Monthly Archives: December 2010

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- December 29th, 2010

Last night I was interviewed on Canned Laughter and Coffee, hosted by Renee Bernard.  It’s a podcast done live on Tuesday nights and the subject is “Women’s fiction and romance, happy endings and big laughs!”  It really was a lot of fun and the 15 minute format goes way too fast.  If you’d like to listen to it, you still can.  Just click here. Now, on to the WW Ladies Reads.

.

joysann

joysann

Christmas Mourning by Margaret Maron

Read by joysann

The whole community is shocked and grieved by the death of another high school student in an auto accident, the third this school year. Judge Deborah Knott becomes involved in the investigation when it appears the cheerleader had been drugged at a party, and then a boy who claimed he was her boyfriend is murdered. The two don’t appear related, but Deborah and her husband, Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Bryant find too many common clues for them to dismiss the connection.

Besides having a fascinating, mysterious plot, this Judge Deborah Knott story was all the more interesting with spending the holidays with the judge’s affectionate extended family. Over the years it’s been fun keeping tabs on all the siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews, cousins and friends. With Christmas day approaching, it all comes together in way that I found heartwarming.

.

Melissa

Melissa

The Taming of The Wolf by Lydia Dare

Read by Michelle

Lydia Dare completely redeems Dashiel Thorpe, Earl of Brimsworth, even though he starts off the book by once again blundering by biting the formidable witch Caitrin Macleod.  Having now marked Caitrin as his mate, he must convince her she wants to be with him forever…Only she’s convinced they’re NOT destined to be together.

What follows is a fun, heart squeezing, wonderful story that I couldn’t put down until I hit the last page!  It’s made of awesome!

Heidi

Heidi

Real Vampires Hate Their Thighs by Gerry Bartlett

Read by Heidi

Gloriana St. Clair is pretending to be engaged to hunk new vampire rock star Israel Caine. She is excited that Israel is up for a Grammy in a week, and wants to look her best on the red carpet. She meets Ian MacDonald who claims to have the secret to help vampires lose weight. Gloriana is ready to make the sacrifice to lose weight and keep it off, but at a price she is not sure she is willing to pay.

Glory is like every woman, vampire or not, wanting to change to look perfect. It made me think, how far would I be willing to go, to wear the perfect dress, the perfect shoes, the perfect jewelry, all for that one perfect night that will last in my memory forever. But would I put my health at risk for it?? Fantastic to ponder while reading this book.

Michelle

Michelle

Ghost Country by Patrick Lee

Read by Michelle

When their motorcade is attacked, Paige Campbell sends for the only person who can help her, Travis Chase.  Travis teams up with Bethany to save Paige and ultimately the world from a depressing end.  The weapon Bethany brings is called an Entity and it has the capability of transporting people to the exact same place 70 years into the future.  A future they want to avoid, but only have a couple of months to answer the right questions and stop the course of events.

A great read.  It challenged my imagination while leaving me to ponder the “what ifs.”

Loretta

Loretta

The Ark by Boyd Morrison

Read by Loretta

The main character of this novel, Dilara Kenner, an archeologist, receives information from a friend Sam Watson regarding her missing  father’s search for Noah’s Ark.  After he collapses and just before his death, Sam tells her to find Tyler Locke who can help her to reveal what happened.  When she finally finds and meets Tyler, she tries to convince him that recent attempts on her life were no accidents. Other searchers are a frightening threat.

They begin the search for Noah’s Ark, an unbelievable premise -  but Boyd Morrison makes it so real in this novel and constructs such an amazingly thrilling story, you almost want to sign on to find this 6000 year old boat.  Risking limb and life probably…..but it could almost be worth it!

Stacey

Stacey

All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins

Read by Stacey

Callie Grey is at a crossroads.  The man she’s been in love with for ages (her boss) is dating someone else, her divorced parents are considering getting back together…and she’s not sure what to do.  Except of course, she keeps bumping into that pesky town vet…who’s smile might possibly make her melt.  Hopefully, she(and her dog) will figure out what she wants before she looses it all.

