Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Month, New Material: April 2011

*singing* "GOOD MORNING
*hush, Nicky Blonsky! I've got to give the people an update!*
As you can tell by Nicky's over-zealousness, the month of April will be a VERY jubilous one for the blog! As most of you should know- seeing as I harped on and on about it- April 14th will mark my blog's 1 year anniversary! Who would have thunk? I am very excited to celebrate this special event with you all! I am a very sentimental type of girl, so expect a blast from the past of memorable times this crazy year has provided the blog with.
Not Another Romance Blog really is like my baby- and should I ever be blessed in to have a (real) child of my own, I think I would celebrate its 1st birthday in a similar fashion to the blog's birthday. A small, intimate little event, all about what this past year has meant, thanking the people who supported steadfastly- Sorry, no big blow outs this year (that's for 2012!). Obviously I'll do a nice giveaway, post some of my maudlin memories...Nothing too major. I really just want to take the time out this month and on the 14th in particular to thank all of you who have supported the blog, commented, liked on facebook, followed (at your own risk) on twitter...You guys make me smile everyday!
Also, as most of you may know, I am finishing up my first semester of college- which means finals are right around the corner. You'll have to forgive and bare with me a bit longer as I take care of my studies and clear my summer schedule so we rock out with our...BOOK THONGS OUT once the sunshine hits. I PROMISE you're in for some fun events!
I am also very excited to announce that the fabulous Barbara from Happily Forever After held a blog design giveaway on her blog last month and the gods smiled down on me because I was the winner! A brand spankin' new blog design will be 'launched' on the 14th (I've seen the finish product and it's heavenly!) and the next chapter in N.A.R.B's adventures in blogland will start off on the right foot!
But I'll try not to get TOO carried away this month with blogoversary stuff that I slack (more than usual) on the main focus of this blog. I've got some stellar reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways planned to keep you guys entertained the other 29 days of this month ;)
And since the blog is getting a makeover, I'll be sprucing up the pages and side bars a bit to make everything more easily accessible and attractive-so please excuse any experimenting/construction you may stumble upon. 
I also have a whole bunch of forms for you guys to fill out! lol. Not a 1040, I promise!- but I do want to get you guys even more involved with what content gets posted, so I'll be creating a 'Suggestion Box' form along with some others so I can get your feedback and make Year 2 on N.A.R.B even better than this first one has been!

The month may change, the BLOGOVERSARY countdown clock may change, but the mission stays the same: To make your followership of Not Another Romance Blog worthwhile!

Here's some of what to expect this month:
*Starts with an R and rhymes with Zeviews...okay, REVIEWS!
*Amazing authors like Anna Campbell and Kristan Higgins (among more) will stop by for book chat and giveaways
*If you haven't caught the hints by now: The Blogoversary celebrations 
*The Blog's extreme makeover 
*More chances to leave your feedback and get involved in what gets posted/discussed!

And so much more!
Until Next Post<3...

Destiny Divided by Leia Shaw

Title: Destiny Divided
Series: Shadows of Destiny Book One
Author: Leia Shaw
Authors Website:
Source: Requested Review
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: PDF
Length: Novel

"Pure power flooded her body flowing freely through her veins. She had just found an emotion stronger than anger and fear combined. Lust. And there was no containing her now".

After fleeing her native city - and nightmares of a traumatic childhood - Sage Peterson meets the overbearing, pretentious, yet haunted Professor Elias. He's the only one who knows about her mysterious powers, which seem to be spiraling out of control. When he convinces her to train with him, she finds herself thrust into a five hundred year war and on the run from vampires, werewolves, and even worse - her budding feelings for James Elias.

James had been living a dull and empty existence for the past century and a half. When a fiery half-sorceress, half-witch with a stubborn streak and sharp wit enters his life, he sees her only as a potential weapon to use against his greatest enemy. But when he discovers the vulnerable woman beneath the angry mask, instinct screams to keep her safe. To protect and provide. And to claim her as his.

But will it be too late? As passion and lust ignite between them, vengeance is slipping away. And when Sage is confronted with fulfilling an unexpected destiny, will she choose to trust James with her heart?



Dee's Thoughts:

Honestly, I had to put this one down. I just wasn’t immediately drawn into the characters. When I came back I could kick myself for ever stopping. I am such a schmuck!

Sage is an extremely strong character. I enjoyed the personal, internal journey the author lead us on. The author does an exceptional job in expressing the emotions Sage has and is going through making a connection form easily with the character. She is also completely kick-ass and you have to love that.

