Friday, January 31, 2014

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean

Author: Sarah MacLean
Publisher: Avon
Date of publication: November 2013

A rogue ruined . . .

He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of . . . absolution.
A lady returned . . .

Mara planned never to return to the world from which she’d run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple’s exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade that ends in her returning to society and proving to the world what only she knows . . . that he is no killer.

I swear this series keeps getting better and better.  No Good Duke Goes Unpunished is the third book in the "Rules of Scoundrels" series.  I really enjoyed Temple's story. At first I wasn't sure if I would like Mara.  What she did to change Temple's life was pretty awful.  But as I read and got to know why she did it, I began to like her more.  Also, I felt she was truly sorry about it.  I'm not sure I would have liked Temple before his life changed.  He seemed like he would have been a spoiled playboy.  I was really hoping that he wouldn't go through with publicly outing Mara and what she had done. They ended up being perfect for each other and I loved the final "fight" in the ring.  

This was a fun story and there are some cute characters in the book.  Between the boys in the orphanage and the resident pig, my heart was melting all over the place!  The epilogue was definitely a  "Wait, what???" moment.  How can the author do that and make us all wait for the next book?  I can't wait for Chase's story!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Santerra's Sin by Donna Kauffman

Author: Donna Kaufman
First published in by Bantam in 1996
Re-issued by Loveswept in 2012

When she answered his knock with "Enter at your own risk," Diego Santerra realized he'd have his hands full protecting Blue Delgado without her knowledge. He'd taken more than a little pleasure keeping an eye on her the past three weeks, but now he had to get closer -- and that meant getting a job in her cantina. Blue could feel the danger he exuded, and yearned for the excitement he aroused in her passionate soul. But could surrendering to this mystery man be a sin?

Santerra's Sin is a early book by this Ms. Kauffman.  It's a really quick read.  I was able to read it in one sitting.  One thing about shit author is that she can really write a good alpha male.  Diego is exactly that, but he meets his match in Blue.  He has been hired to protect Blue without her knowing.  The attraction is there from the start, but Diego never gets involved.

While I did like Diego and Blue together, I felt like they fell in love a little too fast for me.  Blue barely knows him and she is telling him she loves him within a couple of days.  I didn't totally buy it.  I did like Diego's back story and to see him finally find a way to love.  There is a little bit of action, but no real suspense.  The bad guys keep finding Blue and Diego really quickly. There was a hint of a mole in the operation, but it was never fleshed out.  I also would have liked to see Blue confront her father. Having said that, it was still an enjoyable read and I look forward to reading the sequel.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review & interview: Curl up and Dye by Sharon Sala

We are pleased to welcome author Sharon Sala today for an interview.  She is promoting her book Curl Up and Dye. Enjoy it after my thoughts on the book.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Date of publication: February 4, 2014

Wally Lamb meets Steel Magnolias in this story of LilyAnn Bronte, the Peachy-Keen Queen, which in Blessings, Georgia, was the epitome of success. After losing her fiance in the war in Iraq, her zest for life went into decline while added weight crept on. When a new guy arrives in town, LilyAnn embarks on a quest to remake herself from start to finish only to discover that love was always just right next-door.

I always know I'm going to get a good read when I pick up a book by this author.  Curl Up and Dye was such a fun book to read. Set in the small town of Blessings, Georgia, it is filled with fun characters and southern charm.  Like a lot of small towns the beauty shop is the center of gossip and town goings on.  Readers were first introduced to the town and shop in the prequel novella, Color Me Bad. While I didn't think it was necessary to read that first, it is definitely worth trying it out as well.

This story centers around LilyAnn and Mike.  LilyAnn lost her high school sweetheart to war 11 years ago and instead of moving on has let her life stop all together.  Mike has lived next to LilyAnn all his life and is her best friend.  He has also been in love with her since the 10th grade.  I just love reading stories about friends who finally admit they love each other.  It takes them a while, but their journey is so worth their sweet HEA.  LilyAnn makes a lot of changes and has to learn to love herself before she can see what is right in front of her.  Of course, the couple also gets a little help from the lovely ladies at the beauty shop.  Sometimes two people in love need a little push, right?

