What I've Been Reading

My Kindle has been getting quite the workout lately.  With the Fall season being upon us and the temps having dropped, I've kind of gone more into hermit mode than I already am.  When I'm not writing or spending time with my family, I like to curl up with a warm blanket, a hot cup of coffee and read.  These last few weeks, I have stumbled across some really good reads and thought I'd a share a few with you.



Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween



Today, I thought I'd try something new and linkup with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday.  Each week there's a new book related topic.  I think this linkup will be a fun way to share some of my favorite books while sharing more about myself with you all.  Also, I'm looking forward to getting some awesome book recommendations from everyone else who links up each week. 

This week's topic is Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween.  So, let's jump right into this.


Rough Surrender by Cari Silverwood

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book to facilitate this review.  However, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.


Faith Evard loves two things-- maintaining her independence and living a life of adventure.   It is her penchant for adventure that leads her to Cairo.
In town for the Great Week of Aviation the only thing on her mind is flying her beloved Bleriot airplane in the three day airshow.  However, a search for a missing body crosses path with that of Leonhardt Meisner, an engineer.

Leonhardt is a man who likes control, especially inside the bedroom.  The attraction between these two is instantaneous.  Things get hot and steamy fast when Leonhardt introduces to Faith to his "unnatural tastes" and desires after she invites him up to her hotel room.  There's just one problem- Leonhardt is not a fan of airplanes or the idea of his newly beloved Faith having any parts in flying one.  Will it be happily ever after or happily never after for these two when everything is said and done?

Bastard's Brew Review

If you will recall, back in February, I was introduced to the Family Portrait series when I got the chance to review Gillian Felix's book The Banovic Siblings.  If you missed that review and the interview I did with her, click here! Well, she just recently released book three, Bastard's Brew, and I am delighted that she sent me a copy to read and share my review with you all.  In book two, Kevin , the oldest Banovic sibling, ends up catching feelings for L'Wren.  The only problems with that are he's having an affair with her stepmother/his mother's best friend, Savi, and L'Wren has an abusive boyfriend Jeff.  So allow me to catch you up on what the siblings are up to now.
Well, Bastard's Brew opens up with L'Wren's boyfriend Jeff in the hospital talking to his mother.  When we ended The Banovic Siblings, Jeff was getting a pretty good beat down from Kevin.  So, I excepted book three to pick right back up at the point or close to it.  The shocker is that not only has Jeff been deported back to his home in Nova Scotia.  Talk about a good way opening to set the readers up to expect some action and a little bit of mystery.
Kevin still has strong feelings for L'Wren, but meanwhile she's still hung up on Jeff and asks him to join her on a wild goose chance to find him.  Little does she know Jeff is about to involuntarily breakup with her and is recovering back home. He's still having an affair with Savi who is tired of being in the poor house and devised a plan to milk her ex-husband for some cash. While she goes to put her plan into action things heat up between him and her stepdaughter, but will she stop blackmailing him once she finds out and let him have happiness?  More importantly will Kevin get too sidetracked with his Savi and L'Wren dilemma to keep any eye on his baby sister and younger brother like he is supposed to?
Adriana Banovic is still hiding her relationship with college boy/model and aspiring artist, Haze Lyndon.  However with Haze insisting that they tell her parents them and almost getting caught making out, their relationship could go up in smokes (or blue lights and handcuffs) because she still hasn't revealed the truth him about her age. 
That's not the only thing jeopardizing their relationship though.  Carys, who also has a crush on Haze, suspects Adriana of having something to do planting drugs in younger sister's Astrid's locker after she recognizes Adriana's hoodie from the school surveillance video and threatens to blackmail her if she doesn't confess.
Meanwhile, Zax has been keeping a low profile and focusing on his still new relationship with Kristin in this book.  His other two siblings could definitely benefit from following his lead.
Once again, I have to take my hat off to Gillian Felix for a book well written!  I stayed on the edge of my seat waiting for the next twists, turns and surprises.  She is undoubtedly a master at reeling readers in.  Put this book on your to-be-read lists because it is a must read for me!  Can't wait for book 4.
Check out an excerpt below from Bastard's Brew and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway to win a copy while you're at it!




Excerpt

Kevin stared at the computer screen, pondering his fate with L’Wren. Did Savi tell her about their affair? Would he ever hear from her again? Did she hate him? It killed him thinking that she’d hate him for his indiscretions with her stepmother. Maybe it’d be best if she found out now, before she got too involved, he told himself. Maybe he should be the one to tell her. There was a knock on his office door, and Dwayne the bartender stuck his neck in.

“You have a visitor,” he announced.

Kevin took a deep breath and wondered if L’Wren had come to cuss him out. He nodded at Dwayne. Might as well get it over with, he told himself and stood up behind his desk.

