Friday, February 29, 2008

To Russia With Love

Pop over to http://www.lisashearin.com/blog.cfm for some awesome news on the Lisa Shearin and Fantasy genre front!

JUST ONE MORE BOOK!

I've been asked to spread the word about a special podcast site, Just One More Book! Please read comment section for more information. http://www.justonemorebook.com/

Thursday, February 28, 2008

DOUBLE PLATINUM by Shelia Goss

Parris is a pop star teetering on the edge of destruction, career-wise, and her personal life’s not far behind. Her long-time boyfriend, Archie, ran off with her assistant and took most of her money with them. She needs a come-back hit big time. But, the poor thing is too used to being a diva. She has a hundred pair of jeans and no patience with a malfunctioning treadmill.
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Thank God she’s got some real friends too. Still, she ditched the guy who helped launch her career for the boyfriend/manager who ditched her. Oh, there’s some guilt there.
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Carmen helps run things, hopefully back up the music charts, and she comes off as a real powerhouse. Then, Parris meets Casper and I’m thinking, “Oh, no! Don’t fall for him, Parris! He’s another smooth operator.” At that point, I was also thinking the guy who helped launch her career was destined to be her true love.
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Parris agreed with me about Casper, but I was always a lot more ruthless. If a man failed to meet my strict list of criteria, it didn’t matter how hot he was. I felt like the robot from LOST IN SPACE, waving my arms. “Danger, Parris Mitchell! Danger!” She really tried to resist, but Casper’s a music producer and she desperately needs a hit album. Carmen railroads her into it and the die is cast.
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Still, it’s obvious Parris’ reluctance to get involved with Casper is based on past pain. She’s punishing him for the sins of Archie. And that’s just not fair. But, she chills out and the two relax together. Oh, yes, the paparazzi has a field day with her dating a younger man too. Woo-hoo! Still, I wasn’t so sure it wasn’t going to blow up in Parris’ face. One thing’s for sure, she wasn’t so much of a diva anymore. With Casper, she was real.
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But, record producers are hot targets for gold-digging supermodels and Parris is more than a little insecure. Fame has a way of magnifying such shortcomings too. Meanwhile, the hope-to-be-a-hit album production charges forward. Will Parris have the confidence to score in her personal life and her professional life? That’s DOUBLE PLATINUM.
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I read and reviewed MY INVISIBILE HUSBAND by Shelia Goss a while back. I could really see how Shelia Goss matured as an author since then. DOUBLE PLATINUM is a hit.
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The Heat Level for DOUBLE PLATINUM is mildly Sensual and very well done.
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To see the book trailer for this novel, pop over to http://enduringromancebooktrailers.blogspot.com/
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To learn more about Shelia Goss and her other novels, pop over to http://sheliagoss.com/
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*Coming up next week, PRINCES OF THE GOLDEN CAGE, a Fantasy novel by Nathalie Mallet.

Is it my birthday?

Yesterday, the mailman delivered ASK AGAIN LATER by Jill A. Davis from HarperCollins. For some reason, I thought it was coming from Hyperion. Guess I mixed up Harper and Hyperion in head. Anyway, they're both good pubs.



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Also arrived into my greedy little hands, GABRIEL'S GHOST by Linnea Sinclair. This is an old book, but it was the only one of Linnea's I've never read. I hung my head in shame about not reading it because Linnea's one of my favorite authors and a fabulous Blog Buddy, but she just sent it to me. Isn't she sweet? It's also the first in a series of which SHADES OF DARK is the next book. I'll be reviewing SHADES OF DARK in April, most likely, and it releases in June or July, I think. GABRIEL'S GHOST has an old cover






and a new cover.






