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The More Things Change,The More Things Stay the Same

When I wrote my novel DOLLBABY, which starts in New Orleans the summer of 1964, I never imagined a novel set in my lifetime would be considered historical fiction. I suppose a lot has changed in the last fifty years—there were no computers, no Internet, no answering machines. Heck, there wasn’t even color television. Many houses had only one phone (a land line), one bathroom, and in many cases, no air conditioning. Perma-press, fast food, and iTunes were things of the future. Yet no matter how much things change, certain aspects of life will forever remain the same. Take human nature for example. From the dawn of time, man has had the same wants and desires. Granted they may be expressed a little differently these days, but we still ask the same questions of ourselves.… Continue
echoesofScotland

ECHOES OF SCOTLAND STREET by Samantha Young

All hail the return of The Tribe! With ECHOES OF SCOTLAND STREET, the fifth installment in the On Dublin Street series by Samantha Young, the loving family of characters that she has created is back, and this time, it’s time for Cole Walker’s story to be told. At the age of fifteen, Cole had a brief encounter with a petite redhead outside her grandmother’s house in Edinburgh. They bonded over a favorite rock band, and a spark was ignited between them (this meet cute is actually referred to in one of the previous ODS books-Ms. Young, you are so sneaky!). But it won’t be until nine years later when Cole meets the mystery girl again. Shannon MacLeod is the new receptionist at INKarnate, the tattoo studio where Cole is the manager and tattoo artist in… Continue
SweeterThanSin

SWEETER THAN SIN (Secrets & Shadows #2) by Shiloh Walker

SWEETER THAN SIN is the story of Adam and Lana, friends from childhood that have held each other’s secrets sacred for years even though it has torn them apart. SWEETER THAN SIN is also the continuation of a much bigger story in the small town of Madison. It should be noted that the Secrets & Shadows series deals with a very dark and deeply disturbing subject matter. I say that as a heads up more than a warning. While the bigger picture is explained, the gruesome details are mostly left to our imagination. The town of Madison is in the throes of sorting out a child molestation group whose existence is finally coming to light. Cronus Club is a group of the town’s most respected and revered men who indoctrinate their sons into manhood with… Continue
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Marriage of Convenience: Making a Classic Trope Modern

Molly O’Keefe, 2014 RITA Award winner, talks about the Marriage of Convenience trope—and why it’s hard to write in contemporary times, but how authors are able to make a classic plot line fresh and modern.   I love a good secret baby book, and don’t get me started on revenge plots, but my favorite—my very favorite romance plot line—is Marriage of Convenience. For those of you who might not have dipped your toe into this kind of story: basically, what happens is that two people agree to get married, or better yet have to get married for some practical or manipulative or dangerous reason, but the hero and heroine don’t like each other. Or better yet hate each other. Or even better, one of them is madly in love with the other but can’t ever… Continue
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Music and Emotion: The Magic of Playlists

Today Rhonda Helms is here to talk about the relationship between music and emotional connection – between characters, and between writers and their work, and readers and the books they read. Her new novel, SCRATCH, features a DJ heroine. The SCRATCH playlist has multiple layers; it shows pieces of Casey’s DJing job (like the upbeat electronic or dubstep songs she might play at the club). It shows her own personal playlist (more emotional pieces that reflect her feelings during particular spots in the story, when she has her earbuds in between classes, etc). It also shows some of Daniel too, the songs that make him think of her. A true “mix tape” that reflects many different pieces of the whole book, and also a little bit about the author. My editor Peter and I scoured… Continue
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STIRRING UP TROUBLE by Kimberly Kincaid

