Welcome! Kick off your shoes, get comfy and join in as we chat about books, romance and the ups and downs of everyday life.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Beverley Kendall Winners

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to visit with Beverley.  Random.org has selected our two winners and they are:


Barbara E

and

SiNn


Congratulations, ladies!  Barbara, you've won a copy of Bev's new book, A Taste of Desire and SiNn, you've won a copy of Bev's debut book, Sinful Surrender.  Please send your full name and mailing address to us at theromancedishATgmailDOTcom.  Don't forget to put "Kendall Winner" in the subject line.  Thanks!

Coming Attractions for January

 


In a matter of hours, we'll all bid 2010 a fond farewell and raise our glasses in a toast to new opportunities, new adventures and new Romance in 2011! Here at The Romance Dish, we're ushering in the new year with a fabulous January line-up.








Historical author, Julianne MacLean joins us on Tuesday, January 4th. Julianna has a terrific new Highlander trilogy coming out early in 2011 and a prequel short story, THE REBEL, included in The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance.











Keri Stevens is our special guest on Wednesday, January 5th. Keri's debut e-book from Carina Press, STONE KISSED, is garnering great reviews. If you've ever chatted with Keri on Twitter, you'll already know that her irreverent sense of humor is sure to make this a fun visit!





Mark your calendars for Andrea's "New Releases for January" blog on Friday, January 7th. There are a lot of terrific new books coming out this month and you won't want to miss any!






On Monday, January 10th, Trish Milburn will be back with all the latest and greatest from the world of Young Adult Romance.





  



PJ is excited to be interviewing one of her favorite new Western Romance authors, Kaki Warner, on Tuesday, January 11th. The first two books in Warner's Blood Rose trilogy won rave reviews and the third, CHASING THE SUN will be released on January 4th.









On Wednesday, January 12th, we welcome the very talented Monica Burns.  Monica will be here to blog about her Pleasure Me With Romance blog event leading up to the release of her next book, PLEASURE ME, on March 1, 2011 then will return for another visit on Thursday, January 20th.  A double dose of fun!





Stop by Thursday, January 13th to Make Your Reservations for our most anticipated books of February!

On Saturday, January 15th, Buffie will kick off another year of Hot Dish and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us this year!





Maggie Robinson returns to blog with us on Tuesday, January 18thMISTRESS BY MIDNIGHT, Robinson's newest book in her Courtesan Court series, was released December 28th.










On Friday, January 21st, Kimberly Killion will be blogging with us.  Kimberly's story, HIS MAGICK TOUCH, is included in The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance and is sure to include a sexy Highlander...or two!




Don't miss Stock-Up Saturday Reviews on Saturday, January 22nd when we bring you up to date on all the terrific books we've been reading lately.

 


Anna Campbell will be here Monday, January 24th with another entertaining and insightful review in her monthly Second Helping blog.







 On Tuesday, January 25th, we welcome Sally MacKenzie, Vanessa Kelly and Kaitlin O'Riley to the Dish as they blog about their new anthology with Jo Beverley, AN INVITATION TO SIN.  Sounds like fun to me!
 





Tune in Wednesday, January 26th to find out our favorite books from 2010 as the Dishes list their Top Picks from last year.




Thursday, January 27th brings Laura Lee Guhrke to the Dish for her first visit with us.  Her new book, WEDDING OF THE SEASON, was released December 28th.







Of course, in addition to all our special guests, we'll have plenty of book reviews, giveaways and maybe a few surprises along the way.  We hope you'll all join us!  

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Today's Special - - Beverley Kendall

We are delighted to welcome one of our favorite people, Beverley Kendall back to The Romance Dish!  In addition to being an author of historical romance, Beverley is also a busy mom, holds a "techy-type" (as she puts it) job and is the driving force behind The Season, a wonderful website that spotlights historical, contemporary and paranormal romance.   Bev's newest book, A TASTE OF DESIRE, the second in her The Elusive Lords series, will be released January 4th.

Readers can visit Beverley on her website: http://www.BeverleyKendall.com , follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/beverleykendall , friend her on Facebook: http://facebook.com/authorbeverleykendall or drop by The Season Blog where you’re sure to find her.




Is A TASTE OF DESIRE really for you?
by Beverley Kendall

I’m going to be totally honest with you today, I write not only because the compulsion is so strong as to be overwhelming, but also because I would one day like to make a comfortable living doing so. I think it’s fair to say that’s every published and aspiring authors wish.