I adore the way Kristan Higgins allows readers to see into Callie’s head.  She’s hilarious, fallible and the sort of person you know you’ve been (or are) but are glad to watch from the sidelines as they make their way through their life.  It’s through her eyes you get to see the people (and pets) who make up her life…her world.  This is the reason I can’t get this book out of my head, and quite frankly, I don’t want to.

joysann

joysann

Tangled Reins by Stephanie Laurens

Listened to by joysann

From the moment he meets Miss Dorothea Darent, the Marquis of Hazelmere is fairly certain the London season with the ton will finally be interesting. Though at 22 she is considered a little old for “coming out”, the feisty, independent-thinking debutante is most popular, but everyone but she catches on to the fact she already belongs to Hazelmere.

Originally published in 1992, the audio book is a new release, bringing a classically happily-ever-after historical romance to audio listeners. The reader Rosalyn Landor is perfect with these regency period pieces, making the cast of aristocratic characters quite vivid. I found the story delightful, descriptive, and romantic.

Bottom Line: I’m trying to decide what I should put on my resolution list, but it usually ends up being the same thing every year…read more books.

Autographed Books

Barbara Vey -- December 27th, 2010

This year for Christmas I gave each of my 4 sisters personalized autographed books.  I picked them up at the conventions I attended throughout the year.  All were different genres because I wanted to expose them to different writers and expand their love of reading.  Louisa Edwards even gave me her special red spatulas that are printed with the name of her book for each of them.  My sisters had never seen anything like that, but now every time they use them, they’ll think of that book.

Louisa Edwards spatula

Louisa Edwards spatula

I wasn’t prepared for how excited they were to have a book, signed to them, with their own name on it.  Since I’d been collecting books for years, I really don’t think about it too much any more.  I’m always thrilled to add a new one to my collection, but I’ve gotten used to talking to authors and knowing how much they appreciate autographing a book that is going to someone who will really enjoy it.

One of my sisters called me again yesterday to say that she never received a signed book before and she was showing them off to everyone.  Her daughters want her to hurry up and read the books so they can read them next.  Since all my sisters have daughters, those books will really be making the rounds.

What is it about a signed book that makes it that much more special?  Do people tend to like the book better if it’s signed by the author?  Have you ever gotten a book personalized for family or friends?  Or received one?

Bottom Line: Books…the gift that keeps on giving.

Merry Christmas!

Barbara Vey -- December 25th, 2010
Andrew showing off his artwork

Andrew showing off his artwork

Merry Christmas!!!  Last night I went to my sister’s house (like I do every year) and got together with almost the whole family.  Seven of my eight brothers and sisters came with their kids and grandkids.  I counted 42 people, 2 dogs and 2 cats.  It’s always fun to watch the kids open their stuff.

.

.

My niece was thrilled with her Batman hat

My niece was thrilled with her Batman hat

Andrew gave me a hard shell cover for my laptop and my sisters gave me a grandma nightgown (flannel, of course, it is Wisconsin) and a “convention sweater” that I’ll be wearing at RT and RWA next year.  I also got candles (you can never have too many in my house) and aroma therapy stuff.  I will be so relaxed.  Yes, I did give books…to everyone.

.

.

.

My condo version of a fireplace for Christmas morning

My condo version of a fireplace for Christmas morning

But it’s after 6 a.m. here so I opened my special gifts that my friend sent me.  I showed the picture in yesterday’s blog.  We did a Skype (video) visit while I opened everything.  So, here’s what I got.  #1 A Starbucks cup filled with coffee, hot chocolate and candy.  #2 A candy cane filled with little bottles of Baileys Irish Cream (I love Baileys and coffee and I just had to open one to taste test it this morning…yummy).  #3 Gift cards for Subway (everyone knows I’m a Subway nut.  When I go in there, they don’t even have to ask what I want, they just start making the sandwich.).  #4 Had 3 gifts inside marked A, B and C, so I apologize for the “not the sharpest tack on the board remark” I made yesterday.  A was a really cool magnetic book mark with an elastic string (I joked about using it on my Kindle.  Ok, not the funniest joke, but it was 6 a.m.)  B was a tin of mints (no comment) and C was Gift card for after Christmas shopping (although I may use it to see a movie, lots of good ones out there now).

