Giveaways at Ex Libris

Win a steampunk necklace from Jillian Stone - Open to US only - Ends 22 July

Win a $50 USD Amazon gift card from Tracy Ward - Open worldwide - Ends 23 July

Win The Bargain by Christine S. Feldman - Open worldwide - Ends 26 July

Win a gift pack + Amazon gift card from Robbie Terman - Open worldwide - Ends 31 July

Win a gift pack from Joya Fields - Open worldwide - Ends 31 July

Win Forsaken by the Others and more H&W Investigations books by Jess Haines - Open worldwide - Ends 2 August

Monday, 30 April 2012

April Flashback

I just saw that I failed to post March's flashback monthly wrap up, it was still saved as a draft *grumbles* so here is April's:

Books read

1. The Perfect Impostor by Wendy Soliman
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Book #1 in The Hunger Games series)
3. Improper Relations by Juliana Ross
4. A Lady's Revenge by Tracey Devlyn (currently reading)
5. That Filthy Book by Natalie Dae and Lily Harlem  (currently reading)
6. Sins of the Son by Linda Poitevin (Book #2 in the Gregory Legacy series)*
7. Master of Sin by Maggie Robinson (Book #4 in the Courtesan Court series)
8. The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle*
9. Lessons in Indiscretion by Karen Erickson (Book #2 in the Merry Widows series)
10. Under His Protection by Karen Erickson  (Book #1 in the Protect and Defend series)
11. My Wicked Gladiators by Lauren Hawkeye
12. Undone by Lila DiPasqua (Book #4 in the Fiery Tales series)
13. The Fireman Who Loved Me by Jennifer Bernard (Book #1 in The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series)

Books reviewed

Here are the reviews I posted this month:

1. Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire by Nina Croft
2. Holiday Affair by Annie Seaton
3. Sins of the Son by Linda Poitevin
4. The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle*
5. Blushing Violet by Ann Mayburn
6. Undone by Lila DiPasqua
7. Master of Sin by Maggie Robinson

Books I liked the best this month:

Many great books this month but three absolute favourite that I could start re-reading this instant:

"Being a wonderful combination of Robin Hood setting, well written historical romance and three dimensional likable characters The Runaway Countess is an amazing debut for Leigh LaValle. I utterly enjoyed it and devoured all 408 pages in less than a day. Mazie and Trent were wonderful characters and Leigh LaValle's portrayal of their love and struggles was beautifully poignant, I simply loved it! If you enjoy well written fantastic historical romances you should add The Runaway Countess to your wishlist, I'm sure it will become a favourite of yours! (I speak from experience, The Runaway Countess became one of those books I'm sure I'll re-read several times as a comfort read)"

"Sins of the Son was just as phenomenal as its predecessor, Linda Poitevin takes the reader on a whirlwind rollercoaster ride which will leave you breathless and reeling long after the ride is over! If you haven't read Linda Poitevin's UF series yet, you shouldn't waste any more time, because the Grigori Legacy series is one of the best urban fantasy series I have ever read! It has everything: fast paced action, rich world-building, wit and humour, deep and layered characters, sizzling chemistry and much much more!If you like richly developed exciting urban fantasy and have already devoured everything by Kelley Armstrong, it's time you discovered Linda Poitevin's books, they are amazing!"

Read my review

"Undone is a beautiful love story with surprising emotional depth. I loved the journey Lila DiPasqua took me on and can only recommend you read Undone. If you love fairy tale retellings, historical romances with strong and admirable heroines and swoonworthy honourable heroes, goosebump-causing, pulse race-inducing steamy love stories, Undone is the book for you!"

Book I liked the least this month:

There wasn't really any book I didn't like, none of them got less than 3 stars this month.