The kind of stories that I write will play a major part in how I’m received, by you, the romance reading public. If you decided to pick up either of my books, SINFUL SURRENDER and A TASTE OF DESIRE, to read the back cover blurb and were then intrigued enough to purchase, I certainly wouldn’t want reading either or both to be a dismal or disappointing experience. I'd actually rather you didn’t buy the book at all.

That’s why I decided to write this cautionary post to readers who may be—dare I hope—contemplating buying my upcoming release, A TASTE OF DESIRE.

A TASTE OF DESIRE may not be for you if:

You don’t like lots of sexual tension. I think I can safely say the sexual tension between Amelia and Thomas could be cut with a knife. But when you have jealousy on one side and pride on the other side, you know they’ll both be fighting it all the way.
You don’t like ‘steamy’ love scenes. I’ll be honest here, this is a hot read. Since I’m a huge Lisa Kleypas fan, I tend to write to her heat level.
You want your hero and heroine to ‘get along’ relatively well throughout the book. Amelia and Thomas are definitely not that kind of heroine and hero. Amelia, right or wrong, resents Thomas because of the close relationship he has with her father—one she wishes she had. Thomas dislikes Amelia, mostly because she doesn’t like him and has insulted him on more than one occasion—one a rather public set down.
You don’t like series. A TASTE OF DESIRE is the second book in The Elusive Lords series and in this book you will reunite with many of the characters from SINFUL SURRENDER and spend some time with the hero and heroine, Missy and James and their growing brood. I personally enjoyed writing about the hero of the final book in the series, Alex Cartwright.
You love intrigue and lots of suspense in your romance novels. I don’t have a spy and there are no murder plots or kidnappings in this novel. This is strictly a romance novel with lots of heat, angst and conflict.
You love heroes or/and heroines who are physically and/or emotionally crippled because of a tragic past. My hero and heroine have not been physically or emotionally abused.
You don’t like an alpha hero. My hero, Thomas, is definitely alpha, which to me means he’s confident, and yes can be a bit cocky when properly provoked. He’s witty in that dry British way but don’t you dare try to come between him and the woman he loves or else there will be hell to pay.
You don’t like a heroine with a sharp edge. Initially, Amelia isn’t the warmest of females. But it's how she copes from years of pain and hurt. This isn’t the Taming of the Shrew but rather the Thawing of Amelia.
• And finally, if you don’t like Happily Ever Afters, I fear that reading this book may cause irrevocable damage to your heart. 

If I didn’t lose you after reading my list, comment and you’ll be entered to win A TASTE OF DESIRE and my debut, SINFUL SURRENDER.

I want to thank the ladies of The Romance Dish for having me back this year! As always, I had a grand time visiting with you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review -- The Lady Most Likely...

The Lady Most Likely...
A Novel in Three Parts
By Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: December 28, 2010







I was anxious to read this book for two main reasons: one, because it is written by 3 talented authors who have written so many books that I love; and two, I had heard it touted as “sort of like an anthology, but different”. That, of course, had me wondering why it was different. After reading it, I would call it “three stories within a story”.

The Lady Most Likely... begins at the London home of Lord and Lady Finchley. Hugh Dunne, Earl of Briarly, is visiting his sister and asks her to help him find a bride. He has recently had a near fatal experience with one of his horses and feels the need to settle down and produce an heir. So, he asks Carolyn to compose a list of eligible ladies. The first two young ladies that come to her mind are Gwendolyn Passmore and Katherine Peyton. Since the Season has just ended and the household was prepared to leave anyway, Caro immediately starts planning a house party at Finchley Manor.

Julia Quinn’s contribution begins with Alec Darlington, the newly minted Earl of Charters and Hugh’s best friend, escorting his youngest sister to the house party. Octavia is fit to be tied when she sees that Gwendolyn Passmore is attending. According to his sister, no one will even so much as look at her if Miss Passmore is in the room. She considers Gwen, heralded as the undisputed beauty of the ton, as snobbish because of her refusal of no less than four proposals. But the young lady that Alec meets is nothing as Octavia describes. He learns that Gwen is painfully shy and does not like attention. He also discovers just how wonderful she is.

“I misjudged you.”