That’s the thing about good friends.  They really know you and what makes you smile.  I got things I would have never thought to ask for, but I wanted and will use.  Of course, the best part was sharing it with her and her husband, even if it was on video.  It’s a very quiet Christmas morning here without my kids and having coffee and visiting with friends made it perfect.  Thank you dear friend, I love it all!!

May you and your family have all the blessings of Christmas to share with loved ones and may it be as perfect as mine.


Bottom Line: My brother picked #2 and that was Jusy from yesterday’s comments.  Jusy, please email me your snail mail address and I’ll ship off your new books on Monday.  Congratulations!  (bvey@publishersweekly.com)

Frustrating Christmas Eve

Barbara Vey -- December 24th, 2010
My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

It’s 5 a.m. here on Christmas Eve.  I’m up because a friend sent a box (last week) that said, “Open on December 24th.”  So I got up and opened the box, only to find a note that said, “Call me when you open this.”  Then I saw 4 wrapped packages that were numbered and said, “Do NOT open until 6 a.m. CST on December 25th.”

I called her screaming foul!!  This is extremely cruel and my anxiety level is maxed.  I am the kind of person who sees packages beautifully wrapped under a tree in a store and start itching to open them.  Logically I know there is nothing inside, they are just for show, but it doesn’t seem to matter.  All I hear in my mind is…”Open present…Must open present…NOW!!”

Gifts 1-4 in order

Gifts 1-4 in order

At this point, it doesn’t even matter what’s inside.  I know it won’t be books because she knows I have more than I can handle.  It’s not a Kindle because I already have one.  I’m hoping for an iPad, but I know she’s the kind who always waits for the second edition of anything.  Too small to be a plasma tv.  I’m a terrible guesser anyway.

So gift #1 says, “Do NOT open until 6 a.m. CST…Skype me first.”  #2, “Can not open this until 15 minutes after #1.”  #3, “To be opened 6 minutes after #2.”  #4, “Must be opened in order starting with ‘A’.”  (Ok, that last one proves she’s not the sharpest tack on the board, but I love her anyway.)

So, help me out by telling me what you think is inside each one.  I have the order they are to be opened.  Tomorrow I’ll post what’s inside and as a special gift to you, I’ll send 3 brand spanking new books out to a random person who leaves a comment (you don’t have to guess if you don’t want to, but you’ll still be entered).  All three books won’t even be released until 2011.  Christine Feehan’s Ruthless Game, Emma Holly’s Angel at Dawn and Lynn Viehl’s Frostfire. I’ve read all three, so you’re in for a treat.  Winner will posted be in tomorrow’s blog.

All 2011 releases!

All 2011 releases!

Bottom Line: Merry Christmas Eve!!

Is There a Promise on a Book Cover?

Barbara Vey -- December 23rd, 2010

Have you ever been taken in by a movie or book that promised one thing and delivered another?  At least, you thought there was a promise there.

I can remember, years ago, going to see Terms of Endearment.  Heard it was a wonderful movie…funny.  I like funny and there were funny parts.  Shirley MacClaine and Jack Nicholson were wonderful, but then it took that turn that you know will not end well.   I was so upset at the ending at I had to pull over the car on the way home because I was crying so hard.  I’ll never watch that movie again.

I just don’t like sad movies or books.  That’s just me.  I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m a happily ever after reader.  Now, my son sees a lot of movies before just to let me know if it has a good (Mom safe) ending or not (sometimes it can end well, but if something happens to kids in it, I can’t watch it. On the other hand I’m fine with violence, love thrillers, mysteries, paranormal, as long as the bad guy gets it in the end).  This works for me.  I can’t see spending my time or money on something that will ultimately upset me.  There’s obviously a market out there for a lot of this stuff because it does so well.

