Archive for the ‘July 2012’ Category

Once the seeds of desire are sown…
Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her. Yet her new-found freedom is short lived. A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy’s door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors…

Their growing passion knows no bounds…
Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society. But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets. Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead. As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.

Once again, I’ve found a book I can’t review without sounding like a gushing fan-girl so…

Dear Ms. Callihan,

Earlier this year, a trusted book friend told me I had to read Firelight, the first book in your Darkest London series. I didn’t want to. Historical is not my genre of choice, I prefer contemporary. Add in paranormal? Oh, no. That is not for me. I eventually caved to peer pressure and one-clicked on Amazon. I would give it a shot but I wouldn’t enjoy it. I finished it at 3am and was heartbroken that you didn’t have a backlist for me to glom that very instant. I immediately started following you on twitter and, oh happy day, you announced that your publisher was giving away early copies of Moonglow on Goodreads. The joyful screams echoed across Romanceland when I won one.

I really liked Firelight but Moonglow blew me away. Daisy was such an amazing heroine. A tough outer shell hid her vulnerable side and she wasn’t afraid to embrace her sexuality. She was fierce! And Ian *happy sigh* I want an Ian of my own. A unique combination of dark, tortured, sexy and fun, he just flat-out did it for me.

Honestly, there wasn’t anything about this book that didn’t do it for me. It was gritty, sexy, angst-filled and had a brave ending I never saw coming. I didn’t just love Moonglow, I want to have book babies with it. This may be my favorite book of 2012. Because of this, I refuse to read the excerpt at the end for Winterblaze. I’m afraid I’ll shrivel up into a withered shell of myself before it is released. I can’t wait to see where else this series goes!



The Unexpected Fangirl


5 stars, recommend read, whatever you want to call it, this isn’t a series to be missed.


Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance
Release Date: July 31st, 2012
Format: Print and digital

Barnes & Noble


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The conversation has arose many times in Romanceland about how social media is blurring the lines between authors, reviewers, and readers. A lot of valid points have been raised. Can a review be honest if you are friends with the author? And what is considered a friend? Is it exchanging friendly tweets with the author? Where is the line? It’s a messy subject and I hope this post can clarify where Mad and I stand and give others a chance to weigh in on it. Because maybe we are wrong. It’s been known to happen.

Between the two of us, we have blurred the lines until they are tiny. We are both beta readers, moderators for author yahoo groups, and have friends who make their livings by writing books. Mad is also the assistant of many authors. Then we have this blog where we post about hundreds of books every year. Blurred lines? Without a doubt. It’s a balancing act to stay honest about our love of a book and maintaining the trust the blog visitors have given us.

For example, I stumbled across the Southern Arcana books by Moira Rogers through twitter. I loved the first book and reviewed it. I exchanged tweets with the authors on twitter, more books came out, I did more reviews. Then I was asked to beta read a couple of their books and the reviews stopped. Shortly after, Mad became their assistant. Moira Rogers is still welcome to guest blog at Novel Thoughts (all authors are welcome for promo posts) but we both feel it would be a conflict of interest for us to review those books. That’s where our line is. I have given my opinion about the book prior to publication and Mad is being paid to promote them. There is no way for either of us to be unbiased.

I’ve seen reviews by beta readers/assistants to a specific author and I don’t trust that review. I’ve also seen the “I’m a reader first!” argument and it just doesn’t fly for me. It may not be fair but I’m skeptical when I see that.

Then there is the line between friends and friendly. For me, a friend is someone who I talk with outside of social media. We talk about everything. They know personal things about me that won’t be put out for all the internet to see and I know the same about them. When it comes to an author friend, I won’t review their books. Period. If I loved it, will readers really believe me? And if I hated it, I’m not going to write a review that could potentially cost my friend one single sale. I love my friends and want them to succeed in the career they love. It’s a lose/lose situation and one I don’t feel is ethical. Is that fair of me, as a blogger and reviewer, to not tell others about a book I disliked? To me it is, but others may feel differently.