I like the old cover best.
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I know electronic ARCs are probably cheaper for authors and publishers and all that, but it's so much fun to get paper ARCs in the snail-mail. Makes me feel like it's my birthday.
;)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Housecleaning Update

I've moved the Amazon ads for the books Lady Bronco and I have reviewed in the past to a sister site, Enduring Romance Reviews. We were accumulating so many it took forever to load this page. Now, all you have to do is click on the link to the left to see all we've accomplished!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Books I Would Review

As previously stated, Advanced Reviewer's Copies take priority in my To-Be-Reviewed stack of books and Blog Buddy authors' books take priority over those. The authors are counting on me to put out a review in a timely manner because of release dates. This is great because I get all these free books. But, there are a bunch of books I would review for you if I could, but can't or can't yet for whatever reason. Here's an intriging one by Mercedes Lackey-

I'm having a huge Must-Read-a-Timothy-Zahn-Book-Fit. A month or so ago, my husband pointed out a book to me in the grocery store which we thought was his latest, but we were in a rush and didn't get it. Now, I can't find it anywhere and I'm not sure it's even his. It's making me crazy because I WANT it. Maybe I'll have to read STAR WARS ALLEGIANCE instead. I've already reviewed that one, but it's the kind which tastes better the second time around anyway. Speaking of Science Fiction, while I was searching for that book I stumbled on another really cool one, THE HOLY MACHINE by Chris Beckett. It was published in 2004 and the author appears quite popular, so I don't think I could get an ARC. I wanted you to know about it, because it certainly sounds like a worthy read.
I checked out THE FAERIE PATH and THE LOST QUEEN from the library. THE SORCEROR KING is supposed to be new in stores right now. These are hardbacks and the publisher had already sent out all the ARCs when I asked for the SORCEROR KING. I sped-read a little and they look really cool, especially for my younger gal-pals.

This is an anthology of novellas which includes two of my favorite authors, Tanith Lee and Mercedes Lackey. I've never read anything by C. E. Murphy. I checked this one out from the library too. No time to read it. Sigh.
This one is a Marion Zimmer Bradley novel recommended to me by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, the Great Lady of Science Fiction. I truly loved ENDLESS SPACE. MZB is awesome. Can't find this one anywhere in Alaska.So, there they are. If you happen on them in the bookstore or library, I definitely think they're worth it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