This is why I shy away from Oprah’s picks.  I tried a few and way too sad for me.  So, when I pick up a book, I want to know that I’m going to get the payoff I’ve been waiting for.  When it doesn’t come, I’m upset.  I’m not mad at the author because they obviously weren’t writing it for me.  I get mad at myself for feeling duped.

Yesterday I picked up a book because, yes, it had a mesmerizing cover and the tagline read, “A Haunting Story of Forbidden Love.” Hey, I’m a great fan of forbidden love.  Naturally, I dove right in and felt cheated at the end.  I was always lead to believe (by romance writers) that the definition of a romance novel was that it had to end “happily ever after.”

Nocturne by Syrie James wasn’t a romance novel at all.  Oh, there was plenty of romance in it and fans of Nicholas Sparks (which there are many) won’t be disappointed.  But I was darn it.  I guess because I thought if it said romance on the cover, it was, by the definition, romance.  What’s not to love about being snowbound in a perfect isolated place with your soul mate, but in my world, I just need a happy ending.  No, my issue is not so much with the content of the book, but my perception of what the book would be.  It was a haunting story of forbidden love, well, they got the forbidden love part right, but I personally felt let down.

So, is it my fault that was I gullible or too quick to see something that wasn’t there?  And this isn’t just about this book in particular.  It just happens to be the one I was reading when I decided it was time to write a blog about this subject.

I loved the movie Gone with the Wind and Camelot, but hated the endings and will never watch them again.  In my mind, Scarlett and Rhett lived happily ever after and I really can’t figure out a way for Camelot to end happily unless another person is brought in to even things up.  Those love triangles never work out well for someone (ok, except in those books that specialize in that sort of thing).

I know a lot of readers who love the heart-wrenching stuff and I’m glad to see them get it, but it’s not for me.  And I don’t like feeling tricked.  I’ll be more wary about those shiny covers from now on and try not to get taken in by publicity people people trying to hit my buttons with key words like love and romance.

How about you?  Ever get taken in by something that you thought was one thing and turned out to be another?  Ever see a movie that looked so promising in the promotions only to find that those clips didn’t have much to do with the plot of the movie?  Was there a book that you put so much into and then it left you thinking “What the heck?”

Bottom Line: I will be giving this book to a dear friend who lives for this type of book.  She will love it.

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- December 22nd, 2010

When I put out books for my WW Ladies, it’s not always the newest ones that get picked.  This week we have a few “oldies” that will always pack a punch.

Heidi

Heidi

On the Steamy Side by Louisa Edwards

Read by Heidi

The second book of the Recipe for Love Series features Devon Sparks, a successful chef who has a popular TV show and a pompous attitude to match. He’s back in the kitchen and meets Lilah Jane Tunkle, a sassy-southern belle who becomes a nanny for Devon’s ten-year-old son. The heat turns up for both of them, which could be a recipe for disaster.

I felt that Lilah was an even match for Devon’s sarcastic behavior and showed him a thing or two about manners and love. The heat between them certainly kept my fingers warm this winter! I find it fascinating how Louisa introduces secondary characters in each book, which becomes a main character in her next book. Looking forward to book #3!!

Michelle

Michelle

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

Read by Michelle

Archie Sheridan has spent two months at a psychiatric hospital, two months since Gretchen’s last attempt on his life.  Now he is being summoned by Gretchen and the Portland Homicide Department to put an end to Gretchen’s reign of terror.  Susan Ward, a journalist following the story and the world’s obsession with the Beauty Killer is as much a victim as the others closely involved in the case.  She spent everyday in the waiting room of he hospital waiting for Archie, and wen he’s released she’s the support he leans on.  Together they must play the hand that Gretchen has dealt to them.

A compelling must read that will put you on the edge of your seat.  I was gripped by the intensity and blatant confidence of Gretchen’s character and fhe sick obsession that Archie has with her.

