Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guest Guilty Pleasure - Artemis Hunt "Chocolate Indulgence"

There are a few other bloggers that are doing these Guilty Pleasure posts as well. It all started with C.J. Duggan and if you want a bunch of smiles, circle back to her site and see the comments to read other pleasures. Love to have you join the fun.

Well today I am turning my Guilty Pleasure blog post over to an author that has a very creative name. Artemis Hunt. Well seeing as Artemis is the goddess of the wilderness and the Hunt, I'd say so. 

Artemis has embraced her chocolate addiction. Have you?

I have a guilty pleasure. I am a chocoholic. The downside is that I get 1. A sore throat and 2. Fat eating it, which makes every bite even more sinfully aggravating and delicious. Which then perpetuates the vicious cycle of me craving for more chocolate and getting sicker and fatter in the process. 

I can take only an inch of a chocolate bar comfortably in me a day. More than that, I start getting antsy and guilty. I remember pigging out on a whole box of Belgian seashell chocolates when I was twenty. I swear I gained a whole kilo after that, I was rolling around in bed clutching at my tummy and willing my worldly possession away. But I was happy at the same time in a weird, psychological way that probably accounts for the shrink sessions I'm having today. 

Nowadays, instead of eating pure chocolate, I go for the neutered stuff. Chocolate cakes drowning in chocolate syrup. Chocolate cookies and wafers. Mugs of ice cold chocolate. Chocolate spas (oh yes, they are expensive and another guilty pleasure for me.)

I don't think I can ever escape this cycle of my near-death by chocolate, but its an out of body experience I will gladly embrace again and again. 

How about you? Are you into chocolate? If not what do you indulge in? 

Artemis Hunt has a husband who thinks all fiction is nonsense and all writers of fiction should get their heads checked for situational delusions. At any one time, they have 16 to 20 dogs, many of suspicious virtue.

Artemis frequently wishes she has telekinesis, so she doesn't have to lift a finger to change the room temperature. She's constantly glued to her computer, which serves as her gateway to her friends, books, movies, TV serials and sometimes husband, even though they're sitting on the same bed two feet apart.

You can find Artemis on her blog here.
On Twitter here: @ArtemisHunt1

Monday, November 28, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

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!

Smooth Talking Stranger 

By Lisa Kleypas

"He was a rascal, I thought. It was the first time I had ever found that quality appealing in a man. As our gazes caught, he gave me a dazzling grin that could have qualified as a fertility-enhancing treatment."
(page 59)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

Hardy Cates and Haven Travis' book

Blue-Eyed Devil (Travises' book 2)

By Lisa Kleypas

Book Blurb:
MEET THE BLUE-EYED DEVIL - His name is Hardy Cates. He's a self-made millionaire who comes from the wrong side of the tracks. He's made enemies in the rough-and-tumble ride to the top of Houston's oil industry. He's got hot blood in his veins. And vengeance on his mind. 

MEET THE HEIRESS - She's Haven Travis. Despite her family's money, she refuses to set out on the path they've chosen for her. But when Haven marries a man her family disapproves of, her life is set on a new and dangerous course. Two years later, Haven comes home, determined to guard her heart. And Hardy Cates, a family enemy, is the last person she needs darkening her door or setting her soul on fire. 

When Blue-Eyed Devil was drawing to the end, I put it down. I didn't want it to end. That doesn't happen very often to me. What a fantastic book. 

Blue-Eyed Devil invoked a lot of emotion out of me. I could feel my face heat up in anger and I even felt a heartbeat in my cheeks. Yeah, I got that angry with a couple of the characters. It is not what I would consider a nice feel good romance. It's way deeper.

You could read this book as a stand alone but I would not recommend it as I think the readers need to appreciate the background story. 

The readers were introduced to Hardy Cates in Sugar Daddy. The readers get a lot of history about Hardy from that first book. Oh man I fell hard for him. He is the quintessential hero package. I was so disappointed with Hardy's behaviour at the ending of Sugar Daddy and felt so torn because I loved him so. Blue-Eyed Devil redeemed him 100% in my eyes. If you read Sugar Daddy and then missed out by not following up with this book, you really should consider reading it. 

