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Reading Romances January Challenge

December 30, 2011

What is this post about?! What is this event? HOW CAN I JOIN? Click here and find out!

Welcome to our first challenge of the year, yay! We’ll start slow and simple, things will get more exciting on the next few months, don’t worry. You can post or link your reading list by leaving a comment, and in case you have any questions I’ll be back by the end of the week (vacation time!), so don’t feel like I’ve abandoned the blog, I’ll be back soon <3

P.S: Giveaways for the challenge will NOT be posted with the jan challenge post, you’ll have to keep an eye on the blog for your special giveaways! ; )

This month you can choose between the following options:

- Read a book that is first of a series, by an author that is “new” to you or a debut novel by an author.

OR

- Read a romance that has a teen as the protagonist.

OR

- Read an Erotic Romance or Erotica.

And let me know which topic(s) you’ll choose!

Add your reviews here: 

Just in case you are curious, I’m accepting 2 topics this month! Stay tunned cause I’ll review them at the blog!

72 Comments - Categories: readingchallenge2012

Giveaway Winners

December 28, 2011

Jealous and Freakn’ by Eve Langlais

And the winner is…CECILE!

All the Pleasures of the Season

And the winner is…AMANDA MEDINA

Mid winter’s eve giveaway: A copy of CHRISTMAS MEMORIES by Karyn Gerrard

And the winner is…CATHERINE!

(********lee100@…..)

You’ll all be contacted via email! Thank you for participating and CONGRATS! Wohooo!

5 Comments - Categories: Giveaway, New

Guest Post: He Thinks Her Tractor’s Sexy by Wendi Zwaduk

He Thinks Her Tractor’s Sexy

by Wendi Zwaduk

I want to first thank Reading Romances for letting me guest today. I love the blog and was so excited when the offer came to guest. You ladies rock!

Now reading this far, you might be wondering about the title. Isn’t that line… yeah, it’s she and then he. But in the case of my newest release, Somewhere I Belong, the title is apropos.

I grew up not on a farm, but darned close. My grandparents farmed and my dad spent all his time when he wasn’t working the EDJ, at the farm. So I spent more than my share of time out there. I can’t drive a tractor, but I can work a riding mower pretty well. I’ve done time on the hay wagon. Forgotten to wear long pants when working said wagon. Yes, hay stalks and straw does hurt when you’re trying to stack it. I saw cattle being born. Helped take care of the critters that didn’t make it and just plain ran around on the farm.

A couple years ago my dad lost his job. He’d worked there for more than 15 years and was a dedicated employee. Unfortunately when the bubble burst, he was out. As a kid, I’d dealt with him being laid off and it wasn’t fun. I couldn’t imagine being over 50 and having to start all over again.

Sadly, his job predicament jumpstarted my idea for what became Somewhere I Belong. I wanted to write a story about a farmer. Now, that said, I can’t just say, well, I’d like to write a story about a farmer. The character, if there’s one in there, has to show up and start talking. Thankfully Sully showed up and did he talk? Holy cow. It helped quite a bit that I knew a thing or two about farming, so the setting was easier to deal with than it could’ve been.

Before I knew it, I had quite a story going. The only thing was I was the only one who thought it was quite a story. The Crit Partner thankfully saved me from some embarrassing writing. Honestly, there’s very few first drafts of stories that are fantastic. Really. Even if you’re the type who writes and sends it in, you’ll probably twiddle with the story. I’m glad I had the CP to tell me I needed to do more twiddling.

Marley was another challenge. I had the story pretty well written, but it didn’t feel right. She was too one dimensional. But being overly excited about the story, I sent if off rather than listen to her. I wish I’d listened to her. There was so much more to this girl on the tractor than just working on a farm. She had a life and dreams. She wanted things from life and had to deal with what life handed her. Some pretty deep stuff and I should’ve listened earlier. I’m glad I did finally let her really tell her story.

It seemed like it took forever to get to the steamy scenes. I wrote the entire story and then let the sex happen where it was natural. There’s nothing that’s more irritating than sex that feels like it’s in the book just to be there, not to emotionally engage the characters. When I got to the sex, part of it just wouldn’t gel so I had to let it sit a while. Not that there’s anything wrong with letting a sex scene simmer that long. And when the characters were left in the middle of sex, they didn’t complain much. I think they rather liked it.