Heidi

Heidi

Cross Your Heart: A Broken Heart Novel by Michele Bardsley

Read by Heidi

Elizabeth Bretton is the heiress of the Silverstone estate in Broken Heart, Oklahoma; and she also is a vampire. Even trying to live a different life in Broken Heart, she is pulled into a mysterious curse that seems to include her family and a sadistic ghost trying to destroy her. Tez Jones is a were-jaguar homicide detective trying to help  Elizabeth solve the mystery, and be a hot temptation for her.

Tez is one of the funniest and sexiest characters in the Broken Heart Series yet. Plus, I can only imagine how hot he would be as a were-jaguar. Sigh. I enjoyed the matching of Elizabeth and Tez together, despite their supernatural challenges, they seem to be the perfect fit together, even with being polar opposites.

Sue

Sue

Edge of Fear by Cherry Adair

Read by Sue

Caleb Edge is part of a paranormal anti-terrorism group. The middle of three cursed brothers, he has vowed never to fall in love…until he does, with Heather Shaw, his latest assignment. His powers of rewinding time are being used to their utmost – can he use them to protect Heather? Will overtaxing his powers leave Heather all alone? Will the terrorists win in the end?

Heather’s history is pretty interesting, being the daughter of a terrorist-funded banker, who had been blind to who Daddy’s “clients” were. When her eyes were opened, her world was turned upside down, and she discovered that she was stronger and with more talents than she ever realized. I think this was my favorite part of the book, even more than the – of course! – fun love story. I love reading about powerful women, and Heather is more than she realizes!

.

joysann

joysann

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Listened to by joysann

Without using supernatural elements, Stephen King still puts some scary, disturbing stuff in this new collection of four stories. In “1922″ a man recalls the increasing hardships that haunt him on his Nebraska farm after the gruesome death of his wife; “Big Driver” tells of a woman’s need for vengeance after she was brutally assaulted and left for dead; a man makes a deal with the devil in “Fair Exchange” that results in harrowing misfortunes; and in “A Good Marriage” a woman discovers to her horror that no one can ever know another person completely.

These stories are dark and disquieting. At first I was uncomfortable enough that I had real misgivings about finishing the book, but I was already hooked, and found it increasingly better as I continued. In the end, I thought the book was terrific, and now, days later, I’m still thinking about it, asking myself “what might I have done?”. Exciting, scary, macabre, thought-provoking, King-esque.


Bottom Line: Since my bliss is reading…I love this quote:  “Follow your bliss and doors will open for you that you never knew existed.” ~Joseph Campbell

News, Notes & Giveaways

Barbara Vey -- December 20th, 2010
Penguin car signed by authors

Penguin car signed by authors

Looking for that last minute Christmas gift and want to give to charity at the same time?  Well, look no further.  Penguin Books has the perfect gift for the book lover.

From Penguin:  Remember the adorable Penguin Mini Cooper that was travelling across the country this summer bringing bestselling authors to birthday parties in their hometowns to celebrate Penguin’s 75th anniversary?  Well that car is now up for sale! It would be the ultimate ride for the ultimate literary buff.

It’s a 2010 Mini Cooper SD with a dashboard signed by 18 bestselling Penguin authors—the full list is below.  It’s only 30k, and with the purchase, you’ll get a set of the top 75 titles published by Penguin Books over the past 75 years, a collection of books worth about $1,200.   All proceeds from the sale of the car will be donated to the New York Public Library.

Signing authors:  Garrison Keillor, Michael Pollan, Rosanne Cash, Jan Karon, Sue Monk Kidd, Geraldine Brooks, Nathaniel Philbrick, William Kennedy, TC Boyle, Luanne Rice, Bryan Burrough, Melissa Bank, Kim Edwards, David Rohde, Janice Y.K. Lee, Paolo Giordano and Laura Dave.

Brad Parks

Brad Parks

Also, congrats go out to Brad Parks, debut author of Faces of the Gone, on his double win of both the Nero Award and the Shamus Award.  Brad is the first person to ever win both awards for the same book.  You’ll remember Brad from his Drive By Video when he dedicated a song to fellow author Brad Meltzer.  You can watch it here.

Bottom Line: I’m done Christmas shopping, all my books are wrapped and under the tree, but it would be fun to drive that orange car to the mall.

