to some authors who I don't think their books match our reviewers tastes - because I believe you should give a book the best chance by only having someone really interested read it.

I mean how can a review be fair if from the beginning you aren't at least mildly interested in reading it?

I have to admit that's why I haven't posted a ton of reviews lately - I just couldn't do the books justice and felt the author deserved a reviewer more fit to their story.

In 2012, you'll see more reviews from me simply because I'll be back to reading books I'm really interested in. That might not mean they'll all be good, but I'll be giving the book, author and my readers the best reviews possible.

Oh, and I'll get back to the joy of reading, because that's what it's really all about.


Cheers to a Happy New Year! Do you have a reading goal or resolution for 2012? Are you a blogger with blog goals or reading goals? Please share!

Friday, December 23, 2011

FREE Holiday Tale From Kieran Kramer


One of my absolute fav new authors I've discovered this past year is Kieran Kramer. She writes historicals that make me a very, very happy reader. For the Holiday this year, she has released a short Regency Christmas tale for readers and I thought I would share it with you.

Here's the link to her blog where the story is posted. It's not very long and short, fun read!

*Image used from Kieran Kramer's website

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winner Of The Romancing Christmas Giveway Hop!

Thank you to everyone who came and entered to win in the Romancing Christmas Giveaway Hop! I hope you'll continue to come back and check out the blog and chat with us.

The winner of a selection of audio and print books based on the genre she indicated is...



Comment #9 is Shari Jung! Congrats!

Shari - an email is coming your way asking for your mailing information. Happy Reading and thanks again to all the entries!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Want to Win a Romantic New Year's Eve Weekend Getaway?

On twitter this past week I was tweeted some information about a really nice giveaway for a spectacular New Year's Eve celebration and I asked for more information to share with you.

Here are some details from the Turnberry Isle Resort representative:

The winner of THE MOMENT receives a romantic New Year’s Eve package at the resort, valued at $1400. The package includes a two night stay, two tickets to Turnberry’s black-tie New Year’s Eve masquerade ball (hello little black dress!), and brunch for two at the Cascata Grille.

To enter, contestants would visit Turnberry Isle Resort’s Facebook contest tab (https://www.facebook.com/TurnberryIsleMiami?sk=app_150911685012246) and complete the entry form. 

The contest will be open until December 23rd

I did go and check out the facebook contest for myself and also the resort and it really does look like an awesome place to have a romantic weekend for New Years! Living in Florida myself, this sounds exactly like how I'd like to spend New Years. If you can get yourself down to Florida or live here already, then don't wait - go enter on that facebook page! 

 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winner of Holiday Romances..

The winner of All I Want For Christmas and Holly's First Noel is:

Unknown aka Gena R!

Gena, I've sent your email address to Entangled and you should hear from them soon.

Congrats and Happy Reading!

Cheeky Girl Sabrina

Friday, December 16, 2011

Welcome Authors Ros Clarke & Faye Robertson & Enter To Win 2 Holiday Romances!

Entangled Publishing is pleased to offer new imprints, Flirts and Ever Afters.  All I Want for Christmas (So nice of Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber to do the promo single for this title), by Ros Clarke, and Holly’s First Noel, by Faye Robertson, are paving the way for these two lines. We hope you enjoy our holiday gifts to you with these Christmas novellas. Flirts are priced at just .99 cents and enjoy Ever Afters for only $2.99.

Meet the authors behind the Christmas magic…

Meet Ros Clarke:
This year, I have two jobs which means two office Christmas parties.  Two Secret Santa presents bought (must remember to wrap them up).  Two menus to choose from. Two outfits to select. Two opportunities to embarrass myself in front of my work colleagues.

Fortunately, I have never embarrassed myself as much as the heroine of my Christmas novella, Anna Gardner. The office party is the one night in the year when she lets her hair down, with alarmingly predictable consequences. One too many glasses of punch and Anna always ends up at the karaoke machine. Anna has a great repertoire of Christmas classics, including Mariah Carey's hit (reprised this year with Justin Bieber!), "All I Want For Christmas Is You.”  Have you seen this fun version featuring the crew of a Royal Navy warship as they come home after eight months of deployment?  So much better than the Bieber version!


 About All I Want for Christmas:

Last night, Anna Gardner was the life of the office Christmas party—right up until she threw herself at gorgeous advertising executive playboy, Hugh Munro. Again. Last year, Hugh let her pretend their passionate kiss never happened, but this year he’s determined to make Anna admit she wants him as much as he wants her.

