Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays #53

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.

WE SHALL RISE by J. E. Hopkins

....from page 131 of 3702 (from my Kindle).

-I appreciate your wish to rescue me, but I'm not that girl who needs a knight in shining armor to come rescue her from a fire-breathing dragon.  I don't need to be saved.  I'm more likely to kick someone's ass, as I just did to your brother, than to have my ass kicked.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fashion Monday Madness.....

Last night provided great fodder for today's post with the SAG Awards rolling out the Red Carpet.  So let's get right to it....

The Good....

Michelle Williams is a standout from head to toe in this bright red gown with a bit of lace.  The length of the dress works beautifully to keep it from being stepped on and more actresses should go with this hemline too.  Her short 'do always enhances her porcelain doll complexion that doesn't need much make-up.  She looks stylish and sweet and definitely gives off a Marilyn vibe even now.

This dress worn by Kaley Cuoco is one that's definitely a love it or hate it ensemble.  I love it's fresh color and the draping of the bodice is very flattering.  The skirt is a conversation piece with its billowing, cloud-like style and she looks cool as ice in it.  The only thing I'd change is the Heidi-like braided hairdo, it's a bit overly done.

The Bad....

Kristen Wiig is known for her comedy but looks overly somber in this blandly colored gown with it's baggy line.  The studded dog collar does nothing to help the situation except make me want to send her to the dog house for wearing this disappointing outfit.

Glee's Amber Riley is practically swimming in bows and lace in this overly-embellished cocktail dress.  The adornments completely overwhelm her and make her figure look even larger.  The hair too is overly done and add to this drunken mess of a cocktail dress.

The Ugly....

Zoe Saldana looks positively matronly in another overly embellished gown.  Too many swaths of crystals at the waist and neckline, along with the tiny diamond disco balls along the hem make for a Bedazzled nightmare. 

Rose Byrne continues the glitter-fest in this wedding cake-inspired jumpsuit.  All the embellishments make for a weighty outfit that completely overwhelms her tiny stature.  The 70's style, along with the blunt bob, harken back to a bygone era that should have stayed in the past.

That's it for this week, time to roll up the Red Carpet, and leave you to comment below.  Let me know what you think of these choices and join me again next week for more fashion fun.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Book Tour for Blacker Than Black by Rhi Etzweiler (Interview & GIVEAWAY)

Today is an exciting day for me!  This is my first time joining in the fun that new kid on the block Riptide Publishing is providing by having the wonderful Rhi Etzweiler here talking about her new book Blacker Than Black.  Not only that, but there's an awesome giveaway that you can sign up for too.  So to start us off here's my interview with Rhi.....

Thanks for having me, Jody! It’s great to be here with you today.

TSP:  How did you get where you are today with your writing career and if you weren't writing what would your occupation be?

RE:  I’m not a full-time writer; my books don’t pay my bills. I have a day job that does that – I work in the retail sales industry. Glamorous, isn’t it?

To be honest, I can’t imagine not writing. I expect that if I hadn’t finally begun a career as an author, I would still be a writer. It is the artist in me that needs an outlet of expression, and fictional prose is my medium of choice. I think I prefer it this way, simply because there is zero financial pressure for me to perform. It allows me to create at my own pace, as my artistic vision leads, instead of worrying about productivity and sales figures and all the rest of it.

TSP:  Your first release ever Dark Edge of Honor was co-authored with the amazing Aleks Voinov and Blacker Than Black is your first solo release.  How is the writing process different between the two and who else would you consider co-authoring with in the future? (We can make the question even more radical by saying the author can be dead or alive...lol)

RE:  The synergy of a co-writing process is invigorating, simply because writing is largely such an insular task otherwise. To turn it inside out, externalize it, share the burden and expression of the creative process with another, transforms the task into a completely different creature. Not only do you feed off one another, but you encourage one another and even learn from one another. The strengths of one, balanced by those of the other.

Hmm. I think I would learn a great deal from co-authoring with Sun Tzu. I expect he would inform me that he’d said all that needed saying in “The Art of War” and that there was no need to belabor the point. But I can dream.

TSP:  How would you describe BTB?  And how do your vampires differ from the typical vamp?

RE:  BTB is …an exploration of genderfuck—that’s my best description of it, at least. In Black’s world, the vampires aren’t bloodsuckers, they’re energy vampires. The term vampire is actually employed as a derogatory slur. And they’re not “made” into vampires. They’re portrayed as the next evolutionary step of the human race. Whether that makes them less or more, though, is for the reader to decide.

TSP:  How would you describe your writing style and what sets you apart from other authors?

RE:  There’s an old saying about forests and trees. This is like asking a tree how large the forest is. *laughs* You’ll have to decide that for yourself, the tree whispers.

TSP:  What do you think draws readers to the m/m genre and is there a different way of writing a m/m couple than het couples?

RE:  I think there are as many motivations drawing readers to the genre as there are readers. I think the fresh perspective that the stories provide is probably the biggest draw. For some, it’s the titillation of something foreign—for others, it’s the expression of what’s familiar to them, it’s fiction that they can identify with on some level.

I don’t feel there’s any true delineation between writing one couple and the other—ultimately, a couple is a couple. The nature of the characters dictates their portrayal, and their gender and sexuality has relatively little to do with the writing of their relationship, their interactions, etc.

TSP:  How has the digital revolution affected your career and how you market yourself?  Do you have a eReader?

RE:  For me, my online presence is a public image and one of the assets in my writing career. In other words, I invest time and energy in maintaining a certain image online, and behave professionally. Anyone who is selling something is in business, and I feel that as a writer you’re not just selling your writing but yourself, after a fashion. Or the image of your pseudonym, as the case may be. So that portrayal, and what you make visible, is an asset and should be treated as such.

Without the ability to digitally disburse and market my writing, I strongly doubt that I would have a writing career at all. I have grown and matured as a writer over the years thanks to individuals and communities I would not have encountered otherwise. As with any tool, though, the internet is what you make of it.

I don’t own an eReader device, just yet. My laptop does double duty as an eReader, though… does that count? I’ve lost track of how many books I’ve not bought in paperback because I could get them digitally. It saves production resources…and shelf space, too.

TSP:  What do you have coming up next, any top secret WIPs you can share with us?

RE:  There’s no release date just yet, but I do have another contracted book with Riptide that will be published later this year. I have a couple sequels in the works, or at least in the muse-writer negotiation phase. And a reinvention of an old, trunked piece—it’s a military fantasy, and I expect it may lean toward serialization.

TSP:  My site is all about favorite things.  What are some of your favorite things, the things you can't live without?

