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December 31, 2012

Meet the Authors: Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen

“To start to New Year off well, you need to finish the previous one well.”

The holidays are an interesting time for novelists, Santa Claus being the most clearly identified fictional character in the world. Will our own heroes, Benjamin Cooker and his assistant Virgile, be there for our New Year eve’s party? It is hard to imagine our lives without these characters we gave birth to ten years ago. They have, in fact, caught up with us. The twenty-first book in the adventures of our famous winemaker is currently in the making, aging like a fine wine before the book launch next spring in France. What I can say for now is that they will be investigating in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a famous wine region not far from Avignon.

This will be my first holiday season in the château that I bought last summer in the heart of the Lot Valley in southwestern France. It dates from the twelfth century, overlooks the vineyards of Cahors and belonged to the city’s bishop during the Middle Ages. We will have fires in the large fireplaces, with crackling logs of oak, a tree that is very abundant in the Quercy region. But above all, our New Year’s celebration will be an opportunity to drink some fine bottles of wine.

We will have Champagne, of course, and not just any Champagne. It will be Deutz. For the red wine, when the clock strikes twelve, I will pour some Angélus, a Saint Emilion grand cru from my friend Hubert de Bouärd (keep your eyes out for an upcoming English translation of one of the series, whose mystery focuses on Angélus). Between the two, I will honor my own region with a Réserve Caillau from the Château de Gaudou, where Fabrice Durou has all of Virgile’s genius and every year makes a remarkable Cahors wine.

After this feast, we will relax with a Cuban cigar (most likely a D4 from Partagas) and Armagnac from the Château du Prada that my long-time friend Philippe de Bouglon has so attentively bottled. To start to New Year off well, you need to finish the previous one well. Noël and I clearly share the Cooker Attitude. It’s a reason for living, or better yet, a reason for being. As Winston Churchill said, “I am easily satisfied with the very best.”
~ Jean-Pierre Alaux

Note from Noël: For me, the New Year’s celebration will not have the usual flavor and meaning. Sometimes there are events in a writer’s life that take him away from his imagination, from the world and the characters he has built. Exceptionally, there will be no wine on our holiday table. I will refrain, in solidarity with my wife, who is expecting a child for spring. This is a small sacrifice considering the happiness that awaits us.

For New Year’s Eve, I will be with my family and we will pray for the parents who have lost their children, for the courage of the teachers who gave their lives, for a country wounded by such brutality. That God protect the children of this world.

About the Authors:

©David_Nakache

Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen are two French authors who wrote Treachery in Bordeaux together (http://www.treacheryinbordeaux.com), which was recently published in English by Le French Book (http://wwwlefrenchbook.com). This book launched the Winemaker Detective series, which now has 20 titles in French. They are Epicures. Jean-Pierre Alaux is a magazine, radio and television journalist when he is not writing novels in southwestern France. He is a genuine wine and food lover and the grandson of a winemaker. Noël Balen lives in Paris, where he shares his time between writing, making records, and lecturing on music.

Buy the Book at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads.


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New Year's Eve 2012: What I'm Reading

News:

It's the last day of 2012! Did you reach your reading goal this year? My goal was 55 books. I reached it back in September and finished the year with 82 books read, plus a couple of manuscripts for work. You can read my End of the Year Wrap Up post to see the Top 10 Most Viewed Posts, authors who visited the blog, and all the books I read.

Blog hops are a great way to drive traffic to your blog and discover new blogs. Terri Giuliano Long and a few other authors are hosting Classic Reads Blog Hop Jan. 3 - 7. Sign up and discuss what makes a book a classic. There are PRIZES!

While I have a few more romance/chicklit books to review, I gave you a break and shared my review of young adult fantasy adventure Shadow Mage by John Forrester.

