Monthly Archives: February 2011

Almost Time for Anniversary Bash

Barbara Vey -- February 28th, 2011

That’s right, my 4th Anniversary is right around the corner and the week long bash will be bigger and better than ever.  Here’s the schedule of the Virtual Party:

Monday, March 7th – Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Urban Fantasy (Takes place in a haunted house)
Tuesday March 8th – Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Adventure (Takes place at a murder scene)
Wednesday March 9th – Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Librarians (takes place on an island)
Thursday March 10th – Inspirational, YA, Nonfiction (takes place at a shopping mall)
Friday March 11th – Contemporary/Historical/Erotica/E-Books/Audio (takes place at a castle)
Saturday March 12th – Romance Blowout  (takes place at a Niagara Falls)

Nook and Kindle

Nook and Kindle

As you can see from the schedule, it’s going to be a rocking week.  True to form, authors, publishers and publicists have come out and offered up some great prizes including 13 (count ‘em…13) e-readers, books, gift certificates and other wonderful items to random commenters.  That’s right, all you have to do is leave a comment on the blog and you are entered.  You can comment as much or little as you’d like.  Winners will be picked by an outside source and posted on March 14th.

Anyone interested in donating “virtual” party food, drinks, entertainment, decorations or would like to do a give away, please email me at barbaravey@ymail.com  You do not have to give a prize to be part of the party.

As a side note, I’d like to thank author Beth Williamson for taking time out from her travels through Milwaukee to meet me for coffee (at 6 a.m. before her flight home).  Beth writes about cowboys and I’m looking forward to checking them out.

Monday Giveaways

From Samhaim Publishing: Happy March–spring is almost here, thank goodness. This month we have three great book giveaways on Kindle at Amazon.com and Nook at BarnesandNoble.com.

The first date is the day the book price flips to $0.00 and the second date is the final day and the original price will go into effect again.

Begin Date

End Date Book Title Author

3/1/2011             3/31/2011          Nate                                Beth Williamson

3/1/2011             3/14/2011          The Sword Lord              Robert Leader

3/15/2011           3/28/2011          Trey                                Cat Johnson

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- February 23rd, 2011

The last time we featured a Love Inspired romance, the response was overwhelming.  It’s so wonderful to see a community come together like that to support each other.  Today we also welcome a new YA reader, Taylor.  The YA market is huge and I’m always thrilled when kids get excited about books.  Taylor took a bunch home with her, so look for her blurbs in the coming weeks.

Heidi

Heidi

Second Chance Family by Margaret Daley

Read by Heidi

Whitney Maxwell thinks of herself as damaged goods who is undeserving of love or a family. Her tough exterior keeps her safe from being hurt anymore. Dr. Shane McCoy has been hurt too. Caring for his autistic son alone, has put him in a routine type life that doesn’t have time for more. One accident can bring two lost souls together and strengthen a lost faith.

I was so impressed by the authors knowledge of autism and the skill to weave it into the story so well. It was such a heartwarming story, even with some tragedy mixed in. I actually felt compelled to pass this book onto a friend.

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Taylor

Taylor

Red Glove by Holly Black

Read by Taylor, 14

As Cassel’s past haunts him through high school, things get a whole lot worse. When two federal agents want to help him find his brother’s killer, he puts his life and identity at risk.

This book really got me hooked. It kept me guessing and wondering through the whole story. Anyone who loves sci-fi and/or mystery would love this book like I did.

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Loretta

Loretta

Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

Read by Loretta

The ruthless Emperor, the cruel, savage and bloody games he enjoys are shocking and riveting!   Treacherous plots abound and yet a tender love story fights to stay alive despite plots to tear it apart.

Kate Quinn in her novel Mistress of Rome weaves her fascinating characters into the time of First Century Rome. I would rate Mistress of Rome to be one of the best historical novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading!

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DeAnn

Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis

Read by DeAnn

Lilah Young’s got it goin’ on!  As a college student in the home stretch, a business partner taking care of animals and a beloved member of her small hometown, her life is full.  The girl is loved. On the day she rear ends a stranger’s car, events begin to unfold and open her eyes to the kind of love she’s been missing. The kind that’s full of passion and makes you lose your senses. Well aware this relationship won’t last, she falls for him, even as she knows no one will be there to catch her when he leaves.

Jill Shalvis has hit the trifecta in my world.  She was able to whisk me away with a story that was sweet and poignant, hot and sexy, and laugh out loud funny. I went from sighing to gasping to cracking up from page one until the end!