We also get a wee glimpse of Haven in Sugar Daddy. Not really enough of an impression to form an opinion on the reader so Blue-Eyed Devil was practically a blank slate for her. That blank slate changed quickly. Oh. My. Heart. After she married shortly after the beginning of the book  to an unknowingly abusive man, I felt her growing desperation and isolation. As much as I don't normally understand how females can remain in an abusive marriage situation, I found Lisa Kleypas did an exceptional job taking her time explaining how Haven ended up to where she did. As the Travis' Series is written in first person, I was tormented right along with Haven.

Isolated from her family and in a different city, Haven eventually has a breaking point after she is  eventually battered and beaten so badly that she is rescued by her  brother Gage. None of that information is a spoiler because it is predicable she does get out from under her husband's narcissistic clutches, and she tries very slowly to regain her life. Slowly. 

I say slowly because the romantic relationship that develops between Hardy and Haven is kept to a  crawling pace. It needs to be in order to help her with her much needed healing. I think that is what sets Blue-Eyed Devil apart from other romance books that use the "abused female saved by male hero" plot line. It is never believable that a woman can get over the amount of abuse that Haven went through without consequences, hardships and panic attacks. 

Blue-Eyed Devil doesn't have a lot of romantic dinners, sexy dates or scenes with a lot of heat. Like Sugar Daddy, Blue-Eyed Devil seemed to be more like a story of healing, reclaiming your life, strength and courage. It was a fabulous read that had me all tied up in knots, weeping and cheering for the heroine like I never had before. Blue-Eyed Devil is not all doom and gloom it was just really moving for me. Stellar writing by Lisa Kleypas. 

Teasers: I must warn you that there is a rape scene, intense brotherly love, an elevator rescue, a boss from hell

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Seduce Me At Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas

Win Hathaway and Kev Merripen's book

Seduce Me At Sunrise (Hathaway's book 2)

By Lisa Kleypas

Book Blurb:
Kev Merripen has longed for the beautiful, well-bred Winnifred Hathaway ever since her family rescued him from the brink of death when he was just a boy. But this handsome Gypsy is a man of mysterious origins—and he fears that the darkness of his past could crush delicate, luminous Win. So Kev refuses to submit to temptation…and before long Win is torn from him by a devastating twist of fate.
Then, Win returns to England…only to find that Kev has hardened into a man who will deny love at all costs. Meantime, an attractive, seductive suitor has set his sights on Win. It’s now or never for Kev to make his move. But first, he must confront a dangerous secret about his destiny—or risk losing the only woman he has lived for…

Love love love Seduce Me At Sunrise.  We were first introduced to Win and Kev from “Mine till Midnight” and I just knew that the next book was going to be about them. I was really curious and drawn to the couple in the first book in the Hathaway series. I think it was the potential hero set up that was destined for Kev. I just knew he was going to be a special man with a special story. 

I adore a story when a couple has a history that goes all the way back in time to when they were children or young teens. Seduce Me at Sunrise is a perfect example of my favourite type of romance story. 

Win is not well in “Mine till Midnight” because she suffers from the lingering effects of Scarlett Fever.  Kev was instrumental in pulling Win through that horrible illness that claimed many lives in the village. Seduce Me At Sunrise starts out with Win coming back home after being away for two years  at a clinic to make her lungs healthy again. It was so pleasing to read how much she recovered. It was also a bit of surprise that Win brought back the Doctor who helped heal her.

I loved Win and Kev’s homecoming and I loved the conflict that arose with the Dr, Win and Kev. The doctor was a great third wheel storyline and allowed the jealousy card to be played by Win. 

Kev has become quite a success while Win was away managing the rebuilding of the estate and tenants. It was good read that his importance had escalated. 
I loved all the conflicts and the twists in turns into the story that ultimately lead to the HEA. I am really enjoying this series. 

