Thursday, October 31, 2013

Strong is Sexy Heroine of the Week: Omega

Book: The Hostage
Author: Carolyn Wren
Heroine: Omega

Omega is a covert operative who features in cameos in books 1-3 of The Protector Series.  Book 4, The Hostage is her story.

She is a complex character.  A deadly agent who has an almost obsessive desire for privacy.  There is a reason for her work, and her secretive life.  She was herself a victim of a kidnapping some years before, and channelled her experiences into a need to help others.  I like Omega as a character because she does have an enormous amount of strength and determination, and a very dry witty personality.  She also has a trauma in her past, but this doesn't make her a victim.  She makes the decisions in her life.  Even after one of her past assignments, the hero of the story, tracks her down, she gives him a good run around before accepting him into any part of her life.  When another, more nasty person also finds out her secret identity, she tackles him head on without waiting for help, or back up, challenging him to a dangerous battle of wits...involving knives. 

There is a vulnerable side to her, and it is explored in this story.  It forms an integral part of the relationship of the book, and allows us to see behind the Covert operative to the person beneath.  I don't think this vulnerability decreases her strength of character.

The best way I can think of to describe Omega, and the book, is to quote the note my proof-reader put in the margin of my finalized MS. 

Now that’s a good book! A woman with strength and character who finds true love but never has to give up who she truly is. Excellent job.

This is part of the opening scene of The Hostage, which sets up her character and the story.  It contains one of my favourite quotes from the book. 

“Who are you?”

“An alternative to the fifty million in ransom your company apparently didn't want to pay, Mr. Northam.” 

North tried to open his eyes. Am I still dreaming? No, surely dreams didn’t come with this amount of pain. He’d smelt something, the fresh scent of clean skin. Not perfume, just the fragrance of a woman, a hint of warmth all men had evolved to detect since the caves. Then a voice, a low whisper in his ear, warm breath touched him, hot in the cold room. She’d spoken to him, the sound only a husky whisper more designed for the bedroom than this hellish place. He’d actually felt his body respond before his mind absorbed her words. He would have laughed if he’d had the energy. Tortured and about to die, a woman whispers in his ear and his first reaction is arousal.

I’m clearly insane, but I’ll die happy. North sucked in a painful breath. How the hell did I get on the ground? This was a different kind of agony, the agony of circulation returning and abused muscles showing displeasure at their treatment. He groaned, and someone put a hand over his mouth. North jerked, the pain of the sudden movement almost sending him back to the darkness.

The faint whisper came again. “I can give you ten minutes. After that we need to see if you can stand. Wait for my word. Move slowly.”

She’s real?

“Don’t try to talk and don’t rush your movements.”

Rush? He didn't think he could rush if his life depended on it. He realized with another jerk, it did. Forcing his muscles to move slowly in uncoordinated bursts, he tried to encourage his body to move in preparation for her instruction. He had no idea what was happening or who she was.

He tried to form audible words and keep his voice as soft as hers. “Where did you come from?”

The question was never answered. He heard a shout and the heavy thump of footsteps running.

“Close your eyes.”


The door burst open, and she fired.

North hadn't understood the request until the first flash of the muzzle blinded him. He’d been in darkness for so long, the sudden brightness left spots before his one working eye. He blinked, trying to clear his vision.

She kept shooting at those coming through the door, surprise on her side. His captors had thought him alone and restrained. It was over in a minute, the sudden silence made his ears ring.

North strained to hear her voice over the roar. “They’ll send reinforcements. We have to go now.”

Placing her shoulder under his arm, she helped him stand. The pain almost made him pass out again. He’d be damned if he gave into it now, not when freedom was so close. She led him out of the door, one arm around his waist, the other extended, gun in hand swinging right and left. God, she was tiny, not even reaching his shoulder. Her hair brushed against his chest as they walked, giving him a real clue to her diminutive stature. 

 “I think I can walk,” he told her.

“Good.” She released him. “Follow me.”

Four more guards, four more shots from her pistol. She stopped him in a hallway to reload, before they continued on. She seemed to know which way to go, and he stumbled after her, wiping sweat and blood out of his eyes with a shaky hand. Who was this tiny woman risking her life for his? It felt wrong. All his male instincts said it should be the other way around.

