Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday - The Janus Affair

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which highlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't wait to read" selection is The Janus Affair: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel by Pip Ballentine and Tee Morris.

Release Date: May 29, 2012


Evildoers beware! Retribution is at hand, thanks to Britain's best-kept secret agents!!

Certainly no strangers to peculiar occurrences, agents Wellington Books and Eliza Braun are nonetheless stunned to observe a fellow passenger aboard Britain's latest hypersteam train suddenly vanish in a dazzling bolt of lightning. They soon discover this is not the only such disappearance . . . with each case going inexplicably unexamined by the Crown.

The fate of England is once again in the hands of an ingenious archivist paired with a beautiful, fearless lady of adventure. And though their foe be fiendishly clever, so then is Mr. Books . . . and Miss Braun still has a number of useful and unusual devices hidden beneath her petticoats. 

I read the first book in this series and enjoyed it a lot and I'm really looking forward to reading this book.  

What's your "waiting on" pick this week? 

Want to participate? Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link below.  Or if you don't have a blog, leave your WoW entry in the comments


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Embers Kiss

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which highlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is Embers Kiss by Debra Cooke 

Release Date: October 2, 2012

Only one woman can persuade him to embrace his powers.

Brandon Merrick is determined to banish his shifter nature forever. The charismatic tattooed surfer is on the cusp of the ultimate challenge - to prove himself on the whitecaps of Hawaii and secure his future as a pro surfer. But his dragon isn't prepared to be tamed so easily...

One look at marine biologist Liz Barrett ignites the spark of the firestorm: Liz is his destined mate and his chance for happiness. While Brandon sees their first night together as just the beginning, his dragon seizes the upper hand. Awakening in the company of a raging dragon challenges Liz's ability to believe her own eyes. Can Brandon accept his inner beast in time to make it work with Liz? 

Neither one realizes that Brandon is caught in an ancient Slayer's scheme to enslave him. When the deadly plot ignites, the very island will be at risk...and Brandon and his mate could be the ultimate sacrifice.

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
Want to participate? Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link below.  Or if you don't have a blog, leave your WoW entry in the comments.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Book Beginnings and Friday 56- One Hot Cowboy Wedding

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader. To play along, please do the following:

  • Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments.
  • Make sure to share the name of the book and the author so we know what you're reading.
  • Feel free to share your first impressions with us based on the first line.
  • Link your post at Rose City Reader, or if you don't have a blog, leave it in the comments below.

     SHHHH! It's A Secret!
          That line had run around in Jasmine's mind all day on a continuous loop.  She imagined two little girls playing out on the grassy lawn with their Barbie dolls, and it was a secret where Barbie and Ken were going for dinner.

My Thoughts: 

I've enjoyed the books in this series so far and it sounds as if this one is off to a good start.

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice. To play along:

  • Grab the book closest to you, any book will do.
  • Turn to page 56.
  • Choose the fifth (5th) sentence or a few more (just don't spoil it too much).
  • Post it on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, post it in the comments below.
  • Link your post to Freda's Voice.

My Friday 56 is also from One Hot Cowboy Wedding:

     Ace settled into the seat next to her and got comfortable.  He buckled his seat belt, leaned his head back, and shut his eyes.  
     Jasmine envied his ability to doze while the flight attendant gave the "hang onto the seat cushion and use it as a floatation device speech.  He didn't even open his eyes when the captain's deep voice came over the intercom and said that they would arrive in Houston, Texas in two hours and forty-three minutes.

So what are Friday Book Beginning and 56?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - On the Prowl

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which highlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is On the Prowl by Christine Warren : 

Publication Date: April 24, 2012 

Most girls would throw a fit if their parents tried to set up an arranged marriage for them. It's so outrageously old-fashioned—even for a Tiguri family, members of a fierce race of shapeshifting weretigers. But Saskia isn't getting her claws out just yet. She'll go through with this marriage to help unite two powerful families—and because her husband-to-be Nicolas Preda is the sexiest, hunkiest, and only man she's ever wanted…

