The Herd Archives

Friday, March 30, 2012

Deliver Me From Darkness (Paladin Warriors #1) by Tes Hilaire


He had once been a warrior of the Light, one of the revered Paladin. A protector. But now he lives in darkness, and the shadows are his sanctuary. Every day is a struggle to overcome the bloodlust. Especially the day Karissa shows up at his doorstep.


She is light and bright and everything beautiful—despite her scratches and torn clothes. Every creature of the night is after her. So is every male Paladin. Because Karissa is the last female of their kind. But she is his. He may not have a soul, but he can't deny his heart.

Type: Paranormal Romance, Paladin, Vampires
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

Deliver Me From Darkness is the first book of debut author Tes Hilaire's Paladin Warriors series.  And what a great start! Characters that may not be perfect but that you can be proud of. That have honor and strength. A tale of good versus evil and how the lines aren't always so clear cut. Surprising twists and a fantastic ending that had me biting my lip and my hands sweating I was so nervous one of the characters I'd grown to love might not make it. Writing that's easy and comfortable. Ahhh and a hero named Roland! I don't know why it gets me but I just love it! It's like Jo Davis' hero named Howard. Always cracks me up and Lord help me makes me giggle. But the Howards and Rolands of the world need love too, right? Well, I loved Roland from page one.  I enjoyed Karissa and Roland as individuals and a couple. The whole start to the book when his well organized and simple life is getting thrown all to bits with the arrival of an unconscious Karissa kept a smile on my face. She really did a number on him, poor guy never had a chance. Roland's a little growly and grumbly. Struggling with his inner demons and being a fallen Paladin. It broke my heart that he couldn't see all the good in himself. Karissa's got a good bit of sass in her. She doesn't just lie down and take it but fights back with everything she has when she thinks she's in danger. I liked the back and forth between the two of them from the start and enjoyed how their relationship and bond progressed through the story. It never seemed rushed or forced and just felt right. 

The secondary characters were very nicely done as well and left me excited for the books to come. I can't wait to read about Logan, Alexander, Valin and Gabriella. Each of them a little more than what was expected of them. Men and women that decided to make their own decisions and do what they thought was right even if it went against the rules and would likely cause them trouble. And how could you not love a vegan vampire? Yes, I'm just a little smitten with Gabriella and I hope we see more of her. I was jumping online as soon as I finished Deliver Me From Darkness to see who book two was about. Crossing my fingers and going "please be about Alexander, come on Alexander!". Even though he didn't have a huge role I just loved him. I'm looking forward to reading more from Hilaire and really hope Alex gets his own book one day.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Follow Friday- one book or two?

Q: Do you read one book at a time or do you switch back and forth between two or more?

A: I've tried reading more than one at a time but nope. Not for me. Once I get into a story I can't put it down long enough to pick up another book and get involved with that one. I know some people who can read 4 or 5 at a time. Would drive me nuts! I do read really fast though and can get through 4-6 books per week so that probably has a bit to do with only reading one at a time too.

Tonight I'm reading Deliver Me From Darkness by Tes Hilaire and loving it so far. 

So what about yall? One at a time or do you have a whole herd of books going at the same time?

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1) by Kelly Armstrong

Elena Michaels seems like the typically strong and sexy modern woman, She lives with her architect boyfriend, writes for a popular newspaper, and works out at the gym. She's also a werewolf.

Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must recon with who, and what, she is in this passionate, page-turning novel.

Type: Urban Fantasy, Shifters (Werewolves)
Heat: 2 out of 5
Rating: 3 out of 5

A couple weeks ago I saw a blog reading challenge for the Women of the Otherworld series and decided to give it a go. This was my second attempt reading Bitten and this time the book flew by and I really got into the story. Not only is a Rogue werewolf putting the Pack in danger by leaving a trail of dead bodies but the Pack itself is being attacked and has to come together to eliminate the threat. There are some truly sad and tragic moments in the story that had my heart breaking for Elena and men. I honestly did not see them coming and had little "oh no"s slipping past my lips. Knowing who was behind the threat didn't lessen the excitement of the chase. I liked the hunt and how the Pack had to fight to protect themselves. They've been safe for so long and suddenly everything is in chaos. Kelley did a great job of making you feel both the frustration and frantic-ness of the situation. The villains were pretty awful individuals and I was so ready for them to get what was coming to them!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday....embarrassment thy name is Utah.