They barely got outside before his legs gave way. He collapsed, cursing his weakness under his breath while she half-dragged him to a large clump of bushes.

“Stay here,” she said and flowed back into the shadows.

He waited, anxiety and stress making the minutes seem like hours.

“We have to move.” Her silent approach sent a burst of adrenalin and relief through him.
The slight reprieve had given him time to recover. With limited strength, he followed her. She kept them concealed within the darkness and beneath the sparse foliage. He heard shouts and shots, but no one appeared before or behind them. They had gained perhaps fifty yards, when she pushed him into a shallow depression in the ground and held his head down. A few seconds later, he heard and felt an explosion.

“With luck,” she murmured, “the blast will confuse and frighten them into running.”

“What do we do now?”

She grabbed some loose foliage, pulling it over their bodies. “We wait.”

The ground was cold, the thin branches and leaves offering no relief from the chill of the night. North’s muscles twitched and ached, and he was feeling the multitudes of bruises, cuts, and scrapes. His whole face throbbed with a deep pounding rhythm, a sharp pain stabbed behind his injured eye, and his jaw ached so much he feared it was cracked. His shoulder muscles and tendons screamed at him. Still, he was better off than he’d been an hour ago. The adrenaline rush was over. His eyes drooped. Ridiculous. He wouldn't sleep, not under such circumstances was his last coherent thought.

The sky seemed lighter when he opened his eyes. His husky voiced champion spoke softly into a tiny hand held radio. She was sprawled across half of his body, still protecting him. Being saved by a woman still bothered him. Her body was warm and soft, where it touched him even through her sturdy black clothing. She appeared to have no problem with his nakedness, not that there was anything they could do about it. Frankly, it was the least of their problems.

Her face was shadowed in the pre-dawn light. North wanted to see her, wanted to put features to the throaty whisper of his rescuer. The brave, calm woman who’d saved his life.

“Who are you?”

“An alternative to the fifty million in ransom your company apparently didn't want to pay, Mr. Northam,” she said without looking at him, the longest sentence he’d heard her say.
She kept watch, her face in profile. He willed the dawn to arrive, so he could see her clearly, distracted by the light fall of footsteps sounded in the distance. He tensed, thinking she would tell him to move or fight. The order never came, she remained motionless. A few minutes later, she removed some of the foliage and leaned across his body to peer over the top of the shallow depression.

“Omega?” A deep male voice came from above. North had no idea how the figures had gotten so close, whilst making so little sound.

“Yes.” She climbed nimbly over his body and stood. “Mr. Northam, these men will see you safely home.”

A man wearing camouflage clothing, leaned into the depression to help North to his feet. A false dawn from the explosion fifty yards away provided a fiery backdrop to their surroundings.

“All clear?” his rescuer asked the soldier, tilting her head to the carnage that had once been North’s prison.

“Yes,” he replied, shifting a powerful looking rifle to his other shoulder.
She nodded and turned to walk away.

“Wait,” North said. She paused, turning only her head to look back at him, her face half bathed in darkness, and still unclear to him. “How do I...Look, I don't even know who you are. How do I thank you?”

“Not necessary.”

“It is to me.”

“Mr. Northam,” the soldier said, “we need to go.”

North took his gaze from her for a split second. When he looked back, she was gone. He scowled, peering into the gloom. “Wait.”

“Mr. Northam,” the man repeated firmly, “we need to go now.”

Another soldier came up and draped a long jacket over him. In the distance, North could hear a helicopter. Reluctantly he followed, scanning the countryside as he forced his battered body to walk.

This isn't over.

A covert operative so secretive, she’s known only as Omega…

Kidnapped, held in chains, beaten and without hope. Wealthy businessman James ‘North’ Northam believes he’s a dead man. Until a daring rescue by a woman who disappears before he can thank her. North is compelled by a powerful need to track down his mysterious saviour. The truth he discovers about her is both surprising and intriguing.

Omega has always kept her covert identity separate from her real life. Until James Northam invades her world, and her privacy. This determined, impossibly distracting man is getting under her skin. Her plan is to deny everything until he gives up and goes home.

The plan doesn't seem to be working.

And so begins a battle of wits between two very strong willed people.