The book isn't all cozy and laughs.  Some of the people in Blessings carry some dark secrets.  But, then what small town doesn't have its secrets?  It looks like this is the first in a series.  I can't wait to visit the town of Blessings, Georgia again!  It's a quick, fun read and definitely one I recommend!

Autumn & Kari: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Sharon: Almost every book I’ve written has been a dream first. I dream in color and with dialogue and plot. And I can plan what I want to dream about and then go to sleep and dream it. I thought everyone was like that and didn’t know anything different for years.

Autumn & Kari: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Sharon: The Curl Up and Dye is set in a fictional town called Blessings, Georgia, and I am doing book 2 from that same location, with the same beauty shop and same town full of characters, plus a few new ones for that particular book.  It’s called…FAMILY SPECIAL… like the bargain a beauty shop might run giving a family a cut rate.  It’s a sweet story about two young people who struck a bargain to keep both of their little families together, and wound up falling in love in the process.

Autumn & Kari: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Sharon: Hawkeye from Last of The Mohicans… because my daddy’s  side of the family is part Cherokee and I have always loved that story and setting.

Autumn & Kari: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Sharon: A horse… for beauty, heart, and speed.

About the author:

Beloved by her brethren of fans, Sharon Sala, who also writes under the name Dinah McCall, has 99 books in print, is published in four genres: romance, young adult, western, and women’s fiction, and has sold more than 1.5 million books. Her books have appeared on USA Today, New York Times, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists 47 times, and have been published in many different languages. Sala was the 2011 recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.
Follow Sharon on Facebook or visit her online at

Blog Tour Guest Post: Bared by Stacey Kennedy

Today we have USA Today Bestselling Author, Stacey Kennedy. She’s an urban fantasy lover at heart, but she also enjoys losing herself in dark and sensual worlds. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, who gave her a happily-ever-after. Together, they have two small children who can always make her smile, and who will never be allowed to read
Mommy’s books. If she’s not plugging away at a new story, you’ll find her camping, curling up with the latest flick, or obsessing over Supernatural, True Blood, Lost Girl, and Sons of Anarchy.

In her newest release, the second CLUB SIN novel, BARED, we are introduced to the submissive, Cora and Club Sin Master, Aidan. Today Stacey is sharing one of her favorite scenes from BARED. 

Make sure to check out the contest from Loveswept below!!

Publisher: Loveswept
Date of publication: February 10, 2014

At Las Vegas’s exclusive Club Sin, Aidan Knight is the Master, unleashing the erotic yearnings of his submissive lovers. But his dominant façade conceals a devastating loss—something he instantly recognizes in his personally trained submissive Cora Adams. Sworn to unearth her secrets, Aidan uses his seductive skills to ignite her wildest desires until Cora yields to the pleasure she can find only with him.

Cora came to the BDSM club to act out her sub-and-dom fantasies without ever revealing the heartbreak that haunts her. But Aidan’s masterful touch is bringing her closer to the edge . . . and deeper into a world of control and surrender. He refuses to allow her to submit to any other man—nor does she want to. It’s a dangerous game they’re playing. For as they give in to passion, they must lay bare their souls for a love that could heal—and free—them both.

Bared is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences. 

Take it away, Stacey!

Thanks so much for having me by. I’m excited to share an excerpt from BARED. What can I say? I adore the Club Sin world. Aidan and Cora have a special place in my heart. Their love story and journey was incredibly sweet to write, and well, just a bit HOT, too!
Cora is probably the strongest female character that I’ve ever written, not only for her sass, but because she is emotionally grounded. She’s put together and knows what she wants, and heck that’s something to be respected. Poor Aidan—our powerful Alpha male—is in for a serious wakeup call!
I hope you enjoy Aidan and Cora as much as I have. There was something very special about this couple that won’t have me forgetting them anytime soon!!
Here’s a sneak peek at 
BARED—Order your copy here!

