Tag: So Cal Bloggers

Five Books Everyone Should Read: #SoCalBlogger Lori

Posted July 5, 2015 by Holly in Features | 8 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

Lori is a long time friend and fellow Southern California Blogger. She and I (Holly) have very similar reading tastes, so I know when she tells me I’ll like a book to pick it up right away. As a matter of fact, all but the last (only bc I haven’t read it) of these are on my own list.


Like everyone else, I’m thinking that Holly & Rowena are masochists. 5 books? I have to choose 5? But, but….

In order to pick, I had to stop and think which books made me either say, “WOW” or made me think about them long after I read them, or were so different and unexpected, yet, well, WOW.

So here are my 5(ish) books everyone should read, in no particular order. Since I mostly read romance and non-fiction, that’s what I’m sharing with you. But really, there are soooo many more I shoulda, coulda, woulda picked. I still cry foul!


see jane scoreSee Jane Score by Rachel Gibson.


A little subdued. A little stubborn. A little tired of going out on blind dates with men who drive vans with sofas in the back, Jane Alcott is living the Single Girl existence in the big city. She is also leading a double life. By day, she’s a reporter covering the raucous Seattle Chinooks hockey team—especially their notorious goalie Luc Martineau. By night, she’s a writer, secretly creating the scandalous adventures of “Honey Pie”…the magazine series that has all the men talking.


Luc has made his feelings about parasite reporters—and Jane—perfectly clear. But if he thinks he’s going to make her life a misery, he’d better think again.


For as long as he can remember, Luc has been single minded about his career. The last thing he needs is a smart mouthed, pain in the backside, reporter digging into his past and getting in his way. But once the little reporter shed her black and gray clothes in favor of a sexy red dress, Luc sees that there is more to Jane than originally meets the eye.

Maybe it’s time to take a risk. Maybe it’s time to live out fantasies. Maybe it’s time to….


Say Luc and Jane and immediately people know what book you are talking about. Say Honey Pie and everyone knows. The hockey is fun, the characters vivid, the romance adorable. It’s everything a sports romance should be.

I love how vulnerable Luc allows himself to be, how he lets Jane into his life. I love how Jane lets herself soften up, how she comes to see herself as beautiful, while never losing her professionalism – ok, mostly never losing it. This is the book that got me and so many others hooked on Rachel Gibson, on hockey (ok, maybe The Great One had something to do with it too), and on sports romances.

worth anypriceWorth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas

Blurb: Nick Gentry is reputed to be the most skillful lover in all England. Known for solving delicate situations, he is hired to seek out Miss Charlotte Howard. He believes his mission will be easily accomplished – but that was before he met the lady in question.

For instead of a willful female, he discovers one in desperate circumstances, hiding from a man who could destroy her very soul. So Nick shockingly offers her a very different kind of proposition – one he has never offered before. He asks her to be his bride.

And he knows that this will be much more than a union in name only. For he senses what Charlotte does not yet know – that her appetite for sensuality matches his own. But what Nick learns surprises him. For while London’s most notorious lover might claim Charlotte’s body, he quickly discovers it will take much more than passion to win her love.

Pretty sure everyone knows how I feel about Nick Gentry. Still, let me explain, if I even can. Nick is an unconventional hero. He’s not a rake. He’s not a man-whore. He has issues being physical with a woman. And yet, a complete alpha-male. From the moment he steps onto page 1, my heart broke for him. I was rooting for him as a hero within the first paragraph. That’s impressive.

I’m a tough sell on heroines, but Lottie is perfect for him. I loved her. She’s strong, tender, smart, steady. They are perfect together – a real team. Picture “You and me against the world” and you have Nick & Lottie.

Plus, tantric sex. Just sayin.

naked in deathNaked In Death by JD Robb

Blurb: In a world of danger and deception, she walks the line–between seductive passion and scandalous murder…Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she’s seen it all–and knows her survival depends on her instincts. And she’s going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire–and a suspect in Eve’s murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it’s up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about–except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.

