Tag: Elyse Mady

Guest Review: The White Swan Affair by Elyse Mady

Posted June 1, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Judith’s review of The White Swan Affair by Elyse Mady.

London, 1810 . . . After the tragic death of her beloved, Hester Aspinall vowed never to be ruled by her passions again. Still, she is drawn to her landlord, handsome adventurer Thomas Ramsay—but she doesn’t fool herself that a man of his station would look twice at a poor tailor’s sister.

With the sea for a mistress, Thomas has no intention of entering into matrimony. And yet, he can’t get the plain-spoken and desirable Hester out of his mind, even though she’s never tried to secure his attentions as other women do.

Everything changes the night Hester’s brother is arrested during a raid on a gay brothel, the infamous White Swan. With no one else to turn to, and terrified Robert will hang for his crime, Hester accepts Thomas’s offer to bear the cost of the defense. A true gentleman, Thomas expects nothing in return—but Hester can no longer deny her own desires… She may offer her body eagerly, but can she protect her heart?


The right of gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgender persons to co-exist in our society today is still very much a hot-button issue. History reveals that it has been a hot-button issue for most societies–mainly because they are “different.” Whatever one’s religious or political beliefs may be, it is difficult to imagine a time when being gay and “coming out of the closet” was a capitol offense. Yet that was the case in this novel that is set in the early 19th century and which reveals not only the danger to Hester’s brother, but the bent of a society that was delighted to declare anyone guilty by association. Thus, we have a novel that is full of disappointment, hurt, condemnation, and one that reveals that anyone “different” is disposable. It made little difference that Hester and her brother were kind, hard-working, generous, and honest people. As soon as the stain of homosexuality touched Hester’s brother because of the raid on The White Swan, her home, her livelihood, her reputation were gone.
But this story is also about a man whose family connections in society, while legitimate and worthy, gave him little expectation for the future and one that clearly made no effort to understand his love of adventure and his abhorrence of building one’s life around the tradition and routine activities of the ton. Thomas Ramsey was a man who had made his fortune and he had few financial worries, but his lover was the sea. Yet he, too, was a many of generosity and kindness, a man who saw beyond Robert’s involvement in The White Swan and its clients, one who was willing to set aside his own immediate plans to aide Hester in a time of dire straits. Little did he realize that her presence in his life would change the direction of his life forever.
I have had the privilege of reading several of Elyse Mady’s books and have been impressed with her expert use of words and phrases, her grasp of history and the ability to extrapolate a wonderful story from the dry pages of a history text. Few contemporary Americans realize that the pain of LGBT persons as disposable people is not new, that ancient societies have railed against their presence. This story exposes much of the horror of the 19th century prison, the brutality individuals encountered simply for being accused, long before they were tried and convicted. It also exposes the greed and conniving of those who would prey on the helpless and ignorant, and were it not for Thomas’ wider knowledge of the legalities involved, Hester’s brother would have probably hanged. This is a nail-biter of sorts, yet it is very much filled with the erotic affair of Hester and Thomas, one that continued on even when knowledge of the affair was thrown in Hester’s face. There is strength here–personal fortitude that withstands the buffeting of a society that was the personification of a man-eating shark to those who broke its rules.
I think this is one of those historical romances that bear reading and shouldn’t be missed. I was drawn to it because of the author. I delighted in it because it was a darn good book.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.
This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