James is an arrogant, know-it-all, but sexy as hell professor. His initial intentions for Sage were not so honorable, but James soon realizes love is more important than vengeance. When this happens the alpha male comes out, and the “MINE” phrases begin. You know I love that!!! Yes I do!!!

There is quite a few surprises in this novel, and that I enjoyed. The sarcastic humor was exceptional. Shaw pulled a snort or two from me, I will admit. However, what lacked for me was the sexual relationship of the characters. The first encounters (plural) were referred to but not addressed. This left a big void for me in the novel. I sat back and thought “What the heck! When did that happen?” and flipped back pages to see if I missed something. Then I read the page numbers to see if I was missing pages. Next I realized the information I was looking for just wasn’t there! There is a scene eventually where the leads have a private meeting, but at that point I was a wee bit frustrated.

Would I read the next addition? YES, for the great sarcastic humor, and the potential of a great series.

Book Blog Follow and Book Blogger Hop April 1

Happy Friday, Everyone!!

It's time for Book Blog Follow Friday hosted by and The Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy for Books!

My Answer: I can't think of any books I don't want to admit to loving!!

Answer: I'm not really much of  a pranker, unless it's really harmless :)

If you're visiting for the first time, I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and say hi!! :)

Fool for Books Giveaway!!

Welcome to my stop on the "Follower Love Giveaway Hop" hosted by Kathy at I am a Reader, Not a Writer!

Here at In the Hammock Blog, I'm giving away an
ARC of "Madame Tussaud" by Michelle Moran!!

I'm passing my copy of the ARC on to one of my readers!


The winner will receive an ARC of "Madame Tussaud" by Michelle Moran

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.
There are no extra entries for this one, I know you all are wanting to get to each giveaway quickly! All you have to do is be a GFC follower!


  • US only
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Books will be mailed out by me
  • Ends Sat April 2 at midnight
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the Fool for Books Giveaway Hop!

18 & Over Book Blogger Tag Along April 1st


18 and over book blogger tag along is for a specific group of book bloggers. You have to primary review adult books. Yes, I know some of you still read teen and adult, so if you do both your welcome to join in. You can read any genre paranormal, suspense, historical, contemporary or mystery and of course, erotica books. And if you blog has a few extra hot male pictures, well, that’s an added bonus! LOL. So if you have a book blog like this and would like to find others please join in the tag along.

We are small in number, but we do love books and other bloggers. So please if someone follows you and leaves a comment please follow back.

How it works
*First make a post on your blog with this picture on top. That lets us know we are in the right place to make a comment so you can follow back.

*Second place your name or blogs name in the first mister Linky and your URL to the tag along post in the second Mister Linky.

*Third visit blogs listed and leave a comment to let them know you’re a new follower and would like a tag back. Or you can just a comment if you’re an old follower if you'd like.

If you have a question or problem you can email me, you'll find it under my contact.

Now if your new don't be shy most of these ladies are here every week and they are very, very friendly (I know because I follow most of them;)

If your new, get out there and visit others like you.

This is a weekly theme so please come back next Friday and join in again if you can. I try to post this on Thursday night around 9:00 pm.

Question of the week: Where is your favorite place to read?
I have a huge chair in the bedroom use for my reading. Yep, legs up with book or kindle in hands is the best place to be. LOL

I will be announcing the 18 and over book blogger give away hop next week so be looking for it.

I hope everyone has a good Friday and weekend!

Three Different Romance Comic Book Publishers ♥ Three Different Views of the Women's Movement

On this last day of Women's History Month, I have for you three romance stories. Three! Yes, three! All from February of 1972, these stories come from Charlton, Marvel, and DC, respectively. It is no surprise that all three of these stories date to the same month -- the first sample issue of Ms. magazine was published just two months earlier, and the Equal Rights Amendment was approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate by the end of March in 1972. With all going on in society, romance comics had no choice but to keep up!

First, let's start out with the Charlton story, "Let Me Alone!" from Love and Romance #4 (February 1972). Charlton's output of stories concerning the Women's Movement has varied in tone with some stories on the more sensitive side à la "A Strange Good-Bye" and some like "I Hate You, Darling" with openly hostile characters. "Let Me Alone!" is definitely a story which makes a statement on the Women's Movement. But what sort of statement? Keep reading to find out!

Pam Burney is a successful executive computer analyst who isn't about to let any man get in the way of proving her worth to the company -- especially co-worker Glen Wasdell.

When invited to a party hosted by their boss, Pam tells Glen she will pick him up and not the other way around. While on her way to her car, Pam can't help but sneak a peek at the latest of fashions in a nearby shop window.