Teasers: childhood friends, letters from France, "You're mine", matching tattoos

Lisa Kleypas Giveaway & Reading Challenge

I've just ended my self appointed Lisa Kleypas reading week. 

I've enjoyed reading Lisa's books so much that, I'm continuing on with the Travises' series for the rest of this week. 

Because I have enjoyed her books so much, I want to share my love for the books that I've decided to hold a 
"Lisa Kleypas Backlist Giveaway". 
This giveaway is not sponsored by Lisa and the giveaway is strictly offered by me. I just want to share the love of some great stories and awesome writing. 

I'll provide some great suggestions but you can choose whatever backlist book you want. Here is a link to Lisa Kleypas' site if you wish to view her backlist. 

1. I'd be very thankful if you would be a Google Friends Connect (GFC) follower by following along my blog. Just click to join on the right hand side. 

2. Open to where ever Book Depository delivers. You can check that out here. If you are a dedicated Kindle ebook reader (like me!) I can gift you an ebook from Amazon. Sorry no other ebooks though. 

3. Please read and comment on one of my Lisa Kleypas book reviews. 

4. To count as an entry, you must complete the Rafflecopter below. Blog comments do not count. Open for a month!

That's it!

Some Lisa Kleypas reviews of that you can click on:
Lady Sophia's Lover
Worth Any Price
Suddenly You
Someone to Watch Over Me
Sugar Daddy
Blue-Eyed Devil
Mine Till Midnight
Seduce Me At Sunrise

If you become as addicted to Lisa Kleypas' books that I think you will, that would be a great time to join a reading challenge offered by Under the Covers. Lots of fun there. I've jumped on board too. I'm going to shoot to become "Kleypas Krazy"

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

A book about Liberty Jones

Sugar Daddy

By Lisa Kleypas

Book Blurb:
Liberty Jones has dreams and determination that will take her far away from Welcome, Texas---if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger than Welcome, and Liberty Jones is a complication he doesn't need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than both of them. 
When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty finds herself under the spell of a billionaire tycoon---a Sugar Daddy, one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family's past. 
Two men. One woman. A choice that can make her or break her. A woman you'll root for every step of the way. A love story you'll never forget.

If you follow my book reviews you'll notice that I usually put the novel couple's name beside the book graphic. I do this as a reference so I can quickly remember the character's names. This time I didn't put a couple's name because Sugar Daddy isn't really a romance novel in the normal sense where "man meets woman and they fall in love" romance book. No, Sugar Daddy is a touching story about a girl named Liberty Jones and there is a bit of romance added in for good measure. Also, I don't want to make a major spoiler. 

Sugar Daddy is the first Lisa Kleypas contemporary novel I have read. I love her historicals so I thought I'd read one with a modern day theme. Sugar Daddy was excellent and not at all what I thought it was going to be. Now having said that, I didn't know what it was going to be. I feel the book blurb doesn't really reflect what Sugar Daddy is about. It's not really a book about Liberty trying to choose between two men like I thought. It is so much more deeper and meaningful than that. 

Liberty grows up with a single mother who loves her dearly. Yes, shocking I know! I kept waiting for the mean mom to come out of the woodwork because so many novels have to include a mean uncaring parent. Since the story starts out when Liberty is fourteen and three quarters years old that's not to say that there are not some challenging teenage moments with her mom. But truly there is no doubt, her mom loves her. 

Liberty's teenage years was some of the best reading of Sugar Daddy. I was easily whisked back to my own awkward teenage years and my major crush/first love. I completed resonated with Liberty on so many levels during this time period. The descriptions were fabulous. I felt the heat from the pavement, I heard the rain and hail on the trailer roof, I felt the tingles of first love and all the butterflies that are generated with that awesome giddy nervous feeling.  Simply amazing. 

When Liberty's new born baby sister, Carrington arrives I could feel the pull of love from Liberty. She loves her baby sister fiercely. Their relationship is written with such feeling and powerful emotion. I was almost jealous of how easily she loved and cared for baby sister. Sugar Daddy can also be said that it is a moving story about sisters. With such an age difference between Liberty and Carrington, Liberty completely adapted a maternal role.  The sisters experience a lot of life challenging moments. I was in awe of Liberty through it all. 

