Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

The Frenchies don't celebrate Halloween, but we certainly do in America.  So to those celebrating, I hope you had a magnifique day! Or at least a day that wasn't bad.
I'm not one to dress up, so I chose a pretty low key costume, a shadowhunter.  No need to buy anything, just wear all black and make it work.  So I give you the too half if my outfit because I fail at taking full body selfies.

And for bottoms I wore black leggings that have leather accents running up the sides.  Unfortunately no slick leather boots, but I did wear black TOMS botas.

For my pumpkin, I wanted to do something literary, but do it subtlety.  Can you guess what I carved sans stencil ( which I'm pretty proud of!) ?  What logo is it is what I'm really asking.

  I broke off part of the nose!!!

Did you dress up or trick or treat tonight?

At least Halloween was on Halloween this year.  Stupid Sandy took the power!

Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Year (Just One Day, #2)Just One Year by Gayle Forman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just One Day. Just One Year. Just One Read.

Before you find out how their story ends, remember how it began....

When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

Characters: If you didn't finish Just One Day thinking that Willem was a jerk, then something is wrong with you.  In Just One Year, he has family issues and hopes to find happiness.  He tries hard to find find Lulu, and just like her, he ends up discovering himself.  He has some great quotes that are sometimes melancholy, but very thought-provoking.  Gayle Forman is great!!! But at times, Willem irked me.  He more than interacted with other girls as a distraction, but if he really loves Lulu why would he do that? If love is that strong, wouldn't it be the ever present motivation to find her?  I suppose that is too idealistic, but these ideas of commitment and true love are the reasons why I read romances! And finally, I loved Kate.  She is a great friend to Willem, giving him advice and supporting his acting.

Plot: What the heck was that ending?!!?!?!? I thought this series was going to be a trilogy!!! How can I be satisfied with that ending? Gayle Forman said that she wants readers to think about the ending they want for the characters.  Hey can just think about it or write it in fanfic.  Yes, I did read someone's alternative ending to the story.  It was cute, but it was my first time reading any fanfic, and I just have to say that some people should never write.  Absolutely terrible stuff exists for the public, but the ending of the series I read wasn't too bad.  It was just that the dialogue didn't seem like something Allison or Willem would say or how they would say it.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Well, if you read Just One Day, which was really beautiful if you haven't read it, you kinda have to read this one!! I talked to so one else, and she loved the ending, so don't let my anger over it dissuade you.  It's still thought-provoking and sweet, very Gaylesque .

Blitz: Chosen by Paulina Ulrich

Nothing can stand in the way of outspoken, rule-breaker-extraordinaire; Kaddy Richston...except destiny. Born with a spitfire personality and a take-no-nonsense attitude, Kaddy set her sights on being in a rock band and leaving her small Wyoming town along with the painful memories of her past. Kaddy knew she was a freak show with wildly colored hair and piercing gray eyes but was determined to do whatever it took to depart her broken childhood and make her own way.
But destiny had other plans for her.
The seemingly observant and mysterious Cole Huntington enters her life and becomes the bump in the road Kaddy is trying to pave for her future. Striking blue eyes, features to make any girl swoon, he's everything but the new-to-town bad boy. Calm, cool, and always collected, he plans on unraveling every one of Kaddy's dark secrets.
Hating him from the start and trying to fight her insane attraction to him, Kaddy is determined to undermine whatever intentions he has until she learns of a destiny she never asked for. Getting throw into a battle that's been raging for more than a thousand years, the fate of the world lies in Kaddy's hands as she learned just how different she is. The only person she can turn to for answers is the last person she'd want help from: the frustratingly attractive; Cole Huntington, who seemed to dislike her rule-breaking as much as she dislikes his rule-following.
Paulina Ulrich  Bio:
I love to write because if I didn’t then I wouldn’t be telling stories, I wouldn’t have gotten a degree in creative writing, and my insanely fluffy cat wouldn’t be “assisting” my writing by laying on the keyboard. I am the author of the Flightless Bird series (Flightless Bird, Broken Wings, Fair Feathered, & Timeless Sky) and the Fighting Fate series (Chosen). I was raised to big dream or don’t dream at all and my highly active imagination has been the cause behind many of my stories. I write because life wouldn't be as fun without the occasional break or two from reality. With my cat and a glass of iced tea nearby you can find me weaving stories and when I’m not writing, I’m out buying way too many cute shoes.

