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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Review: 'The 12 Day of Christmas' by Linda Swift

Author: Linda Swift
Genre: Romance
Heat Level: Sweet
Number of Pages: 86
Number of Words: 50,265
Author's Website:

Reviewed by Desiree Rogers: This is a sweet story that is sure to satisfy you holiday sweet tooth. The beginning of the story is a bit slow, with a lot of back-story I feelt is better dispersed through the book.
The characters are easy to relate to, the problems they face something that everyone has gone through at one time or another. Leigh as a heroine though does take a bit of warming up, her coldness a bit off putting, but you can understand her situation and feel her pain as you get to know her. Russell is swoon worthy as a hero, even when the past mistakes are revealed. The children are characterized well, holding their own and not cut-outs as in so many other stories. They add an element to the story, a depth that would be missing otherwise. The true delight is Me-Me and her feisty personality. Reminding me a lot of my own grandmother and how she was, I fell in love with her character. My one disappointment is the arson angle. I expected more from the way it had been set-up, but it doesn’t keep me from enjoying the story.

Friday, May 21, 2010

GetToKnowTheBook: 'Red Moon Clan' by Chérie De Sues

As a child, my parents traversed the United States along route 66 to New England from California every summer. My father loved to stop at the Indian reservations and tour the ruins, buy blankets and converse with the Native Americans. I grew to have a fondness and respect for the heritage and culture of these unique people.

When I decided to write a novel that included the Native American culture, I did a great deal of research on the legends and lore of the Navajo people. Using fiction and fact, I melded my story and created a shapeshifting, Navajo medicine man. His name is Neol and he is a bounty hunter in the state of Oregon.

The first book of the trilogy is how Neol finds his one true mate. Sara is a district attorney and has been marked for death. Neol and Sara run together through the Oregon forest, knitting together clues to why she's a target.
I really enjoy the Oregon coastline and have spent time rummaging around the rivers and ocean. The sequoias are magnificent and I use my knowledge of the rough terrain all through the storyline.

Each of the three novels will follow the three Navajo cousins as they find their one true mate. The next of the stand alone series will be about Tze (pronounced TZ) and how he finds his mate. Most of the book will take place on the massive tri-state Navajo reservation.

I've spent many days in the desert and on Native American soil. I can't wait to share this with romance readers, the adventure will be fantastic. I will bring more of the spiritual beliefs into book II after hearing readers' requests to do so. I'm thrilled that Tales of the Red Moon Clan has received such excellent reviews. I will not let readers down; Tales II will have the same roller coaster ride and deep passion as the first novel.

Author's Blog:

GetToKnowTheBook: 'Windswept Shores' by Janice Seagraves

Hi, my name is Janice Seagraves, and yes that is the name I was born under. My pen name is my maiden name. It also makes it easier if I get yelled at during a convention or book signing, so I’m not looking behind me.
My first book, Windswept Shores, comes out June 3rd from Pink Petal Books, and I’m very excited to see my work published.

• How did you come up with the plot?
All I can really say is that I was addicted to Gilligan’s Island as a child. Then as an adult I got hooked on Survivors and the first year of Lost.
I just loved the idea of a group of people being disconnected from society and having to use their wits to survive.
It got me thinking, what If?
What if two people washed up on the same deserted island and used whatever they could to survive?
Of course being a romance writer my thoughts would be: this is an excellent backdrop for a romance story.

• Who are your characters?
Megan Lorry is my heroine. She’s hardworking, a little more mature than the hero, but very level headed. Basket weaving is her hobby, but she’s really good at it too and had a dream of opening her own basketry shop. Meg’s plane crashed into the ocean, but unfortunately she’s the only one to makes it to the raft. She washed up on a small uninhabited island in the Bahamas.

Seth Dawson is my hero. He’s a tall, good looking beach bum from Australia, or a surfie as they call it. His accent and Aussie lingo (also called strine) is rather thick, at times Meg finds it a little hard to understand him. The fishing boat Seth worked on was reefed, causing him to fall overboard. Meg finds him washed up on shore, unconscious.