Pam passes that evening on new duds and admits that in public, she works hard to maintain her "image as a career woman." We as readers, however, are privy to Pam's dreams in which she and Glen carry on a romance. In real life, Pam ditches the provocative clothing of her dreams and wears instead to the party a sensible white blouse and knee-length skirt. During the evenings festivities, their boss compliments Pam and Glen both, saying that they are his two best young analysts. Instead of taking the compliment, Pam says to her boss, "If you expect me to swoon over being called 'as good as' Glen Wasdell, you'll be disappointed." Their boss takes Pam aside to let her know that it is not her sex, but her poor attitude towards her coworkers that will prevent her from reaching the top.

In a strange turn that seems typically Charlton, Pam removes her "Femme Lib outfit" to reveal a sexy romper underneath. Apparently, Pam takes the recommendation from her boss to be nicer as a cue to lose her convictions and appeal to the desires of her male co-worker. The end of the story has Pam declaring that her "preoccupation with Women's Lib" has ended and that she has surrendered.


Next up is the bittersweet Marvel story, "One Fleeting Moment..!" from Our Love Story #15 (February 1972).

Linda and Dave meet at a party, are instantly smitten with one another, and spend the whole night dancing and laughing.

Dave already knew an important tidbit about Linda from their hostess -- she was soon leaving for the Peace Corps in Africa. He mentions that he is also leaving -- to go to medical school in Europe. They agree to just have fun during the time they do have, but the dates on the calendar loom over them.

The weeks wear on and suddenly, September arrives and their parting is imminent. Having fallen in love with Dave, Linda is completely devastated. Dave loves Linda too, but reminds her that they must be true to their dreams and commitments.

Agreeing that they both must follow their individual paths, they decide to part with only fond memories of their brief time together. In her heart, Linda is hopeful that the future will bring a reunification.


Our final story for the month is "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Love!" from Young Love #92 (February 1972).

The title is actually misleading as it implies a choice to be made. Read on to find why that is not necessarily the case for our leading lady!

As Janis and Perry make their way to the boathouse late one evening, Perry slips up and accidentally in affection, calls his girlfriend "baby." Janis, who never lets a man carry her lunch tray or open doors for her, is furious and accuses him of being a typical chauvinist male.

But we see that Perry isn't all that bad -- on a following day he and Janis attend their Women's Lib group meeting to prepare for a demonstration to be held at a football game. Perry helps by distributing literature. At the demonstration, Janis isn't fazed by the nasty looks and jeers she receives from people who aren't on board with the Women's Movement. While standing her ground, Janis is trampled by a group of giddy young ladies with hopes of touching a football player. Suddenly in the confusion, a gorgeous football player scoops her up, saving her from further injury. He carries her to the team doctor who tapes up her twisted ankle.

Just as Janis begins to welcome the football player's chivalry, he tells her that "Things like picketing -- job security...civil rights -- they're strictly men's problems." Understandably horrified, Janis demands to be let out of the cab and lets her companion know that he is one of the creeps inhibiting the progress of women.

Already feeling bad about her susceptibility to the affection displayed by the football player, Janis is confronted by her Women's Lib group -- primarily the leader -- strict, glasses-wearing Harriet. The two get into it, and Harriet reprimands Janis for falling prey to the male ego. Janis tells Harriet that she is a dictator and asserts that femininity and equality can make for apt bedfellows.

Janis quits the group, vowing to find another that supports her viewpoints. In the meantime, it is Perry who stands by Janis's side as both boyfriend and ally.


From today's viewpoint, Charlton's take on the Women's Movement is nutty to say the least, but stands as a testament to the various opinions of the changes occurring in society. Marvel's take on the societal changes of the 1970s definitely is more palatable to the reader of today, and one that in my opinion is more romantic -- but still implies that being feminist means abandoning love. I myself prefer the DC take -- one in which love and romance are compatible with equality and feminism.

It has been a discussion-filled month here at Sequential Crush and I would love to hear your thoughts on these three stories! As always, thanks for reading!

"Kat, Incorrigible" Review

"Kat, Incorrigible"
by Stephanie Burgis

Publisher: Atheneum
Release Date: April 5, 2011

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from

Twelve-year-old Kat Stephenson may be the despair of her social-climbing Step-Mama, but she was born to be a magical Guardian and protector of Society--if she can ever find true acceptance in the secret Order that expelled her own mother. She’s ready to turn the hidebound Order of the Guardians inside-out, whether the older members like it or not. And in a society where magic is the greatest scandal of all, Kat is determined to use all her powers to help her three older siblings--saintly Elissa, practicing-witch Angeline, and hopelessly foolish Charles--find their own true loves, even if she has to turn highwayman, battle wild magic, and confront real ghosts along the way!