RE:  I think it’s awesome that your site is all about favorite things. Celebrating the little pleasures in life, those slivers that bring you happiness. We’re each responsible for our own happiness after all – I enjoy reminding myself of the small sensations that give me joy.

So let’s see. My list would include:

Coffee, of course! The rich flavor of a dark roast, the scent of cinnamon and sugar blending with the aroma.

Trance music. I use it to create a writing space and get in the frame of mind to write.

Vivid sunsets on warm evenings, with just enough clouds in the sky to create a beautiful palette of colors.

The feel of my favorite old flannel shirt. It’s that threadbare soft, and looks like some starving artist’s painter smock, but it was my grandfather’s.

The grounded, peaceful feeling I get after a yoga session. That calm, cleansed sensation. As though all the negativity has sloughed away and left me with a clean slate for the day.

...Thanks for all the great answers and I look forward to what's coming up for you next!


Apparently, my twin and I are two of York’s most notorious criminals. We’ve been Nightwalkers in the blue-light district since the vamps took over the world. Don’t know how many years it’s been. Long enough that a stream of fellow ’walkers have come and gone. Most don’t last long selling their chi. End up face-down in the gutter, or worse.

For us, one night and one sale change everything.

Monsieur Garthelle is the first john to hunt me down. He calls me a chi thief in one breath and offers absolution—servitude—in the next. Maybe I’m a sucker, but I like living and breathing. Strange that such a powerful vamp would show leniency to a mere human. And something’s not right with the chi I took from him. It won’t go away.

Neither will he, and he’s forcing us to spy on his peers. Then a vamp turns up dead, and we go from playing eyes and ears to investigating a murder. This isn’t what I signed up for. All I ever wanted was to sell a little chi, maybe steal some in return. I should’ve kept my damn hands to myself.

This is my story. Look through my eyes.


Email address: RhiAnon.Etzweiler@gmail.com
Website: http://www.RhiAnonEtzweiler.com
Blog: http://RhiAnonEtzweiler.blogspot.com
Twitter: @musefodder
Facebook Profile here
Goodreads Profile here
Amazon Author Page here
Google+ Profile here
Get “Dark Edge of Honor” here


There are 2 giveaways associated with Rhi's tour.....Giveaway #1 is strictly related to my site and is for a signed cover card and magnet.  Giveaway #2 is tour wide and will have 2 winners.  First winner will receive an autographed tote bag and pen, signed cover flat, and large magnet. Second winner will receive a t-shirt (size XL), pen, signed cover flat, and small magnet.

-Giveaway #1 is OPEN TO ALL.
-Giveaway #2 is OPEN TO US & CANADA.
-To be entered in both giveaways, comment on this post along with your email addy.  For the tour wide giveaway, the more tour stops you comment on the greater your chances of winning.  For a list of all tour stops, go here.
-Winners will be chosen randomly and will have 48 hours to respond to their winner's confirmation email or a new winner may be chosen.
-Giveaway #1 ENDS AT 11:59 PM EST TONIGHT (1/29).
-Giveaway #2 ENDS AT 11:59 PM EST ON 2/2.

Review for Blacker Than Black by Rhi Etzweiler

Apparently, my twin and I are two of York’s most notorious criminals. We’ve been Nightwalkers in the blue-light district since the vamps took over the world. Don’t know how many years it’s been. Long enough that a stream of fellow ’walkers have come and gone. Most don’t last long selling their chi. End up face-down in the gutter, or worse.

For us, one night and one sale change everything.

Monsieur Garthelle is the first john to hunt me down. He calls me a chi thief in one breath and offers absolution—servitude—in the next. Maybe I’m a sucker, but I like living and breathing. Strange that such a powerful vamp would show leniency to a mere human. And something’s not right with the chi I took from him. It won’t go away.

Neither will he, and he’s forcing us to spy on his peers. Then a vamp turns up dead, and we go from playing eyes and ears to investigating a murder. This isn’t what I signed up for. All I ever wanted was to sell a little chi, maybe steal some in return. I should’ve kept my damn hands to myself.

This is my story. Look through my eyes.


This is Rhi Etzweiler's first solo novel and considering it's nice flow, intriguing characters, vivid world imagery, and fresh take on the vampire mythos it definitely won't be the last we hear from her.  Etzweiler has created a future world that is dark and bleak where a hierarchy of vampires (lyche is her term) rule the cities and humans are left to struggle to survive anyway they can.  For many, that means selling their souls on the streets as Nightwalkers to any lyche who chooses them.  For Black and his sister Jhez they've lasted much longer than the usual Nightwalker and as the story unfolds the reader discovers there's more to them than meets the eye.  As they become entwined in lyche politics their lives are put in danger and the truth about them comes to light and changes their future forever.  Throw in a sexy yet conflicted lyche by the name of Leonard Garthelle and you have a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the final page is turned.

What first impressed me about this story was its vivid depiction of a world on edge.  Where Black and Jhez live is a forlorn city reeking of no hope, amongst other smells.  It's dark and depressing and those who struggle to cope there have to do many unsavory things to survive, often losing their emotions along the way.  Black and Jhez show a strong bond with one another though.  They often hug and will do anything to keep the other safe.  They're all that's left of their family and the only other person allowed in is Blue.  Blue has plenty of issues of his own with a cloud of mystery surrounding him.  He's the local drug dealer and has seen plenty of bad things in his life barely hinted at.  The three of them are interesting to see together and the strong bond of love they have.  Black and Blue (the Bruise Brothers) appear weak throughout the story with momentary flashes of raw unexpected power.  Jhez is badass to the core though with her flippant words and cocky attitude and I greatly enjoyed seeing her cope in the new world they find themselves in amongst lyche royalty.  I look forward to seeing more of her in the future and the man strong enough to take her on.  Blue also greatly intrigued me.  He suffers so with the constant barragement of noise in his head and the reasons behind this will have my mind whirling until his story is told.

Monsieur Garthelle of York, Leonard to a very few, is in charge of the city and is looking for chi thieves who are stealing energy from his fellow lyche.  He finds Black and is immediately drawn to him.  Once they share chi he blackmails Black and Jhez into helping him with an even bigger problem in the lyche hierarchy and those trying to usurp the balance.  Leonard is extremely sexy and mysterious and the sexual tension between him and Black is off the charts.  The few sexual interludes they had made my heart pound and left me wanting more.  Leonard's kept secrets for so long and been alone forever that it's hard for him to deal truthfully with Black who he's really starting to care for.  Seeing him struggle to admit his feelings and be open with Black made me ache for him.  Having him not only accept Black into his heart and family but Jhez too made me like him even more, since others of his ilk would have nothing to do with Mutts like them. 