Speaking of my reading habits this past month, I think with the holiday coming to an end I've satisfied that itch. Take a look at what I finished up and will start reading in the new year:

Finished:


Three generations of women. Four secrets. One stage. When matriarch Maeve Apple receives a letter in the mail that Princess & the Pauper is being remade, she believes she’s 25 again and ready to relive her stardom. Meanwhile, her daughter Bess is dealing with her mother’s dementia, her own divorce and planning her youngest daughter’s wedding - on the Luxe Weddings reality show. Bess’ eldest daughter, Kelly, has a secret of her own that could threaten her chance at love again. Curvy Gwen, the youngest, may be the star of Luxe Weddings, but she finds her heart belongs on the stage, attracted by the lights and her co-star, as they search for Maeve’s long-lost pauper and the biggest secret of all. Told in alternating points of view, Something New explores the bonds of family, love and making memories we'll never forget. From Goodreads.com
 Find Something New at Goodreads, Amazon, and IndieBound.

Wrongly convicted of killing her philandering husband, Mazie Maguire is three years into her life sentence when fate intervenes—in the form of a tornado. Just like that, she’s on the other side of the fence, running through swamps and cornfields, big box stores and suburban subdivisions. Hoping to find out who really murdered her husband, Mazie must stay a few steps ahead of both the law and her mother-in-law, who would like nothing better than to personally administer Mazie the death penalty via lethal snickerdoodle. With the Feds in hot pursuit and the national media hyping her story, Mazie stumbles upon a vast political conspiracy and a man who might just be worth a conjugal visit—if she survives. From Goodreads.com
Find The Escape Diaries: Life and Love on the Lam at Goodreads and Amazon.

Reading:

What would you do if you could see into the future?

As a child, he dreamed of being a superhero. Most people never get to realize their childhood dreams, but Corrigan Bain has come close. He is a fixer. His job is to prevent accidents—to see the future and “fix” things before people get hurt. But the ability to see into the future, however limited, isn’t always so simple. Sometimes not everyone can be saved.

“Don’t let them know you can see them.”

Graduate students from a local university are dying, and former lover and FBI agent Maggie Trent is the only person who believes their deaths aren’t as accidental as they appear. But the truth can only be found in something from Corrigan Bain’s past, and he’s not interested in sharing that past, not even with Maggie.

To stop the deaths, Corrigan will have to face up to some old horrors, confront the possibility that he may be going mad, and find a way to stop a killer no one can see.

Corrigan Bain is going insane . . . or is he?

Because there’s something in the future that doesn’t want to be seen. It isn’t human. It’s got a taste for mayhem. And it is very, very angry. From Goodreads.com
 
Fixer is not available until March 2013, but learn more about it at Goodreads.


Gen Y has been picked apart by analysts, statistics, and trend reports, which often portray 20-somethings in negative, one-dimensional terms like "entitled" and "whiners". In this thought-provoking new book that aims to dispel these stereotypes, journalist Hannah Seligson chronicles the lives of seven individuals who embody this generation, exploring their challenges and ambitions in vivid detail and sketching a picture, through their eyes, of what life is actually like for young adults. Through these first-hand stories, readers will discover the transformational effect this enterprising, open-minded, innovative, and diverse generation is having on society. From Goodreads.com
Find Mission: Adulthood at Goodreads, Amazon, and IndieBound.

Are you trying to cram a few more books in before the ball drops at midnight? Perhaps you are planning you 2013 reads. Either way, let me know what is keeping you entertained.

Happy New Year!

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.

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December 30, 2012

Now Showing: Mocked by Destiny



Find Mocked by Destiny by Michele Richard at Goodreads, Amazon, and IndieBound.


Watch More Trailers

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. Book Trailers are a free feature. All videos are provided by the author who has granted Girl Who Reads permission to feature them on this blog.

 
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December 29, 2012

More Story: Shadow Mage

Shadow Mage (Blacklight Chronicles #3) by John Forrester
ebook
Published: September 2012 by Amber Muse
Source: Author
Read: December 2012
Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound

In the third book of the Blacklight Chronicles, John Forrester has shown a lot of growth as a writer and storyteller. I felt that the plot in Shadow Mage was more fleshed out. We get more of an understanding of the universe John has created.