Now we are at friendly and this is where is gets messy for everyone. I’m “friendly” with a ton of authors. I follow them on twitter, maybe they follow me, I ask questions about their books, they laugh at me when I accidentally kidnap a strange cat thinking it’s mine, just random stuff. I’ve written both positive and negative reviews of those authors’ books. Earlier this year, I was reading a truly horrible book and tweeting about it. Misery loves company and I was miserable. Shannon Stacey offered me an ARC of her upcoming book if I would just stop my current read. She sent it to me with no requirements. She wasn’t looking for a beta read or review. She sent it to me because she’s nice (and possibly because she never wanted to see another tweet about a heroine with flatulence.) I read it, I loved it and wanted to tell everyone about it. When it was close to release day, I posted my review. I didn’t feel conflicted about posting that review at all.

That’s not the only time Mad or I have gotten a book just because. And usually, we’ll post reviews for those books. But what happens if someone sends either of us a book just because and we don’t like it? It hasn’t happened yet but what if I get the book I hate? Not just “certain elements didn’t work for me” but that rare book that sends me into a rage? Will I post a negative, snark filled review about a book that was sent to me by someone who was just being nice? I’m leaning towards no. And does that make it unfair for to give the honest good reviews?


We haven’t touched on authors also reviewing. Are they believable? Is it right? Do authors’ opinions hold more sway than average readers? Once upon a time, that answer was yes for me. If an author I enjoyed recommended a book, I was all over it. With experience came wisdom and I’ve learned to pay attention to what other books that author likes. Just because I like what she writes doesn’t mean I like what she reads. But newer readers may not have that experience to fall back on. So is it ethical for an author to review? My opinion is I don’t care one way or the other but I’m curious about others’ thoughts.

So what about you? Where are your lines as a reader, reviewer, or author? Do you automatically dismiss a review if you’ve watched the reviewer chat with the author online? Would you feel betrayed if you bought a book based on a review and later found out the reviewer had a business relationship with the author? Or is it really buyer beware?

And more importantly to us personally, is it possible to wear the hats of beta reader, author assistant, friend, blogger, and still keep the reviewer’s hat?

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wins A Forbidden Love by Alexandra Benedict


Congrats! To claim your prize, please email mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces). You have 48 hours to email before a new name is chosen.

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Last week on twitter, I saw a conversation between some bloggers on what to do with used ARCs. They can’t be sold. Some libraries won’t take them.  I’m in the same boat. I have a stack of ARCs that I’ve reviewed and now they are just taking up space. So what do we do with them?


My husband works for the Department of Corrections and after talking with him, I found out that all reading material in the prison where he works is donated. And donations are few and needed.


That’s where I will be sending all my used ARCs. The inmates don’t care about shiny covers or if it has a few errors. They just want a good story to keep their minds occupied.  If you would like to donate to them as well, email me at lillie80 @ gmail dot com. The ARCs will be going to a women’s prison and all genres are welcome.

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wins Melting Jane by Lissa Matthews


Maria D.

wins A Man of Privilege by Sarah M. Anderson



wins Archer’s Lady by Moira Rogers


Lenna H.

wins Tropical Desires by Vivian Arend


Cheryl R.

wins Night of Shadow by Deborah Harkness


Pat Fordyce

wins a NetGalley preview of Deep Autumn Heat by Elisabeth Barrett


Congrats! To claim your prize, please email mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces). You have 48 hours to email before a new name is chosen.

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Hi everyone! Just a quick heads up since I know many of you are readers of Maya Banks. COLTERS’ PROMISE is on sale this weekend only for $2.99. Grab it while you can!

Nook, Kindle, or iBooks


Return to the captivating storytelling of New York Timesbestselling author Maya Banks, and her stirring saga of three brothers and one indomitable woman— of wounded hearts, family, and forgiveness…

When it came to overcoming the odds of a tragic past, Lily was determined to move on. The three Colter brothers helped her do it. They taught her new ways to love, new dreams to share, and offered her a new life that she never thought possible. Now is a time for celebration, and what better way than with a long-awaited family reunion, a homecoming that will bring together the entire Colter family and a few surprises no one anticipated.

But first, there’s still something from Lily’s past she still needs to reconcile—even when all the while she is holding close to her heart a newfound secret that will change her future, forever enrich the Colter legacy, and make every promise come true.

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Hi. My name is Lissa and I bake. I’ve been baking for years and… Oh wait, this isn’t Baker’s Anonymous, is it? Well damn. I even prepared this whole speech thing, too. You’ll listen to it, though right? Good… As I was saying, my name is Lissa and I bake. I bake a lot. It’s my stress relief, my creative zone, my feeling of accomplishment, and my family loves the results. I get 5-star reviews from them all the time and never have I gotten less than… 😉 They are so much easier than readers in that capacity.