Hot Reads! March!

Do you ever read books that get you a little hot and steamy?  If you do, join in Hot Reads and share some of your favorite sexy reads and find some new ones!

Hot Reads is a Monthly Meme, hosted by Book Savvy Babe and Alive on the Shelves, where we get to share our hottest read of the month!  Your choice can be any book, it doesn’t matter the genre, the length, whether it’s new or old.  If you read it during the month, and it raised your temperature, it qualifies to be a HOT READ!  To make things as simple as possible, Hot Reads will take place the 28th day of the month.  So every month, be ready to share your HOT READ pick!

IMPORTANT: Due to content, this meme is open to participants 18 and older ONLY!

Ooooh. I read way too many HOT Reads this month! So I'm going with two for March. 

A little cover love with Hot for the Holidays because, well, damn I've never been jealous of a candy cane before and now I am. It's also a pretty decent anthology and I found two new authors I really enjoyed even if no candy canes actually showed up in stories. 


Whispers in the Dark by Maya Banks because I love me some Kelly brothers! Lord those men are delicious! Brave, kickass determined men who are fierce but know how to pamper and cherish a woman? Yes, please! The non-Kelly boys are pretty damn good too. Love the series and loved Nathan Kelly. Mmmhmm.

So what were your hot reads this month??

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville #1) by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station - and a werewolf in the closet. Her new late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged is a raging success, but it's Kitty who can use some help. With one sexy werewolf-hunter and a few homicidal undead on her tail, Kitty may have bitten off more than she can chew?

Type: Urban Fantasy, Vampires/Shifters (Werewolves)
Heat: 1 out of 5
Rating: 2 out of 5

Have you ever had one of those days where your head thunks onto your desk and you just can't seem to move and do anything about it because, well, it's just been one of those days? Kitty and The Midnight Hour...pretty much the same result. This was my first time reading Vaughn and the first 100 pages were rough going and reminded me of a very lackluster paranormal version of the television show Frasier. All I kept thinking was why on earth did anyone recommend this series to me?!? Thankfully things pick up the second half of the book and while I didn't love the story all that much more at least there was more action to keep me interested and not bored to the point of tears.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Never Again (Wizards of Nevermore #1) by Michele Bardsley

Welcome to Nevermore, Texas, population 503, where witches and wizards live side by side with humans. Lucinda Rackmore never would have been caught dead in a town like Nevermore. Of course, that was before the "great reckoning" drained the family finances and her former lover, ruthless master wizard Bernard Franco, snuffed out Lucy's magical abilities.

But can Lucy really expect protection from the Guardian of Nevermore, her ex-brother-in-law, Gray Calhoun? Gray wants nothing to do with her--and Lucy can't blame him. Not after her sister sacrificed him to a demon lord. Still, with everyone in town looking to settle a score with the Rackmores and Bernard bend on dragging Lucy back into his clutches, Gray might be her only hope for survival...

Type: Paranormal Romance, Wizards
Heat: 2.5 out of 5
Rating: 3 out of 5

A while back I read Michele Bardsley's Broken Heart Vampires and figured this would be a similar light, cheeky series. Yeah, whew, not so much. Never Again was a much more serious, gritty read about a small Texas town that's falling apart right along with their absentee Guardian, Gray Calhoun. Be prepared for a good information overload. There's a LOT of the "Billy Joe's wife's sister used to run the feed shop and her brother used to date Sally who's kid is living out in California and that's why the bookstore is closed now" eye crossing kind of information. Very small town gossipy stuff where you don't really know anyone involved or care all that much. Yesh.  But it did get across the way small towns feel with everyone knowing everything about everyone. Since it was the first book in the series there's also a good bit of background information right at the start on how the world of witches and wizards was organized that had my head spinning. But once you get past these little bits it's easy to get lost in the world and enjoy the story. You just have to stick it out for a little while.