My niece reviewed Shadow Mage in October and at that time she told me that if someone hadn't read the first two books, they would be totally lost. I have to agree with her. Very little time is given to bringing a reader "up to speed". I recommend reading the first two books again right before reading this one, especially if it's been a while.

 Talis, after having brought the black crystal to Naru, is an outcast from the Order of the Dawn. They allow his magical training to continue, but only with the most obscure (read very old) teachers. The rift between royal families grows deeper and some dark alliances have been made. Talis, Mara, and Nikulo have maintained a friendship (there might be more than friendship between Talis and Mara).

While always an action packed adventure, John Forrester slows the pace slightly in Shadow Mage in order to provide more of a back story and fill in some missing gaps in the reader's understanding of this universe - something I had been hoping for since Fire Mage (read my review). For this reason, I think I enjoyed Shadow Mage more than the other two. While it is still a dark tale, it wasn't quite as dark as Sun Mage (read my review) and there is more of a message about the power of friendship and love.

A free book was obtained from the source mentioned above in order to provide an honest and free review. Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.



December 28, 2012

Friday Fun: Year in Review






It is the last Friday of 2012. Where did the year go? Time seems to be passing faster and faster with each year.

By December 31, I will have posted 435 times this year. I read 82 books, novellas, and short stories (27 more than my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal). I might finish 1 more book before December 31, but I will say I'm very proud of how much I've read this year. Of the 82 books read, I reviewed 72. Sixty-two authors appeared on Girl Who Reads this year.

Top 10 Most Viewed Posts of 2012:

Number 8:     Agents of the Reaper Tour
Number 6:     Ann Pearlman - How I Write

Guest Authors: (thank you for your contribution!)

Jean Pierre Alaux (appearing 12/31)
 

Books Reviewed in 2012:

Shadow Mage by John Forrester (appearing 12/29)

Odds 'n' Ends

I changed the look of my blog this year and while I miss the "journal" look some, I love the clean design and functionality of this one. 
I learned to make spiffy graphics! 

I almost shared a tip a week for Tips on Thursday. (I need ideas for 2013, so if you want to know something about blogging send me your questions!)

I'm now averaging 600 page views a day, which is awesome. I've also picked up a number of new followers on Twitter (I'm currently at about 1937) and a ton of new fans on Facebook (currently 1982 fans).

I started GWR Publicity and organized 3 blog tours (I have a third one starting January 7) plus several ongoing clients. 2013 is looking good on that front. I'm always looking for great bloggers to join me in supporting the authors. Join our Facebook group to get notified first about new authors, books, and events.

Overall 2012 was a good year and 2013 is looking bright. I'm looking forward to reading more great books and getting to meet awesome authors and of course, share my love of reading with all my followers. I would love to get to know you more in 2013, please consider leaving a few comments every now and then.

Happy New Year!

December 27, 2012

Tips on Thursday: Reflection

It is the end of the year; a time for people to reflect on the past year and begin preparing for the new year. Your blog should not be an overlooked component in your reflection. Now is a great time to see what worked well and what didn't go so well, what took a lot of time and what was easy to do, and look at changes or updates that need to be made.

What are your top viewed posts this year? For me, guest posts are always on top of the list. It is one of the reasons I started 3 weekly features for authors. My readers seem more interested in hearing from authors, than me. And I'm all about keeping my readers interested.

What kinds of post got few page views? For me, it's my reviews. But not all my reviews are poorly read. There is presentation differences in the least viewed and the most viewed reviews. Clearly, I need to work on how I present my reviews. Posting reviews can be a lot of pressure as it means I have to find time to read a book. Even only posting 2 reviews a week can be stressful. In the new year, I think I will only shoot for 1 review a week. If I can get more done (as I now have several books read, but not reviewed) great, but I'm not going to stress about it.