My Review: 

I remember wanting to read this one under it's original title "A Most Improper Magick." As a huge fan of historical romance, I thought it was great fun to see the Regency Era with it's ballrooms, carriages, and adorable suitors, from the eyes of a twelve year old.

There was a slight Cinderella slant to the story, with Kat's at times annoying two sisters, and her almost evil stepmama. I think this element will greatly appeal to younger girls. Sometimes the magical element seemed a little overdone and slightly confusing, but I liked the general idea of Kat having magical powers.

The two boys who Kat encourages to court her sisters are just too adorable for words. Mr. Carlyle was especially cute as a love potion victim. And Kat's exasperation with Mr. Collingswood's various shortcomings was quite entertaining. 

Kat was a super heroine and she had so much self-confidence! She was so confident and sure of herself that it was a little funny sometimes, but still, I think this is a fantastic trait to nurture in girls that age. Kat knows what she wants and she doesn't even think twice before going after it.

The door is wide open for a sequel, I can't imagine what Kat will be up to next! 

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5 

Setting: 5/5
Romance: 4/5 (Kat's sisters)

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

Bottom Line:
This is a fun historical romp that is perfect for middle grade girls and I think older fans of Regency book will get a kick out of Kat's story too.


Tips on When to Get & How to Use Reviews

When to Get Reviews
The best time to start getting reviews is long before the book has gone to print. When you think about it, how else do authors get those nice snippets from reviewers on their back cover, front cover, inside pages, websites and promotional materials prior to the release of their book?

However, reviews are valuable at any time during the life of your book. In fact this should be an on-going process throughout the marketing plan. So pace yourself a little - you will want continued exposure for the long-term. Also, keep in mind that a publication will not likely include a blurb about your book if their direct competitors have just recently done the same thing. Your budget will determine how many copies you can afford to send out for review. So, again, pace your marketing plan.

How to Get Reviews
As always the most essential key is to research the publication you want to query and learn about their readers. The next essential key is to research their submission guidelines. Then you can query the reviewer with a nice letter that includes some basic ideas about the book. Be clear about why the book fits their magazine and their targeted audience at this time. If they feel it does not fit, do not argue. You can always try again, but let several months pass before you query the reviewer again with a new approach.

Always query with a professional informative letter. Books sent without prior communication will just result in yet another book in the trash bin, and that is hard on your budget, use of time and the environment. Queries ensure that they are interested and able to accept more work. It is also necessary to confirm the format they require. The query should relay why your book is going to be something they don't want to miss out on. What is so special about you or your book that will get them to sit up and take notice? THIS is what you need to say, but say it softly. No one likes a loud, pushy or bragging voice.

In addition, it is helpful to prospective reviewers if they know more about your book. Is it a children's book? A religious book? Do you consider the content as humorous or adventurous? Is it a book that will compel feelings of happiness or sadness? Do you have an informative website? What format is the book available to review in at this time -- galley, PDF manuscript or a published review copy? Are you in the manuscript, editing or publishing stage? Do you have an ISBN and a release date? Do you plan to provide other promotional materials (author bio, etc) for reviewers? Are you looking for review blurbs for the back cover or first inside pages of your book? Or are you looking for general reviews for promotion materials and online stores? Are you in a hurry for the review? Provide this information before reviewers are forced to ask. They will appreciate a considerate and prepared author and because of your foresight they will feel valued, respected and will not have to spend time searching for the information.

Most professional reviewers do not usually work with manuscripts. Typically, more than 80% of the books Lillian has reviewed to date were either published copies or Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs), which are manuscripts printed on paper and attached with spiral binding. Occasionally, the publisher will provide ARCs, however the author normally provides these. Some reviewers will work with electronic books; others do not. Be sure to clarify all of these things prior to sending your query letter.

Look at the books on your shelves and see how reviews are used. Through this simple analysis, you can glean information for your own promotional material development as well.

What Happens to the Review Copy?
Most reviewers are not paid for their work. Only a few hard working reviewers are privileged to land a paying position for a publication or online site. Therefore, the book is the payment. Some authors find this worrisome. They are concerned that the reviewer will sell or exchange the book at a used bookstore. It is our opinion that if someone has spent several evenings reading our book, then several more hours writing a review, publishing it, then giving it to us for free and sometimes posting it online for us… well, they can do what they like with our book! When you think about it, if your book is worth $20, they are “earning” less than $5 an hour.