I enjoyed the fresh take on vampirism that Rhi presents.  Having individuals share energy instead of blood felt more dangerous to me.  Being drained dead like a battery and having your soul drained completely spoke volumes to the kind of world these characters live in.  Sharing chi also makes for a stronger bond and felt more sexual to me since it's through touch that the transfer occurs.  The more skin exposed the more chi can be transferred.  

From start to finish I was fully invested in this story.  While I could have done with a bit less political intrigue and had more focus put on the relationship between Black and Leonard, I still found the flow to be pleasant.  The ending section is a bit hurried with a very open ending that I hope gets picked up from again soon.  The sexual tension is palpable throughout but with very few blatant sexual interludes, which I would have liked to have had more of.  The secondary characters of Jhez and Blue really grabbed my attention and I so hope we have their stories told soon since the anticipation is killing me.  Blacker Than Black was an entertaining story with a memorable world that I look forward to visiting again soon and recommend you do too.

My rating for this is a B+

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review for Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.

Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list.

Short on time to find evidence proving the killer’s identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it’s time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.

With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.


With Katherine Heigl bringing Stephanie Plum to the big screen this weekend I thought it appropriate to post this review of the 17th outing of the world's worst bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum.  In this outing everyone's a bit out of sync after the complete destruction of Vinnie's Bail Bonds office in the previous book.  Forced into working out of Mooner's marijuana-reeking trailer, Stephanie and Lula once again drive through the streets of Trenton looking for their next bounty.

The formula for this book and the series as a whole is pretty straightforward and similar from story to story.  These books aren't read for their cutting edge storylines or thought provoking themes, they are strictly comfort food.  You know Stephanie's latest car will go up in flames, you know Lula's going to be on another wacky diet, you know Grandma's going to cause a scene at a funeral, and you know Stephanie will still be torn between two sexy men....the reliable Morelli and the mysterious Ranger.  Even knowing all these things you can't help but want to join in the fun.

This series still brings the laughs, and even though I look forward to those sexy tension-filled scenes between Steph and her men, it's those scenes with Stephanie and Lula that keep me entertained.  These two ladies are a laugh riot, a modern-day Lucy and Ethel.  They're the perfect pair and even if Steph never chooses which man to be with, as long as she's with Lula riding into the sunset I'll consider it a HEA.

Morelli and Ranger still make my mouth water with both of them having very appealing qualities where I can understand why Steph can't choose.  In this book an extra male is thrown into the mix with a quality that Stephanie can't ignore, he's a great cook and she finds herself intrigued by him until things start getting a little crazy.  Once the craziness kicks in the story picks up speed with an exciting race to the finish.

All-in-all I still find myself entertained by Stephanie Plum.  I don't buy the books immediately upon release, but I'm still drawn to the series and will keep reading until the very end.  I can admit that there are some consistent flaws in the series and that the love triangle needs to be settled soon, but the comedic moments between Stephanie and Lula and anytime Grandma opens her mouth still leave me satisfied and with a smile on my face.

My rating for this is a B.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Follow Friday.......

Hello all, it's that day of the week where we learn new things about each other and discover new blogs along the way.  We also help each other by becoming followers of one another.  Normally that following would be through GFC (which would be great if you'd still take a few seconds to do), but with that being eliminated (a big boo-hiss to that) I now ask that you follow through a RSS Feed which you can find to the right under "subscribe to..." and choose posts and then the reader of your choice.  I want to thank all of you ahead of time who choose to become a follower and make sure to let me know in the comments if you're new so I doubly make sure to follow you back.  And now for this weeks get to know me question......

Q: Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

A:  Self-help books.  I've only read one or two that were recommended to me as being empowering, but I found them to be depressing and slightly annoying.  I think change has to come from within and you've got to truly want it to achieve it. 

Book Tour for Lust on the Rocks by Dianne Venetta (Guest Blog & GIVEAWAY)

It's an exciting day here on the blog courtesy of Goddess Fish Promotions who have let me bring Dianne Venetta here who will be talking about her sexy new read and the appeal of younger men with older women.  So let's get right to it......

What’s the allure of older women & younger men?

Okay. Let's be honest. What isn’t sexy about an older woman and younger man? Forget cougar, I'm talking feline, feminine, hums and purrs, twists and rolls...  My heroine Samantha Rawlings is all this and doesn’t mind sharing.  And she's not shy.  Of course, neither are most cats I know!

In fact, they're independent souls that know what they want and know how to get it. Resourceful yet finicky, most cats can work any situation into their favor and Sam is no exception. When she spots a sexy young man? She takes possession—usually without complaint. But of course, what man would complain when an attractive woman seeks him out?

But a beautiful body will only take you so far.  One of the sexiest things about this relationship is the combination of youthful stamina and the touch of experience.  Older women know how to please and younger men can go the distance (if you what I mean) which heightens the pleasure for both. When a woman knows how to please herself—she will find herself at the top of every man's wish list. Odd concept, save the old adage: know thyself and you know your neighbor.

Never heard of that one?  Well, I did just pull it from my back pocket, but the point remains:  with an older woman, a man knows he won't be disappointed. If she knows her way around the human anatomy, he’s in for a thrill.  And the knowledgeable older woman? What it's in it for her?

Complete and utter adoration. Much like a cat, a woman who is adored is a woman in full purr mode. Stroke her, rub her and send her straight to heaven. When she's had her fill?  No problem.  She’ll bolt like a flash of lightning, not to be seen or heard from again until she's good and ready.

Much like the older woman. Uninterested in making children or engaging in long term commitment (been there done that perhaps?), she's working off the pleasure principle.  When it's good she's in—when it's not, she's out. The older woman has no use for the relationship that doesn't please her. Does it get any more liberating?

Not in my book, it doesn’t!  How about you? Would you agree with my premise or do you have even more scintillating reasons these two make a sizzling combination? Do share—I’d love to know!

LUST ON THE ROCKS by Dianne Venetta

She has what he needs, and he won't stop until he gets it.  Trouble is, what begins as a matter of death, becomes a matter of life.

One case away from partnership, Samantha Rawlings is forced to share her high-profile case with a sexy younger man, whose eyes are on a different prize.  In the best interests of her client, Sam opens the door to his strategy.  Turns out, a little too far...

Victor Marin has ulterior motives.  The defendant in her case holds the key to his revenge, and his last chance for justice.  But as he chases old demons, he uncovers a powerful woman with no inhibitions, one he wants to possess for himself.  But decidedly single, Sam wants no part.

Until Vic walks away. 


