Author: Holly

What Are You Reading? (318)

Posted February 17, 2017 by Holly in Features | 4 Comments

WAYR-New

Holly: I ended up doing a lot of rereading this week, though I didn’t intend to. I reread Games of the Heart by Kristen Ashley, which took me forever. Mostly I just picked it up here and there when I had some free time. Then I read Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh, because I was jonseing for something from that world and, surprisingly, I hadn’t read it yet. That led me to reread Heart of Obsidian, Caressed by Ice and then Archangel’s Kiss (yes, in that order..don’t ask).

Now I’m reading Silver Silence and OMFG EVERYONE NEEDS TO LEAVE ME ALONE. I JUST WANT TO READ.

Rowena: It’s been a slow reading week for me (what’s new?) but basketball season for my daughter’s senior year has finally come to a close so I need to take care of a few things but after all of that is taken care of, I’ll be driving over to Holly’s for some quality book nerd fun. Ha!

I started reading Faking It by Jennifer Crusie but I was bored with it so I gave up almost half way through my re-read so now I’m reading Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh and so far, I’m digging it. I’m not that far in but I’m hopeful. After this, I’ll be digging into my copy of Havoc by Jamie Shaw. I’m anxious to find out how that series ends.

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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Retro Review: Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde

Posted February 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Retro Review: Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori WildeReviewer: Holly
Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde
Series: Wedding Veil Wishes #2
Also in this series: Addicted to Love
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: December 14th 2008
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Legend claims this antigue Irish wedding veil can grant your heart's deepest desire. But be careful what you wish for...
Wedding videographer Tish Gallagher is at the end of her rope. Her business is about to go bust. She's just spent her last buck on nonreturnable (but oh so fabulous) shoes. And her most sustainable relationship is with a pint of Haagen Dazs. So she makes a wish on the lucky wedding veil to get out of debt...and sees the man she never stopped loving, her ex-husband, secret service agent Shane Tremont. Sure, their chemistry was off-the-charts sizzling hot, but their clashes were legendary, and no amount of longing will change that.
When her dream job of recording the first daughter's wedding appears out of the blue, Tish knows it's her only shot to get out of the red. Just one teensy glitch: Shane is the groom. From the moment they see each other, she knows nothing's changed--the same old black magic is still between them, as irresistible and potent as ever. But he's promised to another and Tish has been burned before. Will she always be...ONCE SMITTEN, TWICE SHY?

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I still have very fond memories of this series. I stopped reading Wilde some time back, but I often think back fondly on these books.

This review was originally published February 02, 2008

This is the second book in Lori Wilde’s Wedding Veil Wishes series. I didn’t read the first book, and don’t feel I missed anything by having skipped it. I think at some point I’ll pick it up, just because I like to read all the books in a series, but I never felt like I missed something while reading this book.

Shane has no idea what he was thinking to propose to the President’s daughter. But she’d caught him in a weak moment, staring at him like he was ten feet tall and bullet proof after he’d put his life on the line for hers. And now she’s concocted some scheme involving his ex-wife – the ex he still cares about more than he should.

Elysee knows Shane needs to make peace with the past if their marriage is going to work, so she hires Tish thinking they’ll be able to heal old wounds if they spend enough time together. But even she couldn’t have predicted just how much history there was between Tish and Shane, and just what they’d need to move past old hurts. And now she’s wondering if she made a grave mistake, because not only has she seen the looks the former couple pass between them, but she’s been getting some looks of her own, from her #1 bodyguard, Cal Ackerman.

I must confess, normally a story where one of the main protagonists is engaged to someone else would immediately turn me off. But in this case, it didn’t bother me a bit. I think the author did a fabulous job of writing an unconventional story that really worked.

This story is a somewhat predictable piece of fluff, but it was engaging and I really enjoyed it. Well, I enjoyed it until close the the end, that is.

You see, Wilde did a fabulous job of keeping the focus on the main trio of characters. Elysee, Tish and Shane were shown in equal light, each with their own demons to battle and insecurities to overcome. I empathized with all three, understanding perfectly their personal issues. Shane, the wounded hero who just needed to be needed. Tish, the independent free spirit who needed someone to lean on. Elysee, the hopeless romantic who wanted nothing more than a knight in shining armor to sweep her away.

But then, more than 3/4 of the way through the book, a new element was introduced…that of a terrorist group who wanted to assassinate a woman who was trying to escape India. The thing is, there was nothing leading up to the sudden twist in the story. For almost the entire book, the focus remained on the three main characters and then BAM, all of a sudden Tish is being attacked and Shane needs to save her and Elysee is involved in an international rescue plot and there’s a murderer out to get them all. But..uh..I must have missed a memo, because that seriously came out of nowhere.

