Book Review: What Happens in London by Julia Quinn

What Happens in London

Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Bevelstoke, book 2
Publisher: Avon
Publishing Date: June 30, 2009
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Amazon  Goodreads

Summary
RUMORS AND GOSSIP ... THE LIFEBLOOD OF LONDON

When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancee, she doesn't believe it for a second, but, still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits ... and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.

Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He's not a spy, but he's had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she's nothing more than an annoyingly nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself...

Blog Tour: The Highlander's Promise by Lynsay Sands (Excerpt, Teaser, Giveaway)


In a spellbinding new Highlands story from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands, the laird of the Buchanans finds the one woman who is his equal in passion and courage.
Aulay Buchanan has retreated to his clan’s hunting lodge for a few days of relaxation. But the raven-haired beauty he pulls from the ocean puts an end to any chance of rest. Though he christens her Jetta, she knows nothing of her real identity, save that someone is trying to kill her. As she recovers, it will not be easy for Aulay to protect her and keep her honor intact when she mistakenly believes they are man and wife…
Jetta sees beyond Aulay’s scars to the brave, loyal warrior she’s proud to call her own. But as the attempts on her life grow more brazen, Jetta realizes that not all is as she believes. And if Aulay is not her husband, can she trust the desire flaring in his eyes, or his promise to defend her with his life?

About the Book

The Highlander’s Promiseby Lynsay Sands
SeriesThe Highlander Series
GenreAdult
Historical Romance
PublisherAvon Books
Publication DateJune 26, 2018
Purchase Your Copy Today!
Amazon | Avon Romance | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks

Discussion: Writing diverse characters as a white author

Today's discussion post is a little more focused on the writing side of bookish things. 

I'm participating in Camp NaNo in July, and am super excited for my story idea. I plan to write several interlinked short stories based on fairy tales, set in an urban fantasy/paranormal romance AU. The common link is some interaction with Straw  & Spindle, a nightclub owned by Rumpelstiltskin. Each story will be a romance, some with the character traditionally considered the villain of the story as one of the romantic leads, some gender bent or gender swapped. I've got plans for M/F, M/M, and F/F couples. 

Here is where the discussion topic comes in: I'd really like to include a diverse cast of characters in my universe. I'd like to include non-white characters, but as a white woman I don't want to mess it up. Is there a right way to do this? Do I just write an all white cast so I stay in my own lane and don't step on toes? If I try to write PoC characters is that taking up space an #ownvoices author should have?

Book Blitz: Galaxies and Oceans by N.R. Walker (Excerpt, Giveaway)


Galaxies and Oceans
N.R. Walker
Publication date: June 25th 2018
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Romance
Seizing his one chance to escape, Ethan Hosking leaves his violent ex-boyfriend, leaves his entire life, and walks into the path of a raging bushfire. Desperate to start over, a new man named Aubrey Hobbs walks out of the fire-ravaged forest, alive and alone. With no ID and no money, nothing but his grandfather’s telescope, he goes where the Southern Cross leads him.
Patrick Carney is the resident lighthouse keeper in Hadley Cove, a small town on the remote Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia. After the tragic death of his lover four years ago, he lives a solitary life; just him, a tabby cat, the Indian and Southern Oceans, and a whole lot of loneliness. He’s content with his life until a stranger shows up in town and turns Patrick’s head.
Patrick never expected to be interested in anyone else.
Aubrey never expected to be happy.
Between Aubrey’s love of the stars and Patrick’s love of the ocean, these two fragile hearts must navigate new waters. If they can weather the storm of their pasts, they could very well have a love that eclipses everything.

Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Series: Simon Snow, Book 1
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: Reprint edition - May 9, 2017
Paperback, 529 pages
Amazon  Goodreads

Summary
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.

That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.

Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.

Carry On - The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.