“You did well today, Vic.  You didn’t win your argument, your performance was a little overpowering, but you did well.”  She slid a hand across the table.  He would have sworn she was about to touch his, but instead, her fingers curled around the stem of her water glass.  “Chavez was out of line.  It’s his MO.  Whenever there’s a new attorney in his courtroom, he parades power like a peacock.  Don’t take it personal.”

No longer sparring, Vic noted her removal of armor.

“You’re good.  Really good.  You have phenomenal energy in the courtroom—I mean you had the jury.”  A smile crept onto her lips, a gesture which reached deep inside him.  “I was watching.  Each and every one of them followed you around that courtroom, your every move, your every word, they were right there with you.  They didn’t believe her either.”

“Then why won’t you include me on Perry?”

Sam’s breath caught in her throat.  Trapped beneath his gaze, the question echoed Raul’s.  Around her, the noise level rose as lunch hour officially reached full sprint.  People shouted orders, metal cash registers clanged in action, but she focused solely on Vic.

Her suspicion returned.  Because I don’t need any help.  Because I don’t want the distraction.  Because I’ll be damned if some unknown hotshot comes in and tries to strip the prize from my hands regardless of how good, or how good-looking he is.

Sam’s spine locked straight.  All her life she had to work twice as hard, run twice as fast—because she was a woman.  As an adolescent, her parents forced her to share an overload of responsibility for the care of five younger siblings, despite the fact her brother was scarcely a year behind her.  In college she was offered more dates than internships with law school providing more of the same.

Sam sighed.  Baker, Schofield, Martinez and Brown had been the one interview where she felt wholly respected—wholly appreciated for her talent and not her looks.  Because of Raul.  He focused on her abilities and she responded.  From there, the man taught her everything she knew, from the law to the lowdown, and groomed her into the legal shark she was proud to be.

Her thoughts chilled.  Yet now, he was encouraging interference on her caseload from the new guy.  It didn’t make sense.

Sam honed in on Vic.  “Give me one good reason I should include you on Perry.”

“You said it yourself, I’m good.”

“So am I.”

“It’s a big case.  More than one attorney can handle.”

“I have Diego.”

“I have experience.”

“So I hear.”  Sam lifted her glass from the table, but never took her eyes off him.

“It could work to your benefit.”

“I work to my benefit.”

Vic eased his neck from his collar and reached for his glass.  “I’m offering to help, Sam.  Most attorneys would jump at the opportunity.”

“If you hadn’t gathered by now, I’m not most attorneys.” 


“My father is a prominent attorney.”

Sam gave an expectant lift to her shoulders.  “And?”

“And, what?  He’s a good guy.”  Depressed, angry…  Vic sighed.  But a good man at heart.

“What do they think of you moving to Miami?”

Something inside him hardened.  “They’re very supportive of what I do.”

She nodded, as though it were obvious.  “They want you to be happy.”

Vic felt the old pressure swell in his gut.  “Something like that.”  He sipped from his drink, coating his ache with a soothing measure of gin.

“Family is important,” Sam said, with what sounded like genuine admiration.  “Particularly the dedicated kind.”

He paused, and held onto the softness that entered her voice.  “If you feel that way, why aren’t you married?”

“Why aren’t you?”

“Asked you first.  The way you said it, sounded like you have some experience in the department.”

“I do.  Loads of it.”  She shook long bangs from her well-shaped brow and said, “I come from a family of six kids.”

“Six kids?”

“Six.  And I, being the oldest, had to help raise the little beasts—I mean, dearies.”  She smiled sweet as syrup.  “And mind you, I love every one of them, but I don’t want to repeat history.”  She mimicked a shudder and fiddled with her drink’s red plastic sword.  “I’ve had my fill in the child-rearing department, thank you very much, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the commitment my parents made to keep it together.”

Oblivious now to the parade of passersby, Vic felt a strange wave of disappointment.  “What, you don’t want kids?”

“I have kids,” she asserted.  “My brothers and sisters have several between them who I enjoy very much, but as for myself I’ve chosen a different path.”

Vic nodded, but said nothing.  He was calculating the new information, turning it over in his mind, deciding what it meant and how he felt about it.

And it’s reflection on her.

“So Vic, you still haven’t explained why you chose Miami.”

He welcomed the shift in tide.  Talk of marriage and children was starting to depress him.  “I’m looking to add a little ‘sunshine’ to my life and this seemed just the place.”

Sam dipped into her martini, the fiery gleam in her eyes magnetic, her smile reflecting the earlier reference.  Inciting desire, it pulled him in, all without revealing her first thought.

“Yes, well, sounds to me like you had a vested opportunity in your father’s firm.  Why cross the country and start over?”

“I wanted a change in scenery.  While I’m young,” he added, with measured thrust.

Sam smiled, intrigued, but let the subject go.

While she had yet to decipher the reason for Vic’s move, and Raul’s insistence on acting as his cheerleader, she knew men didn’t usually uproot their careers and move halfway across the country, particularly when their father was a well-connected attorney in town and their academics were spotless.

Unless there was a problem.


“It’s nice out here, isn’t it?”

The light breeze tossed hair into her face as she looked at him.  “One of my favorite places to be.”  The feel and sound of crashing waves reminded her of life’s ebb and flow, the powerful force of nature, the calming sense of continuity.  Sam loved the ocean, from the deep dark depths to the slide of incoming tides across a shore littered with shells.

Vic kept his pace slow.  Jean pant legs rolled up, he carried his loafers in one hand, allowing the other to occasionally bump with hers.  “Why aren’t you tied down yet, Sam?  Seems to me, a woman like you would have men lining up with proposals.”

She chuckled at his compliment.  “I don’t want to be tied down.”

“Ever?  You mean to tell me you never met a guy who did it for you?”

“Did it for me?” she repeated, amused by his choice of words.  But she knew what he meant and relaxed into a laugh.  “I’ve met a lot of men who have done it for me, as you so neatly put, but I choose to be single.”

“Why?  Someone hurt you?”

“No.”  Other than my family.  Being forced to care for five little kids when you were scarcely one yourself wasn’t so great.  But life did that to you.  It put you in situations and forced you to deal—which she did.  But that was behind her now and she didn’t intend to go back.  Ever.

“You don’t want kids?  Is that it?”

“Let’s say I had an overexposure at a young age, caring for my brothers and sisters and I’m cleansed of any desire to have my own.  What about you?”

“What about me.”

“Siblings, nieces, nephews...”

“None,” he said, and Sam almost tripped over the soft quality of his voice.

“Must be strange.”  When he didn’t reply, she said, “I’m sorry, that didn’t come out right.”

He looked at her and said, “Don’t worry about it.  No big deal.”

But the vulnerability in his eyes unraveled her heart.  Had he been hurt?  Was that the reason behind his distinct change in demeanor, the wall that slid between them?