 Except, Hugh doesn’t know the office party is the only night of the year his friend lets her hair down. That every hour she’s away from the office is spent caring for her sickly mother. That her mother’s condition, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, is hereditary.

When Hugh finds out what she’s been hiding, he’s forced to do some serious soul-searching. It’s not fair to Anna or her mother for him to get involved casually, but casual relationships are all he knows. Can he prove to himself—and to Anna—that she’s all he wants for Christmas?

About Ros:
Ros Clarke is a writer, a student, a church worker, a crafter, a blogger, a twitterer, a lazy gardener, and an appalling housekeeper. She is interested in almost everything except cricket and football (US and UK) and mostly she likes happy endings in fiction and in real life.


You can find Ros at her website and follow her on Twitter!
Get a copy of All I Want For Christmas at
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books On Board | Amazon UK


Meet Faye Robertson:
Coming up with a catchy title for a book is never easy, and the title for this one went through several incarnations before we settled on the final choice. I wanted something Christmas related, and liked the idea of echoing a carol. I considered setting the story in a hospital so I could call it Holly and the I.V. Actually my first idea was to echo a line in the book where Holly comments on the amount of snow that will fall overnight, but my editor assured me “Six Inches by Morning” was more of an erotica title. Likewise, I steered clear of anything to do with the North Pole and O Come all ye Faithful, not wanting to give the wrong impression.
But eventually we settled on Holly’s First Noel, and even though a dear friend has asked, “Does that mean she’s going to have a second one when she’s finished with him?” I think the title suits the story very well. It’s a sweet and sexy tale with, I hope, an uplifting emotional message—that the magic of Christmas isn’t to be found by making a traditional dinner and creating a perfect day, but that—without being too mushy—it’s what’s in your heart that counts, and love can turn any day into a celebration.

About Holly’s First Noel:
Music teacher Holly Jones is in a festive predicament. Her boyfriend just dumped her the week before Christmas, so why is she only depressed he made off with the mince pies? When the charming science teacher next door overhears the dreaded call and suggests she accompany him on his Scottish holiday retreat, she accepts, eager to spend a quiet week rediscovering herself.

Noel Coward’s wife died on Christmas Eve three years ago. To bury the memories of that day, he spends the holidays getting drunk and watching action movies—which makes him perfect company for a fellow teacher in need of solitude. Except, instead of wallowing in his grief, Noel finds himself comforted by Holly’s presence, fascinated by her mind, and after one innocent kiss, on fire for her touch. As the snow piles up outside, the temperature inside soars, while together, they discover the human heart’s amazing capacity to heal…and love.
About Faye:
Faye Robertson lives in the sub-tropical Northland of New Zealand with her wonderful husband and gorgeous teenage son. She writes fun, flirty, and sexy contemporary romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and hunky but approachable heroes. She’s won several romance writing competitions and is a member of the Romance Writers of New Zealand. She would much rather immerse herself in reading or writing romance than do the dusting and ironing, which is why it’s not a great idea to pop round if you have any allergies. She also writes romance under the name Serenity Woods.

You can find Faye at her website, on Twitter or connect on Facebook!

Get your copy of Holly’s First Noel at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books On Board | Amazon UK

So tell us, what's your favorite Christmas carol and why? Leave a comment and be entered to win an ebook of both of these awesome holiday stories!

Contest is open internationally! The contest ends at 11:59 on 12/18 and a winner will be announced 12/19 so you'll have plenty of time to read these stories while you're still in the holiday spirit!

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's The Loveswept Holiday Hop Giveaway!




Good Luck & Happy Holidays to all!
INCREASE your chances to win by visiting all of the participating 'Loveswept - Holiday Hop' sites! 


Winners will be contacted after 1/10/12. US Only.

Monday Morning Cuteness!

funny pictures - Still a better love story than Twilight
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Welcome To The Romancing Christmas Giveaway Hop!


The Romancing Christmas Giveaway Hop is being hosted by Reading Romances!

What you can win here: A Selection of Print and Audio Books Tailored To The Genres You Love! 
You'll win at least 2 Audio Books and 2 Print Books - but maybe more!

How to enter: Just leave a comment with your favorite genres, types of stories or fav authors. That's it! If you like my blog, I hope you'll follow, but it's not required. 