I tried posting multiple times a day for a couple of months. It was time consuming creating the content and finding time to post they content. While there was a bit more traffic to my blog with the multiple daily posts, not significantly enough to continue doing so as my time becomes more limited this winter (more freelance projects and Upward Cheerleading doesn't leave a lot of evening time for blogging).

I will be posting a "Year in Review" round up tomorrow. It's a great opportunity to take a closer look at the blog. Even if you don't do a round up post, I encourage you to spend a little time reviewing your past year of blogging.

Happy New Year!

PS. I'm looking for new topics for my Tips series in the new year. Let me know if there is something you would like me to cover.
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December 26, 2012

Bloggers Wanted: $50 Amazon Gift Card Give Away

Gift Card Giveaway

Participate in the "Beat the Winter Time Blues $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway" sponsored by author Terri Morgan.

Giveaway: January 16 - February 6
One winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card from Terri Morgan. 

All you need to do is to make an announcement about the FREE sign-up on your blog by grabbing the code under the graphic (you can post the whole message, if you want) and then on January 16 post the giveaway (html post will be provided). This is a great way to gain more followers on your Facebook page. There will not be a "host page", each blogger's Facebook page will be listed individually on the Rafflecopter.
 Sign up here:

Books Under the Tree

As a family of readers there were a number of books under our tree this year. Did you find any under your tree? Or did you get a gift card so you can buy your own?

For My Dad:


For My Niece:



For My Nephew:




Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.
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December 25, 2012

Christmas Short: Christmas Windows


Christmas Windows by Elysa Hendricks
ebook
Published: September 2012

Source: Smashwords
Read: December 2012
Amazon
 
A short story about a little girl who is neglected at home and mourning the death of her grandmother, the only person who ever really cared about her.

It made me wonder why Christmas stories are always so sad. There is a happy ending of sorts. I felt Christmas Windows read more like an excerpt than a full short story. I think there could have been a little more back story added and the ending felt rushed.

As an introduction to Elysa Hendricks's writing, it was excellent. I look forward to reading the other book I picked up from here while it was free at Smashwords.

If you are looking for a little quick story about the magic of Christmas, then Christmas Windows fits the bill.

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. A free book was obtained from the source mentioned above in order to provide an honest and free review.




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December 24, 2012

Meet the Author: Chris Strayln

As I worked my way down my last minute to-do list, I realized that I hadn’t yet started the Meet the Author post that I wanted to send yesterday. Typical of me I guess - forgetting about things until the last minute. That’s why I started making to-do lists in the first place, so I wouldn’t forget things! Of course, now I have to remember to look at the list….

Anyway, since I’ve done a ton of author interviews of late, I thought readers might be tired of the same old question/answer type of format, with all the same old questions. So I decided to do something different. Here are my top five, “Five Things” lists:

Five Things Everyone Should Know About Me (in no particular order)

* I am a woman. Many, many readers assume I am male. Go figure!

* I am a cat person. I like dogs, but dogs bite me. Always have. I must exude some weird “bite- me” scent!

* I live in Michigan, but hope to retire to Florida someday.

* I am NOT a morning person. Despite having a day job that requires me to be up at the crack of dawn, I do my best work in the afternoon and evening. I love to stay up late, and sleep in on the weekends.

* Coffee is my best friend. :)

Five Things Everyone Should Know About My Childhood (in no particular order)

* Grew up with two younger brothers in a neighborhood where everyone knew everyone. We played unsupervised and had the run of the neighborhood. When the streetlights came on, it was time to go home.

* I was the quiet kid in the back of the class that never said a word. I had a few close friends but I preferred books to people, and was never without a book in my hands.

* I grew up in a neighborhood full of boys, so I was a bit of a tomboy. While I owned Barbie’s, and loved to play with them inside, outside I was just one of the guys.