For me, where this book batted 1000 was in the social commentary. I loved Eve – flawed, hard, masterfully written. Roarke – suave, edgy, sexy. But the social commentary? Perfect. Robb imagines the world in 2050, following the Urban Wars. It’s a scenario one can actually realistically imagine. The commentary on everything from gun control to birth control to genetic engineering to legalized prostitution and drugs. From extreme conservatism to pharmaceuticals and their evolution and cost due to the control of disease. Yet the common cold and the cockroach are still unresolved problems, never to be wiped out. Flat out loved it.

Between the commentary, the kickass heroine, and the sexy hero, I was sucked in completely and totally.

the year we fell down by sarina bowenThe Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen

Blurb: The sport she loves is out of reach. The boy she loves has someone else. What now?

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.

Don’t plotz – I am choosing a New Adult romance. I never thought I would. I tend to dislike YA and NA. Likely because I have 2 kids that age, and don’t want to think of them as sexual beings. Or living such angst. But that’s what I love about The Year We Fell Down. It’s not terribly angsty. Even with a heroine in a wheelchair, it’s not terribly angsty. The characters are filled with humor and intelligence. I really liked Corey and Hartley. And rooted for them the whole way through. I love how Bowen built on their friendship and didn’t put either of them in a preconceived box. In fact, I loved it so much, I immediately went out and bought the next 3 and read 3 more NA books.

our endangered valuesOur Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter

Blurb: President Jimmy Carter offers a passionate defense of separation of church and state. He warns that fundamentalists are deliberately blurring the lines between politics and religion.

As a believing Christian, Carter takes on issues that are under fierce debate — women’s rights, terrorism, homosexuality, civil liberties, abortion, the death penalty, science and religion, environmental degradation, nuclear arsenals, preemptive war, and America’s global image.

Carter is largely viewed as a failure as a president. Mostly because of the Iran Hostage Crisis and the energy crisis. I believe he will go down in history as one of the great humanitarians of our time, and hope history will view his presidency more kindly.

You may or may not know, but I believe passionately in getting involved in the political process, and becoming informed on the issues that face our candidates as well as our nation and world. Having said that, this book was written in 2006 and is still completely relevant. It’s a blueprint for letting your belief system guide your moral principles while still maintaining and valuing the foundations our country was built upon.

Carter tackles a big issue in each chapter.  He puts every issue into perspective relative to his own strong religious convictions and beliefs. He contends that religion has its place in politics in the same way that it has its place in everyday life – by guiding our hand toward being valuable, moral and compassionate human beings – not by guiding public policy and law. It’s a book that everyone should read, especially in this contentious political environment so mired in the debate between religion and policy.

And now here comes the “ish” in the 5(ish) books you should read, just because I have to… You should read the first 6 Seal Team Sixteen books by Suzanne Brockmann (these are the 6 precursors to the Troubleshooter series). The duality of the harsh reality of the SEALs set against WW2 romance is breathtaking. They are filled with strong, alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable to their women, lots of adolescent male humor, intricate storylines, and lots of blowing shit up. What’s not to love? Also, you will forevermore love the song You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman).


About Lori:
Lori is a longtime romance reader. She lives in So Cal as the only girl in the House of Testosterone (soon to be The Empty Nest). Fiercely politically active, she still manages to believe in a happily ever after. Lori’s romance review blog is http://donttalkjustread.blogspot.com, which she swears will become active again. Honest.

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Five Books Everyone Should Read: #SoCalBlogger Nicole

Posted June 14, 2015 by Holly in Features | 4 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

Today our good friend and fellow So Cal Blogger, Nicole, is here to share her list of Five Books.  Nic is actually the one who got me hooked on New Adult. We met for lunch one afternoon and she rattled off a huge list of books she loved. It was all downhill from there.

NicsNarrowing down to 5 books was so hard.  I could go the “brainer” route and pick books like Plato’s Republic or War and Peace.  I could go with “books that changed my life”  something from Judy Blume or Shel Silverstein. I could go with romance books, biographies, science fiction or even dystopia.  In the end, I considered the Book Binge audience and picked romance books published in the last 15 years.  The other common trait these books have for me is that I was obsessed with them while reading them.  My life was put on hold when reading them.  You know what I’m talking about!  I stayed up all night long so I could find out what happened next.  We’ve all been there. Come on, admit it!

the unsung heroFirst up The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann.