Blitz: Portents by Shanyn Hoiser

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Hamilton Spencer Nash was pissed the fuck off. This shit between him and Marian
Dupree was at motherfuckin' DEFCON1. Something was going to go thermonuclear, and soon.
As he greeted each of his guests, however, he kept all outward signs of his fury well
hidden. He hadn't wrecked a room in his house, though he was sorely tempted. He hadn't
punched anyone's face in, though his palms itched for contact. He hadn't taken his anger out on
his associates, for that would be undignified, and they were not to blame… technically.
Instead, he'd sat tight. Thought long and hard about what had happened, the how and the
why it had come to pass. He debriefed those involved, checking and rechecking the facts.
And he'd come to the conclusion that Dupree was to blame. She and her bumbling little
scout troop had interfered for the last time. And yes, he recognized how cartoon-villainish that
sounded, thank you very much. Yet another reason Dupree was irritating: she brought out the
worst in him.
He hadn't gotten to where he was—the head of a powerful and lucrative organization—by
throwing tantrums. He'd earned his wealth and position by maximizing opportunities while
minimizing risks. By making calculated, rational decisions. By eliminating problems with
surgical precision.
Dupree was a problem. Therefore she would pay. And pay dearly.
He knew something had gone seriously wrong when his pet firebug, Angelica, hadn't met
up with him at their rendezvous point. The girl was prone to panicky overreaction whenever she
sensed the slightest danger, real or imagined, so the fact she'd never even called was ominous,
indeed. And he'd never heard from her again, in fact—nor had his associates managed to turn up
any sign of her. He had no definitive knowledge of what actually happened to her—Dupree
hadn't bothered to inform him, the bitch—other than the firm belief that Angelica was dead at her
He did not pause to consider he'd sent Angelica on a dangerous mission to burn Dupree's
precious Academy to the ground. The only fact that concerned him was that he'd lost a valuable
member of his team. A loss he blamed on Marian Dupree.
It wasn't a personal loss, per se. He had no emotional connection to Angelica, and he was
not the sort of person to delude himself otherwise after the fact. In truth, not long before she went
missing, he'd been wondering if Angelica was worth the hassle: the woman had taken an
inordinate amount of coaxing and coddling to become even slightly useful. But now that she was
gone, he'd never know if she would've matured into a fantastically successful associate. And the
loss of his profit, both realized and potential, wasn't a pittance.
Nor was it something he was inclined to overlook.
Marian Dupree would suffer at his hands. She would experience the kind of setback he
had, but on a much larger scale. She would be made to sacrifice, and she would know who was
the author of her pain.
"I want everything you have on Marian Dupree and the Academy of St. Joan of Arc," he
announced calmly to the assembly.
His highest-ranking associates, seated around his spacious dining table, reacted with
varying degrees of surprise and curiosity.
"Thought you said they were small time," Brittani Rollins yipped impertinently. "Why
the sudden interest?"
Hamilton leveled a penetrating stare at her until she started to squirm. He dragged his
eyes away once she'd been put in her place, scanning the group for any other signs of
insubordination. Finding none, he continued. "The situation has changed. What was once a minor inconvenience has become a serious problem."
He paused once again to inwardly tally the ledger. He'd had to abort the foreclosure-arson
scam with Dale Dalton at Gulf States Bank—without a firebug, the fires would've actually
looked like the work of an arsonist, and their crooked insurance claim adjustor had balked.
Thousands of dollars had been pissed away with that one folded deal alone. Who knew how
much more they might've made running the scam elsewhere?
Hamilton's blood pressure rose once again at the thought. But he was careful not to let
any of the others sense how riled he felt.
"Round the clock surveillance. Tails on everyone who enters and leaves that place.
Wiretaps. Financials. Grocery lists. I want everything," he said in an even voice.
Several of the group nodded, understanding which of these tasks were meant for them
without being specifically told.
"And I want someone on the inside we can trust." He stared straight at Lane Cassidy,
who'd established contact with one of Dupree's litter. The mole's allegiance was in doubt, as far
as Hamilton was concerned. It was time for Lane to put the screws to the bitch and make her
show her true colors.
"Spread the word: I want recruitment stepped up. Finder's fees increased by twenty
percent. Doubled if the new initiate comes from the Academy." He paused for a moment for
effect, then held up a month-old newspaper clipping of a grainy photograph: his only concrete
proof she existed. "And twenty grand for the person who brings me this girl."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Favorites Contest: Dirty Red by Tarryn Fisher

