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Please note that the stories reviewed in this blog are Romances, and as such, often contain explicit sexuality.

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Guest Post & Giveaway – Christmas At Tiffany’s – Karen Swan

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On Favorite Scenes

by Karen Swan

There are a couple of scenes that really made me laugh out loud when I was writing them – the ‘Vegas’ swimsuit scene at Hampstead Heath swimming ponds, Cassie having her beauty treatments (Brazilian wax in New York, Endermology in Paris) and I really loved the catch-your-breath moment at the hotel in the Venice scenes. But more than anything, I loved the Christmas scene in New York when Cassie is by the tree in Tiffanys. I had been writing that scene in a meandering, aimless fashion, not really sure where I wanted to go with it and was basing everything upon my memories of having once attended a party there during Fashion Week, thinking of the jewelry cabinets, the lights…

I just didn’t know what to do with her until I realized I had her standing next to the Christmas tree, waiting for her boyfriend, Luke, to buy a present for his mother. The idea for what should happen next came to me in a flash and I couldn’t have been more delighted with it. It’s the ultimate Tiffany’s fantasy and just seemed so obvious once I’d hit upon it. Even better was the way I was able to spin out the surprise when she got back to her boyfriend’s apartment. The entire sequence really brought to the book that sense of indulgence and festivity, as well as being a useful device to ramp up tension with Luke and begin to bring Henry into the mix.

 

‘…She accepted another glass of champagne and ambled slowly towards the giant Christmas tree to wait for him and listen to the carols. The choir really was excellent.  She was determined to hoover up every last atom of Christmas in New York,

She looked up at the tree, just about the only thing in the store she hadn’t scrutinized. It was tall and plush with needles, with empty boxes of every size piled around the foot, adorned with sumptuous white satin bows that blossomed atop the lids. It was like stepping into a fantasy and she wished she was wearing a cocktail dress and chignon, rather than jeans and a-

She blinked and looked more closely, blinking again for good measure. But her eyes weren’t deceiving her – for there, beneath the tree, in beautiful trademarked-blue, was an enormous box with a card dangling from the ribbon, and on it, her name.

She bent over and stared at it more closely. It couldn’t be! And yet it was. Her name….’

 

About the Book

In the wake of a heartbreaking betrayal, a young woman leaves the Scottish countryside to find her destiny in three of the most exciting cities in the world—New York, Paris, and London—in this funny and triumphant tale of fulfillment, friendship, and love.

Ten years ago, a young and naïve Cassie married her first serious boyfriend, believing he would be with her forever. Now, her marriage is in tatters and Cassie has no career or home of her own. Though she feels betrayed and confused, Cassie isn’t giving up. She’s going to take control of her life. But first she has to find out where she belongs . . . and who she wants to be.

Over the course of one year, Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with her best friends living in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris, and London. Exchanging comfort food and mousy hair for a low-carb diet and a gorgeous new look, Cassie tries each city on for size as she searches for the life she’s meant to have . . . and the man she’s meant to love.

 

About the Author

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and an ADHD puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest in Sussex, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs. Her first novel, Players, was published in 2010, followed by Prima Donna and Christmas at Tiffany’s in 2011.

http://karenswan.wix.com/karenswan
Twitter: @KarenSwan1
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KarenSwanAuthor
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/karenswan2

One lucky reader will receive a digital copy of Christmas at Tiffany’s! Just leave a comment below to enter!

Book Spotlight & Giveaway – Full Circle by Chudney Thomas

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He’s waited years for her…

In a pack of werewolves, a half human isn’t exactly at the top of the food chain. Half-human, half-werewolf, Ria Marlett knows her place in the pack. And she knows exactly how the pack’s alpha, Drake Neilson, views her; as a convenient lay. So far she’s managed to avoid his advances, but she knows his patience is growing thin.

Now he’s ready to claim her.

Ria does her best to avoid Drake, but the sexy woman can’t hide who she is. Tired of waiting, now he’ll do whatever it takes to win Ria, even woo her while dealing with rabid lone wolf attacks. With the pack in danger Ria is forced to face what Drake has been telling her all along, she just might be the strongest of the pack.