Neither of them realise someone else from Omega’s past has tracked her down, for much more sinister reasons.

Are you an author with a strong heroine in your book? Want to see her featured? Find out how here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Churchill’s Angels (Churchill's Angels #1) by Ruby Jackson

Churchill’s AngelsYou look at this cover and you think it's about a woman flying and thus will have lots of flying scenes and such... In that aspect, this is a very disappointing read. The heroine of the story only flies four times and each time it warrants a mere paragraph or two (except the last one). She doesn't join the ATA until the last 50 pages.

I thought perhaps her being a mechanic in WAAF would offer some interesting aviation stuff. No, it doesn't. There are no details about her training, testing, the planes, nothing mechanical whatsoever. What could have been incredibly interesting and insightful was just hardly mentioned. We know she's in training and did bad or good on some test or another...and that's it.

It's mostly just a girl coming of age during WWII in a small town, and then on the bases, meeting people, dealing with grief and friends dying, worrying about her brothers fighting overseas, falling in love--though you couldn't really tell--and just managing to free herself from a very clingy mother

It's about a town in England and how they get bombed constantly by the Germans on their way to London. Blackouts, fires, death. Rationing.

To be frank, there's nothing to distinguish this novel from any other WWII story out there, and I've read way more detailed novels about the ATA.

It's entertaining though and the heroine is likable, but the writing falls a tad flat. It's missing emotion. It's not a narrative that made me feel one with the characters--like I'm in their heads. I could get into the story and curious about what happened next, but I didn't think about the story or people in it when I set the book down. It doesn't stay with me.

There was also lots of odd parts where I think I was supposed to laugh, but I honestly didn't get the joke. Charlie and his daughter Charlie...Charlie says if he shouts, he won't know who's going to answer him??? HUH? If he and his daughter are both named Charlie and he shouts "Charlie", then she'd answer. Why would he answer himself? I'm sorry, but this went way over my head.

So... I think this is a good novel for anyone who wants to read about England during WWII and doesn't want to get bogged down in historical details. But it's more life on the homefront than what the ATA was like.

Funny moment I did understand and laugh at:

Heroine: "I can drive, and strip an engine and I've worked on an aeroplane."
WAAF recruiter: "'An me and Princess Elizabeth went riding our 'orses at the weekend. Frightfully lovely it was, an' all."

I got this on Amazon Vine.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

For Every Solution, a Problem by Kerstin Gier, Erik J Macki (Translation)

For Every Solution, a ProblemThis is a cute, funny read with a lesson within the pages. I mean, really, people are always saying you should be happy with what you have and la la la la, but at the same time, shouldn't those same people be happy with who we are?

If that doesn't make sense, it will once you read this book.

Gerri has hit rock bottom. Her family is ashamed of her; they won't even tell people she writes books for a living. Her mother nags her constantly. She can do nothing right in her mother's eyes, can't wear the right clothes, date the right men, set a plate properly, cannot compare to her sisters... This mother is a piece of work. Seriously.

A new company has taken over Gerri's publisher and is replacing all her medical romances with vampires. She may be out of a job.

In a nutshell, this Gerri girl has just been a doormat for so long and she's tired of it. She makes the most of her last week on earth and plans to kill herself with 37 sleeping pills...but a very annoying friend accidentally hinders her...and OMG, these brutally honest letters are already on their way to everyone's mailboxes...and these letters confess things she wouldn't dare confess if she wasn't planning to off herself.

There are crazy family members--the really devout, the nags, the rich, the belittlers. There are annoying friends, the repeaters, the ones with kids, the deluded. There are former online dates, the liar and Mr. 12 or 13 inch... I absolutely loved the heroine's sarcastic wit. There's a romance but it's def not the sole focus and comes rather late in the game.There's really a lot going on here. Summing it up is impossible. I will say I find it well written, engaging, humorous, and as I said above, there's a lesson. 

Quit trying to please others and just please yourself. You'll just go crazy otherwise.

Frankly I think the whole "write everyone a letter before I die and just get this out in the open" was a superb idea. The letters were some of the funniest parts. My only quibbles with this story are...1. The characters fell kind of flat, one dimensional. That could be something to do with translation though. There was a serious lack of emotion at times. 2. I would have preferred to the mother/daughter relationship resolved. I don't feel there was a resolution there at all. The mother was still downright nasty in the end. I was hoping that would change. I'd have liked the heroine to stand up to her the way she did her father. I felt some things needed saying.

