Saturday, May 26, 2012

Please Welcome Catrina Taylor

I am part of a special virtual blog tour, Master Koda Virtual Blog Tour to be exact. See that pretty gold box to the side. Today is the first day of posts, and I'm pleased to announce that I am hosting the lovely Catrina Taylor. Today, she is talking to us about what inspired her to write. And trust me, it's very inspiring and emotional.

When I was a child I found fantasy enjoyable. I created an entire second life for myself in my mind, and when I could, I'd tell my stories to others. Weaving the web was easy, unweaving it I found more of a challenge. By the time I reached eighth grade, I learned to weave that other world on paper. It was the most freeing and amazing thing I have ever experienced. After being selected by a teacher for a writing class with a well known author, I found that this is what I wanted to do, create.

 In time, over the years, life crept up. I married by the time I was twenty two. Ten years later, after a beating, and after being told repeatedly the things that drove me passionately, were meaningless, I found the motivation and need to exit the marriage. My son, who has aspergers syndrome, was being mistreated by his father because of his behavior. I couldn't watch this continue, so I made arrangements and my children and I got out. I had lost my creative spirit during the painful marriage, but I never lost my desire to create.

 The year I left, I finally started to rework a manuscript I had begun in 2003. On our anniversary in 2011, after spending more than a year learning about the industry and writing the book, book one was finally finished.  Birth of an Empire is not the same book I started in 2003. To the contrary, it is set 500 years prior to the book I began in 2003, but it is my greatest personal achievement. The accomplishment was the single most freeing an enjoyable experience I have had in my adult life. On that day, I told the man who held me back that he no longer had a hold of me. I accomplished that which I enjoyed and I will never again put down my creative spirit for anyone.

 My children drive me every day by inspiring me, teaching me and helping me remember that creativity starts in the young at heart. I make it my goal to find that daily, even if only for fleeting moments. I know as I continue to work toward my dream and goal, my children learn that their excitement and passions matter and they can achieve great things. Writing has become a blessing for us all.

~ About Catrina ~
Catrina Taylor is a science fiction author and the creator of Xarrok. Her first book was released in December 2011 and she has two additional books released, with three full length novels slated for release this year. This hardworking single mother takes pride in her children’s accomplishment, both living and fictious. Birth of an Empire 1 is available on Nook, Kindle and all ereading devices through
You can learn about her world here:
You can find her business:  and contact her on facebook

Driven by Lisa Nowak

I just finished this book and I'm actually at a loss for words. It was fantastic. Trying to explain all the plot lines and the way they touched me seems daunting. But I shall try.

First, my attention span is short nowadays. Rarely do I pick up a full length novel and manage to read it without skimming. Too many of them are full of irrelevant, boring details. Not this one. This one grabbed me and held me tight. I didn't want to put it down.

DrivenJess is a young teenage girl who loves working on cars and going to the drags/car races. She's got a total loser of a mother. So many times I wanted to beat the crap out of Lydia and leave her body by the side of a road. But her daughter is the total opposite. Where Lydia is a whiny, lazy, alcoholic loser, Jess is just driven.

Imagine being sixteen, building your own car, paying the bills, working two jobs, and in the end, living in that car. All the while, trying to make a name for yourself in the racing world. Some would say Jess is stupid for not asking for help. I said she's got guts and pride.

Before I make this review too long, I'll just make a little list.

Humor: Thanks to Terri Sue and a cute little boy named Rhett (Yes, Gone with the Wind), there were a load of chuckles and laughs throughout Jess's story of heartbreak.

Romance: Got it. Jess starts a sweet romance with Cody from Nowak's previous two books. And this time, I really liked Cody. He's turned out well.

Moral: Yep. Got that too. About pride and when to swallow it.

Forgiveness: Another issue.

Cars: A LOT. Terri Sue drives a Camaro (she's a lady racecar driver!!! I hope she is the next book!). Race and Cody drive Dodge Darts. Jess drives a Ford Pinto. There's a car for everyone.

Conclusion: Best  YA book I've read this year. Loved it. Five bikes.

I received this from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 21, 2012

To Turn Full Circle Blog Tour/Giveaway

It's that time again! A Choc Lit release is coming soon! And this month, I'm proud to be featuring To Turn Full Circle by Linda Mitchelmore. If you missed my review: Here's the link: To Turn Full Circle Review.

To Turn Full CircleQuick blurb:
Life in Devon in 1909 is hard and unforgiving, especially for young Emma Le Goff, whose mother and brother die in curious circumstances, leaving her totally alone in the world. While she grieves, her callous landlord Reuben Jago claims her home and belongings. 
His son Seth is deeply attracted to Emma and sympathises with her desperate need to find out what really happened, but all his attempts to help only incur his father’s wrath.

