Monday, January 31, 2011

Black History Month at Sequential Crush!

Friends! February is a very special month! Not only does it contain the lovely Valentine's Day holiday, it is also Black History Month! I have acquired a number of issues since last February with stories of African-American characters, and I can't wait to share them with you. This is especially exciting for me, because I am doing some long-term research on the portrayal of racial integration and diversity in romance comics and you, fair reader, will get a preview of that research! In anticipation for what I hope will be a stimulating month at Sequential Crush, below are a few links to posts from February of last year!

The saga of Margo and Chuck
Black + White = Heartbreak!
Parts one and two

The kiss-less romance,
Marvel's "I Failed at Love!"

Out of This World also did a great series
on African-American characters in comics
including the interracial romance,
"Full Hands, Empty Heart"

Looking forward to seeing you around this month!

Review: Sorry I Peed On You by Jeremy Greenberg

Sorry I Peed on You: (and Other Heartwarming Letters to Mommy)
Jeremy Greenberg

Fiction / Humor

MSN's resident parenting blogger Jeremy Greenberg, who also travels the world performing stand-up comedy, combines cute, informative letters from 50 precocious toddlers with accompanying full-color photographs inside Sorry I Peed on You (and Other Heartwarming Letters to Mommy).

Wouldn't you love to know what your toddler's thinking when he refuses to stop jumping on the couch? Jeremy Greenberg's hilarious and thoughtful letters give parents a glimpse into the minds of their little ones. Finally, we can hear "first person" how a kid really isn't fooled by broccoli buried in cheese, how he'd really appreciate it if he could start going down the slide by himself, or how he'd like to apologize for peeing on you during the two seconds it took for you to reach for a fresh diaper.

From Daddy's latest four-letter vocab lessons to the dog's (not the toddler's) repeated milk dribbles on the carpet, this hilarious book answers a question every mother of a toddler wants to know: What in the world are they thinking?!




What a joy to be able to read a book like this. Being a Mom and a Grandmother I could totally visualize my kids and grand children going through some of these scenarios. All the stories were very cute and some had me busting out laughing as I envision the scene - absolutely comical.

Here is a small sample of one of the stories that had me laughing out loud.

From: Macy (and Buddy), Age: 4 years, Re: Me and my Buddy.
"Dear Mommy, …
"Why is Buddy taking a nap? I've only been chasing him for three hours. maybe he's hungry." So then I ask you for a snack but throw it on the floor for Buddy. But I think Buddy's still tired. Can you make him a cup of coffee? I gave him a sip of yours while you were in the bathroom, but he just stuck his tongue in it once, sneezed, and went back to sleep - but I think thats because he didn't want to drink your germs.


Giveaway and Review: "Notorious Pleasures"

As part of the "Notorious Pleasures" blog tour, I have my review and a giveaway of 3 copies of the book, sponsored by Hachette!

"Notorious Pleasures"
 by Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher: Vision
Release Date: Jan 25, 2011

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Summary from

 Their lives were perfect . . .
Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn't bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother . . .

Until they met each other.
Griffin Remmington, Lord Reading, is far from perfect - and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire - desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero's wedding nears, and Griffin's enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?

My Review: 

Wow!! This love story was intense! In a very good way. I don't think there's a person anywhere who doesn't want to be loved the way Griffin loves Hero. 

As always, Hoyt's characters fly off the page. I found myself sympathizing with Griffin a bit more than Hero, just because he's so fiery and emotional. He loved her passionately, and she was still trying to sort out her feelings. Hero was much more closed off because she'd been raised to do everything a Duke's daughter must do. But still, every time she rejected Griffin, my heart broke along with his.
I loved all the drama and secrecy that surrounded Griffin and Hero's love because she was engaged to Griffin's brother, Thomas. Don't worry, it's delivered perfectly, Hero and Thomas are nowhere near a love match. Nonetheless, the family drama and brotherly rivalry amped up all of the already heated emotions.

As the second book in The Maiden Lane Series, parts of the story took place in St. Giles, the shady part of London. While still showing the seedy happenings in St. Giles, this book isn't as dark as the first book in the series, partially because the leads aren't as scarred. I really liked the first book, but I loved this one even more.

Hoyt has written a large cast of multi-faceted characters. We get to see just enough of the supporting players without them overshadowing the stars-Griffin and Hero. We also get a few more clues as to the identity of the Ghost of St. Giles. I am looking forward to Silence and Mickey's story, next! 