Sugar Daddy is evenly paced as the story develops through Liberty's teen life through to mid twenties. Since the book is written in first person, I felt I grew up right along Liberty. The first half of the book's romance was focused on Liberty's young yearning love - years of dry spells - to when she needs to make that choice between two men who have places deeply embedded in her heart. 

I loved every moment I spent reading Sugar Daddy

Teasers: I normally do my teasers in words but this time I wanted to include teasing pictures.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas

Amanda Briars and Jack Devlin's book

Suddenly You

by Lisa Kleypas

Book Blurb:

She was unmarried, untouched and almost thirty, but novelist Amanda Briars wasn't about to greet her next birthday without making love to a man. When he appeared at her door, she believed he was her gift to herself, hired for one night of passion. Unforgettably handsome, irresistibly virile, he tempted her in ways she never thought possible, but something stopped him from completely fulfilling her dream.
Jack Devlin's determination to possess Amanda became greater when she discovered his true identity. But gently bred Amanda craved respectability more than she admitted, while Jack, the cast-off son of a nobleman and London's most notorious businessman, refused to live by society's rules. Yet when fate conspired for them to marry, their worlds collided with a passionate force neither had expected. . . but both soon craved.

Suddenly You opens with one of the best paragraphs I have read in a long time. (here)  The good and gentle Miss Amanda Briars was sitting with the scandalous Madam, Gemma Bradshaw*  trying to determine what sort of man she wishes to purchase for her 30th birthday...to loose her virginity to. And there you have it. That is how Suddenly You grabbed me and didn't let go until "The End".  
*One quick mention about the brothel owner Gemma Bradshaw is that she is a carry over figure from the Bow Street Runners book, "Worth Any Price". It was a delight to read about her again. 

The thing is, as much as I loved the opening paragraph, it gets even more delicious. Exactly how Amanda and Jack meet each other will probably go down in my books as one of the best first meetings ever. It was my favourite part of the entire book. 

Suddenly You is a stand alone book (not part of a series) that is not based around a Duke, Earl or even a Baron. Jack Devlin is a savvy business man in the publishing industry and Amanda is a best seller author who can financially support herself. It was such a breath of fresh air to read about a woman who was not dictated to marry, forced by her family to marry or was tricked to marry. With the exception of never experiencing a man in her bed, she seemed quite content with her life. 
But having said that, Amanda did have a low self esteem issue and that is one part of her personality that was annoying to read about over and over again. Even though she was characterized as having frizzy hair, short legs and a rounder body I do think that her self esteem issues stemmed more from the lack of social experience with men. For her early "coming out" years and then the following subsequent years afterwards, she was the sole caretaker of ailing parents living far from London society. 

Jack was an easy character to understand. As a reader you understood his drive and ambitions. He was not a careless rake that had bedded a lot of ladies. (another excellent character bonus) Jack was a determined man that wanted to build a publishing empire and Amanda was the one thing that softened him. I adored how the pair carried on and bantered. Highly enjoyable. 

With neither character overly fond of marriage, the conflict of the story was centered around that wedded flaw. At times it was a bit frustrating with the lack of communication between the couple but I could easily overlook that since that was the main conflict of the story. Amanda and Jack did not have an easy time of coming together as a couple and even afterwards they still continued to experience ups and downs. I loved how everything about their lives finally came together. 

Teasers: male prostitute selection, lots of blushing, memorable carriage ride, historical cradle robbing *giggles*

Guilty Pleasure - Me Want Coooookies

There are a few other bloggers that are doing these Guilty Pleasure posts as well. It all started with C.J. Duggan and if you want a bunch of smiles, circle back to her site and see the comments to read other pleasures. Love to have you join the fun. 


I can't help it. 

I'm addicted. 

I love cookies. 

The basic chocolate chip is my favourite and I just can't seem to get enough of them. 