Favorite part: And what on earth is this sentence supposed to mean: "Her breasts rose and fell breathlessly." Breathless breasts? HELLO?

I got this via Amazon Vine.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Powder Burn (Burn with Sam Blackett #1) by Mark Chisnell

Powder Burn  (Burn with Sam Blackett #1)I was drawn to this because of two things: 1. If Dragon Tattoo’s Mikael Blomkvist and the Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen could have a love-child, she’d probably be a lot like Sam Blackett... and 2. The fact the woman on the cover is wielding a sword. It all just screams kick-ass heroine. Though strength comes in many forms, I totally need a sword-fighting female every now and then.

We have a young woman who wants to make it as a journalist...and she thinks she finally has that story that will put her on the map, get her in Nat Geo. She's accompanying three men to a legendary mountain called Powder Burn, where they will be the first ones to snowboard it. History being made. One month trekking and backpacking and fighting high altitude and snowstorms.

But she gets more than she bargained for when the team runs into two strange men wielding an equally strange sword.

This is flat out an adventure, a thrill ride. There's soldiers, lies, secrets, arguments, death, shooting,

And Sam starts a romance and is faced with some tough decisions. Help a man or not help a man? Leave someone behind? Tell a story or not? There's also tension with one of the boarders. I like this chick. I like how she thinks and sticks up for herself... "...a good smack is the only thing that some people understand.."

It was entertaining, no doubt. BUT...and here are my quibbles:

-I didn't find it all believable. I mean, really, three people on a snowboard?

-There's a serious lack of emotion.

-It needs another round of edits. I got an ARC on Netgalley, but it was placed on that site after the book was published so I wonder if the finished copy has these errors...there were enough to really irritate me, such as "Why are the Demagistani's so anxious..." and "I think they've been fighting the Demagistani's."

I loathe apostrophe abuse. I have no idea why there are apostrophes there. What do the Demagistanis own? That is how it should be spelled.

I also spotted things like family are and family have...and forbad instead of forbade. There was an error on every page. Again, these MAY have been fixed later.

-The ending did not satisfactorily explain everything. I was confused and wondering about many things. It just didn't tie up very well for me. Like, these people claim they will not harm others, not even to regain their country from a Taliban-like group of people...yet they have an army that runs around with rifles and shoots at suspected CIA agents???, ok. So the army isn't Buddhist and can run around shoot people for you, right? You just can't shoot them yourself...but why not send this army to get your country back?

Things just didn't make sense to me. However, it's a good yarn and despite the fact I have to say the cover is misleading--this chick doesn't really wield a sword though she does utilize a rifle--it is enjoyable.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel by Fannie Flagg

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A NovelI have so many good things to say about this...I'm just going to skim over the plotline real quick...

Sookie is almost 60 years old, with the mother from hell. While she wasn't physically abused, she was emotionally and mentally put down all her life. She's always been pressured into being the perfect Simmons, into going to this school, doing this or that, and now her life revolves around taking care of the old ungrateful hag.

And one day she finds out she was never a Simmons at all, so what was all that crap?

She goes on a quest to find the truth and in the process, find herself. Who is she really? And hey, it's never too late to find yourself, to throw off family and society shackles and be YOU.

The store goes back and forth between present-day Sookie and a World War II story surrounding Fransi, a Polish girl who not only runs an all-girls filling station for a while, but becomes a WASP, Women's Air Service Pilots. And I love my women in aviation in books!!! There's just enough about the WASP to educate anyone not familiar with them.

This book didn't disappoint. I laughed uproariously many times, shook my head at others, and even found myself dabbing my eyes at one point.

I think it's important for a book to either 1. Make me laugh. 2. Make me think hard about something or have  a moral. or 3. Teach me something. Otherwise, why read it? You can have your fluff. I'll take something with a bit more substance, thank you.

LOL moment (one of many): The flight instructor who for reasons I won't reveal had to stay seated in the plane after landing until he was privately ensconced, place and all, in a hangar. OMG!!! Too funny!