Blog Tour: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean (Excerpt, Review, Giveaway)


When a man known only as Devil finds his way into her bedchamber and offers her his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees. She might be a spinster, but she’s seen love in action and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that her future husband will love her beyond reason—even if it means she must make a deal with a man more dangerous than she could imagine.
Bastard son of a duke, and king of London’s darkest corners, Devil has made a lifetime of wielding power and seizing opportunity, and Felicity Faircloth is everything he needs to exact a perfect revenge. All he has to do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy. If the girl is ruined in the process, so be it.  
Except there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, and soon it’s Devil who is trapped…along with his heart.

About the Book

Wicked and the Wallflowerby Sarah MacLean
SeriesThe Bareknuckle Bastards Series
GenreAdult
Historical Romance
PublisherAvon Books
Publication DateJune 19, 2018
Purchase Your Copy Today!
Amazon | Avon Romance | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks

Children's Books ~ Mini Reviews: Magic Words, Lily Pond, Watermelon Madness

Magic Words From the Ancient Oral Tradition of the Inuit

by Edward Field
Pub Date 01 Sep 2013
Children's Fiction

Magic Words is a modern translation (1965) of a very old Inuit creation story by nationally known poet Edward Field. As a poem it captures beautifully the intimate relationship this Arctic people have with their natural world.

Magic Words describes a world where humans and animals share bodies and languages, where the world of the imagination mixes easily with the physical. It began as a story that told how the Inuit people came to be and became a legend passed from generation to generation. In translation it grew from myth to poem. The text comes from expedition notes recorded by Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen in 1921. Edward Field got a copy from the Harvard Library and translated it into English.

Book Blitz: Not Her Gargoyle by Annie Nicholas (Excerpt, Giveaway)


Not Her Gargoyle
Annie Nicholas
Publication date: June 18th 2018
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Ruby is done with jerks, dead-end jobs, and eviction notices. Everyone else she knows is finding ways out of this crappy neighborhood, so why can’t she? Since opportunities refuse to fall from the sky, Ruby makes her own. To hell with the little voice in her heart whispering about love. She never met a man she wanted to keep…then she met a gargoyle. Men were boring after all.
Nick was a con, a thief, and a rogue. He couldn’t keep a dime in his pocket even if it was glued. Then he met a ruby. Not one from the earth but one of flesh and blood. And ass. Let’s not forget the ass. Stealing her heart was now all he wanted.
He has a plan that could make both their dreams come true. It only involves an itsy-bitsy risk. All they must do is rob a witch.
Oh, and avoid the dragons.



Book Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (+ Audiobook review)

The Hating Game

Author: Sally Thorne
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publishing Date: August 9, 2016
Paperback, 384 pages
Audiobook: HarperAudio (August 9, 2016)
Narrator: Katie Schorr
Length: 11 hours 29 minutes
Amazon   Goodreads

Summary
Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.


Book Blitz: Dark Water by J.A. Armitage (Teaser, Excerpt, Giveaway)


Dark Water
J.A. Armitage
(Reverse Fairytales, #4)
Publication date: June 19th 2018
Genres: Fairy Tales, Young Adult
You think you know the story of The Little Mermaid…
A tragic accident on the eve of her eighteenth birthday leads Princess Erica to a chance encounter with a mysterious man on the beach. When he turns up at her birthday party and whisks her off her feet, she knows she has to find out everything about him, but why won’t he speak and where does he keep disappearing to?
Ari knows he’s crossed a line by mingling with the land humans, but how can he resist the beautiful princess whose life he saved? He must decide whether to stay on land and become like her, or continue to live without her in the depths of the ocean.
Trapped in a centuries long battle between his kind and hers, his decision will rock both their kingdoms.
With a sea witch that needs repaying and the small matter of Erica’s engagement to someone else, Ari knows the odds are stacked against him.
Dark Water is the fourth in the Reverse Fairytale series and the first Little Mermaid retelling by USA Today bestselling author J.A.Armitage. Take everything you think you know about fairytales and turn it on its head.

Peekaboo's Corner: Bookcover Snark

In which Peekaboo and I look at some book covers and get snarky, and I end up adding way too many books to my Kindle Unlimited TBR. /sigh

WARNING: Swear words ahead. Not a lot of them, but the effin-heimer is dropped a few times. You’ve been warned.