This was usually easy territory for a man.  Unless there was a problem, rang the sentiment again.  “Ever thought about marriage and kids for yourself?”

“Maybe someday.”


“I’m focused on my career, but later, when I’m ready to settle down...”  The thought fell away.  “Who knows?”

“They’re a lot of work,” Sam tried to make light, willing the ease to return.

“But the connection is worth it.”

She turned to him and he stopped.  In the distance, the sound of partygoers blended with the thumping base of music drifting far and wide.  Behind them, a large wave crashed.  Racing up the shore, it submerged them ankle deep, then glided across the wide expanse of sand as it made its retreat to the ocean.  Something changed.  The hairs on the back of her neck stood amidst goose bumps prickling her flesh.  Vic’s gaze cut through the gentle evening light as he touched her hair, ceasing its lash across her cheekbones.  Her pulse quickened.

“I had a nice time.”

“Me, too,” she uttered, her breathing reduced to wisps.

“I’m glad we’re working together.”

She could only nod, suspended by what came next.


Dianne lives in Central Florida with her husband, two children and part-time Yellow Lab--Cody-body!  When not whacking away at her keyboard crafting her next novel you'll find her in their organic garden chasing grasshoppers and plucking hornworms all while drawing wild analogies between kids and plants and men.  Definitely men.

A girl's gotta have fun, right?

When she's not knee-deep in dirt or romance, Dianne contributes garden advice for various websites and volunteers in her kids' school garden (a crazy existence to be sure). But at the end of the day, if she can inspire someone to stop and smell the roses--or rosemary!—kiss their child and spouse good-night, be kind to a neighbor and Mother Earth, then she's done all right.

http://www.BloominThyme.com - the last being my garden blog


Prize is a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

-Giveaway is OPEN TO EVERYONE.
-To be entered, you MUST answer the question Dianne asks at the end of her post (it's in bold) and include your email addy.
-Winner will be randomly chosen from amongst all comments made throughout the tour.  So the more tour stops you comment on, the greater your chances of winning.  A list of tour stops can be found here.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 2/10.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Taking the Day Off For My Birthday.....

Hello all, I'm taking a lazy day in honor of my year older birthday.  Not much planned for today, but my high school best friend and her hubby are coming over tonight for some take-out and tv and that's as wild as it's going to get.  So thanks for understanding my day off and I'll be back tomorrow with an author guest and giveaway.

(My Birthday Gift to Myself!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays #52

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.


....from page 228 of 4322 (from my Kindle).

-"You don't yet realize what you've taken, do you."  Of course I don't, not....completely.  I never do, until my body has fully absorbed it.  It burns through my bloodstream like a bad high, even now.  And that's not normal either, now that I think about it.

Winner of Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne....

Before I announce the winner of a digital copy of Deadly Obsession in the format of their choice by Kristine Cayne, I want to thank Bewitching Book Tours and Kristine for letting me be a part of this giveaway.  And now on to the winner....

.......Catherine Lee!!!!!!!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!  I'll be emailing you in a bit to confirm your win and find out the format of your choice.  Thanks for entering and Happy Reading!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Tour for Stripped by Tori St. Claire (Interview & GIVEAWAY)

You can tell I'm a year older this week as I almost forgot about the lovely Tori St. Claire's visit here today.  I apologize to her and Goddess Fish promotions for my doofus moment, but better late than never.  So let's learn about Tori St Claire and this sexy book together.....

TSP:  How did you get where you are today with your writing career and your first erotic book being released?

TSC:  Oh my goodness… As I reflect, most of my writing endeavors have come as a result of being challenged.  I began writing historical romance (and still do, though it’s not currently dominant in my path) and had some success in contests with a few manuscripts.  A critique partner dared me on what was to be my first published novel, Seduction’s Stakes, to amp up the heat and write about horses.  An entirely different critique partner slammed the manuscript when I finished it, so I submitted it to The Wild Rose Press to get a “professional take” on the “problems” in the manuscript.  To my absolute surprise, shortly before Christmas, my editor there returned with an offer to contract.  I had a phenomenal relationship with my first editor and quickly decided to write something else for her.  The holidays were right there – so A Christmas to Believe in and Timeless Valentine came about.

I kept writing contemporary while working on paranormal and shopping to agents.  While I adore The Wild Rose Press, I wanted something a bit larger for the books that required intense research and writing time.  I’ll be completely frank – I took a chance with a new agent. I was her fifth client, and couldn’t have made a better decision...After she signed me with my paranormal, IMMORTAL HOPE, we sold a week and a half later.

We’ve since signed international contracts, obtained the second with Berkley, and she is an invaluable instrument to where I am presently.  She’s aware of my goals, she helps me strive to meet them, and also gives me freedom to spread my wings as my creativity demands.  She, and my editor at Berkley, brought me here with STRIPPED by seeing a door I didn’t even consider.

TSP:  What made you decide to change writing genres after having so many not quite erotic releases as Claire Ashgrove?  And will you still be writing as Claire Ashgrove?

TSC:  First, yes, I’m still writing as Claire Ashgrove.  And actually, in conjunction with the release of STRIPPED, I have a new paranormal series releasing through Tor Romance this month – IMMORTAL HOPE, the first book in The Curse of the Templars. (There’s my plug – check it out!)

Second – it was completely by accident!  I wrote STRIPPED as a hot romantic suspense that falls in line with many of my contemporary works.  It was shopped to my editor as such.  The offer came back contingent on an alteration to an erotic novel.  I agreed, and here we are.  The choice of a second pen name wasn’t to disguise or hide behind a second identity.   It was to establish a clear delineation between what type of book my reader was picking up, so Tori St. Claire was born.

TSP:  What can you tell us about your new release Stripped and the Black Opals series, which it's the beginning of?

TSC:  STRIPPED is dark and edgy, and the Black Opals veer away from the traditional pairing of really good guy in bad situation.  At the core of what they are, the Black Opals are human beings with the same faults, strengths, and weaknesses as any human being.  But their professional side pushes boundaries that put them in not only dangerous, but also morally questionable situations that make them a bit controversial.

“They exist only in shadow. An elite team of deadly operatives created to satisfy increasing international threats. Their world is the dark underground, where sin and pleasure dominate and lies are second nature. To those who cross them, they are professional killers. Within the CIA, they are the rare Black Opals . . .”

The books are also thrillers, where I’ve taken great pains to weave hidden intricacies so that the danger is truly unknown.  Which has made it surprisingly difficult to talk about, actually.  I’m so afraid I’ll give away something that is critical to the resolution.  I will say this though – more often than not, what you assume as fact… isn’t.