* I loved school, and got straight A’s. Well, I got straight A’s right up until Algebra came along!

* I hated Algebra. Still do.

Five Things I like to Do When I’m Not Writing
(in no particular order)

* Read. While I prefer to read suspense thrillers, I pretty much read anything I can get my hands on. Except romance and vampires. I hate vampires.

* Facebook.

* Play Bubble Safari on Facebook.

* Bicycle. Love to ride the bike trails! Last summer I pedaled over 1000 miles - 20 miles at a time. Wish I could bicycle year round, but with an average snowfall of 105 inches… yeah, that’s not happening.

* Daydream about retiring to Florida.

Five Things I’d Like to Accomplish in the Next Year
(in no particular order)

* Publish the sequel to This Time You Lose.

* Complete the P90X Exercise Program. Did it two years ago and lost a ton of weight while gaining strength and stamina. Then I quit. Huge mistake. Going to do it again and stick with it this time!

* Join Pinterest. I’ve heard about it, but never tried it. Figured I may as well see what it’s all about.

* Clean out my closets. Five closets and all are an absolute disaster. Bulging with everything from clothing to cleaning supplies to Christmas decorations, it’s all I can do to get the doors closed!

* Find room for a bookshelf - way too many books in my house. Wait a minute…maybe I can convert one of the cleaned out closets into a bookshelf. Make it my own mini library! Yes! Problem solved.

Five Things on Today’s To-Do List (in no particular order)

* Finish wrapping Christmas gifts. Done.

* Pick up stocking stuffers for the grandkids. Done.

* Make copies of latest short story for writer’s group next week. Done.

* Write Meet the Author post and submit it. (Almost done!)

* Write something just for fun. Actually, this post has been fun to write, so I guess I’ll mark this one off from my to-do list too! Done.

About the Author:

Chris Stralyn never intended to be a writer. Short-order cook, security guard, safety officer, childcare provider, and teacher were all titles she'd worn - but never writer. Then she entered an essay contest for "The Worst Vacation Ever" and won.

Writing became her new hobby, and soon she had several articles in print with local publications. This was followed by a short story, The Khaki Pants, which was published by RDR Publishing in an anthology that went on to sell over a million copies.

A suspense thriller was her next undertaking, and in 2008 This Time You Lose was named a finalist in the TNBW Strongest Start Novel Competition. Four months later it earned the distinction of being a TNBW Readers Choice Top Ten Novel, and has remained on the Top Ten list ever since.

Chris Stralyn continues to put pen to paper in her endeavor to appease the Muse within. She lives in Michigan with her husband and family.
Website: thistimeyoulose.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thistimeyoulose
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/JZViee
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/Mz4Koh
Authorgraph: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/ChrisStralyn
Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/ttylbooktrailer
AuthorTrailer: http://bit.ly/chrisstralyn
Book Sample: http://bit.ly/TTYLsample
Twitter: @chrisstralyn

The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads.

Christmas Eve Reading List



News:

Have you been a host for GWR Publicity? I have a handy dandy blog badge you can grab. See it over there on the side bar? If it is too big for your side bar just change the number where it says width=

Want to be a host for GWR Publicity? I created a form where you can easily request a review, interview, guest post, etc.

There some great sales going on this week. I posted them all on the Sunday Sale Page so check it out.

Looking for a little reading romance? I reviewed Dating Mr. December on Saturday.

There are still feature slots available in January. Authors, sign up here!

I joined Picket Fences Blogs. If you like my blog, will you vote for me? Just click on the badge in the side bar. Thanks!

The Indie Exchange is hosting a "Read a Book by an Indie Author" challenge in January. Join the Facebook Group for more details.

While this post is entitled Christmas Eve Reading List, I typically watch Christmas movies all day, finishing with The Muppets Christmas Carol.

Finished:


Marika Christian's Phone Kitten introduces an absolutely unique, first-time-ever kind of female sleuth-a totally lovable, intelligent, downright hilarious down-home girl who happens to earn her living as a phone sex worker.

