Thursday, December 18, 2014

#BookReview My Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy by Grace Mineta

My Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy: The Comic Book: Surviving and thriving in an intercultural and interracial marriage in TokyoMy Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy: The Comic Book: Surviving and thriving in an intercultural and interracial marriage in Tokyo by Grace Mineta

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I love this light-hearted examination into a cross-cultural marriage. Grace Mineta has a great sense of humor and such funny comics. She observes so many things about the Japanese culture and has the ability to distill them into insightful yet humorous tidbits. For example, did you know there are bunny cafes where people go to play with rabbits? Grace has a thing for bunnies so her husband had a hard time getting her to leave.

Grace notices a lot of 'little things' from melons to spring winds to handling garbage and presents them in cute comics. I especially love her alter-ego, Marvin, the talking rabbit who sits there while she's working on her blog or drawing and provides commentary, or sometimes just a heart.

I really enjoyed this book and am now following the author's blog. She and her husband portray a sweet and loving relationship and it's a delight to follow along on their adventures.

Check out Grace's Blog Texan in Tokyo at http://howibecametexan.com/

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

#BookReview Never Just Friends by Mina Esguerra #contemporary #romance

Never Just FriendsNever Just Friends by Mina V. Esguerra

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


There's an emotional distance in this story that's palpable and disturbing.

Lindsay and Jacob were friends back in college before Jacob took off to be a movie star. Now Jacob is back as a consultant to Lindsay's environmental project. Seems this is something he wanted to finish since he dropped out of environmental sciences.

That said, the story didn't feel romantic enough. It was very calculated and measured. Each of them had past lovers and their lives had moved on with very little involvement. Each was capable of living without the other. Lindsay had a series of friends with benefits, while Jacob had a full fledged love affair with a costar which ended badly.

It's a very intellectual story, a discussion of relationships and trust, and an education on environmental consulting work, fund raising, and other office politics. But at the end, I really didn't see what changed. I guess it's because I didn't bond with the main characters and couldn't feel anything other than her emotional numbness and his neediness. Perhaps that is the entire point of the story.



View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Knowing Vera wins 2015 Angie Award Multicultural Outstanding Author for Rachelle Ayala

I'm honored to announce that my romantic suspense, Knowing Vera, has won the Angie Awards in the category of Multicultural romance. Vera and Zach overcome a lot of obstacles in their search for true love.

I'm blown away by the recognition of winning the Outstanding Author in Multicultural Romance 2015 with my book, Knowing Vera, a love story involving a disabled athlete. What an honor to be among such fantastic writers who are pushing the boundaries to tell the stories that need to be told. I'm inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED talk to ensure multiple stories for people of all cultural backgrounds. I appreciate the stories of all the people around me, and I love a good romance no matter the circumstances. Thank you, Angeline Bishop, and all the fabulous people who made this award possible.


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The AMB Awards provide honors and recognition of authors’ outstanding achievements in the multicultural romance literary profession.






Nomination Thanks:

A heartfelt thanks to B. Esposito for nominating me and my story. I was surprised when my friends notified me of the nomination, but after hearing your story and that of your boyfriend, I was overjoyed by how Vera and Zach's romance had been able to touch you and uplift you during such trying circumstances. Both of you are very courageous, and with love and faith, everything's possible. Thanks, thanks, thanks. I can't say it enough. I'm humbled and grateful that I've spread a ray of sunshine through my writing.

Listen to what she has to say about Knowing Vera.

Nominated by B. Esposito "I was searching for a book like this after my longtime boyfriend lost his leg after he was in a horrific car accident. The rehabilitation has been long and hard, and in many ways I needed a novel that could help me escape and also give me a glimpse of a couple with the same obstacles to overcome. I enjoyed Vera and Zach's love story. At first glance, you think Vera is a very strong woman, but once you begin to read, you'll understand how really broken she is. I love how these characters overcome many challenges to get back together. I love the way the characters are well developed and how fast paced the story is. I really hope Ms. Ayala receives an AMB Ovation Award, because this novel is a sizzling tale of love and intrigue."


