Tuesday, September 1, 2015

RELEASE DAY BLISS: Broken Play (Birmingham Rebels #1) by Samantha Kane

The Birmingham Rebels football team is basically the end of the line for many players, but new assistant coach, Marian Treadwell is trying to change that. She's also caught the eye of offensive lineman Cass Zielinski who has  plans for the attractive coach, hoping as well to draft his buddy, Beau Perez in on the action. These BFF's are attached at the hip and when they set their sights on Marian, it's game on.

While in college, Marian went through an unspeakable event that shapes her entire life. Being tossed aside by her football coach, father has given her the drive to prove to him she is much more than he thinks she is, and being given the chance to help coach the Rebels is an opportunity of a lifetime. When Marian realizes that Beau and Cass want more than to go by the playbook. Sure, these boys have a reputation for having a good time, but can they prove to Marian that what they want is something more than a passing fling? 

Marian's deepest, darkest fantasies are a little kinkier than most and they begin to boil over when she realizes that Beau and Cass feed her needs to a T, but she is also a catalyst for Beau and Cass' coming to terms with their relationship. Not only do they take care for each other when the going gets rough, they truly care for each other in a way that Marian understands. Relationships are hard enough when it comes to a couple, but bring in a third party and there is a whole lot going on. Cass really wants their relationship to work, but Marian is holding back and until she lets go of the past, she will never be able to commit to what all three inevitably need.

As a reader who first of all reads very few contemporary romances, and knows nothing about the sport of football, I was pleasantly surprised when I delved into BROKEN PLAY by Samantha Kane, who is also one of my favorite historical authors to date. I adore the fact that Marian loves football and is doing a job she is passionate about. That is my primary draw to her, along with the fact that she came though a horrible crime and instead of losing herself, she triumphs over her adversity. Cass and Beau are two pretty sexy alpha males who are hard to miss and easy to fall for. The men play so well off each other, their camaraderie is infectious. I enjoy the fact this book takes place pre-season so the reader has a chance to get to know the ins and outs of the Rebels. BROKEN PLAY is a sizzling read that should not be missed. 


Monday, August 31, 2015

SLICK'S Guest review of Stripped Down (Blacktop Cowboys #6.7) by Lorelei James (1001 Dark Nights)

I really shouldn't be surprised when I read a book by Lorelei James and finish it and think to myself, "damn she did it again" but she always seems to catch me off guard, always seems to surprise me just a little bit more and always seems to make me fall head over heels in love with her characters.  We "met" both Wynton (Wyn) Grant and Melissa (Mel) Lockhart in Roped In but we didn't get a chance to know them very well, but man do we EVER get the chance in this book.  We find out that Wyn is funny and charming and unapologetic about his sexual past.  We find out that Mel's life has been very interesting in more ways than one and in the past 6 months she's made some big decisions that only one other person in her life knows about and we also find out she, like Wyn, has enjoyed exploring her sexual side and she too will not apologize one bit for it (as well she shouldn't).  We see two people who claim marriage, family and happily ever after isn't on their radar realize that it's pretty cool to have someone around when you need to share your load, when life hands you more than you can handle and when your secrets come back to haunt you.  Most of all we see how easy it is to accept someone else in your life when that person understands you, doesn't judge you and flat out fits into your life in a way you never expected anyone to.  Smart and sexy are a given in Ms. James' work, but this book is funny because these two characters are well...characters and they live life to the fullest and even when life throws a wrench into it, these two accept it and just keep on going.
"Come on Melissa. Let's see what kinda dirty, dastardly deeds we can get away with."  "Deal. But call me Mel.  "Mel? Nope. Sorry, No can do." "Why not?"  "Mel is the name of a line cook.  Saying, 'Suck harder, Mel,' or "Bend over Mel,' brings really different images to my mind than 'I'm gonna fuck you through the wall, Melissa."
See...funny and sexy all in the same damn passage!

From the start of this book it was so evident these two were in way over their heads with one another.  They were counting on a "one and done" evening following the wedding of Sutton (Wyn's younger brother) and London (Mel's best friend) but circumstances arise giving them both the perfect opportunity to spend more time together and they jump on it.  I had to laugh when Mel refused to sleep in the same room as Wyn (although she was more than okay with plenty of sexy times) because it threw Wyn for such a loop and because even when he didn't want to admit it, he wanted her in his bed and in his life.  Mel had her reasons and while I questioned why she wanted to keep this secret from him, I could also understand it as well.