But in time the story came together, the rough edges were worked out and what I ended up with I’m really proud of. And what does my dad think? I told him and he’s interested in reading it. I don’t know if he’ll approve. Most of my hot writing just embarrasses him in the ‘I can’t believe my daughter wrote that!?!?!’ sort of fashion.

Now I don’t know about you, but I love seeing a farm hand, especially one with six pack abs, all sweaty in the summer sun, taking a moment to get a drink. Especially if he’s got his shirt off. Hopefully, reading Somewhere I Belong is kinda like that for you. Tender but hot and great for a chilly evening.

Want to know a little more about the book? Here you go!

He never knew what he was missing until he came home to find his place to belong—with her.
Sullavan Tanner walked away from Jarvis, Ohio, afraid to give his heart to the woman he loved. He lived the rock and roll lifestyle, but never quite made it to the big time. Fifteen years later, he’s back and ready to claim what’s his—if she’ll accept his help.

Marley Lockwood’s done asking for help. The family farm is more than she can handle, but if she can survive a cancer scare, the loss of her parents, the abandonment by her first love, and a messy divorce, she can handle anything. 

Until Sully shows up. 

Although she’s not interested in rekindling the love affair, she’s not above accepting Sully’s hands on the farm. What’s the worst that could happen? They get the farm out of the red and into the black? That’s her plan. They actually fall in love? The past says it won’t work, so she’s not hedging her bets.

Too bad Sully’s not giving up this time.

Here’s a little bit about me:

I always dreamed of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line. I tend to write books with titles taken from songs because music is one of my many muses.
I earned a BA in education at Kent State university and as well as a Masters in Education from Nova Southeastern University. I’ve tried my hand at teaching, waitressing, and retail sales, but writing holds my heart.
I love NASCAR, romance, books in general, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, and my menagerie of animals. I books under contract with Total-E-Bound, Liquid Silver Books, and the Wild Rose Press. But then again, I’ve got more stories percolating than my brain can handle. I can’t wait to share them with you!

Here’s my links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

9 Comments - Categories: Guest Post, New

Guest Review: Blind Dates and Other Disasters

December 27, 2011

Blind Dates & Other Disasters

by Ally Blake , Fiona Harper & Barbara Hannay

Publisher:  Harlequin UK

Published Date:  02/01/2011

ISBN: 9781408935200

Summary:

Three easy ways to keep your love life clean and simple ..

…don’t get your friends to fix you up. Party planner Holly can’t find the perfect man – it’s time to turn to her friends to help her out. But after a string of horrific dates, will Jake Lincoln be the man for her?…don’t go on a blind date. Serena wishes she could ignore her unconventional upbringing and settle down with her dream man! So she’s heading out on a blind date. But her date is a man who lives by one rule: never get married!

…don’t try your hand at internet dating. Annie is stuck in the Outback without any men for miles. When she meets Damien on an internet chat group, she immediately heads to the city to meet him. Then Theo steps in to take Damien’s place.

My thoughts:The book contains three separate contemporary romance tales. I was hoping they would be intertwined with each other but each was a stand alone tale. From the blurbs, each sounded like they would be good reads, three stories about blind dates. Here’s my thoughts on each:


The first story The Wedding Wishby Ally Blake was slow from the start and I found it difficult to connect with the heroine, Holly. She found the perfect man, Jacob, but she did everything to avoid him, I just didn’t get it. It is evident that Jacob shared the same feelings but it was this cat and mouse game which went on longer than it should have. I would have liked to see some more courting or romance between the two characters. There were a few cute moments in the story.
The second story Blind-Date Marriage was written by Fiona Harper. This story was my least favorite of the three stories in this book. I found it hard to connect with this one. I didn’t care too much for some of the characters which made it hard to continue reading. It was more intense that I had thought, I was hoping for a light read and something quirky and cute.

The last story Blind Date Surprise is by Barbara Hanna. There were some things I really liked about this; I thought it was funny, quirky and cute, but it seemed a bit hurried along then I would have liked.