MOONSTRUCK by Susan Grant

I don’t know how you all will react, but, frankly, reading MOONSTRUCK scared the ba-jeebers outta me. I mean, what if I was a wet-eared ensign newly assigned to the Unity with Admiral Bandar and War Leader Rorkkan as my commanding officers and I knew everything you’ll know about these two when you read this novel? Captain Janeway and John Wayne, they ain’t. If you’re looking for a fluffy romance, this won’t be your cup of tea. However, if you’re looking for a tale of Intimate Adventure and the salvation and healing of true love, you’ll have MOONSTRUCK stuck to your nose until you’re finished reading.
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Admiral Brit Bandar is a battle-hardened starship commander and the war is over. She’s suffered a lot and carries around a massive open wound on her heart – the death of her husband and all the men she’s slept with trying to bury the pain since. Now, she’s been assigned to command a diplomatic ship, the Unity, and a former enemy is to be her First Officer. All at once, Rorkkan’s got the face of the enemy Horde and her dead husband too. Brit is not a happy camper. Meanwhile, Rorkkan can hardly think straight around her because the brain in his skull has been out-gunned by the other one.
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So off they go into the Wild Black Yonder on the Unity and Rorkkan senses right away that Brit wants the mission to fail. Well, she loathes his kind, so that’s no surprise. What throws him off is having sensed something else in her regard for him, something she keeps under tight reign. We know it’s that he resembles her dead husband and the creepiness coupled with attraction that brings, but he doesn’t.
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At this point, I’d be screaming, “We’re all gonna die!”
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I mean, how the heck are these two going to work together as command officers? Besides being former enemies, they’re both just incredibly screwed up. You all probably know I like that.
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I started feeling sorry for Brit, because I sensed a well-hidden humiliation in her. What I mean to say is she had true love once upon a time and the dignity and beauty that brings. It was viciously taken from her. She buried the pain with sex, just as many bury pain with drugs or alcohol. However, she’s not an addict. She still feels the pain. This is a good thing. It seems to me, in Real Life, when people don’t deal with the pain, they bury it until they go numb. Once that happens, they become *incapable of comprehending true love* when it finally finds them again. {I know it’s not impossible for someone at that point to recover, but I’ve personally never seen it.} Brit isn’t to that point. She still feels the pain. She is *not beyond redemption.* I’m not sure if that’s what the author intended, but that’s how I interpreted it based on my own observations of humanity.
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There’s a secondary romance between a Lieutenant Hadley and an Earthling. At first, I thought this was extraneous and I just hoped Hadley wasn’t stupid. I thought, “Geez, Hadley, he’s a jackass. Make him reform and prove his worth first.” But, then, I found out Hadley idolizes Brit and then she accidentally-on-purpose discovers a momento from Brit's past which indicates an even deeper pain. Ut-oh. A dearly loved husband wasn’t the only thing Brit lost.
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Okay, the stage is set. The characters are established. Time to up the ante.
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The first goes up when Brit decides to use Rorrkan the same way she used all the men before him but after her dead husband. Only, it backfires big time, because it’s not just a roll in the hay. There’s love somewhere in there too. Now, she’s really a freaking mess.
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I’d be sayin, “Yep, we’re dead. We’re all dead. Might as well fly this ship right into a super-nova.”
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Because, of course, the commanding officers of the Unity have to deal with commanding the Unity while their heads are still reeling with their personal issues. Oh, dear. Healing is scary and painful because the grief must be faced head-on. Sure, Brit’s courageous in battle, but the heart can be a much more frightening place.
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Although this novel is a Science Fiction Romance, I really didn’t get into the romancey part of it. Weird, huh? It’s because Rorrkan isn’t the kind of guy I ever would have gone for. If Rorrkan was real and I was single and he offered to buy me a café’ moche with a double shot of crème de mint, I’d say, “Um, thanks, no. But, hey! My boss is sitting over there all by herself and I happen to know she’s verrrry thirsty.” Wink. “Go get ‘er, Tiger.” For me, the story was all about Brit.
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In fact, about a month ago Jacqueline Lichtenberg, whom I admire and respect immensely, reviewed MOONSTRUCK and I totally didn’t get the same impression. I didn’t see Brit as having a greater sexual appetite than the average woman. I know Brit thinks she does, but I didn’t buy it. Up until Rorrkan, sex simply meant something different to her than it does to a woman in a loving, monogamous relationship. From my point of view, Brit’s relationship with Rorrkan was inevitable. The wound on her heart had never healed and had never been buried because, sub-consciously, she still clung to *Hope.* The fact that a relationship with Rorrkan was ‘forbidden’ in Brit’s mind made it necessary. It wasn’t a case of the Forbidden being attractive because it is forbidden and it wasn’t a case of being attracted to someone despite that person being Forbidden. Rorrkan represented the pain in Brit’s heart and she instinctively knew that. She embraced the pain and she won.
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MOONSTRUCK has enough dimensions to keep everyone happy. For those who are totally into it, you’ll have to read it at least twice to get the full impact.
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Way to go, Susan.
;)
The Heat Level of this novel is Highly Sensual, but appropriate to the story and consistent with the characters.
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MOONSTRUCK hits the shelves May 25th, but you can pre-order it now. Here's Susan's website to learn more- http://susangrant.com/

Thursday, February 14, 2008

ARMED & MAGICAL by Lisa Shearin

In a bizarre twist of the way I do things, I read ARMED & MAGICAL by Lisa Shearin verrrrry sllllowwwlyyy. This is because I read it while moving house for the second time in four months. I’d read a page, pack a box, read a paragraph, chase children out of the nail can, read two pages, wolf down a corndog (yuck), read two paragraphs… Well, you get the picture and it ain’t a pretty one. Reading it did make the process of moving house more tolerable, I can tell you that.