We always include a letter along with review copies that gently reminds them of our conversation in the past and requests a notification of the book's arrival and their decision on it. We suggest that if the book is not destined for their own bookshelves, that they consider donating it to a library, school, mission for the poor or women's shelter. We even had responses where the contact was thrilled that we had considered this as they have been throwing rejected review copies (usually unsolicited) away in the past. Perhaps this small suggestion will help keep other authors' books out of their trash bin as well. However, the main goal is not waste reduction or community good will in this scenario - instead, the idea is to keep your book in circulation, continually building exposure and extending the value of your marketing budget.

Be Selective
Be very selective when querying reviewers. Make sure you have visited their website and are familiar with their style and preferences. We recommend reading the article: "How to spot a phony reviewer" at which will help you avoid some pit falls.

Publication Lead-Times
If you are trying to get into a pre-publication magazine like Publisher's Weekly, you are looking at a three to four month lead-time. This means you need to submit the book to one of their reviewers about three or four months before the deadline date.

These kinds of publications often require ARCs or Galleys because they only review books prior to their publication. Unless your publisher provides these you will need to print out the manuscript and send it with the other promotion materials. These pre-publication magazines are published for wholesalers, larger bookstores, distributors and libraries. Some are targeted towards a specific audience, while others are more general.

…And one final tip we’d like to leave you with today is that being reviewed online (e-newsletters, review sites and e-zines) is often easier than getting printed reviews in newspapers, newsletters and magazines.

This post excerpted from Chapter 3 of the book: Purple Snowflake Marketing – How to Make Your Book Stand Out in a Crowd, by Dave & Lillian Brummet

~ Lillian Brummet: Award winning author, book marketing guru, owner of the award winning Brummet’s Conscious Blog, and both the host and executive producer of the Conscious Discussions Talk Radio show. (

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: The Heart of War (Of War #1) by Lisa Beth Darling

The Heart of War (Of War)
Lisa Beth Darling

Paranormal Romance / Fantasy / Erotica
Review Requested

Inside the heart of every warrior breathes the soul of a hero--even within The Heart of War.

Meet Ares God of War is the greatest Warrior the world has ever known, he's also moody, grumpy, dominant, ravenously sexual, and above all, built like a Greek God.

Suspected of killing his Daughter in-Law, Psyche, and long in exile from Olympus, the solitude of Ares' island is interrupted when Magdalena MacLeod a brash and sometimes manipulative Fey washes up on Ares' island after believing she's been shipwrecked. There is no wreck and her memory of events is sketchy at best. Branded with a golden chastity belt bearing the mark of Cernunnos, Celtic God of the Forest and Death, Alena has been on the run from the Great Horned God for 200 years.

As Ares and Alena grow closer discord erupts on the island as his head woman, Kat, plots to get rid of Alena and the Olympians plot to use her in their endeavor to discover who killed Artemis. Ares will have to choose between his Divinely Dysfunctional Family, his pride, and Alena before dueling to the death with the God of the Forest.

Come along for an epic adventure of erotica, steamy romance, and drama in this Modern Day Greek Tragedy. Battle Ancient Gods and Fall in Love along side Ares God of War and Alena MacLeod. Theirs is a love that will rock the world from the heights of Olympus to the Celtic moors.



Excellent Read!

Mythology lovers will eat this book up. The story woven for Aries the God of War is absolutely fantastic. The romance between Aries and Maggie (Alena) Macleod ½ Fey and ½ Goddess is brilliantly written with lots of emotional trials between them both. The sex scene between them is very HOT as well and will leave you in an awed and unbelieving WTF state.

I love how this book gives you the insight into the world between all the gods and goddesses with their deceit of back stabbing, jealousy rage and hatred, secrets kept to use at a later date to get their way for bargaining, love with lots of passion, and viciousness of power and abuse of power.

Some may find this read a little shocking because there are several scenes of possessiveness and brutal rape with torture, but I can promise that the revenge is kick-ass sweet that will make you want to say out loud “F#@kin A” or “Take that you A-hole” and then smile.

Excellent and Fantastic read. It was 500 pages long but every page only draws you further into the story and captures your emotions and interests immediately. I totally loved it!

I look forward to reading the next installment “Child of War” in this new series .

This Reaper Gig is Harder Than I Thought...


In last week's post, I promised I was going to kill off a character in my WiP. I'm still gonna, don't get your knickers in a twist, but I just wanted to share the problems I'm having with you all. Here goes:

Let's assume for now that this death WILL make the book better. But... In order to move forward, I have to take a few steps back. Sure, some people are confident enough to alter the plot in their head and keep moving forward like everything's changed, but I just can't do that. It feels like I'm writing an alternate universe of what I'd originally planned, and that just keeps nagging at me until it's closer to the new version of reality. And I like to have most of the pieces set up before I can knock over that last domino.