Open to: US Addresses Only.

Enter the other giveaways for this event!




Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Review: The Mistress' House by Leigh Michaels

Book Review: The Mistress' House
By: Leigh Michaels
Published By: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released: Februrary 2011
Historical Romance
3 Heart Review

The rules are meant to be broken…

When the handsome, rakish Earl of Hawthorne buys the charming house across the back garden from his town home, he never expects the lovely lady he installs there to ensnare him completely…

Again…

After Lady Keighley marries the earl, it seems a shame to leave the house empty, so she offers it to her childhood friend Felicity Mercer, who discovers the earl’s gorgeous cousin…

and again…

Finally, feisty Georgiana Baxter moves into the house to escape an arranged marriage and encounters the earl’s friend Major Julian Hampton late one night in the back garden. The handsome soldier is more than willing to give her the lessons she asks for…

Plenty of gossip, scandal, and torrid speculations surround the “mistress house,” but behind closed doors, passions blaze…

I feel I need to preface this review by letting it be known that I don’t like books under 100 pages, known characters from a series in a novella excluded. And while this book is just over 300 pages, it is actually 3 separate stories independent of each other. I just don’t think it gives the author enough time to build the characters, and I like my books to have a good plot.

That being said, The Mistress' House fell short on a lot of points I am very adamant about. I didn’t really get to know the characters like I would have liked. Each story had a plot – sort of – but the intimate scenes were obviously the focal point of the stories. And, the characters’ decisions and actions weren’t believable, especially for the era.

On the good side, I really enjoyed the characters in this book. They had so much potential. I was able to connect with them, even in the short timeframe. I also really liked how each story flowed into the next. The characters’ interactions and relationships, not just the romantic ones, are often my favorite part of a book.

If you’re looking for a steamy little summer read, this is just the ticket. However, if you like your books with depth and a driving, intricate plot, you might want to skip this one. I really wish Leigh, the author, would have separated each story into its own book so the characters had the opportunity to grow, and things didn’t seem so rushed. With strong personalities like these, I just know they would have come to life right off the page.

What do you think of novellas? Do you think it really depends on who the author is as to if you think they can create a whole world and draw you in with so few words?

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl L.A.

Awesome New Video - Dangerous Books For Girls...

You might have already seen it, but this is just too awesome not to share for those who might have missed it!

Monday, December 5, 2011

More Cuteness From Bergdorf Goodman!

So I've watched this super cute video a million times and thought I should totally share it with you all. It's from Bergdorf Goodman, the upscale department store in NYC, who is not only dog friendly but is also promoting dog and cat adoptions in their holiday promos.

Watch the video and smile. Oh, and I love that the doorman in the video is really the doorman in real life!

Monday Morning Cuteness!

funny dog pictures - You need coffee. You just left the baby in my crate.
see more dog and puppy pictures

Friday, December 2, 2011

Super Cute Christmas Giveaway From Author Maureen O. Betita!

My friend, and awesome author, Maureen O. Betita is having a fun contest to win what I think is one of the most original and cute Christmas ornaments I've ever seen - It's a Kraken! Check out the photo to the left. Super cute right?

Head over to Maureen's blog for all the details on how you can enter to win that little guy for your very own tree - and she's also giving away free books along the way too!

I'm happy to be back from my trip and hope to have the blog back up and running next week! Hope you've been reading some fabulous books!

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane...To PARIS!

My amazing husband surprised me a few months ago by letting me know that for our 10th Wedding Anniversary he was taking me to Paris! Holy Cow!

Sorry if you've noticed the past week that the blog has been slightly overlooked - I had a million things to both at work and home to get ready and there hasn't been much time for reading or blogging.

It will be kind of quiet around here until after Thanksgiving, but I will have a few posts during the week I'm gone so I hope you'll stop by and check them out.

I'm so excited! It's my first time to Paris or France and I've planned the crap out of this trip. My OCD planning girl gene went full out on deciding what we had to see this time and what could wait if we hopefully ever make it back again.

In the meantime, I hope you are reading something awesome and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I'm taking off on that Jet Plane today and this time tomorrow I'll be wandering the streets of Paris! :)

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

Monday Morning Cuteness

Funny Pictures - The Most Interesting Cat in the World
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Winner of Beverly Jenkins Giveaway!




The winner of a copy of Midnight by Beverly Jenkins is...

Lynette!