Gray and Lucy Rackmore are quite the pair of tortured souls. What they've gone through just grips your heart. They'd both been hurt badly by others and deserve so much better. I may hate the name but I loved Lucy. This is a woman who has been beaten down and is desperate. She's lost everything, no one will help her or is even kind to her. and she's still a kind woman and will risk her life to try and save another. She's a wonderful heroine and I just wanted to reach in and hug her. Gray was a little rough at the start and pretty much an ass turning his back on Lucy just like everyone else. He's been selfish and a recluse for years as his town falls apart and evil tries to take over. He had a great come to Jesus kinda moment after turning Lucy away and finally snaps out of it and starts trying to put everything to right again. He's pretty great once he stops wallowing and a hero you can look up to. I loved getting to watch Gray and Lucy start to heal and their relationship grow from one of need/convenience to something real.

One of the things I thought was fantastic was the villain and figuring out who they were. I love not being able to figure it all out until the very end and Bardsley did a fantastic job of keeping me guessing. I'd be certain I knew who it was one moment and the next I couldn't see them as the villain at all. Loved it! While Never Again wasn't at all what I was expecting I thoroughly enjoyed the read and wish I already had book 2 on hand.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blue Moon (Nightcreature #1) by Lori Handeland

Miniwa, Wisconsin is under siege, but not by the usual summer tourists. The area's normally shy wolf population has begun stalking human prey, and their victims have been disappearing...or worse. Something is happening in the woods. Something brutal and primitive...

Officer Jessie McQuade has seen plenty in her years on the force—but nothing as intriguing as the gorgeous, naked man she encounters while tracking a rogue wolf. Professor Will Cadotte is a Native American activist. He's also the only man capable of distracting Jessie from her work. And for a cop, distraction—no matter how pleasurable—can be deadly. It's against Jessie's better judgment to accept Will's help in her investigation, yet she soon finds herself doing exactly that—and more. Will's dark, penetrating eyes see into a part of Jessie's soul she never knew existed. It's exhilarating...and terrifying.

Now, as a town's deepest secrets come to light, no one is safe: not friends, lovers, or strangers. And as Jessie follows a bloody trail to the shocking truth, she'll have to decide who she can trust when the moon is full...

Type: Paranormal Romance, Shifters 
Rating: 4 out of 5

Ooooh I liked this one! This was my first time reading Handeland outside of an anthology and I thought it was fantastic! Even being the first book in the series it was easy to get involved in the world she creates and not feel too overwhelmed. I'm always impressed when an author is able to do that and make it seem easy. From the start you know something is amiss in this little town but just not enough to know what exactly, or rather who, is behind it all. Handeland did an amazing job throwing suspicion around and kept you guessing about everyone. So many characters were just a little shady or did random things that were off and made you question their motives. I loved not quite knowing who you could or couldn't trust and that I didn't have every single thing figured out before it happened. I've read a lot of werewolf series but Handeland's take on their creation was a new one for me. I did like that this wasn't your typical "werewolves are hot!" type of book and they had a bit of an ick factor to them.

The heroine and hero were a little different. I liked that they weren't typical and perfect. William actually wore glasses which is something you hardly ever see. He's a drop dead gorgeous professor that gets lost in his thoughts now and again. The whole absentee professor thing was kinda cute. There were a couple really creepy WTF moments with Will when he would just randomly show up places or do a little b&e/stalking that would have totally freaked. me. out. And usually when he just showed up he'd be completely naked. Not that I'm complaining about that but, kinda odd, right? I kept expecting a good explanation for his anti-clothes stance but there wasn't really any reason other than the boy just liked hanging all out there. Ooookay. Jessie is a plain tomboy and a determined cop. She has a very difficult time trusting people because of her family and past. I felt so bad for her during the book when her trust was being tested again and again while she was figuring out what was happening in her town. One thing I did find interesting was that William and Jessie were both insecure about themselves and falling in love. Jessie not finding herself girly and pretty enough for someone like Will and his fear that no one would be with him for anything other than his looks. I did wish we had gotten a little more about how they handled the big reveal at the end of the book. Maybe we'll get a little more of them in the rest of the series. I hope so because I really liked both of them.