After a near-fatal head injury, navy SEAL lieutenant Tom Paoletti catches a terrifying glimpse of an international terrorist in his New England hometown. When he calls for help, the navy dismisses the danger as injury-induced imaginings. In a desperate, last-ditch effort to prevent disaster, Tom creates his own makeshift counterterrorist team, assembling his most loyal officers, two elderly war veterans, a couple of misfit teenagers, and Dr. Kelly Ashton-the sweet “girl next door” who has grown into a remarkable woman. The town’s infamous bad boy, Tom has always longed for Kelly. Now he has one final chance for happiness, one last chance to win her heart, and one desperate chance to save the day . . .

For me Brockmann’s early romantic suspense books are some of the best that the genre has to offer.  The Unsung Hero is the first book in the Troubleshooters series.  The Troubleshooters series centers around the members Seal Team 16 and their adventures abroad and at home.  This book has 3 or 4 stories going on at once so I promise you won’t be bored.  As if meeting Commander Tom Paoletti isn’t enough you get to meet the famous Sam and Alyssa. This book is so full of angst, it will for sure give you a book hangover! The book is full of unsung hero’s and it has an ending that will make you cry happy and sad tears.


devil in winterNext up is Lisa Kleypas, Devil in Winter.

Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!

Sebastian’s reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden’s good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.

But Evie’s proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine’s callously discarded broken hearts — which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions … or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.

Only Kleypas is a gifted enough writer to take the villain of her last book and make him the hero in the next.  Sebastian is one of my favorite heros of all time.  Yes, this is the book three of the Wallflowers series.  I promise you that the world will not end as you know it if you read book three first instead of book one.  There is enough backstory in the book that you won’t feel at all lost.  Not only is Sebastian crush-worthy, he is so funny.  The banter back and forth between Sebastian and Evie is delicious.


At PeaceAt Peace by Kristen Ashley

Violet Winters once had it all but lost it when her husband was murdered by a criminal madman. During a cold winter night Violet has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down. And that’s when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan.

She wants to deny it, but Violet can’t beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi’s hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.

Even though Violet had only one man in her life, she’s sure Joe is giving her the signals and Vi decides she’s ready to take a second chance at life and, maybe, love. But Violet doesn’t know the dark secrets in Joe’s past, secrets so soul-wrenching, they’ve drained him dry. With nothing left to give, Joe’s determined to live his life alone and he breaks Violet’s heart.

Crushed by Joe’s betrayal, Violet comes to terms with the fact that, no matter what signals he gave, Joe was not theirs to win. But Violet’s husband’s murderer is obsessed with her and heartbreak again haunts the door of the Winters home. When it does Joe is forced to face the knowledge that he can’t fight Violet’s pull, she’s under his skin and filled him full to bursting.

This is book two in Ashley’s “The ‘Burg” series.  I have to warn you this book is 660 pages but it is a fast moving ride that will leave you breathless.  Joe and Violet are people who have been tortured in life.  Joe gets very close to being TSTL (to stupid to live) but when the chips are down he shows up and that is why I love Joe.  I wish I could go to The ‘Burg and meet everyone.  Ashley makes her characters come alive and I’m convinced that they really exist.


ruleRule by Jay Crownover

Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want—and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.

I read this book back when it was published back in 2012. It was an experiment for me.  First because it was the first independently published book that I read from a brand new author.  Second, I read the reviews and person after person said the story was ok but the spelling and grammar errors were so bad that they couldn’t stand it.  This intrigued me. I wanted to see if it would bother me.  And lastly it was ninety-nine cents.  It completely  blew my mind!  I have read thousands of books in my life and this is the only book that  when finished, I immediately started it over and read it a second time.  I did not care one whit about the grammar errors. And by the way, since Crownover has become such a success she has hired an editor and fixed the book.  This book drips with young adult angst.  Rule and Shaw are trying to figure out who they are at the same time they are falling in love.