For more information and reviews, please go to http://rachelleayala.me/books/booksknowing-vera/

#BookReview FOREVER DOLLS by Ci'Monique Green #romance #cozy #mystery

Forever DollsForever Dolls by Ci'Monique Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is a colorful, vibrant book about a single mom, Verona or Roni, who makes dolls, loves to read relationship advice columns, and is suddenly thrown into the limelight of her small town by having a romance with a handsome young stranger.

Roni's entire focus in life is her talented cello playing daughter, Rainer, her business of making remembrance dolls, and the ebb and flow of life in a town where everyone knows everyone else.

Ever since her husband abandoned her and Rainer eleven years ago, Roni has had no time for dating or entertaining men. All her plans for an even-keeled life explode when a young, handsome stranger appears in town and pursues Roni.

This book was very entertaining. I laughed at all of the antics Roni gets into, as well as her betrayal by her strange friend Tammy, who turns against her when she starts dating Bradford. Tammy is quite a character and the way she dresses and talks is hilarious. All of the other characters are described in humorous ways, and in fact, Roni, herself is full of self-deprecating humor. I especially enjoy Roni's honesty at her own failings and her tender heart as she seeks love for herself, finally believing that she deserves it.

Bradford, the young stranger, seems too good to be true, at least at first. When he starts revealing his dark secrets, the reader and Roni don't know what to believe. Something bad is happening to some of the little old ladies in town and Roni suspects Bradford and begins to investigate him.

There are plenty of funny scenes in this book, lush descriptions that make you feel like you're living in Chatham, and enough human interest and emotional depth to draw a tear or two out of you. Things are not always what they seem, and this love story with a dash of mystery is entertaining and a light, sweet read. I particularly enjoy all of the "Southern-isms" and local culture as well as the way out characters. It's a fun book to read.





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Monday, December 15, 2014

#CharacterInterview Colie Adger on Grant Adamson, her Hero to Swoon For from The Right Pitch by Lyssa Layne #sports #romance


"Grant Adamson-He is totally hardheaded! I know a woman working in a man's world, but I can handle my own. Of course, I don't mind running my hands all over his sexy, sculpted body and that sexy eyebrow scar-ugh! Sometimes, he makes it so hard to focus on my job."~Colie


“Life will always throw you curves, just keep fouling them off ... the right pitch will come, but when it does, be prepared to run the bases.” 
-Rick Maksian 

Colie Adger is trying to make it in the big leagues as an athletic trainer. Working in a man's world isn't easy but Colie has the help of Grant Adamson, a veteran pitcher on her team that has her back through the good, the bad, and the oh-so-ugly times. 

Colie's elated when big time pitcher Jace Richards, her former crush, comes back into her life. This time, he wants it all, with Colie front and center. 

Grant thinks Jace is too good to be true and doesn’t trust his rival with the heart of his trainer. Voicing his opinion, Grant steps to the side and lets Colie follow her own path. Colie is torn between Jace's lavish attention and the common sense of a solid friend. 

Throughout the season, Colie must figure out how to make the best decisions for all the men in her life—both on and off the field. As good as she is at making decisions for others, can Colie figure out her own heart and hit a homerun off the right pitch?

by Lyssa Layne


The Right Pitch is Book #r in Heroes to Swoon For Boxed Set: 11 Sizzling Contemporary Romances




We all need a hero! Preferably a hot, muscled, romantic one who's not afraid to fight for the woman he loves. From firefighters to athletes, and artists to rockers, these swoon-worthy heroes will keep you on your toes and weak in your knees. Slip into a reading adventure that will have you panting for more: fun, steam, and thrills.

Authors include:

Jade Kerrion, Chantel Rhondeau, 
Rachelle Ayala, Lyssa Lane,
Michele Shriver, P.C. Zick, K.S. Thomas,
Stacy Eaton, Melinda Curtis, Jennifer
Saints, and Julie Leto



Saturday, December 13, 2014

#CharacterInterview Chelsea Matthews on her Artistic Hero to Swoon For from The Art of Love by Michele Shriver #romance



The Art of Love

After watching her parents’ marriage crumble, jewelry artist Chelsea Matthews doesn’t believe in love or happy endings, but her world is turned upside down when she meets sexy painter Hayden Shaw. Hayden sets out show Chelsea the art of love and prove to her that good guys do exist, but a gallery curator with an agenda of her own threatens both their happiness and their future dreams.