However, I have something even those readers out there who can’t help giving out 2-star reviews will love. Truffles. Oreo Cookie Truffles at that. I mean, who doesn’t LOVE Oreos. And if you say you’re one of those rare persons, well, there’s just no hope for you. For the majority of us though, say it with me. Oreo. Cookie. Truffles.

Just saying it makes you want it, huh? I know, me too. They are decadent and they are so easy… It just doesn’t get any easier.

Now, I have to warn you, the pictures here are not my truffles. Why? Because the extreme heat here in the South made it almost impossible to get you even halfway decent image. But pretty or not, they tasted divine and… Well, just know there are none left.



1 package Double Stuffed Oreos (I used half a package of Double Stuffed and half a package of Triple Double Oreos)

4 0z softened cream cheese (you can use 8oz if you want, but with 4oz, it’s a better consistency)

Melted Chocolate for dipping (you can use Candy Melts from the craft store, or the candy coating chocolate in the grocery stores, I used White Chocolate Chips)

Crush and pulverize cookies into course crumbs. You can do this with your hands, a rolling pin and a gallon size freezer bag, or in the food processor. Transfer to a large bowl, add softened cream cheese, then…dig in. Mix and mash with your fingers until all combined. The heat from your hands will soften the cream cheese and cream filling from the cookies even more. Scoop with a spoon or small cookie scoop and roll into balls. Place the truffles on a wax paper or parchment paper sheet on a cookie pan. Freeze for at least 15 min.

To melt the chips:

1-2 T vegetable shortening

1 package White Chocolate chips

This can be done in the microwave, but you must check it every 15-20 seconds and stir until melted. Or, it can be done in a glass bowl placed over a simmering pot of water as a double boiler, if you don’t have one. Make sure bowl doesn’t touch the water and that the water doesn’t boil. Again, stir until the chips and shortening are melted and combined well. Remove from heat.

Take the truffles out of the freezer and using a dipping tool, two forks, or even a skewer, dip the truffle balls into the melted chocolate then set back on the cookie pan. Let set until hardened.

Then, enjoy! With a glass of milk, coffee, or beverage of your choice.

The photo above is courtesy of Bakerella. The recipe has been adapted from Kraft. Bliss is all on you!

The purpose of truffle recipes on this stop as well as the other stops on my blog tour is because my heroine, Jane is a truffle maker. And her truffles play a big role in my book Melting Jane.

Graham Hall is a twenty-six year old Texan with the job of his dreams. He’s just finished his latest travel article and has earned some personal down time. With six months left on his cabin lease in the Colorado Rockies, Graham chooses to stick around and soon finds himself set up with a feisty, down on her luck in the love department candy maker named Jane.

Jane hates driving in the mountains in winter and isn’t used to being outside the kitchen, but when she arrives at the small isolated cabin and gets a look at it’s tenant, she quickly forgets all about that. Jane is tongue-tied and ticked off. She’s been tricked.

Confrontations, slamming doors, and an extra cheese pizza later, Graham is caught up in Jane’s tart tongue and curvy body. She denies her desire for him more times than she can count, and when she finally gives in, she is rewarded with scorching hot sex and a bliss she couldn’t have imagined for herself.

Graham’s persistence and unrelenting pursuit leads Jane to believe that maybe life doesn’t have to revolve around chocolate truffles, but rather should revolve around a delicious, well traveled, sexy younger man.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | All Romance eBooks

I will be giving away a copy of Melting Jane to one commentor who answer the question… What is your favorite Oreo?

Thank you for having me and letting me share a yummy recipe with you. If you wish to find out more about me, please visit me in one or all of the following places: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

Living in North Carolina, talented, multi-published author, Lissa Matthews, has many loves in her life: Family, friends, NASCAR, football, music of all kinds, cooking, BDSM, and last, but not least, coffee. She loves it so much, in fact, she and those who know her are surprised she hasn’t floated away on a caffeine-induced cloud while giving life to feisty heroines and hunky heroes.

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Heroes. Let’s be honest, they are the reason we read romances. Sure, we love a spunky, sensitive, funny heroine, but she’s just a stand-in for us, the reader. Yes, we may love the otherworldly creatures, space ships, explosive chases, ballroom scenes, or dreamy beaches, but really, we’re here for the heroes.