With languid movements, he turned to the branches and logs he’d gathered on their hike. He placed the thinner pieces he’d cut with his small ax in a tepee shape within the fire pit he’d made with stones from the forest. As he grabbed his lighter from his pocket, he said, “Ask me any question you want.”
Her sharp voice lifted his head, and he smiled. “You heard me.” His only intention tonight: changing the dynamics of their relationship. From what he’d seen of her and Porter, she could share her thoughts—she just hadn’t with Aidan. “I asked you to open yourself up to me and you pointed out that I don’t share myself with you. That has to change. Ask away.” He allowed her the time to process and placed the fire stick in the middle of the wood, then he flicked the lighter and the flames rose.
She giggled.
With the burning wood crackling and a comforting aroma engulfing him, he looked to her with raised his brows. “Something funny?”
“I’m surprised you didn’t start the fire by rubbing two sticks together.” Her mouth twitched, as if fighting her smile. “You know, ‘I am Dom. Me caveman, build fire.’”
Aidan barked a laugh. “Common sense leads me to a lighter.”
He joined her on the blanket and his face ached from their laughter throughout the day. He enjoyed spending time with Cora. In fact, he liked hearing her talk, watching her smile, and learning about all the random thoughts she had in her mind. As he settled next to her, his thigh pressed against hers, causing his groin to tighten. “All right, stop stalling.”
She looked to the fire and nibbled on her lip. Then she brought her legs up and rested her cheek on her knee. Her pretty eyes held his, as if she read right into his soul. “Are you happy?”
He hesitated. “Happy?”
The light from the fire cast an orange hue along her face, detailing the gentle lines. “I mean, do you wake up every day glad to be alive?”
“Of course,” he replied without hesitation.
Her stare remained fixated on him; her attention was focused, intent, and almost stern. “Liar.”
“Come again?” He frowned.
She glanced to the fire with a deep breath through her nose. “Exactly what I said, I don’t believe you.”
His thoughts stuttered. While he had opened the door to talk, he hadn’t expected her to take this direction. Perhaps foolishly, he’d thought she’d ask about his favorite movie or a random question, not something so personal.
He leaned back on his arms, stretching out his legs. The heat from the crackling fire warmed his shins. “Well then, do tell, what do you think I’m doing?”
“Coasting.” Her gaze cut to him and her eyes widened with her smile. “Oh my God, I’m analyzing, aren’t I?” She gave a dismissive wave of her hand and shifted against the blanket. “It’s a bad habit from the job. Ignore me.”
Her blushing couldn’t sway him. He remained stuck, infatuated with her statement. “It’s all right. I told you we could talk. This is what you want to talk about. Please continue.”
A long sigh fell from her mouth, and she turned to the fire. “To me, it sort of seems like you coast through life; doing the right thing, saying the right thing, and being the right man in every situation. But you don’t do it for yourself or because it makes you happy.” She peered at him through her thick lashes and gave a halfhearted shrug. “Today, out here . . .” She tilted her head back, glancing to the starry sky. “You were different. More comfortable. Free, almost.”
“Because of that you don’t think I’m happy?” he asked.
“I think you coast on the edge of totally letting go, because if you stop coasting, you’ll crash.” She peeked at him a moment, then quickly looked away. “I understand why you do it. It’s safer to live and do for others. It’s scary to face what would truly make you happy and the chance it might be taken away.”
Aidan watched Cora, his mouth dropping open. He found himself unable to form the words to respond; she had him pegged all wrong. Christ, no wonder a barrier remained between them. His stomach knotted with the knowledge of her impression of him.
The fire crackled, sending an ember near Aidan’s leg as she added, “I see you, you know.” His gaze remained locked on her when she turned to him with a soft smile. “I see every flaw and every imperfection.”
He snorted, lowering his head and looked to the ember sizzling out. “That’s a pretty picture.”
His heart banged in his chest as she scooted a little closer and said, “It makes me lucky.”
Lucky? “Please enlighten me,” he grumbled, glancing to her glowing cheeks. “How does any of that make you lucky?”
She reached out to stroke his forearm, and a soft expression crossed her face. “I see what no one else does.”

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Reboot by Amy Tintera

by:  Amy Tintera
published by:  HarperTeen
publish date:  May 7, 2013

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Kari had this book as one of her DNF books for December.  However, I was still interested in this book and gave it a go.  I'm glad I did because I liked this book.  One of Kari's issue with this book was Number/Name thing.  The Reboots are often called by their number, but I didn't find it too hard to keep them straight.

The story is about Wren 178.  The longer a reboot is out the more deadly they are when they come back.  So Wren is the toughest of the tough.  Her job is to train new recruits and she always chooses new recruits with the highest numbers until Callum 22 shows up and convinces her to become his trainer.  Callum is hopeless and Wren feels like a failure for the first time in her Reboot life.  When Callum's life is on the line and Wren sees a way out of their Reboot lives, she takes it.