What Chelsea Says

“I love Hayden’s eyes. Their deep and soulful, with just the right hint of playfulness. He comes across as shy and quiet at first, but he definitely knows how to love a woman and love her the right way.”



The Art of Love is Book #5 in Heroes to Swoon For Boxed Set: 11 Sizzling Contemporary Romances




We all need a hero! Preferably a hot, muscled, romantic one who's not afraid to fight for the woman he loves. From firefighters to athletes, and artists to rockers, these swoon-worthy heroes will keep you on your toes and weak in your knees. Slip into a reading adventure that will have you panting for more: fun, steam, and thrills.

Authors include:

Jade Kerrion, Chantel Rhondeau, 
Rachelle Ayala, Lyssa Lane,
Michele Shriver, P.C. Zick, K.S. Thomas,
Stacy Eaton, Melinda Curtis, Jennifer
Saints, and Julie Leto


Don't forget to stop by our Launch Party on Facebook. It's finished, but you can still read all the cool posts and ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER and win a $50 giftcard, books and other goodies.


Excerpt

“Penny for your thoughts.” Hayden’s words interrupted both her thoughts and the still night air.
Chelsea hesitated. She couldn’t exactly tell him that she’d been mentally comparing him to another man, even if he came out on the favorable end of said comparison. “I’m thinking about what a great night it’s been,” she said, “and that I don’t really want it to end.”
“That makes two of us,” Hayden agreed as they came to a stop in front of her building.
It doesn’t have to, a voice inside her head told her. She could invite him in. The idea certainly had its appeal, and Chelsea didn’t tend to be shy about such matters. Then again, Hayden was unlike any other man she’d dated. He was younger, for one thing, and more introspective. And it was impossible to forget the adorably flustered look on his face back at the restaurant when she’d mentioned going to his place. No, it wasn’t the right time.
“Maybe we can do it again sometime?” Hayden suggested. His voice carried a hint of hopefulness as well as an indication that he viewed this as the end of their date.
“I’d like that,” Chelsea said softly, relieved she hadn’t ruined things by being too forward.
“Good. I’ll see you tomorrow. Night, Chelsea.” Hayden lowered his head and brushed his lips across hers. It was a kiss very much like the evening itself. Nice, sweet, with the hint of more to come.
Chelsea decided she could live with that. “Goodnight, Hayden.”

Author Bio
Michele Shriver writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her books feature flawed-but-likeable characters in real-life settings. She’s not afraid to break the rules, but never stops believing in happily ever after. Michele counts among her favorite things a good glass of wine, a hockey game, and a sweet and sexy book boyfriend, not necessarily in that order.




Thursday, December 11, 2014

#CharacterInterview Vera Rios on her Hero to Swoon For from AROUSED by Jade Kerrion #romance

Next up is Vera Rios, from Jade Kerrion’s AROUSED. Here’s what she has to say about Rowan.



“Oh, he’s so easy on the eyes, but it’s just his stock in trade, as he would say. He has style and confidence without coming across as arrogant or brash. But what makes Rowan unforgettable is his absolute focus on me. When he looks at me, I know I’m the only woman he sees and that there is no one else for him…no one else he wants or loves more.”


Aroused is Book #1 in Heroes to Swoon For Boxed Set: 11 Sizzling Contemporary Romances



We all need a hero! Preferably a hot, muscled, romantic one who's not afraid to fight for the woman he loves. From firefighters to athletes, and artists to rockers, these swoon-worthy heroes will keep you on your toes and weak in your knees. Slip into a reading adventure that will have you panting for more: fun, steam, and thrills.

Authors include:

Jade Kerrion, Chantel Rhondeau, 
Rachelle Ayala, Lyssa Lane,
Michele Shriver, P.C. Zick, K.S. Thomas,
Stacy Eaton, Melinda Curtis, Jennifer
Saints, and Julie Leto


Don't forget to stop by our Launch Party on Facebook. It's finished, but you can still read all the cool posts and ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER and win a $50 giftcard, books and other goodies.