Reading Challenges:

Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge: 53/170 books read, 117 to go
Romance and Me Reading Challenge: 4/12 books read, 8 to go
Historical Romance Reading Challenge: 13/12 books read - COMPLETED
E-Book Reading Challenge: 41/150 books read, 109 to go
Men in Uniform Reading Challenge: 7/10 books read, 3 to go
2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 0/10 book read, 10 to go
Speculative Romance Reading Challenge: 11/12 book read, 1 to go
Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge: 6/24 books read, 18 to go
Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge: 4/12 books read, 8 to go
Why Buy the Cow Reading Challenge: 0/12 books read, 12 to go
Fairy Tales Retold Reading Challenge: 3/6 book read, 3 to go
Harlequin Silhouette Reading Challenge: 2/6 book read, 4 to go
Erotic Reading Challenge: 8/20 books read, 12 to go
1st in a Series Reading Challenge: 16/20 books read, 4 to go
2nd in a Series Reading Challenge: 3/20 books read, 17 to go
NetGalley Reading Challenge: 24/30 books read, 6 to go

I can never resist reading challenges (they were the ones responsible for giving me that final push to start my own a blog) and I just like to see in which categories the books I'm reading fit into.

If you like romance and you would like to challenge yourself and discover some romance sub-genre out of your comfort zone come and join the Romance and Me Reading Challenge I'm hosting with Book Lovers Inc. where we'll read 1 novel from a different romantic sub-genre every month. Monthly giveaways sweeten the pot as well ;-) You can read about the details and sign up HERE.

April was Sci-Fi Romance month and May will be Fantasy Romance month! Come join us, great monthly giveaways await you!

It's Monday, What Are you Reading? (#72)

It's Monday, What are you reading? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read and the books to be finished this week.

This week was even more busy than usual as knowing we'll be having a 4 day-long weekend we all wanted to finalize things at the office before the mini-holiday, there were nights I got home after 11pm, but now thankfully I still have 2 more days and won't have to go to work until Wednesday, yay :-D So due to the workload I didn't do a lot of reading, only read these 2 books last week:

Books I completed 

Undone by Lila DiPasqua

I just love Lila DiPasqua's Fiery Tales, and Undone the 4th book in the series might be Lila DiPasqua'a best to this day. I loved it and I'm still in a daze whenever I have a glimpse of this dazzling cover *dreamy sighs* Read my review and get a first taste of Undone and its characters here.

You know how I have wanted to read this book for weeks and I finally got to read it yay! :-D And it was very nice, I would have been happy to trade places with Melissa and go to the firestation full of hunky firefighters ;-p  My review will be posted soon.

Books I'm currently reading

Now that the previous weeks' urgent review books' deadlines are over I picked this one up once more. I don't know why I only progress with turtle step, maybe it's due to the darker tone, how vulnerable and broken the heroine is but I have to force myself to continue reading it though the writing is good. Anyone else had this problem with A Lady's Revenge? Or maybe I'm just in the mood for something lighter?

Books I can't wait to start

May will be Fantasy Romance month in The Romance and Me Reading Challenge (you can find the details here and the current giveaway here), so it's time for me to discover the fantasy genre! I'm a bit anxious, I hope I won't feel lost with all the different settings, species and languages (that is my fear when it comes to fantasy an sci-fi). But I'm excited to read  that cover has me spellbound!


And another fantasy title I have on my TBR list and one everyone praises, so I'm excited and curious to see what all the hype's about :-)

And what are you reading this week?

Speaking of reading, have you heard about the Book Depository's fantastic offer? You can get -10% off all your books now if you click on the banner below (offer open til May 14th). Happy Reading! :-)

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Romance and Me Reading Challenge - Link Up Your Reviews for May

May is Fantasy Romance month for The Romance and Me Reading Challenge (if you'd like to sign up for the challenge, you can do so HERE), so if you have read any fantasy romance stories in May please submit the link to your review in the linky below.

Thanks to the generosity of fantasy romance author Hailey Edwards, the winner will receive a copy of , a lovely and exciting fantasy romance novel and a $10 Samhain Gift Card, yay!

Hope dangles by a silken thread.

When the head of the Araneidae clan is found poisoned in her nest, her eldest daughter, Lourdes, becomes their clan’s new maven. If her clan is to survive, she has but one choice: she must marry before her nest is seized. All she needs is a warrior fierce enough to protect her city and safeguard her clansmen. Such a male is Rhys the Cold.

Born the youngest son of an impoverished maven, the only things Rhys has to his name are his sword and his mercenary reputation. His clan is starving, but their fondness for the flesh of fellow Araneaeans makes them unwelcome dinner guests. Torn between loyalty to his clan and fascination with his future bride, Rhys’s first taste of Lourdes threatens to melt the cold encasing his heart.