Main Characters: 5/5 can you tell how much I love them?
Supporting Characters: 5/5

Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5

Bottom Line: I can't recommend this book enough to readers of historical romance. Fans of Elizabeth Hoyt will not be disappointed and if you haven't read any of her books yet, this is a perfect way to start.

Hachette books has generously provided three copies of this historical romance for readers of my blog!

All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this review with your email address!

Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy.
Extra Entries:

  • +1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
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  • US and Canada only
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Extra entries are optional and can all be left in the same comment
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Books will be mailed out by Hachette
  • Ends Friday Feb 11
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

Monthly giveaway Open to US and International (February 2011)


US giveaway

International giveaway- This eBook will be from

Fill out the from below to enter. I also made a goof on the form. The last part should state giveaway button on your blogs sidebar, instead of saying Blogs button on blogs sidebar UGH! Its my second form, I will get better well, I hope LOL   

You can find my goodreads and twitter here

Mustache Mania!

Mustaches have been in vogue at various times throughout human history, but never were they quite as impressive as they were in the 1970s. The '70s was the era of the mustache -- everyone wore them... televisions stars, movie stars, and yes, even my father.

I wouldn't ride around in
metal basketry until years later
My oldest sister, Shannon -- all too
to be a child of the '70s!

But my dad and those celebrities were not the only ones sporting a mustache in the '70s, believe you me. Romance comic book characters did as well! Not only were mustaches fashionable, but in the romance comics, the mustache helped to convey a variety of male archetypes and embody varying degrees of characterization... as you will soon see!

Charlton was ahead of the mustache game
with this flirtatious "adult education" teacher character.
"A Kiss for Teacher"
Career Girl Romances #47
(October 1968)

Some mustached men
left heartache in their wake!
"When Love Dies"
Secret Hearts #142
(March 1970)

Mustaches were no guarantee
to a woman's affections, however.
"One More Chance!"
Heart Throbs #146
(October 1972)

Mustaches came in all colors and were
worn by men of all occupations, including
this hardworking construction worker...
"Happiness Now"
Just Married #110
(April 1976)

...and this Vietnam deserter.
"One Heart Must Break!"
Our Love Story #15
(February 1972)

The young, handsome rebels of the romance comics
were prone to keeping their upper lip hairs festive...
"One Husband, Two Loves!"
Girls' Love Stories #157
(February 1971) were the single fathers of the romance comics.
"Cupid is a Monster"
Romantic Story #116
(December 1971)

Not all female romance comic book
characters were fans of the 'stache.
"The Boy Who Can't Be Mine!"
My Love #29
(July 1974)

The mustached men of the romance comics
were suave. Sometimes too suave for their own good.
"Lisa -- Make Up Your Mind!"
Young Love #101
(November 1972)

Though this leading lady may
have loved two men, it wouldn't be for long.
For some ladies, mustaches = a nightmare!
"I Loved Two Men"
Girls' Love Stories #165
(January 1972)

"Bad News!"
Falling in Love #143
(October/November 1973)

But in the end, sometimes it is
the guy with the mustache that
wins over the girl's heart!!!
"First Date!"
Falling in Love #142
(August/September 1973)

Guest Author Marting Sharlow

About Martin Sharlow

Martin Sharlow was always a storyteller. In his youth he used to play roleplaying games and usually he was the game master. That allowed him to create and modify stories and then tell them to his captive audience in the form of a game. Because of this and the many fantasy books he read, Martin went the next step and started writing fantasy novels.

Recently, however, Martin changed genres to vampire romance as he got bitten by the vampire bug. This happened after picking up one of the latest novels and finding himself hooked on it. Today Martin has written two vampire romance novels, and is in the process of writing many more.

Martin currently lives in Vancouver, WA with two of his three children, who help to keep him grounded in reality.

You can visit Martin Sharlow at

What led you in the direction of vampires? What other genres would you like to explore?

Most of my adult life all I read was fantasy. A few times I tried science fiction, and usually it didn't keep my attention. In only a few cases did I find much interest. I read a couple of Stephen King books. But overall it was just fantasy. Well, as one could guess that could actually get boring over time. As a writer, I started hearing more and more about Twilight, and other movies and books. Like usual I tried to avoid it. That is, until some authors I met and liked put out a couple of books. People were raving about them, so I figured I'd at the very least check them out and see what all the hoopla was about.