Peekaboo: His back looks like someone took a wrinkly old man back, and photoshopped muscles onto it.
Elley: Also I think there might be a couple of babies trapped under there.
Peekaboo: Dear god I think you're right.
Elley: Is that… is that the actual book title? Them Back Dimples?
Peekaboo: What if the whole book is about her seeing what she can fit in/drink from those back dimples?
Elley: I mean, what ELSE could it possibly be about?
Peekaboo: The small furry animals attempting to escape from under his skin? IRL tho, he hires her to be his maid, and then refrains from wearing pants. Not at all sure what back dimples have to do with anything. Except that his are cavernous.
Elley: I know we're supposed to be talking about covers, but what the heck is up with the titles in this series? Bring on the Psychobitch and Scrooge McFuck? I am DYING.
Peekaboo: Wait, one of them is Scrooge McFuck? Can we buddy read that? That sounds recockulous. Oh hey, I actually own Shy Girls Write It Better by her. I haven't read it yet though.
Elley: Read it and if it's any good, then I'll shell out the $3.82 for Scrooge McFuck for a buddy read. OK, enough of this series. Next cover.

Release Blitz: Between the Sea and Stars by Chantal Gadoury (Excerpt, Giveaway)


About The Book:

Title: BETWEEN THE SEA AND STARS
Author: Chantal Gadoury
Pub. Date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: The Parliament House
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: ?
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooks
A Legend, 
A Magical Shell 
A Girl Who Dreamed Of Something More... 

Lena, a Merrow girl, lives in the Skagerrak sea with her father, Carrick and her brother, Javelin who tells her of the legend of the Merrow Queen murdered by her human lover when greed takes over. But what’s worth spilling the queen’s blood? Gifted from Poseidon, himself, a magic shell gives any human the ability to control both land and sea. 

When Javelin is called to join a clan of Merrow soldiers bent on protecting their waters from human invasion, Lena resists Merrow law and ventures to the shore with no choice but to swim to land. 

With newfound legs, Lena is whisked away on a new adventure with new friends and new trouble. Everyone seems to want something from her as intrigue lurks around every corner. 

Trying her best to hide who she is and remain safe from the dangers of the human world, will Lena finally find where she belongs, or will she be swept into a strong and stormy current by lust, greed, and jealousy?

Book Review: Only With You (Man Enough #4) by Nicole McLaughlin

Only With You

Author: Nicole McLaughlin
Series: Man Enough, Book 4
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Amazon   Goodreads


Summary
The men in Nicole McLaughlin’s Man Enough series are tough Alphas devoted to serving their country and the women who love them.
National Guardsman Aiden King has been attracted to Hannah Walters for a while, but he never made a move because of her close relationship with his best friend. But when circumstances change, Aiden is surprised when his friend gives his blessing. Problem is, there’s a reason he’s still alone after all these years, and as much as he wants her, that secret keeps him from acting on his desires.
Hannah has finally decided to wait for the kind of love you read about in books and see in movies. After her failed engagement, Aiden’s unassuming support has become a touchstone for Hannah. It soon becomes apparent that he may be exactly the kind of man she’s been looking for. But the closer they become, the more he keeps her at arm’s length.
When Aiden suggests a road trip to take Hannah’s mind off her troubles, the two of them go on a journey neither one expected. She just hopes that the final destination is them together for good.

Release Blitz: Mister Tonight by Kendall Ryan


MISTER TONIGHT
By Kendall Ryan
Release Day – June 18


From New York Times bestselling author Kendall Ryan comes a standalone romance about a swoony single dad and the new neighbor he falls for.

Last night was the most embarrassing night of my life.

I was THAT girl.

You know, the highly intoxicated chick celebrating her thirtieth with her two best friends—the ones who are happily married. And the more I drank, the more I wanted to do something reckless to celebrate. 

By reckless, I meant the sexy and alluring man dressed in a business suit standing near the bar. You know his type—tall, dark, and handsome. I was sure he was out of my league, but I'd had just enough alcohol that things like that no longer seemed to matter. I'm not fat, mind you, but you can tell I like French fries, so there's that.