Looking for inspiration… Sloane Russo’s turned a decade of crazy jobs and whimsical travel into a career writing steamy novels set in exotic places. Trouble is, Sloane’s flat broke now—and she can’t channel sun-drenched beaches in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The only fast cash in town comes with some seriously distracting temptation: Gavin Carmichael, hot, handsome and oh-so-hard-headed. Gavin isn’t the impulsive Don Juan of Sloane’s novels. He’s raising his thirteen-year-old half-sister, and he’s pretty sure he’s supposed to act like he’s never heard of fun. Sloane is way too sexy and irresponsible to be his idea of a good tutor for Bree, but the unpredictable anti-nanny may be irresistible as well. I have a couple of Kincaid’s books sitting unread on my Kindle and several of my favorite bloggers are fans of her… Continue
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BURYING WATER by K.A. Tucker

The top-selling, beloved indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths returns with a new romance about a young woman who loses her memory—and the man who knows that the only way to protect her is to stay away. Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge:… Continue
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Club Hopping: Jamie K. Schmidt’s Favorite Clubs

Summer is over and it’s back to the routine of school and autumn days.  I can look back fondly at all the beach parties and cook outs with friends and family.  Thankfully, there will always be night clubs that let us have some rowdy fun indoors once the weather turns chilly.  Here are some of my favorite bars and clubs:
  • The Adventurer’s Club – Downtown Disney, Orlando FL.
  • Unfortunately, this club closed in 2008 and lives on only in my memory.  But I remember with glee sitting on the bar stool that veeeeery slowly lowered and raised and drinking rum punch from a plastic monkey’s head.  Congaloosh! 2.  Minus 5° Ice Bar – Las Vegas, NV The temperature is set at a balmy negative five degrees Fahrenheit.  You have to wear gloves, a fur… Continue
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    From Contemporary to Erotic Romance: One Writer’s Journey

    Hi. I’m Carly Phillips and I’m best known for writing small town romance. Hot small town romance with emotional connections between the characters and a connected journey to the hero and heroine’s happily ever after. Now I also write erotic romance.  There. I said it. I’ve been skirting the actual line in interviews and descriptions of my work but with DARE TO SUBMIT, there’s no doubt. I went there. For many people (I think my own mother included), the question is why. Why change things? What people don’t realize is that this was not an overnight change. I started out in publishing in 1999 with Brazen, my first Harlequin Temptation BLAZE, their hottest line. I went on to write a total of 8 Harlequin Blaze books, including a launch for the new longer Blaze line.… Continue
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    THE UNEXPECTED HONEYMOON by Barbara Wallace

    Widower Carlos Chavez manages La Joya del Mayan, the most romantic resort in Mexico. On good days, the romance passes unnoticed; on dark days, it only reminds him of his loss.  But the honeymoon suite’s latest guest, Larissa Boyd, has rocked his steadfastness. Stunningly beautiful, she seems lost. And no wonder…she’s on a honeymoon for one! The chemistry is instant – and their similarities run deep. Could it be that the two loneliest hearts on the island have found love…in the most unexpected of places? Sometimes, I am in the mood for a short and sweet romance that I can read in one sitting.  THE UNEXPECTED HONEYMOON was just the thing to fit.  It is a very sweet story about two people who find themselves drawn into a love affair that neither one really wanted. … Continue
    Ruptured - Ebook

    In Love With Superheroes

    I admit it. I am a huge geek. One could argue that I am totally, head-over-heels, madly-in- love with superheroes. What woman could resist Captain America, as played by Chris Evans, in the latest movie installment, The Winter Soldier? He’s an indestructible, super-soldier with the manners of a true gentleman. I can feel a swoon coming on just thinking about him. Or better yet, Arrow, as played by Stephen Amell on the CW. A man who survived a horrible five years on a desolate island returns home to save his city. He’s emotionally scarred, a bit of a bad boy in his green leather, and makes you desire, above all else, to be the one woman who will heal him. In both the books, and the films, what women did not want… Continue
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    WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS by Maya Rodale

    In the third novel in Maya Rodale’s charming Wallflower series, London’s Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .  Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret. Everyone knows that she’s the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season—but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again. John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody’s hero. He’s a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future—that do not include a wife. When Continue
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    HER BEST SHOT by Shannyn Schroeder