Big mistake. Next thing I knew, I had read all three books the author had put out in the series. Guess what? It wasn't enough. I started watching vampire shows like True Blood, and I started reading other novels as well. Being an author, it didn't take me long to realize that I wanted to write this. I love to create and explore, so I wrote two different series in response. Shades of Twilight being one of them. I actually have a third that is only partially done as well.
Well, like I said, I started out in fantasy, and I want to go back to that and continue exploring there as well. Vampires are currently where I'm at and maybe in time some fantasy again. I'm also looking into vampire erotica, but that seems a bit hard for me at the moment. Maybe in the future. I'd like to think as an author that I'm flexible and can move around to different genres. In the end, I have to take my fans' desires into what I write. At the moment that's vampire so I'm here for the duration, which is good, as I'm enjoying the genre.

Martin Sharlow, Shades of Twilight Synopsis

Melissa has waited her whole life to move out and start her own. This is her first summer after graduating and now she has her own place and a job. Everything she wanted is starting to happen.

Until the accident.

When the most gorgeous guy she has ever seen saves her life, he also forever changes it. What do you do when you find out that life as you have always known it isn’t real, and the man you love is a vampire, out to save you from something worse?

Shades of Twilight by Martin Sharlow, Excerpt
The lights came back on in the theater, and still half the people hadn't left yet. The first portion got up and left the moment the credits came up, but the rest sat in their seats and talked about everything they'd just watched. A few of the last people leaving let their eyes linger on Michael as they walked out, but most didn't even seem to notice him any longer. I guess they were more wrapped up in their new world of vampires and werewolves. I couldn't blame them, really. Bella's world looked all romantic and fun. Somehow even with a horde of vampires trying to kill her, the movie seemed to make it a cool thing. I realized that, had I been Bella and that was my life, it wouldn't seem so cool anymore. At the moment, though, it did. Her romanticized life seemed preferable to mine, and yet a part of me knew I wouldn't leave mine right now even if it were possible.

I looked over at Michael to see him sitting there staring at me. I wondered what he was thinking, if he thought I was his Bella, or was he just amused that I had the need to escape into fantasy. I noticed a kernel of popcorn stuck on his shoulder, then one in his hair, and couldn't help wonder how they got there.

"Are we done yet?" He asked with a bit of hope in his eyes. "Or are we going to go get another ticket and watch it again?
He looked so adorable right now, just sitting there with popcorn in his hair. I wasn't sure what it was or why he so appealed to me right then, but without thinking I found myself pressing my lips against his silky soft ones. His lips warmed to the touch of mine, as we kissed.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"Love on Assignment" Review

"Love on Assignment"
 by Cara Lynn James

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: Jan 11, 2011

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from

While Charlotte is focusing on uncovering sordid information on columnist Daniel Wilmot, her heart leads her into uncharted territory.
During the summer of 1900 Charlotte Hale, a native Newporter and secretary for the Rhode Island Reporter, accepts an undercover assignment as temporary governess to Daniel Wilmont's children in order to secretly gather evidence against him. As he helps her rediscover God, Charlotte learns that Daniel is an honorable man.
They unexpectedly fall in love despite their different backgrounds and social positions. Charlotte soon realizes she must defend Daniel against the forces set against him-a willful student with a romantic crush and the newspaper editor determined to destroy his reputation.

My Review: 

I needed a really nice, sweet book, nothing to heavy, nothing too sad, and  "Love on Assignment" really delivered. It was a really relaxing read!

I really liked Daniel, and I wanted to know even more about him. Even thought the book was written from both Charlotte and Daniel's points of view, it was definitely skewed more towards Charlotte's inner thoughts and feelings. I find this happens quite a bit in Christian historical romance. But I think Daniel had a lot more to say than what we knew. For instance, how did he really feel about his late wife? What were some of the many trinkets he hoarded in his attic along with his feelings of guilt and anger towards his failed marriage? These are just a few of the questions that I thought were really interesting about Daniel, but I didn't feel like they were resolved.

I love reading about the Gilded Age, and it was great to see both a middle class and an upper class point of view. In books, we often see the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. Here it was really nice to see more of the middle. Charlotte had to work hard to support her aunt and sister, but they had a comfortable home. Daniel was very well off, with servants and a mansion, but we also saw him working, and he wasn't a socialite like the characters we usually see in this era. The class differences between Daniel and Charlotte were shown but they didn't see it as an obstacle, they had bigger challenges to overcome.

Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5
Setting: 4/5
Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5

Bottom Line:
I recommend this book if you've been doing too much heavy reading and need a relaxing break!! This book is much like falling onto a huge fluffy cushion to read and relax.