Do you have a favorite werewolf series? Do you like your wolves to be the hero or villain of the tale?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Follow Friday! Longest Reads?

Q: What is the longest book you’ve read? What are your favorite 600+ page reads?

A: You know, I didn't think I'd read any 600+ page books but Goodreads begs to differ. Actually read 7. Huh! Most of those weren't all that great unfortunately. 

The only one I would say was really excellent would be Sherrilyn Kenyon's Acheron (722). It was such a sad book and explained so much about one of my favorite characters. I think Acheron was the first character I actually hurt for when I was reading their story and one of the most tortured heroes. Kenyon did an amazing job and definitely did him justice. Being the 15th book in the series and very anticipated by fans I thought she pulled it off with flying colors.

the others from favorite to least...

Stray (618) by Rachel Vincent
Narcissus in Chains (644) by Laurell K Hamilton
Incubus Dreams (752) by Laurell K Hamilton
Lover Mine (656) by JR Ward
Eclipse (629) by Stephanie Meyer
Breaking Dawn (768) by Stephanie Meyer

So what about yall? What's the longest book you've read?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday...Studebaker bits

Hexbound (Dark Elite #2) by Chloe Neill

They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago’s nastiest nightlife—including the tainted magic users known as Reapers. 

Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…

Type: Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires/Witches/Shifters
Heat: 1.5 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

Lily and Scout continue to be awesomely sarcastic and are wonderful girls who both did a bit of growing up in this book. They fit so well together and play off of each other nicely. I liked getting to see each of them learning more about their magical talents and getting better control over what they could do with them. The girls have some kickass, impressive powers. It was also nice to see Lily getting to show her creative side with both art studio and helping to plan the school dance. That life wasn't completely dominated by the paranormal and see was getting to do something she loved and that also very much a part of her. One of my favorite parts was the girls and their respective boys. I love getting to see them all interacting and kinda, sorta starting relationships. That first crush/like/love is so sweet to watch. Lily and Jason finally have their first date. The two of them are so cute together and I really enjoy their banter and how they interact. His being a werewolf though does pose a problem or two that we hear about towards the end of the book in a rather awkward way and that I'm not really loving. I'll still be rooting for them since they provide so many aw moments and a good laugh now and then. 
"Lils, you've barely even planned Sneak yet. Give it time. He'll get there." 
"He did ask me out on Saturday." 
"OMG, you two are totally getting married and having a litter of babies. Ooh, what if that's literally true?"

Firespell (Dark Elite #1) by Chloe Neill

Lily's parents have sent her to a fancy boarding school in Chicago filled with the ultra-rich. If that wasn't bad enough, she's hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophie's creepy campus. Her roommate, Scout, keeps her sane, but keeps disappearing at night. When one day Lily finds Scout running from real-life monsters, she learns the hard way that Scout is involved in a splinter group of rebel teens.

They protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and dark magic users. It's too bad Lily doesn't have powers of her own to help. At least, none that she's discovered yet...

Type: Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires/Witches/Shifters
Heat: 1 out of 5
Rating: 5 out of 5

Firespell is a nice mix of both the real world with the mundane life of a girls boarding school complete with the snotty brat pack, required study hall, crush worthy boys and life as a teen and the paranormal. The secret world of magic and those that are part of it. I loved this element and thought it was a great twist on the world of magic and what makes someone pick evil over the good side. It wasn't hard to adapt to the new world Neill created mainly because we were on that journey with Lily Parker who is new to magic and just finding out about the paranormal herself. It wasn't overwhelming which I thought was rather impressive for the first book in a series when they tend to get bogged down with world building and setting up future storylines. I really loved the sarcastic, dry humor throughout the book that kept things a little light-hearted even when they were getting a little dangerous or tense.
“Who are they?” I whispered, as we took seats opposite each other.  
Scout glanced up as she pulled notebooks and books from her bag. “The dragon ladies. They monitor lights-out, watch us while we study, and generally make sure that nothing fun occurs on their watch.”  
“Awesome,” I said, flipping open my trig book. “I’m a fun hater myself.” 
Lily Parker and Scout Green are a cute pair of girls and ones that I would have loved to know when I was their age. They're sharp, love thrift stores and funky clothes/items, protective about those they care about and the innocent in general and they're curious about the things happening around them. I liked things about each girl and their personalities. Lily is a vegetarian (me too! you don't see too many vegetarian heroines so I loved that) and lets her curiosity get the better of her more often than not. She's also fiercely loyal and doesn't back down when something is important and someone she cares about is at risk. And Scout, well Scout is just wonderful. She's a tough, kickass girl but you can see the hurt she keeps deep down over the parents who couldn't accept her abilities. I love all her collections of random things in her room and that she isn't afraid to be herself even if that gets her labeled a "wirdo". Both girls have basically been abandoned at St Sophia's School for Girls by their parents. The story takes place right after Lily has arrived and is adjusting to her new life. I liked that while they may have had a moment or two where they weren't thrilled about being there they weren't whiny about it and didn't wallow.