When mysterious fisherman Matthew Caunter comes to Emma’s rescue, Seth is jealous at what he sees and seeks solace in another woman. However, he finds that forgetting Emma is not as easy as he hoped.

Matthew is kind and charismatic, but handsome Seth is never far from Emma’s mind. Whatever twists and turns her life takes, it seems there is always something – or someone – missing.

Can Seth persuade Emma that they can overcome their past?

And today, I'm interviewing the heroes of To Turn Full Circle.

Me: So, Seth, *clears throat* where are your balls? The beginning of the story, I was appalled that you didn't appear to have a pair. Your father, your brothers, you just get bossed and pushed around. Why did you permit this?

Seth: Where are my balls? You cheeky madam! Come here, woman, and I’ll show you. That’s the short answer. The longer answer is that it was such a shock when Emma turned up – so thin, dressed in what were little more than rags - at Shingle Cottage while I was painting window frames. All coherent thought evaporated. And I could see her shock was even greater to learn that not only was she now an orphan, but was also homeless.

Thinking with my head (in wanting to provide materially for Emma as well as emotionally) and not just my heart cost me dear….it almost cost me Emma, but thankfully – in the end – it didn’t.

Me: Matthew, you say, and I quote, "There aren't many women averse to my charms." *blinks* Do women just fall at your feet? If so, tell me what's so darn special about you?

Matthew: Women not averse to my charms? Ah – that was a touch of male bravado. In truth, I was piqued that Emma wasn’t as immediately attracted to me as I was to her – and the remark came out. But I’m a man – and men, so I’ve been told, can talk a lot of bollocks at times.

Me: He isn't kidding, is he, readers? *snickers* Seth, this part here made me giggle: "He put a protective arm around her then squeezed her shoulder, and Emma had a niggle of a suspicion that he might be trying to get his way with her by gentler, more subtle means." *grins* So, were you?

Seth: Did I have an ulterior motive in putting an arm around Emma? How can you think such a thing? Definitely not! I didn’t know how Emma would take my gesture but I hoped my brothers would see it for what it was – a statement that I was going to protect Emma and they’d have to get past me if they thought to harm her in any way.

Me: Sure...sure... Matthew again...You must get around. You said to Emma, "I've known lots of women." You've totally opened yourself up there! You have to answer now 'cause I'm dying to know...How many? LOL

Matthew: How many women have I known? Ah, that would be telling. As I said to Reuben Jago down on the quay the first time I went on one of his boats ‘A gentleman never discusses the women he goes with’. Heavy emphasis on the word gentleman, and I will have to leave it at that – my lips are sealed.

Me: You are the hoity toity one, eh? *shaking head* Seth, you realized--too late--in my opinion, that Emma had nowhere to go, that it was cold, that she was orphaned and homeless... You realized this like the next day. I mean, just where did you expect Emma to go? For real? I'm trying to understand what was going through your head.

Seth: Where did I expect Emma to go? I took her to Mrs. Drew and I hoped she’d be given a bed for the night there. When I found out she hadn’t been I was full of remorse. I could have given her money to stop at an hotel – although I doubt the independent Emma, would have accepted it from a Jago.

Me: *nods* You're probably right there. Matthew, you said if Emma was a little older and circumstances were different...well, what is about Emma that attracts you so? And do five years or so so really make all that much a difference?

Matthew: What is it about Emma that attracts me so? Ah well… long is a piece of string? -as they say. I am more than five years older than Emma, actually – I’m not saying how much but it’s in double figures, just. But I was, as you know, very attracted to her. She turned my knees to jelly, actually, despite her ragged appearance in my back garden. But I was a married man (although Emma didn’t know that then) and I was also doing a covert job. I couldn’t afford to be sidetracked by a beautiful waif. Besides, she was under-age for what my loins were telling me I wanted to do with her. But I could also see – in a moment of pure clarity – the woman she would become; strong and loyal and even more beautiful. And then there was the rapport we instantly had – it was nearly my undoing.

Me: I really want more details about exactly your loins were telling you, but this is not an X-rated blog, so I'll have to maybe...make another appointment for that. *winks* Meanwhile, *glares at Seth* Seth, really, Caroline the Cougar? Whatever possessed you?

Seth: Caroline Prentiss? We all make mistakes, don’t we? – and Mrs. Prentiss was my biggest ever. And we have our weaknesses. For most women it’s shoes and hats and fine jewels – if they can afford them or can find a man to afford them for them. Caroline Prentiss was different – sex was her weakness, and she was now a widow. She used me – as much as I used her to get experience being a virgin that first time I shared her bed. I’m not proud of it, but we all have to move on.