Savi strutted proudly into Kevin’s office. “Hello, lover,” she purred, then pulled him in for a kiss and a nice, firm grope of his ass. “Miss me?”
He backed away from her.
Savi knew things had changed; she saw the way he looked at L’Wren, and knew she’d have to work twice as hard to get him back to where they left off.
“What’s going on with you and L’Wren?” She took a seat on the couch where they’d ravaged each other so many times in the last few months.
“Nothing.” Kevin sat behind his desk, relieved that Savi was a safe distance away. “I’m kind of busy right now.”
“Nothing? Is that why she was grinning like a hyena after you left?”
“What did she tell you?”
“What is there to tell?” Savi studied him.
“I don’t have time for games, Savi. I have work to do. The pub is closed. If you want a drink, come back later.” He dismissed her and pretended to look busy.
“Whatever you have with L’Wren, cut it out now. L’Wren is not like me. She’s delicate and trusting, and I don’t want you playing around on her,” Savi stated crisply.
Kevin wondered if Savi was really protective or was this her way of marking her territory.
“Did you tell her about us?”
“Why would I do that?”
“Look, Savi, I like L’Wren. I’m not gonna play around on her,” Kevin stated boldly.
Savi closed her eyes and absorbed his words, then took a deep breath.
Her silence made him uncomfortable. Was she falling for him? Did their fun and games turn serious for her? He joined her on the couch.
“Savi, I don’t want to hurt you, but this thing with us has to end,” he said tenderly.
“Don’t come around my house again.” Her voice was icy.
Kevin was ready to agree to anything to get out of their affair. “Fine.”
“That doesn’t mean I want you for my stepdaughter.” She looked at him seriously. “You’re a drug dealer, this pub is a front, and I don’t want you around my girls.”
“I’ll never do anything to hurt them,” Kevin said.
“You’re not a nice person, Kevin. You use people, and you hurt them. The friends you have are only around you because they are afraid of you. Nobody likes you, and nobody wants to be around you. It’s only a matter of time before L’Wren realizes that. You can’t hide who you really are. You’re a monster.”
Savi’s words sliced into Kevin’s core.
“You don’t deserve to be loved, and you don’t deserve to be happy. You and I are the same … we’re broken inside. Everything we touch, we destroy. We don’t get happily ever after … we don’t get to ride off into the sunset. You know who gets that? L’Wren … she gets it, she gets the guy, and she deserves a decent guy.” Savi saw the hurt in his eyes and knew that he liked L’Wren more than he was letting on. Kevin was all she had, and she had no intention of letting him go.
----------

Purchase Links

You can purchase your copy of Bastard's Brew from the following retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords (enter coupon code: RS54B for 50% off),  and iTunes.  Also, Gillian is offering a 10% Smashwords discount on The Banovic Siblings using coupon code: FX48M.  Don't get to use the link or widget below to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Bastard's Brew!








If you're interested in finding out more about Gillian Felix, you can follow her on Twitter, follow updates for the Family Portrait series on Facebook and check out her website Plain Talk Book Marketing. You can also find her on GoodReads.

Trial Of Love

Today, I have the pleasure of hosting the lovely Christina OW.  She's stopping by the blog to share with us a little bit about her latest novel, Trial Of Love, as well as a little bit about herself and a giveaway.  Enjoy!

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Trial Of Love, a turbulent love story about a slave from America and the Earl who saved her from a fate worse than death.

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Blurb
 After her mother’s death, Melanie’s life in America is full of heartache. Still, she has never allowed herself to despair. She was responsible for the care of her beloved father. Then he remarried a woman to wicked to be considered a mother to Melanie or her two sisters. After years of abuse, the stepmother sells Melanie off—to work in a brothel, and about to be sold to the highest bidder. Through a series of fortuitous events, Melanie falls into the care of Christopher, Earl of Ashworth, who has family issues of her own. The solution to his problems—and redemption for Melanie—wind together toward destiny.

Christina OW writes suspense, thrillers, erotica, interracial and multicultural romance books. She is the author of Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Regency Romance books and a poet of currently 3 titles. She loves reading novels that take her on a ride of wild emotions. Books have always been an escape for her, for a few hours she gets to live the lives of characters she grows to cherish and admire. She's always had an active imagination and because of it has lived in her head more than she has been in the outside world. She always imagined scenarios and wondered how they would turn out in the end, and what kind of emotions they would invoke. Thus began her writing career.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My love for reading novels started a very long time, about when I was 10 or 11. I was in awe of how a person’s imagination could just take form and fill up pages. I loved the fact that I would read the words and watch it play out in my mind. Some of the books became way more interesting than watching TV!
I’m a person who lives in her head more than the outside world because off all the stories in my head. So I figured maybe I should put down all the stories I had in my head on paper, and share them, see if everyone else loved them as much as I did.


