Sunday, April 25, 2010

Flashback Sunday- A Brother's Price

So continuing the Sunday Flashback theme this is a book that I missed the first time around.  First published in 2005.

Author:              Wen Spencer

Genre:                Fantasy/Alternate Earth

Purchase:         A Brother's Price


From the Author: 

On an alternate Earth, where the population is ninety percent female and a man is sold by his sisters to marry all the women in a family, Jerin Whistler is coming of age. His mothers are respected landed gentry, his grandfather a kidnapped prince, and his grandmothers common line soldiers blackballed for treason, trained by thieves, re-enlisted as spies, and knighted for acts of valor. Jerin wants to marry well, and his sisters want a husband bought by his brother's price.

My Review: 

     This is an interesting book.  On this earth, women hold the role that men have held in our world.  They make the decisions and the men are treated as chattel.  Women are soldiers, bakers, store owners and make decisions for the family.  They also have polygamous marriages, several sisters marry one man.  The men are bought or traded and bring great value on the families if they happen to produce male children.  No mention is made as to why there are so many women and so few men and why the men father so many more female babies but personally I was so caught up in the story that it didn't occur to me until I finished the story. 

     The main male character, Jerin, is also not typical of his world.  He is stunningly handsome, he's been educated (something not common for a man) and he is very good with children.  As the male head of the house, he in actuality is the house steward and is in charge of not only the cooking and cleaning but also plays a large role in taking care of the younger children.  He understands that he is to be traded or bartered in marriage but is terrified that his "elder" sisters won't take his feelings into consideration and make a trade that he will not be comforatable with.  What he really wants is a love match, however, even he doesn't know that at the beginning of the book.  He's also very young according to our standards, he is not quite 16, which is their age of maturity and when he will be old enough to be married off.  His birthday is to take place 2 months from the start of the book. 

     The main female character, Princess Rennsellaer, is very interesting.  She is the oldest living daughter of the Queens and is the next head of their kingdom.  She's well educated, very attractive and a widow (having been one of the yougest wives of the Eldest daughter's husband).   She is a good horsewoman and a good military leader.  While in the area that Jerin and his family live, she ends up encountering his family and falls in love with Jerin.  She knows that she must choose a husband for herself and her remaining sisters and realizes that Jerin and his family have enough noble blood to be a match and makes arrangments for him and at least 2 of his sisters to come to the palace to meet the rest of her sister's and her mothers, as she must get approval from her mother's to marry Jerin and make him the royal consort. 

     This story also deals with the fall out of the matriarchial society and the responsibilities that these women all have to take and also with how an educated man turns out to have great value.  Jerin turns out to be more than just the father to the kingdom's future queens, he turns out to be a good match for the young women and if a sequel was done to this story it would be interesting to see what role he would play in possible changes to their society.  It's an interesting role reversal and there is plenty of action and even a kidnapping attempt and rescue that takes place.

     Overall this is really a good book.  I don't know if the author intended for there to be a social message but one comes thru anyway.  I really enjoyed reading this.  I have read 2 other books by this author, both are science fiction/fantasy books, Tinker (Elfhome, Book 1) and Wolf Who Rules (Elfhome, Book 2) and consider them both part of my comfort read collection.

Rating:   4.5 out of 5 Crowns

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sold To The Highest Bidder - Contest Winners

And The Winners Are:

Sweet Vernal Zephyr
Tracy D.

The winners need to contact me at within 72 hours in order to claim their prize or new winners will be chosen.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sold To The Highest Bidder - A Contest

Donna Alward was kind enough to do a short interview regarding her writting and her new release "Sold To The Highest Bidder" from Samhain Publishing.  I am giving away 3 copies of the ebook in the contest.

Maria: I noticed that Sold to the Highest Bidder is your 3rd novel with Samhain Publishing, of the 3 published which is your personal favorite so far?

Donna:  I’m hero monogamous, so I always fall in love with the current hero – but I’m also fickle that means once I finish with him, it’s over. LOL! Of the three, Sold To The Highest Bidder is my favourite simply because it’s still pretty fresh for me. And I think Devin is dead sexy. It’s been a few years since my last Samhain releases…it’s good to be back.