Giveaways

From Jodi Rosoff: Please visit our Charlaine Harris page. We’ve launched an all new Sookie Stackhouse Forum where fans can discuss their favorite waitress.  Readers can also join the Charlaine Harris Group to interact with fellow fans and see the latest news on new books and Charlaine’s events.  And while you’re touring the site be sure to enter the Charlaine Harris Holiday Sweepstakes!  Five lucky readers will win a stocking and a copy of Dead in the Family, both autographed by Charlaine (please see the website for the complete sweepstakes rules).

.

From Marilyn Baron: The Petit Fours and Hot  Tamales bloggers have written our third blog novel. This time we tried our hand at a paranormal, called “Merlin’s Daughter.” The free read will debut December 20-30. Anyone who leaves a comment will be entered in a drawing, which will take place on December 31.

.

.

From Heather Massey: Starting December 20, The Galaxy Express is hosting the second annual SFR Holiday Blitz. This event features a huge giveaway of over 50 science fiction romance books. 33 authors and 15 bloggers have joined forces to give the gift of intergalactic adventure and romance to readers around the globe.  Sample prizes include books by Linnea Sinclair, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Pauline B. Jones, Nalini Singh, Ella Drake, Anitra Lynn McLeod, and Susan Grant.  Best of all, entering is easy: Just leave a comment at any of the participating blogs that has prizes you’re eligible for. The deadline to enter is midnight at EST on Sunday, December 26.

If you’d like any news or giveaways considered for the blog, you can send me an email.  bvey@publishersweekly.com

My Reads and Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- December 17th, 2010

One good thing about winter is that I never want to leave the house.  A hot drink and a good book and I’m all set.  Obviously, I’ve been in a lot.  Check out what I’ve been reading lately and then comment on what books you’ve read.  I can always use some new suggestions.

In the Dark of Dreams by Marjorie M. Liu – Jenny Jameson is only a young girl when she comes across a boy merman, Perrin, hurt and on the beach.  Over the years, they meet in their dreams until a crisis brings them together in real life.  Now they must work together to solve a murder that could have grave consequences.

I love the idea of a psychic detective agency, but Dirk & Steele has many more layers.  Even though it’s the 10th book in the series, you really don’t have to read them in order to enjoy them.      The characters latch onto your heart and prove that love isn’t just sex.  Emotionally charged while being action packed.  Definitely something for everyone.

Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros – Abigail Donovan had her first book picked by Oprah, but now finds herself unable to finish a second one.  Forced onto Twitter by her helpful agent, Abbey “meets” Mark Baynard, a professor on sabbatical who’s willing to show her the Tweet ropes.  The problem is, she now finds herself watching for his Tweets more than concentrating on her book.

This was definitely a one sit read for me.  Written nearly entirely with Tweets (140 characters or less) made it a very fast read.  I was amazed by the wit and only wished I could be half as clever with my Tweets.  Engrossingly charming story that manages to pack a surprising emotional punch.

.\

/

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James – When Linnet Berry Thrynne is jilted by a prince who everyone assumes got her pregnant, she finds she must marry and soon.  Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, is a cranky doctor with a bum leg.  His father is determined to marry him off by using his “bride” criteria against him.  Linnet and Piers lock horns from their first meeting and the clash of the tongues begin.

The parallels to House M.D. are evident, but it’s moving him to the 1800s that’s the charm.  Irresistible, delightful and engaging, Eloisa James books always seem to leave me smiling.
.


.

Angel At Dawn by Emma Holly – Grace Gladwell is a director’s assistant in 1956 Hollywood.  Christian Durand is the cowboy director Nim Wei is trying to talk into taking the title role of “I Was a Teenage Vampire.”  Unknown to Grace, Christian is really a vampire and Nim Wei is his queen.  Grace, in her innocence, doesn’t remember meeting Christian when she was inches away from death, but he definitely remembers her.