What about historical/regency romance?
I wasn't much of a fan because the books I'd read so far the characters just seemed stuffy and annoying. But then I found several books published by Second Wind Publishing and I was hooked! 
Their books were more than just trying to be historically accurate, they had everything and they seemed to come alive through the words and I couldn't stop reading them. I'm a huge Regency fan now.


Do you have a favorite and a least favorite scene in the book?
Yes, I do have a favorite scene and a scene that I didn't like writing but was necessary in the book. A person’s character is built buy the positive and negative things in their lives and the same goes for books.

Is TOL apart of the series? How many books are in the series?
Yes, Trial of Love is apart of the series and the first book. So far, there are 3 books in the series, TOL, A Lady Unbecoming and Lady Nancy. 
I'm still playing with the idea of adding more books about some of the supporting characters in TOL. I'll see how these 3 books go first then take it from there.


Any more new releases for 2014 from you?
Yes. His Paris Affair (Albury Affairs #3) will be out in late June and I'm expecting Book #2 of the Slave Bound series A Lady Unbecoming to be released later on this year.

Excerpt
   "Hello again,” Carl whispered, pressing her tight against him.
   Melanie felt her body go cold at his touch. Quickly she placed her hands on his chest and pushed him away. Nicholas grabbed her hand and pulled her behind him. “What have you done to the lady, Mr. Meed?” he asked harshly.
   Carl gave a slight bow, “Nothing Lord Townson.”

   “It didn’t look like nothing,” Nancy pushed standing up and moving to Melanie. “Dove, you look pale. What’s the matter?”
   Melanie pulled a tight smile over her lips and shook her head, “Forgive me. He took me by surprise and I reacted.”
   “See, it was all a misunderstanding.” Carl spoke with a casual laugh.
   Nancy nodded, moving back to her seat.
  Carl moved towards them and Melanie fought the urge to hide further behind Nicholas. He held out his hand, eyeing her. “May I have this dance?”
  She wanted to yell ‘go to hell’ and run out, but, she wasn’t that uneducated girl anymore. She was supposed to either politely decline and make up an excuse or accept.
   “You can have the next one Carl,” Nicholas spoke firmly, taking Melanie’s hand and starting the dance.         “What did he really do to you Melanie?”
    He bought me!


Contact Author:



Facebook page- Christina OW

Twitter-  @Christina_OW


Blog- Read Me
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Enter for your chance to win a paperback or ebook copy of Trial Of Love or Smashwords gift card using the Rafflecopte giveaway link--->  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f774880/


See you in the pages of Trial Of Love!



Unfinished Business

It's not secret that I'm a huge fan of up and coming author, Christina Jones.  I've read all of her books that she's written thus far and none of them disappoint.  And her newest novel, Unfinished Business, is no different.  The sequel to Strictly Professional and set five years into the future, Unfinished Business is a contemporary romance in which we watch Gabi attempt to move from her bad breakup with Terrence.  

Meanwhile, Terrence is focused on the complete opposite.  He's finally realized his mistakes and wants Gabi back, but when an old rival from his college days starts trying to put the moves on Gabi, he has to wonder if he's too late. 

This is by far my favorite book from Christina.  She's done such a beautiful job of emotionally drawing readers in Terrence and Gabi's story that you kind of want it to just go on and on.  If you haven't already picked up your copy of Unfinished Business, trust me you will want to.  And if you haven't read Strictly Professional yet, be sure to get it so that you will be in the loop.  

I can't wait to see what Christina has up her sleeve next!  And if you can't wait either, you can her on Twitter, Facebook and her blog, Being Mrs Jones.  Be sure to check out the book cover and an excerpt from Unfinished Business below.