Amid the chaos of battle, Lourdes’s sister disappears and is feared captured. Lourdes and Rhys pursue their enemies into the southlands, where they discover an odd plague ravaging southern clans as it travels north, to Erania. Determined to survive, Lourdes will discover whether she’s worth her silk or if she’s spun the thread by which her clan will hang.

Product Warnings: This book contains one mercenary hero with a biting fetish, one determined heroine who gets nibbled, and an answer to the age-old question, “What does dragon taste like?” Matricide and sibling rivalry are available upon request. The house special is revenge, best served cold.

So if you have read a fantasy romance novel in May and have reviewed it, leave the link below to be entered in the giveaway.

(To be included in May's giveaway you have to submit your review by June 1st, but even if you include it later you'll be in for the annual drawing, so no worries, you'll just miss out on the monthly one.)

Please remember to put the direct link to your review and not to your blog url!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Why I chose Sci-Fi Romance by L.K. Rigel + Giveaway

As part of the Romance and Me Reading Challenge since April is Sci-fi Romance month, as a special treat I invited sci-fi romance author L.K. Rigel to the blog to ask her why she chose this sub-genre of romance and what makes it special and dear to her heart. Take it away Linda! :-)

Stella, thank you so much for letting me be part of the Science Fiction Romance month in your year-long mission to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where readers have never gone before.

Why SFR? Science fiction is all about the “what if” factor. There’s fun and intrigue in made-up societies, sets of rules, expectations, and possibilities. Sometimes an alternate world best illustrates our own.

Combine these unknowns with the known quantities of a romance novel—the promise the adventure will be worth it and love will win in the end—and Science Fiction Romance gives us the best of two genres!

The “what if” question in the Apocalypto series is: What if the gods are real, and when human beings hopelessly screw up the earth’s ecosystem the gods return to run things?

Further, what if the environmental pollution caused serious mutations in organic life and weakened human fertility so that new methods of recreation were developed? How would that change the relationship between men and women? Would a fertile woman suddenly have more power just because she was able to reproduce?

In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, fertile women were captured and controlled like breeding stock. I wanted to explore the opposite outcome, that women control the particulars—the procedures and the rewards—of breeding.

So far, there are three books in the series. is a brief introduction to how the world fell apart. is an origin tale, the story of Red City and its traditions. Why do the chalices have dogs? Why are they forbidden to love? What do all those tattoos mean? takes place after the new world order is well established, and the chalice Mallory questions the privileges—and the obligations—that come with breeding heirs for kings.

What better genre to explore these ideas than Science Fiction Romance?

LK Rigel lives in California with her cat, Coleridge. She was once a singing waitress, scored the independent science fantasy karate movie Lucid Dreams, and was a reporter for the Sacramento Rock 'N Roll News. Her BA is in humanities and religious studies. Her work has appeared in Literary Mama and Tattoo Highway. Her short story "Slurp" will appear in Anne Frasier's 2011 Halloween anthology Deadly Treats published by Nodin Press.

You can find LK at her website:


You can read my review of the Apocalypto series here: 
Space Junque


Linda has generously offered an ebook copy of and a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a lucky winner who posts a review of any sci-fi romance and leaves the link HERE.

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 1 May 2012!

Friday, 27 April 2012

I've Got a Lot of Winners to Announce Today!

ETA: Since 3 days have gone by and I still haven't heard back from a couple winners, I had to draw new winners. They have been notified by e-mail as well.

Quite a lot of giveaways have ended at Ex Libris and here are the winners:

The two lucky winners of a copy of  are 

Nancy Bristow Julie Smetzer

The lucky winner of an ebook copy of  is 

What I wouldn't do! Kanya Chhet

The lucky winner of a signed copy of  and  is 


The lucky winner of a copy of  is 


The lucky winners of a Sins of the Son bookmark handmade by Lind Poitevin are 

buell rissatoo
Sonia Cristina

Congratulations winners! I will send you all an e-mail notifying you of your win by tomorrow, please get back to me within 48 hours or I will have to draw a new winner. Thank you.

There are still a couple fantastic giveaways going on, enter them by clicking on their direct links at the top of the blog. 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Book Review: Undone by Lila DiPasqua + Giveaway

Title: Undone
Author: Lila DiPasqua
Series: Book #4 in the Fiery Tales series
Release Date: 27 March 2012
Number of pages: 352 pages
Publisher: Rock It Reads
Source: eARC provided by author for review
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, , Smashwords

Grade: 4.5 stars

Novellus superbus!