Maria:What was the inspiration behind "Sold to the Highest Bidder"?

Donna:   I had an idea for a bachelor auction in my head and at the time I was heavy into watching Battlestar Galactica. Michael Trucco just seemed to jump out at me and seemed perfect for character “casting”. I do always cast my characters and I loved his blend of humour, sexiness, and competitiveness! There’d been a call out for a cowboy anthology at Samhain and I started it as something fun with that in mind, but it didn’t take long to figure out this was a full length story. It went through a couple of shifts before I got it the way I wanted, but I had a blast writing it.

Michael Trucco

 Maria:  Do you write with music in the background or do you need peace and quiet?

Donna:   A lot of days I “warm up” with music to put me in the right frame of mind. But quite often I write to silence. I find I focus better.

Maria:  Before you became a full time stay home mom and writer, what kinds of jobs did you hold down? Is it hard to balance the writing with your family?

Donna:  Yes, it IS hard! There are benefits to working from home but time management DOES become a bit of a challenge! Before I had the kids, I worked for a civil engineering firm, an environmental agency, and had several contract positions in the Finance dept of the provincial government. Before that it was University and retail – which was actually a whole lot of fun, even if the pay was crap. And of course there was always working on the farm in between times…

Maria:  How long have you been married? What is your idea of a romantic evening?

Donna: It will be fifteen years this year! A romantic evening is one with just the two of us. It can be eating take out Chinese and walking the dog but if we find ourselves all alone it’s such a rarity that it’s special!

Maria:  So you have a degree in English Literature, do your prefer Jane Austen or Emily Bronte?

Donna:  Austen all the way. When I re-read now, she makes me laugh more than she did when I read in University. I may have named my netbook Mr. Darceee (it’s an eee pc by Asus), but I’m a Colonel Brandon/Captain Wentworth girl all the way. If we’re going the way of the Bronte’s though, give me Charlotte. I adore Jane Eyre.

Maria:  What do you do for fun? Any specific hobby?

Donna:  You know I’m going to say reading, right? I also knit. Right now I’m knitting a lacy baby blanket for a great-niece due to arrive soon!

Maria:  What took you from English Lit to romance as a writer?

I’ve been reading Romance since I was fifteen, and a lot of English lit IS romance! How can you read Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Eliot and Austen and not get caught up in the romance of it? My “recreational” reading teeth were cut on LaVyrle Spencer and Judith McNaught. Then I read “Sanctuary” by La Nora and gobbled up tons of her work. When I started writing again and decided to work on a novel, it was a romance that came out. Relationships and love have always been intriguing to me. Remember in Dead Poet’s Society when Robin Williams asks why people write and what his answer is? TO WOO WOMEN! Love makes the world go ‘round. Without it, we’re pretty sad people.


“What are you doing here, Ella?”

His voice was a little soft, a little rough, and it rode the endings of her nerves, sending shivers up her spine. She straightened her shoulders. There was no way on God’s green earth she would let him know he got to her, in any way. And he sure didn’t want to spend two days with her. Not once in twelve years had he made any effort to see her whatsoever. She’d let him off the hook all for the price of his name beside the X.

She lifted her chin, tucked her notebook more firmly into her handbag. “Does it matter?”

He nodded, slowly. “You bet your designer bag it does. And I’m pretty sure paying two thousand dollars for two days with me wasn’t the reason. Though we could have a lot of fun in two days, don’t you think? For old times’ sake?”

Memories of bygone days swirled around her, seducing. “Shut up, Dev,” she murmured.

He boosted himself away from the truck and came closer. She could smell his woodsy aftershave, feel his body invade her personal space and hated herself for liking it. Craving it.

He leaned into her ear while the hairs on her neck stood up from the close contact of his breath on her skin.

“You could have had me for free.”

She planted her hands on his shoulders and pushed, skittering away on her heels. “I…I was sent on a story. It had nothing to do with you, you egomaniac.”