So what makes a hero? For starters, they’re hot. Of course, the definitions of ‘hot’ can vary widely from reader to reader. Some people don’t like hulking men with equally hulking packages; others won’t go anywhere near facial hair or tattoos. Others find paleness, combined with unusual orthodontia, to be the definition of hot; others, not so much.


And then there’s the sexual prowess each hero inherently possesses. It doesn’t matter what a hero looks like or where he’s at, he knows what the heroine (that would be the stand-in us) wants and how to give it to here—without play-by-play instructions, without having to worry about the kids walking in or how many dirty dishes are in the sink. And we love them for that.


But more than the wrapping paper, what makes a hero someone swoon-worthy is what goes on underneath those baby blue eyes and dazzling smile. This is where things start to get tricky, because one reader will devour the bad boy hero with a chip on his shoulder, whereas the exact same man will do nothing but irritate another reader. The guy next door—sweet and thoughtful with a hot streak underneath—may be that reader’s hero.


That’s the challenge for those of us who write romance. Yes, eye color, shoe style, and make of car are important when describing our hero, but finding the personality underneath the wrapping is the real holy grail of hero-dom. It’s especially challenging when we find ourselves writing a hero that’s not necessarily the kind of man we go for in real life.


Take the recent Sherlock Homles movies, for example. Robert Downey, Jr.? Hotter than blazes, especially when compared to Jude Law’s sad little mustache and squished hair. Robert is the alpha, Jude the beta. I’m sure that’s written into their contract, too.


It’s fun to think about Sherlock as a hero, but in real life? I don’t know about you, but I’d kill him. Perhaps many times a day. Poor Watson, the lowly beta (even if he is Jude Law) is frequently driven mad by Sherlock’s alphaness. Irene Adler is the only woman who can come close to dealing with Sherlock.


I know a real-life alpha (no, I’m not going to tell you who), and I love to talk to him because he’s first-hand research on how a romance hero would think, act, and react. But good lord, I wouldn’t want to be married to the man. He’s always right, can be short tempered, prone to bouts of manly moodiness, and I won’t even get started on his approach to handling everyday stresses. No, in reality, I married a beta guy, who loves cooking, plays Scrabble instead of poker, and enjoys margaritas with his nachos. I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world.


Maybe that’s key to all those alpha heroes. We know we wouldn’t want to live with them, lest we kill them in their sleep, but it sure is fun to glance over to the other side every so often.


Readers, do you like your alpha heroes on the page or in real life? One lucky person who leaves a comment will win an autographed copy of A Man of Privilege! Plus—bonus—every week I’m giving away one of these handcrafted (by me!) book necklaces from everyone who commented throughout the week! Check the Authorial Moms blog every Sunday to see if you were the winner!


A Man of Privilege

She isn’t what he expected.

Blue-blood lawyer James Carlson is working on the case of his life.  After winning this trial, his career will be set.  He won’t let anything…or anyone… alter his course.  Then he meets his witness.

Maggie Eagle Heart makes him question everything–his family, his goals, his future. Because she’s the one woman he wants, and she’s the one woman who is completely off limits. Yet even as he struggles to keep their relationship all about business, he can’t deny the attraction is mutual–and irresistible.

James has always done what is expected of him…until now.

A Man of Privilege is available! Visit your favorite bookseller, at Amazon, or for the Nook.


Bio: Award-winning author Sarah M. Anderson may live east of the Mississippi River, but her heart lies out west on the Great Plains. With a lifelong love of horses and two history teachers for parents, it wasn’t long before her characters found themselves out in South Dakota among the Lakota Sioux.  She loves to put people from two different worlds into new situations and to see how their backgrounds and cultures take them someplace they never thought they’d go.


When not helping out at school or walking her rescue dogs, Sarah spends her days having conversations with imaginary cowboys and American Indians, all of which is surprisingly well-tolerated by her wonderful husband and son.



This post is brought to you as part of the A Man of Privilege/Distinction Blog Tour.  For a complete tour schedule and rules, visit http://www.sarahmanderson.com. Comments on this blog will be entered to win a signed copy of A Man of Privilege.


