Monthly Archives: February 2012

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- February 22nd, 2012

I just saw a display of Peeps and I knew it was getting to be one of my favorite times of the year…Peepfest!  I love to open them and let them get hard for a couple of days before I eat them.  I prefer them tough and kind of stale instead of soft and gooey.  It’s hard to wait though, so sometimes I have to hide them so I don’t eat them too soon and yes, I have on occasion forgotten where I hid them and got a nice surprise much later.  Let me wipe the drool from my mouth and let you catch up on what the WW Ladies have been reading lately.




Tall, Dark and Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy

Read by joysann

Lacy Bradford’s trophy-wife world in Virginia collapses when it turns out that her now ex-husband swindled town folk for millions, making her a local pariah, and putting her in danger from some of the seamier of his business partners. The only person she can think of that might help her is a former farm-boy high school admirer who had always supported her. Having come a long way from a goofy 4-H champion to a real Wyoming cattle rancher, the now handsome, virile Chase Caldwell doesn’t react very well when Lacy finds him, but the sizzling chemistry between them encourages Chase to take the chance he missed all those years ago.

A sucker for western romances, the sexy cowboy on the cover attracted me when I was looking for a fun contemporary romance, and Joanne Kennedy’s book fulfilled its promise with a great deal of charm. With danger and excitement and horses, Tall, Dark and Cowboy was funny and sexy, with lots of yearning and hope and romance, and was exactly what I was looking for.




Restless Heart by Wynonna Judd

Read by Heidi

Destiny Hart’s singing career started off with a dare to sing “America the Beautiful” at the Kentucky Idol contest. When Destiny brings down the house, she goes in pursuit of her dreams of becoming a singing star. Destiny has the ambition and the pipes to achieve what she has dreamed about her whole life, but at what cost? Leaving behind family, friends, and the man she loves is certainly a sacrifice to become a star. Destiny is willing to find out but is hoping that those she left behind might still support her and love her.

I have to admit, I picked this book because Wynonna is one of my favorite singers, and was intrigued by the story. I STAYED with the book because I really enjoyed the heart behind this book. Wynonna’s experience in the industry is reflected in the feeling behind the book. I was asked several times by people who knew I was reading this book how I liked it. I can honestly say, “It’s such a nice book!” When was the last time you enjoyed a nice book? For me, it’s been a while. It’s nice and so enjoyable, and I felt good reading it from beginning to end. Chalk one up again for Wynonna, it’s a hit!



Spider’s Revenge by Jennifer Estep

Read by Liz

Gin Blanco is on a mission … all stops pulled. She’s going to take down Mab Monroe once and for all. Mab was responsible for the murder of her family and now she’s bringing in the heavy guns .. hiring mercenaries and bounty hunters to bring down the assassin known as the Spider. In a world of elemental magic, Gin holds an advantage where she controls two elements, Stone and Ice. But is that strong enough to withstand an elemental like Mab, who’s incredibly strong with Fire? The two seem evenly matched, until Mab managed to kidnap Gin’s youngest sister, Bria. Now, as far as Gin is concerned, the stakes just went off the charts. She’ll do anything to save her sister. Even sacrifice herself.

The fifth book in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, she has again managed to create a a nail biting story that had me on the edge of my chair.



Yours To Keep by Shannon Stacey

Read by Heidi

Sean Kowalski had no idea when he left the army, that he was married! But when he finds out Emma Shaw has mislead her grandmother that he is her fiancé so she wouldn’t worry while in Florida, Sean thinks that Emma is nuts. But he is a man of his word and decides to play along for the brief visit. Little does he know that playing along will make sparks fly, and there is more that playing that Sean would like in his life.

This was the kind of story that makes you smile from beginning to end. My favorite characters were the grandmothers on both sides, who learn about the ruse, but play along, especially when they see the attraction between the “fake” couple. It was completely hysterical wondering who was going to discover who was faking and who wasn’t. I am really going to enjoy the other Kowalski books.



Drink Deep by Chloe Neill

Read by Liz

Merit is the Sentinel of Cadogan House of Chicago. With humans placing the blame for anything supernatural on vampires, it falls to her to find out why Lake Michigan has suddenly turned black and apparently dead. It doesn’t help that she’s also dealing with the death of her lover and the Master of Cadogan House, Ethan. To top it off, her House is being investigated by Frank Cabot of the Greenwich Presidium which oversees all vampire Houses. He is determined to see Cadogan House fail and be disbanded.  To make matters worse, the lake isn’t the only supernatural anomaly. Soon the sky turns red and begins to spit lightening and the earth begins erupting. This is obviously magic at work, but who is performing it and why?