An email is on it's way to you for your mailing information - Congrats and thanks to all who entered!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Welcome Guest Author Beverly Jenkins & Enter The Giveaway!

Today I'm extremely excited to welcome author Beverly Jenkins to Cheeky Reads for an interview! If you don't know Beverly or her books yet, they are wonderful romances that historical romance lovers of historicals should enjoy!

Beverly has also been kind enough to offer a giveaway to one lucky Cheeky Reads reader - a copy of her historical romance Midnight! Be sure to leave a comment or ask Mrs. Jenkins a question to be entered to win. Don't forget to include your email so I can get in touch with you if you are the winner. Winner will be chosen on Monday, Nov. 7th. Open to US and Canada residents only.

Please Welcome Beverly to Cheeky Reads!

What was it about this story or characters that really called out to you to be written? My readers have been clamoring for Preacher to have his own story since he made his debut as a secondary character in my 1999 Avon release, The Taming of Jessi  Rose. The calls increased when he surfaced again in 2005 in Something Like Love, also from Avon.

Characters really make a story for me, so I always love to ask authors what three words would you use to describe your hero? Three words for Preacher – Stoic, layered, sexy

What three words best represent your heroine? Three words for Maggie – tough, resilient, dreamer

It seems this is very much the hero's story more so than the heroines. Do you find you like to write one journey more so than the other? Although from the gorgeous cover it might seem that the story is all about Preacher but in reality it’s about both lead characters.  I always try to balance my stories so that readers know the personality and motivation of both.  I’m not a big fan of lop-sided stories. J

What was your favorite part of writing Night Hawk? Any particular scenes or plot twists you couldn't wait to write? (Ok - we understand, no spoilers allowed!) Preacher is a gun toting, Bible quoting bounty hunter and I couldn’t wait to set him in motion.  Near the end of the story he tells Maggie a bedtime story that not only reveals his past but broke my heart.  Maggie shines with every scene. According to my readers,  I’ve created many memorable female leads,  but early reviews for Night Hawk rank her as one my best,  and I have to agree. She is a true force of nature.

You've authored over 30 books. How do you keep it fresh and are there any tropes you love to revist throughout your books? I keep it fresh by moving between genres.  I write historicals mostly, but I also write romantic suspense, contemporary romance, mainstream women’s fiction, and have written two YA historicals. Slipping back and forth keeps me from getting into a writing rut.

I love asking authors what they're reading and if they have any new books or authors they would recommend. Any you want to share with us? I am a BIG fantasy reader –so right now I’m on the third book in the Magic Bites series by Ilona Andrews; eagerly awaiting Jim Butcher’s next Harry Dresden installment,  and the third book in Cameron Halley’s’ Mob Rules series.  I’m also a huge Rick Riordan fan.

Where can our readers find you next? Readers can find me underground working on my next historical for Avon and working on the fifth book in my mainstream series Bring on the Blessings.  As for traveling, last spring I gave myself away as a prize to the book club that purchased the most copies of Something Old/Something New – the fourth book in the Blessings series.  A wonderful book club in Shreveport LA won me, so I’ll be visiting them in a few weeks.

Lastly, would you give our readers a little sneak peak excerpt from Night Hawk?
Excerpt:

As the train rolled into Kansas City, Maggie stared out the window at the largest depot she’d ever seen. There appeared to be more people milling around it than there were living in Dowd and Madison combined. She saw women wearing fancy traveling ensembles and carrying parasols. The gentlemen were decked out in cutaway suits of all colors and patterns and wore smart looking derby hats.  In her present filthy condition she knew she’d draw the eye of everyone within ten miles. She wanted to ask the marshal if she could get a bath before he turned her in but doubted he’d afford her such a luxury. 

As it stood,  all she could do to try and make herself presentable was attempt to tame her hair with her hands, but that was difficult because of the cuff on her right wrist attached to his left.  Raising her arm garnered a stare from him, so she explained. “I just want to try and plait my hair before we go out into the streets.”

“I don’t think it’ll much matter.”

Her lips thinned.  Ignoring him, she raised her hands to her hair again. She expected him to  protest but he didn’t so, she did what she could while his arm moved in tandem like a puppet.  When she was finished, she watched him slowly survey the results. Before he turned away, she  thought she caught a ghost of a smile cross his unshaven face. That didn’t help her mood, but there was nothing to be done about it.