ARMED & MAGICAL picks up where MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND left off. Remember Lisa’s debut novel? If not, scroll down to my Archives and find it under May 2007. We had a fabulous cyber-launch party, except that the Tribbles grew fangs and made a real nuisance of themselves.
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So now Raine Benares, an average elven sorceress, is bound to a rock which likes to suck the souls out of people. Yummy. Her previous day job was as a seeker. She found things and was really good at it. Unfortunately, she turned out to be too good at it because she found that dang rock, the Saghred. Now, everyone’s out to get her in a universe which combines the traditional trappings of the Fantasy genre, like elves and goblins, with Chicago gangsters of the 1920s, all told in a 21st century American voice.
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In addition to the main plot, Raine has two boy-toys, er, um, goblin-toys. No, wait, one’s an elf, right? Mychael and Tam aren’t exactly out to get her in the same way as everyone else. One chapter I was thinking, “Oh, yes! Go for Tam!” And the next I was like “Awww, Mychael is so sweet.” Then, “No. Tam!” And, “Wait. Mychael!” Because, you know, Love Triangles are never any fun unless the two guys are equally adorable.
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Raine also has a kid brother, well, an honorary kid brother. Piaras isn’t a kid, actually. He’s a young man - extremely cute and with a singing voice to die for, and in this case I mean that literally. Piaras has spellsinging ability of unusual magnitude for his age.
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In exchange for power, a previous ‘associate’ of the Saghred, Rudra Muralin, had fed souls to it regularly and now they both want each other back. Raine’s own father’s soul had been sucked by the Saghred after keeping it away from the bad guys for nearly a millennium. One of the closing events of MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND was Raine tricking another nasty, Sarad Nukpana, into touching the Saghred and getting sucked in himself.
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Now the Saghred is being kept under heavy magical guard on the Isle of Mid and so is Raine. She wants to be rid of her connection with the nasty old rock and the Conclave of Sorcerors there really want to help her out. But, that doesn’t stop the baddies from getting at Raine whom they see as the new bondservant of the Saghred.
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One of the pivotal scenes in the first part of the book is Raine getting sucked into the Saghred where Sarad tempts her to the Dark Side of the Force. Yeah, I know, I’ve watched the Star Wars original trilogy too much, but I was half-expecting Sarad to say, “Raine, I am your father.” And I expected Raine to respond with, “Up yours.”
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Raine’s smart enough and virtuous enough to know using the Saghred’s power comes with a terrible price, insanity and eventual death. But, when push comes to shove, it’s extremely difficult to resist using it.
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The Ante gets upped when Piaras accidentally puts the Guardians to sleep while singing. Suddenly, the baddies become extremely interested in him, because they've started their own collection of spellsingers and he would be quite a prize for it. Now, they’re after him AND Raine. And you can imagine how ticked off ‘Big Sister’ feels about that.
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I’ll stop with the details there and end with a quotation to give you a feel for the ‘voice’ of this book, because it’s really what sets it apart from other Fantasy novels.
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“Being a Benares, I’ve always been attracted to rogues. Kind of like a moth to flame. Most times I had the good sense to steer clear, but with Tam I’d come close to getting my wings singed more than once. Tonight I damned near got fried.”
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Thanks for another great ride, Lisa! Everybody look out for the cyber-launch party in April, ‘cause this little bad girl hits the shelves April 29th. http://www.lisashearin.com/
;)


EDIT to ADD: Ooops! Lisa Shearin's Cyber-Launch Book Party was in June 2007, not May.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sometimes I Don't Get the ARC

THE FAERIE PATH is the first in a Young Adult Fantasy trilogy by Frewin Jones about the long-lost daughter of Titania, Queen of the Faeries. I want them bad, but there weren't any ARCs left for me. (Kimber cries and stomps foot) Luckily, our local library has them. This is a case of an author whose books are so popular he doesn't need a puny little blogger like me posting reviews for him. Darnnit. I like faeries and mermaids and Celtic fairytales and Shakespear and such.
NOBODY'S PRINCESS is the first in a series about the childhood of Helen of Troy. It portrays a very different Helen than anyone else ever has. This Helen is out to kick some major ancient butkis. Unfortunately, there were no ARCs left for me on this one either. Boo-hiss. Worse yet, they're not in our local library. I think my younger gal pals would've loved it too!
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BUT, SOMETIMES I DO GET THE ARC!
THE RED QUEEN'S DAUGHTER by Jacqueline Kolosov was one I was sure was too popular for puny little me to get and, besides, I may have missed the ARC distribution deadline. However, my policy on requesting ARCs is 'It doesn't hurt to ask.' Well, I did ask and Ms. Kolosov emailed right back that she'd be happy to send one! This Fantasy/Historical tells the tale of the daughter of King Henry VIII's last wife, Katherine Parr. Her name is Mary and she was orphaned as a baby. She grows up to serve Queen Elizabeth I, determined not to make her mother's mistakes. Marriage subjugates a woman in that time period. But, can she resist the lure of romantic love? The fact that she's magical and so is her love interest adds to the intrigue.
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Oh, I must remind you that I'm reviewing the second novel of one of my Blog Buddies, Lisa Shearin. Pop in tomorrow for my take on ARMED & MAGICAL.