I loved how easily these two moved into a routine and the fact that Mel loved working on the ranch and helping Wyn and his brother, Cres out when they needed it most.  (I will also say I am really excited about the possibility of Cres getting his own story next because well, Cres is gay and I will be all over that book in a heartbeat.)  Seriously though back to Mel and Wyn, it was like they were two halves of a whole both in understanding each other and discussing their lives and even their sexual experiences with one another with ease and without jealousy or conflict.  A breath of fresh air to me because while I don't mind a little drama in a romance sometimes there is just too much and I can do without it.  Perhaps it is because these two were a bit older, somewhat settled or simply because they lived their lives without apology but whatever the reason I appreciated the grown up relationship they had going on and loved their off-beat "pet names" that they had for one another.  That's not to say there wasn't a little drama when Mel's secret came out, but I will say that it was warranted drama, it wasn't a contrived plot device; it was real and most of all it was given the proper seriousness it deserved. 

I love when an author can make me smile, make me wish my partner was close by for a quickie, make me sigh and make me laugh out loud and sometimes all in the same paragraph and Lorelei James has done just that in Stripped Down.  While loosely connected to her Blacktop Cowboys series Stripped Down can absolutely be read as a stand -alone story and it is an excellent place to start if you haven't read this author before.  If you have read her, well you are in for 100% pure Lorelei James magic!


Friday, August 28, 2015

IN SUPPORT OF AUTHORS #author #Romance

A Night with local Long Island, New York authors,  Patty Blount, Jolyse Barnett, Jennifer Gracen and Jeannie Moon
 with Book Obsessed Chicks members
Voule Walker, Christine Woinich, myself (Kim Rocha) and Janet Rodman
The Book Review- Huntington, NY

In the past going to the local book store to meet a favorite author was something one could do on a monthly basis. Now however, with bookstores closing and those still around focusing on making their bottom line or concentrating on selling toys instead of books, it's become more difficult for the reader to meet that author. 

Now more than ever, our authors need reader support, especially in a climate where many traditional publishers don't promote well enough, or when an Indie author has to do it all from soup to nuts on their own. It's a daunting task for any author. Most of the public at large has no idea what an author goes through to get published. The trials and tribulations of many of my favorites have made my respect for them multiply by leaps and bounds. 

One of the reasons my book club exists is to help get the word out about those authors who live locally  and those who come to town and are gracious enough to take their time out to visit the Book Obsessed Chicks. Nothing makes me happier than to host an author and have twenty or so new readers waiting to "one-click" that author's book because they enjoyed meeting them during book club. It's a great feeling to help facilitate a new author/reader relationship.

Another way a reader can help support an author is to join in when there is an appearance somewhere nearby. Authors have so many ways to let us know where and when they will be around. Checking out an author's website or other social media for appearances is the number one way to get to know that author on a level that few ever have the chance to do.  My first experience with an author goes way back to 1993 when I had the great fortune of sitting in on a Q&A with my ultimate favorite, Anne Rice. It was in New York City and Anne Rice was discussing her issues with INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE going from novel to screen. I will never forget that day.  

One of the best ways in which to help a writer is to post a review for their book online. The more reader word of mouth, the better. Don't feel intimidated; just a few words of praise for that book and the author's writing can go so far. Yes, we all have read a book or two that maybe we didn't like, but that doesn't mean someone else won't enjoy it, so think of that when writing down your thoughts, because reviews are subjective. 

Most book lovers aren't able to able to attend a reader/author conference, but there are plenty of local signings that are free and are open to the general public. These events would not be able to continue without reader support. When you discover a local event, I urge you all to try to attend. You won't believe how much you can get out of making an author smile just by your presence and imagine all the new books you'll  be able to find. Personally, my life has become so much more enriched by the authors I have met and the new reads I have discovered. I couldn't imagine my life without these talented men and women and their works that keep my imagination flowing. 

Please support authors in any way you can. 

Historical Romance author, Wendy LaCapra at Lady Jane Salon- NYC
The Book Obsessed Chicks 5th Annual Beach BBQ Bash- July 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Finding Gabriel by Rachel L. Demeter

Desperation and despair makes Colonel Gabriel de Laurent want to end his life. Resolved to end it all, Gabriel winds up along the River Seine on a snowy night with a pistol in his mouth. Unfortunately for him, the pistol does not do its job very well and Gabriel winds up on the brink of death.

Ariah Larochelle has had a difficult life, to say the least. Left an orphan at a young impressionable age then betrayed by her best friend, she has had to fight to survive. Trust is a serious issue with this now mother of a young daughter. Ariah lives among poverty awaiting the return of the husband who left for war years before. When she comes across the barely alive Gabriel, her survival instincts flip into high gear as she takes him to her modest home and tasks herself with saving the stranger's life.