Me: We'll discuss that at a more private time too. *smiles* But moving on for now... Both of you, Emma is a good cook. She makes crab tarts and a fancy apple tart. Which do you prefer?

Matthew: Emma’s fancy apple tart every time. With lashings of Devonshire clotted cream. Don’t believe anyone who tells you Cornish cream is the best because it isn’t – Devonshire cream reigns supreme.

Seth: Crab tart for me. I was weaned on the fruits of the sea and can never get enough. And I can never get enough of Emma for that matter…

Me: I just realized we've got crabs, cream, and wean--nevermind. *frowns* And we have another hero, Mr. Smythe, are you just wanting an unpaid nanny or do you really care for Emma?

Mr. Smythe: An unpaid Nanny? What a question. I could easily afford three Nannies if I wanted them. I gave her a roof over her head and, quite honestly, I think she should have been more grateful. But then, when my dear wife Claudine, died I could see what a good replacement Emma would be for her, speaking French as she did. I made it clear to Emma that had she married me, I wouldn’t have forced myself on her in the bedroom. I did come to admire Emma for the way she learned things so quickly …isn’t that enough?

Me: Question for both Seth and Mr. Smythe. Why should Emma choose you?

Seth: Why should Emma choose me? Because she knows she loves me….she’s just been fighting it. And she knows I’d give my right arm for her.

Mr. Smythe: Why would she not choose me? I own a hotel, a large house on Dartmoor for weekends, and I would have dressed her in the way befitting my wife. Personally, I consider her a fool to have gone back to Seth Jago although I know she won’t agree with me.

Me: Well, thanks, guys, that concludes--oh wait, Matthew is waving his hand madly in the air here...

Matthew: Thank you for asking me for my thoughts… one in the book gave me that courtesy….next time, perhaps?

Me: Matthew, you just admitted to be married! I didn't consider you a player anymore... Hmm... I sense a scandal to come in book two.

Everyone leave a comment for a chance to win a paperback copy of To Turn Full Circle! Contest runs for one week! Be sure to leave an email addy. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Meme Time: The Power of Four

A friend of mine was too lazy to update her blog on a regular basis. LOL. And she created Meme Time: The Power of Four to start something fun and update her blog. It also gives our readers a chance to get to know us better. Here's just a bit about me. I copy and pasted the list, put it my own answers, and now I shall tag four other people.
Four Places I have worked/Jobs I have had
American Airlines
Frederick's of Hollywood
A Military Base
Four Places I Have Lived:
Lakenheath, England
Sacremento, CA
All over Oklahoma
Roy, Utah
Four Movies I Could Watch Again and Again:
As Good As it Gets
Girl, Interrupted
Gone in 60 Seconds
Weekend at Bernie's
Four Television Shows I Watch (Don’t really watch that much TV)
Top Gear
Air Emergency
errr...that's honestly IT.
Four Authors I Enjoy:
Christina Courtenay
Julie Moffett
Haley Elizabeth Garwood
D.F. Krieger
Four Places I Have Travelled To:
Puerto Rico
San Francisco
Deer Lodge, MT
Four Websites I Visit Daily:
Four of My Favorite Foods:
Chicken salad with honey mustard dressing
Grilled cheese sandwich
Tomato soup
Four Places I’d Rather Be:
A spa getting a facial
sunbathing on the deck of a cruise ship
A bar full of sexy cabana boys
a salsa club
Four People I Want to Tag:
Gayl Taylor
Raven McAllan
Lorraine Nelson
Marissa Dobson

If you’ve been tagged, make your own list and link back to this post.  Have fun with it and happy Sunday.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Clarabelle's Rose by Judy Kashi

Clarabelle's RoseA brutal tale. Very brutal...about how bigotry and racism destroys lives and families...about what it's like to be raised in it, to face it, to fight it.

The main players:

Clarabelle is at first a snotty white trash chick. The more you read about her background though, the more you can see why. She's raised to be one. She's beaten on a daily basis for anything and everything, foul words and language is just ingrained into her, racism and hatred... Her father is a klansman. Her only escape--she thinks--is her boyfriend. He's a prick who is just using her till he joins the Army. (I didn't care for him appearing later in the book. Though, it ties in with the people can change theme.)

Sara is an African American woman whose husband was lynched by Clarabelle's father. She struggles with grief and making a new life for her and her daughters in a world that hates her due to her skin color. She rises above but later in the story, when the truth about her Clarabelle is revealed, she hates too.