Goodreads appetizer: Inspired by the tale of Rapunzel, Lila DiPasqua offers a new steamy, emotionally charged historical romance in the acclaimed Fiery Tales Series... Rescuing this beauty from the ‘tower’ is only the beginning...

Maintaining her ruse as a commoner, and trusting no one has kept Angelica safe. But a chance encounter with a handsome stranger lands her right where danger lies. Now, this sinfully handsome man with arresting blue eyes and a polished manner thinks he’s saved her life, when in fact he’s placed her in great peril. She’s intent on keeping him and everyone else at arm’s length. Yet, the smoldering attraction between them is difficult to deny. And impossible to ignore...

As commander of a number of privateer ships, Simon Boulenger dresses and speaks like an aristocrat, and has obtained wealth. But he is still not a noble. Or an officer in the King’s Navy. His lifelong dream to elevate himself from his station of birth and attain a respectable place in society is dead. Worse, he’s ensnared in a deadly scheme, and must get out. But how is he to stay focused on his dangerous mission when the mysterious beauty has him utterly intrigued? He can’t afford the distraction any more than he can resist the carnal hunger she stirs. Simon soon discovers that she’s not only a passionate soul mate, but a woman born into privilege. A woman he can never have. But they’re in too deep. Their hearts are at risk... as well as their lives.

My Thoughts: Having read my share of Lila DiPasqua books I should have known better than to start reading Undone after 11pm one night, because I warn you you won't be able to stop. Lila's writing style makes the story flow and her characters are so engaging it was almost 2 am when I noticed I was yawning and that dawn would soon break.

Undone is the 4th book in Lila DiPasqua's Fiery Tales, steamy historical romance series, which are sexy retellings of some classic fairy tales. Undone is Rapunzel's tale, but just so you don't expect something different, Undone is only very loosely based on Rapunzel (here the heroine is cloistered away in a convent instead of a tower), so don't expect a play by play retelling!

We meet our heroine Angelica through the hero's eyes: their meeting is serendipity: a broken carriage wheel, a stop on a deserted road at night and boom, the hero is knocked to the ground by the heroine. *sighs* That scene was both funny and wonderfully romantic.

Angelica is a wonderful combination of different types of heroines: she is a young woman who despite being quiet and humble has a strong backbone and is fiercely independent and protective of others. She isn't afraid to speak out for herself but she is never selfish or self-centered. She is a captivating beauty, but having lived her life in a convent where vanity and beauty aren't venerated she has no idea of her own appeal. She is a truly good heroine, but Lila DiPasqua masterfully paints her character with subtle nuances and avoids the easy danger of Angelica becoming boring or dull due to her goodness.

Simon is a delicious hero: he is a self-made man, the son of a fisherman he is now commander of fourteen ships and has amassed plenty of riches for the king and his country. But besides his accomplishments what is more important is that he is a compassionate, generous and fair man. And despite being an alpha male, he is gentle and vulnerable when it comes to Angelica. He wants to help Angelica and do the honourable thing and resist his attraction and lust for her. He never forces his seduction, lets her dictate the pace and take that final step. It melted my heart how he wanted her to trust him enough to confide in him. And what I also found telling about Simon's character was that even at the beginning of their relationship, when it was mere attraction between them, he was always caring and thoughtful towards Angelica:

"Do you find my company unpleasant? Would you rather dine alone?"
"Unpleasant? No, absolutely not," she quickly assured, wishing at the moment he were old, potbellied, and missing some teeth. "I would be pleased to dine with you, if you consider this suitable attire." She touched her garb.
A slow, gorgeous, knee-weakening smile formed on his appealing face. He leaned in, and in her ear softly he said, "You are beautiful just as you are."

Lila DiPasqua is a master at telling how a spark, a sizzling attraction between two people slowly but passionately becomes more. The emotions, the heat all ensure that the reader will be as affected as the characters, and Simon's steady courting and seduction was irresistible to both Angelica and me:

He dipped his head, bringing his mouth near her ear. "Angelica," he murmured. "I'm not with those other women. I'm here with you. I want you. Can you not feel how much?" How in heaven could she miss that? Just the feel of his delicious length against her caused her sex to clench and ache. "If you want a man, come to me. Day or night… Let me be your lover."

