Book Review – In Quest of Theta Magic

In Quest of Theta Magic
Written by: Enid Wilson
Published by: Steamy D Publishing
Date: January 8th, 2009
Pages: 166
Format: Perfect Paperback
ISBN: 978-0980610505

In Quest of Theta Magic is a sumptuous, erotic fantasy novel with a twist!”

Book Description – From Amazon.com
“Dean Williams has no need for love, but he does needs a wife, fast, since only his quest for Theta magic can save his sister. But who could be courageous and tough enough to endure what he needs to demand from his new wife? Elana Bailey is determined to brave the ugly beast in order to save her fragile sister. But she doesn’t expect the only reason for the match is to create a daughter to help Dean with his quest. What if she bears a son instead? Will they succeed in the quest?”

Dean Williams is in need of a wife and not just any old wife will do; she must be versed in the ancient Theta crafts and help him with his quest. Elana Bailey takes matters into her own hands and plans to somehow spare her beautiful but frail sister from having to marry the ugly, brutish man named Dean. One of the first things that struck me about this story was how human and likable the characters were despite the fantasy elements. It is always a pleasure to pick up a book that grabs a reader’s attention immediately. The characters were very unique and with Dean in particular, I was taken aback when I realized how much I liked him. Throughout the story there are contrasts of good & evil, beauty & the beast and it had the requisite simmering romance that makes one blush with the explicit sensuality. So many times I’ve found that erotic stories are big on “skin” and leave a lot to be desired when it comes to plot and story development. You can imagine my delight as I read this story and I enjoyed every single page! I have to commend Enid Wilson on creating this distinctive storybook world and thank her for keeping me thoroughly entertained. I look forward to reading more books by this author and I very highly recommend that you pick up a copy of In Quest of Theta Magic for yourself or a friend!!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (9 out of 10 Diamonds) – Loved it!

Read more about In Quest of Theta Magic (Adults ONLY!).
Find out where to buy this book.

Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to Enid Wilson for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Copyright © Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Love in Bloom

Love in BloomLove in Bloom
Written by: Sheila Roberts
Published by: St. Martin’s Griffin
Date: 2009
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0312384814

Love in Bloom is a wonderful story that deals with several important issues within a close-knit community; I would love to live in Heart Lake!”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“Hope Walker survived early breast cancer at just thirty-years-old, but a mastectomy left her with a lot of scarring—and some serious fears about dating. Hope owns Changing Seasons, Heart Lake’s most popular flower shop. When it comes to love and relationships, she’s able to work magic through her expert flower arranging…for everyone but herself. Then one day a handsome contractor starts coming into her shop, but Hope knows he’d rather have a whole woman than someone like her.
When Hope stakes a plot of ground at Heart Lake’s community garden, she finds that a woman can grow all sorts of things there: flowers, herbs, vegetables and even friendship. As she gets to know the two women who share neighboring plots, they discover that they can learn a lot from each other—not just about gardening, but about life. And Hope realizes that in order to live life to the fullest, sometimes you have to take a chance on love.”

Love in Bloom is a really inspirational story that combines gardening and a group of well-intentioned people. When I accepted a review copy of this book I didn’t know how the author planned to deal with some of these heavy issues in an engaging way. Hope Walker owns and operates her own flower shop in Heart Lake. She has a big heart and wants to make her community more beautiful and happier by arranging and selling her flowers. As a cancer survivor, Hope realized that she needed to make everyday count and did her best to encourage a positive spirit in everyone she met. When Hope meets Jason Wells one day, her heart starts racing and she can’t help how much he affects her. Unfortunately, Jason seems to have eyes for Bobbi, Hope’s younger sister. The story progresses nicely and I enjoyed the inspired way that the author had the characters interact with one another. I was pleasantly surprised when the storyline didn’t get bogged-down by some of the seriousness and I enjoyed the depth of character and winding plot; it made for a more compelling read. Love in Bloom is a really brilliant story that runs the gauntlet of emotions. There were lovely romantic moments that charmed me and then there were heart-wrenchingly sad moments that tore at my heart. This story vividly illustrates that love can bloom in the shadows of loss, in the glow of success and that it can happen at any age. All of the characters are really well developed and unique; I felt for each of them in their own circumstances. An added bonus: there are a few helpful gardening tips scattered throughout the book.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it
 

Read more about Love in Bloom.
Find out where to buy this book.

Link to the Author’s Website:
http://www.sheilasplace.com/

Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://us.macmillan.com/default.aspx

A special thanks to Sheila Roberts for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Holly’s Inbox (ARC)

Holly’s InboxHolly's Inbox
Written By: Holly Denham (Bill Surie)
Published By: Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks Inc., 2009 (originally published in 2007), 672 pages, paperback
ISBN 978-1402219030
(Available NOW!)