    I’m a big fan of the novella done right because as a romance junkie it provides me a quick fix. But novellas can be tricky because the author has a short amount of time to capture the reader’s heart and mind, and do it successfully. Her Best Shot accomplished that in just one hundred and thirty pages! Layla is on her way to spring break to celebrate landing a job and finishing school.  When her car breaks down in a small Atlanta town her plans are derailed. Passing the time while she waits to get the verdict on her car, she goes into a bar for a drink.  Immediately Layla’s drawn to a pool player as he wins game after game, dazzling her with his talent as well as his looks. Phin is mesmerized by… Continue
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    TRUTH OR DARE by Mira Lyn Kelly

    After her one attempt at commitment ends with the discovery that her fiancé already has a wife and kid, Maggie Lawson vows that the only people she’ll love ’til death do they part will be her friends. Unfortunately that means Maggie letting her bestie rope her into a year-long dating dare: score a new date each month or pay a penalty. Seems doable—until Maggie’s date stands her up, leaving only one option: the sexy stud who just moved in upstairs. The problem? He and Maggie can’t stop fighting—and that’s just the beginning. His name is Tyler Daniels and the last thing he needs is his neighbor distracting him with her girl-next-door smile and sharp tongue. Tyler’s in Chicago for one reason: to woo back his selfish ex in order to reclaim the child he once Continue
    Control Small

    Obsessed with Plots

    What happens when you think you can do it better—a cautionary tale! My Grandma Lucille was one of the smartest women I’ve ever known. She was a University of Chicago graduate and her idea of reading for pleasure was devouring the diaries of Samuel Peyps. Never heard of him? Me, neither! LOL!! Turns out the diary he wrote from 1660-1669 is one of the most important historical documents of the English Restoration period. But I digress . . . The takeaway here is that if I wasn’t reading the classics, as far as Grandma was concerned, I might as well have been perusing a cereal box! Grandma and Grandpa were the same age as the whole classic Brat Pack-era, and as such, they opted to retire to Palm Springs, California, where all the Hollywood A-listers… Continue
    Allornothing

    ALL OR NOTHING by Kendall Ryan

    The chemistry between Ellie and Braydon in the first two Love by Design books was hot. Their humor and quick wit had me begging for the pair to get together. Thankfully Kendall Ryan gave them their own story to fill my need. After a romp in the bathroom at their best friend’s wedding, Braydon convinces Ellie to be “fuck friends.” It’s clear from the start their friends with benefits relationship isn’t going to work. For being the one who suggested their arrangement Braydon acts like he and Ellie are something more right from the start. Actually, that’s not right. Braydon acts like he and Ellie are in a relationship when they’re at Ellie’s apartment. If Ellie suggests they go to his place or even go out to dinner Braydon turns into a jerk. If fact,… Continue
    InYour Dreams

    IN YOUR DREAMS by Kristan Higgins

    Everyone loves Jack Holland, but Emmaline Neal needs him. Her ex-fiancé is getting married in Malibu and, obviously, she can’t go to the wedding alone. In Manningsport, New York, tall, blond and gorgeous Jack Holland is practically a cottage industry when it comes to rescuing desperate women. He knows the drill, Em figures, so he won’t get the wrong idea.  What Jack needs is an excuse to leave town. Ever since rescuing four teenagers from a car wreck, he’s been hailed as a hero and the attention is making him itchy, especially since his too-pretty ex-wife is back, angling for a reunion. He’s always liked Emmaline. She needs a weekend date? No problem. So when they wind up in bed together, Em chalks it up to red wine and chocolate cake, just one impulsive night Continue
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    LOVE ON THE BOARDWALK by Christi Barth