TSP:  What do you think makes a good h/h and do you have a favorite from another author's book (I know it's hard to choose among your own, so I thought this might be an easier choice...lol)?

TSC:  A good h/h comes about when there is deep emotion and can come from any pairing, in my opinion.  It’s not about conflicting goals or personalities… but the emotion those conflicts evoke.  How it affects and makes them grow.  You can take two people in the same profession, who have the same external goal, who both want happily ever after plus children… One gets a promotion while the other loses his job.  A small conflict with the potential to have extraordinary emotional growth and impact.  If the unemployed can’t move past jealousy, there’s one possible obstacle.  If the employed suffers from guilt, there’s another.  What they do with that, how the interrelate can make the difference between a memorable read and a good read.

Actually…I do have favorites –note the plural, lol!) amongst my own, and I really don’t like to name other authors because I always feel like someone might get offended, even if that’s a ridiculous worry.  However, I love the conflict between Natalya and Brandon in STRIPPED because of how it affects Natalya internally, what it forces her to consider and acknowledge about herself.  More so, in this series, I’m incredibly attached to the hero in the forthcoming second book, LIE TO ME, and another hero who is plotted, but not yet written, both of whom have to confront demons of their past.

In my paranormal works, book 2 of The Curse of the Templars (IMMORTAL SURRENDER) has one of my favorite h/h pairings.  As does the pairing between Belen and Faith in my novella, DESTINED TO DIE.
But currently, my absolute favorite hero and heroine pair are Kyle and Aimee in A BROKEN CHRISTMAS, from my contemporaries.  Kyle is absolutely broken, physically and mentally.  Aimee has her own obstacles, but she’s immovably determined to heal Kyle.  They aren’t different people, their personal goals don’t put them as polar opposites, but the emotional turmoil the conflict puts them through, moves me to tears, and I’m not one to cry over my own writing, ever.

TSP:  How do you feel about the digital revolution and what affect does it have on your writing and how you market yourself?  Do you have an eReader yourself?

TSC:  I don’t own an eReader, but I’m not opposed to them.  The digitalization does impact an author, and I’ve had to bend my understandings to meet those demands.  Promotions used to be a matter of appearing physically at stores.  Now, it’s doing blog interviews, social networking, maintaining websites and making sure that material is there for readers who are digital-first.  I’ve done some short stories to keep with the curve, something I never thought I would have an interest in.  I joined Twitter – big step for a somewhat shy gal.

While I don’t see digital replacing the physical book, it is a dominant force and an author needs to be aware of its existence.  No longer can a blind eye be turned to the ‘revolution’.  Innovative promotions, just getting out there –which is hard when the writers cave calls – will bring an author into the new era.

TSP:  What do you do when not writing and when you complete a book do you do anything special to celebrate?

TSC:  Laugh!  You really should see my GANTT Chart.  I came up with the insane idea that it would be prudent to write eight novellas in the middle of two contracts that are running parallel.  Right now, I have no downtime.  I finish a book, take about a week to clear my head, piddle around the house, play with my children, just… breathe outside of the cave.  We have horses, but it’s winter, and no one feels like doing much other than feeding and watering.  When I’ve let down for a while, then I go back in and do it all over again.

Writing is a job to me, though I love every moment of it.  But just like my days in the corporate world, when one task or project is finished, I’m done, I move on to the next one.  With all the voices clamoring for attention in my head, I don’t have trouble being enthusiastic about the next slated story.

TSP:  My site is all about favorite things.  So what are some of your favorite things, the things you can't live without?

TSC:  I cannot live without my horses.  I might be able to exist without the dogs and cats, but the horses… no way no how.

Must.  Have. Chocolate.  And coffee.

Must also have high heeled shoes and nifty boots… I’m a shoe addict. 

I’m also very addicted to dragons.  I have figurines of all kinds of dragons, and pictures… I love dragons.  Cute, mean, dangerous, wise… all colors, shapes and sizes.  One cannot have enough dragons in their lives.
Last, I’d say I must have my critique partner’s cream puffs.  YUM!

STRIPPED by Tori St Claire

Body of secrets…

As a member of the CIA’s elite, Black Opals, Natalya Trubachev must live a lie, working undercover as the lover of Dmitri, a Russian mob boss. His business is trafficking vulnerable Las Vegas strippers overseas for twisted sex games. Natalya’s business is to blow the ring wide open and bring down Dmitri and his American contacts. But the stakes are raised when she learns that the next target is her own sister Kate, a dancer in the famed club Fantasia. Only now does Natalya realize how personal her mission has become, and how far she’s willing to go to complete it.

Body of lies…

The manager of Fantasia is Brandon Moretti, an undercover detective who keeps a close eye on his girls, and an even closer one on his sinfully sensual hire. For Natalya, working the club could be the break she’s been waiting for. But for Moretti, Natalya is a possible link to a killer. Only he never counted on her being so lethally seductive or so dangerous to get close to.  As every forbidden pleasure between them is stripped away, his own secrets threaten their security, but it’s Natalya’s that could destroy them both.


"No.” Sitting forward, Brandon folded his hands on the stack of papers atop his desk. “You worked with Kate. That was when? Ten years ago? Have you danced since then?”
“Fifteen, and no. But I’m quite capable.” Only because Dmitri made her dance for him. She supposed she could consider that a benefit. If he hadn’t insisted on private pole dances, her body would have forgotten how.
The reproachful arch of a dark eyebrow hinted at doubt. “What makes you certain you can compete with the girls who’ve been doing this for years?” His gaze dropped to her breasts, then slid slowly back up to lock with hers. “Beyond the obvious.”
Natalya’s body flushed with heat. She crossed the opposite leg over her opposite knee, unsettled by the blatant appreciation in those tawny eyes. How many times had Dmitri looked at her with the same suggestion in his gaze?
How long had it been since she’d liked being stripped bare with a mere glance?
The sudden tingling of her skin disturbed her. Moretti could very well be one of Dmitri’s faithful—he had more than one cop on the take. While Dmitri understood her job required a bit of . . . feminine finesse . . . he’d only grant her so much leeway. If she gave him a reason to suspect her allegiance, he’d slice her throat before she could see the knife glint. And the way her body was warming beneath Brandon’s heated stare spelled trouble.
Determined to ignore his blatantly sexual gaze, she focused on the small white scar across Moretti’s chin and dredged up every reason she could think of to convince him into giving her the job. “I danced well. Was the crowd favorite for a while. I held the job all through college, and two years in, the girls were coming to me for dance suggestions, costuming, on-the-spot fixes for breakdowns. Advice on how to handle the more exuberant customers.” She took a breath and began counting items off her fingers. “I hired. I fired. I kept the drugs out of the dressing rooms. I trained the girls on the pole—Kate said you needed someone strong with the pole. My core body strength—”
“You’re hired.”
Natalya snapped her mouth shut. Slowly, she blinked. “What?”
“You’re hired.” Moretti stood, stretching out his muscular thighs that even his loose denim jeans couldn’t disguise. He shoved his left hand into his hip pocket. Against her will, Natalya’s gaze dropped to his crotch. 