Featured Book: Dirty Red
Featured Author: Tarryn Fisher
Summary: Dear Opportunist,

You thought you could take him from me, but you lost. Now, that he's mine I'll do anything to keep him. Do you doubt me? I have everything that was supposed to be yours. In case you were wondering; he doesn't ever think about you anymore. I won't let him go....ever.

Leah Smith finally has everything she has ever wanted. Except she doesn't. Her marriage feels more like a loan than a lifelong commitment, and the image she has worked so hard to build is fraying before her eyes. With a new role and a past full of secrets, Leah must decide how far she is willing to go to keep what she has stolen.

Spotlight: BirthMarked by Maria Violante

The Markers, Book 1

Maria Violante

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Taliesin Publishing

Date of Publication:  10/03/2013

ISBN: 978-1-62916-008-5

Word Count:  ~60,000

BN     Omnilit

Book Description:

Charlie Kale knows life isn't easy. But for the first time, this truck driver might have finally found her little piece of happiness. She's got it all—her big rig, friends, a great mentor, and a man about to join her on the road.

That is, until the good things in Charlie's life all fall apart, and she finds herself at the mercy of a sexy but mysterious gunman who claims to be a member of a secret order dedicated to fighting the supernatural monsters that filter over into our world.

She's given a choice—join up or die, and while the gunman might be insane, Charlie’s hell-bent on not dying.

Too bad it looks like that might not be an option.
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Short Excerpt:
By three in the morning, I’d already been on the road for hours. My eyes were starting to droop, the lights of passing cars playing hypnotist in the dark.
Now I remember why I don’t run nights. Running nights was like childbirth—or so I’ve heard—you suffered through, and then a few trips later, you’d already forgotten how tired you felt, how each mile was a struggle of will to keep your eyes open.
In driving school, they always told you to never drive tired. They didn’t mention that everybody did it, or it was impossible not to.
Just one more hour. If I can just get another hour—maybe hour and half—the sun will come up, and I’ll get a nice boost, and then it’s not too far after that.
I yawned and took another swig of my coffee, trying to suck the lukewarm mixture down in a single gulp. I grimaced at the candy-bar mixture. I preferred it black, but there were only so many cups of mud a person could drink before it started to feel like your stomach lining was about to peel off. In my case, that number was six.
Jeff was the one who had shown me how vital it was to load the mixture with enough cream and sugar to turn it into slurry. And he still hasn’t answered my text. It wasn’t like him. Maybe he didn’t get it? Should I send it again?
I made a note to call him when I got the chance, and then I rounded a bend and went blind. The driver coming from the opposite direction—a jeep, or maybe a lifted truck, I couldn’t tell—had his high beams misaimed, and they were blasting me straight in the face. Grateful for the low traffic, I stared down at the white line and tried to keep my truck straight.
And then, the lights started flickering and dancing in the lane. The glow alternately brightened and dimmed as the car moved, and I realized the driver was swerving. He or she was either drunk or having a heart attack, and neither one of those was very good.
Like so many other times in my short career, I did the only thing I could do. I eased off the fuel and prayed to whoever might be up there. Please keep this truck safe.
Finally, the headlights whizzed past me. I had enough time for a quick second of relief as the sudden darkness made spots dance across my vision—and then I heard it, an awful, thumping groan, and I felt the truck shudder. I glanced in my mirror and saw the trailer swing. I whipped the steering wheel to correct the motion, but it had already gone too far. Fifty-three feet of aluminum bucked like a sidewinder crossing the desert. I steered right, trying to take myself off of the road, but by then, the trailer had started to tip.
If a trailer rolls, the truck goes with it. Jeff had told me that a thousand times. Now I’d get the chance to find out if it was true.
The trailer turned in slow motion, with a groan I could feel all the way to my bones. Gravity shifted, and the world swiveled through my dash as the entire cab filled with the sounds of every item I owned falling at once.
Over the crashes, I heard Diesel’s whine, and there was just enough time for a ping of regret.
I’m sorry, boy. I didn’t know it was going to be this way.
And then the side of my head exploded into a cascade of pain and fire, and everything went dark.