She was very quiet, then she said, “People often do. I—” She looked to the left and right, as if she were making sure no one else could hear. Which was absurd, because they were completely alone. But somehow it looked like the correct thing to do, and something about it warmed his heart. Because whatever it was she was going to say...

It was for him. Just for him.

She leaned forward, but just the tiniest bit.

Alec’s heart skipped a beat. That quarter inch... That tiny sliver of a space that she’d eliminated between them...

It took his breath away.


I absolutely adored that scene! Julia Quinn’s charm and wit shines through in this story with characters that you’re sure to love.

Connie Brockway’s story is next and starts as Miss Katherine Peyton is walking in the garden with Hugh, anticipating a kiss. Just as they are about to, they are interrupted by Captain Neill Oakes, a long-time friend of Kate and her family. The same Neill Oakes that she had loved all her life. The same Neill Oakes that pushed her away following a kiss they shared four years ago, right before he went into the army. Now he’s charged with watching over Kate after her brother takes off in fear of the matchmaking mamas. Neill does his job honorably and Kate realizes that the reckless boy has turned into a considerate man. A considerate man who very much would like to finally claim her as his own.

I love reunion stories and this one is delicious! Connie Brockway has quickly become a favorite author of mine and this short story only confirms it.

And finally, Eloisa James tells Hugh’s tale of finding love. Now that both of the prospective brides on his list have been snatched up by other men, Hugh must consider someone else. Preferably someone who won’t mind that he spends hours upon hours in the stables with his horses. But the only person on his mind is his childhood friend, Lady Georgina Sorrell. Georgina is a widow and though her marriage wasn’t a match made in heaven, she wasn’t unhappy. She just wasn’t completely...happy. She has no desire to marry again, but Hugh is determined to change her mind.

His eyes laughed down at her, and all that laughter was side by side with desire. For her.

That was what she never saw in all the days of her marriage. And what she saw in the eyes of other men, looking at the women they desired.


Eloisa James’s story is utterly romantic and it had to be since it featured Hugh and the whole objective of the house party was to find the lady most likely to capture his heart. It is a beautiful tale that will surely capture your heart!

I said earlier that I would classify this book as three stories within a story. I say that because the beginning, end, and the chapters in between each author’s own story give readers a glimpse into the happy marriage of Carolyn and her husband, Piers. Theirs is obviously a love match and Caro wants nothing less for her dear brother, Hugh. Each story plays right into the other and all of the characters are woven into each story. It was a concept that, in my opinion, worked in every way. Ms. Quinn, Ms. James, and Ms. Brockway planned out the perfect scenario and I sincerely hope that they try it (or something like it) again in the future. Fans of any or all three authors will thoroughly enjoy this delightful gem!

~Andrea


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review -- Deadly Heat

Deadly Heat
Book Two in the Deadly Series
by Cynthia Eden
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: January 25, 2011







The fire came at him, fast and hot. The orange flames licked across the floor, climbed the walls, and rolled in hungry waves.

The screams filled his ears. His mother’s cries. She called for him, over and over, but he didn’t answer her. Couldn’t. The flames and smoke had stolen his breath, and all he could do was watch.

So beautiful. The flames danced for him. Danced and whispered. Crackled and rose. He couldn’t look away. Didn’t want to.

Smoke billowed around him, trapping him in a fog. His fingers curled tight over his precious prize. Won’t let go. Won’t ever let go.

The fire touched him, biting his arm, but he didn’t cry out.

He just watched.

And his mother stopped screaming. Just like his dad had stopped. He’d stopped long ago . . .



Firefighter Lora Spade has seen her share of fire casualties, but when she watches the life drain from her boyfriend’s eyes while fighting an arsonist’s fire Lora realizes the city she calls homes needs help. So as she wipes away the tears she lets no one see, Lora calls the FBI elite Special Services Division (SSD) and begs them to track down the man who is killing people with fire.

Special Agent Kenton Lake is one of the best agents in the SSD. His ability to find sadistic, serial killers is unparalleled. Kenton’s latest assignment is to find the sick bastard who has been trapping innocent people in a building and then setting the place ablaze. When Kenton arrives at an undisclosed location to meet with a possible informant on the case, he smells smoke, sees the fire and hears a man from within the building yelling for help. Being the noble man he is, Kenton runs into the burning building. Once inside the burning building, Kenton is faced with a couple firefighters, one of which is determined to get Kenton out of the building. But the need to keep his informant alive, Kenton fights off the firefighter . . . only to be slugged hard, very hard, in the jaw and dragged out of the building.