 The train slowed to a stop. The other passengers grabbed the handles on their valises and carpet bags and prepared to depart.

“We’ll wait until everybody else gets off, “ he told her and placed his magazine into his saddle bag.

Maggie tersely nodded a reply while doing her best to ignore the disgusted looks the other passengers threw her way as they passed  by. She knew what she looked like. She didn’t need reminding.

“Okay. Our turn.”

Maggie scooted across the seat.  He led her off the train and out into the busy depot. 

As she and the marshal made their way, some of the travelers stopped and stared slack jawed. A buzz went through the place. Mothers grabbed their children as if the handcuffed Maggie or the tall man in black might do them harm.  One woman, wearing an expensive, bustled traveling costume looked so terrified, Maggie snarled at her like an angry puma. The woman screamed and swooned.

As people rushed to her side, the marshal didn’t break stride, but he glanced back at her satisfied face.  “Stop that.” 

“I couldn’t resist.”

“Try harder.”

“Yes, marshal.”

That earned her another look which she met unflinchingly.

While people continued to give them a wide berth, he headed to the end of the train to retrieve his horse.

“I’m going to undo the cuffs. If you run, I will find you.”

She believed him.

It was a magnificent smoke gray animal, even larger and more powerful looking than the one she’d ridden on her futile escape attempt from the sheriff. Bigelow led it down the plank and she watched as he greeted the animal with an affectionate voice. “We’ll be home soon, old boy. Promise.”

He handed her her old saddle bag that had been left behind in the straw when she and sheriff Wells were ordered off the train at gunpoint by Langley’s vigilantes. She opened it and checked the contents. Her precious red dress and shoes were inside but not her weapon  “Wells still has my Colt.”

 “You’re under arrest, you aren’t allowed firearms.”

“But it belonged to my father, “ she protested.  “That and this coat are all I have left of him.”

“Take it up with Wells next time you see him.”

“Please don’t patronize me.”

He viewed her silently for a moment.

She asked coolly, “Am I not supposed to know the meaning of the word patronize, marshal?”

“Not sure.” There was muted humor in his eyes.

“Something amusing?”

“Where’d you learn to speak so properly?”

“My father was an Oberlin graduate, and a schoolteacher before and after the war.” 

“That explains it.” He mounted his horse and offered her a hand up.  She accepted the help, and although the palm that closed over hers was rough and calloused, the grip was gentler than she’d assumed it would be.

“Hold on.” 

She wrapped her arms around the leather duster, and he reined the horse out into the streets of Kansas City

Maggie had never been to Kansas City before, so she was impressed by the modern brick buildings and all the people. She had no idea if Bigelow knew where he was going, but she stared longingly at the public bathhouse they rode past.

After another few minutes of picking their way through the thick traffic of wagons, carriages, buckboards and riders, he stopped. “We’re here.”

Maggie read Sheriff’s Office on the hand painted sign above the building’s door, and sighed resignedly. She dismounted and waited while he tied the horse’s reins to the post. 

Inside, a young man wearing a star on his red plaid flannel shirt was seated behind a desk. He eyed them curiously for a moment.  “How can I help you folks?”

“Got a prisoner for the sheriff. You him?”

“No, sir. I’m Deputy Peterson. Sheriff Nash is out with a posse. Bank was robbed this morning” The kid’s eyes slowly widened. “Why you’re the Preacher! I’ve seen your picture in the newspapers!”

Maggie glanced up at the marshal. Was he a famous lawman then? And why was he called Preacher?  She rememberd him quoting scripture before opening fire on Langely but she didn’t know any men of god who could wield a firearm  the way he had.

He didn’t speak to any of that however. “Dowd’s Sheriff Wells wants her kept here until the circuit judge comes around. Vigilantes are giving him problems.”

“Sheriff’s going to be real upset that he didn’t get to meet you.”

From the marshal’s stony set features, the deputy seemed to understand that Bigelow was there on business and nothing more. “Um, what’s she charged with?”

“Accidental death.”

“Can’t take her.”

“Why not?”

 “Under instructions not to put anybody in the jail. Sheriff wants the cell empty so he can throw the bank robbers in when he gets back.”

“And that’ll be?”

The deputy shrugged. “The men he’s after are supposed to be heading to Indian Territory so, maybe be a week, two, maybe three.” His eyes brushed Maggie. “Besides, we don’t have any place to put a woman. Try the sheriff in Abilene. Maybe he can take her.”