Winners Announced!! "Sins of a Highland Devil"

Winners Announced!!
The winners of the "Duchess of Sin" giveaway are:

Winners were chosen via random number generator. Congrats to the winners!! I have emailed the winners for their mailing addresses. Winners have 3 days to respond :) A huge thank you goes out to Hachette sponsoring the contest and to everyone who entered!! Congrats!!

South Africa Discovers the Joy of Romantic Novels

South Africa's love tales are written for a female audience who are young, urban, black and can but maybe don't read

Mills & Boon romantic novels have become a worldwide hit since they first arrived on book shelves in 1908, with global sales currently clocking in at over 200 million every year.

Nollybooks, South Africa's answer to the popular love story collection, may be some way off scoring a similar feat but its rising popularity in the country is hoping to pave the way for the rest of Africa.

Created by and written for a female audience who are young, urban, black and can but maybe don't read, the romantic tales contain subtle differences from their western counterparts.
Firstly the hero's eyes are brown rather than blue and instead of hailing from the British upper class, he might head the Africa division at MTV.

Secondly Moky Makura, a Nigerian-born author and publisher who set up Nollybooks in 2009 after picking up on Mills & Boon's huge global figures, also points out that sex is portrayed very differently from its steamy counterpart.

This is primarily down to the fact Aids kills nearly 1,000 people a day in South Africa.

"I don't believe that you need sex to have story-telling," Makura argues.

"I am trying to show young girls that you can have a heroine who is educated and doing well, but who doesn't sleep around or have to have sex, and still ends up with a good guy."


Nollybooks is inspired by Nigeria's thriving movie industry, Nollywood.

I have to write about safe sex, my heroes and heroines always reach for a condom, always”Mokopi Shale Romantic novelist

"Nollywood proved that Africans want to see themselves reflected in what they consume, and that is exactly what Nollybooks represents," says Makura.

She feels that it is important to challenge the perception held in Africa that books are purely for education.

"We don't see books as entertainment yet," Makura explains. "I see Nollybooks as almost having a soap opera in your hand."

For Makura, initial sales prove that the concept works, but there are challenges.
"I still feel the cost of the books is high at around $10 (£6.50) each," she says. "We need to get more books out there so that I can bring the price down."

Although this is half the average price of a book in South Africa, Makura is aiming to make romantic fiction even cheaper.

"I think it should be like a daily newspaper, you buy one, read it, chuck it out and buy a new one," she adds.

She is not the only one who has discovered this market.

South African publisher Kwela Books has created Sapphire Press in response to a need for "black romance" in the country.

"Mills & Boon sell more than 20,000 units per month here," explains Lindsay van Rensburg, a junior editor at Sapphire.

"We thought it would be quite appealing for those readers to have access to books set in South Africa."


Unlike Nollybooks, the characters do have sex in Kwela Books.

But there is a strong emphasis on safe sex points out Mokopi Shale, who has written two novels for Sapphire Press - Love's Courage and A Prince For Me.

Nollybooks Nollybooks tend to avoid focusing on sex in their romantic stories

"I am conscious of what it is to be born in a time where love is the most dangerous thing around," she said.

"Of course, I have to write about safe sex, my heroes and heroines always reach for a condom, always."

Kwela's romantic writers currently earn just over $1,500 (£970) per manuscript and Makura says that her writers get a similar fee.

Shale says that it is difficult for writers to make a living primarily because South Africa is not a reading nation.

However, Makura believes that once she cracks distribution, this may all change.
Her plan is to expand into West and East Africa.

Ultimately, romantic fiction offers women an escape to a world where true love is "respectful, gentle, understanding and passionate", says Shale.

Empi Baryeh, a Ghanaian writer and creator of online community Fiction Writers of West Africa, agrees.

"We have the opportunity to give young girls the wisdom and confidence they need to recognise and pursue the right kind of relationships, and to cultivate in them the courage to fight for those relationships that are worth fighting for. "

Article source:  BBC - Frederica Boswell

Review of Copping To It

Title: Copping to It (Red Hot Cops Series -1 )
Author: Ava Meyers
Source: Requested Review by Author
Genre: Erotic – Voyeurism, Menage
Format: ebook - 60 pages
Release Date: 12/6/2010
Author's Website

Respected journalist Claire Fullerton fantasizes about being a bad girl, but she also fears that revealing her dark fantasies will open her up to being hurt.

When undercover cop Ty Williamson enters her life, the intense passion she feels for him scares her. Even though Claire is tempted to reveal the vixen inside her, she decides to play it safe and walk away, when walking away is the last thing she wants to do. Months later, Claire is captured by a notorious gang of bikers, the Demon Guardians, the same gang Ty has infiltrated.