Overall: I loved the idea of romance book spun around the concept of “blind dates”, there was so much potential here for some wonderful, humorous romance stories, unfortunately it fell short for me. Which is too bad, this book could have been a lot better. I would have love to see it a three fun tales about blind dating with a humorous matchmaking twists. I think the readers may enjoy at least two out of three of the stories. If you want to read it, go to your library and check it out.


Review courtesy of netGalley

6 Comments - Categories: 2 stars, Guest Review, Rating, Reviews

Interview with Amanda Arista + Giveaway

December 26, 2011

Hello there! Thanks for having me here today at Reading Romances. I’m happy to share a little bit about me and my new book Claws and Effect with you today.

Who are your influences as a writer? What do you look for when deciding to read a book?
I am in love with Neil Gaiman. I think his American Gods is probably the best book this century and I will constantly strive to create a world as intricate as his. As far as romance, my first and always favorite is Jude Devereaux. I have always loved her quirky heroines and her happily ever afters.
            When I’m deciding to read a book (and I will admit that I don’t get to read as much as I want), I look for an interesting premise. I’m a sucker for good world-building and a loveable but realistic heroine. I’ve come across a few books lately where I don’t like the main character and it’s really hard for me to keep reading it. But if you’ve modernized a fairy tale to include cyborgs, I will probably give it a chance.

Are you coming to romance writing from another job? Please tell us about your road to publication.
I’m  a medical secretary by trade. I still type away at work from 9-5 and then come home, put on my writing cap, and type for another four hours. That’s after housework, hubby time, and puppy playing.  It’s made my road to publication a little slower than others. I started out with a class at a local community college in 2007, then found an amazing program at Southwestern Methodist University. During the coursework, I wrote, rewrote, edited and re-edited the first book, Diaries of an Urban Panther and was able to go to New York to meet with agents and editors who told me to re-edit it. I sent it in to Avon in December of 2010 and they accepted it in March 2011.

What kind of research was involved for Diaries of an Urban Panther?
I’m a bit of a homebody so I set it in Dallas because I thought it would require less research. Nope. It actually made me leave my house more. I got to know Dallas pretty well and the neighborhoods where I could see the main character Violet living.
            And then there was the fighting stuff. Good thing that my husband knows Jujitsu and Jeet Kun Do. I had to write a pretty detailed gun scene in the first one, so I went to a gun range and fire off a few rounds. It was nothing like I’d imagined and I think it really helped my writing. There’s another scene where Violet gets in a  down and dirty fight and I had my husband act it out with me so I would know what she would do and what it really felt like to get thrown onto your back and the wind knocked out of you.
            There’s a Tazer scene in my next book, but I don’t think I’m going to research that one too much.

What are five fun facts about Claws and Effect, that readers would love to know?
1.      I watched A LOT of wild animal attacks on You Tube to write some fight scenes.
2.      I cast my books like a movie, so if you want to see what I see, I’ve created a  Pinterest page.
3.      Café Brazil (the location that Violet and Jessa eat lunch) really does have 12 different types of coffee and I’ve had each and every one.
4.      There’s a scene at the end where I cried my eyes out every time I edited it.
5.      There are two characters in Claws and Effect that have their own epic story lines and hopefully will be coming to print or at least to my website.


Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
Possible Spoilers
In Claws and Effect, I really fell in love with Tucker Briggs, the reformed Labrador from the evil Haverty pack. He was one of the most formed characters when I saw him in my head and I loved that he started out the book without enough pride to even look Violet in the eyes and ends the book as one of her strongest companions. I love that he sacrificed everything for his family and becomes the confidence that Violet doesn’t have about her own abilities. He is the strong older brother that Violet needed and its probably why he’s my favorite in this book.

How do you like your heroes and heroines to be?
  I need a heroine that is relatable to my very mundane lifestyle. I can’t do the half vampire-half werewolf with a touch of fairy blood who kicks ass and takes names all day long. I’m not like that. I haven’t kicked ass a day in my life. Even though my brain lives in a world of non-humans, I need a little humanity in my characters.  I like heroines that are a little klutzy or need to organize their M&M’s by color before they eat them, something that I know a little bit about. I’m okay with a flawed heroine as long as it’s a flaw that makes sense: low self esteem, trouble trusting men.
            Like the next girl, I like my heros hunky, but they’ve got to have a heart under all that muscle. I love rakes, as long as there is a reason behind it. Guess I like my men with a heart of gold. Explains a lot about Chaz Garret, the romantic lead in the Urban Panther series.