Gabriel's injuries are disfiguring, but that isn't the least of it. Ariah's beloved Dr friend tells her that from the wounds, it is obvious there was no foul play involved,but that what occur ed was bu his own hand. Ariah struggles to understand what could bring someone to do that. Even with all that has happened to her in her short life, survival was always the only choice for her. Nursing Gabriel back to health is a job for a saint, for at first he resents that he is still alive and permanently scarred not only on the outside, but to the very depths of his being. 

The more the inconsolable Gabriel spends time with Ariah and her little family, the more he comes to appreciate the second chance he has been given, but those dark secrets of his past still chip away at his soul and it seems the only one who can bring the light to his dark is Ariah. She holds secrets in her heart as well that have shaped the way she has become, but with Gabriel's presence, Ariah sees that there could be a chance for her to trust and love.

FINDING GABRIEL by Rachel L. Demeter is a gut wrenching tale that tugs at the reader's heartstrings and brings tears to your eyes. This story is not for the faint of heart. It is gritty and real and will evoke emotion. I couldn't put it down. Both Ariah's and Gabriel's stories prior to their meeting are emotional roller coasters.  Ms. Demeter's sweeping description of the times and the characters feelings is brilliant, I felt like I was right there alongside Ariah and Gabriel. FINDING GABRIEL is a story that will remain with me for a while for the journey to that HEA almost broke me. Bravo Ms. Demeter for such a memorable tale.


Rachel L. Demeter

1.       Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Thanks for having me on your lovely blog, Kimberly! I live in beautiful Sunny California with Teddy, my goofy lowland sheepdog, and my high school sweetheart of eleven years. Richard and I began dating during our freshman year and have been together ever since. He’s truly my soul mate and greatest inspiration. I’m so grateful to have found him at such a young age!
I graduated from Chapman University’s film school with a BA in Screenwriting. Even though I’m primarily a novelist, film school deepened my love for crafting fiction tenfold; it taught me to concentrate on plotting, dynamic characters, and effective pacing, as well as the importance of visual storytelling. I wouldn’t trade my college education for anything in the world!
Aside from writing like a madwoman, my interests and pastimes include researching history (especially nineteenth century France and the Middle Ages), reading, singing, cooking, health and fitness, playing the violin, videogames (I’m truly a bit of a nerd at heart!), philosophy, and animals.

2.       What was your inspiration for FINDING GABRIEL?

My lifelong love for tortured heroes/heroines, dark romances, and nineteenth century France. And Finding Gabriel truly embodies my passion for all three.
I had yearned to create a pair of imperfect, emotionally and physically scarred protagonists whose deep affection for each other could triumph over seemingly impossible odds. And Colonel Gabriel de Laurent is very much a haunted soul. His twisted past has hardened his heart and driven him to the brink of desperation. Ariah’s gentle nature and ability to persevere presents the ideal counterpoint to his darkness. Though, like Gabriel, she also suffers from a tragic past.
Nineteenth century France has always been a great passion of mine. It was a time of conflict, political intrigue, art, clashing social norms, and romance. While England’s glittering ballrooms present an elaborate atmosphere, I personally feel these settings can become a bit stuffy and repetitive for readers. In my opinion, Paris lends itself to a darker, freer, more liberating and passionate environment. The characters aren’t as tied down by social norms, and the settings are more rustic and real. Also, I was raised on Paris-set musicals, such as Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera—and they continue to inspire my imagination and characters.
Writing Finding Gabriel was a deeply personal experience and a true emotional rollercoaster. At times, the subject matter forced me into uncomfortable and often brutal territories–and the road to Gabriel and Ariah’s Happily Ever After is certainly paved with an abundance of loss, discovery, hope, and, of course, searing passion and relentless love

Every word emerged straight from my soul; I was connected to both Gabriel and Ariah on such a profound level . . . more than I ever imagined possible. When I typed “The End,” I broke into tears. They were no longer characters, but real people and beloved friends. 
I hope that Gabriel and Ariah's journey through darkness touches your heart as much as it did my own.

3.        What are you currently working on?

Many things! My muse has been kind to me recently. I’m thrilled to say that I have several stories in the works, including a historical romance/horror hybrid set in a Victorian asylum, a medieval historical romance, some contemporary romances, and a horror novel. A Kindled Winter, my heart-warming contemporary holiday romance, is scheduled for release in November 2015—so keep on the lookout! :-)

It’s a very exciting (and busy) time!

4.       Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be?