The deputy paused and grinned. “I can’t believe I’m talking to one of the most famous bounty hunters in the west. Heard Hanging Judge Parker down at Ft. Smith made you a marshal, too.”

 He didn’t speak to that either. “Dowd wanted me to leave her here.”

“I understand that sir, but you can’t.”

“Is there a marshal in town?”

“Yep. He’s with the posse.”

Maggie wanted to cheer, but kept her face  impassive as stone.

“Try Abilene,” the deputy repeated. “Sorry.”

Bigelow turned to go.  “Thanks.”

 Maggie followed him back out to the street.   She waited to see what he might propose next, but before he could, they heard a woman shout accusingly, “You!”

Maggie’s eyed widened at the sight of Minerva Quigley barreling down the walk towards them.

“I want that heathen arrested!” Minerva demanded angrily.

Ian sighed. Now what?  “Afternoon, ma’am. Is there a problem?” She was glaring at his prisoner with such vehemence  he was surprised there wasn’t steam pouring out from beneath her ugly straw bonnet. His prisoner appeared calm, but there was a hint of icy humor in her gaze.

“Somebody get the sheriff! I want her arrested!”

“She’s in custody, ma’am.”

You’re a lawman?”

“United States Deputy Marshal,” he said hoping that would deflate whatever this might be about.

The doubt on her face was plain. In many areas of the country, men of color were not allowed to wear a star, and those that did were sometimes forbidden to arrest Whites. Judge Isaac Parker didn’t follow the practice.  

By then a number of people on the walks had stopped to see what was occurring, including the young deputy who’d stepped outside to investigate the commotion.

“Why’s she in custody?” Minerva demanded to know.

“None of your damned business!” the Freeman woman responded.  

Hearing that, Minerva puffed up like an outraged hen. “Don’t you dare talk to your betters that way.” She raised her parasol as if to strike her for her insolence only to have the parasol snatched from her hands and thrown forcefully out into the street where it promptly struck a teamster in the head innocently driving by. The unexpected blow caught him so by surprise he lost control of his four horse team. They reared and spooked another team pulling a load of wagon wheels, which ran into a team of bays hooked to a fancy coach, that careened directly into the path of an ice wagon that lost its load and sent a buckboard skittering up onto the crowded walk where people scrambled to get out the way. Arguments broke out as drivers confronted each other over their wrecked vehicles, spilled cargos, and runaway horses, and then fisticuffs commenced. The young deputy tried to instill order by firing his gun in the air, which of course only caused more horses to rear in fear and more collisions ensued.

A speechless Ian stared down at the woman who’d caused it all.  She met his gaze with a raised eyebrow.

A short while later when things began to settle down, Minerva Quigley turned to accuse Maggie Freeman of starting the disaster, but she and the marshal were no longer there.

Thank you Beverly! Don't forget to comment to be entered to win a copy of Beverly's book Midnight!

You can find out more about Beverly, her books and buy links at her website.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review: The Keepers by Monique O'Connor James & Elaina Lee

The Keepers
By Monique O’Connor James & Elaina Lee
Published by Astraea Press - www.astraeapress.com
Romance
3 Heart Review

Jess denies God. In his infinite wisdom, he’s taken everyone she’s ever loved. Moving to the French Quarter was a ploy to erase the guilt she felt for rebuking her faith. Perhaps, if she hadn’t met Justin, an angel preoccupied with getting back into God’s good graces, and drowning in his hatred for humanity, her plan would have worked.

Justin’s general disdain for the human race makes him difficult to like, but some higher power has appointed him her keeper. Justin’s convinced he can mend her broken relationship with her maker, but in the process he learns a thing or two about his own humanity.

Never mind falling in love, that’s not supposed to happen. In fact, it may even be forbidden. Jess just wants Justin to understand her plight, and he wants to protect her from a world she doesn’t know.

If neither are equipped to save the other, then whose soul will live and whose will perish?

Let’s get it straight right now, I am English and I love Americana, so having this book set in New Orleans scored points with me straight away.

To be honest I like this book, but I don’t love it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good read, pretty compelling but not amazing.

Having said that though, it has strong points, the characters are well rounded, some parts are pretty funny and the plot is good.

Plus something I really love about this book is that it doesn’t have any of those twelve paragraphs long detailed descriptions about people or places, because god knows I always skip over them.