Despite that, however, I liked the book. I loved Tish and Shane together and I’m hopeful that Elysee will get a story of her own someday. Basically, buy this book for the romance, but don’t be surprised if it goes in a strange direction unexpectedly.

Even though I had a major issue with the latter half of the book, I’m still giving this:

4.5 out of 5

Because I really, really liked the rest of it.

The series:

There Goes the Bride
Once Smitten Twice Shy
Addicted to Love
All of Me

You can buy it here in paperback or here or here.

four-half-stars

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Retro Post: Does Size Really Matter?

Posted February 15, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 15 Comments

This week I’m bringing it back around to the good stuff…because this is still a relevant question today.

This was originally posted May 4, 2007.
A few years ago I read a book by Susan Andersen called Hot & Bothered. The hero of H&B is none other than John “the Rocket” Miglionni. He’s a former Marine turned P.I. and his claim to fame is the size of his Johnson. No, I mean it. You see, The Rocket had a pretty hard childhood, and he kind of figured he wasn’t as good as all the other guys out there. Until the first time he had to take a shower in the locker room, that is. Then, much to his surprise (and mine, if I’m being honest here) the other men started going on about how well hung he was. Now, it’s been awhile, so I can’t remember for sure if SA actually told us just how big The Rocket was, but I do know his nickname stemmed from his rather..ehem…large size (If you know what I mean and I think you do).

Now, SA certainly isn’t the first romance author to talk about her darling hero’s size, and I know she most certainly won’t be the last. And if we’re being honest here, ladies, we can admit (if only to ourselves and each other) that size does matter. Now, now, don’t look at me like that. We all know it’s true. Men, if your lady is telling you it’s not an issue, she’s lying.

Side Note: Regardless of the size, however (whether it be large or small), knowing what to do with it does make a difference. Right ladies? :End Side Note

But I think it’s important for women everywhere to qualify the statement “Size Matters!”. Why? Well, while it’s true that size is important to us, there has to be a cut off point there. Because, I have to tell you, there have been times when reading about a particularly large member and my only thought is, “Ouch! That’s gotta hurt.”

That’s right, I think it’s time we draw the line. Sure, size matters, but that statement goes both ways. Because I have to tell you, the thought of a full foot of manroot anywhere near my love well just makes me queasy. Come on, that shit would hurt! As Jaine Bright from LH’s Mr. Perfect once said, “Anything over 8 inches is strictly for show and tell.”

Rowena here and I’ve got to totally agree with Holly there, and I’ll tell you why just as soon as I can stop laughing from her mention of man roots and love wells.

LMAO LMAO LMAO!

I’ve been reading romance novels for a few years now and I’ve read my fair share of descriptions on just how well endowed most of the heroes are and lately, it’s been making me roll my eyes down the street at how absurd it’s getting. And not even just in books that I’m reading but also in reviews of books that other people are reading.

Like Karen S for example. She just read a book called Ben’s Wildflower by Carol Lynne and the hero, Ben has an overgrown cock. His overgrown manroot is giving him problems and he’s ashamed of it because it’s the total bane of his existence.

Are you frickin’ kidding me?

Yeah the eff right. If you’ve got a 10 inch boinker, you’re not ashamed of it, you’re not being a whiny baby about it, you’re screaming from the rooftops like you’re Dirk Diggler.

You’re screaming, “I am a star. I’m a star, I’m a star, I’m a big bright shiny star. Yeah, thats right!”

Really.

But does the size of a man’s johnson really factor into how well we like our heroes? Say Derek Craven had a little willy, would we all still love him as much as we do? I mean, that’s not what we’re all gushing about when we discuss his book, right? It’s not what we most remember about Derek, so is it really necessary to go on and on about the size of the hero’s ding-a-ling? I’m not saying that Lisa Kleypas did that or anything I’m just well, saying…yeah we know the hero is a big mothereffer down there, we expect it…but would it matter what size the hero is in order for him to be macho and lovable?

I don’t think so. We love them for who they are, not what they have in their pants…don’t we?

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Sunday Spotlight: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Posted February 12, 2017 by Holly in Features | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I discovered this series while book three was still being written (the author published it as a free weekly(ish) serial). I adored book one and dove right into book two, then had to suffer until the third was finished. The world is so imaginative and fresh, I was pulled right in. The banter and wit of the characters, the overall storyarc and the world make this a must read.

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles
Also in this Series: Sweep in Peace, One Fell Sweep
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy
Release Date: December 2, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina. And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….

Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO
 

Dina runs an Inn for otherworldly beings. In order to keep Earth safe from other races with superior technology, it was made a neutral stopover point and Inns were set up to house travelers. The first priority of Innkeepers is to keep their guests safe, while keeping their existence a secret from the outside world. Gertrude Hunt is Dina’s inn. It’s a fledgling inn that was dormant for a long time and doesn’t have a lot of power. She has one permanent guest and not a lot else going on. As the series develops so does the story and the list of regular characters. We even see some crossover from The Edge series.