Also on the Blog Buddy front, I'm hoping Susan Grant's next release, MOONSTRUCK, will arrive soon. I need to receive an ARC and start reading by Friday in order to review it by the following Thursday. If it does arrive by Friday, I may just bump it to the top of the To-Be-Reviewed List because, well, I give preferential treatment to my Blog Buddies and it's my blog so I can if I want to, so there! Normally, I review ARCs in the order they are received. ARCs take precedence over other books too, which means I don't know when I'll get to review THE FAERIE PATH.


Also, don't forget about that contest for ASK AGAIN LATER by Jill A. Davis. Scroll down to the column entitled 'Buzz About a Book' for information

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

PIRATE OF PANTHER BAY by S. R. Staley

The female pirate of this novel is BLACK! Woo-hoo!
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This is the book which got shifted forward on the review schedule because we moved house last week. PIRATE OF PANTHER BAY was recommended to me after I reviewed PIRATICA by Tanith Lee. What sets it apart is that the Heroine is black. You wouldn't know it by the cover. I dream a day in which novels with black heroes and heroines can be marketed to white people with the characters in full color on the cover. But, until then, this is better than white readers never getting the richness of black culture at all.
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Here's a couple of sentences:


“You are Creole. Your Spanish blood did not come by your will. Or
your mother’s.”

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“True. Nor does my British blood. Only Africa’s blood is true.”

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Isabella bears the scars of the slave-traders' whips and this drives her passion as a pirate. More than that, she wants revenge and she supports the European countries who support the Americans against the British. A pirate and a political activist!

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Isabella hates the Spanish because they were the slave-traders. She's also mourning the death of her boyfriend, Jacob. Well, if you read romance novels, you can guess what happens. During the first couple of chapters she acquires a Spanish prisoner. And dang it all, he's gorgeous too.

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Isabella is still trying to figure out what to do with Santa Ana (the hot Spaniard prisoner) when her ship encounters another pirate ship, commanded by Captain Yellow Jacket. At first, everyone's civil, but then Yellow Jacket wants to beat the tarnation out of Santa Ana just for fun because, after all, he's only a dago. Having been abused as less-than-human herself, Isabella is seriously irked. Yellow Jacket accuses her of being only a girl who can't stomach such things. He also insinuates she wants to jump Santa Ana's bones. A swordfight ensues, demonstrating what Girl Power is all about.

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But, now, Yellow Jacket's pride is hurt and that makes for a very dangerous, evil pirate indeed. Megalomaniacs are horribly insecure, you know.

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Isabella and Santa Ana debate the virtues of killing the enemy and what constitutes weakness and respect. Isabella contends that Yellow Jacket is a greater threat to her than Spain itself. Santa Ana suggests Isabella could go legit with training, but she's sure that will never happen because she's female and a former slave.

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You can see how the plots are shaping up. Revenge, political ambition, pirates feuding with each other, and love transcending differences to reveal true nobility. Pop over to http://www.pantherbay.com/

Monday, February 11, 2008

Buzz About a Book & A Contest

A marketing assistant has contacted me about a special contest for the release of ASK AGAIN LATER by Jill A. Davis.