He took me home and I enjoyed the hottest birthday sex of my life, well until it came to a screeching, and rather unwelcome halt. 

There's nothing quite like being interrupted mid-ride with a little voice asking: 

"What are you doing to my daddy?"

Just kill me now…... or so I thought.

Come to find out the man I rode like a bull at the rodeo is my new landlord. 

Book Review: Like Cats and Dogs by Alexis Stanton

Like Cats and Dogs

Author: Alexis Stanton
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
Kindle, 268 pages
Amazon   Goodreads

Summary
Laura is drifting through life.

Spencer has the next decade perfectly planned.

Laura loves her dog Frank.

Spencer pampers his cat Mozart.

Both humans have nothing in common, but when there's a mix-up with a vacation rental house, they're suddenly stuck together.

At first, they fight like cats and dogs. Yet they can't deny that opposites definitely attract. Can they find a way to share a roof without driving each other crazy...or falling in love?

This funny, feel-good romance contains a free Hallmark original recipe for S'mores Waffles.


Discussion: Summer Lovin' - Bookish Bingo and Camp NaNo


Well I guess I'm a bit of a glutton for punishment, because I just decided to take one two (big-ish?) projects for the summer. 

The first is The Ripped Bodice's 2nd Annual Summer Romance Bingo! It runs from June 1 to August 31, and you can enter to win ♥ prizes ♥ , and well who doesn't love prizes? Each square represents a book you've read this summer, and you fill in the square with the title & author once you've met the criteria. To get a bingo you need to get 5 in a row (vertical or horizontal) and for each row you complete you can enter to win prizes at https://www.therippedbodicela.com/bingo.

Blog Tour: Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley (Review, Giveaway)



Love Scene, Take Two
Alex Evansley
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: June 12th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Debut author Alex Evansley delivers a sweet summer romance in this inventive novel about a young heartthrob and teen author falling in love.
Teddy Sharpe is kind of famous. He might actually be on his way to being really famous, especially if he’d nailed an audition for the lead role in the movie adaption of the newest bestselling young adult book series. There’s just one problem: He totally blew the audition. And he’s stuck in a tiny North Carolina airport. And his maybe-ex- girlfriend kind of just broke up with him.
The weekend isn’t exactly looking good until Bennett Caldwell, author of the very book series he just auditioned for, takes pity on him and invites him to her family’s lake house. Away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood for a few days, Teddy starts to relax . . . and somehow he and Bennett just click. But dating is hard enough when you aren’t the subject of several dozen fanblogs, and the Internet is full of juicy gossip about Teddy and Bennett . . . gossip that Bennett might not be prepared to handle.
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Alex Evansley’s debut novel, written from both Bennett and Teddy’s perspectives, will have teens laughing, swooning, and falling in love along with these fantastically relatable characters.

Sneak Peak: Mister Tonight by Kendall Ryan (Excerpt reveal)


Mister Tonight by Kendall Ryan
Release Day – June 18
From New York Times bestselling author Kendall Ryan comes a standalone romance about a swoony single dad and the new neighbor he falls for.
Last night was the most embarrassing night of my life.

I was THAT girl.

You know, the highly intoxicated chick celebrating her thirtieth with her two best friends—the ones who are happily married. And the more I drank, the more I wanted to do something reckless to celebrate. 

By reckless, I meant the sexy and alluring man dressed in a business suit standing near the bar. You know his type—tall, dark, and handsome. I was sure he was out of my league, but I'd had just enough alcohol that things like that no longer seemed to matter. I'm not fat, mind you, but you can tell I like French fries, so there's that.

He took me home and I enjoyed the hottest birthday sex of my life, well until it came to a screeching, and rather unwelcome halt. 

There's nothing quite like being interrupted mid-ride with a little voice asking: 

"What are you doing to my daddy?"

Just kill me now…... or so I thought.

Come to find out the man I rode like a bull at the rodeo is my new landlord. 


Discussion: Real life bookish friends

This post is inspired by one Laura posted over at Boats Against the Current about real life bookish friends. In her post, Laura talks about...