It’s an inn, a neutral ground. An abnormality in the ordinary reality of this planet or whatever passes for it. I’m an innkeeper. Here I’m supreme. If you are accepted as a guest, you fall under my protection and as long as you stay here, you will enjoy the right of sanctuary. For various reasons, Earth is a way station for many travelers. We’re the Atlanta of the galaxy: many beings stop here for a layover. Some are alien and some are not. The innkeepers maintain the order, provide them with a safe place to stay, and minimize the population exposure and the bloodbath that could result. Nobody wants a worldwide panic. It has been so for hundreds of years.”

Dina crosses paths with Sean Evans, her neighbor and an alpha-strain werewolf. They start a mild flirtation, which is entertaining and fun. There’s a lot of humor.

“He’s not repressed,” I said. “He’s spent the last two months marking every inch of what he considers his territory.”
Caldenia raised her eyebrows. “You saw him?”
I nodded. Even in the dark Sean Evans was difficult to mistake for anyone else. It was the way he moved –a supple, powerful predator on the prowl.
“Did you get a glimpse of his equipment?”
“Honestly, now…”
Caldenia shrugged. “I just want to know if it’s ample. A natural curiosity.”
Sure, curiosity. “I have no idea. He was relatively modest about it and I didn’t linger.”
“There is your mistake.” Caldenia sipped her tea. “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero, my dear.”
“I’m not interested in seizing any of Sean Evans’ days.

Caldenia is a fugitive who signed a treaty with Dina to remain a permanent guest of the Inn. Dina will keep her safe inside the sanctuary of the Inn, as long as Caldenia doesn’t kill another guest. As a living entity, the Inn needs guests go flourish and thrive.

You’ve had no unusual guests?”
“Only Caldenia.”
“Ahh, yes. Not many people would’ve taken her in. I imagine she pays well, but the trouble she brings can’t possibly be worth the fee.”
“It’s wasn’t the money,” I told him. “Although it was welcome. The inn needed a guest.”
Brian smiled. “Ahh. Your parents would be proud. People of your age don’t always understand that simple truth: the inns require guests to flourish.”

The Inn itself is where Dina gets her magic from. It’s capable of rearranging itself, and providing security when needed.

I looked into the wolf’s eyes. “I’ve never considered killing you.”
“Aha.”
“But now I’m tempted.”
{…}
“I’ve got your broom and you’re not going anywhere,” Sean said. “I’d like to see you try.”
“You sure about that?”
“Yeah. Give it your best shot.”
I pushed. The bubble of metal chomped on Sean’s fist, fusing it to the broom. His eyes went wide. I patted his shoulder. “Take him inside and hold him.” The broom jerked him back and dragged him across the grass. The house doors swung open like the cavernous mouth of a colossal beast, gulped Sean down, then closed.
{…}
Sean was stuck to a wall like a fly to the flypaper. The broom had melted into dozens of narrow, elastic metal filaments that stretched across Sean’s body, holding him tight and pulsing with blue every time he tried to break free. Smooth wooden roots as thick as my arm curved around his limbs, melting back into the wall. The house had decided to get in on the action. Only Sean’s face was clearly visible, but his eyes told me he was determined to find a way to free himself.
Caldenia descended down the stairs and saw him. “Ooo. Planning a kinky morning?”
“No, just dealing with a pesky intruder.”
“Oh well. If you kill him, do save me his liver. Werewolf liver is a very tender delicacy.” She licked her lips. “Especially when sautéed in butter.”

Even Dina’s dog is more than she seems. She’s a Shih Tzu by day, but you don’t want to make her angry.

Beast growled. The undertone of her growl changed, gaining a vicious edge.
Sean squinted at her.
Beast’s long fur stood up like hackles on a cat. Claws slid from her feet. Her mouth gaped, wider and wider, as if her entire head had split in half. Four rows of fangs gleamed inside.
“What the hell…?” Sean backed away.
Beast jumped, covering ten feet in a single leap.

The world is amazing. It’s like watching a movie unfold.

The gauzy lavender-and-blue curtain on the right parted, and a creature stepped into view. He walked upright but stood barely four feet tall, including the six-inch lynx ears. Short, silver-blue fur covered his frame like soft velvet, dappled with pale golden rosettes on his back and fading to almost white on his stomach. His face would’ve been feline if it weren’t for an elongated muzzle that resembled a fox’s snout. He wore a silk apron and jewelry made from small cream and blue shells. His large round eyes were bright with vivid turquoise irises.


Needless to say, this book – and the entire series – is fantastic. You need to read it. Really.

Innkeeper Chronicles

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author


WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. author2smIlona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children, and many dogs and cats. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

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