Theme that spoke to me a deeper level: I'm just going to borrow a quote from the story 'cause it says it so much better than I can. "Being a successful person is not necessarily defined by what you have achieved, but by what you have overcome."

Something I learned: In the forties, Texaco had a White Patrol, a group of nurses who drove around in a white Chevrolet and inspected all the gas stations' bathrooms. A White Cross of Cleanliness was awarded to those worthy and clean enough. Phillip's followed with Highway Hostesses, the same thing, but in cream-colored vehicles with green fenders and 66 on the doors. I found these old tidbits fascinating.

Conclusion: A book well-worth your time. Loved every bit of it.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My Ever-Growing TBR Pile 10/26/2013

The Girl in the Yellow VestSpotted on NG and on my wishlist: The Girl in the Yellow Vest by Loretta Hill. I haven't read the first two yet, but I have one of them in paperback. Just gotta get the review required ones out of the way first. I love that her books are women in male-dominated fields.

Emily Woods counts cracks for a living. Concrete cracks. So when her long-term boyfriend dumps her, she decides it’s time for a change of scenery. Her best friend, Will, suggests joining his construction team in Queensland. Working next door to the Great Barrier Reef seems like just the sort of adventure she needs to reboot her life…until she realises that Will is not the person she thought he was.

Charlotte Templeton is frustrated with the lack of respect FIFO workers have for her seaside resort. But picking a fight with their tyrannical project manager, Mark Crawford, seems to lead to more complications than resolutions. The man is too pompous, too rude, and too damned good looking.

As both women strive to protect their dreams and achieve their goals, they discover that secrets will come out, loyalty often hurts, and sometimes the perfect man is the wrong one.


Better Days to Come*Check Amazon to see if the following two are still free. I believe I downloaded these Wednesday, so no telling.* FREEBIES on Kindle this last week that caught my attention: Better Days to Come by Jenny Telfer Chaplin. Glasgow, 1820.

With her mother dead and her father a hopeless drunk, Etta Gorton slaves away every day in a factory to feed her younger siblings.

Forced to stand on her own two feet she has grown up fiercely independent.

So she finds it hard to fit in with a Scotland that sees women as subservient to men.

In a moment of anger she declares she will belong to ‘no man’. And this angry outburst leads to her being stalked and assaulted by one of the men she challenged.

Disgusted with her body and left with the growing shame of an unwanted pregnancy she is tempted to end it all by jumping into the River Clyde.

But as she gazes into the water she catches a glimpse of Better Days to Come…

Can Etta push past the limitations of her sex to create a new life for herself?

Or is she too far ahead of her time?


The Lost HeartsAnd this one: The Lost Hearts by Maya Wood. The year 1937 hasn’t been very kind to Alexis Scott. A bookish, Harvard anthropology student, she’s dodged mass scrutiny by hiding in the Boston Society of Natural History for the last seven years. Sure, she’s been lonely. But at least life in the margins is familiar, even comfortable. And what about Philip? Handsome, charming, obscenely rich, he’s the only man who’s ever accepted her eccentricities, even if she can’t quite figure him out. These are the convincing inflections of uncertainty as Alexis boards the Oceanic, a transatlantic ship that will take her to the remote island of New Guinea where she is to locate a lost tribe.

On the island, Alexis hires a guide to lead her through the nearly impenetrable jungle of New Guinea. Trevor McFadden isn’t exactly the ideal travel companion she needs on this expedition. He might be attractive in a nail-biting, visceral kind of way, but he’s short-tempered, coarse, and frequently cruel. So why does he get under her skin? Trevor pushes, and Alexis pushes back as they navigate the sodden terrain of the southern Highlands, replete with humorous cultural gaffes, first contact with insulated tribes, treacherous encounters with wildlife, and sinister characters.

As harrowing as it is poignant, The Lost Hearts is a tale of romance and perseverance in the face of self-doubt. It’s a story for anyone who’s ever been given the chance to live up to their wildest dreams.

On my wishlist is the following trilogy about three triplets, all pilots:

Born to Fly, Logan's Lady, and Loving Carlie by Becky Barker. I spotted these on Amazon.