The fifth book in Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series, I found this to be a fascinating story with a number of twists and turns that left me guessing.


Just a reminder, February 29th is the last day to get your book in for a giveaway on the anniversary blog March 5-10th.  Email me at for info.


Bottom Line:  There’s a whole Peeps Store in Mall of America…I have to get there someday.

Judi McCoy Loses Battle with Diabetes

Barbara Vey -- February 20th, 2012
Judi McCoy

Judi McCoy

Author Judi McCoy passed away on February 19th due to complications from diabetes.


Judi was known for her series of cozy mysteries featuring a dog-walker and her doggy side kick.  A true dog lover herself, Judi’s website boasts of three dogs who give her inspiration for her books.  Over the years she has also written paranormal and contemporary romance.  I remember reading Making Over Mr. Right and delighting in the antics of the exiled muses from Mt. Olympus.


Friend, Renee Bernard sums up her feelings on her blog by saying:  “I’m running out of tissue.  I’m weeping like a fool…except when I’m not.  Except when I’m remembering the bathtub incident at RT in New York that year when she and I roomed together.  Except when I remember that voice, like nails and glass in a metal coffee can sometimes…that accent that could cut through wire…but oh, god, she was so sincere and so funny.  She was so generous to everyone.  She could drive you crazy one minute and then make you thank every angel in heaven that you had her close at hand.  She’d argue that she was “nobody” in the industry and that no one knew/cared who she was until you wanted to throttle her.  Then she’d just laugh at you and bask in all the compliments and praise… and she deserved every word of it.”   (You can read the entire blog here.)


Please feel free to share your memories of Judi here.  I wish I would have known her better.


Bottom Line:  “If you like books that make you smile, have interesting plot twists and fairy tale endings, I think you’ll find my books a perfect read.” ~ Judi McCoy



The Morning Blend

Barbara Vey -- February 17th, 2012

Back in October when I turned 60, I said this was the year I was going to try new things.  Well, Wednesday morning I was on The Morning Blend TV show in Milwaukee.  I was invited on to talk about the Reader Appreciation Luncheon I’m hosting here April 10th.


Primping at the Green Room mirror

Primping at the Green Room mirror


I got up at 5 am so I’d have enough time to get ready for the 9 am live show.  Since I don’t normally wear make-up, this took a very long time.  Author Dianna Love was kind enough to fly up from Atlanta to be my wingman.  We also picked up my good friend, Mary, to be our official photographer since this monumental event needed to be documented.


We arrived at the studio a half an hour earlier than we were supposed to because I hate being late and I wanted to enjoy every moment.  We were escorted to the “Green Room” to wait.  Now I’m sure you’ve all heard about the green room, but this one wasn’t green.  it had lots of chairs, coffee, water and a huge mirror with those big make-up lights.  Very comforting and cozy, but no bowls of just green M&Ms or donuts or alcohol.  I guess they didn’t get my list of demands.


Dianna Love, producer Kim Bucanan, Barbara Vey

Dianna Love, producer Kim Buchanan, Barbara Vey

Katie, the assistant producer came in and explained what would happen, but I’ve got to say that I only heard about every 3 words.  I was clutching my notes and trying to remember all the talking points I wanted to get in during my 5 minutes of fame.  We were to be the first interviewed on the show.


Off to the set which always looks so small in person.  In one corner was the news desk, then the weather station and the Morning Blend set.  In another section, a chef was setting up his presentation for making giant cinnamon rolls.  It smelled delicious in there.


Dianna Love, Barbara Vey, Molly Faye, Tiffany Ogle

Dianna Love, Barbara Vey, Molly Fay, Tiffany Ogle

We were miked and watched the hosts, Molly Fay and Tiffany Ogle chat and make each other presentable for the camera.  The are both beautiful, so they didn’t have too much to do.  They had a funny opening segment about Valentine Day mishaps and Tiffany told a story about an embarrassing PDA involving her boyfriend and groping the wrong person in a crowd.  I’ve actually done that, so I could identify.