It was such fun to be back in 1956 Hollywood and feel like an insider in the movie making business.  Famous stars wander in and out of scenes in the background.  I think I may need to read the previous books to get me up to speed, but this book is sizzling hot with lots of sex that will warm you up on a cold winter night.  Might have to crack a window.

Frostfire by Lynn Viehl – Lilah Devereaux loves working with animal control, but when her special abilities come to the attention of the evil biotech company who wants her DNA, the chase is on.  Lilah finds herself handcuffed to Walker Kimbal, military man recently in Afgahanistan.   Escaping to a mysterious small town, they must out maneuver their enemy.

These novels of the Kyndred are highly addictive.  The kind of book where you turn off the phone and surround yourself with enough food and drink that you won’t have to move for several hours.  Electrifying series that has you cheering for the good guys.

Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb – After a killer workout in the police station gym, Peabody overhears officers talking about murder and it’s not a case they’re working on.  She hides while the “dirty” cops argue, but soon is on the case with partner Eve Dallas to ferret out the corruption that’s infiltrated their work place.

Having read all the Death books, I find myself right at home with Dallas’ gang.  Their camaraderie and honor to the job and each other make these books a joy to read.  Suspenseful and action packed, but always with a touch of heart.


Bottom Line: If the weather stays freezing, I’m looking forward to an entertaining winter…between the pages of a few good books.

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- December 16th, 2010

For those of you who haven’t heard, Brenda Novak will be on  Good Morning America today around 11:30 a.m. (EST) for the Health segment.  Brenda runs the incredibly successful Juvenile Diabetes Auction every year.  Also, congrats to Rachelle Chase who was on CBS News in an interview about e-readers and the journalist was reading her book on air!  Now on to the WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs.

.

joysann

joysann

Tempt the Cougar by Samantha Kane, Lynne Connolly, Dalton Diaz

Read by joysann

After meeting at romance writers/readers convention, several mature women create a blog to get to know each other better and to share their daydreams of dating younger men. Then it strikes one of them, Monica Allen, that daydreams could be reality if a woman just gave it try, and she throws out The Cougar Challenge, taking the first shot and succeeding in a wildly passion-filled way. Others take up her challenge, and each has a story to tell on the blog about risking ego and heart.

The erotic stories in this book can feed the fantasies of readers who enjoy a lot of spice on their romances. Many other authors join in with other books to make the Cougar Challenge series, giving that particular popular daydream some variety and texture. I found the stories fun, sexy, entertaining, and imaginative, and I’ll be perusing other works by these authors. Oh, by the way, Tempt the Cougar really is a blog that readers are invited to visit, but you must be 18 or older.

Heidi

Heidi

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg by Susan Donovan

Read by Heidi

Josie Sheehan has had her string of loser boyfriends. She now dotes on her Labradoodle dog Genghis. That is who is going to deserve all her love and attention, not a man. Enter Rick Rousseau, CEO of a pet supply company and sexy to boot. Their new relationship may stop before it starts because Rick has secrets that can put Josie in real danger.

I read this book in about one day. It grabbed me right at the beginning and didn’t let go. The secondary characters brought the whole story to life. I was happy to see the author plans to develop some of the secondary characters into novels of their own. Everyone wins with that!

Michelle

Michelle

A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay

Read by Michelle

Antoine and Melanie Rey lose their mother when they are children and never got to know who she really was.  Their mother had a secret, one that was sure to tear the family apart, but her death thwarted that possibility.

Very well written, a lesson in acceptance with a realization that everyone comes to peace in their own way.

.

.

Edie

Edie

A Killing Tide by P.J. Alderman (E-book)

Read by Edie

Successful San Francisco consultant Kaz Jorgensen returns to Astoria, Oregon, to help save her twin brother’s fishing business. When her twin’s best friend is killed, he’s the suspect and is nowhere to be found. Refusing to believe he did it, Kaz sets out to prove his innocence. Michael Chapman, the town’s new fire chief is a former top arson investigator from Boston.  He came to Astoria to escape memories of his fiancée dying in a fire set by a revengeful arsonist. Now he’s falling for another woman whose life might be in danger, and he’ll do anything to save her.

