Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Golden Lady: Who's Gonna Win A RITA This Year?


One of my favorite things about the RWA National Conference is the RITA and Golden Heart Awards. Basically they are like the Oscars of Romance Books. So kind of a big deal. :)
Books on Board is holding a contest this year for the person who can predict the most correct # of RITA winners. I totally took the plunge and sent in my predictions. The delima was: Do you go with who you want to win or who you think will win? I decided to go with who I hoped would win.

Here's all the info about Books on Board's contest - you can win a $25 gift certificate! You can see all the nominees and categories there too.

I'm going to put it all out there and share my predictions below, but I hope you'll tell me who you want to win too!

Best First Book: When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer
Contemporary Series Romance: Christmas With Her Boss by Marion Lennox
Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure: A Cop In Her Stocking
Contemporary Single Title Romance: Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl
Historical Romance: His At Night by Sherry Thomas (I would tie this with A Little Bit Wild)
Inspirational Romance: Finding Her Way Home by Linda Goodnight
Novel With Strong Rom Elements: The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Rayborn (Would tie with Killbox)
Paranormal Romance: Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver
Regency Historical Romance: When Harry Met Molly (Would tie with His Christmas Pleasure or Nine Rules to Break - so many good chocies!)
Romantic Suspense: The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks
Young Adult Romance: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The awards are given out Friday night, so we'll see how I do. Some of these are personal favs that I'm not sure can pull off the win but I'm crossing my fingers! Who do you want to win?

Monday, June 27, 2011

CONTEST ALERT! Susan Mallery Giving Away A TON of Goodies

Enter the Summer Love Giveaway From Susan Mallery

One of my favorite authors Susan Mallery is giving readers a chance to win a Kindle with wifi plus 3G, a $50 gift card from Amazon.com, plus 25 paperback romances from some of your favorite authors! 

Check out her contest page here for all the details and to some of the books you could win! It's a fantastic giveaway that I couldn't help sharing.

Happy Reading & Good Luck!
Cheeky Reads

Monday Morning Cuteness!

funny pictures - I FEEL A MONDAY APPROACHING
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

WINNERS! COME CLAIM YOUR BOOKS!

Sorry I'm a day behind posting, but here are the winners of my recent giveaways:
The winner of my ARC copy of Demons Prefer Blondes by Sidney Ayers for a 2nd Chance Reader Review here at Cheeky Reads is:

Comment #2 - JenM!






The winner of an eBook copy of Whirldwind by Robyn DeJarnett is:

Comment #4 - Karen!

Congrats Ladies! I'll send you an email with details on your prizes.

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Reads

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

READ FOR A CURE! Special Guest Post from Author Maureen O. Betita

A Special Guest Post From Author Maureen O. Betita:

Read For a Cure!

Happy first day of summer to all! Been a long winter, hasn’t it? Well, perhaps not for everyone…but it sure seems like it. I’m an author who lives along the central coast of California and our weather is never much weather if you compare it to the rest of the country. That is true!

Regardless, things have been crazy this year. So many challenges these last few years. Job changes, health challenges, new opportunities, sad news, good news…

Good news! I’m with a wonderful publisher and this year I had my first book come out. It’s been pretty exciting and for the month of June, I’ve had the opportunity to give back. Every month, Decadent Publishing donates the proceeds from a chosen title to finding a cure for cancer. This month, that title is The Kraken’s Mirror, by yours truly!

Why do they do this? Well, Heather Bennett is one of the owners of Decadent and she’s been fighting cancer in her family for far too long. She’s lost too many relatives, too many friends. So, when she began Decadent, she dedicated the company to the cause she believes in.

A cause the authors of Decadent have embraced. For the month of June, help Decadent in the good fight! This cause is important to me and to my agent. We’re both donating our sales for the month to the cause.

If you’ve considered trying something new, a quirky adventure story featuring a matchmaking kraken, a feisty widow and pirates wearing i-pods…check out The Kraken’s Mirror and help battle cancer. For everyone who have lost a loved one or knows someone who deals with the reality of cancer on a daily basis… Let’s do it!

Buy now link to Decadent

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Morning Cuteness!

Start Your Week Off Right With Monday Morning Cuteness!

What shenanigans did you get into this weekend?

Funny Pictures - Cute Cats
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Welcome To The Whirlwind Blog Tour & Enter To Win An eBook Copy Of Whirlwind!