I love, Love, LOVED Chloe Neill's first jump into YA novels, Firespell. Her adult series, the Chicagoland Vampires, is one of my favorites and I was a little hesitant about trying her young adult efforts but I really shouldn't have worried. Neill made the jump with flying colors, creating an interesting new world and characters that I'm already falling for and care about. It's the perfect mix of adventure and danger, sarcastic humor, life during high school complete with "mean girls", hints of sweet little romances for each of the girls and characters doing their part to better the world. Plus a little mystery concerning Lily's parents and why they really sent her to St. Sophia's. I can't wait to start book two, Hexbound, and see what's in store for Lily and Scout!  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Really Unusual Bad Boys by MaryJanice Davidson

Type: Paranormal Romance, Shifters
Heat: 2 out of 5
Rating: 2 out of 5

Aaaaaaand...short stories from hell. I think, maybe, I've outgrown MaryJanice Davidson or at the very least just do not enjoy her short stories. I used to LOVE her books. Especially her Alaskan Royal Family series. I'd be in tears laughing so hard. But the humor, for me, just isn't working anymore and that point was driven home by Really Unusual Bad Boys.

The three stories included revolve around the Royal family of the SandLands, an alternative universe full of kitty shifters. Each story features one of the Royal Sons finding their mates. The adults, for the most part, act like overgrown kids on a serious sugar high. The big "events" in each aren't all that exciting and overall I just didn't see a point in any of the stories. They were just kinda eh. The women are rather bitchy and hostile, the men big pushovers.


Well this one did not get the anthology off to a good start. Lois Commoner is a jaded cop who has been put on desk duty after being injured. She's lonely after her parents deaths, in pain from her injury and unhappy with her life  so decides to end it. Thus landing herself in SandLands and in the hands of Prince Damon, a puma shifter, who decides to keep her. Other than a few semi-funny lines we get a story of how suicide leads to oodles of fantastic sex, odd foods that all taste like candy and sweets, no pain, luxury accommodations and oh, hey, your mom that died has been living here too! Woohoo!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Follow Friday....the best and the worst!

Q: What is the best book you've read in the last month? What is the worst book you've read in the last month?

Best book of the month? Well, I've loved nearly everything I read this last month. Yay good books! But I think the best was Just a Hint--Clint by Lori Foster.  It was a sweet book and very funny and I just loved Clint and Julie. Clint is a complete badass and was hired to rescue Julie who had been kidnapped. One of my favorite parts was right after she was rescued. She's holding it together until she takes a shower and tries to braid her hair like usual. But her hands are shaking so badly she can't get it right and it triggers her breakdown. Clint finds her on the bathroom floor in tears and right away sits down on the floor with her, wraps himself around her and when she finally explains what's wrong he pulls her close and starts braiding her hair for her. So this big, tough man sits there and tries his damnedest to braid her hair while getting her to talk about what she went through. The braid ended up all crooked and a mess. I don't know, it just got me and won me over for the rest of the book. Another thing I loved was that they weren't your typical beautiful, gorgeous, flawless hero and heroine. Yes, they're both in shape but she's really rather plain (something that's been pointed out in the other books in the series) and he's led a hard life that shows on his face.  I loved that they could see the beauty in the other even if others didn't see it. It was just a really great book and I loved pretty much everything about it. 