    Atlantic City is the perfect place for detective Bradley Hudson to nurse his broken heart. A week of beer and strippers is sure to erase his former fiancée from his memory for good. What he didn’t count on was running into a sassy redhead from his past. Maybe a rebound romp is an even better plan… Trina Trimble, private eye in training, is thrilled to be reunited with the hottie she almost hooked up with last summer. She’s undercover on her first solo case, but there’s always time to lock lips with a sexy cop. Besides, a fun fling with Brad doesn’t have to last beyond his week in town. Brad and Trina are supposed to be just flirting, not forging a new forever. Brad’s still healing, and although Trina changes careers the way other… Continue
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    HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DOM IN FIVE EASY STEPS by Josephine Myles

    I wasn’t sure about this book when it was offered for review. I’ve read a few of Ms. Myles’s other books—I also met her at RT this year and she is British and delightful—so I had a sense for what I was in for and trusted her to take me on a good ride, even if BDSM is not really my thing. What I did not expect, though, was for this book to make me cry. I mean that in the best way; there’s a scene toward the end when the characters confess how they feel for each other, and I was sitting on my bed sobbing like a baby because it just got to me and I wanted so bad for things to work out for these characters. But I am getting ahead of… Continue
    Forged

    FORGED BY DESIRE by Bec McMaster

    Love, death, and revenge are the predominant themes of Bec McMaster’s latest London Steampunk installment, Forged By Desire. After enduring the clutches of a power-hungry Duke and his mad scientist henchman, Perry Lowell decides to join the Nighthawks, hoping that she can put her past behind and forge a new life. Her partner, Garrett Reed, is wise enough not to ask Perry about her secrets up until it finally catches up with her. A serial killer is on the loose in the streets of London, cutting up his female victims and doing nasty experiments with them. The killer’s M.O. is very familiar to Perry, bringing up horrific memories. It takes a while for her to face her fears and the man behind her nightmares. Eventually, with Garrett and the rest of the Nighthawks’ help,… Continue
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    SHATTERED BONDS (Wicked Play #7) by Lynda Aicher

    Shattered Bonds tells the story of The Den Club Co-Owner Noah Bakker and Liv Delcour, sister to Vanessa Delcour, aka Mistress V another co-owner of the The Den whose story is told in Bonds of Courage (Wicked Play #6) — a book I loved. Shattered Bonds opens with a bang, an event that truly rocks this cast of characters. This is a story that features all the characters in the prior books so I would recommend reading at least some of the stories before this one. (I read Shattered Bonds having only read some of the prior books and I had no issues following the story.) Ms. Aicher did an amazing job taking one event (no, I am not telling you what it is — you need to read the book!) and using it as… Continue
    breakinghisrules

    BREAKING HIS RULES by Allison Packard

    I hadn’t read any of the previous books in the Feeling the Heat series so I was pleasantly surprise when it didn’t prevent me from enjoying Breaking His Rules. I’m drawn to books where one of the main characters has gone through a transformation. I like to see how those who have been with them from the start of the journey contrast to those who have only seen the finished product. This novel centers on Melissa and her decision to become a healthier person. Melissa met her personal trainer, Jake, when she was at her heaviest. Although she was unsure of herself, Melissa had the drive and determination to change her life. Her dedication to her health impressed Jake from the start. Admiration quickly leads to friendship and the pair soon find themselves spending… Continue
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    My Romance with the Outdoors

    I’ve always been an outdoorsy person. My mom called me a tomboy. I hated dresses (still do). And I spent more time roaming the woods catching frogs than playing inside with Barbie dolls. One of the benefits of being a military brat is it afforded me the opportunity to explore a variety places from the woods on the Air Force base in Maryland, to the tropical jungle on Guam. My favorite outing was going fishing with my father when we lived in in Louisiana. Not only because of the quality time we shared, but because of how magical the swamp seemed to me as a child. It captivated me with a heady blend of danger and beauty. And I learned fairly quickly to abide by the posted “Don’t feed the alligators” signs by not swimming… Continue
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    WORTH THE FALL by Claudia Connor