“Idiot!” The snarl came at him the minute the oxygen mask was shoved onto his face. Kenton looked up, gaze narrowed against the smoke that still burned his eyes, and saw the firefighter—the asshole who’d slugged him—jerk off his helmet and mask –

Um, her helmet and mask. Not a man, there. No way.

He swallowed and choked a bit.

He could make out her eyes even better now. Gorgeous, shimmering gold, so clear and deep and –


Okay, so this is not your normal hero-meets-heroine scene. But this book is not your normal, sugary sweet romance novel. This is one full of intensity and fire. More on that later.

As Kenton and his fellow SSD agents begin working the case, the only thread of commonality they find is all of the fires are located in the area covered by Lora’s fire station. As the intensity and brutality of the fires grow, Kenton decides to go to the media and state the man they are looking for is a sick individual, one demented and need of help. As the arsonist watches the news conference, he becomes enraged that Kenton has stolen his limelight and turns his eyes and matches towards Kenton. Throughout the investigation, Kenton and Lora have been working closely and an undeniable attraction is palpable. Aching to feel again after the lost of her boyfriend, Lora welcomes the lust between her and Kenton and enjoys their sexy interludes. Kenton has no complaints either. He thinks of Lora all day long and longs for their nights together. This woman has done what no other woman has – she has captured his heart. But when the arsonist begins stalking Kenton and Lora and mentions this during a call to a news station, the case suddenly becomes personal. Very personal! Kenton will not stop until the man is caught. Sometimes you have to stand in the middle of fire to catch the person who starts it.

This is the first book by Cynthia Eden I have read, and man it will not be the last!! She grabbed me at the first page and didn’t let me loose until the very end. Ms. Eden kept my heart racing throughout the entire book, and not just at the steamy loves scenes. Kenton and Lora are two very strong personalities, I would actually call them both alpha characters, but somehow, someway Ms. Eden makes it work. I can’t imagine either character being with a weaker partner. The intensity of the investigation is high and that intensity doesn’t let up in the bedroom either. There are a whole host of secondary characters that need their own stories, and I can’t wait for the next installment in the Deadly Series. Each one of the SSD agents need their own happily ever after.

So, if you are looking for a real page turner, one that will keep you up late into the night, I would highly recommend Deadly Heat. You won’t be disappointed. And you are bound to enjoy the sizzle!


~ Buffie






Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!



The ladies of The Romance Dish are spending Christmas with their families and friends, but would like to wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday!

Friday, December 24, 2010

AUSTEN-tacious Mysteries!

by Anna Campbell

I seem to be on a cozy mystery kick at the moment! I blame Bandita Kate Carlisle who writes charming contemporary cozies based around a book restorer called Brooklyn Wainwright.

Anyway, I thought this month I'd share with you one of my latest obsessions, the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery series by Carrie Bebris. My other current cozy mystery obsession is Carola Dunn's Daisy Dalrymple stories set in high society 1920s Britain and there's a review coming up of that series as well.

So if you like cozies, come back and see me sometime! I promise not to kill you with the kitchen knife in the konservatory or ding you with the duck lure in the dining room.

I must say I've let the craze for Jane Austen sequels pass me by. I haven't read any of the numerous Darcy takes on his romance with Lizzie. The zombies in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE are making mayhem completely unsupervised by A. Campbell Esq. Jane Austen as a sleuth in her own right is solving mysteries without my involvement (although I hear she's right on top of who mashed Colonel Mustard in the maze with a mallet!).

But when I was in Orlando for RWA this July (which was the last time I caught up with the fabulous Romance Dishes - man, I wish you girls lived closer!), another Bandita friend Anna Sugden or Vrai Anna as we call her in the lair told me how much she loved the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mysteries.

Anna and I share similar tastes so I ordered the first of the Carrie Bebris mysteries, PRIDE AND PRESCIENCE, or A TRUTH UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED (you've probably noticed from the covers that one of the fun elements in these books is the clever titles).

I was hooked. These books aren't mere pastiches of Jane Austen but develop the Lizzie and Darcy relationship with wit and warmth so that you become completely involved with the characters and the story for their own sake. What an achievement, given how powerful both those characters are in the original novel.