Bev

Bev

Love Letters from Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball

Read by Bev

The ladies of Ladybug Farm, Cici, Lindsay and Bridget are at it again.  This time they are to hold a wedding on the grounds of Ladybug Farm, little did they know what they were getting into.  The bride and her mother were a  handful.  They were very demanding.  The ladies of Ladybug farm try to hold it together.  To their rescue came their friend Paul.  He coordinates all the details and calms the bride and her family.  Then of course on the eve of the wedding we meet the groom.  He was not in very good shape.  Also the weather was not the best. What else could go wrong?  The whole wedding story is entwined with the stories of each character, Cici. Lindsay and Bridget.

This is the third in a series by Donna Ball.  I feel like I know these characters and look forward to each new chapter in the lives of the Ladies of Ladybug Farm.  This is one series I hope never ends.

Stacey

Stacey

Poison Kissed by Erica Hayes

Read by Stacey

Mina and Joey have been watching each other’s backs in the midst of gangland since he freed her from the clutches of a dangerous character.  But when she finds out that he might have been the one who killed her mother, she cannot rest until she learns the truth, not can she trust the man who for so long has been her haven.

With each book successive book I read of Erica Hayes’, I get drawn further into the dark, dangerous world that she’s created.  Her mix of first and third person creates this beautiful immediacy and allows the reader to understand the perspectives of all of the main characters, instead of just the narrator.  The moments I spent in Joey’s head make me sniffle, and I love Mina’s strength in the face of what she must face. They are amazing and I cannot wait to see where Erica Hayes takes me next.

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joysann

joysann

Love Beyond Reason by Sandra Brown

Listened to by joysann

At her sister’s request upon her deathbed, Kathryn Adams steals away with her newborn niece to raise the baby herself, and keep the child from her sister’s deceased husband’s domineering parents. Some months later Kathryn is found by Jason Manning, her sister’s brother-in-law. It happens that they both want to keep baby from Jason’s heartless parents, and they find a mutual attraction as they work together to find a way to provide the child a secure and loving home.

This recent audio release was actually first published in 1981 under the pseudonym Rachel Ryan, and is quite different from the Sandra Brown books with which I am more familiar. At first I thought it sweet, but then I found it really quite romantic. The interaction between the protagonists became entertainingly electric, and easily led the story to its happy conclusion.

Bottom Line: I’m gearing up for my 4th Annual Anniversary party next month.  Tons of great stuff already donated, so get your party shoes ready.

Camping with Books

Barbara Vey -- February 22nd, 2011
Raven Goodwin as Becca in her LARP (live action role playing) outfit

Raven Goodwin as Becca in her LARP (live action role playing) outfit

Last night I started watching the tv show Huge on hulu.com.  It’s about overweight kids at camp.  There’s a lot of teen anguish, confusion and frustration on top of the crushing burden of not fitting into the acceptable weight norm.  But I found myself fascinated by the character, Becca.  She’s a shy young woman who loves to read.

Whenever she’s in a scene on her bunk, she’s reading a book.  Although I’ve seen her reading classics like Lord of the Flies (yuck) and Diary of Anne Frank, I’ve also seen her read a more current book like Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Becca is even shown checking out the meager camp library (like one shelf of very used books).

It’s so refreshing to see someone reading a book rather than playing video games or on the computer.  Of course, none of those things are allowed at camp.  Other girls are shown with magazines, mostly to take the quizzes offered inside.  (And yes, I remember giggling with my friends over the Seventeen questionnaires.)

All this brought back memories of my Girl Scout camping days.  My suitcase was always full of books.  I really couldn’t say what they were anymore, except I loved Helen McInnes and Victoria Holt at the time.  I always hated the outdoor stuff we had to do and loved to lay on  my bunk, at night with a flashlight, imagining being in far off places, meeting unusual people and doing amazing things.

Even as an adult I dragged books along on every vacation.  When the boys were young we went to Michigan and stayed in a cabin.  The guys fished and I read.  Seven books in seven days.  My idea of a perfect vacation.

So, I’ll keep watching the show, more interested in what Becca’s reading than to find out if Trent likes Amber or  Chloe better.  There are only 10 episodes since the series has already been canceled.  It’s too bad because it’s starting to grow on me.

Did you ever read books at camp?  Prefer reading to everything else as a child?

Bottom Line: I could use a couple Beccas to help read all the Young Adult books I have…she’d love my library.