Born To Fly (Prescott Pilots)Sharla Prescott is a pilot dedicated to her profession. She doesn't want any man telling her she has to curtail her career to be a wife and lover. When she meets Reed Connors, a man who appreciates her independent nature and has no desire to change her ways, things get very steamy very quickly. Neither of them is interested in a serious, long-term commitment. But when they face death together suddenly there are no more rules and nothing will ever be the same again...

Logan's Lady (Prescott Pilots, #2)Logan Bradford was everything Dee Prescott wanted in a man. He was a successful, independent rancher, a virile, sensitive lover and a true romantic. They shared a brief, passionate affair until Dee told him of her commitment to the family's air charter service. He walked away and left her emotionally wounded.

She didn't think she could ever forgive him, but then she learned his tragic secret. His actions suddenly made sense, and she realized he needed her more than she'd thought possible. Dee vowed to help him overcome his past and show him that with a love like theirs...the sky's the limit.

Loving Carlie Carlie is a pilot for her family's air charter service based on their Virginia plantation. She's wildly attracted to her ex-brother-in-law, but her painful teenage marriage with his brother left her wounded and wary.

Michael Trehearn loved Carlie long before he introduced her to his big brother. It tore him apart when they married and hurt him even more to learn of his brother's abusive behavior. Years later, he hires on with the Prescott's Air Charter service to win her back. First, he needs to convince her it's safe to love again, and that he can be trusted with her heart.

An Incurable Insanity Exotic Tour. Giveaway & Recipe!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours


“Huh? Yes please with just a pinch of sugar. Thanks!” He took the cup from her hands, careful not to touch her fingers. - An Incurable Insanity

A cup of this refreshing brew served piping hot, awakens the senses and drives the blues away.

Indian tea or Chai pronounced Ch-aay, is black tea prepared with milk, perhaps to disguise the bitterness of the tea and herbal additives (basil, cinnamon, liquorice,pepper, cloves, star anise) which are considered medicinal. Additives such as cardamom, ginger and mint add a pleasant flavor while also having considerable medicinal value as per traditional Indian medicine called Ayurveda.

Ginger: This aromatic, pungent and spicy root is has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects. It is used in Asian stir fry and many vegetable and fruit dishes. It is also used in making ginger tea.

Adrak wali chai (Ginger tea) 

“Madam here’s your adrak wali special chai!” he announced, presenting her with a steaming cup of the pungent ginger-flavored brew, his fingers deliberately brushing hers this time.- An Incurable Insanity.

Water – 1 cup
Fresh Ginger – 1 inch piece grated (depends on how much flavor you like)
Black (Orange Pekoe) Loose leaf Tea – 1 teaspoon
Sugar – to taste

Boil water with ginger in a pan. Let it boil until you get the perfect aroma of ginger. Add sugar and tea and bring to boil. Add milk, bring to boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 1-2 minutes. Strain the tea and serve hot.

Join the #Talk daily on Simi's Facebook 
as she walks us through the beautiful backdrop to her amazing book... 

An Incurable InsanityAn Incurable Insanity

by Simi K Rao

Paperback, eBook, 376 pages

Published October 8, 2013 by Tate Publishing

Her heart fluttered when she heard the sound of the key turn in the lock. She quickly adjusted her maroon silk sari with the yellow border, the one that had caught his eye, and waited eagerly for his footsteps.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven... Yes, exactly seven steps before he stopped, hesitated for a few moments, then removed his shoes one by one and arranged them neatly side by side on the shoe rack.

She smiled. He had been mindful of taking his shoes off every day now. "I am not used to it, but I will if you want me to. It's probably a good thing to do anyway."

As he settled down, he would pick up the TV remote and, without looking at her, would say in his smooth baritone, "So how did you spend your day, anything interesting?"

Shaan Ahuja found himself bowing to tradition and agreeing to an arranged marriage to the beautiful Ruhi Sharma. He went through the motions but had no intention of carrying through on his vows. His last foray into matters of the heart with an American girl had left him scarred and unwilling to try again. Thoroughly disillusioned and disgruntled he wasted no time in making his intentions clear to Ruhi on their wedding night. But, he was completely unprepared for what his new wife had in mind.