Excerpt

“I can’t believe you didn't kill his ass,” Daniella said, pouring the last of the pitcher of frozen margarita into my glass.
            I shrugged, then accepted the drink from her and took a sip. “He was still Joci’s dad, and even though it hurt like hell… I still loved him.”
            “Well, you’re better than me, cause I would have bust into that office and thrown a Molotov at that couch.”  She flipped her hair over her shoulder, frowning as she looked around the restaurant.
            Daniella and these dramatics, my goodness. I shook my head at my coworker and friend of almost four years.  I had instantly been attracted to her bubbly, over-the-top demeanor on my first day at Atkins & Associates.  I think she could tell I was new to Dallas and new to practicing law, because she approached me as soon as I walked through the front door, complimented my shoes, then told me to straighten my shoulders and look a little ‘sweeter’. “This is Texas, nena.  ‘Nice-nasty’ will get you everywhere, but if these folks think you’re a bitch… well, good luck.”
            It took me a full thirty minutes to actually believe that she was a legal secretary.  My secretary. With her perfect wavy hair, perfect stylish clothes, and perfect fun attitude, I would have been more inclined to believe that she was a news anchor or something.  I quickly learned that her ‘pretty girl’ looks were no reason to under-estimate her.  Daniella was a beast at her job, which I definitely needed.  Moving to a new state with no friends or family and a one year old had left any semblance of order in shambles.  Daniella found Joci a wonderful daycare that was close to the office and half the price of the nanny I had hired, got me into a gorgeous condo and out of a hotel room, and after only two weeks as a new associate, she had me so well organized and integrated that I felt like I had been there forever.
            One day, after I had been at Atkins & Associates for about a month, she walked into my office while I was in the middle of a breakdown.  Terrence had called to check on me and Joci, and the sound of his voice just made me lose it.  I rushed him off of the phone so I could cry about the mistake I had made in giving up on our relationship.  I cried because I was disgusted with myself for still loving him, even after he had hurt me so bad.  And I cried because I was guilty that it felt so good to be back at work, doing what I loved, instead of tending to my baby.
            When Daniella walked in, she simply said, “Uh-uh.” before she stormed back out to her desk.  A few minutes later, she was back, and I learned that she had called my former nanny and worked out some kind of on-call babysitting deal with her.  She then informed me that she and I were going out that night, to have some fun.  She’s been dragging me out on sporadic Friday nights ever since then.
            “Stop looking at your phone, chula.
            I shot Daniella a playful scowl as I finally read the last message Terrence had sent me, nearly two hours before.
            “You didn't notice the inscription, did you?”
            I placed my phone down on the table and removed the pretty white gold bangle that had arrived in a pretty blue box.  Trying not to think of what Terrence must have spent on what was easily my favorite gift, I held it up to the light, turning it until I found the tiny words inscribed inside.
I’ll never forget again.”



My April TBR List



Hi!  My name is K and I'm addicted to books.  I recently took the time to go through all the books I've purchased this year alone and I can officially say that I have a book buying problem.  I have purchased well over 50 books from the Kindle store and I have about 15-20 paperbacks stacked up on my nightstand. Not to mention, I visit my local library at least once a week and get new books.

So, what I've decided to do is read at least three books from my Kindle, one library book and two from my nightstand stack.  That's seven books a month, but I'm sure I'll read more because I read to my two little darlings every night.  Also, I seem to read to faster on my Kindle and will most likely end up reading more than three Kindle books.  

Anyways, here's my list that I'm working on knocking out this month.  And I will go ahead and say that I broke my limit of one of library book. 

Library Books


                     
I fell in love with the Vampire Empire series about a year and half ago.  I was at the library and saw the first book The Greyfriar sitting on a shelf and decided to give it a read.  I wasn't sure if it was going to be more Twilight or more Interview With the Vampire.  After having read the first book, I definitely think the Vampire Empire series is unique in it's own right.  I also loved that this series was written by a husband and wife duo, Clay & Susan Griffith. 

You definitely don't see a lot of this now days and I think that's probably what makes this series such a great read.  I imagine Susan brings the romantic elements and Clay brings the all the action like the wonderfully written fight scenes.  I have started on the second book and can't wait to finish it and read the third.

Night Stand


           

Both of these are religious books.  The God of Yes is nonfiction and written by Pastor Jud Wilhite.  Basically, he's dispelling the myth that being Christian is all about things you can't do.  And I definitely think that at times Christianity gets a back wrap as being the 'not fun' religion.   There are so many commandments in the Bible that some people feel like becoming a Christian would take away their ability to have fun.  Jud is pastor in Vegas, so you know I'm interested to read what his views are and see if they will be more conservative, liberal or somewhere in the middle.

The Winner's Game sounds like it's going to be a tear jerker.  I am definitely going to have my box of tissues handy.  From reading the back cover, I get the feeling that this book will also have a Noah Sparks vibe to it.  It's about a 17 year old Ann Bennett and her family getting back in touch with each and finding the love again.  She has heart condition, which you would think would bring the family closer, but it doesn't.  So, they discover a game created by their great-grandparents, The Winner's Game and work their way back towards behaving more like a real family.

The cover also mentions something about a tragedy.  So, I'm guessing that Ann isn't going to make it to get her heart transplant.  Then, again who knows.  Maybe, one of the other siblings or parents will be killed off in horrific accident and end up as Ann's donor.  I don't know, but I can't wait to find out.  I definitely think this book is about how we endure tests of our faith.

Kindle


   
Against All Odds will be my fist time reading anything by Gwynne Foster.  From the blurb, I got that this book has almost like a Romeo and Juilet thing going on.  Melissa and Adam's families have some kind of deep rooted feud that they discover after meeting.  It threatens to jeopardize their business relationship as well as their intimate one.  Considering the title, I think it's pretty safe to say that there will be a happily ever after to this story, but I'm interested in reading about how they end up there anyways.