Love is Murder XII Mystery Conference

Barbara Vey -- February 21st, 2011

Our own WW Lady, Michelle, is the Cub Reporter today who attended the Love is Murder Conference in Chicago.  Michelle also works part time at Barnes and Noble.

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Joe Finder

Joe Finder

In lieu of the written page I spent the weekend with the creators of whose worlds I lose myself in so often.  It started with a panel on How to Write and Maintain a Series Character.  Tasha Alexander explained her novels have two stories, the story that is the plot and the story of the character.  As a series goes along you learn more about your characters.  Joe Finder talked of how character transformations are different in a series versus a stand alone.  In a standalone the hero’s life is completely transformed, series characters evolve over time.  July Hyzy talked of how a series is propelled by what the character is striving for, almost like the series continues because the characters haven’t gotten to where they want to be yet.

Ted Krever, Libby Hellmann, Michelle

Ted Krever, Libby Hellmann, Michelle

Next was a lively Author Chat moderated by Libby Fischer Hellmann.  Libby’s book Doubleback was a book I blurbed on last year which sparked conversation of her new release Set the Night on Fire.  Jon Land, who is on the board of Thriller Fest in New York, talked passionately about scene development and the process of writing.  He believes that he is not writing to the conscious mind, but to the reader’s imagination.  He shared the advice he got from his editor once, “Every scene you write, know where the light is coming from, that is how you will write your scene.”  Shane Gericke talked of visualizing exactly what he is writing as if it is real life.  Being able to see, hear, taste and smell the scene helps with his descriptions.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been such a literary sensation that I just had to go to the Librarian Book Discussion with Monique Flasch, Susan Gibberman, Marlene Leonardi and Patricia Ruocco.  Questions of morality were the topics as the book’s main character is a computer hacker.  Can a hacker have morals?  The reader starts to justify the actions of the heroine, but the reality of people other than Big Brother watching us certainly leaves one wondering what is really safe in cyberspace.

The afternoon concluded with a discussion led by Rhys Bowen who has won numerous

Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen

awards including the Edgar and the Agatha.  Rhys talked of reading a Tony Hillerman novel some years ago which inspired her “to write what I like to read, a story that takes you some place.”  She shared how she experienced Ellis Island and the emotional overload she felt, “A place that has known great joy and great sorrow.  I wanted to get a feel of this in a book.”  Thus began her Molly Murphy series.  A very inspiring and successful author who shared that “you have to get it right” when researching for novels.  She admits that only 1/10 of what she researches makes it into a book, but the fact that she knows the other 9/10 makes it a stronger book.

After dinner we retired to the hotel bar where we laughed and enjoyed the company of Libby Hellmann and Deb Brod.  We met Jon Jordan the publisher and editor of Crimespree Magazine, which happens to be produced in my home town of Milwaukee.

On Saturday, the morning began with a youth fiction round table that included Jennifer Turner, Keir Graff, Claudia Whitsitt, Kathleen Ernst, Amy Alessio, B.A. Binns, Albert Bell and F. Paul Wilson as the moderator.  Young adult fiction has become very popular so the question of why do you write YA generated a vast amount of discussion.  Albert shared that he enjoyed reading with his kids when they were younger which led to his interest in writing YA.  Paul wanted to write something his grandson could read so he took his Repairman Jack character and started writing about him when he was 14, leading to the present day man in his series. B.A. writes for the “reluctant reader.” She feels that her protagonists can have a lot of problems in the stories because young people get that people have problems and don’t mind reading it.  Claudia spent 31 years as a special education teacher and talked of the kids that find reading difficult or who are reluctant.  They are the ones will identify with the characters and there is a healing that occurs for them.  Kier talked of respecting the intelligence of kids at any age.  Jennifer’s son begged her to write something he would read which started her endeavor into YA.

So what logically follows a YA discussion?  Yep!  Sex and Death!  Sherrill Bodine, Laura

Sex and Death panel

Sex and Death panel

Caldwell, Patricia Rosemoor, J.L. Wilson delved into their world of sex and intrigue while a sometimes tongue tied Tom Schreck tried to dig deeper into their erotic undertakings.  Ann explained that sex and violence needs to change the story, otherwise it doesn’t work.  She talked of there needing to be an “emotional crescendo.”  Patricia, author of 89 novels admits that writing sex scenes are emotional and that she needs to be in a certain mood to write them.  Sherrill goes as far as champagne, chocolate and low lights to set her mood.  All the ladies agreed there is a difference between love scenes and sex scenes.

