Monday, April 14, 2008

The Weekly Read 4/14: Ten Second Reviews

Ebooks rule. They fit my multitasking personality so well. Especially since I had to rip out half the blanket I’m working on. Sadly, I discovered this week. Yes, you can get many print books here in electronic format, but not at a discount. JMo talked me into reading Howling at the Moon, and since I didn’t want to go to the bookstore, I looked it up and found it electronically. And while I was looking around I found a few more interesting looking titles, so, off to the races, this is what I read this past week:

Howling at the Moon by Karen MacInerney. Jmo is right, this book was a pleasure to devour and I’m howling because book two won’t be out until NOVEMBER. Grrrr. I don’t read were books easily. I like Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Doreen Orsini got me to read her vampires, but I’m very reluctant to pick up a vampire or were-type book. I’m so glad JMo pushed me on this one. From the first sentence I loved her voice. Fresh, fun, lighthearted and insightful, if you’re reluctant about the shifters like me, you may very well like this one. So the paragraph below bears repeating from last week. Find this book. It went into a second printing before its release just a couple months ago. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it was in a third printing by now.

Sophie Garou is your normal everyday auditor, well if you think werewolves are your normal everyday definition of auditors. When her mom is arrested for murder, Sophie goes into Nancy Drew mode to find the real killer. Things would be easier if the full moon wasn’t days away, her boyfriend knew she was a werewolf and if the sexiest werewolf she’s even seen would just co-operate and let her find the killer.

Next, I picked up a Lori Foster Bundle. Four books in one, these are the stories of four brothers who live in Buckhorn County. Three different fathers, these four men, and one nephew, stick together and are considered upstanding citizens in their small town. Doctor, sheriff, vet, and handyman, they live in the family home, each one doing their best to avoid matrimony. And of course, they all get caught. First up is Sawyer, already disillusioned by one failed marriage, he’s the doctor raising his son with the help of his brothers. A car careening through the fence he’s mending and into the lake brings his country doctor instincts to life, and the sick and injured female inside awakens those slumbering feelings of protectiveness. Of course the brothers love her and harass him. I love the closeness of the brothers. Next is Morgan’s story, followed by Gabe, the youngest. Last of all is Jordan the vet. I loved these books and feel four was about all I could handle in a couple days. Casey, Sawyer’s son, is due up for his story and I’ll look for it as soon as I pay off the AMEX bill.

Pride and a Pregnancy Secret by Tessa Radley, published by Silhouette Desire. I didn’t mean to buy this one (be careful about what you store in the cart or the wish list), but found it enjoyable all the same. I’m not big on the line romances in general and feel you read nine mediocre ones to find the one gem, but when you find it, it makes up for the others. This one falls somewhere in between. Love the Australian setting. Some of the twists were a bit squicky, but I won’t reveal them here to spoil the surprise. A little heavy on the Peyton Place everybody sleeping around theme. I did enjoy the chemistry between the two leads. Fine for a Saturday afternoon when you don’t want to think too much.

If you’re into trilogies, I’m two thirds through one and am itching, just dying, to get to the third book. By JoAnn Ross, set in SW Louisiana, Blue Bayou is the first book of the Callahan Brothers series. What is it with those groups of brothers? Sigh. Love the men. I always get into the men more. My husband likes that… most of the time. Anyhow, young love is interrupted and lovers are torn apart by scheming parents. Thirteen years later, and a whole lot of heartache in between, the two return to their small home town and reconnect. Jack, the middle brother, is now a writer and Danielle, the former belle of the county, is a discarded and humiliated congressman’s widow. Love that the bastard died when his lover’s piano dropped on his head. Bet that one felt good to write. Again, I won’t spoil the ending, but the heartache doesn’t end when they meet again. They have thirteen long years of secrets and deceit to work through. Not the least of which, Jack is living in and renovating her former home, the antebellum mansion Beau Soliel while she contends with the burned out apartment over the library she was supposed to move into upon arrival.

