Tuesday, 20 August 2013

COVER REVEAL for ‘Romancing Lady Stone’ by Delilah Marvelle

When I was growing up, there was one movie that, to me, screamed Romance. And Romance Novels.

Action, adventure, swoonworthy moments, a handsome roguish hero and a beautiful heroine (who was a Romance novelist, one of my desired careers!) I would regularly comb the TV listings (thank you PBS Pledge Drives!) and settle down to watch Romancing the Stone whenever I could.

Happily, in high school, I had a teacher who also loved the movie and we spent many class hours watching the movie, as well as its sequel, Jewel of the Nile. (Don't get me started on when she had us watching Midnight Express though!)

Turns out, I'm not the only one who loved Romancing the Stone.
A real life Romance Novelist does too!

Delilah Marvelle admitted today that it is one of her favourite romance movies of the 80's! If you don't already know who she is, let's meet her!

Delilah Marvelle is the winner of the Reviewer's Choice for Best Sensual Historical Romance of the Year and had Booklist name her historical romance 'Forever and a Day' one of the TOP 10 Romance of 2012. When she isn't writing, she's digging through research books. You can visit her at her website at www.DelilahMarvelle.com 

If you'd like to get to know Delilah better, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter too!

I have been a fan for quite some time, and the admiration only grows stronger.
Her newest novella, Romancing Lady Stone, is a nod to our beloved movie.

About the novel-la:
He believes in destiny. She just wants to survive it...
At forty, Lady Cecilia Evangeline Stone thinks she has everything a woman could ever want. A title, a fortune, and four children who make her proud. After a marriage of convenience that was anything but convenient, she has no desire to complicate her life by including a man in it again. When her eldest son announces his engagement to a Russian actress in Saint Petersburg, Cecilia sets out to do what any good mother would do: stop the wedding. Unfortunately, destiny has other plans.
Konstantin Alexie Levin never considered himself to be a villain. In fact, he considers himself to be a Russian gentleman. Having grown up in a refined and well-educated family that embraced criminal life to avoid debtor’s prison, the only thing preventing him from knowing happiness is the rest of the world. Everything changes, however, when Konstantin is given a chance to start life anew and travel to London to collect an unexpected reward for saving a man’s life. To his surprise, he is about to become a hero at midnight to a beautiful aristocrat who desperately needs his help. The problem is…he wants to do more than save Lady Stone. He wants to make the woman his, all his.

WARNING: This book is Rated Double S (Sweaty & Sinful) and contains strong language and sexual content which may cause respectable people to swoon.

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Friday, 2 August 2013

Book Review: The Silver Chain

The Silver Chain by Primula Bond

Format: eBook via Netgalley
Publisher: Gallery Books

From the Publisher: Bound by passion, she was powerless to resist.
One dark evening in London, photographer Serena Folkes is indulging her impulsive side with a night-time shoot. But someone is watching her – mysterious entrepreneur Gustav Levi. Serena doesn’t know it yet, but this handsome stranger will change her life forever…
Serena is fascinated by Gustav, the enigmatic owner of the Levi Gallery, and she soon feels an irresistible pull of attraction. The interest is mutual, and Gustav promises to launch Serena’s photographic career at his gallery, but only if Serena agrees to become his exclusive companion.
To mark their agreement, Gustav gives Serena a bracelet to wear at all times. Attached to it is a silver chain of which he is the keeper. With the chain Gustav controls Serena physically and symbolically – a sign that she is under his power.
As their passionate relationship intensifies, Gustav’s hold on the silver chain grows stronger. But will Gustav’s dark past tear them apart?
An erotic romance novel perfect for fans of 50 Shades of Grey and Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series. The Silver Chain is the first in the sexy, passionate and addictive Unbreakable Trilogy by Primula Bond.

I wanted to like the book, I really did.
Unfortunately no matter how hard I tried to push through, I just couldn't finish it.

It's another weak attempted BDSM tried to hop on the 50 Shades bandwagon. 50 Shades was laughable at best, and unfortunately The Silver Chain tries too hard to be a grittier version the same, just without the laughs.
There is not much more I can say, I couldn't like or relate to any of the characters or stilted situations.
If you liked 50 Shades, maybe you'll like this, but I can't even read it ironically.

The Silver Chain is available for digital purchase on amazon.com, and will available in print on September 17th.