Shy, slightly overweight Emily would die if she had to talk dirty face-to-face-especially to her hot cop boy friend. She sure didn't set out to do phone sex-she wanted to be a writer. But when her BFF framed her for plagiarism, she got in a tiny financial hole and saw this ad for "phone actresses" . . . Hey, it's not nearly as bad as it sounds. No pantyhose or pantsuits, no regular hours, you're your own boss, and lots of people to talk to. Guys, that is. But here's the odd thing-lots of them want to talk about more than Emily's imagined attributes; they start to think of her as the best friend they'll never have to meet. Next thing you know, one of her customers gets killed and Emily knows a lot more about it than she should. But she can't tell the nearest cop, who's also her own true love, because then he'll find out about her secret life. What's a phone kitten to do? Solve the murder herself, of course-because wouldn't it be a great story for the newspaper that wrongly fired her? It's her ticket back to her real life-if it doesn't get her killed.


Phone Kitten is your ticket to hours of giggles-so long as you're not looking for raunch. Because this is so not it. Somehow, first-time author Christian manages to handle a potentially smokin' subject with such sly wit, authentic detail, and clever writing that you'll wonder why this subject was ever considered taboo. From Goodreads.com
Find Phone Kitten at Goodreads and Amazon

First love. A fall from social grace. Separately these things can be brutal. But together? Together they can make a girl forget who she really is and what makes her kick-ass.

In Prince Nameless, young adult author Patti Larsen takes us back to junior high, where her obsession over a boy and strong desire to fit in takes her far away from her true self and everything she loves.

As Patti recounts her true adolescent story she also interweaves in the fictional tale of a warrioress, who is also trying her best to capture the love of her Prince Nameless and ends up losing herself in the process.

With its perfect blend of fiction and non-fiction, Prince Nameless highlights Patti’s talents as a successful young adult author.

Partial proceeds go toward The Adventure Group. From Goodreads.com
Find Prince Nameless at Goodreads and Amazon.

Reading:



Gen Y has been picked apart by analysts, statistics, and trend reports, which often portray 20-somethings in negative, one-dimensional terms like "entitled" and "whiners". In this thought-provoking new book that aims to dispel these stereotypes, journalist Hannah Seligson chronicles the lives of seven individuals who embody this generation, exploring their challenges and ambitions in vivid detail and sketching a picture, through their eyes, of what life is actually like for young adults. Through these first-hand stories, readers will discover the transformational effect this enterprising, open-minded, innovative, and diverse generation is having on society. From Goodreads.com
Find Mission: Adulthood at Goodreads, Amazon, and IndieBound.

Three generations of women. Four secrets. One stage. When matriarch Maeve Apple receives a letter in the mail that Princess & the Pauper is being remade, she believes she’s 25 again and ready to relive her stardom. Meanwhile, her daughter Bess is dealing with her mother’s dementia, her own divorce and planning her youngest daughter’s wedding - on the Luxe Weddings reality show. Bess’ eldest daughter, Kelly, has a secret of her own that could threaten her chance at love again. Curvy Gwen, the youngest, may be the star of Luxe Weddings, but she finds her heart belongs on the stage, attracted by the lights and her co-star, as they search for Maeve’s long-lost pauper and the biggest secret of all. Told in alternating points of view, Something New explores the bonds of family, love and making memories we'll never forget. From Goodreads.com
 Find Something New at Goodreads, Amazon, and IndieBound.

What is on your reading list this week? Hoping for a certain book to be under the tree? I want to know what you are reading!

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.

