Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cover Candy : Let's Swirl !


I love a good cover and you don't have to have crazy eyes to see how crazy gorgeous these interracial romance covers are !  From 18th century soldiers to modern day cowboys here are some my favorite cover designs, tell me all about your faves !

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Naked In Death by J.D. Robb (In Death # 1)

Recently I've been in the mood for stories with a little more action, danger and some mystery to keep the plot going.  I think this is because I love me some Investigation Discovery and crime procedural TV.

Since I'm reading romance for this blog it seemed appropriate to look into some romantic suspense. I started with The Ideal Man which was. . . just far from ideal for me. One of the reasons being because of how blah the heroine was portrayed.

I knew I wanted a heroine who wasn't just helplessly swooning over a dude with a badge who is going to save her. I wanted the heroine to have some agency and a stake in the "crime" part, so I figured  finding a  book with a female enforcement figure would be a good bet.  I did some Google-fu and Eve Dallas from J.D Robb's In Death series showed up over and over again.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood

When I started thinking about I started thinking about how I was going to do this review I thought this was a suspense novel because the cover has you know . . . gun, badge and FBI agent but according to the marketing on the back of the CD box this is a contemporary.

I liked the initial flirtation between Max and Ellie, they decide to date and then the book just goes downhill.

This was my first time reading a suspense ( or contemporary romance with suspense elements) and the plotting felt was so strange to me, and I'm trying to figure out if this is the status quo.

First the big plot. Ellie witnesses the Landrys, a criminal couple shoot an FBI agent. The Landrys are known for killing witness which puts Ellie in danger. . . but also she has a dangerous stalker she's been hiding from since she was 11 . . . and also she is on her way to a wedding in her small southern town . . . and but also her younger sister is looking for her missing lover. . . Oh, but also Ellie s a prodigy and gifted surgeon so she spends half the book diagnosing people and dolling out convenient medical advice because that's what surgeon's do . . .

I mean look I haven't gone to medical school but are surgeons really trained to give perfect pregnancy advice (via text message) and diagnose cancerous moles ? Isn't that more of an internist thing ? I digress. All of the plots get wrapped up pretty easily. There is a lot of telling not showing. I guess I was expecting more intrigue and investigating but I guess that's why it's billed as contemporary.

So there was this plot (if you can call it a plot it's more like 2 chapters and a conclusion) about Ellie's sister that I thought was setting up for another book. . . the sister is a new lawyer looking for a Navy Seal she hit it off with. That could be a whole book, but nope that gets resolved in one foul swoop and wrapped up with a tiny bow. It was sooo awkward. It came in and out of nowhere.

I hate to be harsh on a female character but holey moley was Ellie just too perfect, I felt like everyone was singing her praises. Three times in this book the hero stands next to her beaming while some other male character who thinks Ellie is just the best, tells a story about Ellie's past and how awesomesauce she is and Ellie (is of course) humble. It It just felt clunky the third time around and like a way to give background info. I mean I started to worry when I start siding with Ellie's bridezilla sister who feels like Ellie ruins everything with her stalker and what not.

Also some of the dialogue was really dull and uninteresting. I swear there is this intense back and forth about a thermostat and heater or something that I just totally zoned out of. I mean I legit thought it was going to lead to something. I even side eyed during a scene in the book where Ellie checks her phone and tells the hero the weather even though it was nothing to really do with anything.

One interesting fact, Max's brother is a professional football player who is black. We learn that Max was adopted by a black family in sort of a reverse Blindside situation (in Montana of all places) , and I waned to know more on that. It sounded like a Chris Crutcher novel in the making (no one probably gets that) I had a feeling this book wasn't going to to touch that subject but still.

At the end of the day this was more of a coming-home contemporary with badge and gun dude on the side, It felt like like this was three different novels being thrown together and boring dialogue added to make word count.

I know Julie Garwood is a celebrated romance writer and I feel like I might have just picked up the wrong book. I may give her historicals a try.

My first suspense-ish novel left a bad taste in my mouth. I need help. Please send recs

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Guest Post: Bad Boy Inspiration by Shana Galen + Giveaway !

 Earlier this week I reviewed The Rogue You Know, the second book in the Covent Garden Cubs series and I'm happy to have Shana on our blog today to talk about bad boy hero inspirations. Scroll down to the bottom to enter a giveaway !