The theme continued with a panel discussion of Naughty in History with Tasha Alexander, Rhys Bowen, Francis McNamara, Sarah Wisseman, and D.M. Pirrone as moderator.  Discussion started with how a writer needs to know the rules of the time.  Tasha, whose novels take place in the Victorian Era, notes that people often married for business and had affairs which were discreet but acceptable.  Rhys who writes in Edwardian times talked of King Edward having numerous mistresses and his only rule was they had to be married.  This way if there was a child conceived it wasn’t an issue.  Ottoman women were found to use the items of their oppression (veil) to gain freedom.  It was easy to meet a lover in public because no one could see their face.  The panel also discussed the social attitudes and language changes over time and how important it is to get the information accurate as a reader will be easily turned off by a discrepancy.

Jon Land

Jon Land

After lunch it was on to thrills and Horror:  How to get the Oh!  No!  Marcus Sakey talked of his love of making the lives of his characters bad, beating them up and then making their lives even worse.  He tells the story in two parts, what happened before the bad thing, and what happens after the bad thing.  In his writing of the ‘bad guy,” he doesn’t feel they think of themselves as bad guys, it’s their willingness to go through anyone to get what they want which is the pure evil.  F. Paul Wilson talked from a series standpoint that the reader knows the main character will survive, so you need to build other characters to have bad things happen to.  Jamie Freveletti shared that she will be writing under a cover of the Robert Ludlum Estate and working within their framework.

James Strauss was the guest speaker at the Love is Murder Tea and he had me wondering just how far of a reach does Big Brother have.  Having experience with the CIA and writing espionage thrillers his words are compelling.  He was a writer on the HBO series Deadwood, now writes for the TV show House and three years ago wanted to become a novelist.  He shared with the audience his prediction for the future of books, eBooks and marketing.  To resist technology, a writer won’t be successful.  He talked of making yourself findable with Facebook and Twitter.  He predicts that storytelling isn’t going away and that people will continue to pay for stories, it is about how to reach the readers that will impact a writer’s success.  His other tidbit for success was to be entertaining, and entertaining he was!

The evening ended up with Those Were the Days Radio Players doing a live performance of Old Time Radio.  Then J.A. Konrath hosted Quiz the Stars.  He stumped the panel of authors by reading passages from their novels and seeing who knew their own work.  F. Paul Wilson is still convinced he didn’t name a character Mackenzie.

The conference was a wonderful experience.  The passion they have for their work is so inspiring, as well as their perseverance.

Bottom Line: The insight of the authors is invaluable and I will take the memories with me.

Audio Book Readers

Barbara Vey -- February 18th, 2011

I have been absolutely giddy the past couple of weeks because Brilliance Audio has been sending me a ton of audio books.  Now, I’ve always loved to read real paper books and will continue to do so, but there are times when it’s just not convenient.  While driving a car, walking, doing dishes, and late at night when my eyes seem to give out and start watering so I can’t read the print.  Today I want to talk about the readers on audio books.

I especially love listening to them with the lights out.  It seems to really put me in that time and place and clearly let’s me understand how important the right reader is to a book.  I started off with an older book, but new to audio, Jennifer Crusie’s Charlie All Night.  Not sure how I missed this book in print because I thought I read them all.  It was a contemporary love story about a young woman working as a producer at a radio station and the man who temporarily fills in as a DJ.  Since I was focusing on the reader, I’d have to say Aimee Jolson did a fine job.  It was clear what was going on and who was saying what.  No strange dialects that take me out of the story.

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Next up was the historical by Lisa Kleypas, Then Came You.  There’s something I find so lovely about a British accent and Lisa’s story was fun, fascinating and exciting to listen to.  She has a way with witty dialog and the reader,  Rosalyn Landor, nailed it.  I was completely enchanted and would definitely listen to it again.

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Unfortunately, not so much with the reader for Victoria Alexander’s The Perfect Mistress.  I have been reading Victoria for years and while the story was about everything I love in historicals, the reader, Jennifer Dixon, offered no change in her voice to alert me to which character was talking.  I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman, so I spent a good part of the time thinking, “Wait…who said that??”  It was very distracting and a disservice to the book.  (Which has a gorgeous cover.)

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I’m currently listening to Treachery in Death by Nora Roberts in my car.  I already read the book, but I’m now listening to it because this reader, Susan Ericksen, is amazing in defining the characters and when she does Roarke’s Irish lilt, I swoon.  It seems I make more car trips just to listen to the book.