In part, there are numerous alterations I need to make to the plot for this death to feel more organic, more believable. But more than that, I wanted to go back and make sure that everything that character has done up to this point will make them a character the reader will miss.

I want the reader to be bawling when it comes, because the death has hit them as hard as it affects me. I want the reader to say, "No!!! Why, Tere Kirkland?" (Because we all call authors by their full names when we're mad that they've killed a character, right? What, I'm the only one who said, "No!!! Why, Suzanne Collins??" at least three times during the Hunger Games Trilogy? I doubt that very much! :P )

I want, more than anything else, for this death to be meaningful, and not feel like something that I decided to do just to move the plot forward. (Which, yes, in part it is, but shhh! No one needs to know that!) I can't tell you how many times I've been affected by a death in a book, but I can tell you that the reason I bawled my eyes out until I could barely read the print in front of me was because the author made me care.

Sometimes the character might start out as a jerk, but redeem themselves in death. (Boromir, I never really liked you, but you sure redeemed yourself by protecting those hobbits. Plus you died like a bad-ass, which is befitting a steward of Gondor.)

Other times, it's just painful, and seems unfair. (Oh, Beth, why did you have to give that poor family the hot potato from your muff and then catch your death of cold? Why?!!1!)

Speaking of Collins (rather than just invoking her name, lol), her use of death in Mockingjay still affects me.


I know some people hated the scene where Prim dies/is murdered by what is probably Gale's invention. As I was reading, I didn't really like it either, but not for the reasons most people did. What I hated was that there was no scene where Katniss grieves for her sister, not in a satisfying way, just a "That's unfair!" way. At least, not until she gets back to District 12 and that damn cat comes home yowling for her. Oh, Buttercup! How was it that the sense of loss was so much greater when experienced—not through the emotions of her sister Katniss, who was pretty well emotionally numb up to this point, and with good reason—through the perspective of that mangy old cat. 

It really makes the first scene in The Hunger Games that much more poignant for me when I re-read it, so much so that I sometimes cry when I get to a certain line:

"Entrails. No hissing. This is the closest we will ever come to love." 

Sometimes I can't even make it any farther than that.

That is power. That is the kind of death I want for this character, even though Prim had the benefit of three books for the reader to get to know and love her, and I'm killing off this character about halfway through book 1. 

But is it Prim herself, her own actions, her dialogue, that make the reader care for her? Or is it more than that? I mean, we see early on how much Katniss cares for Prim, literally keeping her alive when their father died and their mother grieved. The horrible moment when Prim's name is drawn, Katniss can barely function. She can only think of one thing: to sacrifice herself for her sister. And THAT is what makes our emotional connection to Prim so strong. Powerful stuff!

Has anyone else given this much thought to the "legacy" a killed-off character leaves behind? What do you do to make their death more meaningful? I'd love to hear it!

Interview with romance author Heather Webber

Todays interview is with romance author Heather Webber. Please give her a warm welcome.

Laurie- Hello Heather, first I want to think you for doing this interview. Now, would you please tell us a little about yourself?

Heather-I’m so happy to be here—thank YOU. About me? I’m just your average mom-next-door who makes things up for a living. I have an overactive imagination and put it to good use.

Laurie- What inspired you to write?

Heather-That should really be “who inspired you to write.” My husband. I woke up one morning many moons ago with a full story in my head. I told him about how it would make a great movie, then quickly changed my mind because of all the plot intricacies and said it would make an even better book. He said, “Write it.” As if it was that simple! But...I did. That story is now in my closet in a big binder cohabitating with the dust bunnies, but that book started my career. I haven’t looked back.

Laurie-Out of all the books you wrote, do you have a few that holds a special place in your heart. How about your heroes and heroines, do you have a favorite among them?

Heather-That’s a tough question. It’s hard to pick and choose, because some are favorites for different reasons. Trouble in Spades, the second in the Nina Quinn mystery series, is a favorite because it really showcases my voice, my humor, my plotting. Truly, Madly, the first in the Lucy Valentine series, is also a favorite. I love that story! And I just can’t choose among my characters—I love them all, right down to the quirky pets.

Laurie- What are some of your favorite author’s and some of your favorite books you’ve read?