Of course, marrying an alpha male like Nic comes with its share of danger. As leader of his Streak and head of a global corporation, Nic and his new fiancĂ©e must take their places in the jungles of Manhattan—and the local Others seem to have a strict "no pets" policy. In fact, the Council seems to think the Tiguri are at the root of all their problems, including an attempt on the life of its leader. If Nic hopes to protect his name and his mate, it's hunt or be hunted—and he can't do it alone. But if anyone can bring out the beast in him, it's the sexy, savage tigress he's sworn to love…

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Want to participate? Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link below.  Or if you don't have a blog, leave your WoW entry in the comments.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Audio Review - Prey by Linda Howard

Title:  Prey: A Novel  
Publisher: Random House, Inc 
Narrator: Abby Craden 
Release Date: September 6, 2011

Book Blurb:

Thirty-two-year-old Angie Powell has always spoken her mind, but in the presence of Dare Callahan she nurses a simmering rage. After all, why give Dare the satisfaction of knowing he can push her buttons and push her to the edge? 

Three years ago, Dare returned home to rural western Montana and opened a hunting business to rival Angie’s. Complicating matters is the fact that Dare has asked Angie out (not once but twice) and has given her a gift of butterflies in the process. Angie has no patience for butterflies. They only lead to foolish decisions. And now the infuriatingly handsome Iraq war vet has siphoned away Angie’s livelihood, forcing her to close up shop. 

Before Angie is to leave town, she organizes one last trip into the wilderness with a client and his guest, who wants to bag a black bear. But the adrenaline-fueled adventure turns deadly when Angie witnesses a cold-blooded murder and finds herself on the wrong side of a loaded gun. Before the killer can tie up this attractive loose end, a bear comes crashing through the woods - changing the dark game completely. 

Luckily, Dare is camping nearby and hears the shots. Forced together for their very survival, Angie and Dare must confront hard feelings, a blinding storm, and a growing attraction - while being stalked by a desperate killer and a ferocious 500-pound beast. And neither will stop until they reach their prey.

My Review:  

A woman in her early thirties, Angie Powell is an interesting contradiction as a leading character.  Independent, stubborn and strong minded, she's also whinny, insecure and vulnerable.  Blaming the pending failure of her hunting business and the forced sale of her family home on a business rival she's attracted to, Angie plans one last trip into the wilderness for a previous client and his guest, who wants to hunt a black bear.  I'll admit that it was a little difficult for me to like Angie at the beginning, her habit of trying to deflect responsibility for bad decisions was very annoying but as the story progressed and the plot unfolded, I began to understand her behavior and I even began to like her.

Dare Callahan is the quintessential Alpha male lead character and is quite yummy.  A veteran of the armed forces, he's a few years older than Angie and had come back to their small and quiet Montana town in order to start a business and build a life.  Attracted to Angie, he wasted no time in asking her out only to be ceremoniously turned down, twice.  Determined to get to the bottom of Angie's dislike for him, he's surprised when he discovers she's put the family home up for sale and becomes determined to purchase her property.  When the real estate agent asks him to keep an eye out for Angie on her last guide trip, where she'll be alone with two strange men, Dare reluctantly agrees.  I really liked Dare's character, his personality was straightforward, he was responsible and even though Angie rejected him twice, he was still interested in her more than enough to think about her future and her safety.

When things go downhill for Angie with her two "guests" and one ends up killing the other, Angie finds herself not only having to outsmart a man who wants to kill the only witness to his crime but also finds herself having to avoid a Black Bear who has gotten a taste for human flesh in the middle of what has become a severe spring storm.  When one thing leads to another and things are looking really bleak for Angie, Dare manages to find her.  Unfortunately for both of them, their horses have run off, they're both soaking wet and the weather isn't letting up.  Forced to seek shelter together, Angie finds herself in close quarters with a man she's been trying to avoid and who she must now depend on for help.  I really liked the scenes with the two of them together, as they start to get to know each other they both realize that their attraction isn't going to go away.  

When the storm lets up and Dare and Angie decide to make it down the mountain and alert the authorities, they will have to watch out for both a murderer and a wild Black Bear.  Do Dare and Angie stand a chance?  Will their relationship go beyond being friends?  You'll have to read Prey to find out.  