Worst book? Was definitely Montana Fire by Lisa Jackson. This was two shorter stories in one book and the first really, really didn't work for me. The hero was incredibly unlikable,the story just eh and the angst between the couple way overdone. They hated each other, then loved each other, then went back to hating each other so many times it was exhausting. It was just unpleasant and the sappy lets get married and have babies ending had me rolling my eyes. Not at all a believable story. The second story was a little better but didn't manage to save the overall book. This wasn't a book I would normally pick out. It was part of a "mystery" order and then ended up being read because it was picked as my "Random Read" for February. ::shudder:: Yeah. It was just unfortunate.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers #2) by Rachel Vincent

When Kaylee Cavanaugh screams, someone dies.

So when teen pop star Eden croaks onstage and Kaylee doesn’t wail, she knows something is dead wrong. She can’t cry for someone who has no soul.

The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad’s ironclad curfew and putting her too-hot-to-be-real boyfriend’s loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls: a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld—a consequence they can’t possibly understand.

Kaylee can’t let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk...

Type: Young Adult, Bean Sidhe, Ghosts
Heat: 1 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

Bean Sidhe, Reapers, hellions,soulless pop stars, trips to the Netherworld, a little family drama. My Soul to Save was definitely NOT boring! I couldn't put this book down and just flew through it! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Girly Crafty Project 2! Creating an herb garden!

Since we seem to have left winter behind here I decided to get started on some plantings and getting my deck all nice and pretty again for Spring. 

This year I really wanted to do an herb garden but was having trouble finding the perfect spot. Instead of having them tucked in here or there in the deck railing boxes like I usually do I decided to pull out all of my mint, chives, lavender, rosemary and oregano and get a little creative with them and make an herb tree of sorts. 

Total cost was around $20 for the aluminum cans and heavy duty wire used to attach them. Only $1 of that was wasted on something I'll never eat. Everything else went into making a nice soup. Already had the spray paint from a past project, the pot and the trellis sitting around. LOVE LOVE LOVE getting to recycle old things and items you'd usually just toss out and create something fun and new! And a little funky too!

It took less than 2 hours with drying time included. Not bad! It was an easy project although attaching the cans took a bit of effort to figure out how to make sure they were secured and wouldn't fall or tip over. I can't wait for all of the seeds to start growing and the other plants to really take root. So far there are chives, 2 strawberries, lavender, oregano, thyme, a tomato plant in the very center, 2 types of basil, rosemary, orange mint and a leek. 

Have you ever done an herb garden?? If so how'd you do yours? I've seen some really neat ones over the years!

Feelin Lucky Hop Winner and more!

And we have a winner! 

Congrats to Valentina who is getting the first book from JD Robb's In Death series!

Thanks everyone for coming by our blog. Loved all of your favorite Irish heroes and heroines. Will have to check some of them out! 

If you didn't win this time there will be a handful of giveaways coming up in the next month so be sure to stick around!

The first set of "Take My Books" books have all found their new homes too! I'll have some others posted in the next week or so. Hope yall enjoy the new reads!

Some Fun News!

We got some pretty swag in the mail yesterday to share with yall from Cherry Adair and Lara Adrian!! Two fabulous ladies! If you'd like a little swag to head your way drop us an email with your name and address to

How to Woo a Reluctant Lady (Hellions of Halstead #3) by Sabrina Jeffries

When a charming rogue proposes she marry him to meet her grandmother's ultimatum, the Sharpe clan's strong-willed sister makes a tempting counter-offer that preserves her inheritance and ignites his imagination.

Lady Minerva Sharpe has the perfect plan to thwart her grandmother's demands: become engaged to a rogue! Surely Gran would rather release her inheritance than see her wed a scoundrel. And who better to play the part of Minerva's would-be husband than wild barrister Giles Masters, the very inspiration for the handsome spy in the popular Gothic novels she writes? The memory of his passionate kiss on her nineteenth birthday has lingered in Minerva's imagination, though she has no intention of really falling for such a rakehell, much less marrying him. Little does she know, he really is a covert government operative. When they team up to investigate the mystery behind her parents' deaths, their fake betrothal leads to red-hot desire. Then Minerva discovers Giles's secret double life, and he must use all the cunning tricks of his trade to find his way back into her heart.