    When I read that Worth the Fall was a romance between a Navy SEAL and a pregnant mother of four, I was like…What?!! How can that possibly work or be believable? Well it more than worked because this story MELTED my heart! Just sooo lovely! Matt McKinney is spending some time at the beach while on leave when Abby, captures his attention. She’s beautiful, pregnant and alone with four small kids, and the way she cares for her children draws Matt in like a beacon.  He wonders what kind of idiot of a man would allow his wife go on vacation alone and miss out on all the love they obviously provide.  Soon he’s caught up with the kids, drawn into games of catch, making sandcastles, and coming to the rescue in the inevitable crisis… Continue
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    TV Preview: THE AFFAIR

    It’s that time of year again: back to school, back to work, and back to obsessing over new TV shows. One I’m really looking forward to is The Affair, starring Ruth WilsonDominic West, Joshua Jackson and Maura Tierney. The series cuts back and forth between the male and female perspective of a love affair.  Alison (Wilson), is a young woman waiting tables at a Hamptons diner, and she begins an affair with Noah (West), a public school teacher and aspiring novelist. Jackson plays Alison’s financially struggling husband, Cole, and Tierney plays Helen, Noah’s wife of seventeen years. From the looks of this trailer, there seems to be some sort of mystery involved. Will you be tuning in? The Affair premieres October 12 on Showtime.… Continue
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    WICKEDLY DANGEROUS by Deborah Blake

    Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them. Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment. But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Continue
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    VAMPIRES OF MANHATTAN by Melissa de la Cruz

    I am a new Melissa de la Cruz convert. As you already know, I recap the weekly Lifetime series, Witches of East End which is based on her books about the Beauchamp family; now I have a new de la Cruz series to follow. Vampires of Manhattan is a spin off of de la Cruz’s YA series, Blue Bloods. Since I am not a big reader of all things Young Adult, I will admit to not being completely familiar with that series. Have no fear; de la Cruz does an excellent job getting me up to speed. I was able to glean enough back-story about each main player in this series to make me,  a newbie, feel right at home. I am a huge paranormal fan. Not all paranormal is created equal. The world-building necessary… Continue
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    RIGHT KIND OF WRONG (Finding Fate #3) by Chelsea Fine

    I didn’t read the previous novels in the Finding Fate series as this book could be read as a stand-alone. I feel that sometimes even though authors say you can read a book out of order from the rest of the series you still miss something. But, I was pleasantly surprised that I had no problem following along with Jenna and Jack’s story. This book was a quick read. Even though the problems Jenna and Jack dealt with, especially in the second half of the book, are heavy I would categorize this book as a light read. I actually think that was one of the reasons I didn’t totally fall in love with Right Kind of Wrong. There were some pretty scary illegal activities that were fairly easily taken care of, but I never… Continue
    TheLaird

    THE LAIRD by Grace Burrowes

    Grace Burrowes’s latest series is about three men tangled together during the Napoleonic Wars and the aftermath. These are not light reads; they are romances, yes, but they deal with trauma both at home and abroad and how the characters cope with the horrors they’ve witnessed and their new lives back home in England. I randomly picked up an ARC of the first book of the Captive Hearts series, The Captive, a couple of months ago without knowing what the book was about. I did this pretty much only because I had heard of Grace Burrowes and thought the cover was pretty. My only exposure to her books in the past was a reading at Lady Jane’s Salon in New York during which she had her foppish English audio book reader read her book. (And… Continue
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    Trailer: DOWNTON ABBEY, Season Five

    We have to wait a bit longer than our friends across the pond for Downton Abbey season five (it premieres in the U.K. on September 21 while here in the U.S. the date is January 4) — but that just gives us all the more time to build up our anticipation! In the meantime, this trailer promises a season of high drama and more changes for Downton.… Continue