Rose is Clarabelle's daughter and the result of a rape. She's half black/half white. Sometimes she hates white people, sometimes she want to paint herself so she can be like them and life will be easy...

There's a kind Jewish family, a man grappling with his faith, a lawyer who breaks the law for justic... Readers literally see it from all sides. No end to the heartbreak. Even the ending contained brutality. But the story shows that people change and you CAN rise above your beginnings and you DON'T have to hate like you may have been taught.

I'd recommend it, but there was quite a few editorial issues such as missing commas, misspelled words, and odd sentences that made me do a double take. With another solid round of editing, it would be great. It was a brutal but extremely engaging story that sucked me in.

Four bikes. I received this from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

For the Love of Liberty by Christine DePetrillo

For the Love of LibertySometimes, especially after struggling to read through a 350 page book of boring natter natter and filler, I just need a short story/novelette. I had one of those moments and chose this one.
The setting is pre Revolutionary war. Grace's father and brother get to go be soldiers/Patriots. She wants to join them but is confined by womanhood. Life isn't fair! She wants freedom from the British and from petticoats.

Isaac is an escaped slave. He wants freedom too, and the British promise him that. Thus, he dons a uniform and his first assignment is to spy on Grace's household.

Really enjoyed the teasing and jokes between them, as well as the thoughts they each had about freedom and how they were both striving for the same thing. BUT the ending left me unsatisfied. You have a British solider/freed slave and a white girl/daughter of Patriots...I don't really see a happily ever after here and the book left me hanging. I also didn't buy into her father's quick forgiveness when catching his virginal daughter with her top off in the barn.

Overall though, it was a good read and just what I needed at the time. It had a great message within it about how we all want the same thing: freedom and love. Four stars. I bought this on Amazon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cover Art for Maiden!

Here it is! Cover art for Maiden Behind the Mask coming from Ruby Lioness Press July 13th. It's a historical romance...a lady Zorro of sorts. It was about time someone wrote one. LOL


When Catalina Rodriguez is attacked by a would-be rapist and rescued by the dashing Ricardo Garcia, she not only becomes more aware of the handsome man, but also vows that she'll never be a damsel in distress again. Using the timeless method of blackmail, she convinces her uncle to teach her to fight and becomes a masked crusader in the night, saving other damsels from robbers and rough handling.

However, scandalous rumors and dwindling funds force Ricardo and Catalina to marry. Not immune to each other's charms, their marriage starts fiery, but when one of Catalina's nightly escapades results in dire consequences, she is forced to spurn her husband's amorous advances…or reveal a secret that could turn him away from her forever.

Ricardo’s not a man to be cuckolded or left in the dark. Is his wife having an affair with El Capitan, the masked savior? If so…they will both pay.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Vagina Buffet by S.J. Tierney

The Vagina Buffet - Bite size tales of a Brazilian WaxerCan a book be hilarious, educational, and insightful all at once? Yes, it can.
First, the funny bits. The book is part memoir of running a Brazilian waxing salon/part education/part warning of what not to do with your lady bits/part advisory about paps and such, and part pep talk: there is no normal vagina. There is nothing wrong with YOUR vagina. You can't expect your vagina to look like everyone else's.

First the memoir bits:

There was the lady that struggled not to fart while getting her stuff waxed. This resulted in the squeezing together of her buttocks and oh my...two cheeks waxed together.

"It's a garden that gets watered several times a day, it occasionally gets pollinated and pruned, and every now and then it produces offspring."

There's talk of periods. Those mortifying moments...we've all had them now.

"I'm in the third row of an unfamiliar church, my boyfriend's mum at home preparing breakfast, with no female support, surrounded by men, and my backside resembles a Japanese flag!"

There's man waxing. Funny quotes from other women. A touching story about a woman battling cervical cancer who after fighting and fighting, just wanted to feel sexy again.

There's illustrations, jokes, vagina art, pregnancy stuff, experiments. This is the most enjoyable and funny read I've read in some time. I guarantee, man or woman, you will be rolling on the floor laughing, but I also learned from it.

Go nab this one. To say  much more would ruin the book for readers. But meanwhile, remember that your vagina is self cleaning and don't fart after a wax...cause "the hair is there to muff the fluffs."

Five bikes. Highly recommended. I was given this by that author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Pick-Up Wife by W. Lynn Chantale

The Pick-Up WifeI think I may declare this woman the master of sensuality. Her sex scenes are vivid without being offensive. I could actually feel the coldness of the counter contrasting against the warmth of my.... never mind. You get the picture.

Summary: Symmone has been a single mom for 9 years, divorcee for almost ten. She works two jobs, sleeps on a sofa; she does what she has to. She is an intensely independent woman. She makes it clear she doesn't need a man, especially her ex husband, Leo, when he shows up out of the blue wanting to get with her again.