I found this book to be exciting and different than most YAs.  It was a little sci-fi, it was a little post-apocalyptic, it was a little dystopian, but it never really went too overboard on any of those genres.  It was an age appropriate YA as well.  I definitely recommend this one.

Monday, January 27, 2014

OMG...Am I a Witch? by Talia Aikens-Nunez

Author:  Talia Aikens-Nunez,  (Illustrator)
Publisher: Pinwheel Books
Date of publication: October 2013

April Appleton is so annoyed at her older brother that she searches the Internet for a spell to turn him into a dog. When the spell works, April realizes she has more powers than she ever dreamed of! Now she has to figure out how to turn him back to normal before her parents find out. She has little time, but with the help of her friends, Grace and Eve, she finds a book of magic that will hopefully reverse the spell. Will it work and will April's newfound magic save the day?

OMG...Am I a Witch? is a really cute middle grade story.  One day on the bus, April's annoying older brother pushes her too far and she turns him into a dog using a spell she read off the Internet. She enlists her friends to help her try to reverse the spell before her parents find out Austin is now a dog.

One of the things that I liked about the book was how April begins to realize that even though her brother annoys her, he does care about her.  He has defended her before and taken care of her when she was sick.  I think that is a great message to send.  The only thing I wish the book had was an explanation as to why April suddenly has powers.  I felt like that wasn't explored enough.  I'm not sure if this is going to be a series or not.  If so, maybe a second book could explain her powers.

The book is short and is sprinkled with adorable illustrations.  I think girls will fall in love with Austin is a puppy.  He was very cute!  This book would be perfect for any reader 4th grade and up.  I know my 10 year old daughter would probably enjoy this book.

About the author:

Talia Aikens-Nuñez wanted to be a meteorologist, a politician and a lawyer. She never thought she
would be a writer. It was the birth of her daughter that caused her to start writing. Raising a bilingual child inspired Talia to write multicultural children’s books. Talia’s family loves nature so much that she and her husband vowed that they will always try to live close to water. She, her husband and daughter live on a river in Connecticut with their daughter Isabella.
Find out more about Talia at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Talia’s Tour Stops

Wednesday, January 8th: Maureen’s Musings
Friday, January 10th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Tuesday, January 14th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, January 15th: The Owl’s Skull
Thursday, January 16th: Book, Books Everywhere!
Tuesday, January 21st: Book Loving Hippo
Wednesday, January 22nd: Cherry Blossoms
Thursday, January 23rd: An Unconventional Librarian
Monday, January 27th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, January 28th: Sweet Southern Home
Wednesday, January 29th: Advice from a Caterpillar
Thursday, January 30th: Books and Things
Friday, January 31st: Curling up by the Fire
Monday, February 3rd: Book Dilettante
Thursday, February 13th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Reader

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto by Eric Luper

by:  Eric Luper
published by:  Balzer + Bray
publish date:  June 28, 2010

Seth Baumgartner just had the worst day of his life. His girlfriend dumped him (at Applebee's), he spied his father on a date with a woman who is not his mother (also at Applebee's!), and he lost his fourth job of the year. It's like every relationship he cares about is imploding, and he can't figure out what's going on. To find answers, Seth decides to start an anonymous podcast called The Love Manifesto, exploring "what love is, why love is, and why we're stupid enough to keep going back for more." 

Seth is having a terrible Summer.  He's lost his girlfriend, he's lost his job and he found out his dad is having an affair.   He starts a podcast listing everything he loved about his girlfriend and discussing what love really is.  Seth finally gets another job at the country club so he can practice his swing for the Father Son Golf Tournament and spend more time with his best friend and his sister.  He also realizes his best friend's little sister isn't so little anymore.

I read a lot of reviews about this audiobook and a lot of them mentioned this book being "bawdy" and "raunchy".  I was expecting it to be a lot dirtier than it was, something along the lines of Fat Vampire.  It was definitely more PG than R rated.