Now it was our time to shine.  I’ve got to say that 5 minutes pass in the blink of an eye and my meticulously written notes were forgotten once the camera were on.  But, all in all, it was a wonderful experience.  I wasn’t nervous, because as anyone who knows me, I can always find something to talk about, but this event is dear to my heart and I wanted everyone to get all the information.  Molly and Tiffany were so charming and asked all the right questions, Dianna talked about being a New York Times Best Selling author and I even got to plug my Chicken Soup book.


I gave them each a tote bag which will be given out during the luncheon filled with books (thanks to Kristen Painter, Roxanne St. Claire, Louisa Edwards and Victoria Alexander for supplying the bags).  I also invited Molly and Tiffany to come to the luncheon and meet all 38 amazing authors.  After the show, Kim the producer, invited some of the attending authors to come and be on the show.


This was an experience I would wish for all of you.  It’s like riding a roller coaster.  You wait in line forever, but the ride is worth it.  Your stomach flip flops, you laugh, you scream with the thrill of it all and after it’s over you want to get back on and do it again.


Due to copyrights, I can’t post it here, but you can watch the segment here.  Let me know what you think.  Should I do it again or just stick to writing the blog?  Would you do it?


Bottom Line:  The Morning Blend is now my favorite morning show.

My Valentine Day’s Read

Barbara Vey -- February 15th, 2012
Squishy firehat

Squishy fireman's hat

Everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day differently from dinner and flowers to candy and cards.  And I’ve had my share of it all over the years.


Since I was going to be spending the day alone, I wanted a very romantic book to read.  I have tons to choose from, but just at that moment the UPS driver dropped off a package.  Inside was a book and a squishy red fireman’s hat that said, “The Bachelor Firemen.”  It looked Valentine-y, so I took a closer look at the book.  The Fireman Who Loved Me by Jennifer Bernard.  Sounded like just what I needed.

What’s better than a book about heroic firemen?  How about one about a whole firehouse full of good looking, bachelor firemen (and women)?

Melissa McGuire is a news producer and wonderful granddaughter who is tricked into going to a charity Firemen’s Auction by her matchmaking grandmother.  Captain Harry Brody goes to the auction to keep an eye on his men.  Thanks to Grans generous bidding the unlikely couple are pushed together.  Add in a cast of likeable characters, some unlikeable ones, a deadly fire and investigative news story, this book is off and running.

There’s nothing better than finding a satisfying read.  I started it in the morning and finished it by dinner (of course, I didn’t really do anything else all day, but that’s ok in my book).  I absolutely adored the characters and had several aww moments.  My own Gram would have been 102 on Valentine’s Day, so that character touched a place in my heart.  A very romantic book to read on the number one romantic day of the year.  Congratulations Jennifer on your delightful debut novel.


Bottom Line:  Now about the rest of the bachelor firemen…

On Being a Writer, Librarian, Romance Writer

Barbara Vey -- February 13th, 2012

These clever photos have been floating around Facebook and I wanted to share them with those of you who may have missed them.  It always amazes me, the different perceptions people have of what others really do.  Here’s a couple to think about.






Bottom Line:  Still looking for the pictures that represent bloggers.

A Valentine for Librarians

Barbara Vey -- February 10th, 2012

I was the oldest of nine children, so we didn’t buy books except school books.  They were treasures to me.  The idea of actually owning a book of your very own seemed like something just rich people did.  For the rest of us there was the library.

I can still remember my first trip to the library. I felt like I was entering holy ground.  It appeared so huge to my young eyes.  Rows upon rows of every subject you could ever imagine.  And the quiet was so very quiet.  You could hear the turning of pages, the scrap of chair across the floor and the occasional shush from the librarian.  If there was any talking it was in extremely muted tones.

I turned in my application for my library card (it had to be signed by my parent) and was given the golden ticket to the world.  My adventures had just begun and my head hurt thinking about where to start.  I quickly mastered the card catalog system.  For me, it was like a scavenger hunt.  You wrote down the numbers that coincided with the book you wanted (which looked like a secret code to a kid) with a stubby little pencil on a tiny piece of paper and were off searching for the one book that would unlock the secrets of the universe, or at least show you how to make a volcano out of vinegar and baking soda.

Hours were spent dreaming of someday becoming a librarian and being able to touch every book there.  I wanted to be able to answer every question, recommend books to people, put joy into their lives as it had been given to me.