He snorted, looking at the ground and scuffing it with the toe of a sorry looking boot. “A story. Of course. Makes sense to send a big-city reporter to a dive like Ruby’s for some trumped up charity event.”

He wouldn’t understand. He never had. This was why she’d sent him divorce papers several times, even back when the legal fees to do so meant she had to eat peanut butter for a few weeks. “There’s something bigger at work than Betty Tucker’s illness, you know.” She straightened her blouse and raised an eyebrow at him. Damn straight. There was corruption from the top down, and Betty Tucker was only one victim. Bringing an exposé against Betty’s insurance company would guarantee Ella her choice of assignment.

“I bet Betty Tucker wouldn’t think so. Do you think a woman who might be dying cares at all about how many newspapers get sold in Denver ?”

Damn him. He’d always had a way of making her feel small when that wasn’t what she’d meant at all. Couldn’t he see it was a greater-good issue? But Dev had never been one to see the big picture. He’d had the most annoying tunnel vision of anyone she ever met. Right and wrong. Black and white.

“I don’t expect you to understand,” she huffed, lifting her nose and moving to walk past him to her car. Forty-eight hours. Hmph. If he’d sign by the X right now, he’d be off the hook and she’d consider it two thousand dollars well spent. They could end this farce of a marriage and get on to their respective lives.

He reached out and grabbed her arm.

“You never expected me to understand, Ell.” The words were laced with unexpected venom. “I understand a hell of a lot more than you think.”

His fingers burned holes in her sleeve and she fought back the thrill of excitement thrumming through her just by having his hands on her again. It shouldn’t happen after all this time, but he’d always had that effect on her. She pasted on the brightest smile she could muster. “Brilliant. So why don’t you tell me what I’m thinking right now?”

He still had a firm grip on her biceps and she tilted her chin way up to look at him. Even with her heels on, he was taller than her. Over six feet of manly sexiness. Her gaze caught on his lips. Those lips had known every inch of her when they’d been little more than kids. She blinked. Back then he’d been the solution, not the problem. The savior, not the devil.

“You’re thinking, how am I going to get Dev to sign those papers I’ve got sitting in my car?”

She twisted out of his grip and stomped to the car as his knowing laughter echoed behind her. She had been thinking exactly that. Along with wondering how his mouth would feel over hers when she wanted nothing more than to be free of him. For good. How was it possible to think both at the same time?

“Well. You’re smarter than you look,” she answered, determined he not know the effect he was having on her. If ever she’d needed confirmation that she’d done the right thing by not looking back, here it was staring her in the face. She couldn’t even manage a simple conversation with him without losing perspective.

“Yep. So where to now, Ell? Because according to your terms of purchase, we’ve got forty-eight whole hours.”

A shiver went through her at the possibilities. But possibilities got a girl absolutely nowhere. “You sign these now, and we’ll call it even. Both of us free as a bird.”

He came towards her, walking with that lazy long stride she remembered. His T-shirt was untucked and had a line of dust across it from the floor inside. She wanted to reach up and brush it off. But she didn’t. She couldn’t touch him. Not after the way her body had reacted when he’d whispered in her ear.

She backed up against the door of her car, her breath hardly moving her chest.

“I’m in no rush, Ella McQuade.”

I want to thank Donna for taking the time to answer my questions. 

For the contest, please comment below as to whether or not you have been to an auction (regardless of what was being auctioned off) and whether or not you got bite by the bug to continue escalating your bid and if you got the item.  I will choose 3 winners on Wednesday, April 14th at Noon CST using Random.Org, the Winners will have 72 hours to contact me at to claim their prize.  Good Luck Everyone!

In Accordance with FTC Regulations, I am disclosing that the prizes awarded during this
contest were purchased by the site owner.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thank God It's Friday - Contest Winners!