Holly’s Inbox is addictive and entertaining; a fresh, fun take on inter-office politics and romance in the workplace.”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“System alert: Inbox full of scandal, romance, and office hilarity!
Meet Holly Denham. It’s her first day as a receptionist at a London investment bank and inexperienced Holly is struggling. How’s a working girl supposed to have a love life with a demanding job, crazy friends, a dysfunctional family, and gossipy colleagues? Not to mention that Holly’s been keeping a secret from everyone – and the past is about to catch up with her.
An affair with a sexy VP heats things up at the office, but when Holly’s first flame (who, she thinks, left her in the lurch) gets a job at the same company, complications abound and Holly’s inbox becomes a daily source of drama, laughter and scandal.”

Holly’s Inbox is written in an email format which is unique and for me, a little distracting as well (having to check on who the emails are to and from all of the time). Holly’s new job as a receptionist gets a rocky start and she gets more than she’s bargained for with the new employees that she communicates with. As she settles in, Holly finds a new love interest who provides a great deal of fodder for the email gossip-mill. The story is told via emails that Holly and the other characters send to one another. For the most part, it is fairly enjoyable to read; the first 2/3’s of the book was a little slow for me but I am happy to tell you that it picked up in a BIG way after that and it finished with a satisfying, well written ending! As I read through the book, I began to care about Holly and how I hoped her life would turn out…as I said before, the last 1/3 of the book is where Holly’s story really starts to seize the reader’s attention. The story isn’t as fluid as I would have liked; it is broken up by the email format and the constant back and forth between the different email senders. The plot consists of some fairly typical office-type romances and the stresses that office workers deal with on the job.
Make sure you check out www.hollysinbox.com/ to visit the fun, interactive website that looks like Holly’s REAL inbox!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (7 out of 10 Diamonds) – I really enjoyed it
 

Link to the Author’s website:
http://www.hollysinbox.com/

Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.sourcebooks.com/

A special thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Kill for Me

Kill for MeKill_For_Me
Book 3 of 3
Written By: Karen Rose
Published By: Grand Central Publishing a division of Hachette Book Group, 2009, First Edition, 422 pages, hardcover
ISBN 978-0446510301

Kill for Me is a dark thriller that explores the terrifying world of online predators and sex trafficking; it’s gritty, intense and fiendishly-satisfying!”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“Five teenage girls have been viciously attacked. One survived. Only she can reveal the secrets of a disturbing ring of people who kidnap and sell teenage girls on the black market. But those responsible for the crimes will do whatever it takes to maintain her silence.
Susannah Vartanian and Luke Papadopoulos have both sworn to stop the murderers for their own personal reasons. The investigation leads them to the shady realm of Internet chat rooms, where anyone can mask his or her identity. They soon discover a chain of deception so intricate they don’t know whom to trust. Finding comfort in each other’s arms, they begin to unravel the intricately knotted threads, but the killers are ruthless and determined, and won’t hesitate to take extreme measures to insure their anonymity and keep their business intact. When Susannah proves to be inexplicably linked to the crimes, her life is soon in danger, and Luke will do everything he can to save the woman he loves.”

Kill for Me is fast-paced; a page turner that keeps you guessing until the end! I was really pleased with this story because it gave me a lot of clues, yet I STILL wasn’t able to pick out one of the killers; I was stunned when the main villain was revealed. This book reads like a block-buster movie and I for one, would like to see it adapted to film…this is a movie that I would go to the theatre to see! There were some shocking and unexpected plot twists and some very typical ones for a book in this genre. The love scenes, though few and far between, were very intense and highly sensual. I would have liked a little more graphic detail in some of the scenes as it would have made the story that much more realistic and would have pulled the reader deeper into the book. The characters are well developed, each with a distinct personality that sometimes left a bad taste in my mouth; I wanted the bad guys to meet a terrible end and hoped for the good guys & gals to win the day. Luke Papadopoulos is strong and steadfast, yet he is very vulnerable because of the atrocious content that he is exposed to in his line of work; his sense of failure and his powerlessness hangs over him like a dark cloud. Susannah Vartanian has secrets from her past that have come back to haunt her; her tough outer facade begins to crumble under the weight of the investigations and during the search for victims; for those who might have been spared had she been braver in the past. Can Luke and Susannah work with the investigative team to unravel the mysteries surrounding the kidnapping and trafficking ring or will they become ensnared in the deceitful web of lies and become targets themselves? You’ll have to read it to find out!
I highly recommend this book!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it
 

Link to the Author’s Website:
 http://www.karenrosebooks.com/
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/

A special thanks to Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Wild Highland Magic (ARC)

Wild Highland Magicwild-highland-magic
Written By: Kendra Leigh Castle
Published By: Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks Inc., 2009, First Edition, 384 pages, paperback
ISBN 978-1402218569
(Available NOW!)