Absolutely. Writing is my life’s blood, my passion, and my greatest obsession. It has always been and always will be. I’ve actually been a writer before I physically learned to write. As a child, one of my favorite pastimes was imagining stories and characters while my mom would record them for me, Now, at the ripe age of twenty-seven, my passion for creating dynamic worlds is stronger than ever before!

Honestly, I could be nothing else but a writer.

5.       Who was your favorite character to write and why?

Can I cheat and say both the hero and heroine? Gabriel was an absolute thrill to write, since his characterization contains so much sexy darkness and transient light all wrapped up in one rugged package.
But Ariah is also multilayered, and was fascinating to bring to life. Many facets of her character were inspired by my mom (who is my personal heroine). She’s the strongest, most loyal, compassionate, independent, and sincere person I know—and I worked hard to incorporate these traits into Ariah’s persona. Like Ariah, she always protects the ones she loves at all costs and is willing to sacrifice everything for her family and what she believes is right.

6.       Do you have any role models? If so, who?

My grandparents, who shared the most inspiring and heartfelt love story of all. My grandpa was the most morally grounded, generous, and kind person—and not a day passes by that he isn’t in my heart and thoughts.

7.       Where can you fans meet you?

Oh, I absolutely love interacting with my readers. Let’s connect!

Pinterest (Gosh, I’m so addicted to this site!): http://www.pinterest.com/racheldemeter1
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rachel-L.-Demeter/e/B00IBKLO06
Author Newsletter (I shall never spam you or be in a nuisance in any way!): http://eepurl.com/LWdD9

Official Site: http://RachelDemeter.net

If you live in the Southern California area, I expect to have some book signings in the upcoming months, and I’d love to meet each and every one of you!

8.       Who are your favorite authors?

To name a few: Gaelen Foley, Elizabeth Hoyt, Lisa Kleypas, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Diana Gabaldon, George R. R. Martin, Judith James, and Stephen King. The list goes on and on . . .

9.       What is next for you?

My contemporary holiday themed romance, A Kindled Winter, which releases in November. It’s my first modern set novel and beta hero!

10.   What would you like readers to know about you?

You guys are the reason why I write. I’m beyond honored and grateful for the opportunity to share my stories with you. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Not Always a Saint (The Lost Lords #7) by Mary Jo Putney

After losing beloved betrothed while he was away studying, Daniel Herbert spends his life attempting to help as many people as possible through his work in the medical field, regardless of ability to pay. Not much else matters to Daniel but his work and his sister, Laurel, who finally finds her true love. When Daniel inherits a barony after the entire line is wiped out, he begrudgingly takes on the title. The one thing he knows he must do, is find himself a wife who will be able to help him manage the Romayne legacy.

Jessie Kelham came from inauspicious beginnings. The actress married an older titled gentleman and with him has a good life and a daughter, until Lord Kelham dies. Waiting in the wings to scoop everything the barony has to offer is Kelham's nephew Frederick, but when the will is read and it just so happens that due to an old edict in the family line, Frederick is not the heir, but Jessie's daughter is.  Now Jessie must protect her daughter from the scheming Frederick and the only way she can think of is to marry quickly. She wants someone older, like her husband was a possibly titled to have the weight of a title behind her for protection .

Off to London Jessie goes in her search for a protector and when she meets Daniel Herbert, the new Baron, she is in for quite the time of it. Neither is what the other had in mind in their search for spouses, but their attraction to one another cannot be denied. Only Jessie has a secret that if comes to light can destroy her carefully configured life. Daniel has a gut feeling that he has met Jessie before, but that's impossible, he would have remembered a lady as beautiful as she. Sometimes the plans one sets out to accomplish change drastically, such is the case with Mary Jo Putney's NOT ALWAYS A SAINT.

NOT ALWAYS A SAINT, the seventh installment of the Lost Lords series is achingly poignant tale of desperation as well as one of passion and desire. Jessie's character has undergone a transformation since her meager start, but now that she has her child, she will stop at nothing to make sure her daughter is safe. Daniel Herbert has always been a character I have loved in the series and couldn't wait for his tale. I am not disappointed in the least. Daniel's life hasn't been stellar either. Estranged from his parents in part because of their treatment of his beloved sister, he is a man of principle and honor. He has always cared for everyone but himself , but the time has come for him to wake up and see what's in front of him, in the form of Jessie. The story is well done and full of depth. I enjoyed this story immensely and hope you all will too. Yet another notch in Ms. Putney's belt for a great read! 