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At home I’m in the middle of How to Woo a Reluctant Lady by Sabrina Jeffries.  Another favorite author, but I find myself somewhat put off by the reader, Sarah Coomes.  I’ll admit that I’m no expert when it comes to the different British dialects, but while the story makes the characters out to be well to do, the reader’s voice sounds more Cockney to me.  Sort of Eliza Doolittle before her transformation.   I find the story fascinating, so I may also read the book later to see if it changes how I liked the book overall.

The best reader ever for me is Jim Dale who does the Harry Potter books.  I always know exactly who’s talking.  It amazes me how he can come up with a slightly different voice for each character.  I read once where he works many hours getting just the right sound for that person.  It works wonderfully.

Just like how different people like different books, others could love the audios that just didn’t do it for me or not care for the ones I loved.  Once again, while I enjoyed all the stories (so please, read them or listen to them yourselves), I was concentrating on what I thought the reader brought to the table. But I’d love to hear what you think?  Do you enjoy audio books?  Does the reader matter to you?  For authors:  Do you listen to your books in audio form?  Have you been pleased or disappointed about your books were interpreted (you don’t have to use your name)? Is it like when you have no control over the cover of your book?

A number of my readers are trying the audio books out, so you’ll be seeing their takes in the WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs.  Many thanks to Brilliance Audio for making these available.

Bottom Line: My personal preference is unabridged audio.  I want to hear every word the author wrote.

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- February 16th, 2011

Last week I got to see Lily Tomlin with my sisters.  It was amazing to watch her work the audience.  She latched on to an older woman in the audience and when Lily asked her if she wanted to come on stage, the woman replied, “I didn’t bring my accordion.”  (Well, this is Milwaukee.)  She seemed even more incredible when I realized that she was 71 years old.  Seems like only yesterday she was on Laugh In and after one ringy dingy, she had us all enthralled.  Now, here’s the WW Ladies with their enthralling reads of the week.

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joysann

joysann

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Read by joysann

MacKayla Lane continues exploring the strange worlds created by the powerful, missing, insane Unseelie King to find what she needs to capture the evil book of magic that is instrumental in shoring up the walls of the Unseelie prison. More wary than ever of deception and betrayal, she teams up with sidh-seers, druids, Seelie fae, and Jericho Barrons’ mysterious friends, whatever they are, in a final effort to save the world.

The “Fever” series has thrilled and enthralled me from the first, and Shadowfever is a explosion of mystery, action, passion, lust, love and magic. As I read this last book in the series I experienced surprise and wonder, shock and horror, sorrow and grief, hope and joy, and, in the end, satisfaction; I couldn’t have hoped for more. And since I’ve gotten great pleasure from listening to the previous books on audio, I’ll be listening to Shadowfever for that enjoyment soon, because once is not enough.


DeAnn

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

Read by DeAnn

Everyone has their secrets.  Some are just bigger than others.  When Allison Glenn’s are exposed, lives are forever altered, even seemingly destroyed.  As she works towards rebuilding her lost relationships and starting all over, she realizes her past isn’t in the rearview mirror just yet.  The truth must be told.

Heather Gudenkauf has woven a masterful tale of the incredible power of love, loyaty and family.  I easily identified with the characters, as they tried to have hope for the future, while at the same time coming to peace with, and not forgetting the lessons of the past.

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Heidi

Heidi

Welcome to Last Chance by Hope Ramsay

Read by Heidi
Wanda Jane Coblentz has not used her name for a really long time. Most know her as Mary Smith. She just arrived in Last Chance, South Carolina with her last 5 bucks and hope for a fresh start. Clay Rhodes knows she is trouble, but can’t seem to stay away from her. Clay is drawn to her like a moth to a flame. They are both reluctant to take a chance on each other, especially when both of their pasts are catching up with them.
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What a great small town feel throughout this book. I could actually picture all the quirky characters that make up this entire town, and knows every single piece of gossip as soon as it happens. I got caught up in the entire story, as well as the romance of Clay and Jane, and was left wanting more.
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joysann

joysann

Cupid Cats by Katie MacAlister, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Connie Brockway

Read by joysann

“Cupid Cats Shelter: Bring a little magic and love into your life. Adopt a cat.” In Katie MacAlister’s Unleashed, Jacintha Ferreira is called upon in her capacity as an officer in the WA Fish and Wildlife Dept to handle a very large, very unusual wildcat that somehow got into the cat shelter. In Cat Scratch Fever by Connie Brockway, a special old shelter cat brings a widower and his young daughter together with the brilliant, eccentric and lonely scientist that works there. And a cat is instrumental in the reunion of jungle researcher Kate Archer and movie mega-star Jon Ramsey who parted ways in high school in A Cat’s Game by Vicki Lewis Thompson.