Whirlwind Blog Tour

Welcome to Cheeky Reads and the Whirlwind Blog Tour! I'm excited to showcase Robyn and her new book Whirlwind - a sexy romance with a mystery/thriller plot.

To start, here's the low-down on Whirlwind:
Love at first sight is a myth to aspiring journalist Melissa Williams, but when she meets Jason McAlister at a friend’s wedding, a Cinderella-like fantasy turns her no-nonsense world upside down. She sees in his penetrating blue eyes not just an evening, but a lifetime together that includes much more than a glass slipper and a kiss.

Realizing she shared a few salacious emails with Jason months ago, a humiliated Melissa loses herself in the crowd, thankful he doesn’t know who she is. But he does know—and with a gentle touch and a steamy kiss, he soon picks up their flirtation right where it left off.

As midnight strikes, Melissa succumbs to Jason’s sexy pull, unaware that a woman’s body has been discovered in the wake of the party. When evidence points to Melissa as the killer’s next target, the lines between fantasy and reality blur. She goes into hiding, charmed by one mysterious man and hunted by another.

Cinderella lost a shoe—Melissa could lose both her handsome prince and
her life.

Cheeky Summary: What I enjoyed most about this book was the relationship between Melissa and her friends, as well as the one with Jason. I felt like Melissa's inner monologue about her friendship with Mitch and her insecurities were nicely done and appreciated some well done, but not over the top, sexy scenes! I will say that it was hard to get comfortable with the 1st person point of view at first since that's not traditionally what you find with a romance. But, having that insight into Melissa's thoughts helped explain some of her reactions to Jason and the relationship that otherwise might have been hard to decipher. I had fun reading this book and would give it Cheeky Reads 3 Heart Review!



TOMORROW JUNE 18TH:
LIVE Chat with Whirlwind author Robin DeJarnett, plus eBook giveaway!
LIVE CHAT link: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/99133

Want to win an eBook copy of Whirlwind for youself? Leave me a comment letting me know what you think about the idea of love at first sight and you'll be entered to win! This contest is open internationally so anyone can enter and I'll pick a random comment and post the winner on Thursday June 23rd - good luck!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Review: Demons Prefer Blondes by Sidney Ayers - Win My ARC Copy!

Book Review: Demons Prefer Blondes
By Sidney Ayers
Sourcebooks Casablanca
2.5 Heart Review

A Bad Day For A Demon

Rafe Deleon is a senior demon and he resents like hell his assignment to Earth to retrieve the Chest of the Damned before it falls into the wrong hands. But then he meets beautiful, intriguing succubus Lucy Gregory, and she's just unleashed a whole load of trouble...

Really Sucks For A Succubus

Lucy's chic suburban beauty salon has suddenly become the Underworld's center of mass chaos and destruction. The only good thing in a day going rapidly down the tubes is the arrival of a gorgeous demon who's adamant that he can help her...

But Lucy has quite a few deeply unpleasant – not to mention deadly and hateful – surprises ahead of her, and surely there's never been a worse time to try out a new boyfriend...

Cheeky Summary: This book was a slow start for me. In fact, I almost didn't stay with this story. There were too many WTF moments in which I felt the author was trying to hard to be cool and instead came off totally ridiculous. But I kept with the book mainly because of the side characters who kept my interest much more than the hero and heroine did. The world-building was much more interesting than the love story itself was and I think it’s because I had a hard time getting past those cheesy lines at the beginning of the book.

What I did really enjoy about the book was the very interesting world that Ms. Ayers built. I especially loved the character of Kalli. I will actually pick up any sequels that include Kalli’s story. She was the most interesting character of the book and I found myself wanting to skip the scenes that didn’t include her.

I will say that the book got much better as it went along and got over trying to be cool and settled into a voice that felt much more authentic. Part of me wants the author to rewrite the first few chapters to match the rest!

Again, there were great supporting characters in this book and I really liked the world that unfolded and all the different types of characters and what it might mean for a series of books. I’ll be keeping an eye on new books because really, the only thing off for me was those chapters that felt like they tried to hard to be cute. The rest of the story did enough for me that I’ll give this series another chance.

I’m also interested in what other readers think of this book! So, I’m offering up the ARC I received from Sourcebooks to a commenter for a 2nd Chance Review. To enter, you must be willing to read the book, and do a short write up for me with your own thoughts. I’ll post the review here on Cheeky Reads.

If that interests you, leave a comment telling me what you love most about paranormal romances or what type of paranormal characters are your favorite! Make sure to leave an email address so I can contact you if you are the winner. I’ll post the randomly selected winner on Wed. the 22nd!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

AudioBook Review: Trust Me On This by Jennifer Cruise

Audio Lovin: AudioBook Review of Trust Me On This
By Jennifer Cruise
Narration by Angela Dawe
Brilliance Audio – Unabridged – 5 hours
Story – 3 Heart Review
Narration – 4 Heart Review

Dennie Banks is an investigative reporter chasing down the biggest story of her career. Alec Prentice is a government agent working undercover to catch an elusive grifter. When they meet by accident, it's a case of mistaken identities at first sight. What they don't mistake is the instant attraction they have for each other, an attraction they'll do everything in their power to resist – because Dennie thinks that Alec is running interference for her interview subject, and Alec suspects that Dennie is linked to his swindler. As the confusion grows, so do their feelings for each other, and what begins as a romantic comedy of errors may just end in the love affair of a lifetime.

Jennifer Cruise says at the beginning of this story that this is the only screwball comedy she's ever written and I think she should write more! It still has her signature voice and wit all over it, but it is slightly different than her other books. That's one of the reasons I gave this a 3 Heart Review for the story. The story works so well – really it does, but because of it being a comedy of errors, one of the “rules” of romances is not to let the conflict be something that if the couple just sat down to talk it would all be worked out. There is definitely an aspect of that to this story as it's a case of mistaken identity. I wanted Dennie and Alec to have that talk to discover this long before they did – but again this is part of writing this type of story and I'm just not used to it.

The narrator Angela Dawe has done other stories I've listened to and yet her voice really does change based on the tone of the story. From book to book she constantly seems to take on the characters and transform her voice.

She is great at hitting just the right inflection to make you feel the story is flowing in the same way it would be in your head if you were reading. She also does the male voices in a way that doesn't annoy or take time getting used to. Each of her characters is distinctive and she even changes the cadance of her speech to match the personality of the character. She's very good and I usually enjoy her performances. She brings the books and characters to life in a a way that doesn't make you feel like you could have imagined it any better.

I really enjoyed this audio book and hope that one day Jennifer will attempt to write another screwball comedy. If you don’t mind the whole “just have a conversation with each other” aspect to the story, then I think you’ll love this one.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Holy Grail of AudioBooks For Me: Audio Book Review of Maybe This Time by Jennifer Cruise

Audio Lovin: AudioBook Review of Maybe This Time
By Jennifer Cruise
Narrated by Angela Dawe
Brilliance Audio – Unabridged – 11 hours, 5 Minutes
Story – 5 Heart Review
Narration – 5 Heart Review


Andie Miller is ready to move on with her life. She wants to marry her finance and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her. A distant cousin has died and left North the guardian of two orphans who have driven away three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs someone to take care of the situation, and he knows Andie can handle anything...


When Andie meets the two children, she realizes the situation is much worse than she feared. Carter and Alice aren't your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. Complicating matters is Andie's fiance's suspicion that this is all a plan by North to get Andie back. He may be right because Andie's dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that's not the only haunting...


Then her ex-brother-in-law arrives with a duplicitous journalist and a self-doubting parapsychologist, closely followed by an annoyed medium, Andie's tarot card-reading mother, her avenging ex-mother-in-law, and her jealous fiance. Just when Andie's sure things couldn't get more complicated, North arrives to make her wonder if maybe this time things could just turn out differently...


I loved everything about this story and audio book! The story is so unique and kick-ass. As I mentioned in a teaser post I wrote while I was still listening to this, this might be the best audio book I've ever listened to and it was a combination of a great story and a perfect narrator.


This is a reunited lovers story with so much more. The romance between Andie and North drives this story but around it are amazing sub-plots of these two children and also the possible ghosts. It's all so perfectly intertwined, wrapped and warped together that it's nothing less than engaging and addictive.


I literally sat in my car in my garage not wanting to get out and go inside. After a long day of work when all you want to do is get home and see the hubby and fur-kids, it says so much when an audio book can make me want to linger even longer!


Narrator Angela Dawe once again transforms herself into some amazing voices. She really got each and every character so dead on. And her voice for Andie transforms with her character growth and emotions throughout the story. Really excellent. She sets the tone of this story in a way that I'm not sure I would have given it if I were reading and I have to say that would be regretful. This might be one of the first books that I think is fully complete as an audio book.


It's almost like Cruise wrote this to be performed by Angela Dawe rather than as a print book. It's such a cast of characters that it screams out to be performed.