Book Review: Finding Colin Firth

Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

Format: eBook via Netgalley
Publisher: Gallery Books

From the Publisher: From the author of The Meryl Streep Movie Club, “a heartwarming, spirit-lifting read just in time for beach season” (Kirkus Reviews), comes a new novel about three women, connected in secret and surprising ways, who are in for a life-changing summer when rumor has it that actor Colin Firth is coming to their Maine town to film a movie.

After losing her job and leaving the husband she dearly loves, twenty-nine-year-old journalist Gemma Hendricks is desperate to save her career by scoring an interview with Colin Firth. But a much more local story steals her heart—and just may save her rocky marriage too. Thirty-eight-year-old waitress Veronica Russo, shocked by the unannounced arrival of the daughter she gave up for adoption two decades ago, becomes an extra on the movie set, wondering if happy endings—and a real life Mr. Darcy—are even possible. Twenty-two-year-old student Bea Crane, alone and adrift, longs to connect with Veronica, her birth mother, but she’ll discover more than she ever imagined in this coastal Maine town. And just when they least expect it in a summer full of surprises, all three women may find what they’re looking for most of all…

This is the first book I have read by Mia March, and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last!
I liked the three main characters and if I couldn't relate to what they are going through, I could empathize.

Each is dealing with the life effects of an unexpected baby. Veronica as the woman who gave up her baby, Bea was that baby, and Gemma who discovers that she is pregnant but never really wanted to be.
Add in some charming (and not so charming) Boothbay Harbour locals and Hollywood types, a group of pregnant teens, old and new love interests, and you have a sweet and satisfying story that wraps up in a neat and pretty bow.

It is my understanding that Mia March's previous novel, The Meryl Streep Movie Club also features some of my favourite side characters, if it's anything as good as Finding Colin Firth, I will be checking it out! I like that the B&B where some of our characters were staying held a Colin Firth Movie Club in honour of the actor expected to shoot a film in their area, the companionship of the women was comforting and it inspired me to hold my own theme movie nights.

Another reviewer on Amazon stated that one of her complaints was that there were no recipes included, and I have to agree. We are often treated to descriptions of Veronica's magic healing pies, some of which sound delicious, I would have loved to have a taste! Next time I read this (which I will!) I will have to make sure to have pie in the house, it made me hungry!

Finding Colin Firth is available for purchase on amazon.com, and on amazon.ca as well as other book retailers.

Monday, 8 July 2013

What is the Opposite of a Foodgasm?

I like to think of myself as a bit of a Foodie. I like to eat food, I like to make food.
I may not go all out adventurous and try the gizzards and innards gourmet delight du jour or anything blood related (I may like to read about Vampires, but I certainly don't want to eat like one) and don't get me started on bone marrow, eugh. But, I do go for ethnic variety, and things that are out of the usual ordinary.

I am a regular viewer of the Food Network, and collect books from some of my favourite celebrity chefs (I'm looking at your Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray!)

When I think of Bobby Flay I get excited. Um, rather, when I think of his food I get excited (my feelings for the man are personal, although not really a secret, the way that man carves a turkey... LOL)
My taste buds rev up, my mind fires and I get ready. (I have eaten at his Bar Americain NYC location so I have experienced the foodgasmic bliss, and have successfully followed his recipes,  it's not just wishful thinking.)

I figured the man could do no wrong, but I have come across one recipe that didn't even have me wanting something more, it just turned me off completely.

Last summer we took a family vacation, roadtripping it down to Florida. We passed through the southern states and I desperately wanted to try Fried Green Tomatoes; a Southern staple that has many salivating at the thought. Alas, when we stopped in Georgia for lunch, we went to a Ruby Tuesdays, nothing especially regionally special there. I went without the Fried Green Tomatoes.

Recently the movie starring Jessica Tandy was on TV and it awakened my desire to try the dish again. I'm sure I won't be finding any restaurants in Montreal that would satisfy the craving so I decided to make them myself. I searched the internet for recipes and found one on the Food Network's site by Bobby Flay.
He has never led me wrong before, right?

His recipe (along with all other I could find) called for cornmeal, as well as the obvious, green tomatoes.
No green tomatoes to be found, so I substituted firm yellowy red ones. I also couldn't find any golden cornmeal, so I got the white, I really didn't think it would make that much of a difference.