Wild Highland Magic is the perfect blend of fantasy, romance and fast-paced adventure.”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“As soon as she laid eyes on him, her animal instincts took over.
For generations, the MacInnes werewolves have been guarding the portal between Earth and the Drakkyn realm. Bastian and his sister came through the portal from Drakkyn, seeking sanctuary in the beautiful Scottish Highlands and relief from the curse that haunts him. Solitary and despairing, Bastian must find a way to break the curse or it will kill him.
A family squabble 25 years ago drove a rift between the MacInnes alpha and his brother, and Catrionna MacInnes has never met her MacInnes relatives nor had any guidance in how to be a werewolf. When her father brings his family to Scotland seeking reconciliation, Cat lays eyes on Bastian, and her most basic animal instincts kick in. Bastian tries to resist Cat – no good can come of their attraction – but she won’t take no for an answer. She knows that all she wants – what she must have – is to mark him as her own.”

Wild Highland Magic is a very satisfying read. I was a little apprehensive about this book because often times it is very difficult to blend fantasy together with real life and make is convincing; lucky for us, Kendra was able to write this story with seamless ease and it is riveting! This smoothly flowing novel has a few plot twists, though nothing much unexpected. I found it a little difficult to keep all the different tribes/kinds of characters, apart; initially, I had to refer to the helpful descriptions at the front of the book. These vivid, unique worlds that Kendra has created are really something to behold; it’s very difficult to describe how fantastical yet believable these places are and I was intrigued by all of the different aspects of this novel. Each of the characters is well developed. I enjoyed the sizzle between Catrionna (Cat) and Bastian; they give new meaning to love at first sight. The sex scenes are piping hot with sensual aggression and steamy love-play. Poppy (Cat’s youngest sister) and Lucien are a wonderful contrast to the type of relationship that Cat and Bastian have; they are both sarcastic and somewhat unwilling in love. I didn’t want this story to end and when I reached the final page, I still wanted to read more about these amazing characters…I’m looking forward to many more books in the series, I hope!
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from beginning to end and I highly recommend it!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (9 out of 10 Diamonds) – Loved it!
 

Link to the Author’s website:
http://www.kendraleighcastle.com/
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.sourcebooks.com/

A special thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Fire Me (ARC)

Fire Me,fire-me
A Tale of Scheming, Dreaming, and Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
Written By: Libby Malin
Published By: Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks Inc., 2009, First Edition, 304 pages, paperback
ISBN 978-1402217579
(Available NOW!)

Fire Me is a zany, laugh-out-loud novel that will satisfy the mischievous child in all of us; an office worker’s dream come true!”

Product Description – Amazon.com
“Anne Wyatt has finally had it with incompetent co-workers, a boss who runs hot and cold, and meaningless busywork with impossible deadlines. But the day she goes in determined to hand in her resignation, she learns that her boss is planning to let someone go. She changes course, deciding to try for the lay-off and the severance package that goes with it. Throughout the day, she engages in hysterical antics designed to attract her boss’ negative evaluation, egged on by Ken, the handsome graphic designer in the next cubicle, who has his own ideas for liberation from the corporate grind. In the end, together Anne and Ken have to decide what is important in life, and what they need to discard without a second glance.”

Fire Me is an absolute must-have for anyone who has worked in an office setting. If you haven’t worked in an office before you’re still going to enjoy this sure-fire hit! This novel is insightful, sincere and the characters are all too human; it’s very easy to identify with them. The story is smoothly flowing and the plot twists are fresh and imaginatively written. The majority of the novel takes place over the course of one day. Anne’s day starts off badly and only gets worse as she tries to be the person in their department to get fired; a wonderful part of this story is how much Anne begins enjoying her attempts to get ‘canned’. Anne and her co-workers juggle their daily tasks while trying to guarantee an outcome; to be THE one to get fired. With witty dialog and outrageous situations, Anne and the rest of the office workers have a day that will long be remembered. This novel is much more than a romance; it’s a fascinating, humorous case study of purpose and ingenuity! Can Anne redefine who she is deep down and find love, all in one day? You’ll have to read it to find out.
I very highly recommend this book!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (9 out of 10 Diamonds) – Loved it!
 

Link to the Author’s website:
http://www.libbymalin.com/index.htm
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.sourcebooks.com/

A special thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Emily Bryan is our Guest Author TODAY!

A warm welcome to…Emily Bryan

emily-bryan

…who is our Guest Author, today.
Emily is making a stop here on her
50 Day/50 Blog Tour which is promoting her sizzling, upcoming novel, Vexing the Viscount.
Emily Bryan, who also writes under the name Diana Groe, is giving away One(1) copy of Vexing the Viscount to one lucky person who leaves a comment on this post, today (Open to all countries!).