restless heartMy last pick is Restless Heart by Emma Lang (Beth Williamson)

Sheltered all her life, Eliza Hunter never imagined herself alone in the vast Utah plains, much less trailing a mysterious, rugged man hired to hunt down her beautiful younger sister. Unable to reveal the truth about her pursuit of him, Eliza plays student to his teacher, transforming herself in the process. And when she finds herself sharing the warmth of Grady’s campfire, wrapped in his arms, hypnotized by his power, soon she is a naive spinster no more …

Grady Wolfe is more than a loner, he’s a man forever on the run. With a body and soul finely honed from living off the land, Grady knows he should leave the irresistible woman alone, but she stirs something in him he hasn’t felt before. Now he’s lost in the woods for the first time in his life—with a dangerous job to do.

Who can resist a badass bounty hunter on the hunt for his prey and the spinster who follows him through Utah with her books strapped to her horse? Not me. Eliza saw the good in Grady from the beginning. I wasn’t so sure until the end. Grady saw the beauty in a bookish spinster from the first. I was surprised at how much I laughed reading this book. Grady and his frustration and exasperation with Eliza during their journey are very entertaining.

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What I Read Last Week

Posted December 31, 2012 by Tracy in Features | 4 Comments

I can’t believe how fast last week went. I guess when I’m off work I expect the days to go by slowly and they never do!

I told you all about my Christmas in my post last Thursday but then I had more excitement this past weekend. First on Saturday I met up with the So Cal Bloggers in Rancho Cucamonga and we had a great time eating, talking and swapping books (which apparently, according to the security guard in the parking log, is considered loitering. Yeah, whatever). Anyway, it was a fun time with Rowena, Holly, Rosie, Lori, Renee, Judith and newcomer, Lynda from A Fish With Sticks. I’m sad that we didn’t get a group picture this time but oh well.
Then yesterday it was my “baby’s” 15th birthday. She was in rare form yesterday and touchy as all hell – but we had a good day going to lunch, doing some shopping and then dancing our asses off to Just Dance 4. I’m a total dork when it comes to that and can only do the 1st level stuff but the kids like to point and laugh. 🙂 Here’s my child at the mall when we went out for frozen yogurt. Kris called it perfectly when I posted this pic on twitter – adorably grumpy. She wouldn’t even smile at the camera because she thinks she looks horrible when she smiles – not true! Yep, that’s my oldest!

Anyway, it was another good week. I’m still off work – yay! – and won’t go back til Wednesday. Life is good. 🙂

My first book of last week was Dragon Lovers byJo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney, Barbara Samuel and Karen Harbaugh. This one sat on my shelf for a long while and I’m not sure why – I always say that, don’t I? Anyway, I love dragons so this was a really great book for me. The four stories were different enough that I liked all of them. There was a pure fantasy, a medieval, a historical set in Japan and a contemporary and they all had good stories. If you like dragons this is a must. 4 out of 5
Next up was Chance of a Lifetime by Jodi Thomas and omg was it good. I love her Harmony series!! The stories included the quiet librarian and her best friend from high school and a lawyer in town who’s trying to find the person who’s trying to kill him along with his hot protector. I love the way Thomas weaves a story together and this one was no different. Great book. 4.5 out of 5
My next read was The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne by Jayne Fresina. The story is about a man who is looking for the man who supposedly stole his families diamonds and finds a family enemy instead. The heroine is actually the “guy” who as the diamonds but he won them in a gambling match. The pair end up together while one looks for his diamonds and the other tries to figure out how to tell him that she’s the culprit. It was a fun read but it had a ton of different tropes involved that made it seem a bit on the ridiculous side. It was still good though. I’m just kind of wondering what the author will use in her next book since she used so many tropes in this one. 3.5 out of 5
The Impetuous Amazon by Sandy James is the 2nd book in the Alliance of the Amazons series and it was another good one. This is Megan’s book and she is Fire. She has a bit of a problem controlling both her fire and her desire to kick demon ass in the middle of a public place. Johann is sent to try to help her but the couple has been in love for years – unbeknownst to the other – and their attraction hits nuclear levels. The problem is that Sentinels and Amazon’s are forbidden to be together and that poses a huge problem. This was another great installment in the series. I really liked Johann a lot. I’ll be posting my review next week of this book. 4 out of 5
A Marquess for Christmas by Vivienne Westlake was my next read. This is a Christmas historical and it was a good one. I’ll post my review of it this week.
Last for the week was a couple of short stories by JL Merrow. I love her work and these were no different. The first was A Ghoul Like You that had a young man picking up guys in a bar that he thought were vampires and then killing them. Unfortunately he meets Niall and tries to kill him but he’s a ghoul. The story is a bit odd but pretty darned good. Only about 19 pages so a quick read. 3.5 out of 5 
Then there was Tortoise Interruptus which had a man who sometimes turns into a tortoise being kidnapped and finding love. It was so cute and unexpected and I love Merrow’s sense of humor – just a great story. 4 out of 5
My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:

Happy Reading!

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What I Read Last Week

Posted July 30, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 11 Comments

Happy Monday!
It IS a happy Monday even if I had to come back to work today after some time off last week.
On Wednesday RWA had their Literacy Signing and it was HUGE. Seriously. There were so many authors there and the ballroom was massive. I loved that the authors were given so much space to work but man, trekking that thing was exhausting. lol I got to meet and talk to a lot of great authors and get pictures with some of them. I had a handy sheet with all the authors and the table layouts and I STILL managed to miss some of the authors I wanted to talk to. Pooh. But here are some pics I got:
LB Gregg – Always beautiful with a wonderful smile on her face!
HelenKay Dimon – Such a cutie
Holly, Jodi Thomas and moi.  Jodi is so very sweet and I loved listening to her accent.
Kira Brady – Haven’t seen her in years (since SF RWA).  Love the hair!
Julie Anne Long – OMG total fan girl moment.  I tried not to make a complete fool of myself but it wasn’t easy.
Sabrina Jeffries – Sweet and funny – she was cracking me up
Jessica Scott – So good to finally meet her after emailing back and forth.  She’s adorable.
Elizabeth Hoyt – Another total fan girl gush over Elizabeth.  Yes, it was embarrassing.
Sarah MacLean – We saw her right after she had her own meltdown over meeting Linda Howard. 🙂
On Friday I drove back down to RWA (after taking Thursday to recover) and the So Cal Bloggers had lunch with Thea Harrison and her agent, Amy Boggs. We had a great time talking about Thea’s books, paranormal reads in general, books that we were looking forward to releasing and just lots of great stuff. Julie James popped by near the end and we all managed to get a picture together.
Renee, Wendy, Holly, Rosie, LB Gregg, Me, Julie James, Rowena & Thea Harrison
I loved just hanging with my buds.  I love talking books and family and just “being.”  That’s almost the best part of these things.
Wendy & LB Gregg
Rosie and her drink (ok, it was only a Pellegrino)
Rowena, Holly and I had lunch with Julie James on Saturday and then dinner with Carina editor Mallory Braus and Vivian Arend. OMG talk about a roaring good time. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a darn long time. Vivian kept Rowena and I in stitches, lemme tell ya.
Me, Holly, Mallory Braus, Vivian Arend & Rowena
I of course got to see all of my wonderful blogging friends, Renee, Rowena, Holly, Rosie, Wendy and honorary So Cal blogger, Lisabea aka LB Gregg and I met new ones as well. Overall it was a really fun time and I’m so glad I went. Next year I think I’ll have to save my money and register for the conference, I think it will be worth it.
Wendy, Rosie and LB dressed to kill for the RITA’s.
While everyone was at the RITA’s, Holly Rowena and I went back up to our room where Rosie texted us to the minute info on the RITA winners (she’s such a giver, that Rosie). Somehow Holly and Wena got on a conversation about multiple partners and they started telling me about Coulter’s Woman by Maya Banks and how the men were all brothers. Now, the girls ask me, when said brothers are all doing their woman at the same time, wouldn’t one brother be tea-bagging another? And then went on to describe positioning, etc. I played dumb and they decided to reenact the scene for me, how gracious of them. Wena’s the woman, Holly is 1 brother, the pillow is another and well, the invisible one is behind Wena. Do you see the pillow tea-bagging? I gotta hand it to them, they did a fine job showing instead of telling. lolol 
Wena and Holly and their teabaggin scene.
Because of all this wonderful fun I had I didn’t get much reading done but it was all good.
I started the week with Return of the Viscount by Gayle Callen. This was the story of a woman who marries an old friend of her father’s by proxy as she’s in England and he’s in India. She never thinks to see him and frankly thinks he’ll be dead soon as he’s old. Yeah, he’s not old and he shows up on her doorstep. You can read my full review here but it was a really good story. 4 out of 5
Next was Now or Never by Michele Bardsley. This is the second book in the Wizards of Nevermore series and while it was a great paranormal it had basically no romance to speak of. Yes the hero and heroine were drawn to each other and it was made to read at the end like they would be together but really, no romance. Bummer. The story of the House of Ravens trying to take over the world was really good though and that saved the book. I read this for Book Binge. 3.5 out of 5
The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe by Sabrina Darby was a short historical novella having to do with an actress and courtesan who is hired by a man’s mother to bring him out of his war induced shell. I’ll post my review for this one tomorrow.
Last for the week was Men of Smithfield: Mark & Tony by LB Gregg (previously released as Gobsmacked). Yes, the Men of Smithfield are being re-released by Carina Press and this first book comes out next Monday. I’ll post my review of this one this week.
Well that’s it for the week. I KNOW not a lot of books but it’s hard to read when you’re having so much fun! 🙂
My Book Binge reviews that posted this week:
Happy Reading!

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What I Read Last Week

Posted June 13, 2011 by Tracy in Features | 8 Comments

Good morning!
Not much happened this past week until Saturday when some of the So Cal Bloggers got together. Wendy, Renee, Nikki, Judith and I met at Renee’s house and then moved over to the Covina Bookstore. For an independent bookstore it had a great romance section. We then went for lunch and then over to Barnes and Noble to check out their shelves. It was a lot of fun and always wonderful to see friends and talk BOOKS! lol I got some great recommendations from Renee and bought a book from a new-to-me author (whose name I can’t remember at the moment. lol). Here we are outside if B & N.
Diet and Exercise – Oy it’s gone to the dogs completely. I’m starting again today with being diligent about the exercise and eating right. I did get on the scale and am up a bit. I had lost a total of 4 pound – which has now only 2.4 *sigh* ah well – just goes to show I can’t fall off the wagon. This proves that left to my own devices I will eat the house. lol
Reading…(if only I was as good about exercise as I was about reading! lol)…it was a good week. I read some good stuff:
First up was Big Bad Beast by Shelly Laurenston. I really like Laurenston’s heroine’s and the men who love them. This story was about Dee-Ann who is one bad ass mofo who you do not want to mess with. Restaurant owner Ric wants nothing more than to mess with her in many different ways. The book is a combination of Rick and Dee-Ann’s relationship, a story of Dee-Ann and 2 others working on a case for The Unit that involves a dog-fighting type setup only with hybrids and a small story of Ric’s father who’s a complete bastard. It was a good story but I had some issues with it. You can read my review over at The Book Binge if you’re interested. 3.5 out of 5
Next was the novella Unlocked by Courtney Milan. What a great story! Evan had a thing for Lady Elaine Warren and wanted him to notice her. He went about it all wrong, however, and ended up making her someone that was laughed at and ridiculed and ended up making him feel like a horrible person. Evan leaves and doesn’t return for 10 years. He’s become a completely different person and would like nothing more than Elaine to forgive him. He knows this isn’t possible but it doesn’t stop him from trying. Such a great novella. Smexy’s review of this book is what got me hooked. 4.5 out of 5
More Than Words Volume 7 by Carly Phillips, Donna Hill and Jill Shalvis is a Harlequin anthology that has stories that are based on amazing women. Three really good stories make up this anthology and it’s just a fun romantic book. You can read my review here. 4 out of 5
Kathry, the Kitten by Lavinia Kent was my next read. This is a novella that starts The Real Duchesses of London series. This was the story of the Kathryn, the Duchess of Harrington, who seems to have the perfect life except she doesn’t actually sleep with her husband any longer. She loves him and wants him back in her bed. She asks a friend for help but there are many other things happening that Kathryn doesn’t know about. This was a great little novella and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ll post a review next week. 4 out of 5 (This is an Avon Impulse that releases on the 28th of this month)
After that I went on a little Anne Brooke spree with the Delaneys. I started off with The Delaneys and Me which is a story about Liam who breaks up with his boyfriend and says some things that put his ex-boyfriends cousins (The Delaneys who are crime bosses) hackles up. He knows he has to pay for what he’s said and what the Delaneys come up with is scary but doable. They tell him that he can get his balls shot off or have sex with them. Yeah, which one do you think he chose? lol This was a short story (35 pages) that was so cute. I really liked the writing and the humor in the story was right up my alley. Yes there are twins in the story but no twincest. 4 out of 5
Next was Entertaining the Delaneys by Anne Brooke. The twins are contacting Liam a few weeks after their first encounter and want Liam to entertain one of their guests. He’s up for it as long as the twins are involved. Again, a funny story that’s quite short (also 35 pages) and pretty darned hot. Same fun humor as the first story which I love. 4 out of 5
The third story in the Delaney series (so far) was The Art of the Delaneys by Anne Brooke. In this story (42 pages) Liam and his boss are helping the Delaneys with a little art scam their running. The twins and Liam get up to a little fun in the gallery and make some decisions about their strange but compelling relationship. Another cute story and I can’t wait to read what’s up next with the threesome. 3.75 out of 5
My Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week was Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March. The story is about a duke who kidnaps his own wife. You see he married her for revenge and when she found out – the day after he wedding 3 years earlier – she decided to do everything she could to force the duke into divorcing her. She wasn’t actually as bad as rumor had it and despite her dislike of duke she couldn’t stop loving him. He’s decided he loves his wife and wants her back and with him only. I liked the story a lot but had some issues with the heroine. She wanted her freedom from the duke but it was because of the situation, at least that’s how I was reading it. But when they express their love for each other and he says he won’t divorce her she’s upset that she won’t have her freedom. Why would she still want it? 3.75 out of 5
Getting Off the Ground by LA Witt was a great novella that I very much enjoyed. Elliot is at the airport in Seattle waiting for the planes to get off the ground and in a freak blizzard. He’s going on his honeymoon to Hawaii by himself after he was stood up at the altar. He meets Derek in the airport who’s also heading to Hawaii but he lives on the islands. Derek and Elliot get to know each other and end up spending the night in a hotel room together that’s just amazing. But then it had to end because they’re going different places – or does it? I was little leery of Derek and Elliot’s getting together – even for a night – because of Elliot having just come out of this very long relationship where he was prepared to marry his partner. As the story moves on Witt explained Elliot and his ex-partners relationship in a way that I could accept Derek and Elliot together. I have the next book in the series or I might have been upset at the ending which was a bit abrupt. I’ll dig into book 2 this week. 4 out of 5
Collide by Megan Hart was my next read and it was so good! This book comes out on the 21st and I recommend it. The story of a woman who has the hots for an ex-independent film star-turned-artist-turned-gallery owner but he seems to not want to have anything to do with her. Then she starts having hallucinations about the man but it’s when he was 30 years younger. I’ll post my review this week and tell you more. 4.25 out of 5
Last on the list was a short novella I read for The Book Binge called When, Were and Howl by Jeanette Raleigh. This was the story of a woman who is a shifter but she turns into a mouse when she shifts – the rest of her family are wolf shifters – talk about different. She’s got it bad for her wolf shifter boss and wants more than anything to be able to shift to something besides a mouse. She gets an amulet that allows her to shift into a wolf but then she can’t get back to human. Is it all she’d hoped it would be? It was a cute story but left me hanging at the end of the story which I didn’t care for. I’ll probably read the next novelette just so I can see what happened! 3 out of 5
My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Happy Reading!

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