Book two of the series, River Road, takes a fun flip when eldest brother Finn is suspended from the FBI. With nowhere else to go, he heads back to Blue Bayou and is talked into playing body guard to the star of a Hollywood soap opera. Younger brother Nate is mayor of the town and he doesn’t have a sheriff, so Finn reluctantly steps into protect the bad girl of the show, Julia. Their backgrounds couldn’t have been more different and yet they share a love of James Bond. In fact, Julia is the next Bond Girl and only has to get through filming the season finale of the show River Road. But someone is threatening her and the serial killer Finn caught gets loose. The two butt heads until they tire of fighting. A crazy every changing script keeps them all on their toes until the very last shooting. Fun, funny, sexy and, well, just plain fun. I’m looking forward to book three, Magnolia Moon which I’ll start reading just as soon as I finish writing a blog entry and critting some work. (You can read the blog entry this Wednesday over at

Jmo, your turn, what did you get into this past week?

Sorry, but I'm forcing my way through Dune. Between that and nasty pollen, I haven't been able to read anything without falling to sleep five seconds after I start. Feel free to shoot me, or do something about the yellow stuff falling like snow outside my door.

As for Dune, ‘cause MorganO is making me say something, it’s a fantastic book, a treasured old reread that brings back memories of a youth spent hiding in my room imagining new worlds just a transmat beam away.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Press Release from the Clown Corps

Candy Coated Clown has a whooping 4.5 Ribbon Review from Romance Junkies! I am totally blown away and what better way to spend a weekend than wrapped in Blue Ribbons. I can’t thank Lacey enough for her kind words…

CANDY COATED CLOWN is laugh out loud hilarious! Though mean at times, Candace only wanted to have a good birthday, where in return she had anything but. I love the humor the author uses throughout the story. J. Morgan’s storytelling was refreshing and left me anxious to see what happened next in Candace and Ash’s story. I’d give this story a ten if that was possible, but since it’s not, my recommendation will have to do. Everyone who’s ever had a bad day should pick a copy of CANDY COATED CLOWN. It’s one story that is not to be missed!

Thanks again to Romance Junkies and Lacey for making my day.

For the entire review, go to the link below

And for your copy of

Candy Coated Clown

Head over to Champagne Books,

where Clown Lovin’

is only a click away

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Weekly Read 4/8: Ten Second Reviews

One week until Tax Day and yes, I finally got the paperwork to my accountant. Now I have to steal – uh, I mean borrow, yeah, that’s it – borrow a bunch of money from the kid to pay what we owe. Fortunately, he’s getting a nice refund and we’re getting a good chunk back in May so his savings will rebound nicely.

Ebooks still led the charge as I’m working on crocheting another blanket. This one for Jmo. He’ll love it. Already I have to keep the window open and ceiling fan on while working on it or I get too warm. Anyhow, ebooks. Last time it was Samhain, this time I went shopping at Cobblestone. Easy ordering there, love the cover art and some of my favorite e-authors can be found there.

Incognito: Pursuing Penelope by Madison Layle and Anna Leigh Keaton. The previous book in the series, Conquering Connie, ended with a fire and a to-be-continued line. I really hate those, but Penelope picked up immediately with the woman suspected of setting the fire being rescued by two hunky firemen. What made this particularly intriguing, was not 24 hours after finishing this book, in which the heroine had come from an obscure polygamist religious group, I read about the 400 children being liberated from a similar situation in Texas. It underscored the book and how sex and marriage can be twisted into something evil or good. It also made me wonder about those women and children rescued in Texas.