Ty and his partner, Luke, have managed to earn the trust of the gang they are trying to shut down. When a senior gang member orders Ty to prove his loyalty by having sex with Claire, all he can think about is getting her to safety - until he sees the desire burning in her eyes.

Reunited with the woman he's been unable to forget, Ty becomes determined to bind Claire to him. He'll prove he wants all of her, the good with the bad. In fact, the badder she is, the better they'll be - together.

My Review



He is undercover when she shows up looking for him. They are forced to to do things in front of a crowd which isn’t too hard for her since she has a serious kinky side to her. These two were obviously hot for each other, and it was fun watching them hook up. This was extremely steamy erotica with just enough dialogue & plot to make it a real story. If I didn’t know who wrote this story, I would have sworn it was an author who had already written a significant number of books. The words just flowed over the pages. I love shorts, but after finishing this one, I wanted it to be longer!

Darkest Intentions (Darkest #3) by S.K. Yule

Title:Darkest Intentions (Darkest #3)
Author: S.K. Yule
Source:Requested review
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance- Vampire
Authors website

Geri Baxter is homeless, penniless, and scared thanks to her soon-to-be ex husband’s betrayal. Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, she’s mugged in the park.

Malachi Mannering has lived for a thousand years. Most of those years have been possessed by the demons of his past caused by the abuse of one man.

When Malachi saves Geri after she’s injured by a shadowdrifter, he knows he is her only chance for survival.

Soon after, Geri and Malachi embark upon a journey that tosses them into a turbulent sea of betrayal, mystery and . . . love?

My Review

Cover- Love it!

Very emotional and intriguing story, that was very hard for me to put down. The hero and heroine in this book are what you call tortured, so this book will be hard to read for some while others will relish in its emotional rollercoaster. I’m not usually one for this kind of read because it really pains me to read all the heartache, but I loved how it flowed and how the author keeps them both working on their problems.

Few spoilers sorry, it’s the only way I can write this.
Malachi is a vampire that has lived thousands of years, but he had never felt a woman’s touch. When he was a teen he found himself in the hands of male sadists. So there is mention of m/m rape. I am one that has a hard time about m/m rape, but the author does a good job without going over board to make anyone uncomfortable. With this problem Malachi doesn’t think he can needs a woman until one night he here’s a cry in the park..

Geri is not in much better shape, she two is a victim of a man and now she is homeless. She is saved in a park one night by a huge and handsome man. As they embark on an adventure she finds herself falling for him, but can she change him and earn his trust to get him pour out his soul.

If you like tortured heroes and emotional rollercoaster then give this one a try. This is book 3 in a series, but this can read be as standalone. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

In My Mailbox (52)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

for review: 

"The Iron Queen" by Julie Kagawa
 Can you believe this will be my first time reading the Iron Fey books??

"The Orchid Affair" by Lauren Willig

Oooh, the newest from Lauren Willig! I will be having a giveaway for this one too, when I post my review!

"Mad Love" by Suzanne Selfors

 I'm already starting to hear great reviews for this book! My stop on the blog tour is on Feb 23rd.

"Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance" by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

 Another one that looks so cute!

What did you receive in your mailbox this week???

What Are You Doing for Others?

While watching Oprah, this show had me paying attention. Do you every think about our military family's and what you can do for them? We get so "comfortable" in our lives and don't think about those who sacrifice for our country. So what can we do?

Other news......................................

Suspense Author Mary Burton's "Love at First Bite" Brownies

Suspense Author Mary Burton's "Love at First Bite" Brownies

Brownie Batter
 ½ cup (1 stick) of butter
1 cup of cocoa
1 teaspoon of brandy
2 cups of sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 egg yolk

 1/3 cup of peanut butter
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon brandy

 8 oz of melting chocolate

Melt butter and pour over cocoa in a mixing bowl.  Add in brandy, sugar and salt.  Mix in eggs and yolk.   Set batter aside and mix together peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar.  Form into balls.  Evenly spread half the batter in a baking pan.  Arrange peanut butter balls on batter.   Cover with remaining batter.  Bake for 35 minutes.  When the brownies have cooled pour melted chocolate over them and let set.  Slice and enjoy!

For a chance to win Mary's latest relase, check out her interview posted here at Romance Author Buzz, read the contest rules, leave your email address.  Contest ends January 31st.  Winner will be posted Feburary 1.