When we think about Regency England, we tend to think of the balls, the carriages, the gowns. We forget that for every duke or marquess, there were hundreds of thieves and pickpockets living in the slums of the city. Covent Garden was an area of London with plenty of rookeries, and the thieves who lived there often banded together because there’s protection in numbers. My fictional gang called the Covent Garden Cubs is made up of the leader Satin, his second-in-command Beezle, and an assortment of pickpockets and house-breakers with names like Gap, Racer, and Stub. The gang also has one girl, Marlowe, and I wrote about her in Earls Just Want to Have Fun. Her best friend in the gang in Gideon, and he’s the hero in The Rogue You Know. Gideon is the ultimate bad boy who can cheat, lie, and steal with the best of them. He was orphaned at a young age and had no choice but to steal to survive. Now Gideon wants a different life for himself, and if he can just complete one last job, he’ll have it…or die trying.
When writing about my bad boy hero, I had plenty of inspiration.
1)       Flynn Rider from Tangled
Yes, I know Flynn is animated, but he is the main inspiration for Gideon. Like the Disney bad boy, Gideon is charming, funny, and self-deprecating. Flynn makes no apologies for his lifestyle, and while he may try to hide his sensitive side, his love for Rapunzel brings it out.
2)       George Gordon Byron, Baron Byron
Byron was a poet, nobleman, and ultimate bad boy. Described as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” Byron titillated the Regency world. He generated enormous debts, had numerous affairs and liaisons, and ultimately died young and tragically abroad. A bad boy with the heart of a romantic is always an inspiration.
3)       Danny in Grease
We’ve all seen Grease so many times we forget that Travolta’s character was really a bad boy. He’s dangerous for Sandy’s reputation and just plain dangerous, period. But like any bad boy we love, love wins Danny over and he’s willing to change to be with the woman who means everything.
4)       Patrick in 10 Things I Hate About You
I love a bad boy who sets out to corrupt the good girl and then is corrupted by her instead. Heath Ledger is fabulous as the new kid in school who agrees to date the heroine…for a fee. “How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.” The banter between Patrick and Kat makes this bad boy movie memorable.
5)       Nick Gentry in Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas
While Gideon may be on the wrong side of the law and Nick Gentry a Bow Street Runner, Nick definitely serves as an inspiration. He’s a man with a dark past and much to hide, but Charlotte is able to peel away the layers one by one. Her love for him, and his for her, redeems this bad boy and makes us love him all the more.
I enjoyed taking inspiration from each of these bad boys and creating the character of Gideon. He may be a thief and a rogue, but he is also capable of deep love. And that’s what my books are about—characters for whom love changes everything.
Who are your favorite redeemed rogues?
Book Information
Title: The Rogue You Know
Author: Shana Galen
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance
She's beyond his reach...
Gideon Harrow has spent his life in London's dark underworld-and he wants out. A thief and a con, he plans one last heist to finally win his freedom. But when everything goes wrong, he finds himself at the tender mercies of one of Society's most untouchable women-Lady Susanna Derring.
...and out of her depth.
Susanna has spent her life in London's glittering ton, under the thumb of a domineering mother-and she wants out. When a wickedly charming rogue lands at her feet, she jumps at the chance to experience life before it's too late. But as she descends into London's underworld, she finds that nothing- not even Gideon-is as it seems. As excitement turns to danger, Susanna must decide what price she's willing to pay...for the love of a reformed thief.
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Author Biography
Shana Galen is the bestselling author of passionate Regency romps, including the RT Reviewers' Choice The Making of a Gentleman.Kirkus says of her books, "The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun," and RT Book Reviews calls her books "lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching." She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston's inner city. Now she writes full time. She's happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers, so send her an email or see what she's up to daily on Facebook and Twitter. Stop by her website at
Social Networking Links
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The Rogue You Know by Shana Galen (Covent Garden Cubs #2)

Release Date: September 1, 2015
Page Number: 384
Series: Covent Garden Cubs
Publisher: Sourcebooks

Susanna Derring has spent her life under her mother’s strict surveillance. For the longest time she believed her mother was just trying too keep her to gentry standard and ensure Susanna had a suitable husband. But  after a chance coversation with an old friend she suspects there is something her mother is hiding and  the answers are at the  the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. Now, if only she had a way to get there…

Cue Gideon Harrow, a thief (and friend of Susanna’'s sister-in-law)who has to do one last act of thievery so he can afford passage out of London and start a life as an honest man.

When Susanna catches Gideon trying to hide in her library (Tangled style except with a candlestick not a frying pan) she makes a wager. He escorts her to Vauxhall Garden and she’ll give him the necklace he needs to pawn to get his passage out of London. What is supposed to be a one night outing turns into a series of mini-adventures and close calls in London’s Seven Dials neighborhood.

One of the things I like about this series is it does the Regency Romance But Not In A Ballroom. Galen seems to always create interesting ways to put her characters in the actual city of London instead of cramped up in residences and cottages.

Overall I didn’t like this book as much as I liked the first one. This book just felt way too precocious. Susanna is able to charm all the dangerous people into doing what she wants and she is always helping the poor people she meets along the way. Also, they get followed by this stray dog that is like an animal in a Disney movie. It seems to know exactly what all her commands are and it comes in right in the nick of time to save them.

I was pretty lukewarm on the romance between Gideon and Susanna, I didn’t feel much chemistry between them and the romance happened really quickly. There is also a secondary plot involving Susanna’s mother that felt kind of rushed.

The Rogue You Know is a fast paced story, but the quickfire romance leaves a lot to be desired.
Despite not loving this book I think I will read the third book in this series, I Kissed A Rogue because it has a pre-established relationship which is a trope I like.