I never did make it to my dream of being a librarian (which I still consider one of the noblest occupations), but I now find myself recommending books to people, touching lots of books and talking to librarians who helped shape my life.

Bottom Line:  Thank you, librarians, for all your incredible hard work and dedication.


WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- February 8th, 2012

Only 25 more days until our big 5th Anniversary Party here at Beyond Her Book.  The virtual party will take place March 5-10th covering all genres.  We’ll travel the world giving great prizes donated by authors and publishers including Kindle Fires, e-readers, books, gift cards and gift baskets.  Something for everyone.  If you want to donate something, please email .  In the meantime, check out some books that may be given away during the bash.




Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Read by Sophie, 16

To everyone else, she’s Liz, and Kate is her best friend, but to Liz, she’s Photogirl, and Kate’s not just her best friend, but her forever-best friend; always has been, always will be.  But after one fight and a sour Saturday Night Slumber, Liz feels awful and Kate is avoiding her like the plague.  Her old photos are sad reminders of what they used to be, and her new photos show Liz just what she is without her other half—completely lost.  But if the terrible rumors that are spreading around Liz and Kate’s high school and hometown of Shoreview are true, Liz can’t blame Kate for not being able to look at her and spend time with Liz and her family the way she used to without recalling what is likely the most horrific and devastating memory Kate will ever have.

Written in a clever and fluent free-verse, Exposed is one story that bares the souls of two very relatable and real teenage girls.  A story like few others, Kimberly Marcus has put in fewer than 300 pages a work of art as brilliant and beautiful as the art her intricate and lovable characters create.  I found this eye-opening and impossibly enticing; set a couple hours aside for this book—you’ll need it.





The Mermaid Garden by Santa Montefiore

Read by Paula

The Tuscan Mermaid Garden is one of wondrous splendor and undeniable allure to the young Floriana, whose own life is bereft of joy or beauty. It is in this wondrous paradise that her star-crossed romance with the well-to-do, handsome Dante flourishes. Several decades later, an equally tragic Marina struggles to save the existence she has built on top of buried secrets. As she explores her options for holding on to her beloved Devonshire hotel and home, she comes face to face with a past she had given up on ever revisiting.

Two stories separated by time and distance come together in this exquisite romance set in Italy and England, both conjured in lush imagery and exquisite detail. I was delighted by the fairy-tale elements of the story, and found all of the main characters realistic and, ultimately likable. This is several love stories and a mystery in one!




The Departed by Shiloh Walker

Read by joysann

Desiree “Dez” Lincoln, who can actually communicate with ghosts, is forced to resign and go private when her paranormal unit leader, FBI Special Agent Taylor Jones, decided, for his own secret peace of mind, to transfer her to a “safer” unit. But their paths cross again when Dez is called to Taylor’s midwestern home town by a restless spirit to prevent a murder. But that dangerous investigation gets them tied up together with the heartache and loss in Taylor’s own family history.

An intriguing story from start to finish, Shiloh wraps a rocky romance with its ups and downs in a soft blanket of melancholia that is the hope of an afterlife and communication with lost loved ones. Despite the heartache all around them, the story is not a sad one, and the hope of a happily-as-long-as-they-live ending makes it romantic and gratifying. And who can say about a happily-forever-after?




Devil’s Kiss by Zoe Archer

Read by Dina

Hellraisers are a group of five friends.  In 1762, Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney (Whit) loves to gamble, not for money, but for the excitement and risk.  Zora Grey is a Roman girl in a gypsy camp.  Her smoldering voice has captivated  Whit’s attention.  Zora is unsure about her attraction to Whit and the Hellraisers wicked curse.

The first book in this series was delightful.  The chemistry between the two main characters was powerful.  I’m looking forward to reading many more books about the Hellraisers.





Chicks Kick Butt edited by Rachel Caine and Kerrie L. Hughes

Read by joysann

Thirteen popular Urban Fantasy/Paranormal authors contributed to this short story anthology, giving readers a total smorgasbord of girl-power goodness that can’t be put down. Along with Rachel Caine, CKB includes stories by L.A. Banks, Rachel Vincent, Karen Chance, Lilith Saintcrow, Cheyenne McCray, Jenna Black, Susan Krinard, Jeanne Stein, Elizabeth Vaughan, Carole Nelson Douglas, P.N. Elrod, and Nancy Holder.