Simi K. Rao was born in India and has been living in the United States for several years. The inspiration for An Incurable Insanity came from what she has seen transpire among and within the immigrant community. Some of the experiences included are her own; some have been garnered from friends and casual conversations with acquaintances...Simi K. Rao
I am a physician–and to many I may appear serious and solitary. But once people get to know me better, they often think that I am frank, down to earth, with quite a quirky sense of humor. And that is what I bring to my writing—read and you shall see.

I was born in the dead center of India, but had the privilege of spending time both in the north and south. Therefore I have been able to sample and absorb to some extent the vastly diverse cultures and languages of both these regions (the very quality that imparts tremendous richness to our country’s heritage,) —a phenomenon perhaps not seen anywhere else in the world.

After immigrating to the United States in my early twenties and spending several years in this country, whenever I travel back to my homeland now, I find that I appreciate my roots a lot more. Still there is so much to see and learn, that a lifetime won’t suffice.


$100 Gift Card to Amazon

5 eCopies of An Incurable Insanity

October 18 - November 11, 2013. International giveaway. Must be able to download winnings. Must be 18 to enter. See Rafflecopter for additional restrictions.

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      10/20: Launch
      10/21: #Dawat-Recipe Intriguing Reviews

      10/22: #Desi-Indian Culture vvb32 reads
      10/22: #Vivaah-Marriage Ritual The Wonderings of One Person
      10/23: #Dawat-Recipe Deal Sharing Aunt
      10/24: #Vivaah-Marriage Ritual Giveaway Breaking News for Indonesia
      10/25: #Desi-Indian Culture Christy’s Cozy Corners
      10/26: #Dawat-Recipe Book Babe
      10/27: #Dawat-Recipe Brooke Blogs
      10/28: #Dawat-Recipe Living a Goddess Life
      10/29: #Desi-Indian Culture Sun Mountain Reviews
      10/30: #Vivaah-Marriage Ritual Mel’s Shelves
      10/31: #Desi-Indian Culture Shannon McDermott
      11/1 – 11/5: Grand Finale

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Starstruck in Seattle by Juliet Madison

Starstruck in SeattleThe problem with wowing your audience with an amazing book is your readers will expect that kind of writing and story from you all the time. Having loved Fast Forward and liked I Dream of Johnny, I was a tad disappointed with this one. I liked it, but not near as much.

As Ms. Madison has been dubbed the "Queen of RoMagic Comedy"...I expected to laugh out loud more than once. I did with Fast Foward, numerous times. I didn't find anything funny about this one though. It's cute, don't get me wrong; just doesn't have a big impact on me. It won't stay with me.

In a nutshell: a small-time actress has a huge crush on a big-time co-star, but he's a bit of a lady's man... Is her star-crush blinding her to other possibilities? An angel comes down to try to fix things by tugging on her ear and chewing her fingernails.

The angel business was cute. She even has an aPhone. (Angel phone).

I appreciated the theme/moral. It's good food for thought. Especially here:

" will know you are with your soulmate when you can simply be yourself. Your soulmate will bring the best out in you. They will enhance the beauty and uniqueness already there."

I don't normally have quibbles with novellas. Sometimes it's all I have time for. BUT I think the whole Angel thing could have been expanded some and it could have become funnier as a result.

I received this via Netgalley.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Strong is Sexy Heroine of the Week: Janel Canton

Book: A First Love Never Dies
Author: Margaret Taylor
Heroine: Janel Canton

 Janel Canton is Strong and Sexy for several reasons. First and foremost is her ability to survive on wits alone. All through High School, Janel was bullied mercilessly by her peers. She was taunted and beaten at every turn but managed to survive with her wits intact and joined the Government right after graduation. As an analyst her first assignment was to correlate and catalogue the number of women disappearing in the U.S. She discovered a pattern but was too good at her job and ended up being kidnapped from Earth and sold in the Flesh Markets of the Jaikalor Consortium.

She escaped and again survived the transition from owned property to free woman on her wits alone. Since then, she’s worked her way up to command a Long Hauler for the group known as Spi-Corp and along with some of her fellow Captains has created a Space Railroad of sorts that ferries rescued Human women wherever they wish to go in the Great and Grand Universe.