The results were awful. There was no golden brown outside, it ended up with pale white discs, no matter how long I cooked them for (or at how high a heat.) The only thing that changed was how hard the, for lack of a better word, shell was. This is what people get excited about?

Also included was a recipe for a remoulade dipping sauce, which was okay, but tasted too eggy.

I won't print or link to the recipe, I can't do that to anyone.
I won't include a picture, because they were so uninspiring.

Did I do something really wrong?
Is there another recipe you would recommend?

Book Review: True Love (Nantucket Brides Trilogy)

True Love by Jude Deveraux

Format: eBook via Netgalley
Publisher: Randon House Publishing Group - Ballantine
Imprint: Ballantine Books

From the Publisher: Jude Deveraux, the New York Times bestselling author of unforgettable romance, returns with a breathtaking first book in a fantastic new series—the Nantucket Brides trilogy. Set on the magical Massachusetts island, True Love introduces characters from a new generation of Montgomery-Taggerts, the beloved family from Deveraux’s classic novels.

Just as Alix Madsen is finishing up architectural school, Adelaide Kingsley dies and wills her, for one year, the use of a charming nineteenth-century Nantucket house. The elderly woman’s relationship to the Madsen family is a mystery to the spirited Alix—fresh from a romantic breakup—but for reasons of her own Alix accepts the quirky bequest, in part because it gives her time to plan her best friend’s storybook wedding.

But unseen forces move behind the scenes, creaking Kingsley House’s ancient floorboards. It seems that Adelaide Kingsley had a rather specific task for Alix: to solve the strange disappearance of one of the Kingsley women, Valentina, more than two hundred years ago. If that wasn’t troubling enough, Alix must deal with the arrogant (and extremely good-looking) architect Jared Montgomery, who is living in the property’s guesthouse.

Unbeknown to Alix, Jared has been charged with looking after her while she lives on the island—an easy task for him, considering the undeniable chemistry between the two. But Jared harbors secrets of his own, which, if revealed, may drive a wedge between the pair.

With a glorious Nantucket wedding on the horizon, sparks fly, and the ghosts of the past begin to reveal themselves—some of them literally. Finding their lives inextricably entwined with the turbulent fortunes of their ancestors, Alix and Jared discover that only by righting the wrongs of the past can they hope to be together.

When I was growing up, my family and I would go shopping almost every weekend (with a house of six, we were always needing something.) As we got older we were left to our own devices, and invariably I would always end up in the bookstore. One such weekend, when I was 14 or 15 years old, I actually had money to spend! I combed the racks figuring out what to buy, decisions decisions. It was the end of the day and my parent were ready to go, but I did not want to leave without buying a book! In the corner of the store they had book special and packages, my mother picked up one and suggested it. It was a pack of two novels, Night in Shining Armour and Remembrance by some author named Jude Deveraux. Not a tweeny book like the Babysitter's Club, but actual Adult Novels. I read the backs and agreed, they seemed interesting.

That night I curled into my bed and opened the first book, and immediately fell in love. From that day I would greedily devour any Jude Deveraux book that I could get my hands on, and regularly re-read my favourites. Her books are like warm fuzzy socks and chocolate biscuits, or a beef stew with lots of bread and butter. Comfort. Filling. Home.

Once again, we have a winner. The magic is still there.

Alix is a traditional perfect Jude Deveraux heroine, and no, that is not rail thin and sweet, she's perfect because she's like me, like you, or how we want to be. She's witty and smart, always with a sharp retort, and she knows exactly how to push our hero's buttons. And she's curvy. She can pack away junk food like a pro (I would know!)

Our hero, Jared loves it, and thinks she's sexy. He can't keep his hands off of her, but does because he made a promise (don't you worry though, sexy times abound!)

You couldn't call Jared a hero to his face, he's every-man. But, he truly is Alix's hero, not not just because they are the couple of the story, but because she's a fledgling architect, and he is The Architect. Match. Made. In. Heaven.

Through the course of the books we meet many characters; Caleb Kingsley (the ghost of Jared's 5xgreat grandfather, who initially only Jared can see), Alix's overbearing  mother, her father and a cast of island locals. Many of which, happily enough will be the focus of the future books. And for long time fans, we also meet back up with the modern day Taggerts and Montgomerys, who will also be in the following books.