What I Read Last Week

Posted October 24, 2011 by Tracy in Features | 6 Comments

Is it already Monday again? How does this keep happening so quickly? I swear I just wrote last weeks post! lol
Anyway, last week started out stressful but ended in a wonderful way. I went back to work on Monday and Tuesday after being gone for a week. What the hell was I thinking? Those were 2 of the most stressful days of working here and I’ve been here 10 years! I should have just taken the whole week off. Remind me of that the next time I plan time off, would you please?
On Wednesday I went and picked up the Queen of the Fucking Universe aka Kris at the train station. We took a detour to Olvera St. there in LA and had a great time perusing the authentic Hispanic goods they had to offer. The three days Kris was with me was more relaxing than anything else – but always fun of course. She loved sitting in my back yard and since the weather was so nice she did it often. We also got to explore the William S. Hart museum that’s here in my city. He was a silent film star and director back in the 1900’s. Kris also got to go Halloween costume shopping with me and the kids. She thought it would be fun and I thought it would be a PITA. We ended up both being right. (You get a little of everything with my kids). In the end it was a fantastic visit and I hated having to take her to the airport. My youngest asked on the way home, “why can’t Australia be right next to America?” Good freakin question! Let’s just say I miss her already.
On Saturday, the So Cal Bloggers threw Holly (from The Book Binge) a baby shower at her home. We had a wonderful time there as well and Holly got some great gifts. The few that stood out to me were the handmade ones – especially one a friend of hers made that is a sling thing that you can carry the baby in as well as breast feed without everyone seeing. A very cool gift indeed.
Yesterday….I seriously barely got off the couch! lol My youngest had spent the night at a friends house and was gone and the oldest just wanted to watch the episodes of CSI that she had DVR’d. The hubby was off with his friends and damned if I wanted to do anything but sleep and read. I’m a good mom. It’s true, you can say it.
Ok – so what did I read last week. Well, until Sunday not all that much. Here’s the run down
First up was First Watch by Peter Hansen. This is a new book that is being published by Riptide Publishing. The story is not what I’d usually read but the blurb sounded good and it was. We follow Edouard who is wounded in WWI and left to die. He is asked in the dark of night “do you want to live” and he says yes. He has no idea that he has tied the entirety of his life to a monster. After many years of running, and also of suffering the touch of the monster Edouard seeks help from an old friend, Farid, and together they plan to kill the monster. The story is very puzzling at first and really throughout the book as I was forced to figure it all out little by little. The descriptions in the book were quite creative and the world pretty fascinating even though it was touched on quite lightly. The problem I had with the book for the most part is that we never really got an in depth look at any one character. We saw a little bit of each – enough to keep interested – but I just wanted more. I wanted more of the history behind the relationship of Edouard and Farid and even a bit more description of the monster and possibly its origins. Overall a good story and if there are more in the future in this world I’ll probably read them. 3.5 out of 5
FYI: Riptide will be doing a couple of posts here on the blog later this week so check back!
My next read was kind of a read slash listen. Something So Right by Elyse Mady was the book and I originally started reading the book but when I was on my way to Holly’s house I listened to the rest of the book. The story was about Lily and Sam who have been best friends since they were 12 and 14 years old. Sam has been in love with Lily for just as long but has never told her. Lily is 5 years out from a failed relationship where the man was emotionally and physically abusive. She doesn’t want a relationship with another man, ever, but decides after a kiss with Sam that they should use each other sexually for 2 weeks. That doesn’t exactly go as planned because Sam wants more. Lily has a hard time with her thoughts and feelings and doesn’t feel like she deserves someone as good as Sam. Thought I knew from the story that Lily’s self esteem had been beaten down by her fiancé I had a hard time with some of her thoughts and actions in the book. I loved Sam and frankly wanted him with someone else. lol The book had some great scenes between Lily and Sam though when they were just friends. So while the book was good I did have some issues with it. 3 out of 5
Next up was Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt. Oh how I love thee let me count the ways. This was book 3 in the Maiden Lane series and it was a keeper. Silence Hollingbrook heads to the “palace” that is Charming Mickey O’Connor’s stronghold. Mickey is an unrepentant pirate who has kidnapped Mary Darling – the child that Silence has been taking care of. Silence is 99.9% positive that Mary is Mickey’s daughter and Mickey confirms that. But Mick’s enemies are out to get anything that Mick cares about so he coerces Silence into staying at his palace as he won’t let Mary leave. But Mick’s got ulterior motives when it comes to Silence and he needs to all his thoughts together to find out exactly what his fascination with Silence is. The story goes in places I never expected and kept me turning pages (when I could finally sit down and read non-stop). I love the romance, I loved the suspense part of the story – just everything about it. Mick was SO not your typical hero but Hoyt did a damn fine job of making me love him and Silence together. To say that I’m anxious for the next book in the series would be an understatement. 5 out of 5
Tempted by His Target by Jill Sorenson was my last read of the week and it too was a very good book. The story revolves around a woman who is on the run from the law and is in Mexico. I won’t say more as I’m posting my review of this one later this week. I’m evil like that, I know.
My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Happy Reading!

Guest Review: Something So Right by Elyse Mady

Posted October 24, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of Something So Right by Elyse Mady.

After having her heart broken, Lily Carver ran north to manage an upscale resort—and back to her longtime friend Sam Denning. Though she’s well aware of how hot Sam’s become, she refuses to risk her heart again. No matter how incredible his kisses make her feel…

Sam’s been in love—and lust—with Lily since the summer they met. When he finally shows her how much he wants her, Lily can’t resist his seduction. But Sam’s a forever kind of guy and she’s only interested in short, painless relationships.

Lily thinks she can protect both their hearts with a short affair to let their passion run its course, something where they both know the rules and can explore the sparks between them without getting burned. But their best-laid plans are put to the test by their undeniable attraction—and by a secret Sam’s been keeping from Lily that could ruin everything.