Janel Canton must be pregnant by the time Fleet Commander Pearson Acto catches up to her again and only one man will do for that. Her one true love, sexy Montana Sheriff Jake Reeves. But returning to Earth she finds he's still mourning his dead wife and has become very comfortable in the small-town life. Will introducing him to reality of the Universe be enough for him to move on to a new life?

Sheriff Jake Reeves never thought the nerdy girl he and his cronies picked on in High School would someday become a star ship captain capable of holding her own in just about any situation. But when he meets up with Janel again at their 20 year reunion, that's exactly what he finds! Gone is the nerdy little mouse that never fought back. In it's place, is a rough and tumble, no holds barred, drop-dead gorgeous woman who he's going to have one hell of a time not falling in love with...

They entered one of the far holds and she managed to shock him yet again. It looked like any of the other cargo areas he’d seen so far, but she walked over and pressed a hidden button. The farthest wall melted, fizzling away right in front of his eyes. Behind it was a group of women, four in all, seated around a table. They looked up, eyes going wide with fear until Janel spoke. “Easy girls, this is the man I was telling you about.”

They visibly relaxed and a tall, lanky blonde offered him a tentative smile. “Hi.”

She was beautiful, by any standards, and he could certainly see why the Consortium would have wanted her. At least 5’10”, the woman had high cheekbones, soft, porcelain white youthful skin and bright green eyes. 

He looked over the rest of the group. Two of the others were brunettes, tall like the first and the fourth was a creamy skinned African American. Janel took the initiative and made the introductions.

“Jake, this is Terry, Jenna, Sally and Alexia,” she said, indicating each in turn.

Terry was the blonde, Jenna and Sally the brunettes, leaving the African American, Alexia. The four women gave him tentative waves and he turned to Janel. “Where did they come from?”

She smiled, moving into the newly revealed room. She began picking up scattered bits of clothing from the floor. “They boarded in Penom,” she said, bundling the tattered remains under one arm as she went. “My sister ship, the Urmish rescued them from a caravan near the Tenturan system. They couldn’t make Alcantian space for any plausible reason, so,” she let the indication hang in the air. She stepped back to the side wall. “You girls get some rest. You’ll be safe soon.”

Now, everything made sense. Why she hadn’t been able to stay on Earth, why she’d been forced to bring him along, beyond just the healing of his shoulder!

“You had to meet them, didn’t you?”

She smiled and nodded slowly. “Yes. The Urmish had to continue on and the only time we could meet in Penom without raising any eyebrows, was when we did.”

She pressed the button on the wall and the holograph reappeared. Janel wrapped the bundle tighter under her arm and headed out of the hold. “I wanted you to see them Jake because I have a favor to ask.”

He stopped, turning her to face him as he spoke. “You want me to see the safely to Earth right?”

She chuckled, shaking her head. “No, the Alcantian’s will do that. What I want from you is to help them once you get home to find their families and re-acclimate to Earth.”

“But can’t you just wipe their memories? Like you would have done to me?”

She shook her head. “No, that’s not the way we typically do things. I want them to remember, they need to remember. They’ve had enough alterations done already. Help them, when you get back, come up with plausible explanations for their disappearances. Give them back the lives that were taken if you can. If you can’t, help them to build new ones.”

With that said, she turned and walked away, leaving him standing there. He didn’t follow. He needed a moment to assimilate it all.

Janel was turning out to be an entirely different person than he’d originally thought. Despite her words of a couple of days ago, she wasn’t bitter in the slightest about her youth. No, she was a much stronger, much better person than he’d given her credit for. She was risking her life, and from the sounds of it, her very soul to help women like the ones he’d just seen. Maybe not with every cargo run she made, but certainly when it counted the most.

He wondered if he’d have had the strength to survive what she had. Would he have been able to cope? Been able to deal with having his mind fucked with, having his entire life erased? He’d had a good, happy one – at least until Stella’s death – and the thought of losing those memories, losing those happy times made him shudder.

Janel’s early years hadn’t been so pleasant. No thanks to him, mind you, but still, she had wanted it back; had fought so hard against the alterations to her personality that it had only taken his face to break through it.
His face…

Wow…that was a big chunk of humility to swallow! She’d said it was only a close resemblance, but still, it was a pill that thumped its way down his throat instead of sliding smoothly.

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