Seth wants Megan from the moment he opens his eyes and looks up at her, but Megan (or Megz as he calls her) is a little hesitant. Eventually, they . . . uh. Well . . . you’ll have to read my book to find out.


Megan’s name just came to me. I like the simple girl next door names. I also like to think of my heroines as every woman, and I want my reader to identify with her. Megan was the far easier character to write. I made her a native Californian just like I am, so it just flowed from there. She does a lot of cooking so I did have to research how to cook clam chowder, and if it was possible to cook mussels on a barbeque in their shell and it is.

My teenage daughter named Seth. I shouted to her while I was working on Windswept, “I need a sexy name for my hero.”

My daughter without hesitation, yells back, “Seth.” I don’t think she even looked up from her homework.

When I decided he was Australian, Seth’s personality suddenly popped into existence.

“G’day mate.”

Seth is very outgoing, sexy and fun.

“Aw, go on with ya.”

And modest, too.

“Who, the bloody hell, would think I was modest? I know what I am and I know what I ain’t, but modest just isn’t in the package, luv. What I’d like to do is get, Megz, to loosen up so we can have a bit of fun. Blimey, she’s a tough nut to crack, but it just makes me want her all the more.” He grins showing his dimples.
•Researched for my story:
I did a lot of research to find out where my island was located. I finally decided it was close to the United States but in another country, then I settle on the Bahamas. Did you know that there are around 300 islands in the Bahamas and only 80 of them are inhabited?

It’s an easy place to get lost in.

The Bahamas are 60 miles off the coast of Florida, in easily reached by boat or plane. The islands themselves are builds up from sand from the shallow teal colored sea that surrounds the island group. The Bahamas also has a long history of pirates.

The Bahamas get a lot of precipitation, while doing research I also found out they get a lot of wind too. It went through my mind that they must have a lot of ‘windswept shores.’
Windswept shores?

I quickly googled it and found no books with that title and only one painting. So my book was named after my quirky musings, while I did research.

I fell in love with the Bahamas, with their sparkling white beaches, their clear teal colored water and their fresh sea air. While the seas there have some of the best sport fishing around, their reef hosts an exotic assortment of tropical fish, wonderful for scuba diving. Several of the islands also have a swim with the (spotted) dolphin tour.

• On Aussie strine:
• While studying the Aussie strine or colloquialisms, I bought three books and found numerous websites. Luckily, I also had a writer friend who lives in Australia, Connie Wood, who read through my manuscript to make sure I got the lingo right. She did catch a couple of mistakes, which I am eternally grateful for.

Just in time for summer reading.
Available June 3rd from Pink Petal Books: Windswept Shores by Janice Seagraves.
Price: $3.50

Windswept Shores Blurb:

The sole survivor of a plane crash, Megan is alone on a deserted island in the Bahamas until she finds a nearly-drowned man washed up on shore. Another survivor, this time from a boat wreck. With only meager survival skills between them, will they survive and can they find love?

Windswept Shores: available June 3, 2010 from Pink Petal Books ***


"Life is not about the moments we breathe,but the moments that take our breath away."
Storiesthat leave you breathless . . . Janice Seagraves
Coming in June to Pink Petal Books.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Review: The Chosen by Jenika Snow

Aleksei is feared by all who cross paths with him. He is the great ruler of a race of immortal vampires known as the Blood Breed. Setting eyes on Lana for the first time sets off unquenchable desires that Aleksei has never experienced in his existence.

One night out leads to a destiny that will forever change Lana's life. It was an immediate attraction to Aleksei, feelings so strong they left her body on fire, so intense she didn’t know if it was real.

When an age old prophecy brings Lana and Aleksei together, nothing can stop the unbreakable bond that weaves itself into their lives, and when an unseen predator threatens to take away Lana, Aleksei will stop at nothing to destroy all who stand in his way from making Lana his.