"I want you to come to me, Angelica. I want you, but I’m going to need to know who you are. The door is open and the invitation has been extended. You decide if you are going to accept it or decline it."

If you have already read some of Lila DiPasqua's other stories you might find Undone a bit tame at first, but I assure you Lila will turn up the heat in no time! (And she can write a mere kiss scene so that it is just as scorching hot as a full bodied love scene!) I personally loved how in Undone Simon and Angelica's lovemaking (because it was that even if Simon wasn't yet conscient of his feelings for her at the time) was tender and caring beside being passionate and hot. It was moving and emotional, and thus made it even better.

Undone is somewhat different from Lila DiPasqua's usual stories as it also deals with some darker events, but have no fear,Angelica's story and emotions are told delicately and they really sound authentic, and what made me respect her even more was how her inner strength shone through, that she was stronger than to let her past and someone else's evil deeds define her, and that she could put what happened to her behind her.

I also loved the humour Lila DiPasuqa used to alleviate the angsty parts or the choking sexual tension:
"In a single morning, you have managed to offend the Church and unsettle our system of schooling. Tell me, do you have any plans for the afternoon?"
"No, I believe I’m done for the day."
He froze. Obviously astounded. Then shot to his feet.
"Merde!" He stalked around the chair, putting it between them. "I've been fighting back my desire for you, and you propose I redeem myself by becoming your lover?" She gave a nod.
"On a frequent basis," she added, in case the point was lost on him.
"[...] if a man in my class were to marry a woman in your class, she would be stripped of her status and made insignificant in society. A commoner. A man should bring the woman he marries honor. Not shame. [...] Do you really wish to become one of the 'undesirables'?' he demanded. 'Are you eager to bear children—sired by a man of common birth—that nobles would consider as revolting as a rodent? Do you want to always be at the mercy of your 'betters' and have them treat you and your children as less than human each time you're in their presence? That's the life of a commoner! That is what I, my mother, and everyone in our village endured. Do you want to marry me and have half the Aristos look at you with pity while the rest regard you with disgust?'
She crossed her arms. "Was that a marriage proposal?"
"Good, because it wasn't a very good one, the way you were carrying on about rodents and disgust."

Verdict: Undone is a beautiful love story with surprising emotional depth. I loved the journey Lila DiPasqua took me on and can only recommend you read Undone. If you love fairy tale retellings, historical romances with strong and admirable heroines and swoonworthy honourable heroes, goosebump-causing, pulse race-inducing steamy love stories, Undone is the book for you!

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 7/10 - found it a bit too easy and convenient
Cover: 10/10 - cover perfection! I can stare at this wonder for loong minutes :-)


Lila has very generously offered 2 copies of to two lucky commenters!

All you have to do is leave a legitimate comment (no "thank you for the giveaway, please enter me") or tell us about your favourite fairy tale. Do you like to read fairy tale retellings? Any favourite you care to share?

Giveaway is open worldwide and hurry it ends on 27 April 2012!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Guest post by Karen Erickson + Giveaway

Today I am happy to welcome to the blog the wonderfully versatile Karen Erickson, who is the author of historical romances, paranormal erotica, romantic suspense, dystopian romance and I could go on listing all the different genres she has dipped her toes in. Today she stops by to tell you about the inspiration behind her latest release the first book in her new Protect and Defend romantic suspense series. Please give her a warm welcome and read of for a fantastic giveaway at the end!

Thank you so much, Stella, for having me on your blog. I'm excited to talk about my latest release, Under His Protection, the first in my Protect and Defend series. Where did I get the idea for this series, you might ask? Well, let me tell you all about it.

A few years ago, I was chatting with a few writer friends via Yahoo Instant Messenger and one of my favorite people, Shelli Stevens, mentioned she wouldn't mind having a sexy Secret Service agent keeping tabs on her at all times (exactly why she said that, I don't recall). My brain instantly went, "Hmmm...."

Later that night, I'm watching an old rerun of The Simpsons and Homer gets a job as a...Secret Service agent. "Coincidence," I tell myself.

A few days later, the Sunday newspaper insert Parade magazine has a special feature on--you guessed it--Secret Service agents. I couldn't avoid it any longer. The idea that had been percolating, the constant reminders, it was fate. I had to write this story.