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December 23, 2012

Sunday Sale Page #5

Pick up free and discounted books this week.

eBooks


Discounted for a limited time - 99 cents at Amazon


FREE December 27 & 28 at Amazon 
 

FREE December 27 & 28 at Amazon


Paperbacks:


Get 25% OFF at Createspace, use coupon code CQ3XXT28 (Good through Dec. 31)



Get 25% OFF at Createspace, use coupon code J5B45PUZ (Good through Dec. 31) 

December 22, 2012

Holiday Romance: Dating Mr. December

Dating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley
ebook
Published November 2010 by Sourcebooks
ISBN13: 9781402257773
Source: B&N
Read: December 2012
Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound

Everyone wants a romantic Christmas, if the number of emails I've gotten the last few weeks from my online dating profile is any indication. For me, it seems to put me in the mood for chick-lit and even a romance novel or two.

I picked up Dating Mr. December last Christmas when it was free at B&N. However, I wasn't well last year and spent the holidays watching Lifetime Christmas movies on Hulu.com.

So when the mood for chick lit struck me, I immediately queued up Dating Mr. December. The first thing that hit me when I started reading it was that it reminded me of the Lifetime movies I watched last year. There's a good reason for that - The 12 Men of Christmas is based on this book. The second thing I noticed, Dating Mr. December is more steamy than the Lifetime movie.

I really enjoyed this book. Will Tennet is the perfect leading man. He's weathly, rugged, and flawed. Seriously, a mountain rescuer is HOT. Every girl will identify with Emma. We've all been in her shoes at some point - either the cheating boyfriend, lost job, relocation, or embarrassing moments at work...though, personally, I would love to be in her shoes when it comes to Will. It is the perfect romantic fantasy to curl up with on these cold winter evenings.

I will admit Dating Mr. December is a bit steamier than I typically read, but it didn't go overboard or have the typical things that lead me to rant about sex in a book. I should also mention, at least the edition I read, is written in British English. It hasn't been Americanized, which I appreciated since it is set in England. I do wonder though, why does the cover show a blonde woman when Emma is described as having mahogany tresses?

If you are wanting hot men instead of sugar plums dancing in your head this Christmas season, pick up a copy of Dating Mr. December.

 
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December 21, 2012

Friday Fun with L. Leander


Hello, my name is Paytre Romanoff. INZARED, that’s my wife, is the elephant rider with the Romanoff Brothers Circus. She’s really good at what she does but it wasn’t always that way. There were a few times I thought she’d fall straight off the elephant (his name’s Cecil). She wouldn’t have escaped without a lot of injuries if she had.

All I’ve ever known is the circus. My parents came over from Romania toting a young bull elephant my Father had bought and raised. The owner was all for killing the elephant – the mother died in childbirth, but my Father convinced him to let him buy the baby bull and he nursed it along.

Sometimes Cecil thinks he’s a person. I used to sleep with him when I was little. My mother said I’d curl right up in the hay and Cecil watched over me. I love that wrinkled skin and his eyes. They look so wise – like he’s been around for generations. He’s always been easy to handle. Of course, he’s never known anything but love and my Father trained him when he was still very young. But as much as I love him, it’s magic to watch him with Inzared.

The two of them have something very special together. It’s almost as if one can sense what the other is going to do before they even think about it. The first time I met Inzared she was still Bertha Maude Anderson, a girl from Brower’s Gap, North Carolina. She and her folks lived high in the Appalachian Mountains. The circus hadn’t planned to go there at all, but I’m sure glad we did. Shandor and Udo (the brothers who own the touring show) made the decision to swing over to Brower’s Gap and a couple of the surrounding towns when a some other performances fell through.

We have to work. If we don’t we can’t keep doing what we do. You see, I come from a long line of circus performers. People get the wrong impression sometimes about us Gypsies. I’ve been spat at, punched, and generally mistreated by some Gajii who think we’re ruffians. We aren’t. We’re nomads, that’s all. We like to keep moving and are happiest on the road in our vardo, sitting around the campfire every night making music and dancing. We don’t cause anyone harm. All we want to do is perform our shows, make a little money to get through the lean winter months and move on.