In the first two books (the second is SUSPENSE AND SENSIBILITY, or FIRST IMPRESSIONS REVISITED), there's a wonderful dialogue between Darcy's belief in reason and science and Lizzie's openness to the paranormal - a reference to the craze for gothic novels in the Regency. Each chapter starts with a quote from an Austen work (usually the novel referenced in the title but not always) that sets the tone beautifully. Characters from the Austen universe feature in each story. In P and P, the horrible Jane Bingley comes unstuck when she falls for a fortune hunter (a comeuppance long deserved!). In S and S, Bebris very cleverly takes advantage of the fact that SENSE AND SENSIBILITY concerns the Dashwood sisters and Sir Francis Dashwood is the rake and scoundrel who founded the famous Hellfire Club in the 18th century. Some genuinely creepy goings on follow! It's fun to check in with other characters like Lady Catherine de Bourgh or Wickham and Lydia (all as awful as in their original incarnations).

I've just recently read NORTH BY NORTHANGER, or THE SHADES OF PEMBERLEY. My favorite title and actually I think, by a whisker, my favorite book of the series so far. The paranormal elements are gentler in this story which at its heart is about reconciliation and acceptance. While the tone of the books is generally light and elegant, there's a huge emotional punch in this story that had me teary at the end.

I immediately turned to THE MATTERS AT MANSFIELD or THE CRAWFORD MYSTERY which (Jane Austenites are allowed to shoot me!) I enjoyed considerably more than I enjoyed MANSFIELD PARK itself. Fanny doesn't make an appearance - for me, definitely an improvement! This book marks a bit of a shift in the series - it's a straightforward murder mystery with no paranormal elements at all.

One of the delights of reading these books is watching Darcy and Lizzie settle into their marriage (although with all the mayhem, I'm wondering if they'll ever get any peace!). I'm a sucker for sexy, sparky dialogue and there's wonderful humor in the exchanges between Darcy and his high-spirited young wife. I can't wait to see that relationship develop further in the next instalment in the series, THE INTRIGUE AT HIGHBURY or EMMA'S MATCH, which is out in hardback now and in paperback 1st March, 2011.

I think these books are the perfect read for Christmas! They're funny and smart and not so gruesome that they'll turn you off the idea of having your turkey at dinner. My verdict? Huge fun and well worth a look!

Thank you to everyone who has checked out the reviews this year - I look forward to sharing more of my favorites with you next year. Thank you to the wonderful Romance Dishes for having me as their guest. Happy Holidays to you all - it's Christmas Eve today and I hope you all have a joyous festive season! See you in 2011!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Today's Special -- Kimberly Killion

Who is this Kimberly Killion anyway?




KIMBERLY KILLION, the designer…



TRD: What is Hot Damn Designs? And how are you affiliated with it?

KK: www.HotDamnDesigns.com is my graphic design company. I work almost exclusively with those involved in the Romance Community. At least that’s where I tend to stretch my networking legs. I do a lot of book cover designs for authors putting up their backlist, but I also build websites, and design bookmarks and business cards…I do it all really. ;)

TRD: You’ve recently launched a new website called www.HotDamnStock.com. What inspired you to create it?

KK: I’ve been designing for romance authors for many years now and the hardest part of any project was finding the right image. I spent hours upon hours searching stock sites, but the models on those sites just didn’t have the look I was searching for. I had mentioned to a friend in jest that I was just going to hire my own models, and she said, “I know a guy who could be a model…” The whole thing exploded from there. I got in touch with Angela Brewer of Todd Studios and the whole thing exploded from there.

Our first photo shoot was insane. We shot for 3 days, working 12-14 hour days. We had 17 amazing models to work with though, so that made it all worthwhile.

TRD: Can you tell us about a memorable moment that took place during the photo shoot?

KK: The most memorable moment—hands down—was when the snake handler got bit by a ten foot python. The snake’s jaws had to be pried open to get his hand out. And this happened AFTER the snake had posed with one of our models! Yikes!!!

TRD: What’s going on at HotDamn! right now?

KK: Today is the last day of our 12 day sale. All stock at www.HotDamnStock.com is 50% off!
Plus, we are giving away a camera to one lucky registered user, so get thee over to www.HotDamnStock.com and sign up!


KIMBERLY KILLION, the writer…

TRD: You are also a writer. When do you sleep?

KK: Sleep? What’s that?

TRD: You have three releases due out in 2011. Please tell us about those stories.

KK: Yes…that’s right…3! It’s so exciting to be able to promote 3 stories at the same time.