I liked this audiobook a lot.  I thought it was a great story and a great message.  So many of the disagreements this book could have been avoided with better communication and just telling the people around you what's on your mind.  I really appreciated that.  I would definitely recommend this book.  There might have been some off color language here and there, but I don't think it was that bad.  It would be ok for most YAs.  Seth was a fun character and I would definitely like more YA books like this.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Eyes Wide Open by Ted Dekker

Author: Ted Dekker
Publisher: Worthy Publishing
Date of publcation: January 2014

Who am I?

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen and I’m about to die. I’m buried in a coffin under tons of concrete. No one knows where I am. My heart sounds like a monster with clobber feet, running straight toward me. I’m lying on my back, soaked with sweat from the hair on my head to the soles of my feet. My hands and feet won’t stop shaking.

Some will say that I’m not really here. Some will say I’m delusional. Some will say that I don’t even exist. But who are they? I’m the one buried in a grave.

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen. I’m about to die. So who are you?

This book was originally released in 4 parts.  The version I read had all 4 parts together in one volume. It's a pretty quick read and was enjoyable.   I will have to say that I spent a lot of the middle of the book confused as to what was going on.   Christy and her friend Austin somehow end up being mistaken for mental patients with different names.  What follows is a pretty wild trip where they both begin to question what is real and what is delusion.  Neither youth knows where they came from or remember anything about their lives before the age of 13.  I was happy that for the most part, the story all came together in the end.

I liked the overall message of the book.  Accepting and loving ourselves is the only way to truly love and accept others.  It takes most of us a long time to understand that.  One of the thing that I didn't like was that I felt like the message was too cryptic.  I think younger people reading this book might not really get the message.  I also wish there was more information about where Christy and Austin came from. I felt like that was not fleshed out enough.  This was quite a different book than I have read from this author in the past.  I look forward to the next book by him!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Interview & Review: Control by Charlotte Stein

Author Charlotte Stein joins us today for an interview.  She is promoting her book Control.  Enjoy her answers to our questions after my thoughts.

Author: Charlotte Stein
Publisher: SOurcebook
Date of publication: January 2014
(Originally published in 2010 by ExCite books)

When Madison Morris decides to hire an assistant to help run her naughty bookshop, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. Aggressive Andy doesn't quite make the grade, but continues to push her buttons in other areas, while uptight and utterly repressed Gabriel can't quite take Madison's training techniques. One makes her grasp control, while the other makes her lose it. But the lines are blurring and she's no longer sure who's leading and who's following. In the midst of kinky threesomes and power plays, can Madison work out what she really wants?

My thoughts:

I really wanted to like this book.  I thought the concept was good, but it fell short for me.  When I read erotic books, I like to be able to connect with the characters. I never felt like I got to really know the characters. I also like to feel like there is a plot.  This book was too much on sex and not enough story behind it.  I know others liked the story, but it just wasn't the book for me.

Thank you for having me here to answer your lovely questions!

Autumn & Kari: What inspired you to become a writer?

Charlotte: I don’t think there was ever one thing that inspired me. I think I’ve just always wanted to be one, as far back as I can remember. Certain things pushed me in one direction or another – my love for Black Lace books, for example, encouraged me to write erotic. But there was never one thing that made me sit up and go: I want to write!

Autumn & Kari: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Charlotte: I always wish I could say something really deep and fascinating here, but the truth is my ideas are generally sparked by whatever crush I have at the moment! Some hot actor will give me a little character point or plot kernel, based on something he did in a movie or show. And then I’ll be off, writing away.

Autumn & Kari: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Charlotte: I’ve got lots of ideas in the pipeline and a few things under contract. Next up will be my movie star New Adult novel with Ellora’s Cave – lots of angst, lots of feeling, lots of passion. Then after that I’ve got another New Adult novel about a girl stifled by her parents and their need for perfection, and the inappropriate guy she ends up falling for. And the end of the year will hopefully see the release of my Sherlockian hero story, Sweet Agony.

Autumn & Kari: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Charlotte: I would probably have to say Jane Eyre! She is everything: a plain but brilliant woman, railing against the forces that constrain her, and who manages to triumph in the end. What more can you ask for?

Autumn & Kari:  Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Charlotte: I would be Falkor the Luck Dragon. And yeah I know he’s not real, but come on can you imagine being a gigantic feathery flying creature that looks kind of like a dog and lives in Fantasia? That would be so cool!