About the Author:

Well-traveled and uncoordinated, Maria Violante is the best-selling author of several books in the realm of speculative fiction--all of them crossovers that require hyphens in the genre description (see:
gladiator-dystopia-rom-sci-fi, shifter-western-historical, or gunslinger-mercenary-urban fantasy.)

She enjoys a well-roasted coffee, Bell's Winter White Ale, and lives in Michigan with her Chihuahua, Beau, also known as “Piggy Wiggy”.


Spotlight: In Love With a Wicked Man by Liz Carlyle

In Love with a Wicked Man
Liz Carlyle

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Avon Books

Date of Publication: 10/29/2013

ISBN: 9780062100290

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Liz Carlyle has created a breathtaking new romance about a man without scruples and the lady who brings him to his knees.
What does it matter if Kate, Lady d'Allenay, has absolutely no marriage prospects?

She has a castle to tend, an estate to run, and a sister to watch over, which means she is never, ever reckless. Until an accident brings a handsome, virile stranger to Bellecombe Castle, and Kate finds herself tempted to surrender to her houseguest's wicked kisses.

Disowned by his aristocratic family, Lord Edward Quartermaine has turned his gifted mind to ruthless survival. Feared and vilified as proprietor of London's most notorious gaming salon, he now struggles to regain his memory, certain of only one thing: he wants all Kate is offering—and more.

But when Edward's memory returns, he and Kate realize how much they have wagered on a scandalous passion that could be her ruin, but perhaps his salvation.