In fact, when I buy special cookies or receive them as gifts (Tim Tams or Mint Slices) I hide them. 

I bury them in my dresser drawers or hide them away in my closet. The stash is safe from teens who think cookies need to be inhaled. Okay, so I pretty much inhale them too. 

I feel so sneaky when I bring home special chocolate fingers that only come out during the holiday season. When I'm checked out at the store, I literally take them out of the shopping bag and place them in my purse. When I come home, I go to my bedroom, close the door and take out the hidden treasure and tip toe into my closet. I may even have to fake cough to suppress the sound of the bag crinkling. I don't want my kids to pick up on what I am doing. For some reason they can't hear me YELL to do the dishes but they can hear a bag crinkle from 2 flights of stairs up. 

I wish I was this passionate about carrot sticks or cauliflower florets but alas I am not. Besides, that would really smell up the closet don't you think? 

Do you have a secret snack food that you stash away? What is your favourite cookie? Don't share a recipe with me though because I don't do the homemade unless someone gifts me a batch. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas

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!

Suddenly You

By Lisa Kleypas

November 1836

"What is your preferred style, Miss Briars? Would you prefer your man to be fair-haired or dark?  Average height or tall? English or foreign?" 
The madam was astonishingly businesslike, as if they were discussing a dish to be served at a supper-party rather than a man to be purchased for the evening. 
page 1 first paragraph
(yep I was hooked)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas

Charlotte Howard and Nick Gentry (Lord John Sydney)

Worth Any Price (Bow Street Runners book 3 final) 

by Lisa Kleypas

Book Blurb:
What is the price of love?
Nick Gentry is reputed to be the most skillful lover in all England. Known for solving delicate situations, he is hired to seek out Miss Charlotte Howard. He believes his mission will be easily accomplished -- but that was before he met the lady in question.
For instead of a willful female, he discovers one in desperate circumstances, hiding from a man who would destroy her very soul. So Nick shockingly offers her a very different kind of proposition -- one he has never offered before.
He asks her to be his bride.
And he knows that this will be much more than a union in name only. For he senses what Charlotte does not yet know -- that her appetite for sensuality matches his own. But what Nick learns surprises him. For while London's most notorious lover might claim Charlotte's body, he quickly discovers it will take much more than passion to win her love.

I loved book 2, Lady Sophia's Lover so much that I jumped right into book 3, Worth Any Price immediately. I didn't even stop to review. I just waited until I was done all three books and then wrote all reviews together. That's how good each of the Bow Street Runner's books were to me. 

I think Worth Any Price may have been my favourite of three novels. 

Nick Gentry would make my list as one of the top rakes that needs and deserves saving. The man has been dealt a bad deal in life and yet he has found a way to survive. Only his sister knew he was a different man inside. Not even Nick thought he was worthy of a chance. 

Nick fights his attraction to Lottie and the more he battles against is, the more he wants to embrace it. Before Nick knows what hit him, he's deeply in love. It all was perfectly paced and written to believable circumstances. It was like opening a present slowly. The anticipation was exciting.  

One of the story elements I think I loved most about Worth Any Price is the lack of secrets that the couple kept from each other. He freely shares his past and  his bank account balance. He holds nothing back including his desire to bed Lottie. I truly hate romance books where the conflict is a kept secret between the couple and everything falls apart around that secret. Not in the case of Worth Any Price. I was loving every single page and applauded the honesty. The only secret Nick didn't divulge right away was a deeply emotional scar that held Nick captive in his dreams and thoughts. Once he truly trusted Lottie, he even shared that emotional state with her. 

Keeping on that honesty theme, the same truth worked with Lottie as well. She doesn't withhold details about her past from Nick and just tells it like it is. I even said out loud "awesome".  I was just so excited the author Lisa Kleypas took that route with Worth Any Price

The story line, the characters, the honesty and the overall enjoyment of Worth Any Price earned a 5 heart rating from me. 

Teasers: wishing well, kissing gate, historical shower scene, accepting peer title