Length: 23,000 words

About the Author

I was born in Brooklyn New York, raised on the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. According to my father, I learned to read at three and wouldn’t allow him to skip a page of a story. I grew up raiding my mother’s stash of books and my Aunt Patsy’s extensive library. There, I developed my love of literature, and specifically romance. Books transported me to different worlds, and encouraged me to learn about different cultures, continents, expanding my horizons. I currently live in Central Florida with my family and our interesting pet pooch Maya.  You can find me on the net at http://chudneythomas.com/ and on Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram 

Giveaway time! Ms. Thomas is giving one lucky reader a $10 Starbucks gift card! Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below!
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Quickie Review: The Boy With The Painful Tattoo – Josh Lanyon

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Expected Release Date: October 5, 2014
Publisher: JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
Imprint: N/A
Author’s Website: http://www.joshlanyon.com/
My Source for This Book: Personal Purchase (Amazon.com)
Part of a Series: Yes, book 3, Holmes & Moriarity Series
Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but works well as a standalone
Steam Level: Steamy
Pet Peeves: The Dreaded “P” Word
Favorite Tropes: Subtle Comedy, Long Term Relationship, Cameo Appearances From Another Series (!)

Official Blurb:

It’s moving day Chez Holmes. Somehow, against Kit’s better instincts, he and J.X. are setting up house together. But while J.X. is off at a mystery fiction convention, Kit unpacks a crate that should contain old china. It doesn’t…

This, oh this, is what I’ve missed so much about Josh Lanyon.  The hilarity of some of the most improbable circumstances, the dry wit, the subtle mysteries, all intertwined with the complicated angst and sweetness that comes part and parcel with true love…

Kit and J.X have finally (freaking finally) moved in together, but of course things are never simple between these two. As J.X. goes off to a mystery fiction convention, Kit stays home to get things settled, only to have things end up decidedly unsettled, because as you know, where these two go, trouble is sure to follow…

I absolutely refuse to spoil any plot points, because this book had me glued to the pages from start to finish, but suffice it to say that there are many twists and turns in both the mystery and in the romance, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was a perfect blend of humor, romance, angst, mystery, action, and steam.

5stars

resounding 5/5 Stars, and highly recommended to any fan of contemporary M/M Mystery Romance.

Review: In Despair – Megan Derr

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Expected Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Imprint: N/A
Author’s Website: http://maderr.com/
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, Princes of the Blood Series
Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone
Steam Level: Steamy
Pet Peeves: Mentions of sex outside of a monogamous/polyamorous relationship (not infidelity), “underage” sex
Favorite Tropes: Enemies to lovers

Official Blurb:

Prince Telmé Guldbrandsen has been groomed since childhood to become a Prince of the Blood and Commander of the Legion. He will be the youngest person to ever take the Blooding—if he can behave long enough to prove he can be trusted with the responsibility. But behaving is difficult when he is constantly forced to endure Korin: heir to the Reach of the House and the Temple of the Sacred Three, and the snotty brat Telmé is expected to someday marry.

Then the unthinkable happens, leaving Castle Guldbrandsen—and the Legion—in pieces. Overwhelmed by fear and grief, Telmé convinces Korin to help him attempt the impossible. But rather than relief, Telmé’s triumph is met with anger and rejection …

This is my first experience with a Megan Derr book, but if it’s indicative of her work, it certainly won’t be my last.

This was the third installment of the Princes of the Blood series, and yet it was very easy for me to follow along, probably because most of the story was told in the form of flashback to the youths of our heroes, Telmé and Korin. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the enemies-to-lovers trope, which helped to both build the tension between our heroes and to highlight the chemistry that already existed between them.  Add to that the extra strikes against them such as the differences in their magic, and the apparent disdain that they received from their elders, and it seemed as though their relationship was doomed from the start. The emotional turmoil caused by the discord between Telmé and Korin, as well as some of the other events in the book added just the right amount of angst to the story without being overwrought.

Another aspect that drew me to this story was the fact that even though the romance remained a steady factor, it never overshadowed the action.  The world-building was fantastic, with a fascinating premise of the Legion itself, the Blooding, the Temple, and the mystery behind the murders of the Legion.  Throw in plenty of movie-worthy fantasy action, and I truly couldn’t put this one down.

Only thing I wasn’t keen on was the whole bit where it seems priests have sex with other people as part of their priestly duties, but that wasn’t dwelled upon, and was probably explained in earlier books.  This is one of my own personal hangups — I prefer all my sex in romance novels to occur within devoted monogamous or polyamorous relationships, and even though it seemed that all involved parties were perfectly happy with the arrangement, it wasn’t something that I was particularly comfortable with. 

Some readers may be a bit bothered by the fact the protagonists are what modern readers would consider to be “underage” for most of the book, but in their world, it obviously wasn’t an issue, so it wasn’t an issue for me either.  

Overall, I absolutely devoured this book.  Highly recommended for fans of action-packed fantasy with a delicious m/m romantic subplot.

4halfA very solid 4.5/5