Her breath caught at the tightening of his fly, the hard ridge that evidenced arousal.
When she yanked her gaze back to Brandon’s, his eyes flashed dark gold, telling her he knew exactly where she’d been looking. His voice, however, belied his awareness. “We open in three hours. I’ll need you here early to help get the girls settled in.”
“The girls?”
He fished a set of keys out of the top right desk drawer and held his fist over her hand. “These are to the dressing rooms. I have a copy, you have a copy. No one else. Kate’s our star. She goes on at ten, and every two hours after. Jill follows. Beyond that, you’ll have to talk to the girls.”
Natalya moved her hand beneath his, palm up, waiting for the keys. “And me?”
“I need a housemom more than I need a dancer.” His fingers brushed the base of her wrist.
Ignoring the chill that raced to her shoulder, she blinked again. “A housemom?” He had to be kidding! She needed to be onstage. Scoping out the crowd. Looking for Discovery, as he was bound to be looking for potential targets.
Brandon lifted his hand a fraction. “A housemom.”
Or the job wasn’t hers. The hard line of his chiseled jaw voiced what he didn’t say.
Hell, not if she had anything to say about it. She was here to crack a case, and she couldn’t do that locked away in the back of the house.

He slammed the ball of his fist down on her desk. A box of chocolate-covered cherries jumped. He glanced at the white and red carton briefly, then dismissed it, locking his gaze with Natalya’s once more. “I’ll tell you about wrong ideas. Let’s start with how your boss told you not to dance, and you decided to do so anyway.”
“My boss?” Natalya laughed again. “Make up your mind which role you want to play, Brandon. You’re only my boss when it’s convenient for you. Otherwise you’re too busy fucking me.”
He clamped his teeth down on the stream of oaths that choked off his air. He couldn’t argue with the truth. Moreover, he caught the flat glint of her eyes. The unfeeling stare that told him the words were real enough, but the woman who said them wasn’t. For a moment, in the dancers’ lounge, he’d glimpsed that mesmerizing Natalya who drove him to maddening limits. While this shell made him every bit as crazy, he ached for the woman who prompted him into foolishness. She had been on the stage. She deserved the fight.
“Damn it, where are you?” Frustrated beyond all means, he swiped his arm across the desk, sending the chocolates flying into the wall.
She blinked. But not at him, he realized, as he followed the trajectory of her gaze. She stared at the floor where the box had broken open. Smashed chocolate-covered cherries coated the floor, sugary ooze pouring from a squashed corner.
Brandon straightened. Unease filtered through his angry haze. He’d hit the candy hard. But not hard enough to smash two entire trays of candies, each held in egg-shaped cups. That candy was already crushed, long before he’d hit it. And to accomplish that, while keeping the flimsy plastic cups from collapsing, someone had done it piece by piece.
“Who gave you that?” His gaze flicked back to hers, and he took a small measure of satisfaction at witnessing the truth behind her eyes before she once again snapped the shutters closed.
“I told you jealousy wasn’t a pretty color for you.”
He pursed his lips, ground his teeth together. With patience that defied his years of training, he gritted out, 

“No games. Who gave you the chocolate, Natalya?”
Defiance radiated in the proud jut of her chin. Sparkled behind her unblinking stare. Then, as she blinked, the facade crumbled. She shook her head. “It wasn’t here when I left for the stage.”
In the next heartbeat, the color drained from her face. He knew then, she’d made a connection. Associated the candy with someone else. Someone who had the capacity to strike fear into her fearless little heart.

“Tell me what you want, beautiful.” His breath rasped over her cheek. Featherlight kisses accompanied the whisper, trailing across her skin in a taunting path toward her mouth.
Kiss me. She turned her head in search of lips she instinctively knew would be warm, the words on the tip of her tongue. Kiss me until I don’t care whether I live or die.
Honesty. Just once.
He caught her lower lip with his teeth, the nip nowhere near gentle. But the lazy stroke of his tongue soothed the stinging bite. She parted her lips, dipped her tongue out to touch his.
Brandon’s body tightened like a whip. The pressure in her lower back increased as his fingers curled into her skin. Their breaths mingled. The tips of their tongues met in a slow, sensual dance. As another spasm of ecstasy threatened to send her tumbling into his solid chest, she braced her hands on his shoulders.
And then Brandon was gone, the magic of his fingers disappearing as he stepped back and set both hands on her waist. His gaze scorched in to flood her body with tingles. He waited, his question unspoken, but hanging between them.
Tell me what you want.
Clearly he intended to make her admit she wanted to feel him deep inside her. Wanted to experience the slide of his bare skin against hers. And God, how she wanted to kiss him. To taste the desire that burned in his gaze and the indescribable flavor of hot, aroused man.
Confessing might lead her to an early grave, but for once, her conscious would be clear. She swallowed hard and dug deep for the courage that had kept her alive these last three years. His gaze followed the sweep of her tongue as she moistened her lips.
“Kiss me.” Her senses honed in on her whisper, amplifying it and the ragged fall of their mutual breathing. She became aware of every minuscule sound as she waited for Brandon to either dip his head and honor her request, or shove her aside with a wicked sneer.
He took a step closer, bringing their bodies in contact from chest to toes. One arm wrapped around her waist, then slid up her back to offer support between her shoulder blades. The other tangled in her hair, tipping her head back. Putting her where he wanted her—subtle dominance that thrilled her in places she hadn’t known existed. Her womb clamped hard, sending another rush of moisture through her pussy.
His mouth descended. Warm lips played against hers, drawing her into the spell his body wove. Pulling her in so deep she struggled for air.
The sudden, brassy ring of her cell phone jolted her out of hazy desire. She froze. With Kate and Sergei due to arrive at Fantasia any minute, there could only be one other person calling at this time of day—Dmitri. It would be almost one in the morning in Moscow. The time Dmitri put aside his work and crawled into bed. He’d want to talk before he slept.
“Don’t answer that,” Brandon whispered against her mouth.
Damn if those lips weren’t compelling. She’d had his mouth on her breast, knew the incredible magic his tongue could create there, but had yet to experience the tantalizing slide of his tongue against hers. The need to feel his mouth on hers, to get lost in his potent masculinity pressed her to ignore the ringing tones.
Duty, however, rose up screaming. If she didn’t answer, Dmitri would get suspicious.
“I have to.”