Sweetest Desires by Anna Leigh Keaton. Apparently I’m in a Valentine’s frame of mind. After reading this one, and Meghan’s Submission, I went back and bought another Valentine’s story that I’ll get to next week. In this one, hotel maid is given a box of special truffles to share with someone special. Only she has no one. After falling asleep by mistake in the suite of a hotel guest, she is awakened by his return. He eats one of her truffles then invites her to dinner. He’s a lonely widower, far out of touch with the dating scene, particularly with a woman nearly twenty years younger than he is. They fumble, hit, miss, misunderstand, part badly then come together again six months later. Funnily enough, there’s a fire in this book too. I love Anna Leigh Keaton’s writing anyway. I have several of her other books which involve more hot and hunky firemen and a police officer, the To Serve and Protect series. Good writing, Anna. Keep ‘em coming!

Risking it All by Anna Leigh Keaton. Yup, another ALK book. Ex-supermodel, injured and hurting returns to the ranch of her teenage crush to serve as his housekeeper and nanny. A bit of a stretch, but a poignant and touching story. Again, fabulous writing. And yes, there was a fire in this one too. In the past and the source of the injuries to the heroine. Hmm, is ALK a closet pyro? Or is she married to a fireman? Hot hero, good book.

Meghan’s Submission by Cassandra Moore. A Valentine’s night to remember. Meghan, a bank teller by day, finds a yellow rose with a note attached. She follows the instructions and finds herself in a penthouse suite with a sweet cook. He’s set up the suite for another couple, but when one falls ill and plans are canceled, what’s a guy to do? He watches Meghan put the flower in the vase and since dinner is already cooked, and the room paid for, why let it all to waste? A tasty treat to keep your sweet tooth sharpened for next Valentine’s.

Fallen Angels by Lori Foster. Because reading print books in one setting can be difficult these days, the separation of three books in one binding is nice. Three stories all intertwined by the characters involved. Lori writes strong alpha males and clever heroines with witty banter and smart plots. Two PIs, one secretary, three hot stories.

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. This is one case where I’d love it if the publishing house would list the order in which books should be read inside the cover. I know I’ve read two books that chronologically come after this one, but since I read them out of order, my mind is a little twisted. Drives me nuts. Overall, as a stand-alone, an entertaining historical. She goes into a few details I’ve not seen in other historical, though I am NOT a Regency or Victorian expert by any means. I do feel as if I learned a little history, the deeper day to day details history books don’t provide. Well written and loveable characters I’m happy to see pop up in other books.

Morning Light by Catherine Anderson. This one stymied me a little. Love the message – paranormal and deep religious faith are not mutually exclusive. You can believe in ESP and God at the same time. Where it hung me up was the writing and a tendency to get preachy. Catholic guilt. Got it. Don’t need to keep going on. Stilted dialogue and somewhat stiff prose didn’t help much, but great plot. Used intelligence to work the hero around to accepting clairvoyance as being a divine gift and not a parlor trick. Better writing would have made the book more enjoyable, instead, it was a bit painful at times and the stiff dialogue, along with long sermons, slowed things down and broke my concentration. Overall, worth reading, just be prepared.

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. JUST finished this one. Have been dying to read it ever since I finished Match Me if You Can and nearly screamed for joy when I found the HB edition marked down to $5.95 at Borders. Love, love, love this book. Had to set it down at 4 am and get some sleep, but then woke up to dive right back into it. Get the list from SEP’s website and read them in order. Do not stop until you get to the end of this one. You can’t help but fall in love with the professional athletes and possibly even football as well. As soon as pre-season starts up again I’m picking up the books at the beginning and reading them again. Could become a yearly tradition.

Jmo, what did you get into this past week?

What did Jmo read?

Well, I only managed to finish one book this week. Don’t ask me how many I have started. My weekly trip to the retail version of hell produced one heck of a read. I rarely go out on a limb and try a new writer without a bucket-load of recommendations to make me plop my hard earned money done. The minute I thumbed to the first page of Howl at the Moon I was hooked. The first line got me!