I've grown to love Kimberla Roby and her Rev Curtis Black series.  I definitely think that playing off of some of the real life scandals that have gone down with these mega-churches and pastors was a good idea for her because she writes about these church scandals and scandalous congregation members like no other.  I've read a few of the more recent books in this series and am working my way back to beginning to get the full scoop.

When I saw that this book involved a remote island, ex-lovers and secrets, I knew that I had to read The Island.  It reminded me of Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews from the blurb, but I'm keeping an open mind.  I know that every author has their own voice and way of telling a story even if the stories are a bit similar or have a similar vibe.


So, those are my reads for the month that I want to get finished before I move to any other books.  Feel free to share with me what books are your reading list for this month!


Until next time,
K.


So Obsessed Saturday: Southern Charm

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While I'm working hard to wrap up Forever Branded, you know what they say about all work and no play.  So, one night I was taking a writing break and decided to catch up on some tv because I roughly watch adult tv once a week.  Seriously, the current show selections just don't interest me.  Not to mention, I spend my days being a mother, wife, and working on various projects for clients for other business.

Anyways, it was late and the kids have finally drifted off to sleep.  I started flipping through the channels and came across this show Southern Charm on Bravo.  Of course, being a Carolina girl, I just to see what this show was about. Honestly, in my mind I had assumed it be a cast of all women and obviously have something to do with living in the South, but I had it pegged as being more of a Housewives sort of show with a twist.  Whelp, after watching one episode I was hooked.  

This show is a bit of a train wreck but it's a bearable train wreck.  No punches or elbows have been thrown yet and I hope none will because I don't watch reality shows with fighting.  In a nutshell, Southern Charm is a reality show set in Charleston, South Carolina and the main cast consists of 6 Charleston residents who are considered to be of elite status (some more than others). 


So hands down Cameran is my favorite.  She's the most grounded and in touch with reality out of the group.  Unlike her other cast mates, she doesn't come from a rich family.  She really has to make a living to afford her lifestyle, which appears to be modest and one that I and other the majority of viewers can relate to.  She's smart, funny, bubbly and charming.  But I do think that if you cross her wrong, she will check you.


My next favorite is Craig because he seems to be more in touch with reality as well like Cameran.  He's currently a law student and law clerk, which I love because I've always had an interest law and was almost a criminal justice major in college. Craig has already had a little drama on the show after he felt like Shep broke the 'Bro Code' by hooking up with Kathryn despite knowing that Craig wanted to ask her out.  However, in Shep's defense (and this is probably the only time you will catch me defending Shep) Kathryn did pursue him first when they all went to the beach to hang out.  Sorry Craig.  Sometimes if you snooze or move too slow, you miss out!


Then there's the Thomas Ravenal.  Yep, former SC State Treasurer who was convicted of cocaine distribution charges over 5 years ago.  He did rehab and served his prison time, but some people still feel the need to punish him or hold his past transgression against him.  However, if you ask me, I think that the majority of politicians have skeletons in their closets.  I mean people were still supporting Mark Sanford after news of his mistress broke and he was the governor!

I don't know but I kind of like Thomas because he doesn't let what people think of his past mistake get to him.  He jokes about (which Whitney didn't appreciate) and keeps it moving.  We all fall short, but if you have a second chance at life, why would you let your past hinder you from enjoying it.  I'm sure he knows by now to say no to drugs.  He's seen and experienced what they can cost him.

He's currently getting a lot crap on the show for dating Kathryn (yep, the same one Craig likes and hooked up with Shep) because of their age difference.  She's 21 and he's 50 (at the time of the filming).  And the biggest problem people have is their sex life.  They feel like she should feel like she's having sex with her dad.  Here's my thought on the matter, why do they care?  She's in her right mind.

I could understand if she wasn't all there or emotional unstable like say Anna Nicole Smith, but she isn't.  She's a consenting adult.  Secondly, Thomas looks better than most 50 year old men.  Seriously, he's like younger Dennis Quaid.  Now, I could be biased because I'm married to an older man, but I say more power to them!

Now, I really liked Jenna.  She's a rebel and a fashion risk taker.  However, Jenna turned me off a bit when she said that Kathryn's dress "matched her abortion" (Kathryn and Thomas had a pregnancy scare) at the Carolina Day party.  Abortion is such a sensitive and hot topic, especially here in the Carolinas.  I just thought that joke was not the least bit funny or appropriate.  Very bad taste.