Tori St. Claire grew up writing. Hobby quickly turned into passion, and when she discovered the world of romance as a teen, poems and short stories gave way to full length novels with sexy heroes and heroines waiting to be swept off their feet. She wrote her first romance novel at seventeen.

While that manuscript gathered dust-bunnies beneath the bed, she went on to establish herself as a contemporary, historical, and paranormal author under the pen name, Claire Ashgrove. Her writing, however, skirted a fine line between hot and steamy, and motivated by authors she admired, she pushed her boundaries and made the leap into erotica, using the darker side of human nature and on-the-edge suspense to drive grittier, sexier, stories.

Her erotic romantic suspense novels are searingly sensual experiences that unite passion with true emotion, and the all-consuming tie that binds -- love.

Tori can be found at:

Twitter: @claireashgrove


Giveaway is for a $25 Amazon GC

-Giveaway is OPEN TO ALL!
-One winner will be chosen randomly from everyone who comments throughout the tour, so the more you comment the greater your chances of winning.  The complete tour schedule is listed here.
-Just leave a comment, along with your email addy, to be entered.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm CST on 1/27.

Fashion Monday Madness....

Another week is upon us and the days are counting down until my birthday on Wednesday when I will be.....a year older.  Since it's Monday it's time for our fashion chat.  So let's get right to it....

The Good....

Kate Beckinsale is glittering in gold in this flowing gown that's simple and sleek.  The gold jewelry adds to this winning dress and is the perfect accent.  Kate definitely gets the gold medal for this look!

Kate Blanchett combines classic with cutting edge in this intriguingly draped cocktail dress.  The bodice has a romantic flowing feel to it and adds a bit of sexiness with the see-through material.  The shoes add a bit of flair and are all the adornment this simply perfect dress needs.

The Bad....

January Jones looks matronly from the top of her head to the tips of her toes in this bland dress.  The sleeves look like a child's craft project and make the dress look even more odd.  Add in the boring shoes and this is one ensemble that needs to be put in storage.

Amber Rose is trying to bring a bit of fashion to the Army with her peppy boots and leather vest, but she should be discharged for wearing pajamas.  The jumpsuit completely overwhelms her and is a fashion statement no one wants to make.  This is definitely not being all you can be!

The Ugly....

I normally love Evanescence's Amy Lee's gothic style, but this scarf scraps skirt is a mess.  It makes me think of that magic trick where you pull a scarf out and they just keep coming.  The colors are a joke and the skirt as a whole completely ruins her bad girl attitude.

Kelly Osbourne looks like a ghost with her washed-out face and grey hair that looks like it's been through a windstorm.  The dress is completely ill fitting with colors that add to her paleness.  The dress can't decide if it wants to be too baggy or too tight and ends up being too depressing for this Fashion Police correspondent. 

That's it for this week.  Next week we'll be highlighting outfits from the SAG Awards so make sure to come back for more awards season fun.  And please sound off below with your feelings about this weeks clothing choices.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Review for Her One-Night Prince by Rebecca J. Clark

Her One-Night Prince is a Cinderella story about a woman's dream to be something she's not for just one night at her class reunion. As all fairy tales go, however, happy endings don't come easily. Shy and sheltered Lydia St. Clair is uncomfortable around men, so she advertises for a gay man to be her date and revamp her style. Mitch Gannon answers Lydia's ad, and he's perfect for the job--he's handsome and, even more important, he's charming. Unbeknownst to Lydia, Mitch is straight and answered the ad as the unwitting victim of a practical joke. Before he can reveal the truth, Lydia is convinced he's her fairy godmother, ready to transform her into the belle of the ball. And Mitch, prince that he is, doesn't have the heart to set her straight. 


This is a wonderfully written sweet story that fulfills every little girls dream, especially this little girl.  From the memorable characters put into realistic situations to the slow burn of friends to lovers, I was caught up in this story from start to finish.

Lydia St Clair is a loving daughter and highly responsible woman which has left little time for doing things for herself.  I could respect her way of living and found bits of myself in her way of thinking.  All she wants at the moment, other than caring for her father so he doesn't go to a nursing home, is to prove to her former high school classmates that she's no longer that awkward ugly duckling the popular kids once called her.  Trouble is, she's still awkward and unstylish.  Hence her brilliant idea to have a Queer Eye make-over from a gay man and have him act as her reunion date.  The lessons she received made me ache for her struggle to succeed.  To see her constantly second-guessing herself and feeling like a failure made those moments of success and happiness all the sweeter.  Lydia was someone that truly deserved happiness and it brought a tear to my eye when she finally got what she wanted.

Mitch Gannon accidentally answers Lydia's ad and even though he thinks she's an unpleasant prude at first glance, there's just something about her that draws her to him.  He once lived his life like Lydia, full of seriousness all the time, never taking time for himself.  He's turned over a new leaf and now is a writer and bar owner.  Therefore he sees it as his mission to get Lydia to relax too.  And since he feels guilty over not being able to take her to the reunion, he gives her lessons to be more comfortable in public and around men.  Unfortunately, to keep her calm in his presence the lie about his sexuality remains.  But as they interact he grows more and more attracted to her and desperate to tell her the truth.  The lies keep adding up as Lydia's father Robert wants Mitch's help in finding a suitable nursing home to move to behind Lydia's back.  And as the reunion draws nearer truths come out and a blossoming relationship might end before it barely starts.  I found Mitch incredibly charming in his interactions with Lydia.  He was extremely sexy but never acted arrogant about it.  His problem lies in his committment issues and fears of gaining responsibility again.  But once he realizes what he truly wants, the grand gesture he makes is one that made me clap.

This was a sweet romance with some heavy petting and kissing that still made my toes curl.  The sexual tension generated by Lydia and Mitch was off the charts and equal to books with even more blatant sexual acts.

The secondary characters added to the drama and certainly stood out.  In particular, Lydia's father Robert left a lasting impression on me.  He's been left with physical impairments and issues surrounding a head injury that have left him reliant on his daughter.  We see glimpses of him struggling with his disability but he's no less spry because of it.  He's outspoken and plays matchmaker to Lydia and Mitch using some hilarious methods.  I adored him and would have loved to see even more of him!

This was a wonderful, feel-good story that flowed at a nice pace with a truly likable couple you root for every step of the way.  The romance was sweet and very satisfying and reading it fulfilled all those youthful dreams of a Cinderella ending.  I highly recommend this to anyone wanting a story that leaves a smile on their face long after the final page is turned!

My rating for this is an A!

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.