Is there another sub-genre aside from your primary sub-genre that you would like to write for and why?
            I’d love to tackle a sci-fi novel with space travel and epic galactic battles. I have an equally strong Star Wars and Star Trek back ground. I think in Sci-Fi novels because the setting is so foreign, the writers are allowed to explore very intimate philosophies. Think of Battlestar Gallactica: the creators were able to explore some pretty existential topics about the nature of humanity but because it was set in space with no set laws, the topic could be really explored. And you can really blow stuff up in space.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
            I was told by an editor never to quit my day job. I was also told that the whole shapeshifter thing had been done.
            I love it when readers  tell me they stayed up all night reading it and had to get a triple latté the next morning to make it into work.

What’s the most surprising thing you learned in creating your books?
            I think I learned a lot about how I define family. I think it was best put by Nash that a pack will protest you from the world and from yourself. A pack will know when you are hurt and will comfort you and they will know when you need to be angry and give you space. The more I write about the pack, the more I see those traits in the people that I call family.

If you could be any paranormal creature. Which one would you be and why?
            I really like the fey in my series. Changing the way you look, jumping through mirrors, being able to see anyone in the world at any time. I could get into SO much trouble!

What makes a romance novel a great love story and how would you define “romance”?
            For me, a good love story means you know that the characters are meant to be together forever. They have supporting flaws and strengths and you can see them 10 years after their happily ever after. Where Violet needs to sometimes reign her temper in, Chaz is the calming force always by her side. When Chaz avoids dealing with problems, Violet is one to just get everything out in the open so it doesn’t fester.  Romance itself is the process of finding and developing those complimentary characteristics.
            In real life it is as simple as this. My husband and I both have massive sweet tooth’s. We both like Chewy Lemonheads. I like the red but hate the purples. My husband loves the purples but can’t stand the yellows. Together, we can eat the entire box in one movie flat. Jack Sprat and his wife knew how to keep the romance going.

Thank you guys again for having me here today and Don’t for get to comment to be entered to win a $25 gift card.

***

 Amanda was born in Illinois, raised in Corpus Christi, lives in Dallas but her heart lies in London. Good thing she loves to travel! The summer of second grade, she read every book in the young adult section of the library, so she started making up her own stories and hasn’t stopped.
She has a husband who fights crime, one dog who thinks he’s a real boy, and another who might be a fruit bat in disguise.  When not writing, Amanda often dreams of co-opening an evil bakery and sell despicable desserts. Her particularly favorites are larvaceous lemon bars and sinful cinnamon streusel.
She spends her weekends writing at coffee shops, practicing for the day that caffeine intake becomes an Olympic sport, and plotting character demises with fellow writers Wolvarez, Killer Cupcake and Keith (names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent).

You can also find her on Twitter: @pantherista

***

Claws and Effect: A Diaries of an Urban Panther Novel
by Amanda Arista

December 27th 2011 by Avon Impulse

Violet Jordan Rule #2 of being a superhero: Find reliable sidekicks

Dear Diary,

Once I took down Haverty, the Primo of the city, I thought life was going to get better. After four assassination attempts, I’m thinking not so much. Haverty’s pack needs a new leader and I’ve just about run out of reasons why I’m not right for the job. Besides, having loyal followers would definitely help me fight off whoever’s out for my blood. Especially since my boyfriend is always busy playing White Hat to every wanderer except me. It’s nice that he thinks I’m tough enough to handle my own business, but a little extra back up would be nice.

So now I just need to figure out how to mentor new shifters, run a pack, keep my “real” job, and have some sort of personal life. I guess it’s all in a day’s work for this horror movie writer-turned-shapeshifting panther.

Amazon

***

Ends Jan 6th

Amanda will be giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter (no need to leave your email)! Follow the tour and comment; the more you do, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here

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40 Comments - Categories: Giveaway, Interviews