Fast forward a few years later. I'd submitted the book to Harlequin Blaze but they felt it was too suspenseful - might I try their suspense lines instead? My former agent had shopped the series to a limited amount of editors in New York but they deemed the first book "too political". Plus, romantic suspense is dead as a subgenre, don't you know.

Huh. I respectfully disagree. Anyone noticed how many fabulous--and popular--romantic suspense books are out there right now? Yeah, a lot. In fact, I might be a little crazy to throw my hat in the ring but hey. I've never denied that I'm a little crazy...

**$200 Gift Card Giveaway Details here!**

He’ll protect her at any cost…

Protect and Defend, Book 1

Protecting the vice president’s daughter is Secret Service agent Mason Russell’s top priority. With the election looming and the party’s hold shaky, Mason’s been given an important assignment – rein the controversial party girl Blake Hewitt in.

He’d like to rein Blake in all right. Keep her under his control and naked beneath him at all times. Blake is the sexiest thing he’s ever seen but she’s strictly off limits. Though she tempts him like no other.

Banished from the capital and sent far away to the family’s vacation home, Blake seizes her chance. She’ll make Mason hers no matter what it takes. But the noble Mason doesn’t make it easy, and danger lurks where they least expect it…

is available now at:

Where you can find Karen: Website | | | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY:  **$200 Gift Card Giveaway Details here!**

Let's have a contest! Are you a fan of romantic suspense? If so, let me know your favorite authors and/or books and you're entered for a chance to win a $10 gift card to Amazon or B&N (winner's choice!).

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 1 May 2012!

Monday, 23 April 2012

It's Monday, What Are you Reading? (#71)

It's Monday, What are you reading? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read and the books to be finished this week.

This week was busy and sadly not spent with reading. I had to work Saturday as well and Sunday wasn't about resting either, but after this week I'll be off for 4 days and I hope to be able to sleep, read and recharge those batteries :-) Until then here is what I have read this week:

Books I completed 

Book #4 and final one in Maggie Robinson's Courtesan Court series, I was very curious to see how Maggie Robinson redeems an almost villain character and makes it a hero the reader can feel sympathy and compassion for, and I can say she did it wonderfully! I am glad Andrew got his book and his happy ending, because having lived the life he had, he truly deserved it! Due to work getting out of hand (had to work Saturday as well) I was unable to post my review last week, so be on the lookout for it this week.

You must know how much I love Ancient Rome and everything that has something to do with it and Latin (hey, Ex Libris, book ratings? ;-), so when I read the blurb of this one: Ancient Rome, not one but two sexy gladiators, I knew I would have to read this one, and I devoured it in no time. A nice and hot gladiator story, my review will be posted closer to its release day (which sadly is in late May, I just couldn't stop myself and wait until then to read it ;-).

A sexy contemporary romance by Karen Erickson I gobbled up in no time. My review will be posted this week and Karen will be my guest tomorrow, so stop by there will be a giveaway as well ;-)

Books I am currently reading

Lila DiPasqua's Fiery Tales are one of a kind stories: they are historical romances but unlike the usual ones: these have a touch of fairy tale and lots of scorching hot seduction. This newest instalment in her Fiery Tales series looks just as promising as the previous ones, and I'm still in serious cover love after several weeks *dreamy sigh*

Books I can't wait to start

I really hope I'll get to start this one soon!

 I'm not a fantasy fan, weird as urban fantasy is one of my favourite genres. Simply because somehow I never tried this genre. But that will change now. I'm excited to read  and sample this genre. Who knows, maybe I'll discover a new favourite. :-)

And what are you reading this week?

Speaking of reading, have you heard about the Book Depository's fantastic offer? You can get -10% off all your books now if you click on the banner below (offer open til May 14th). Happy Reading! :-)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Guest post: First Impressions by Maggie Robinson + Giveaway

I am happy to welcome back to Ex Libris the wonderful Maggie Robinson, author of the scorching hot historical romance Courtesan Court series! (if you like steamy seduction scenes in a historical setting, this series was made for you!) The first 3 books in the series each told the story of a heroine living in the courtesan neighbourhood of the city, however this 4th book,  is the story of a much tortured hero who was an almost villain in Book #3! So I was very curious to see why Maggie would choose to make a hero out of her quasi-villain and how she would do it. Please give her a warm welcome and share your stories, there is also a fantastic prize for you to win!