I can't say that if you like a certain book you should read this. What I can say, is, if you like good books, if you like your heroines sharp and smart and your heroes sexy, if you like sagas, if you like either a hint or giant helping of paranormal, you should read this book.

Jude and her assistants are regularly active on Facebook, and I regularly read their posts. Sometimes they may write about what Jude is doing, where she is going, but on the best days, it's about what she is writing. Having read her posts all throughout the writing of this book, I feel involved. It's a nice feeling.

I eagerly await the next book in the Nantucket Brides Trilogy (tentatively titled Prince Charming)

True Love is available for purchase tomorrow, July 9th at amazon.com, amazon.ca and Chapters.Indigo.ca as well as other book retailers.

Friday, 8 March 2013

She's Outrunning the Cloud

I’m really not sure how to start this, or how to say it, so I hope you will bear with me.

In my line of work I speak and interact with a lot of people, and over time some of them stop being just customers. They become friends. We'll share our joys, talk about our kids, or snark at the world at large. One such friend needs a little help.

If this was a book or movie, the story would go something like this: 
Man and Woman meet and fall in love, they get married, adopt 2 kids, have 2 dogs, run a popular gift store and live happily ever after. Right?
There’s a hitch.
The Man has Cystic Fibrosis and 6 months ago underwent a double lung transplant. 
He survives and they go on to win Canadian Retailer of the Year. 
Together they danced at the gala celebrating their win.
Inspirational? Yes. Amazing? Yes.

But wait, there’s more.

That night, as they were dancing and celebrating, they held on to a secret.
In early January, our heroine was diagnosed with stage 2 Breast Cancer. 
In a matter of days, she goes for a double mastectomy. 
After that, recovery and who knows what else she’ll need to do.

She is V, and she's Outrunning the Cloud.

In August she will be doing the Weekend to End Breast Cancer. For her 5th time.
She first started the walk when her mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
She lost her mother to the disease, 3 years ago this month, but still continues to do the walk.

She started doing the walk to support her mother against the disease that was ravaging  . 
She continued to do the walk so that nobody else (including her daughters) would have to lose their mother, now she does the walk as a future Breast Cancer Survivor.
She has a blog documenting her “journey” http://outrunningthecloud.tumblr.com/

Among her fears for post-surgery is that she may not being able to knit, and it will be a while before she can run. Not being able to do the walk has never even been whispered.

Here is where the call for help comes in. 
She is personally responsible for raising $5,000 to walk. A goal that she knows she will meet.
But for her friends and supporters and everyone else on her team, they each need to raise $2,000 before they can even take a single step with her.

V is a planner, and an organizer, and amazing; and she has guaranteed to her friends that they will each meet (if not surpass) their goals.
Her initial idea to raise funds was to auction of knit items and handicrafts.
Since she announced her plan, things have snowballed. Friends and fans have started donating anything and everything. From restaurant gift certificates, to sheets, to leather dog beds, to personal trainer sessions. I will be donating items from work, and personally. 
She has also been given an autographed book from The Bloggess (aka Jenny lawson, aka V's internet hero!) to auction off!

V posted her most recent addition for the auction this week, made with her own two hands (using an awesome pre-printed cloth!)

made these for the auction. they are COVERED in embroidered tattoos! I love them! Full credit to My Paper Crane, who designed the pre-printed panels, which I bought on Spoonflower years ago. finally got around to making them.

I am asking for donation items that she can auction off (knit stuff, books, anything at all), or if you can’t donate anything, ask that you stop by the auction or make a direct donation. 
Even a few dollars makes a difference.
I hope you will help me support her in any way you can. 
The auction will run from May 15th to June 1st. here

And just to be clear, not a penny will be going to her personally, or even to pay for her treatment. All monies raised will go towards research, equipment and care. You can learn more here.

I am posting this to the blog, and sending the message to as many people as I can. 
If you know someone who might be interested or may be able to help, please share.

If you are interested in helping, please let me know via email morgan_baby@yahoo.com

If you have read this far, then yay! and thank you.
As a thank you from the bottom of my heart, whether you have donated something for the auction, made a direct donation, or have purchased something from the auction, please let me know. I will randomly select a name and send you my favorite mug (with a few extra surprises.) The Mug? Is awesome.

Thank you.