Reviewed by Suzannah Safi: An excellent read! Author Jenika Snow weaved a tale of sexy and intriguing tale of a paranormal romance. A vampire to die for and with, you wouldn't mind.
Aleksei and Lana beautifully tailored for each other, the characters well developed and loved. As well, I must say that, the secondary characters in the story were not forgotten and the author developed them well and with the same intrigue. A story of a sexy as hell vampire and a heroine deserves finding love with a blood sucking vampire. The sex and passion will set your body on fire and make you wish your name was Lana, I know I did :). The writing is smooth, and the well written plot will make you read till the end. I gave this story an Excellent Book Golden Heart. Well deserved Jenika!

Author's website:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

GetToKnowTheBook: 'His To Possess' by author Su Halfwerk

After watching the trailer for His to Possess, several people asked me where I got the book’s idea from.
The simple and honest to God answer is: I have no clue.
I have to say, though, writing H2P felt right and left me exuberated in a good way.
Stories are sometimes written to express a thought, or a believe, to entertain and, let’s face it, to sell. But with H2P, it was a matter of rightness for me. I only figured it will be short, but beside that, knew nothing else about it. The idea just washed all over me and left me with the desire to do nothing but to breathe life into the characters, their emotions, and surrounding.
As a rule, I don't say NO to a story. When I get an idea I write it in my folder for “Ideas” and file it aside. His to Possess refused to remain in that folder, it actually never reached it. I started by sitting to write the idea and in no time the story was finished.
His to Possess is a sweet paranormal romance story with a ghostly touch. Initially, Stacy’s love interest wasn’t Jeremy. I won’t take you through who or how it all started, but I must tell you this: Jeremy wouldn’t let me rest before he had his say.
I ignored him, left him out in the cold without acknowledging his existence—easy to do since he’s a ghost. I tried to shut my ears to him, after all I am the author. But eventually he won, he made me see how right it was for Stacy to be with him, to feel him. Upon revisiting Stacy’s character, I couldn’t ignore the eagerness with which she welcomed the suggestion of Jeremy’s character. The rest is history.
The story has a sense of strength to it, a feel of overcoming obstacles no matter what. An underlayer of commitment that surpasses the norm.
Their story gives hope.

Devine Destines adopted my baby by choosing to contract it (a very wise decision, if I say so myself.) For that I’m forever grateful.

Martine Jardin developed a marvelous cover that fit the story’s mood to the T. Let me tell you, that cover made the development of the trailer easier.

Here's a short introduction to the story.

Stacy doesn’t know that a dashing ghost is in love with her, but when she conjures him one stormy night, he charms her to her core.
After weeks of watching Stacy turn the act of book appraising into a tantalizing experience, Jeremy—once untouchable and invisible—discovers that Stacy is more than just an infatuation. She’s all he wants, and she’s staring right at him, not through him.
A passionate kiss seals the deal and kindles their hearts with burning passion for each other. But if given the choice, will Jeremy selfishly have her join him in the realm of the dead, or allow fate to keep Stacy alive—and thus apart from him?
When Stacy searches deeper into their connection to discover the ultimate truth about their relationship, does she find out that this is another fateful blow to her heart or a new chance at love? As former lovers and thieves in the night attempt to tear them apart, their love is put to the ultimate test.

To give you a taste of the story, here's an excerpt:

The coolness of his skin surprised her. It felt good, after the heat that kept climbing her face and neck. His touch was like a salve to ease that burn. “You’re cold,” she said. As soon as she spoke the words, she bit her lip. How rude of me!
“I’m dead. Remember?” His expression hadn’t changed, but he opened his eyes in slow motion, like waking up from a nice dream. “To me, you feel warm and soft to the touch. You’ve surpassed how I imagined you’d feel.” The awe in his voice touched her heart and made her feel exceptional, appreciated.
And awkward. She glanced around her. “Now what?”
“Why did you trust me so?” he asked. Having physical contact with her had pumped up his self-confidence. He now regarded her with seductively hooded eyes.
Standing next to Jeremy made Stacy want to fluff her hair like a teenager. Hell, she wanted to run her hands through his hair. “I…” She licked her lips. “I really don’t know. There is something about you…it’s as if I’ve known you all my life.”
He cocked his head to one side. “Strange, but that’s exactly how I feel as well. Like I’ve been waiting for you since my death.”