As we all know, a cuddly cat can warm our hearts and our laps, and they’re all just a little bit magical, though Cupid Cats are just a little bit more. The affection, the humor, and the romance in these sexy stories are typical of these favorite authors, and I was charmed by each of them again.

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Kym

Kym

The Mistress’ House by Leigh Michaels

Read by Kym

The Earl of Hawthorne bought the lovely house that adjoins his property thinking it will be an ideal place to install his next mistress. To his surprise (and delight), that mistress, Lady Anne Keighley soon becomes his wife. Next up is Felicity Mercer, a friend of Anne’s in need of a hideaway. However, the Earl’s cousin, Lord Colford, makes the scene and sparks fly, resulting in another unexpected wedding. Finally, along comes Georgiana, the Earl’s ward, who is fleeing an arranged marriage. But fate catches up with her in the form of Lord Silsby, a handsome soldier she finds lurking in the garden.

Leigh Michaels wrote the book on romance — literally. Her book On Writing Romance is on the bookshelf of many budding authors, and The Mistress’ House proves she knows her stuff. Her likable characters and clever dialogue are fun, but what I liked best was the way she used the house to link the stories of three couples. It was like getting three books in one! Read it and enjoy!

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DeAnn

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Read by DeAnn

Charley Davidson is a busy girl. Bartender, Private Investigator and Grim Reaper all rolled into one small, albeit feisty package. She seems to have it all. An uncle and father who would do anything for her, great friends (most of them alive) and a man who makes her weak in the knees. So what if she’s not sure who, or what he is?
Darynda Jones has created a cast of characters and a unique story that kept me wanting more every chapter. The twists and turns in this suspenseful drama were amazing, yet it also had me laughing out loud at the banter between the characters. One of the most entertaining books I’ve read I quite some time and I can’t wait for the follow up!

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joysann

joysann

Kentucky Blues by Cat Shaffer

Read by joysann

When Elise Drummond hears the rumor that her mother is living with a much younger man, she’s appalled enough, but when it turns out to be her own high school sweetheart, she flies home to Kentucky determined to put an end to the humiliating affair. Outraged that Sam McCade is taking advantage of a vulnerable woman, she never once considers there might be more to the story than the rumor mill provides. But as she spends time in their company, and feels her own attraction to Sam reignite, she discovers secrets that have them all in danger.

Once I opened the cover of Cat Shaffer’s book, I was hooked. I liked the characters, the suspenseful situation, and the concept of discovering one’s mother might be a “cougar” challenges the imagination. In the end, Kentucky Blues was touching, intriguing, tense, exciting, and satisfyingly romantic.

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Bottom Line: “If you read a lot of books you are considered well read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you’re not considered well viewed.” ~ Lily Tomlin

A Kind of Ferris Bueller Day Off

Barbara Vey -- February 15th, 2011
Andrew didn't exactly have a Ferris Bueller day off, but we still had fun

Andrew didn't exactly have a Ferris Bueller day off, but we still had fun

I know I lamented Valentine’s Day yesterday, but I have to say that I actually had a very nice day.  My son, Andrew, took the day off of work and met me at the mall.  We had a wonderful lunch, perused stores (stopping, of course, in the Apple Store so I could offer up my birthday list) and finding him a World Champion Green Bay Packer shirt.  I had to laugh at the long line of men that snaked through Godiva Chocolates.  Much shorter lines in the jewelry stores.

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We stopped in Barnes and Noble and I have to say that it was quite busy for a weekday.  Maybe they were buying Valentine’s gifts, but whatever the reason, I’m always thrilled to see a busy bookstore.  Since I was with Andrew, we looked at the comic book section and he showed me his newest Marvel app for the iPhone and he had downloaded Marjorie Liu’s comic book.  Since Marjorie also writes paranormal and urban fantasy, I got him to at least look at the paperback section. Hey, anything that gets anyone to read is fine with me.

So I hope you all enjoyed yesterday, no matter what you did and thanks to the Random Number Generator, the winner of yesterday’s Harlequin Kiss Giveaway is commenter number 23, Dee.  Congratulations Dee and please send your snail mail address to bvey@publishersweekly.com and I’ll forward it to Harlequin.  Thanks to everyone for your posts.