His Magick Touch is a sensual novella set on the Isle of Barra in the 16th century Scotland. This story releases January 4th in paperback and ebook and will be part of the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance. Read more about it here: http://kimberlykillion.com/hmtbooks.asp


Educating Aphrodite is a Victorian ménage a quatre novella set in London. This story releases January 5th in ebook from Ellora’s Cave. Read more about it here: http://kimberlykillion.com/eabooks.asp

Taming a Highland Devil is an erotic Scottish novella. The cover alone should hook you on this story. It’s just stunning! This story releases February 9th in ebook from Ellora’s Cave. Read more about it here: http://kimberlykillion.com/tahdbooks.asp

Both of my erotic releases are finalists in one of RWA’s most prestigious contests, The Emily. I can hardly wait for these characters to meet the world!

TRD: What do you think is the key to a memorable romantic story?

KK: Angst! Lots and lots of sexual tension and a touch of creativity. If I can help it, my readers will rarely have to suffer through the boredom of a bedroom love scene. When I write a love scene I like to put my characters in “fun” places, like in a tree, or on a horse, or in a dressing chamber. What can I say, I get bored easily. But I think the most important rule is to always keep your characters thinking about why they shouldn’t be doing what they are doing. There must always be conflict, conflict, conflict!

TRD: Which character have you had the most fun creating? Why?

KK: Magus! Definitely Magnus. The hero in TAMING A HIGHLAND DEVIL is tortured and sexy and wicked. Oh, and let’s not forget he’s the laird, the prime, the alpha if you will…of course!

TRD: Where can readers find you?

KK: I’m online everywhere…


Website: http://www.kimberlykillion.com/

Blog: http://kimberlykillion.blogspot.com/

KK’s FB: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1255383307

HotDamn FB: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001625230186


Kimberly, thanks for giving us some insights into all your projects! You are definitely a busy, busy lady!!!

~ Buffie

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review - - Storming the Castle

Storming The Castle: An Original Short Story with Bonus Content
By Eloisa James
Publisher: Harper Collins (e-book)
Release Date: December 21, 2010







The course of Philippa Damson's life was set at the tender age of seven when the son of the local baron (the only other gentleman besides her father in the area) declared his love and intent to marry her.  From that moment on, the two were linked in the minds of the citizens of Little Ha'penny, including Philippa's own parents.  Even Philippa never questioned the alliance.  After all, it's not as if the prince in shining armor who frequented her daydreams would ever come to whisk her away.  But on the eve of her marriage, Philippa realizes that she cannot marry a man who, while head over heels in love with her, bores her to tears and leaves her completely unmoved physically and emotionally.  She's heard of a need for a nursemaid at the castle on the other side of the forest.  It's said the prince's baby is very sick.  It's a sign that running away is the right thing to do for Philippa is very good with babies and has medical knowledge from working with her uncle, a doctor.  It will mean leaving her life of privilege behind and becoming a servant but anything is better than marrying Rodney.

Jonas Berwick, known to his family as Wick, is at his wit's end.  His beloved nephew is not getting better, his brother and sister-in-law are beside themselves with worry and the new nursemaid, whom he's sure he didn't send for, is clearly too young, too refined and too pretty to be of any help.  But she's clearly not planning to leave either.  Instead, she takes charge of the situation, indeed of the whole castle, and soon the baby is doing better, the prince and princess are singing her praises, the servants are treating her like the lady she obviously is (though she insists she is not) and Wick is falling in love.

All of that polite daylight conversation and observance of convention melted away in the soft glimmer of moon and candle.  It was as though the obscurity of the night gave them sanction to be their true selves.  The way he looked at her was nothing like the way Rodney used to look at her.  Oh, Wick desired her.  She could see a demand in his eyes, a hunger that he couldn't mask.  

 But more than that...he liked her.

But falling in love and acting on that love are two very different things, for Wick is the bastard son of the grand duke and acts as his brother's majordomo.  His pride is legendary and though he comes to love Philippa as deeply as she loves him, his honor will not allow him to seduce her for he knows he can never marry her and condemn her to the life of a servant.  Yet, neither can he imagine a life without her. 