Ned Quartermaine was in a dark and pensive mood. With his coat and cravat long ago cast aside, he sprawled by a dying fire in his finely appointed suite, his knees splayed wide and his shoulders thrown back against the buttery leather of his armchair. Only the faint chink! of his brandy glass striking the marble tabletop broke the quiet as Quartermaine stared out into his garden; a garden that would have been awash in moonlight had this not been London, and the night sky not choked with damp and coal smoke.
But Quartermaine was a creature of the darkness—and, truth be told, more comfortable in it. And on this night, he was embracing that darkness with a bottle of eighteen-year-old Armagnac and a strand of small but perfect pearls adorned with one teardrop sapphire.
They lay heavy in the palm of his hand—and heavy in his heart, too. But that organ so rarely troubled him, the ache in it tonight might have been mistaken for dyspepsia. Best to wash it back down again, he’d decided. Still, from time to time, between sips of the burnt, ashy spirit, he gave the pearls a pensive little toss, just to feel them settle back into his hand, clicking against one another before stilling again; cooler, yet ever heavier, it seemed.
Just then, as if to punctuate the regret, the gilt clock on his mantelpiece struck the hour.
Three chimes. Three o’clock.
An hour at which there was good money to be made from the vanity and desperation of others. Above Quartermaine’s head, the night’s work continued on as little more than a soothing rumble of voices; one that was occasionally broken by the faint scrape of a chair leg across his marble floors.
He gave the brandy another sip.
The pearls another toss.
His heart another hard wrench. As if he might, just this once, manage to wring from it the will to do the right thing. But before he could steel himself to the duty, there came a faint knock at the door.
Peters. No one else had permission to disturb Quartermaine once he had stepped from his office into his private domain.
“Come!” he ordered.
His club manager entered with a perfunctory bow. “You might wish to come upstairs, sir.”
Quartermaine tipped the Armagnac bottle over his glass. “Why?”
“It’s Lord Reginald Hoke,” said Peters. “I turned him off as you’d ordered but it didn’t sit well. Apparently the damned fool feels lucky tonight.”
After refilling his glass, Quartermaine lifted his lazy gaze back to Peters’s, his eyebrows rising faintly. “Lucky enough to settle his accounts?” he murmured. “For if he does not, Lord Reggie shan’t put so much as one manicured toe across the threshold of this establishment, lest I chop the thing off and use it for a bloody paperweight.”
“A paperweight, sir?”
“To hold down that stack of worthless notes he’s given us,” said Quartermaine without humor.
Suddenly, from behind Quartermaine, the sound of hinges creaking intruded, followed by the rustle of fabric. He twisted in his chair.
Her voice edged with irritation and her wild curls tumbling down, Maggie Sloan stood bracketed against the lamplight of his bedroom, Quartermaine’s silk robe gathered around her in voluminous folds.
“I’ve business to attend,” he said coolly. “Go back to bed, Maggie.”
He sensed rather than saw the disdain flick over her face. “No, I think I’m off.” Lip sneering, she slammed the door.
Emotionlessly, he turned back to Peters. “Where’s Hoke now?”
“Pinkie stopped him in the entrance hall, sir.”
“Alas, poor Reggie,” said Quartermaine, setting his bottle down. “Shall I set loose the hounds, old chap? Or is there a bit of blood yet to be wrung from the Hoke turnip?”
Peters laughed. “Oh, there’s blood,” he said. “That’s why you should come upstairs.”
That elevated Quartermaine’s brows another notch. “Indeed?” he said. “You shock me, Peters. I thought old Reggie entirely done in.”
“He implies he’s to meet some of his cronies here in half an hour for something deep,” Peters suggested. “But he needs cash to stake at the card table, and he’s in a mood to bargain.”
Quartermaine sipped musingly at his brandy. “Well, I’ve never been known to sneer at a bargain,” he said, rising. “But bring him down here. I’d rather not put my coat back on.”
Peters bowed. “Certainly, sir.”
Quartermaine followed Peters back through the suite and into the adjacent study where the heart of the club was centered. No bacchanalia or whoring went on within these walls; the Quartermaine Club was simply a circumspect, high-stakes gaming salon where many a noble scion had sent ten generations of wealth shooting down a rat hole beneath Ned Quartermaine’s watchful eye.
But it was wealth, not blood, that determined whether a man—or a woman—could gain entrée to Quartermaine’s world. Blue blood alone was next to worthless in his estimation—and he had enough of it in him to know.
Suddenly Quartermaine realized he still held the pearls in his hand. On a pinprick of irritation, he jerked open the drawer of his desk and let them slither into it, a cascade of creamy perfection. Then he took a cigar and went to the French windows that opened onto his garden.
The ash soon glowed orange in the dark. He could hear the rattle of a carriage coming up fast from the direction of St. James’s Palace. The cry of a newspaper hawker in the street. And then the silence fell again. What the devil was keeping Lord Reginald?
Perhaps the craven bastard had turned tail and run back up St. James’s Place to cower in one of his posh clubs. It little concerned him. Quartermaine always got his money—one way or another. He puffed again at the cigar and pondered at his leisure how best that might be done, for patience, he’d learnt, was truly a virtue.

About the Author:

A lifelong Anglophile, Liz Carlyle started reading Gothic novels under the bed covers by flashlight. She is the author of sixteen historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina.

Twitter: @lizcarlyle