Howling at the Moon by Karen MacInerney was more than a surprise it was the highlight of my month. This book was a pleasure to devour. That’s the only way I can describe it. Howl at the Moon is a perfect blend of mystery, romance and comedy. I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed this book.

Sophie Garou is your normal everyday auditor, well if you think werewolves are your normal everyday definition of auditors. When her mom is arrested for murder, Sophie goes into Nancy Drew mode to find the real killer. Things would be easier if the full moon wasn’t days away, her boyfriend knew she was a werewolf and if the sexiest werewolf she’s even seen would just co-operate and let her find the killer.

That’s my read for the week. What’s sitting in my pile? Small Favors by Jim Butcher. Now if my wife can hurry up and finish it, I can get my greedy hands on it. think she’ll notice if I spiked her iced tea and just took it? Don’t answer that.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Guest Blogger Catherine Stang

I have a confession to make. I’m a writer/mom or is that mom/writer – some days I forget. Actually, I started off as mom/writer and gradually moved into being a writer/mom as my son got older.

I stayed home after my son was born, planning to have a large family. After a series of miscarriages, I realized that wasn’t going to happen, so I had to refocus my life. I started writing again and slowly fought my way past the grief. Back then writing was something I did to fill the time while my son was in preschool or napping. I had never considered it for a career. I just loved writing.

Then one day I saw an ad in the paper for a writer’s conference. There I discovered Romance Writers of America and other writers who gave me the courage to send my work out.

I began traveling down that long road of submission and rejection. Meanwhile, my son grew up and started school. Many of my friends went back to work, but I stayed home to write. I just couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

As time passed my son began to ask me what to write on the line for mom’s job when he enrolled for school. In the early days I wrote stay at home mom on that line. As he grew older, he’d roll his eye balls back in his head at the idea that he needed a mom at home. So I gradually wrote mom/writer. Somehow writing that made it seem all the more real, that, yes, I was a writer.

When I sold my first book, my son’s comment was, “Oh, good, now I know what to write on the mom’s job line – romance writer.”

Since that book was an e book my job still was sort of a secret to everyone, but the school. I’m sure people wondered why I’m home all day or for that matter what I do, but I’d given up explaining.

I got invited to career day when he was in sixth grade. My son told everyone that I “kill people off” in my books. Since I write suspense that is sort of true, but I wish he would have clued me in BEFORE I started my talk. I was a bit blindsided when a boy raised his hand and asked me point blank if it was true that I knew dozens of ways to kill people off. After that the questions were flying. Thank goodness their teacher changed the subject to how many times I write, rewrite and revise. You could see all their faces drop, because that wasn’t nearly as exciting to sixth graders as possible gory stories, but it probably saved both the teacher and me from many upset parent phone calls.

They were disappointed to learn that I don’t really travel to far away places and that most of my adventures happen in my head. So I fast went from being kind of cool to being a bit nerdy, which I am.

Well last year my first print book came out and was at our local bookstore, so my secret is out. Being from a very small town, now everyone knows what I do. I’ve now officially moved to being an author. But you know what, I’ll always be writer/mom no matter how old my son gets. Just don’t tell him that.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Getcha Some Mis-Staked!

The time has come! Shove that copy of Dracula in the sock drawer where it belongs. Toss out those Buffy DVDs. That’s right Mis-Staked, the only guide to vampire slaying for virgins and the nerdishly impaired has hit the internet bookshelves. Don’t accept cheap substitutes. When there’s fangs smacking on your neck, you’ll be sorry. This in no way promises that Mis-Staked will save you from neck smacking, but why take the chance. Run out and get your copy today.

Disclaimer: Purchase of Mis-Staked does not include: actual stakes, garlic or holy water. Reader must provide own vampires to enjoy full affect of the book. Neither J. Morgan or Champagne Books can be held responsible for spontaneous monitor spewing. In other words don’t drink and read or you’re gonna get a ticket.


A Comedy of Vampiric Proportions

Available Now!


Champagne Books