Also, what I don't get about Jenna is her judgement of Thomas and Kathryn's relationship when she's in her twenties and is dating a 50-something year old as well.  Like isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?  But bad joke and hypocritical tendencies aside, I think Jenna is a cool chick.  She takes zero crap and is very feisty.  I can't wait to see what other looks we'll see here in the rest of the season.  And if Southern Charm makes it to season 2, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she stays on the cast!


Not going to lie, but I initially thought that Whitney was gay as did some of the show members.  However, after his mom finding a huge pile of women's clothing and going on and on about his parading women in and out of their gorgeous home, I guess it's safe to say that he's straight.  Like Jenna, Whitney is a bit of a hypocrite because he's been preaching to Thomas about being all conservative but he's not really conservative himself.  And in the last episode a bombshell was dropped that he tricked to get at Kathryn as well.  In way, I feel like he's a little bit of a walking oxymoron. 

And his mom, Pat, is quite the character.  She cracks me up a little bit. I get the impression that while she likes to act like a Southern belle, she's really a firecracker!  I'm anxious to see if she and Brandi (Whitney's assistant) are going to have words because she dislikes that poor girl with a passion.


My least favorite person on the show would have to be Shep.  Why?  Well, he was totally insensitive when Craig confronted him about putting the moves on Kathryn when he knew that he liked her and was going to ask her out.  Then, he hangs out with Thomas and tells him what a nice guy he is, but then in the confessionals or when he's with other cast mates he's saying something different. 

Then, he had the nerve to get mad at MJ because she hangs out with her ex, but he still hangs out with his ex, Dani.  Not to mention, he slept with Kathryn while he was trying talk to MJ!  In a word, Shep is a playa.  Not player with, but playa and he could hot when MJ pretty much let him know that he had no claim on her.  High five MJ!

Also, Shep is clueless about what he wants to do with his life.  And I guess that's fine when your family is rich and practically Carolina royalty, but if he's trying to lock down a girl like MJ, then he's going to have transition into settle mode and get a career going.  With all that said, Shep is the life of the party!  He definitely knows how to have a good time and is the most hilarious in his confessionals out of everyone on the show.


There you have it folks!  That's my obsession for this week.  If you've seen Southern Charm, tell me your thoughts on the cast in the comment section below.  Who's your favorite?  Least favorite?  What do you think of Kathryn and Thomas's age difference?

Until next time,
K.

Writing Process Blog Tour

Hi guys!  Today I'm participating the Writing Process Blog Tour tag.  I was tagged by the lovely Kristin Hurd of The Musings of Me.  She is the author of One of a Kind (Kindle & Paperback) and Better Off Friends (Kindle).  She's currently working on her third book entitled Another Relationship.

Without further ado, let's jump right in and get this tag started.


What Am I Working On?

As previously talked about on here, I'm working on a contemporary romance with a hint of suspense called Forever Branded.  It's the first book in my three part Forever series.  In Forever Branded, you'll get to meet Karissa McKinley, my main character.  She's been through a lot in life.  She hasn't always made the best decisions and each experience leaves her little bit more 'branded' or scarred than the last, especially in her dating life.

As a result, she's uncertain of herself and her ability to make good decisions.  And because she doesn't fully trust herself, she doesn't trust others either. Also, she's been keeping a big secret and it gets revealed.  You'll have to stop back by to find out more about the other characters in this book.  

How Does My Work Differ From Others Of Its Genre?

Honestly, I think the thing that sets all writers apart to certain degree is how we tell our stories.  You can get 5 writers in one room give them a topic or plot and I promise you that while similar each story will be told 5 different ways.  So, I definitely feel like I have my own unique voice.


Why Do I Write What I Do?

I've co-authored a motherhood survival guide, This Is How We Do It: A Survival Guide for Busy Moms.  The reason I decided to be a part of that project was because I think that a lot of books out here about motherhood are written by medical professionals who are trying to be politically correct.  They give you a more sweetened version of motherhood.  Whereas, I feel like in our book we share the not so sweet sides of being mom as well as how we survived those moments.

I talked about my battle with postpartum depression and what I did to overcome it.  For me sharing that came easy because I know there are so many others out there who struggle with PPD as well.  And I just wanted to help someone.

As far as fiction, I decided to make my first novel a romance because I'm a hopeless romantic.  I'm a lover of love and being in love.  I've been in love a few times, had the bad break-ups, and the even better make-ups.  And I think that some elements of those experiences will come through, especially in this book.

However, I don't want to box myself in as just being a romance writer.  I am toying with the idea of a YA adventure series, but for now romance is a great place to start and get my feet wet.


How Does Your Writing Process Work?

When I get the idea for a book, I like to jot the idea down a notebook.  From there the main characters start to form.  I don't necessarily plot out my books because I like this process to feel as organic as possible.  In writing Forever Branded, there are times when I want to go one way, but the characters want to go another way.  So, I try to let the characters tell their own stories as much as possible.