Here's what she sent me:
'
Thanks again for agreeing to review THE WINTER ROSE. I’m working on a campaign for another book that I think your readers might be interested in. Details are below:
'
Forget a mid-life crisis --- Emily, the main character in Jill A. Davis’ novel ASK AGAIN LATER (HarperCollins; trade paperback; on-sale January 29th), is having a quarter-life crisis. Emily has a tendency to live with one foot out the door, so for her the best thing about a family crisis is the excuse to cut and run. When her mother announces they've found a lump, Emily gladly takes a rain check on life to be by her mother's side, leaving behind her career, her boyfriend, and those pesky, unanswerable questions about who she is and what she's doing with her life.But back in her childhood bedroom, Emily realizes that she hasn't run fast or far enough. One evening, Emily opens the door, quite literally, to find her past staring her in the face. How do you forge a relationship with the father who left when you were five years old? As Emily attempts to find balance on the emotional see-saw of her life with the help of two hopeful suitors and her Park Avenue princess sister, she takes a no-risk job as a receptionist at his law firm and slowly gets to know the man she once pretended was dead.
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Jill A. Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of GIRLS’ POKER CLUB and was an Emmy-nominated writer for The David Letterman Show. The hardcover edition of ASK AGAIN LATER debuted on the New York Times bestseller list and was featured as an Entertainment Weekly Must Have. I hope you will consider reviewing or discussing ASK AGAIN LATER on your site.
'
On February 14th, a date easy to remember for booklovers, readers can win a trip to New York City and a $1000 American Express Gift Card. More details will be available on February 14th and I would be happy to send you a link when the contest is live.
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*Sounds like fun! I also have the ARC on the way. But, don't forget, MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND gets reviewed right here on Valentine's Day too!

EDIT TO ADD: Ahhhh! I'm' reviewing ARMED & MAGICAL by Lisa Shearin on Valentine's Day! MAGIC LOST was her debut novel. I reviewed that, like, a year ago, I think. Fabulous Cyber-Launch Party too.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Book Trailer Blog

Hey, Blog Buds. I'm back and a little tired and cranky, but I wanted to let you know I'm creating a sister blog for this one just for hosting book trailers. Only book trailers for books we've reviewed will be posted there. Blog Buddy authors are an exception, as always. They can send me any book trailer they want. Authors, if we've reviewed your book and you have a book trailer, please email Kimber An. I'll be posting the ones I know about over the next few days. Kimber An retains the right to decline posting any book trailer she feels is inappropriate for Enduring Romance.
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P.S. I've got a truckload of ARCs coming up!

http://enduringromancebooktrailers.blogspot.com/

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sunday's Oldies but Goodies...

Greetings!

I’m kicking off this year’s first Oldie but Goodie with a great read!

This Sunday’s Oldie but Goodie is…


This Time Love

by Elizabeth Lowell
First published January 2003

On the surface, the story of Joy Anderson and Gabe Venture seems simple enough. They were young when they got involved, they fell in love, he left, and now she hates his guts for it. At least, that what she tells herself so she can get through life.

Oh, but rarely are things that simple.

Six years ago Joy was Gabe’s guide at New Mexico’s Lost River Cave. Gabe was an aspiring journalist, and Joy fell in love in an instant. As in real life, complications surrounded the couple, and Gabe left - leaving Joy alone, heartbroken, and pregnant.

Flash forward to the present and Gabe, now an award-winning journalist has accepted an assignment to revisit the Lost River Cave, not knowing that Joy, now a doctor, is once again to act as his guide.

I remember when I had first sat down to read this story – recommended to me by a friend – and thought oh Lord, another they-broke-up-young-but-still-love-each-other-and-are- too-stubborn-to-admit-it story. Well, this story is that, but so much more. Throughout the novel, not only does Ms. Lowell weave a tale of these two people with just the right amount of vulnerability and heartbreak, but she also spins a beautiful tapestry of Joy and Gabe’s surroundings. As events unfold, there are certain aspects that are a bit predictable, but you don’t really notice because by then, you care too much about Joy and Gabe and their daughter to mind. By the time you reach the end of the tale, you will be, by turns, happy, angry, sad, and just plain mad as hell at how the two of them were manipulated in the past. The heat level in this story can be categorized as sensual.

You can find out more about the author and her book list on her website
http://www.elizabethlowell.com/

Happy reading!