About the author:

Charlotte Stein has published many stories in various erotic anthologies, including Fairytale Lust from Cleis, and Sexy Little Numbers, from Black Lace. Her own collection of short stories, The Things That Make Me Give In, is out now, and was named one of the best erotic romances of 2009 by Michelle Buonfiglio. She has novellas and a novel coming soon from Ellora's Cave, Total-E-Bound and Xcite, and you can contact her at her blog:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Dark Fire by Elizabeth Lowell

Author: Elizabeth Lowell
First published in 1988 by Silhouette

The Andean Cloud Forest in Ecuador is mysterious and beautiful. Trace Rawlings is a man who lives by his own rules. Ruthless and domineering, he takes what he wants. But Cynthia is used to someone trying to manipulate her, having dealt with her father all her life. She feels sure she can handle Trace. After all, he's just there to guide her through the treacherous forest, right?

Unlike it the first book, Fever (my review), I just really did not enjoy this book.  I don't think I have ever read a book where the heroine was just beyond TSTL!  I get that Cindy didn't want anyone controlling her or want to rely on anyone ever again.  But, really? You are a woman alone in Ecuador with no idea how to navigate the wilderness and you take off on your own?  I rolled my eyes through the entire book. I have to say that I was on Trace's side through most of the story.

I will give props to Ms. Lowell.  I have always said that she really knows how to write a love scene.  The one in this book is definitely hot!  If you ignore the rest of the story, that scene makes the book worth reading.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Guest post, Review & Giveaway: One Rogue Too Many by Samantha Grace

Today we are joined by author Samantha Grace as she promotes her latest book, One Rogue Too Many.  Enjoy her guest post about her methods of research for her historical romances after my thoughts on the book.

Want to win a copy?  Fill out the rafflecopter below to enter. (Us & Canada only)

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Date of publication: January 2014

All Bets Are Off When the Game is Love…
Lady Gabrielle is thrilled when Anthony Keaton, earl of Ellis, asks for her hand in marriage. She's not so pleased when he then leaves the country and four months pass without a word. Clearly, the scoundrel has changed his mind and is too cowardly to tell her. There's nothing to do but go back on the marriage mart...

When Anthony returns to town and finds his ultimate rival has set sights on Gabby, his continual battle of one-upmanship with Sebastian Thorne ceases to be a game. Anthony is determined to win back the woman who holds his heart--but he's not expecting Gabby herself to up the stakes...

My thoughts:

One Rogue Too Many was a fun read.  Gabby is  Luke Forest's sister. We met Luke and Vivian in their story, Lady Vivian Defies a Duke.  Gabby has loved Anthony forever, but she has given up hope that he will return to marry her, so she sets herself out onto the marriage mart.  The problem is that Anthony's rival, Sebastian Thorne is more than ready to take over for Anthony.  Who will win?

There really was no contest as Anthony and Gabby really do love each other.  It was fun watching Anthony set about properly courting Gabby as he feels she deserves. Of course in all good love stories, there is a big misunderstanding that could have been solved had all of the cards been laid out on the table from the start.  But, then we wouldn't have had the great adventure to the border, right?  I loved what Anthony did to try to stop Gabby's marriage to Thorne.  The thing that melted my heart the most was the way Gabby helped Anthony and Annabelle bond.  Very sweet!

Thorne gets his own story soon in, In Bed With a Rogue, coming out later this year!  

Hi, everyone! I’m historical romance author Samantha Grace. It’s great to be at From the TBR Pile discussing my love for history, the source of some of my story ideas, and how I go about researching for my Regency romance novels.

I developed a love for history in 8th grade from the meanest, no-nonsense or-you-will-be-tarred-and-feathered American History teacher ever. She made it clear on Day 1 that we would pay attention or else. Her warnings were unnecessary, however. The moment she launched into our first lesson, the class became mesmerized. It was the first time I realized history wasn’t a bunch of boring dates or an endless list of battles. *yawn*

History is all about stories. True stories! (Or else someone’s version of the truth. Depends on who is retelling it.) And I’ve loved stories since I was a little girl. I’m sure most people have heard the saying, “Life is stranger than fiction.” Well, Mark Twain wasn’t joking. History is full of really weird stuff, and it’s a great source for book ideas.

Sometimes my research for a book begins with general curiosity. I’ll be browsing the biography or history section in a bookstore or library, find a book that looks interesting, and in the course of reading a historical account of a person’s life or an event, I get my next story idea.