I also, don't write chapters in chronological order.  I tried it and it just takes way too long for me.  I've found that writing the ideas out as they come to me is works best.  And then I go back insert it into the proper chain of events within the novel.


So there you have it, an inside look at how I do what I do as a writer.  You can find me on Facebook and Twitter.  Also, I'm working on coordinating posts for my book cover reveal.  If interested, you can sign up here or using the form below:



Until next time,
K.

The Chinese Spymaster + Interview With Author Hock Tjoa






"It has been said that thought makes one wise. In hand to hand combat, however, thinking kills."
You can tell from the opening line that The Chinese Spymaster is not going to disappoint.  From the very beginning Tjoa grabs readers attention and draws them with an implied promise of action and suspense.  When the Chinese Intelligence Agency finds out that the Pashtuns are trying to secure nuclear device from the North Koreans and five other nuclear arms dealers, Spymaster Wang is on the case to find out why.  
After years of having their villages terrorized by the Pakistani Army and Intelligence units,  the Pashtuns are ready to fight for their political freedom in an uprising (Pashtun Spring) that had been brewing for a while now.  What does this have to do with China?  Well, the Spymaster's concern is that with six nuclear devices at their disposable the Pashtun could not only use those devices to intimidate their current government into giving them their political independence and diminishing the Durand Line but also set their sights on invading other surrounding territories as well.  There is also the fear that other villages will who seek independence and to govern their own citizens will rise up as well and there will be all out war  in the quest for freedom, nationhood and land.
On top of trying to figure out how to prevent the Pashtuns from getting the nuclear device, Spymaster Wang and his team (agents Hu and Tang) must navigate the own the troubles within the different Chinese government agencies.  Some feel that the Pashtuns' efforts to gain independence through securing nuclear devices is none of China's business while others side with Wang and know that a domino affect is sure to happen if they just stand by and watch.  
Then Wang has to deal with knowledge of old friends turned foes like Comrade Commissar Jiang trying to have him 'accidentally' murdered!  There's also the fact that his friends feel like it's beyond time for Wang to settle down and find a wife.  Wang is in his early fifties and they feel it's about time he's found someone to enjoy the rest of life with.  But will he?
In my opinion Tjoa has done a great job of crafting an amazing storyline and creating characters who are complex but believable.  I like that Tjoa didn't overkill on the amount of action or fight scenes in the novel.  They are strategically placed and written so that a picture is painted in the reader's mind.  I love that we don't just get to the professional side of Spymaster Wang, but Tjoa takes us into his personal life a bit with General Chen and his wife trying to kind of urge him to find love.  
I feel that in so, I was able to connect and understand Spymaster Wang's character a little bit more.  In addition, I appreciate the fact that he put just as much effort into developing secondary characters like the Shopkeeper, the Soldier and Ail as he did with main characters.  I could also tell that Tjoa did his research when it came to the difference political agencies and groups, government structure and procedures as well as the geography of different locations used in the book.  
I couldn't put this book down and recommend it to anyone who enjoys tales of espionage and political drama.  You can check out Tjoa's novel yourself by purchasing a copy on Amazon and Smashwords.  You can also click here to enter for a chance to win a copy of The Chinese Spymaster.  Be sure to check out my interview with Tjoa below and find out what his inspiration behind writing The Chinese Spymaster was.




Interview With Author Hock Tjoa

What inspired you write The Chinese Spymaster?
I had seen a spy movie and thought it would be interesting and challenging to write a spy novel--so many things I have not done or written: fight scenes, bureaucratic in-fighting, interrogations,etc.
 
all centered on an organization and a spymaster in China.
 

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Many years ago I thought about a novel but unfortunately it was not until six year ago that I did something about it and wrote "The Battle of Chibi." 

Are any of the characters inspired by real life people?
No. But I hope they appear realistic as people living today.
 

What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Be sure you enjoy what you are doing and be sure you have something worth saying.

What other project/books do you have in the works?
When I was in college, I was assigned to read what was billed as the beginning of Western Drama (it was a Greek play) and my reaction was "what is so great about this?" Now I am trying again, but also taking the parts that are known to be "true" and re-imagining the drama.
  
I have posted some early drafts on authonomy.com as "Agamemnon Must Die."



Author Bio

Hock G. Tjoa was born to Chinese parents and studied history at Brandeis and Harvard. He taught European history and Asian political thought at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur and has published George Henry Lewes, a Victorian Mind, "The social and political ideas of Tan Cheng Lock" and various articles in the Newsletter of the China History Forum. He is married and lives with his family in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. He published in 2010 "The Battle of Chibi (Selections from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms)" that he had translated, and in 2011, "Heaven is High and the Emperor Far Away, A Play" that he translated and adapted from Lao She's Teahouse. Both are part of his project to make more widely known traditional Chinese values.