The only thing I would say is if you are not big on religion, or you want something a little dirtier, give this a miss.

All in all I would say if you have some spare time and fancy reading a book, pick this one up, you wont be disappointed.

I’d say this was a great new twist on a classic genre that I would give a 3 Heart Rating. Well done!

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Kerrie

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: Merciless by Diana Palmer

Book Review: Merciless (Long, Tall Texans Series)
By: Diana Palmer
Publisher: HQN
Contemporary Romance
2 Heart Review

Tall dark and eligible? That’s all that matters to the women of Jacobsville when it comes to handsome and aloof FBI agent Jon Blackhawk. But if it were up to him, he would never settle down. Luckily, Jon has the best gatekeeper: his efficient and reliable assistant, Joceline Perry. Without her help, he’d be at the mercy of husband hunters — but the more he comes to rely on her, the more he notices how invaluable she really is....

While Joceline can’t deny that her boss is attractive, as a single mother with responsibilities she’s determined to be professional. But when Jon is accosted by a criminal seeking revenge, she comes to his aid — fueling the spark that is growing between them. As the attempts on Jon’s life increase, Joceline stands by his side. But when the smoke clears, will the man who avoided love realize that all he ever needed was right there all along?

*Note* - This was one of my hardest reviews to write because I had to wonder if my reaction to the book was really about the writing or about a difference of beliefs. After going over and over it I believe that it really was the writing.

If you're a regular reader of Cheeky Reads you might remember that I read my very first book of hers a little while back and it wasn't exactly to my reading taste. But, so many of you are fans that I decided to give it another try with her newest book Merciless. I hate to say it, but I'm still not a huge fan.

What I did like about the book was that Mrs. Palmer creates a very nicely connected family and does well with threading their stories together. Sorry to say that's about all I found that I liked about the story.

Mostly what I didn't like are things that are mainly personal preference and I'll try to touch on them here without giving away any spoilers. First, I read romances that that touch on religion and enjoy many of them. Debbie Macomber is a favorite and she does an excellent job of including religious sentiments in her stories and characters without it feeling forced or overwhelming.

I didn't feel that way with this book. It felt like religious beliefs were thrown around as an excuse for bad behavior, prejudice and plain out rudeness. I won't go into details for spoilers sake, but in the real world I've lived in some small religious towns and in none of them would they act the way some of these characters did toward a woman who had a child out of wedlock. They might not like it, but the actions in this book were so over the top it stunned me. Was this book set in the 1950's?

My main issue with this book were that I felt most of the characters were one dimensional. Especially the hero's mother. She so flat as a character in this book and I felt like her dialogue could have been that of a 6 year old kid for all the maturity and depth it had. She and her lack of a real motive for her hateful actions really annoyed me.

In fact, this book would have been more of a 3 Heart Review if the mother could have been thrown out. She really was totally unnecessary to the plot and what little she contributed could have been figured out some other way. This character tainted the entire book for me both in her actions and the utter lack of her being a fleshed out character.

All in all, I felt like the characters were teenagers in their maturity level and I questioned the decisions of the hero and heroine at every single turn in the story. This just wasn't a story for me.

Which leads me to the conclusion that Diana Palmer is just not an author that will work for me. I know she has legions of fans so obviously she works for others! If you are a fan of hers, I think you will like this book because it has much of the same feel of the previous book of hers that I read.

I don't see myself picking up another Diana Palmer book to read and review because at this point I know it won't work for me and I'm not here to review books just to bash them. I might have one of our other reviewers read her work and see if it's only me who can't seem to connect with the stories.

What about you? Have you read this book and if so, what did you think? Do you love Mrs. Palmer's books and think I'm a stupid head for not getting the appeal? Or are you like me and had trouble with it? I really want to know!

Friday, October 21, 2011

LIVE CHAT & GIVEAWAY TODAY

Mystery Author Rhys Bowen

ON FACEBOOK

8:30 pm East Coast --- 5:30 pm West Coast


Mystery Author Rhys BowenJoin Best Selling Author Rhys Bowen on her FaceBook Page where she will be discussing how she approaches writing a Mystery Novel and creating a strong Heroine in a Series. Come and leave your questions on her wall and she will respond live to all questions, or as many as she can.