About a year ago, I found a book on Ninjas in a coffee shop that also sells used books. I was so excited, because I’ve been toying with a series idea about Ninja-type warriors. I said to my husband, “I can’t believe I found a Ninja book.” And he said, “Me either. They are usually better at hiding.” LOL

So my first research method is very technical. It’s called dumb luck!

My second method is called “Rely on the Experts”. I knew my story Miss Lavigne’s Little White would take place on a ship, but I knew NOTHING about sailing or wooden ships. I’d never even been on the ocean. Fortunately, I found experts who were willing to share their knowledge.

I took an online class about the age of sail. It was fantastic! There was so much information, and the instructor helped me with some of my research on travel to New Orleans from England. (Did you know ships actually have to travel quite a ways up the Mississippi to reach New Orleans? On the map, it looks like New Orleans is right there in the Gulf.) Then I had help from my friend and critique partner Suzie Grant. She is also an author and writes adventurous historical romances. She was especially helpful with the confrontation at sea between the hero’s ship and the nasty villain’s.

The resource librarian at the local library is a wonderful help, too. They are definitely the experts when it comes to research.  

Personal experience is some of the best research, of course. My husband planned a family cruise while I was working on the story, which allowed me to have at least had some idea of what it was like to be on the ocean. I’ve also toured old houses and visited historical landmarks. I’ve stood outside in subzero weather to better describe the bite of cold. I’ve tried Regency recipes so I know what they ate. And some day, I really want to take a trip to England so I can experience the places I write about. 

YouTube has become my research buddy. When I needed to learn how to load and fire a flintlock pistol for Lady Vivian Defies a Duke, I watched several YouTube videos. Not only did I learn how to do it the correct way, I learned that you could end up with a busted nose if you aren’t prepared for the kick back when firing. Ouch! I also watched how to get a horse to back up and how to jump a fence.

Google Books rock for research! I find a lot of information through Google books. If you aren’t familiar with the service, it searches full text of books for whatever search terms you enter. Some books are for purchase, but many old books are free because they are considered to be in the public domain. I’ve found information about mail coaches, gambling, and many other topics. It takes patience and digging, but it’s often possible to find what I’m looking for without leaving home.

And of course there is the Internet for research. The information isn’t always accurate, but it can provide a starting point for further exploration. I especially like to use Google Maps and “walk” around an area to get a feel for the streets. I also like finding old maps, drawings, and diagrams.

Here are some interesting things I ran across while researching for my newest book One Rogue Too Many:

I learned that innocent young misses often sang bawdy songs at musicales while affecting a Scottish accent.

I searched online for ancient erotic art for a scene where Gabby stumbles across a gentleman’s private art collection during a gallery showing for select members of Society. And I blushed. A lot!

I also researched art galleries in the early 1800s and that’s how I found out collections were privately owned rather than displayed in a public forum.

I looked up information on Gunter’s and learned what flavor ices were served and that it was the only place a courting couple could go without a chaperone.

When researching travel on the Great North Road, I ran across a story about a highwayman nicknamed Swift Nick (John Nevison). The story goes in 1676 Nevison committed a crime early in the morning in Rochester, Kent then rode his horse hell-for-leather to York (200 miles away). He arrived at sunset, made sure he met the Lord Mayor, and created an alibi. It worked too. When he was arrested for the robbery in Kent, he produced the Lord Mayor and was acquitted. Hmm… Maybe I can use that some day.

Lastly, I love looking at photos or old drawings for inspiration and information. If you would like to see some of the photos that inspired me during the writing of One Rogue Too Many, you can view the storyboard on Pinterest.

What time-period or culture do you find fascinating? (Vikings, Romans, Ancient Egyptians, Regency England, Medieval, WWI or II…)

I’d like to thank From the TBR Pile for having me here today, and I look forward to chatting with everyone.

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Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was
just a young girl, thanks to Disney’s “Robin Hood”. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn’t want the warm fuzzies to end. Now that Samantha is grown, she enjoys creating her own happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publisher’s Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.      

Part-time hospice social worker, moonlighting author, and Pilates nut, she enjoys a happy and hectic life with her real life hero and two kids in the Midwest. 

To Connect with Samantha, you can find her at: