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

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