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mistress of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #1) by Delilah Marvelle

And here is where the School of Gallantry saga begins with a grand entrance with Delilah Marvelle's expertise.

Well known courtesan, Madame de Maitenon's beloved granddaughter, Maybelle would like no part of her grandmother's latest venture of a school for gentleman who wish to learn the art of pleasuring their women. Maybelle wants to travel to Egypt, which has endlessly held her fascination, but leaving her grandmother to her own devices may not be possible. 

Maybelle assures Madame de Maitenon that she has no interest in marriage and wishes to remain free, but when Maybelle spies Edmund Worthington, the Duke of Rutherford across the ballroom floor, her interest is piqued. When Maybelle follows the gentleman out to the garden she has no idea what she's in for other than a tryst. 

Edmund Worthington has been trying to repair the poor reputation his family suffered with the antics of his now deceased father. Edmund strives to perfection, but the very forward Maybelle de Maitenon is the epitome of  temptation that Edmund cannot resist. With her ruination complete and public humiliation evident, Maybelle's exit is thwarted by her grandmother's collapse at the ball and the only person willing to aid is Edmund. Now his mother insists on him taking Maybelle to wife and even though it's absurd to him as she not in his class, he accepts what must be done and proposes... um, well not really well and Maybelle refuses. 

With every passing hour Maybelle seems to be getting under Edmund's very skin and now he is determined to marry her. He enrolls and is accepted in the School for Gallantry, which Maybelle has taken over teaching while her grandmother recovers for her apoplexy, and the hunt is on to make the woman who would rather run from a respectable marriage than be a duchess. 

MISTRESS OF PLEASURE by the indomitable Delilah Marvelle is perfection wrapped up in this passionate tale. Edmund Worthington's seemingly over-arrogant persona is quickly quashed when he meets his match with the hard-headed but desirable Maybelle. The attraction between them is so passionate, it threatens to ignite. Ms. Marvelle's secondary characters are so interesting and add so much to this tale. Delilah Marvelle is never afraid to shock one's sensibilities and push the reader to the very edge. I adore this about her. Her writing is brilliant and Ms. Marvelle has an insight that few authors have. If you have never picked up a novel by Delilah Marvelle before, this is a great place to start.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Forbidden (The Wicked Woodleys 1) by Jess Michaels

Every time I read a book by Jess Michaels, I feel the need for a cold shower and a cigarette afterwards. In the case of FORBIDDEN, the first in the Wicked Woodleys series, I also needed a tissue for a few tears.  

After numerous family disappointments that have shaped his life, Jude Samson has accepted his lot in life. Taken in as family by the Woodleys and treated as a brother, Jude is eldest brother, Edward Woodley's man of business, but ever since he was a young man he has held Woodley sibling, Audrey in the highest of regards. No one knows that beneath his cool demeanor, Jude has the most passionate of thoughts about Audrey. 

When Audrey's sister Claire runs off to marry a rogue who would ruin her, the entire family is affected by her loss, but Audrey the most since the sisters had been so close. Believing that passion is the downfall of her family, Audrey tries her best to hold her emotions at bay. Now in her twenty-fourth year, it is time for her to settle on a husband, but Audrey can only think of the man her family took in so many years ago, Jude Samson.

Noting that Audrey has been discomfited and withdrawn as of late, her mother suggests the two of them depart for the family's country estate, which will be her dower home since Edward has re-married, to help her in renovating some of the rooms to her taste. When Edward tasks Jude with helping the pair in these renovations he unknowingly throws a match into a box of tinder by having Jude and Audrey spend time alone.

Audrey's fear of passion is chipped away when she begins to realize that Jude feels as deeply for her as she for him, but only an affair will be possible between these two since Jude has a few skeletons in his closet that could leave him tossed aside by the Woodleys if they find out that he has something to do with Claire's disappearance. Although Jude also feels he is only a servant to the Woodleys, Audrey knows that is not true, but convincing Jude he is worthy of her is difficult. Jude's and Audrey's illicit affair teems with desire, but will it be enough to purge the emotions that bring the two together. Methinks not.

Where does one go after Jess Michaels NOTORIOUS FLYNNS? Why the WICKED WOODLEYS, of course. FORBIDDEN is a not only a tale with great passion, it is also one of familial love and kinship. After Claire's disappearance the Woodleys struggle to keep one another close even with such loss. The Woodleys evident love for one another is alluring and wonderful. Jude is a strong male on a mission, to put his baser feelings for the beauty named Audrey aside. Happily, he fails in that regard and thus he and the fiery Audrey make for a steamy tale. I look forward to more about the Woodleys as I have now adopted them as my own.