Type: Historical Romance, England
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

You'd think by now these kids would realize they just aren't going to be able to outsmart or outmaneuver their Gran when it comes to her "marry or lose your inheritance" ultimatum. Thank goodness they don't because their attempts are hilarious. Lady Minerva, who writes those scandalous horrid novels, tops them all with her scheme to get back at Gran. What does she do? She puts an ad out in a ladies magazine for a husband. Getting her readers to send over any eligible men for an interview and expecting Gran to back down because of the inappropriate suitors that would show up! Love it! When Giles Masters, the man she's loved and hated since she was a child, shows up to win her she decides he's perfect for the role of "fake fiance" since he's a hellion in his own right and would never be considered appropriate husband material by Gran.

Giles and Minerva were each delightful in their own ways. It took me all of 3 pages to fall for Giles when we get a little flash back to him comforting a scared 9 year old Minerva at her parents' funeral. Aws! One of the things I loved about Giles was that he took Minerva seriously, cared about who she was and didn't try to force her to change into someone she wasn't. He knew her writing was important to her and supported her when most men would have demanded she quit. All he wanted was for her to stop using him as her villain. His wedding gift to her had me getting a little misty eyed it was so thoughtful and perfect. He wasn't without his faults. The double life he lived forcing him to keep secrets and have a hard time trusting others was frustrating even if understandable. That he thought he could get something over on Minerva, though, was pretty laughable considering her intelligence and how quickly she put things together. She knew when things were amiss and was bold enough to ask questions. Her curiosity added some humorous and priceless moments. Especially when got the better of her and she decided to sneak a peek at Giles' goods while he was asleep. She's just too cute and I quickly found myself adoring her and her excitement over new adventures and opportunities like learning to swim or getting to see an actual court case.

A Hellion in Her Bed (Hellions of Halstead Hall #2) by Sabrina Jeffries

Furious at his grandmother’s ultimatum to marry or lose his inheritance, Lord Jarret Sharpe wagers his luck—and his heart—at the card table against a most unlikely opponent. Mired in scandal after his parents’ mysterious deaths, notorious gambler Lord Jarret Sharpe agrees to tamely run the family brewery for a year if his Machiavellian grandmother rescinds her ultimatum that he marry. But the gambler in him can’t resist when beguiling 

Annabel Lake proposes a wager. If she wins their card game, he must help save her family’s foundering brewery. But if he wins, she must spend a night in his bed. The outcome sets off a chain of events that threatens to destroy all his plans . . . and unveils the secret Annabel has held for so long. When Jarret discovers the darker reason behind her wager, he forces her into another one—and this time he intends to win not just her body, but her heart.

Type: Historical Romance, England
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 5 out of 5

Alright, I've been completely won over. Books 3, 4 and 5 have already been purchased. I love this family. I really enjoyed A Hellion in Her Bed and am glad I kept going with the series even though this one had some less than encouraging reviews. There wasn't all that much in the way of the plot. Annabel is fighting to save her family's brewery and has to convince Jarret, no matter what it takes, that it would be beneficial to his brewery if they joined forces and worked together. It all comes down to a card game that the gambler in Jarret just can't resist. If she wins he'll help her family. If he wins he gets her. Not all that complex or exciting, right? Well, maybe a little bit exciting. I didn't mind the lack of plot all that much because the character interactions more than made up for it and kept things interesting. Lord Jarret and Annabel were a fun couple. I loved their wit and played how they played off of each other from the very beginning. 
He gaped at her. "But that would make you--" 
"Nearly thirty, yes. I'm afraid I'm rather long in the tooth." 
He snorted. "You're annoying as the very devil, and one of the mouthiest damned females I've ever met, but not remotely long in the tooth."

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Truth about Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall #1) by Sabrina Jeffries


They're the scandalous Sharpes, five hell-raising siblings tainted by a shocking family legacy. Now each faces a daunting ultimatum: marry by year's end -- or kiss their inheritance good-bye.