Since only 2 people commented,  I will give both Jacki B and MortalSinn a copy of this book.  Please contact me via email at and let me know which version of the book you want, ebook or print.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thank God It's Friday Contest

Because I feel Like Having Cake

Impromptu Contest

One lucky commenter will get a choice of print or
ebook version of  Irresistible by Susan Mallery

I will choose the winner using on Saturday Afternoon, April 10th at 3:00 P.M.  Winner will have 72 hours to claim prize.  If unclaimed a 2nd winner will be picked.

From the Publisher:

It wasn't just her homemade brownies that made Walker find Elissa irresistible ...

When ex-Marine Walker Buchanan stops to help Elissa Towers change a tire, he tells himself it's just the neighborly thing to do. And when Elissa finds herself baking him a thank-you pie, she's just returning the favor ... right?

Both of them have sworn off dating--Elissa's determined to protect her little girl, and that means ditching her taste for dangerous men ... especially former Marines with dark secrets. Walker knows that he's not cut out for hearth and home ... his own crazy family made sure of that. But the sparks won't stop flying between them.

Now the two are struggling to keep their relationship "just friends," but with every kiss, their rules fly out the window...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Instant Temptation- A Review

Author:             Jill Shalvis

Genre:               Contemporary Romance

Purchase:        Instant Temptation


From the Publisher:

T.J. Wilder is the perfect package of breathtaking adventure and raw sex appeal. Even better, he’s about to reconnect with the one woman he’s never been able to forget…

Get Your Pulse Racing

To Harley, the landscape around Wishful, California, is exhilarating, untamed, and more than a little dangerous. The same could be said for T.J. Wilder, who’s invited himself along on her trek to study a rare coyote. Harley’s career is riding on this trip, and she doesn’t need a stubborn, incredibly sexy distraction. But T.J. is a professional guide who knows when to stay back and when to provide invaluable expertise–just like he’s done since they were in high school. And Harley, as usual, is torn between throttling him and giving in to the raw attraction that’s been smoldering all these years.

T.J. knows how proud and capable Harley is, but he’s damned sure not letting her put herself at risk when there are illegal hunters in the area. She needs him, with the same soul-stirring urgency that he’s always craved her. And here, in this beautiful place days from civilization, he’ll finally have a chance to prove it–over and over again. . .

My Review:

     This is the 3rd book in the "Instant" series by Ms. Shalvis.  After having read and enjoyed the first 2 books, I was eagerly anticipating this book and I was not disappointed.  The  oldest brother, TJ Wilder, was the main hero of this book and his looks are almost too good to be true.  Over 6 feet tall and muscular with sexy green eyes, he is considered the town's hottest man.  He also has a good sense of humor, is extreemly organized and always prepared for whatever task he undertakes.   He's also the man in the family who takes care of everyone else or at least makes sure that they are taken care of.  Now that his brothers have found the mates they are going to marry, he suddenly finds himself on the outside looking in and thinking about what he is missing in his life.  He knows he's always been attracted to a woman in town, Harley, but he doesn't know why they argue and fuss at each other non-stop. 

     Harley is the female version of TJ.  She is the one in her family that is organized, has a job and sees to it that they are all being taken care of.  Her parents are divorced hippies left over from the 60's and her younger sister seems to spend more time partying and dating men than going to college, which Harley is paying for.  Harley is finally finished with her degree and is trying to land a job that will take her to Colorado but first she has to prove herself during her no pay internship.  She needs to go into the wilderness section around them called "Desolation" and TJ is determined that she won't go into that area alone as it is extreemly dangerous.  She is determined to keep TJ at arms length due to an incident that happened during their high school years that he was too drunk to remember, in reality she is and has been in love with him since then. 

This is a sexy sweet romantic story.  Both the hero and heroine are smart, sassy and emotionally out of their depth.  It was a real treat reading their love story, they are both caring and their chemistry is off the charts.  Both characters grow and realize that their fear is what is stopping them from living full lives and eventually they work out their differences.  There is enough "heat" in the story to make it a contemporary adult read.  There is of course a happy ending because after all love stories should end on a really good note.  I do recommend reading the first 2 books in the series so that you get the full background of the Wilder boys and the women who tame them.  I highly recommend this book if you love to read modern romance.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 crowns