EXCERPT

Vera stared at her makeup kit and wish she had thought about refreshing her makeup earlier. Perhaps covered with war paint, she could have carried on the beautiful woman illusion a little further, but she had forgotten to do so in the chaos of preparing a last-minute meal. Too late now. Still, she reached for her lip gloss and swiped the pale red hue on her lips. A woman, any woman, needed to be as prepared as possible when talking to a man like Rowan, whose most lethal weapon was his slow, devastating smile.
She peeked in on Allison one more time—her daughter had already kicked off her covers—before heading downstairs. The first two things she saw were the wiped-down table and the empty sink. The dishwasher was running a cycle. “Can I keep you?” were the first words out of her mouth.
“Hmm?” Rowan looked up from his seat on the couch. “Oh, the kitchen. I live alone. No one’s going to pick up after me, so I’ve gotten used to cleaning up after myself. Besides, ‘you cook, I clean’ seemed like a fair deal.”
When was the last time a man had said, “You cook, I clean,” instead of “You cook, you clean”? Why did her perfect man have to be an escort, damn it? Vera curled her hands into fists, mostly to keep herself from reaching out to him. “Rowan, we need to talk.”
“You’ve got that frown between your eyes again.” He patted the seat next to him. “Sit. We’ll talk.”
Vera opted for the far end of the couch. It seemed safer.
Or so it seemed, until he leaned over, tugged off her sneakers and socks, and then lifted her bare feet onto the couch. He scooted back against the other end of the couch. It allowed her to fully extend her legs so they rested on his lap.
She swallowed hard. “What are you doing?”
“I was reading a novel from your bookshelf. I confess I’m struggling to get the point of literary fiction.” He pulled out a small bottle from his pocket and set it on the side table. Gently holding her left foot, he rotated her ankle clockwise and then counterclockwise, before devoting similar attention to each toe. He tugged on her toes with just enough light pressure for her to realize how cramped her feet had been in her shoes.
“Vera?”
“Hmm?” She glanced up and realized she was so fixated by the way his hands moved her foot that she had forgotten to respond to him. What was the question?
He released her foot long enough to squeeze some lotion from the bottle into his hands. He clasped both hands over the lotion for a moment to warm it up before applying it over her foot in long strokes. A soft lavender fragrance drifted up to her as he took her foot in both hands and walked his thumbs back and forth over the sole. His thumbs pushed deep, working the pressure points. “Literary fiction. I see you’re into it.”
Her head fell back against the armrest of the couch. Literary what? Her brain felt as sharp as cotton, but she struggled to reply. “Yes, I…I like reading.”
“Well, so do I, but I prefer crime thrillers and mysteries. Who’s your favorite author?”
Oh, God. What was he doing to her? Her left foot was in heaven as he moved his thumbs in semicircles beneath the ball of her foot, working back and forth horizontally. Who knew she had that many nerve endings in her foot? “Mmm.”
“Who’s that?” His voice, a beautiful baritone, was as soothing as a lullaby. “It doesn’t ring any bells. I gather he, or she, is not American?” He placed his thumbs on opposite sides of her sole, under her toes, and slid them toward each other and to the opposite side of her foot. He shifted slightly down and reversed the motion, creating a delightful flow of sensation down her foot, all the way to her heel.
“Ohhh.”
“Mmm Ohhh?” he asked. “I definitely don’t recognize that name.”
The blatant amusement in his voice sparked something in her head, but not enough to motivate her into wringing a coherent reply from the mush that was her brain. She had to grip the sides of the couch to stop herself from writhing.
Rowan’s chuckle was a low, warm sound as he interlaced his fingers and rested them on the top of her foot. His thumbs pressed against her sole as he slid his hands up and down its entire length.
The stimulation wrecked her willpower. “Oh, God.” She arched against his hands. It was just a simple foot massage; how could it turn her on in such an intense way?
“You have lovely feet,” he murmured. “And such amazing reactions.” He placed his fingertips in the channels between her toes and gently slid all four fingers up and down between them. “I wish I knew what you were thinking and feeling.”
I don’t ever want this to stop. I don’t ever want you to go away.

AUTHOR BIO:

Jade Kerrion writes at 3 a.m. when her husband and three sons are asleep. Her award-winning, best-selling science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance novels aspire to make her readers as sleep-deprived as she is.

CONNECT WITH JADE:



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