Next tour stop is July 6: SOS Aloha

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Hello there!  I’m Bree, one half of the paranormal romance writing duo of Moira Rogers, and I’m on a wild and crazy blog tour talking about dangerous men and the women who love them. And I’m not just talking about their heroines—I mean all the women who love them, including those of us who read & write about them!  That’s why I’m here with an excerpt from Keeping Company With Bloodhounds, a book that gives all the dirty details about those dangerous warriors. (Even if it only exists in the fictional world of the Bloodhounds.)

Today’s excerpt is all about the brave volunteers–men who choose to give up their chance at a normal life in exchange for the strength and power to protect others.  They’re the ultimate Good Guys, men with honor and integrity, with all of the focus of a warrior, but dedicated to a cause.  I admit, I love stories about genetically altered super-soldiers, so getting the chance to write some was so much fun.  (Of course, there are other ways to find recruits with the right skill set…but recruiting bad boys is a whole different chapter…)



For many years, the Guild recruited its candidates from the ranks of the Army and the Navy, skilled soldiers with some training and expectation of the battles awaiting them.  This was as much a matter of practicality as opportunity, since hounds were expected to be unattached, with no allegiance above the United States and the Guild.

From the earliest days of the Guild’s operation, it was known that the transformative process by which bloodhounds were created offered a unique restorative effect.  Wounded men were healed in all manner of ways.  Some experienced a renewal of lost senses such as sight or hearing, and others were even reported to have regrown lost limbs.  All underwent a revitalization that went far beyond physical constitution.  They were reborn—faster, stronger.  More than human.

With the secession of the Southern states and the outbreak of war in 1861, the Guild found itself inundated with volunteers ready to undergo the transformation.  It chose from both the Union and Confederate armies, picking the brightest and most capable to fill the ranks—and the new units being formed to combat more than the vampire threat.

Of course, by the time the conflict ended, the Bloodhound Guild had nearly tripled in size. Without a steady stream of wartime volunteers, Guild leaders looked to other, more controversial, applicants.

* * *

Read more about Moira Rogers & the Bloodhounds series at http://www.moirarogers.com/bloodhounds  Book #3 in the series, Archer’s Lady, is available on July 3rd, 2012.

* * *

For a chance to win a digital copy of Archer’s Lady, just leave a comment below. The winner will be drawn on Sunday. Good luck! 😀

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In honour of today’s print release of Tropical Desires—an anthology of three interrelated books—I thought I’d give you short list of TRIOS.

Of course a Google search lead me to this site: Famous Trios You Wish You Could Hang Out With

Which led me to listening to Crosby, Stills and Nash for over an hour.

So then I thought maybe some three-ingredient recipes. And a search for that took me to this awesome page: 53 Simple 3-ingredient recipes


Did I mention I’m currently on a strict eating plan? Weeps

Well, the more I looked, the more I discovered that sets of three are everywhere. In nature, science, sports, comedy…there’s even a Rule of Three in writing, for goodness sake.

So rather than list all the ways 3 things impact your life, I’ll get to the point. There are 3 stories in this anthology. They all involve 3 people (another set of three!) and the book is appropriately out today, July 3rd.

Ready for another set of three?

On your mark, get set…go! I hope you enjoy Tropical Desires.

If you’d like a chance to win a PRINT copy of the book, leave a comment with a ‘Three of a Kind”. For fun, try to pick one that hasn’t been mentioned before. 😉

Tropical Desires:
Bandicoot Cove, Print Anthology

Luxurious, decadent, sensually indulgent…welcome to Bandicoot Cove.

Bandicoot Cove Anthology #1

Paradise Found by Vivian Arend

Paige has accepted the fact that her lovely, no-strings-attached affair with her two Australian lovers must end with her return to Canada. Trent and Mason have a different proposal in mind. And they hope she doesn’t run like hell.

Tropical Sin by Lexxie Couper

When McKenzie enlists the help of her BFF, Aiden, to snag an interview with incognito rock star Nick Blackthorne, she thinks it’s her ticket out of tabloid journalism. But it could be a ticket to heartbreak.

Island Idyll by Jess Dee

Sienna thought a getaway would help her get over her breakup with Ben. A fling with high school crush, Josh, is just what she needs. Until Ben shows up with a red-hot challenge to help her make an impossible choice.

Warning: Contains drool-worthy heroes entirely focused on their woman’s pleasure, a tropical island beach, and a bar. What more do you need?


Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 | Book Depository

Booksamillion | Powells | Samhain

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