Will Stacy and Jeremy be able to accomplish the impossible and stay together? You might think you know the answer, but I’m sure I will be able to surprise you somewhere down the line in the story.

His to Possess was released on April 15th, 2010, and is available here:
You can watch the book trailer here:


Su Halfwerk

Saturday, May 1, 2010

GetToKnowTheBook: 'Worlds Apart' by author Anne Ashby

Worlds Apart is my first novel. It was a joy to write because as New Zealanders temporarily living in Maryland we were actually experiencing the quirky plot lines I wove into the story. All the strange things American TV and movies don’t prepare a visitor for. All those back to front, upside down, peculiar things we had no idea existed until we lived amongst them. Eg. We finally understood the problem/jokes about the toilet seat. I could never figure out why it mattered if it was left up –obviously, NZ design of toilets is different. There’s another example – we received quite scathing looks in fast food outlets/restaurants when we were overheard telling our sons to go to the toilet. It took an ex-pat kiwi to teach us that “toilet” is not an acceptable word in polite society America. And there’s yet another example, for us a “kiwi” is our national bird, a person from New Zealand or our national rugby league team. It’s not a little brown furry fruit. We discovered such a wealth of differences in our language and it was interesting to use this to add confusion to my protagonists. By making my heroine a New Zealander and the hero from Maryland I was able to extenuate their emotional upheavals with smatterings of cultural/language differences. I did this in a light-hearted manner which I hope will bring a smile to my readers.

We were well into our time in MD before I hit upon the idea of using in this story our own experiences. I hope the affection I feel for Ellicott City and the wonderful people we were privileged to meet there comes through in my story. I had so much fun tracking down and highlighting all our differences. Every time my best friend looked perplexed, out my notebook came – I’d found another word she didn’t understand, another idea I could use. Kathleen became quite apt at interpreting for me when we were with other friends.

My heroine Raven is a New Zealand widow who thinks the American her mother’s about to marry is wonderful. She accepts his offer to travel from NZ to MD and recoup from serious illness a few weeks prior to the forthcoming wedding. Her arrival does not go smoothly. Greg and his sister Abby believe the woman arriving to stay is their father’s fiancé. Initially not realising this, Raven is angered and concerned by Greg’s cold, abrasive reception. Determined to ensure her mother will be welcomed with more respect she sets out on a path she soon discovers is very foolhardy.

My editor with The Wild Rose Press came up with the intriguing idea of accentuating the difference between Raven and Greg further for the readers by applying American or New Zealand spelling to the story depending on POV. Raven’s words contain New Zealand spelling while Greg’s words and thoughts are American. It took a bit of organising and I hope will make reading more interesting by continually reminding the reader that these two are from different countries with different cultures and languages. Their lives were originally Worlds Apart.


Now that her temper had cooled, she began to doubt the wisdom of her actions. Perhaps she’d been too hasty.

She could appreciate what a surprise her appearance must have been to Greg when he’d been expecting his father’s fiancée. Maybe she should own up before things got out of hand…The kitchen batwings suddenly flew open, announcing the arrival of the subject of her thoughts. “Do you have anything a little more…?” A pointed pause, as cold eyes travelled from the top of her head to the red tips of her enamelled toes before disdainfully settling on her face. “…suitable to wear? We’ve been invited to my sister’s for dinner. She’s looking forward to meeting you.” I’ll bet, thought Raven, sliding off the barstool.

Suddenly, any thoughts of stopping this farce disappeared with the condescending tone of Greg’s voice.

“Of course, Greggie, I have this simply divine black gown that Brad absolutely adores. I’ll wear that, shall I?” She tilted her head so she was gazing

up into his face. Presumptuous oaf, she smiled,gritting her teeth at the same time.

“There’s no need to dress for dinner.”

Greg spoke as if to a child, or more likely an imbecile, Raven thought.

“Perhaps something a little tidier than…than what you have on now.” He seemed to stumble trying to find the proper words. “And shoes. It would be appropriate to wear shoes.”

Raven couldn’t help it. She laughed. This was fun. And it really served him right, after all.

Slipping quickly into her part again, she replied, “of course, I’ll wear shoes, Greggie, if you think that’s really necessary.”