Heather-Too many to name. I love reading mysteries and romance, old favorites to debut authors. My go-to book when I’m sick or just need to escape is Son of the Morning, a paranormal romance by Linda Howard. My copy is in sad shape—that’s how many times it’s been read.

Laurie- Would you please tell those who have never heard of your Lucy Valentine series a little about Lucy?

Heather-Lucy is the black sheep of a psychic matchmaking family, a family that owns a wildly successful matchmaking firm because they can see auras and match people based on color. Lucy, however, lost that ability when she was young, and only has the psychic ability to find lost objects-something she thinks is quite useless until she “sees” a vision of a diamond ring on the hand of a skeleton. She’s launched into a murder investigation and also tries to help find a missing little boy. There’s a sexy PI helping her out (who has secrets of his own), an annoying reporter dogging her, and a very dysfunctional family and some lovable friends also in the mix. Hopefully Lucy’s stories will make a reader laugh, cry, sigh.

Laurie- What inspired you to write about Lucy Valentine?

Heather-I’m not quite sure where she came from—she was just there one day. I knew I wanted to do a paranormal, and I’d always been fascinated by psychics. However, she had to be a psychic with limitations—or else there’d be no mystery. I loved the name “Valentine” so I knew I had to have an element of romance. I mixed them together and Truly, Madly was born.

Laurie- Do you add anything about yourself into your character Lucy, if so what?

Heather-I think there’s always a little of the author in every character, especially when writing first person. Lucy and I have the same humor, the same sense of injustice. We both love animals and are extremely loyal to our families. Physically, we have nothing in common—and she’s much more brave and outgoing than I am. Plus, she’s psychic, which I am not!

Laurie- Do you know yet how many books you’re going to right about Lucy Valentine?

Heather-Right now there’s three, plus a short story. I hope to write the fourth this year, but when it will be published and with whom is still up in the air...

Laurie- Do you have a favorite quote of Lucy’s, if so what?

Heather-I can’t think of one off the top of my head!

Laurie- Anything else you would like to add about Lucy?

Heather-Hmm. I hear a lot from readers about how they feel like Lucy is their friend, that they’d love to hang out with her—and I think that’s one of the best compliments ever.

Laurie- Would you tell us a little about what you’re working on next?

Heather-Currently I’m working on a new paranormal mystery series featuring novice witch Darcy Merriweather. The first book It Takes a Witch will be out in January 2012 under my pen name Heather Blake. More info here:

I’m also working on a Nina Quinn novella, and of course, a fourth Lucy book.

Fun questions
What your favorite color? 
Red, though it changes depending on my mood.

Do you have any pets? 
Max, the immortal fish. We had hamsters for a while (Lucy’s one-eyed hamster Odysseus is based on one of our former hammies), but after the last one passed, I couldn’t bring myself to get another. Some day.

What’s your favorite movie and TV show? The Amazing Race. I’d love to go on it, but I couldn’t eat the crazy food at some of the challenges! Movie? I’d have to say Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Love it.

Do you have a favorite food or place to eat?
My favorite food is chips and dip, and my current favorite place to eat is PF Changs. Mmmm.

Where to find Heather

I hope you enjoyed the interview and make sure you check out Heathers books they are awesome.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (61)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:

"Juliet Immortal"
by Stacey Jay
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Sep 13, 2011

The following description is from

"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

You all know I'm into the retellings! And "Romeo and Juliet" is one of my all time favorite stories!

What are you waiting for this week???

"Get Energy!" Review

"Get Energy"
by Denise Austin

Publisher: Center Street
Release Date: Jan 7, 2011

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from

With busy schedules, demanding careers, and little time, many of us battle just to stay awake. But energy is something that is in our control, even when time is short. Now 50 years young, fitness guru Denise Austin shows readers how to super-charge their lives, using her innovative lifestyle plan. She eats the right foods at the right time of day. She uses the power of stretching and breathing to feed her body with energy-enhancing oxygen. She uses mini-workouts to get energy even on her busiest days—and now you can too!
Denise shows how simple changes can add up to increased energy levels throughout the day. From the foods they consume to the way they sit in their chairs, readers won't believe how Denise's quick and easy plan will dramatically increase their energy levels. In as little as a week, results will be felt: radiant skin, more restful sleep, and a sharper follow Denise Austin and prepare for a fitness wake-up call!

My Review:

I thought the author made some really good points and she had a great positive attitude. The book was set up with an intro and then a quiz to determine what aspects of your life are energy-deprived. Then you can flip to specific chapters to learn how to get energy in the areas of life that you need it most.