As soon as I finished reading A Kiss at Midnight, I began badgering Ms. James' for Wick's story.  As a prominent secondary character in that book, I was fascinated by him and wanted to read his story.  She assured me that she was working on his story at that moment and I'm happy to say that it is everything I had anticipated and more.   Philippa is an absolute delight and I love the way she "storms the castle," taking charge with all the delicacy of an Army colonel while still using diplomacy and grace to get things done.  Wick stole my heart, pure and simple.  I cheered for him, cried for him and yearned for him.  This couple so deserves their happy ending and, without giving away any spoilers, let me just say that I laughed, cheered and cried at the way Ms. James pulls it all together.  Storming The Castle may be a short story but it contains all the depth, emotion, tension and joie de vivre of a full-length novel.  It's another example of the writing brilliance that Eloisa James brings to each story she creates.  I intend to savor it over and over and over again.

Storming the Castle can be purchased from online book retailers for only $1.99.  I highly recommend giving yourself an early Christmas present this year by snuggling up with Philippa and Wick and their wonderful love story.

~PJ


 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Stock Up Saturday Winner!



Thank you so much for all of your great comments about my reviews on Stock Up Saturday. The winner of a copy of Aching For Always by Gwyn Cready, chosen by random.org is

DANIELLE GORMAN

Congratulations, Danielle! Please send your mailing information to me at theromancedishATgmailDOTcom
Don't forget to put "Stock Up Saturday Winner" in the subject line.

Guest Review - - How Sweet It Is

How Sweet It Is
By Sophie Gunn
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: January 3, 2011








Lizzie Carpenter is not your usual romance heroine, but that’s fine because How Sweet It Is is not your usual romance novel. Fourteen years ago Lizzie was a pregnant teen whose wealthy boyfriend went MIE (Missing, in Europe). Now Lizzie is a single mother living in Galton, New York, in a house badly in need of repairs and working as a waitress to support herself and Paige, her perpetually texting teen daughter. Lizzie is reasonably content with her family (which, in addition to her child, includes a sister with issues and postpartum depression and an affable cop brother-in-law), her job at the Last Chance Diner, and the members of the Enemies Club who have sworn to always tell her the truth. Contentment vanishes one early September morning when a letter arrives from “Ratbastard,” the father of her daughter, who has decided he wants to be Dad and is arriving in Galton on Christmas Day to claim his new status. Lizzie fears losing her daughter to the Ratbastard, Paige is ashamed for her father to see their deteriorating house, and the Enemies are urging Lizzie to send a wish into the universe. She does:

“The perfect man is one who’ll show up once a week, fix stuff around my house, and then split. That, O great universe, is what I wish for.”

Dante “Tay” Giovanni overhears and answers for the universe. Tay has his own problems. He, accompanied by his Sheltie, Dune, and White, a stray cat that adopted him, is in Galton seeking expiation for an intolerable guilt. His original plan to assuage his guilt went awry, and since he’s stuck in Galton trying to regroup, he decides to make the repairs to Lizzie’s house.

Lizzie can’t help noting how hot this stranger is, but she tries to put a stop to his work on her property. Tay listens to her objections and keeps working. As Lizzie and Tay share more of themselves with each other, they discover more than a house is in need of repair. But before love can do its healing work, they each have to learn lessons of forgiveness and trust.

Sophie Gunn creates a complex, layered story with characters who are credible, likeable, and interesting. Even the secondary characters have dimension. I especially liked the rich vein of humor that runs through this emotional tale that takes on some real issues. This is the first book in Gunn’s Enemies Club series. The premise of high school enemies learning to respect and love one another is a refreshing change from the usual BFF connection. Nina’s story, Sweet Kiss of Summer is next. If the rest of the series is as good as the first, I’ll be reading the complete quartet. In the meantime, I think I may borrow Lizzie’s wish.

Note of Interest: Sophie Gunn is a pseudonym for Diana Holquist, author of some great romantic comedies like Sexiest Man Alive and Hungry for More.

~Janga

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Today's Special - - JL Saint

We're delighted to welcome romantic suspense author, JL Saint to The Romance Dish today!  Some of you may say, "Wait a minute.  That looks like Jennifer St. Giles!"  You'd be right!  Award-winning Contemporary Paranormal and Gothic-Historical Paranormal author, Jennifer St. Giles also writes terrific romantic suspense thrillers under the name of JL Saint.  (I'm a huge fan of her Contemporary-Paranormal Shadowmen series and her new R/S thriller, Collateral Damage has me riveted to the pages.)  But that's not all this talented writer does.  Under the name of Jennifer Saints, she also writes contemporary "graphic" novels that include photos depicting scenes from the story.  She's one very busy lady!  When not writing, Jenni is a working nurse and mom to three kids and numerous pets.  Please give her a warm welcome!