I wanted to read and review this book because I had read a previous work by this author and found it to be quite compelling. I think she is an extremely good writer so was anxious and delighted to read this new book. Once again I was impressed with Ms Mady’s writing ability but my reaction to the book was mixed.

Certainly it is apparent from the first that Lily is deeply wounded and seeking another set of circumstances that won’t constantly aggravate her hurting heart. She is a woman with a caring spirit, concerned for others, and wanting/needing genuine friendship. This she found in a trustworthy source: her long-time friend Sam. She knew that Sam’s feelings for her were deeper than just friendship. But her need for self-protection outweighed her response to Sam’s desire–except on a physical level.

Now I think the reader is aware of Lily’s situation and her inner conflict. My problem in this book is that I felt it just went on and on and on. Given the depth of Lily’s hurt, this is possibly understandable and even in real life I would not be so arrogant as to minimize the profound nature of her inner wounds. But as a reader, I felt that Lily almost got to the point of no return with Sam–and perhaps that is the author’s intent in dragging out the tension between these two. There was a deep afinity with Sam that made me very uncomfortable with the “hell” Lily was putting him through. This guy was the kind of man any woman would have been proud to have in her life. And for Lily to almost drive him away with her worry that she would “lose his friendship” became, for me, the kind of issue that made me quite irritated with her. I guess my feeling was that any lasting love is built on friendship. It is never “friendship vs love.” Yet Lily couldn’t seem to comprehend that. I got really upset with her on a couple of occasions.

All that being said, this is a very erotic novel, filled with sexual tension, with some very steamy sex, and all of it encapsulated in a story line that could easily be real life. It is well written and edited, and I appreciated the evidence of a writer who really knows the language, proper tenses of verbs, and how to construct a sentence that doesn’t end with a preposition. Sorry about being a bit anal about those things, but I get irritated when a writer uses “kneeled” instead of “knelt” and “shined” instead of “shone.” Maybe it’s just me, but after reading as many books as I read, those little things detract from what could otherwise be a very good book. Ms Mady and her editors have done well in that department. I found the book easy to read yet it wasn’t just a lightweight boy-meets-girl kind of romance. There are some important relational issues here–some that impact far more people than we would sometimes like to admit. It is a story that is about the place and importance of friendship and support, but I think it also highlights the fact that one doesn’t have to give up friendship in order to obtain a lasting love.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Something So Right by Elyse Mady- Guest Blog.

Posted October 19, 2011 by Rowena in Giveaways, Promotions | 10 Comments

Book Binge is pleased to have Elyse Mady join us today on the blog to discuss what she’s got on her bookshelves. She’s written some fabulous books of her very own that I’m sure are on plenty of our bookshelves so it’s pretty neat to see what she has on hers.

Take it away, Elyse…


This is my ‘work’ bookshelf, or at least a chunk of it, that is in the office where I write. Dictionaries, reference texts, manuals, 18th century history books, then novels, roughly by author, and then the random books that just accumulate and that I can never seem to find time to organize properly.

I like to have these books close at hand while I write. You’ll see I’m obsessed with the 18th century – Burney, Austen, Congreve, fiction, non-fiction. There’s also a fair number of renovation books down below. Those are Mr. Mady’s – he’s a very handy fellow to have around.

We moved last year and a lot of my fiction books had to be packed away, because we lost the built in bookshelves that the old house had. They’re languishing down in the basement right now. I go down every so often to pick up the lids and assure ‘Alias Grace’ and ‘The Wars’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ that they’re still loved and that one day soon, the new bookshelves will be built and they’ll be out, showing their spines to the world again.

That said, bookshelves are the ideal. Usually, you’ll find books heaped and piled and stacked and tumbling on any horizontal surface (and some soft ones) that’ll hold them. We’re all readers in my family, even the boys, so it isn’t unusual to find a pile with “Pride and Prejudice” and “Green Eggs and Ham” all jumbled up together. 

Elyse Mady is the author of “Something So Right”, “Learning Curves” and “The Debutante’s Dilemma”, all with Carina Press. Upcoming books include “The White Swan Affair” (2012). She blogs at www.elysemady.com. You can also find her on Twitter at @elysemady, Facebook and Goodreads. In addition to her writing commitments, Elyse also teaches film and literature at a local community college. In her free time she enjoys (well, enjoys might be too strong a word – perhaps pursues with dogged determination would be better) never ending renovations on their century home with her intrepid husband and two boys. With her excellent writerly imagination, she one day dreams of topping the NY Times Bestseller’s List and reclaiming her pre-kid body without the bother of either sit-ups or the denunciation of ice-cream.