Looking for your first audiobook? This is it. It's also a great recommendation for someone new to Cruise or to audio. You'll love this!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sound Effects in AudioBooks: Yay or Nay?

This week Jen at Devourer of Books is hosting daily discussion topics and giving away some great audio prizes as the host of AudioBook Week. Head over to her blog for changes to win all this week!
Sound Effects in AudioBooks: Yay or Nay?


This seems to be a topic that audiobook lovers are divided on and love to debate on. Personally, I'm still on the fence but think I'm leaning heavily to the Nay side.

In romance audiobooks, I don't encounter sound effects that often. Holy Crikey can you image what some of those sound effects would/could be? It seems like they might stay away from any and all sound effects for that reason alone!

However, I do find I run across sound effects in Paranormals and Urban Fantasy books more often. The best of them are when they use sound to build to the suspenseful part (think when the serial killer is going to pop out from around the corner in a movie type music) or to end a chapter on a note that propels you to keep listening.

The worst of them seem to be those that just randomly "shoot" out sounds to try to shock. I use shoot out because many times these sound effects are of bullets, explosions, body blows, etc. It's like Summer Action Films on audio - except not. Most of them fall very flat on the quality of the effect. Instead seeming like some child is playing on a keyboard with sounds built in. Half the time the bullets make me think there's a mosquito in my car! :)

What about you - are you a yay or nay for sound effects? What audiobooks have done it well, or maybe which ones did you absolutely hate what it did to the story?

If you haven't listening to an audiobook before, do you think you would want sound effects, or would you rather have just the narrator bringing you the author's words?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Review: As Good As His Word By Susan Gable

Book Review: As Good As His Word

By Susan Gable
Harlequin Super Romance – May 2011
4 Heart Review

He's seen what loving Ronni gets you.

Ronni might be back in his life, but Hayden's going to watch her life a hawk! He thought he'd seen the last of her when she broke his brother's heart years ago. Ronni's betrayal hurt that much more because she was the only woman Hayden could've seen himself settling down with...except his brother wooed her first.

So now she's in trouble and needs his help? Well, that's payback for you. But then, there's the promise Hayden made to his dying brother – to take care of the struggling mother and her kid. Guess a guy's got to do what a guy's got to do. Even if a guy likes doing it a little too much for his own good.

Cheeky Summary: This book blew me away with how real and emotional it was. Susan Gable has won a new fan with this book – It was my first of hers and will not be my last. This book knocked my socks off and I totally wasn't expecting it!

This was not only my first Susan Gable book, but my first time trying out the Harlequin Super Romance line and I was extremely surprised by how much I loved it. Knowing that the line does include many books with children as part of the story, I've shied away as babies and kids as plot points usually aren't my thing.

What I discovered in this book was that I shouldn't have worried about it. I enjoyed the part the part that Hayden's family plays in this story very much as well as Ronni's son Nick. Instead of taking away from the story, as I usually feel about babies and children, they added so much depth and emotion that I feel totally in love.

I'm also not usually a fan of heroines that stay in bad situations and don't take control of making their life better, but Ronni was so well-written and the story so perfectly layered and plotted that I cringed every time she did. I worried and smiled when she did. I lived this story with the heroineand all becuase of some terriffic writing by Susan Gable. Seriously, if the writing hadn't been so good I might have hated this heroine. In a different author's hands this might have been a wall-banger!

Hayden's just one of those heroes you instantly fall for and so perfect for Ronni. As he stands by her side and fights for her you can't image anyone else being so right. He's just so right in general. Sigh.

There's a small scene at the very end of the book that in some ways was exactly what I wanted, and in other ways I kind of wanted more from. It didn't affect the book for me, but it was the only thing I could say with certainty that I thought twice about.

If you've never read a Harlequin Super Romance, this is definatley a great one to start with. You will not be disappointed as this is a highly detailed and unique story that drew deep emotions from me.

Are you a Super Romance fan? Do you like family-based stories or plots that include kids and families? What do you like or don't like about them? Any favorites? I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Reads

Monday Morning Cuteness!

cute puppy pictures-Breakdancin.. Das right,   Reggie haz teh moves
see more dog and puppy pictures

Friday, June 3, 2011

Audio Lovin: Audio Book Review of Falling For Gracie by Susan Mallery

Audio Lovin: Audio Book Review of Falling for Gracie
Written by Susan Mallery
Narrated by Savannah Richards
Brilliance Audio – Unabridged – 10 hours, 6 Minutes
Story – 4 Heart Review
Audio Narration – 4 Heart Review

First comes love, then comes marriage...