Weary and with good reason--he did leave her once before--Symmone is hesitant to open her legs and her heart to this man. Well, the legs open first (that's where the hot sex comes in), the heart comes next...and Symmone is in for more heartbreak cause Leo didn't exactly come back for the right reasons.

When she finds out the truth, she can end things now or forgive and salvage what is left. But he's going to have to prove himself. And FYI, I was actually in suspense over this.

Very sweet, very sensual, very vivid. The author puts the reader IN the scene, no telling here, all showing. The sex was great. The characters were likable. Even Leo, though I had a hard time liking him at first, broke my defenses in the end.

Only quibble: I got confused in a few spots. I didn't really see how getting rid of a wife can advance a man's architect career  though in this day and age, who knows. LOL. Also had one moment of confusion when the heroine just seemed to realize she hadn't told the man about his kids. I could totally see why she hadn't and actually agreed with her for keeping the kids to herself, all things considered. That didn't bother me. Her conversation with her cousin just didn't fit with an earlier part of the tale and threw me off a bit. But that's me being nit picky.

And the kids were cute. Can't believe I'm saying that, but I really liked them. :)

Four bikes. I received this from the author, no strings attached, no review required. I honestly enjoyed this story, characters, and sensuality. I'll be watching for more by this author.

The Promise of Silk by Lilith Duvalier

The Promise Of SilkYes, I read some erotica, but it's rare. However, I've fessed up to enjoying the Anne Rice Sleeping Beauty trilogy...and liking it. And now, Ann Rice has some competition. Her name is Lilith Duvalier.

Erotica must be done well for me to enjoy it and despite all the books of sex, sex, sex, menage, sex flooding the market, the selection is poor. The sex is either mechanical and lacking emotion or worst of all, the women are also the ones being dominated by assholes. Or sometimes, I just plain don't buy into the relationship. (Or I get the feeling they wrote sex just for the same of getting more out there.)

This was a pleasant change. Steampunk, balloons, silk, a very strong, independent woman, a man willing to submit and beating his inner demons of shame in the process. Even briefly, some m/m. It never left a bad taste in my mouth. At all. It was just that well done.

Jane plays with Alaric in ways I've never thought of. Major thumbs up for creativity. The character's internal thoughts, feelings, inhibitions...made the situation very well and believable. The conflict was unique and not the same old, same old. Jane needs a man in her life and she wants to mold him to her liking, dominate him to a point, and Alaric is willing to be dommed. In this book, the WOMAN IS IN CHARGE THE ENTIRE TIME.

I hesitate to say more cause this is a short read and I risk revealing too much. Five bikes. I bought this on Amazon.

To Turn Full Circle by Linda Mitchelmore

To Turn Full CircleWhat caught my eye about this book and what I especially loved is that it was compared to the style of Catherine Cookson. It is.

We've got an exceptionally cheeky heroine. LOVED her. She's brass, speaks her mind, has funny thoughts, but her life is a shambles. Everyone she meets is a dickwad. Her father is dead, her mother, brother, this arsehole wants to rape her, her neighbor robs her, the town spreads rumors about her, she's homeless, hungry...good gawd, it's How much can one person take?

But she's got Seth. Despite the fact he's a Jago and comes from house full of the meanest people that ever lived, there is something between him and Emma. But he doesn't have the balls to act on it. He's a least in the beginning.

Then there's Matthew. I liked Matthew! He rescues Emma in more way than one.

And there's Mr. Smythe. Sometimes you'll like him, sometimes you'll hate him.

And there's a smuggling thing, corruption, barroom brawls, affairs, misunderstandings...there's no lack of drama or entertainment.

But above all, I loved Emma. Cheeky girl. Funny. Fancies starting her own business, and it's 1909.

--", bitter old woman," Emma yelled. She didn't care who heard her. "And you're a liar with it." She snatched at the catch of her carpet bag and thrust her hand in, searching out the bar of soap Matthew Caunter had just given her. "Here, take this. Wash your filthy mouth out."

--She didn't want to know what making love did to her body in case she liked it and she couldn't enough of it and ended up dead in a back alley like Sophie Ellison had done.

This was a really enjoyable read with a heroine I really liked, and the style was very Catherine Cookson (another big bonus.) Quibbles: I found some of the cruelty of some of the characters a bit over the top. I wouldn't call it a romance either as it was hard to feel it. The love was there, but it really didn't seem like they were going to get together. I also didn't quite care for the man who is the hero in the end. I'd have liked to have taken a different turn. My personal opinion.

Four bikes. I got this from the publisher.