Alderman has published her former RITA finalling book as an e-book, giving new readers a chance to read this page-turner.  The characters come to life with strengths and flaws and layers. The description is evocative.  The romantic tension builds naturally, from a spark to a flame. I was saying Wow! from the first chapter to the last.

Michelle

Michelle

Death Blows by D. D. Barant

Read by Michelle

Special agent Jace Valchek is chasing a killer in another reality.  She was brought to this earth reality through cross-dimensional travel.  Her only hope of going home is to catch a killer named Stoker.  Now her employers have decided she needs to take on a new case.  One that means delving into the underground world of comics, a world where the comics are drawn in blood and become more powerful with the more readers they have.  Also these comics portray real life events in this reality.  Her protector is a Lem named Charlie who is made of sand, a pire is her boss and her vampire friend is pregnant.

I found this to be an intriguing novel.  One that reignited my love for comics and the intricacies of their stories and then to imagine them as real versus fiction.  Very entertaining.

Heidi

.Heidi

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Read by Heidi
Set in Jackson, Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement ; a story of three women intertwined by activism but equally separate by race. Two women raising white children for others while one Junior League member looking for her writing voice decided to write a book about their experiences.

I found the voices of the three main characters so interesting. Especially that of Aibileen and Minny, two black maids. Their true dialect of the South, made the book reflect their determination during a very challenging time.

.

joysann

joysann

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Listened to by joysann

Remember that devastatingly delightful surprise guest that visits Stephanie Plum in the Between-the-Numbers books? Well, the mysterious Diesel has the first of his own books now, off battling evil and curling the toes of Lizzie Tucker, an ordinary cupcake baker in small town Massachusetts. Only, as Lizzie tells us, nothing is ordinary when it comes to Diesel.

I didn’t need to know anything about this book other than it was Diesel before I grabbed it up for a listen. This character delights me, and I look forward to more of his story. Reader Lorelei King makes the wild escapades enjoyable, and it’s a fast, easy listen for good, light, romantic entertainment.

Bottom Line: Today is Chocolate Covered Anything Day…really!  I’m all over this one.

Improvising Your Book

Barbara Vey -- December 14th, 2010

Debbie Kaufman

Debbie Kaufman

Cub Reporter Debbie Kaufman sent in this report of the Georgia Romance Writers way of celebrating the holidays while infusing that little extra something into their writing.

Georgia Romance Writers
added a creative twist to their annual Christmas party this year with the inclusion of an improvisation workshop. Allison Gilmore and Elizabeth Beasley of DuMore Improv and the Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy cajoled more than sixty members into quick scenes of structured improvisations, and sparked the creative process for us in a whole new way.  We started with an exercise where two people faced each other and counted from 1 to 3 with each person counting one of the numbers in order.  I would never have thought that such a simple task could demand so much attention and be so funny.

Allison Gilmore Haywood Smith Elizabeth Beasley

Allison Gilmore Haywood Smith Elizabeth Beasley

Besides a workshop filled with laughter, attendees took away valuable insights for the creative writing process. The one main point we all carried away involved the “Yes, and” response structure to ideas that forms the basis of improvisation. By morning’s end, Gilmore and Beasley demonstrated how this positive approach generated more choices in scenarios than its polar opposite, the “No, but” response. Using the positive approach, members created hilarious scenes for the audience’s enjoyment, proving that, just like life, positive is always the better approach. GRW members took away valuable tools and had fun in the process.

What a wonderful way to spend a holiday gathering that left us laughing and more open-minded as we approach everything in life, not just writing.  We shared a breakfast meal and everyone brought a wrapped book we exchanged with each other.  One of the highlights of the morning was handing over a check for almost $1000 to support Literacy.  This money comes from raffle sales at every GRW event.  Everyone left in high spirits and happy to have participated in an unusual holiday gathering.

Bottom Line: I think if parties were given as learning tools, I’d learn a lot more and have loads of fun doing it.

If your group has an event that you’d like considered for the blog, please send it to me at bvey@publishersweekly.com