If you're interested in finding out more about Hock Tjoa, you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and check out his blog here.  You can also find him on GoodReads and Amazon.  And if you're interested in winning your own copy of her latest book, The Banovic Siblings, be sure to enter the giveaway below: 


Disclosure:  I received a of copy of The Chinese Spymaster to faciliate this review.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.


Until next time,
K

BOOK BLAST: Captivated by Stacy-Deanne

Today, I am honored to be hosting a book blast for Captivated by Stacy-Deanne.  It is the second book of her in Bruised series and was released on March 1st.  

***************************************

When she first lays eyes on Mya Riley’s slashed up body, Baltimore Detective Lisa Swanson is certain that the Sandman, a ruthless serial killer from her past has reemerged. Lisa dives headfirst into the case with her partner Dee, and lovesick Winston Lewis, a detective who grows more captivated with Lisa by the day. 
The Sandman wreaks bloodthirsty havoc throughout the city, and this time he is determined to make Lisa his victim. Armed with intense hatred for the Sandman and a stifling fear of who might end up dead next, Lisa struggles to solve the case by the book. But when the Sandman switches up his plan and goes after her lover Jake…Lisa ignores all the rules.



Excerpt from Captivated:

“There’s a song stuck in my head.” He hummed it. “I was listening to it earlier but can’t think of the name.” He swayed Lisa while he hummed. “It’s been a while since we danced.” He twirled them around in circles.
            Lisa laughed. “Whoa! You’re putting all the moves on me.”
“You always like it when I do this.” He lifted the front of his wheelchair off the floor and came back down. “You like that, huh?”
“Whoa!” She laughed. “You’re right. It’s been a while since we went dancing.” She put her hand in his as he swerved them across the kitchen. “So we can go dancing then.” She lifted her head from his shoulder. “We could both use a break, don’t you think?” She played with a button on his shirt. “We can go to the Rush.”
            He rolled his eyes. “How come we always go to the wheelchair nightclubs?”
            “I thought it was your favorite place. I just want you to be comfortable.”
            “I want us to go dancing for real.” He laid his arm on the armrest. “I used to love dancing.” He got teary-eyed. “I miss that the most.”
She kissed his hand.
            “I wanna take you dancing like a real man would.”
            “You are a real man.” She got off him. “And we can dance the regular way right here.”
            He got a paper towel off the table and dabbed his eyes. “What are you talking about?”
            She went across to the living room and turned on the stereo in the entertainment system.
“Okay, let’s find something good.” She stopped on her favorite station that played old-school slow jams. The sultry beginning of Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat” began. “Uh-huh.” Lisa bobbed her head. “That’s what I’m talking about.” She shimmied back into the kitchen.
            “I love this song.” Jake tossed the paper towel on the table.
            Lisa stood in front of him and held out her hands. “May I have this dance?”
            “What?” he whispered.
            She bent down. “You said you wanted to dance the real way. Let’s dance the real way.”
            “You know my legs are too weak.”
            She took his hands. “Then lean on me.”
            He took a deep breath and slowly rose from the chair. “Oh.”
            “It’s okay.” She put her arms around him. “I got you.”
He stood straight and put his weight on Lisa. “I’m six three and two hundred pounds.” He leaned on her. “I’m gonna crush you.”
“I’m stronger than you think.” She laid her head on his chest. “Just take it slow and relax.”
            He stumbled a bit then picked up his feet in perfect rhythm.
“Wow.” Lisa held him tighter. “You’re a smooth dancer, Jake.”
            His lips brushed her cheek. “This feels amazing.” He swayed. “Just like the old days.”
            “See?” She moved her hand up his back. “Now you’re leading.” She lifted her head. “How does it feel?”
            “I…” His voice cracked. “I haven’t danced since two thousand eight.”
            “Well, you’re dancing now.” She kissed him. “And you’re doing it beautifully.”

Genre: Interracial Romantic Suspense

Release Date: March 1, 2014

Publisher: Sugar and Spice Press


Dream Cast

Nia Long as Lisa

Ryan Philippe as Jake

Christian Bale as Winston





(Will be on retailers shortly after release)


Disturbed (Book 3) Coming April 12, 2014!

Stacy-Deanne Bio:

Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is a published novelist of interracial romantic suspense and mystery novels. She started writing professionally in 1997 when she was nineteen years old. Stacy grew up loving the suspense genre. Her idols are Edgar Allan Poe and Alfred Hitchcock. Her love for Psycho and many of his movies fueled her fire for suspense.  She was born, raised, and resides in Houston, Texas.




Twitter: @stacydeanne