Audio Review:

As an audio book the narrator's performance was not what I was hoping for with this book, I found her voice to be somewhat grating on my nerves and it took me until almost halfway through the book to get used to her verbal reading style.  Overall, I did enjoy the book but I think I would have preferred a different narrator for this book.  

My Rating:      3 of 5 Crowns 


Teaser Tuesday - A Sheet Cake Named Desire

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read 
  • Open to a random page 
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This week my Teaser Tuesday is from A Sheetcake Named Desire by Jacklyn Brady 

     Estelle slid a glance in Sparkle's direction but stopped short of making eye contact. "I don't know," she said, lowering her voice to avoid being overheard, "but Phillipe thought he did." 
    "Do you know who he suspected?" 

Sweet Success can be a motive for murder.

There aren't many things pastry chef Rita Lucero hates more than losing. But two years after her marriage to fellow baker Philippe Renier fell apart, she's still trying to get him to sign the divorce papers. Exasperated, Rita visits Philippe's high-end New Orleans shop, Zydeco Cakes, to get his signature--and discovers that her marriage is already over when she finds Philippe dead with a chef's knife in his chest.

Rita is shocked to discover the body, and overwhelmed to learn that since the divorce wasn't final, she now inherits part ownership in Zydeco Cakes. But it's a mixed blessing: the gorgeous shop is actually in financial trouble, and Rita's windfall sets her up as a prime suspect in Philippe's murder. Her former mother-in-law demands that Rita find out who killed her son, and his former employees don't know whether to trust her. The feeling is mutual--especially since the real culprit is still out there, and Rita may be the next victim served.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Susan Mallery Q & A about Barefoot Season

Susan Mallery Q and A about BAREFOOT SEASON
New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women and the relationships that move them. Susan is honored by enthusiastic readers who say that her books make them laugh, make them cry, and make the world a happier place to live. Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. She’s there for the coffee, not the weather.

Susan’s latest book is BAREFOOT SEASON, the heart-wrenching story of two wounded women who heal their friendship – and find love with two fabulous men – over one long, lovely summer on Blackberry Island, Washington. BAREFOOT SEASON is the first book of Susan’s new Blackberry Island series of women’s fiction novels.

Susan, what made BAREFOOT SEASON a story you had to tell?

I find female friendship endlessly fascinating. I feel very blessed to have several strong, supportive friendships that have endured for years. We celebrate each other’s successes, grieve for each other’s losses, nurture and praise and lecture – whatever is called for at that moment. I know how strong friendship between women can be.

But friendship can also be fragile.

One day, I asked myself, What if you and your best friend fell in love with the same man… and then he chose her? Could you be truly happy for her when your heart is breaking? What would you do if he then came to you – this man you both love – and told you that he made a mistake, that he should have chosen you? Could you turn him away? From this spark came BAREFOOT SEASON.

As children, Michelle and Carly were as close as sisters, running free on Blackberry Island. Now, ten years after their friendship was destroyed by love, they’re forced together again by circumstances to save the Blackberry Island Inn.  Along the way, they’ll each find love with two great men and the sense of family they’d been missing for so many years. I do love a happy ending!

BAREFOOT SEASON is the first book of your new Blackberry Island series. What can you tell us about Blackberry Island, both the books and the place?

On Blackberry Island, life is sweet and the happy ending is guaranteed! I’m a firm believer that life is better with romance, so you can rest assured that the women on Blackberry Island will find love with men who will make your toes curl. The Blackberry Island books will also allow me to explore other relationships. We women often define ourselves by the relationships in our lives. Not just by our romantic relationships, but by our friendships, our relationships with our mothers, our children, our bosses, our neighbors… For us, it’s not so much “what do you do?” as “whom do you love and who loves you back?” that determines how we feel about ourselves. It’s nice to stretch my wings a little to write about some of these other defining relationships, as well.

Blackberry Island is a quaint island off the coast of Seattle, a popular weekend escape for Seattlites who want to get out of the city. You can get to the island either across Getaway Bridge or by ferry. Locals are friendly hosts, happy to direct you to one of several wineries on the island, the daisy fields that have made it the Daisy Capital of the West Coast, and the Puget Sound Crane habitats. You can learn more about Blackberry Island at And yes, it’s fictional, but it’s real in my heart, as I hope it will become real in yours!