Bottom Line: I’ve planted the seed for my boys to get together and buy me an iPad for Mother’s Day.  Andrew said, “Good luck with that.”

Happy Valentine’s Day

Barbara Vey -- February 14th, 2011

Somehow Valentine’s Day doesn’t have the same allure for me that it has in years past.  As a child I couldn’t wait to pass out and receive Valentines, my heart thumping when I would read, “Be My Valentine,” and was signed by Timmy or Jimmy or any other boy in class.   I was sure it meant that they were madly in love with me, but too shy to say it to my face.  My notebooks were filled with me writing, Mrs. Timmy Jones or Mrs. Jimmy Smith.  Although, thinking back, I’m sure their mothers forced them to sign their names to the back of the Valentines, pass them out randomly and never even bother to read what the front of them said.

As I got older, I found that men seemed to like to buy flowery cards with lots of words, possibly thinking bigger is better.  Again, I’m not sure they always read what was on the card and signed their name with an appropriate Valentine gift thinking that they made it through another holiday without screwing it up too much.  (I have 4 brothers and have been privy to some of their thought processes throughout the years.)

Now, after being single for many years, Valentine’s Day, for me, is more to enjoy others experiences.  My favorite Valentine movie is Sleepless in Seattle.  You just can’t beat meeting on the top of the Empire State building and having the tall buildings make their windows light up into a heart shape.  <Sigh…>

Harlequin Kiss Giveaway

Harlequin Kiss Giveaway

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As a special surprise, Harlequin stopped by today to promote their Patent Your Kiss contest. On their site you can create the perfect kiss.  One lucky commenter today will win a Kiss Kit complete with:

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A Compendium of Kisses by Lana Citron
Breaking the Rules by Tawny Weber
MAC PlushGlass Lip Gloss in “Big Kiss”
Scope Mouthwash
Hershey’s Kisses
Cinnamon Hearts

And finally, here’s a delightful, romantic excerpt, sent to me by a reader.  Enjoy!

He grasped me firmly, but gently, just above my elbow and guided me into a room, his room.   Then he quietly shut the door and we were alone.

He approached me soundlessly, from behind, and spoke in a low, reassuring voice, close to my ear.   “Just relax. . . ”

Without warning, he reached down and I felt his strong, calloused hands start at my ankles, gently probing and moving upward along my calves, slowly, but steadily.  My breath caught in my throat.  I knew I should be afraid, but somehow I didn’t care.   His touch was so experienced, so sure.

When his hands moved up onto my thighs, I gave a slight shudder, and I partly closed my eyes.  My pulse was pounding.   I felt his knowing fingers caress my abdomen, my ribcage.  And then, as he cupped my firm, full breasts in his hands, I inhaled sharply.  Probing, searching, knowing what he wanted, he brought his hands to my shoulders, slid them down my tingling spine and into my panties.

Although I knew nothing about this man, I felt oddly trusting and expectant.  This is a man, I thought.   A man used to taking charge.  A man not used to taking “no” for an answer.  A man who would tell me what he wanted.  A man who would look into my soul and say . . . . .

“Okay, ma’am,” said a voice.  “All done.”

My eyes snapped open and he was standing in front of me, smiling, holding out my purse.   “You can board your flight now.”

Remember, any comment will give you a chance to win the Harlequin gift package, winner announced tomorrow.  So, what’s your thoughts on Valentine’s Day?

Bottom Line: I claim there ain’t
Another Saint
As great as Valentine.   ~Ogden Nash

Finishing the Unreadable Book

Barbara Vey -- February 9th, 2011

I am currently reading a book I’m having a hard time getting into.  I’ve already read over 100 pages and it’s taken me 2 weeks.  I’m trying to stick to it because I feel like maybe it’s me and not the book.  Feeling frustrated, I threw it out on Twitter by saying, “Fighting my way through a book & feel awful about it. A book should grab you & make you not want to do anything else but finish it.”

Proving the power of Twitter, Dan Blank retweeted what I said and one of his followers contacted me.  Porter Anderson asked, “With all respect, I wonder if the reader doesn’t share some responsibility to weather a difficult passage? Isn’t it a dialogue?”

Having a dialog

Having a dialog

This got me thinking about a dialogue between an author and the reader.  As a reader, I always thought it was one sided.  The author wrote for me and I really didn’t have any obligation to the author other than to enjoy the book.  Even though I’ve always tried to finish all the books I started, I’ve found that now that I received so many to read and write about, I’m a little pickier about what I spend my time reading.