In the two decades since a tragic "accident" took the lives of his parents, Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, has survived the scandal surrounding that fateful night by living as an unrepentant rakehell. And with his grandmother vowing to disinherit him if he doesn't settle down and wed, he plans to fulfill the bargain in true Sharpe style -- by bringing home a fake fiancée from a brothel! But his scheme is derailed when he rescues an American beauty in a dire predicament instead. Maria Butterfield came to London to track down her groom-to-be, who's gone missing, but her engagement won't stop Oliver from getting what he wants: her, in his bed. His rebellious masquerade may call his grandmother's bluff , but it's soon made all too real -- by a love that tempts him to be a hellion no more.

Type: Historical Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 3 out of 5

This family. Lord love em and all of their meddling.The main theme for the series is that Gran has decided it's time for her grandchildren to grow up and find mates. She's had enough with the gambling, racing, spending time tupping in brothels, and writing horrid novels. And let me just throw it in here...the thing I'm NOT loving about historicals. The kinda slutty heroes who hang out in brothels. Ew. Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew. ::shudder:: ew. Okay. Got that out of my system. But really? In that day and age? I'm sorry but just icks. me. out.  Anyways...moving on...They've got a year to marry and if they don't they're going to be cut out of her will. No ifs ands or buts. And these 5 are determined to find a way out! Que some serious scheming! Gran trying to push them each along, Oliver trying to call her bluff bringing home a woman home to marry (and an American one at that!) that he let everyone think was a whore he picked up at the brothel, the siblings trying to make Oliver jealous and possessive over Maria once they all decided he really needed to marry her and that if he marries Gran will let the rest of them off the hook. Poor Oliver never had a chance. Throw in the search for Maria's real fiance in exchange for playing Oliver's fake fiance and you've got a lot of entertaining drama. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recipes: Fried Plantains

I was looking for something quick and easy to make this week and for some reason plantains popped into my head. We had friends when I was growing up that would make them all the time but it's been probably 15 years or so since I've had them. 

They're very easy to make. I decided to just go from memory and what my mom could recall instead of using a recipe. A few I looked at tried to make things so complicated with soaking the plantains in solutions and such. So I set out on my own. 

The hardest part of making these?? Peeling the suckers. Geez! There has got to be an easier way! It was kind of like trying to peel a hard boiled egg that just doesn't want to cooperate. Having to chip a little away at a time. 

After you get past the peeling things moved right along. I chopped the plantains into 1/2"ish  chunks then dropped them into a pan of vegetable oil that was heating. That seemed to work best instead of waiting until the oil was actually hot. Once they start to turn color I removed them placed them between layers of paper towel. Growing up I think our friends used paper grocery bags for this part and the smashing fun but I was paper bag-less. 

After laying the slightly cooked plantains out you get to smash them. Love this part. A nice little pop with the heel of your hand. Then back into the now hot oil to cook until browned and crispy. Then a little salt. 

These turned out quite tasty. In less than 5 minutes you have a nice little snack. I had mine either plain or with ketchup. There are dipping sauces you can make for it but I love ketchup and it works for me. 

Have you ever made fried Plantains? Any luck peeling the suckers??

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Follow Friday!

Q: Have you ever looked at book's cover and thought, This is going to horrible? But, was instead pleasantly surprised? Show us the cover and tell us about the book.

A: Oh, more than once. Pretty much every single one of Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson books. They're just awful and I nearly didn't pick up the series because of them. But it's an absolutely fantastic series and one of my favorites. I can't believe I nearly missed out on them! Oh and the thing that gets me most... Mercy only has the belly tattoo. All the rest of them? Not so much. Drives me nuts when the covers don't match the characters! Grr.

Moon Called (Mercedes Thompson, #1) Blood Bound (Mercedes Thompson, #2) Iron Kissed (Mercedes Thompson, #3) Bone Crossed (Mercedes Thompson, #4) Silver Borne (Mercedes Thompson, #5)

Oh, so having to add another one. Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress World series. The guys are just so, so, so creepy! ::shudder:: Definitely don't do the characters justice!

First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World, #1) Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World, #2)

I'm sure there have been others but just can't get past these to even think about it :) 

What do yall think? 

Oh! While yall are here. There are a couple giveaways going on right now. Links are over on the left side. Feel free to check em out and play along!