First Impressions
by Maggie Robinson

Thanks so much for having me here to talk about the final Courtesan Court book, . As the title indicates, the hero Andrew knows his way around the bedroom, in more ways than may make the reader comfortable. He appears first as a secondary character in , creeping out of a house where he’s pleasured both the husband and wife for money. Yikes, you say. He has good reasons, not all of them financial, for being as adaptable as he is. But la dolce vita is beginning to bore him, and as I finished he just wouldn’t stay put in Italy where I sent him.

It was if he was reminding me I owed him something. After all, I’d given him a tortured childhood, a lover killed by his own trembling hand, an unrequited romance with a married woman. C’mon, he said, you’ve piled on enough. Where’s my happy ending, huh?

To be truthful, I wasn’t sure he deserved one, or whether I was capable of fashioning one that fit his psychological profile. Andrew is not the typical bad-boy historical romance novel rake—he has some serious issues that aren’t going to be solved by a sweet virgin and a waltz around a ballroom. I did not want to gloss over his reality, even if he’s not a “real” person. He’s the victim of abuse, and that’s not a trivial matter.

Frankly, if I had known I was going to turn him into a hero, I would have been a little easier on him to begin with. I knew he needed a very special heroine, someone completely different from the women he’d dealt with in the past. When he sees his heroine Gemma, their first meeting is not auspicious:

He tiptoed down the hallway as quietly as he ever had eluding a suspicious wife or husband, coming at last to the kitchen. A raggedy serving girl dressed in what appeared to be stray Tartans and tablecloths was bent over an empty fireplace, a pitiful pile of sticks on the hearth. At the sound of his footstep on the bare slate floor she turned and shrieked.

Some of Andrew’s childhood Gaelic had come back to him the further north he’d come. Immersion with the village women earlier had helped a bit. “Gabh mo leithsceal.” Excuse me.

“Does bloody anyone in this bloody place speak any bloody English?” the girl muttered.

She looked like a street urchin. Her brown hair was a nest, her pointed, unfashionably brown face was smudged and her brown skirts muddied. She was so very brown. Surely she couldn’t be—

“Miss Peartree?” Andrew asked, praying not.

The little wren’s mouth hung open like a baby bird waiting to be fed. Then she looked like she tasted the worm. “Oh, good lord. Mr. Rossiter?” She curtseyed, nearly tripping on twigs.

This “street urchin” turns into an unlikely temptress, and teaches Andrew he’s very worthy of love.

Andrew doesn’t make a good first impression on the reader in , and Gemma strikes out with Andrew in . Have you ever been wrong about a “first impression?” I will give one commenter a copy of both books to form your own opinions!

Book #4 in the Couretasn Court series

Andrew Rossiter has used his gorgeous body and angelic face for all they’re worth—shocking the proper, seducing the willing, and pleasuring the wealthy. But with a young son depending on him for rescue, suddenly discretion is far more important than desire. He’ll have to quench his desires—fast. And he’ll have to find somewhere his scandalous reputation hasn’t yet reached…

Miss Gemma Peartree seems like a plain, virginal governess—or so she hopes. No matter how many sparks fly between them, she has too much to hide to catch Andrew’s eye. But with a stormy Scottish winter driving them together, it will be hard to keep her secrets. Especially when Andrew feels he has found the woman who can restore his soul—one kiss at a time…

Buy it at -  - B&N - Books-a-Million - IndieBound

 Read my review

Maggie Robinson is a former teacher, library clerk and mother of four who woke up in the middle of the night, absolutely compelled to create the perfect man and use as many adverbs as possible doing so. A transplanted New Yorker, she lives with her not-quite perfect husband in Maine, where the cold winters are ideal for staying inside and writing hot historical romances.

You can reach Maggie on her website, blog, ,  and Goodreads.


Maggie has generously offered a copy of both and  to a lucky commenter!

All you have to do is leave a comment answering Maggie's question: Have you ever been wrong about a “first impression?”

Giveaway ends on 27 April 2012 and is open worldwide!

Good luck!

ps. Double your chances of winning , enter at Book Lovers Inc. as well!

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