BAREFOOT SEASON is more of a women’s fiction, then, rather than a straight romance. Are you moving away from writing romance?

Absolutely not! I love romance. There is still nothing more exciting to me than watching two people fall in love. I adore the first kiss, my heart always sinks when things are at their darkest and it looks hopeless, and I am as thrilled as ever when love triumphs in the end. My next romance will be SUMMER DAYS, book 7 of the Fool’s Gold series, which will land in stores on May 29. Well, that’s the next full-length romance. On May 1, I’ll release ALMOST SUMMER, a Fool’s Gold ebook novella. Then there will be two more Fool’s Gold romances in July and August, plus a Christmas gift-sized hardcover in October called A FOOL’S GOLD CHRISTMAS. If you’ll sign up for my mailing list at, I’ll send you an email on release day.

Do you think book clubs will enjoy BAREFOOT SEASON? Why or why not?

I do! I belong to a book club, and the books we most enjoy discussing are the books that feel like a slice of life. In BAREFOOT SEASON, the two women at the center of the story are both decent people who have legitimate reasons for feeling the way they do, which means that book club members can legitimately fall on either side of the issue that’s causing the conflict in the book.

I’m always very proud when readers and reviewers say that they really identified with the characters in my books. Those characters feel as real to me as people in real life – a fact which is endlessly confusing for my poor husband, who has to ask for clarification when I tell him about something that someone did that day. “Is she a real person?” he’s forced to ask.

I think readers will really connect with the characters in BAREFOOT SEASON. Carly is a hard-working, loving single mom. She would do anything for her daughter, including put up with the woman who betrayed her. If the inn goes under, Carly doesn’t just lose her job – she loses her home, the only home her daughter has ever known.

Michelle is sarcastic and funny and kind of crabby. I do love a crabby woman! Michelle is prickly, but beneath that prickliness, she’s loyal and has a heart that won’t quit. Wait until you meet the dog she rescues – and who rescues her.

I’ve included a readers’ discussion guide in BAREFOOT SEASON to help get the conversation started. There are even a couple of recipes! I’d be happy to chat about the book live via phone or Skype with any book club that selects BAREFOOT SEASON. Just email my assistant at jenel (at) susanmallery (dot) com to set it up.

What kind of research did you do?

In BAREFOOT SEASON, Michelle is struggling with post-traumatic stress after being wounded in Afghanistan. Since I’ve never served in the military, I wanted to be sure I got those details right, to honor the women who serve our country. I did a lot of research online, then I spoke personally with Sergeant Betty Thurman. What struck me time and again was how proud our soldiers are of what they do. Rightfully so. These are strong, resilient women. Although they are barred from certain duties, they can and do serve in war zones. They can and do put their lives on the line, and they do it because they love our country.

After I finished the book, I asked a fan of mine who has been deployed twice to read it for a “gut check.”  Did I get the emotions right, I wanted to know. She told me that she felt as if I was in her head. On top of being a soldier, she is a wife and mother to four children. She loved the book so much that she has pre-ordered ten copies to send to her “battle buddies.”

What do you hope your readers take away from reading BAREFOOT SEASON?

Friends can become family. We’re not all lucky enough to be born with the family we deserve, but we can build a family by surrounding ourselves with loving, supportive friends.

How did you come up with the title BAREFOOT SEASON?

In the book, Michelle spots Carly’s young daughter in the back yard, barefoot and spinning in circles with her face raised toward the sun and her arms outstretched. It makes her long for the long summer days of her own childhood, when she and Carly ran barefoot around Blackberry Island. In her mind, being barefoot is closely connected with innocence, with the time in her life before she had been hurt, before she knew there was darkness in the world.

What’s next for you, after BAREFOOT SEASON?

This summer, I’m heading back to Fool’s Gold, California – the Land of Happy Endings – with four brand new full-length novels, plus an ebook novella. The titles and release dates are:
ALMOST SUMMER – May 1 (ebook novella)

Want to learn more about Susan? 
Check her out here: 

Susan will be dropping by today sometime to respond to comments, so please be sure to leave a comment for her below.  I have my copy of Barefoot Island and can't wait to get to read it!