I’ve previously read and enjoyed stories by everyone of these terrific authors, and I’m addicted to the series books that most of them have going. I find myself digging out the books I have for a refresher, or marking my calendar with release dates of their next books that I await with anticipation. With this collection, Kerrie Hughes and Rachel Caine bat a thousand as every single story included makes it the best multi-author anthology I’ve read in quite awhile.


Come to Barbara Vey’s first Reader Appreciation Luncheon with 38 top authors!  Details here.  


Bottom Line:  Just a head’s up…tomorrow is Read a Book in the Bathtub Day and I plan to turn into a prune.

Rainbow Romance Writers Question RWA on Discrimination

Barbara Vey -- February 6th, 2012

Let me start by stating that I don’t belong to RWA (Romance Writers of America) or RWI (Romance Writers Ink) or RRW (Rainbow Romance Writers), but I’ve been trying to follow the storm brewing on the internet about same-sex romances being unaccepted in the More Than Magic (MTM) writing conference offered by the RWI chapter of RWA.


In the rules of the MTM contest, it is stated “  Note: MTM will no longer accept same-sex entries in any category.”  No reason in given in the rules.  I have contacted RWI, and here is the information I have received:

On behalf of RWI, a small local chapter of RWA:
After much consideration, RWI regretfully announces the MTM Published Author Contest has been cancelled. All monies received from entrants will be returned as soon as possible. We have heard and understood the issues raised, and will take those concerns into consideration should the chapter elect to hold contests in the future. Please note: our contest coordinator, Jackie, is a chapter member who graciously volunteered to collect entries and sort by category. It is unfortunate that she has become the object of personal ridicule and abuse. We recognize the decision to disallow same-sex entries is highly charged. We also opted not to accept YA entries. We do not condone discrimination against individuals of any sort.


RRW president Heidi Cullinan wrote a passionate blog called “RWA Shouldn’t Be in the Business of Discrimination.”  In it she states, “Several members have emailed [RWI] to ask why the change; one member got a reply. She was told it was a hard decision, but some members of the chapter felt “uncomfortable” with same-sex entries.” You can read the entire blog here.


KT Grant published, in her blog, a response from Erin Frye of RWA to Isobel Carr regarding RWA’s stance on individual chapter contests.  “Chapter licensing agreements do not dictate the rules for chapter contests, and the idea that RWA can or should police contests run by its 145 chapters is fraught with complications. Following the suggestion logically, how far should RWA go with regulating chapter contests? Should RWA require chapters to only allow entries that would qualify for the RITA competition? If so, that would rule out contests that are open to books that are self published and/or books published by many small presses. Viewing the situation from another perspective, if the Rainbow chapter wished to hold a contest for the best LGBT books, should RWA say that’s not allowed? Personally, I don’t think so. Each chapter is separately incorporated and governed by volunteer leaders who are expected to make decisions in the best interests of the organization they serve. Each chapter is therefore allowed to offer programs and services that reflect the special interests and sensibilities of its members.”  You can read the entire blog here.


I see several different issues here.  Do individual chapters have the right to choose what they want to allow into their contests?  Is it discrimination if they don’t?  What if they can’t find readers to judge the contest?  Is it their responsibility to find judges if not readily available?


I looked at the RWI website and they appear to be a small group in Tulsa, OK.  I also checked out the RRW website and noticed that they didn’t have a contest available on their site.  Should RRW be required to have one?  And if they did would they accept all types of romance?


Is it up to RWA to police all the contest that are run in all the chapters?


I sure don’t claim to have any of the answers.  I know this is a hot button topic.  Even though I have read same sex books and we have blurbed about them on the blog, it’s not a topic I normally read.  But then there are other genres I don’t necessarily read because they aren’t my cup of tea.  These are personal choices of mine, but others may be fine with them and that’s okay.  That’s why there are so many choices out there.


Now that you have heard all sides, is this an issue that got bigger than it would have if things weren’t so instantaneous on the internet?  Would cooler minds have prevailed if everyone had a chance to have their say?  Do you still believe this was a blatant act of discrimination?  Or was it just a small chapter working within their means?


Bottom Line:  No easy answers here today.


Monday Giveaways

From Mia Marlow:  Two chances to win an advance reading copy of Mia Marlowe’s TOUCH OF A ROGUE (one of Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten Romances for Spring 2012!). Leave a comment for Mia at on Monday Feb. 6th and at on Thursday Feb. 9th. Good luck!