The tips and tricks aren't  physically hard, but it's hard to make lifestyle changes. The workout moves and stretches aren't difficult either, they are things that people most levels of fitness can do. I like her ideas for mini stretches throughout the day, and yes, she shows you how to do them.  her meal and snack ideas are simple and do-able. No foods you've never heard of, three hour prep times, or complicated recipes. The great thing about the book is that everything is do-able. It's not a heard core diet or work out book.

Austin feels that if we're always running around,  working, and doing chores and we never take even a few minutes for ourselves, our energy is always going to be zapped. I love that she tells us to take time out for joy. Whether it's talking to friends, taking a walk, or ice cream with your kids, we all need to treat ourselves to recharge our energy.

Sometimes, the book becomes a little repetitive, almost like she had to fill a certain number of pages. But the basic ideas are great. Even if I only take a few this way from the book and try to implement them, I think I will see an improvement in my energy level.

Bottom Line: Great advice delivered with a positive attitude and kindness.

Teaser Tuesday (29)

Yay for "Teaser Tuesday" from MizB of Should be Reading!!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

My teaser Tuesday pick:

" The man underneath me had kept walking forward even after I kicked his hat off. He hadn't even paused to look up at me, or to pick up his hat.  "

p 25 "Kat, Incorrigible" by Stephanie Burgis (ARC)

Time Travel Tuesdays - Romance Comic Character asks, "Should I Give Up My Career for Marriage?"

For this special Women's History Month installment of Time Travel Tuesdays I have a striking one-pager about a young career driven young woman with a heartbreaking choice to make. In "Should I Give Up My Career for Marriage?" Rita Benson, head of the copy department at a large publishing firm finds she must choose between her fulfilling job and her beau, Paul. Her potential husband declares that no wife of his will work, but Rita finds herself wanting to have it "all."

Illustrated by Bob Powell
"Should I Give Up My Career for Marriage?"

Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #15
(May 1952)*

Perhaps the most interesting facet of this short story is the last panel which appears to take place in some sort of clinical setting. The 1950s are often associated with various experts (think Dr. Wertham!) and the last panel of this romance story is a very good example of reliance on the musings of authoritarian figures.

*I know I have used this issue before, but I just couldn't resist sharing this one-page story!

Review of Ultimate Breed by Erosa Knowles

Title: Ultimate Breed
Author: Erosa Knowles
Source: Requested Review
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy - Vampires
Format: ebook - 200 pages
Release Date: Mar. 12, 2011
Author's Website

Time is running out for the Vampire Breeder Skye, in more ways than one. Her car is attacked while enroute to give birth, a huge bounty is placed on her head and a Vampire Hunter attacks her. And that happens in one day. Her Were-Hyena security team calls in Adrian Vail, a mercenary who gets results. He’ll get her to safety, keeping a step ahead of the Bounty Hunters and the master-minds behind the threats. One thing for sure, he’s never met anyone like her and fights the attraction with each breath. After the lost of his daughter, women with children were off limits. Her strength intrigues him. Her beauty captivates him. Can he maintain a professional distance while saving her life?


Rating -


Sexual -


My Review -

Ultimate Breed is an interesting paranormal romance/urban fantasy story that focuses on a female vampire breeder (Mistress Skye) who is the target of vampire hunters who want not only her dead but her unborn child dead as well. They almost succeeded if not for a series of lucky breaks that lead her to the one man who may be the only one who can protect her, but also captures her heart for the first time in her existence.

Ultimate Breed has a very unique mythology not only regarding vampires, but regarding weres such as were-hyenas and tigers who are live among humans without their knowledge and are hunted by Hunters. Also the "creation" theory regarding vampires is not only intriguing, but how they are viewed by the "Ultimate" (God) and Lucifer provide a new perspective in this genre. Though the secondary characters are weres their primary role in the story is to help Skye and Adrian in finding the people involved in the assassination attempt, thus we don't learn very much about their capablilities.

I enjoyed this book, but found that it took a long time (halfway through the book) before Skye and Adrian got together and even then there was very little sexual tension built up make me feel any intensity between them. I could understand her lust for Adrian due to her feeling sensations that have never occurred to her before (despite being a breeder of vampires no passion was ever involved in the procreation of the species), but not passion or love.

I just wished more was fleshed out with both the characters and their relationship. I liked the characters, but felt I never really got to know them or really feel for their plight. The plot while interesting, never had me on the edge of my seat anxiously wanting to know what was going to happen next. Though it felt more like an urban fantasy book then a paranormal romance book, the action and suspense could have been more intriguing and action packed.

If you want a light read with a twist on vampire mythology then check this book out, but don't expect it to be a nail-biter.