I always try to give new authors a look and a chance to prove themselves to me.  While it’s not possible for me to love every book I read, I always try  to keep an open mind.  I’ve always subscribed to the theory that there is a reader for every book and offer the books I can’t finish to another reader to enjoy.  Sometimes it works for the best, sometimes it doesn’t.

I can remember starting Outlander by Diana Gabaldon four times before I finally got into it and then I was hooked.  It remains one of my favorites.  I’m grateful for all the good things said about it that made me try time and time again.

While I’m struggling with this book, I’ll keep at it.  I may slip a book in between, but I really have high hopes for this author.  I’ll keep the dialog open and hope to find the diamond in the rough, but how far is enough  before it’s ok to give up?  Are there any books that you had to start several times before finally finishing and then were glad you did? Or do you just feel like you’re time to too valuable to waste on something you aren’t enjoying?

Bottom Line: “When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place.” ~ Unknown

Hanging with my Buds on Super Bowl Sunday

Barbara Vey -- February 7th, 2011
Picture by Doug Mills/The New York Times

Picture by Doug Mills/The New York Times

Really, did you expect any less from a die hard Green Bay Packer fan?  The Packers won the Super Bowl.  Goodness, that feels good to say.  This year’s game was a  lot of work and I was exhausted, but I got by with a little help from my friends.

Since I was home alone, I was kind of sad about watching the game (and yes, the commercials) alone.  I opened my laptop to Twitter and Facebook to “hear” what everyone was saying.  I ended up at the best Super Bowl party ever!  After Tweeting that I was already crying over the beginning where the Declaration of Independence was read (I’m very patriotic and this really got to me), I was soon connecting with many in the publishing world, including the most important part…the readers.

Little Darth Vader

Little Darth Vader

While the game was exciting, heart-stopping, riveting and just plain fun, I do admit to not leaving my seat during the commercials.  Little Darth Vader was adorable.  The take off of “Timmy’s in the well” was clever.  The Audi escape with “Hit ‘em with Kenny G” was charming.  The guy who checked his Facebook status after his date was so “The Social Network.”  Doritos finger sucking ad was gross as was their bringing a dead guy back by sprinkling Doritos on his ashes.  Ewww.  Guys being idiots seemed like a standard theme.  A guy on a date just thinking about her sleeping with him, guys getting hit in the groin and head by soda cans, guys vs rodents.  I don’t even remember what they were advertising.

Gross finger sucking ad

Gross finger sucking ad

There was also a promo commercial called Fans (I think) with clips from old tv shows showing them getting ready for the big game.  Brought back a lot of good memories and a smile.  Oh, and I had to laugh at the guy at the “full service” gas station who freaked out with all the help he was offered.  Sometimes I miss the good old days.

I do have to give props to the House commercial take off on the old mean Joe Green and his jersey, by using House’s cane and leaving the little boy crying.  Totally House.

What were your favorite/worst commercials?

Finally, I want to thank all those who shared their thoughts and emotions with me yesterday.  Keira Soleore, Monica Burns, Jeri Smith-Ready, Dianna Love, Larissa Ione, pjpuppymom, Monica Britt, Lynn Raye Harris, Trish Wylie, Gannon Carr, Gayle Ann Williams, Synde, Mandy M. Roth, Evelyn David, Shadow, C. Ritter, Ann Mayburn, Jennifer St. Giles, J. Wayne Williams, Dina, Blythe Gifford, Gina L. Maxwell, Julia Stone, Terry O’Dell, Mitzi Flyte, Zombie Joe, Shame, Kris Yankee, Raonald Luckwell, Yasmine Galenorn, Limecello, Laurie London, Laura Griffin, Kathleen Parker, Dawn (Too Fond of Books), Patricia McLinn, Edward Boches, Shell Bryce, Kaz, Sleepykitten99, DresdenRose, Runere McLain, A Milwaukee Writer, funnygirlNancy, M Mott, Kay Stockholm, Carrie Ryan, Suzanne Ferrell and Sue Grimshaw.

As a special note, I’d like to give kudos to my oldest son, Keith, who supported the Special Olympics by jumping into the freezing Saint Louis River.  I can think of warmer ways of offering support, but charity is welcome in any form.  Well done Keith!

Keith is in the middle with the Hawaiian shirt on

Keith is in the middle with the Hawaiian shirt on

Bottom Line: I’d like to thank the Pittsburgh Steelers for one of the most thrilling Super Bowls ever.  I’m glad we got to play such a great team.