At least, that was Gracie's plan at the ripe old age of fourteen. She loved eighteen-year-old heartthrob Riley with a desperation that made her a town legend. Even now that she's all grown up, the locals in sleepy Los Lobos won't let her forget her youthful crush.

And how can she, when she's face to face with Riley at every turn? The onetime bad boy has come back to town seeking respectability – but the sparks that fly between them are anything but respectable! Gracie's determined to keep her distance, but when someone sets out to ruin both their reputations, the two discover that first love is sometimes better the second time around.

This story is so cute that it almost gave me a cavity! And I mean that in the best possible way. Susan Mallery really is a small-town romance goddess. She creates amazingly funny, sweet and sexy stories based in quirky, but lovable small towns. Falling for Gracie was a great example of everything there is to love about Susan Mallery romances.

The heroine Gracie is so much fun to delve into. Having an insider's view into her thoughts and life made me literally smile, get upset, be sad and laugh with happiness. There's more emotion packed into this story than just a fun, happy read. Particularly, Gracie's family issues are more than just surface level problems that might be easily handled. Instead, Mallery does an excellent job of building the layers of family dynamic and childhood issues to add to this cute romance.

There was a point or two where I wanted to yell at Gracie for being so trusting or for not standing up to her family, but these were only small story blips and really did fit the character. In fact, even though they frustrated me they added to the story and again stayed true to the character.

The narrator Savannah Richards really does an awesome job giving this story exactly the pep, angst and laughs this book deserved. She's animated, sometimes over the top so, but that's exactly what this sometimes zany romance needed!

She embodies Gracie so perfectly and really brings her and the story to life. Likewise, she does a fun job of creating voices for a cast of silly small town characters as well.

This is a great audio book for anyone wanting to give one a try for the first time or for fans of Susan Mallery who want to listen to what one of her books sounds like. It's also a great recommendation of a book or audio book for someone who reads women's fiction or chick-lit and would like to give romance a go. :)

Read An Excerpt Here

Listen to An Audio Clip Here

Have you read or listened to a Susan Mallery book? Did you love it? Anyone heard Savannah Richards narrate other books? If so, what did you hink? Come share with us!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kicking Off AudioBook Awareness Month!

To kick off AudioBook Awareness Month, I thought I would do a re-play of one of my favorite posts I did on why I love audiobooks so much and a few of the ways you can use them to get in extra "reading" time.

Originally Posted 3/31/09
Cheeky Girl Loves Audio Books!

I admit I devour books like candy, but never thought I would enjoy having someone else – anyone other than the voices in my head that is – bring the characters to life for me. With an hour or so car commute each way to work, I decided to give audio books a try and I discovered a prefect way to pass the time and get some "quality" time in with my feisty girlfriends and those hot leading men!

I was very lucky that the very first audio book I tried was excellent – The Good, The Bad, and The Undead by Kim Harrison- which introduced me to the amazing Hollows world and I highly recommend the series both in audio and printed versions! I've since learned that audio books can be hit or miss – the success or failure hinging on the person reading and how well they handle the various characters.

You can usually tell within the first few tracks if the voice will connect with you or if you feel it paints the perfect world for you. My experience has been that most of the audio books are very well done. There have been only a few that were so bad I had to stop listening before I got through the first disc. I remember one distinct book that I really struggled to keep listening, since the first few tracks were just annoying! For some reason I hung in there and was rewarded with a light-hearted romp through France and a new series to follow!

Some great perks with Audio Books:

  • Car Commuting - Put your time behind the wheel to good use!
  • Great for putting on your iPod while you clean the house
  • You can download Audio Books just like eBooks - Look for upcoming posts on the various different Audio Book retailers
  • Great for travel when you don't want to carry paper books or have light to read by (I hate when they turn off all the lights on the plane and then my seatmate wants to sleep!)
  • When you want the excitement of having a book read to you like when you were 5 (only obviously now your book selections have changed) :)
  • Your local library already has a selection of Audio Books waiting to be discovered
  • Too many more to list!
If you have any suggestions for audio books you would like to see reviewed, just leave me a comment below! If you're an author with an audio book - speak up and sing its praises!

In the upcoming days and weeks of June, I'll be posting audiobook reviews, giveaways, audiobook publisher spotlights and hopefully some cool interviews. I hope you'll check back every day to see what's new on the blog! (I'll still be including regular book reviews as well.)

- Happy Reading From Cheeky Reads -
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

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