Thanks so much for stopping by our blog to hang with us today Elyse, it’s been a real treat! It’s funny because at my house, our bookshelves are jumbled together kind of like yours (our family bookshelves) but I’m much different with my personal collection that I keep in my room.

Now, let’s move on to my review of Something So Right.

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Rowena’s review of Something So Right by Elyse Mady.
Hero: Simon Denning
Heroine: Lily Carver

After having her heart broken, Lily Carver ran north to manage an upscale resort—and back to her longtime friend Sam Denning. Though she’s well aware of how hot Sam’s become, she refuses to risk her heart again. No matter how incredible his kisses make her feel…

Sam’s been in love—and lust—with Lily since the summer they met. When he finally shows her how much he wants her, Lily can’t resist his seduction. But Sam’s a forever kind of guy and she’s only interested in short, painless relationships.


Lily thinks she can protect both their hearts with a short affair to let their passion run its course, something where they both know the rules and can explore the sparks between them without getting burned. But their best-laid plans are put to the test by their undeniable attraction—and by a secret Sam’s been keeping from Lily that could ruin everything.
I picked up this book because the blurb sounded cute to me. I’m a sucker for those friends to lovers storylines and this is exactly that. Sam’s been in love with Lily for as long as he could remember and Lily is oblivious to his feelings for her. She’s been burned and has sworn off of men and Sam is giving her space. At least, he was until a short talk with his sister tells him that maybe it’s time to let Lily in on his feelings.
Lily has sworn off of guys after the disaster that was her ex-boyfriend Brent. It’s been a few years but she’s still healing from that whole ordeal and nobody knows the extent of the abuse that Brent threw at her. Not even Sam. But when things get heated between her and Sam, she realizes that she wants a sexual relationship with no strings and the only guy she wants to bang is her best friend Sam. Sam, who is already in love with Lily and has been since they were kids. Perfect start to a story, don’t you think?

This book is one of those fast, cute reads that won’t take you much time at all to dig right into. Both Sam and Lily are characters that leap right off the pages and right into your heart. Sam was that stand up hero that little girls dream of marrying when they’re older and Lily was one of those strong heroines that you cheer for. Their romance heated up the pages of this book and I really enjoyed reading it. Getting to know both characters was a treat and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

I liked that their friendship was good and strong before they started their romance. I felt for Sam as his frustration built with trying to make things happen with Lily and after everything that Lily went through with Brent, I understood her hesitance with getting into a new relationship. There were times that I wished she had more faith in Sam, to realize that there wasn’t a man on Earth that would love her and protect her with as much passion as Sam would but more than anything, I understood why Lily was so gun shy about men.

Mady did a wonderful job of making me connect with her characters and I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of contemporary romance and this author’s books. It’s a solid read.

Grade: 4 out of 5.

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here in e-format.

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This guest blog is linked to the blog tour that Elyse is doing with Kismet Book Tours and we’re thrilled to announce the daily giveaways attached to this blog tour. There’s a daily giveaway and a tour giveaway and check out the details on that:


Giveaway #1, the Daily Giveaway: All you have to do for this giveaway, is leave a comment with your email address and the title of the book you want to win. The winner will receive an e-book of either The Debutante’s Dilemma, Learning Curves or Something So Right. This giveaway is open internationally so be sure to get your entries in!

Giveaway #2, the Tour Giveaway: For this giveaway, the winner will a grand prize pack of a a gorgeous hardcover photography book about Muskoka history, a beautiful set of Group of Seven mugs, a set of note cards and some Canadian maple syrup! I got some Canadian maple syrup from my Canadian friends and it was fabulous!

Comments from each tour stop also act as an entry into this grand prize giveaway. The tour giveaway is open to US/Canada only, sorry. See full contest rules here.

To check out the other blog tour stops for a chance to get extra entries into the contest, check out the following links below on their appropriate dates.

Monday, October 17th – Kate at I Just Wanna Sit Here And Read
Tuesday, October 18th – Grace, Books Like Breathing
Wednesday, October 19th – Rowena at Book Binge
Thursday, October 20th – Sophia at Fiction Vixen
Friday, October 21st – Cindy at Oodles of Books

Monday, October 24th – Loretta at Between the Pages
Tuesday, October 25th – Evie at Bookish
Wednesday, October 26th – Jodie at Riverina Romantics
Thursday, October 27th – Julie at A Tale of Many Reviews
Friday, October 28th – Alyssa at Hesperia Loves Books

Monday, October 31st – Janie at Colloquium
Tuesday, November 1st – Mandy at The Journey and Musings of a Single Country Girl and Her Cat
Wednesday, November 2nd – Hikari at Imaginary Reads
Thursday, November 3rd – Shannon at Cocktails and Books
Friday, November 4th – Stella at Ex Libris

Tuesday, November 8th -Grand prize announcement on Elyse Mady’s blog!