I have to say that I caused my wife some real heartache. It wasn’t ever my intent. But the minute I set eyes on that black hair and her sparkling eyes I was hooked. She came looking for me at first. She said her Pa let her seek the elephant act out. She came into view and I froze. I couldn’t think of a single thing to say for a minute.

It was pretty easy, though. We talked and she petted Cecil. They just had this “thing” you know. Cecil snuffled her hair and planted some wet kisses on her with his trunk. Instead of being put off she was delighted. I liked that. And I liked her. When she said she had to get back to her family I struggled for a way to get her to stay. It just happened that she had to deliver eggs to the General Store the next day
and I persuaded her to come back one more time before we headed out of town. The rest is history.

I didn’t really intend for her to leave with us. But Mala, who was riding Cecil in the show, became unable to ride due to an old injury. I’d just given Bertha a ride on the elephant when I knew no one would be looking. She was a natural. So when Shandor came to me frantic about Mala’s injury and having no one to ride, I suggested Bertha. Of course, he said no right away. We don’t use Gajii in our shows. We don’t even spend time with them. But Bertha was different. She looked as Gypsy as I do, with skin tanned from long hours in the fields and that jet-black hair. She has an exotic look about her and she is totally unafraid to try just about anything.

Shandor didn’t have much choice. It was either use Bertha or omit the elephant performance and that would have been a catastrophe. And it worked. Shandor is actually the one who gave Bertha the name of Inzared. It means “Queen” in our language. He meant it as a jab, but she didn’t even notice, she was so excited. That’s another thing I love about my wife. All she wants is to see the world, have a little excitement, and she’s pleased with anything people give her or do for her. She was elated – thought it was the most beautiful-sounding name she had ever heard. And from that day on she refused to be called anything else.

When we finished that first performance I kissed that girl right on the lips. I had a feeling that I’d marry her, right from the start. We just belonged together. I was the one who enticed her to leave with us that very night. Shandor was skeptical, but Inzared told a little white lie – said she was adopted – and he gave in. She was a little scared but she was a real trooper. Inzared was sad sometimes, though. She always missed her home, even though her parents weren’t all that understanding. She felt that she owed it to them to let them know she was leaving, I guess. Some nights I’d find her crying and all I could do was put my arms around her while she cried. But the next morning she’d go right back to work. She and Cecil concocted some pretty unusual and exciting acts to perform in the ring. It wasn’t long before the circus was making good money and all because of INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders.

One of the biggest problems Inzared faced was some of my relatives. We’re all related here – brothers, aunts, cousins, but she was an outsider and a Gajii, to boot. A few people treated her with disrespect but she tried to make everyone like her. I’ve never seen a girl work so hard. It wasn’t fair for others to treat her that way, but eventually most of them changed their minds.

It’s been great talking to you but I really have to take care of Cecil. We’ve got a show to do tonight and I’ve got to get him ready. Maybe you could by come another time and we’ll talk some more? If Inzared is here I’d love to introduce her. I’m sure you’ll love her as much as I do – she’s a one-of-a-kind woman! 

About the Author:

L.Leander is an author who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ralph, during the summer months but spends the majority of the year in Mazatlan, Mexico. Ms. Leander is an award-winning singer/songwriter who has also won awards for her needle arts. As a child, Ms. Leander loved the circus, hence, her debut novel, INZARED Queen of the Elephant Riders. The book follows the adventures of an Appalachian girl in 1843 who runs away to join a Gypsy circus and becomes a famous elephant rider.

Connect with the Author:

Amazon Author Page

Video Trailer for INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders: http://youtu.be/lQHtsFQGAP0
Website: www.lleander.com
FB Author Page: http://facebook.com/lleanderbooks
L.Leander Blog: http://lleander11.wordpress.com

L.Leander’s Reviews and Interviews: http://lleandersreviewsandinterviews.wordpress.com/

Twitter Handle: @lleander11

Buy the Book at Amazon

The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads. Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.


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