A Recipe For a Romantic Thriller

 

One hunky capable hero willing to put everything on the line.
One tenacious heroine who will go to the ends of the earth to save her children.
One imaginative author who never gives up.
Nine years baking.

Nine years? Yes. I wrote the proposal for Collateral Damage in 2000. I set it ten years in the future and used the world’s dependency on oil and inflamed religious factions to bring about global chaos as the backdrop for the story. 9/11 happened and no one wanted to touch the story. Terrorists were too sensitive a subject, especially for a romance writer. A couple of years later, I became published in Historical romantic suspense (Gothics) and Paranormal Romantic Thrillers (The Shadowmen Series) and Collateral Damage sat on the shelf for nine years. But I couldn’t forget the story. The way the real world events kept playing out over the past decade kept shouting the “What if scenario” at me. So in 2009-10 I couldn’t put it off any longer and I wrote the story.

Collateral Damage is the first book in my Silent Warrior Series that features a military man or woman as the hero or heroine of the story. The first few books focus on a Delta Team whose mission to extract high profile hostages from a radical group in Lebanon turns into tragedy.

These books are not battlefield thrillers, but stories that place a military hero and his extraordinary skills
In Collateral Damage, “Jack who is recovering from serious injury in the hospital sees the picture of prominent American businessman, Bill Collins, on the news, who he swears he killed in Lebanon two weeks ago, but nobody believes him, especially since Collins reportedly died in Brazil just yesterday. Leaving the hospital, Jack goes AWOL to uncover the truth. Instead of answers, he gets assassins, more questions, and a terrorist plot that threatens to ignite a world war. As Jack fights to keep Lauren Collins, Bill’s estranged widow and her twin sons alive, he lays more than his life on the line and stands to lose everything when the truth behind Bill’s death comes to light.

When Lauren Collins learns her soon-to-be-ex’s deceit was more than just an affair or two, she and her sons were thrust into a world of peril where they become the target of irrational revenge and the focus of a serial murderer. One man, a wounded Delta soldier, steps between her family and danger and Lauren discovers there are men of honor. Jack puts his life on the line for her and her children, but can one man stop the onslaught against her? And if she and her children survive the Collateral Damage of Bill’s treason, can she trust Jack with her heart and those of her sons?”

So what do all of these ingredients make? One hot thriller with a delicious romance to fill your heart.

Ready for a taste…

Shorter of breath and one day closer to death…

Pink Floyd’s “Time” hammered through Sergeant First Class Jack Hunter’s brain as he tightened his grip on the treadmill and ran harder, his heart pounding, his lungs burning. Rage tinged with fear made for a potent Power Bar that fueled his drive. Sweat poured from his brow and his body screamed for relief, but he couldn’t stop. Not yet. His vision dimmed, and President Anderson’s address on the overhead TV calling for a swift but rational retaliation to al-Qaeda’s latest attack became nothing but a blur in his mind.

Life often hinged on the details, those seemingly insignificant microscopic events that most people trampled over obliviously. He’d trained to notice the details and to remember them. Yet no matter how hard he tried, his memory of the mission in Lebanon remained a kaleidoscope of combat images and one man’s mocking blue eyes…Jack clenched his teeth against the rising pain inside him. He took being team leader to heart both on and off the battlefield. The mission and his men were his responsibility. Rico, Pecos and Neil were his Delta brothers, and it killed him that he could only remember bits and pieces of what happened.

They’re here, DT. They’re alive! Will Taylor’s—aka Pecos—distorted voice echoed in Jack’s mind, sucking him down a long tunnel of fragmented memories… Suddenly Jack’s head jerked back as his headphones were snatched off and Lt. Col. Roger Weston, his Delta Team commander, whom the teams called Commander Weston because anything less didn’t fit his hard-edged charisma, got in his face. “Son of a bitch, DT. Are you trying to kill yourself?”

~Jlsaint.com

For your chance to win a free ARC of Collateral Damage, read the full excerpt at http://jenniferstgiles.com/content/bookshelf/collateral-damage/#more-87 and email how you think the hero and the heroine should meet to jlsaintwrites@yahoo.com.

Merry Christmas!
~JL Saint