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It’s been a blast having Elyse Mady a part of our blog today and it’s been pretty awesome to be a part of this blog tour.

Good luck to everyone, get those entries in. Great prizes to be won!

Guest Review: Learning Curves by Elyse Mady

Posted June 28, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Judith’s review of Learning Curves by Elyse Mady.

Leanne Galloway has no time for dating; her focus is on launching her academic career. Dragged along to her childhood frenemy Gillian’s bachelorette party at a male strip club, she just wants to get through the evening—but she can’t help interfering when Gillian sends a note to a sexy dancer proposing a hot hookup.  Brandon Myles is working backstage at the Foxe’s Den to fund his post-graduate studies in dance, but he’s forced onstage when the headliner fails to show up. He feels a surprisingly strong connection with a quiet woman watching from a table full of tipsy bridesmaids, and he’s delighted when she appears backstage after his set.


After a scorching spontaneous encounter, Leanne and Brandon agree to go their separate ways. But they’re both grad students on a small campus, and avoiding each other and denying their attraction won’t work for long, especially when a jealous rival appears, determined to ruin both their academic careers.

Consider what it would be like to go through your entire life knowing that you had been a disappointment to your mother.  What would it feel like to know that she didn’t even notice when others around her–her family’s friends and even those closest to her parents as long-term friends–put you down and handed out oblique insults that your academic pursuits somehow put you in a category of dull, plain, and unable to attract the attentions of the important people?  That was the life experience of Leanne and the crowd keeping her pinned down with their quietly nasty words was the daughter of her mother’s best friend, Gillian, whose wedding was approaching.  As Leanne endured the bachelorette party at the local strip club, she ached to leave and yet there was another achep–one for a relationship where she was appreciated, valued, and where she could feel beautiful and desired, a feeling she couldn’t remember feeling ever.  Only when she spied the very particular interest of the headliner stripper/dancer as he seemed to be responding to her during his act did she even consider that there might be something about her worth noticing.

Brandon is an interesting study of a man whose parents couldn’t even be bothered enough to care about him, about his achievements or talents, about teaching him to be a good person.  After their divorce he lived with a grandparent who loved him but whose generation frowned on any kind of outward demonstration of affection.  When she died, he was truly on his own–as he had been for most of his life, if the truth be told.  It was only when introduced to the creativity and expression possible in dance that Brandon began to find himself.  Yet he was still encased in walls to prevent any kind of emotional involvement, a way of living that seemed totally better than the caldron of anger and discontent his parents’ lives showcased.  Meeting Leanne was an earth shaking experience, but he was prepared to enjoy their encounters until the sexual attraction wore off–it always did–and then move on.  His dance would continue to “feed” his spirit.  But when the sexual attraction didn’t wear off for either Brandon or Leanne, and when Gillian’s evil and vengeful spirit intruded in their lives and plans for the future, it seemed like there would be no future for them, either individually or together.

Some have criticized novels where the main characters seem to be afflicted with “love at first sight.”  As one who experienced such in real life, I have no problem with it.  It has been the experienced of myriads of real people that there was kind of a “coming home” when initially with the person who eventually becomes their life partner.  Obviously Brandon and Leanne saw something in each other that was a kind of recognition that their encounters were more than just physical meetings.  Perhaps it was because for the first time they could remember, someone was truly interested in who each of them were, the connection being far more about who the other was rather than the external appearances or performances.  This story brings forward the truth that even good people can be conned by people who manipulate and use others through their physical beauty as did Gillian, but real and lasting love only finds a home in the hearts of those who care more about others than they do themselves. 

Brandon and Leanne stand as icons for those who want to be the best simply because it is the right thing to do, as representatives of individuals who believe that caring about others and seeing to the good of others is far more satisfying than serving one’s own selfish ambitions.  This is really a story that highlights the differences between toxic persons and those who give their lives for the authentic attitudes and feelings that make us truly human.  It is also about the hurt people can cause even those they claim to love as they are drawn more to the external appearances than to the expressions of genuine affection. 

I found this story to be far more than the erotic content.  Hot, hot, hot it was, to be sure.  But the eroticism was the servant of the story and that is as it should be.  The story was beautifully written as so very delightful for those of us who not only like the content of a book but delight in the use of language when it is done well.
This book is available from [insert publisher here]. You can buy it here or here in e-format.  This is a novel that will play well with romance lovers and those who like a love story that has substantive connections to real life.

I give this novel a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

his book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.