* Congratulations to Aja Jackson on winning a copy of Vexing the Viscount

Literary “First Times”

Thanks for having me here today, Bobbie! I love your blog!

When I tell non-romance readers that I’m a romance author, the first thing they do, after a giggle or two, is ask if my sex scenes are autobiographical. (If they ask my DH, he just smiles and says, “Of course!”)

vexing-the-viscount1

The truth is I write explicit scenes when the story demands it.

Writers work with nothing but ink on a page and somehow hope to breathe life into our characters. We play on their hopes and dreams. We catalogue their triumphs and failures. Nowhere are these more evident than in our character’s sex lives. Even if a character is not currently sexually active, he thinks about it as often as we do. Sex is a ripe store house of emotions and motivations. Commercial fiction is rife with sex scenes. It’s not just for romance novelists any more.

It never was. My literary “first time” was not a romance book, at all. It was Rabbit Run, from the highly respected and recently deceased, John Updike. I was a junior in high school, an extremely naïve junior. The scene where Updike’s hero, Harry Angstrom, talks a hooker into giving him oral sex while his wife is giving birth was a shock to me. First because I had no idea people did such things (told you I was naïve) and second, because the relationship in which the act occurred was so cold and devoid of joy.

But did it deepen my insight into the characters and propel Mr. Updike’s story? Like a runaway locomotive.

Writing a sex scene is not about being an exhibitionist. It is not about me. It’s about my characters and their relationship. Which leads me to my first rule about writing sex scenes.

erinsong

1. It’s about serving the story first and foremost. If I can replace the scene with the words, Then they had sex, with no change in what comes afterward, then the scene is unnecessary and must be cut.

Not all stories call for hot, sweaty monkey sex. The bedroom door can remain completely closed and yet be totally romantic. Less is often more.

What to call it . . .

“The sun glinted off his chiseled pectorals.” No, that’s not from a romance novel either. It’s a Washington Post reporter waxing poetic over President Obama’s work-out regimen. It’s also a shining example of trite wording (why even mention a pec unless it’s chiseled?) and dangerously close to Purple Prose.

All writers face word choices and nowhere is it more important to choose the right word than in a sex scene. When in doubt over what to call something, I ask my characters. What would they call it? In the 80’s a romance writer might get away with “the raging beast of his desire,” but if I tried that now, my editor would have me in a headlock. Beauty of language is one thing, but there’s no room in any scene for, pardon the pun, flaccid prose. I want my readers with me the whole time, not giggling over my Victorian silliness. (Unless of course my story is set in the Victorian era, but even then I try to keep the use of euphemisms down. Or better yet, let one of my characters joke about the verbal coyness.)

distracting-the-duchess

So here’s the second rule:

2. Call it what the characters would call it. When the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense. Technical terms may not sing, but they don’t confuse anyone either. And it is possible to write a totally hot sex scene without mentioning any body parts at all.

Not even a chiseled pectoral.

It’s about sex and . . .

So often sex scenes will stop the story dead. If we know what’s at stake, it’s more interesting. The basic tenets of the writer apply. What does my character want? How will he/she go about getting it? How can I, as the writer, throw obstacles in his/her path? What’s the subtext? It’s rare that both parties will be in complete accord. It’s also boring.

In Vexing the Viscount, both my hero and heroine are virgins. That means the angels don’t sing without a few fizzles and moments of comic relief. (Face it. Sex is pretty darn funny.) Two inexperienced characters lent itself to plenty of trial and error, some pleasurable, some frustrating. Fiction may be made up, pleasuring_the_piratebut that doesn’t mean it can’t be true. Which leads to my last rule . . .

3. The scene must be about sex and something else. For the writer, a sex scene is a chance to examine how the relationship between two people changes, how they feel about themselves as well as each other. A tryst interrupted, a near miss because someone lost their nerve, a wardrobe malfunction—these are all grist for the mill and a story propeller instead of a stopper.

Sex scenes, like every other scene, should reveal my characters, help or hinder their growth, challenge them, uplift or dash them. I’m not afraid to follow my character into the bedroom, or the library, or the . . . well where ever the action leads me.

Sex is part of who my hero and heroine are. It’s part of who we all are.

I won’t wimp out. I’ll tell the whole story.

 

An excerpt from Vexing the Viscount:

Daisy and Lucian have finally become lovers, but the games that started it all are still definitely afoot.

“Lucian climbed the stairs, his body thrumming with anticipation. Would Daisy be wearing that naughty red gown again or maybe the elegant corset with all those lovely lace ties? Perhaps this time he’d manage not to befoul the ribbons as he undid her. Continue reading