If you can not make the Chat and Giveaway live make sure to drop in afterward and check out the discussion anytime. One lucky commenter between now and Sunday will win a copy of Royal Blood, A Royal Spyness Mystery. Comment on Fan Rhys's FaceBook Page between now and November 15th and be entered to win the newest book in the Royal Spyness Series, Naughty in Nice.

Find out more about Rhys Bowen Online

FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY:


Royal Blood By Rhys Bowen
(A Royal Spyness Mystery #4)

Penniless and thirty-fourth in line to the throne, Lady Georgiana Rannoch finds herself in a truly draining state of affairs. To escape her hateful brother, Georgie accepts an invitation from the Queen to represent the royals at a wedding in Transylvania. But at the macabre-looking castle, Georgie finds the bride with blood running down her chin, and a wedding guest is poisoned. Now it’s up to Georgie to save the nuptial festivities before the couple’s vows become “to love and to cherish, till ‘undeath’ do them part...”

Amazon Kindle* Paperback * Audio
Barnes & Noble Hardcover * Paperback * Nookbook

About Rhys Bowen
Rhys Bowen is the Bestselling Author of the Royal Spyness Series, Molly Murphy Mysteries, and Constable Evans. Awarded the Agatha Best Novel Award and nominated for the Edgar Best Novel Rhys’s titles have received rave reviews around the globe.

Rhys Bowen is a transplanted Brit who now divides her time between California and Arizona. She currently writes two mystery series, the Molly Murphy novels, about an Irish immigrant in 1900s New York City and the lighter Royal Spyness mysteries about a penniless minor royal in 1930s Britain. Her books made bestseller lists, garnered many awards, nominations, and starred reviews.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Throwback Book Review: A Perfect Darkness by Jamie Rush

Throwback Book Review: A Perfect Darkness (Book 1 of the Offspring Series)
By: Jamie Rush
Paranormal Romance
Published By: Avon Books
5 Heart Review

Before I posted L.A.'s review of this book I wanted to include part of the email she sent me with it because I thought it added to the great review she did:

Hey Sabrina,
Here is the review for Jaime Rush's A Perfect Darkness.  It get 5 hearts.  OMG I loved this book.  I read it in 4 1/2 hours, one sitting. (Cute right?)

Book Blurb:

They live ordinary lives, but they are extraordinary.  They are the Offspring, children of a mysterious experiment gone awry – and they are in terrible danger.

A sexy stranger awakens Amy Shane in the dead of night.  Lucas Vanderwyck barely has time to whisper a few words before three men burst into her bedroom and drag him away.  But what Lucas reveals shatters Amy’s safe little world forever.

Lucas and Amy share a psychic gift – a fight that could put them in mortal danger.  And as they share night after night of savage passion, as a shadowy government conspiracy tracks their every move, they will fight to save each other.  But only with their powers of second sight can they escape the terror of a perfect darkness.
This book took off from the very first chapter and left me glued to the page until the last word.  It was fast and exciting with just the right amounts of romance and suspense.  I devoured A Perfect Darkness in one sitting, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

The main plot was simple enough to be resolved in one book, but had so many possibilities and open-ended questions that I can see this easily being a hit series.  I was a little taken aback when the action started right away.  Actually I found myself feeling a lot like Amy was at the time, like the world had spun and suddenly I wasn’t sure I knew the truth of anything anymore.

Jaime, the author, achieved what every paranormal writer strives for – believability.  The paranormal aspects of this book have a solid background and believable origins, all set within the world we live in.  That being said, they are also open for growth.  The characters themselves are learning the extent of what they can do, and I have a feeling there’s a lot more to come.

The characters in this book aren’t perfect, and that’s just how I like them.  Most of them have to make hard decisions on what is right and wrong, and they don’t always do the right thing.  I immediately liked Lucas, even though part of me wished he could have played a larger role in general.  Amy was also likable and I loved watching her surprise herself with how strong she really can be.  I was impressed that Petra and Eric got part of their story told in this first book – it isn’t always that way for side characters– and I have a feeling their stories are only going to grow throughout the series.  I also want to see more of Ozzie, Amy’s neighbor.  His role was small in this book, but he has a lot of potential.

I’m super excited to see where this series goes.  I can tell more and more characters are going to be introduced in future books…this is only the beginning.  If you’re looking for a fast paced, original story that keeps you on your metaphorical toes, you can’t go wrong with A Perfect Darkness.

My advice: get real comfortable before you open this one…you may not be getting up again until you’ve read it all.

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl L.A.

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