Why I Make My Men Wear Rubbers

With the recent release of my contemporary romance, A Facebook Affair, I had a blogger express some surprise at the fact that each time my Hero and Heroine do the horizontal mambo, the man wears a condom. I guess this is still not a common thing in contemporary romance novels. I know that I have read some books that just shocked me by the lack of condom usage. I mean, books in which lady smoke jumpers diddle rookies, condom free…I couldn't help but shake my head while I read that, all the time mumbling, "Girl, if you get preggers, you won't be jumping out of any planes. You'll only be taking tiny hops to the OB Gyn…"

And one time, I read a book in which this chick discovered she liked sex! Who doesn't? But this chick liked sex with strangers. Well, okay. But she just sat down in the airplane bathroom mid-flight, took all of her clothes off, and waited for whoever walked in there. And no condoms? EW!!

Now, my Hero, Brandon and my Heroine, Kelly love each other. They correspond online, rekindle their childhood crushes on each other, and when Brandon finally hops a plane across the States to see her, of course, the attraction is too much to resist, and they "do it." But they use condoms. Why? What kind of example am I setting for those young fresh out of high school, still malleable twenty-something-year-olds if I don't have characters practicing safe sex? With all the disease out there…

Some say, "Oh I just read for fun. I don't want the sex interrupted by them putting on condoms." Then write it subtlety. He can turn his back for a moment, complying with her wishes. The heroine could put it on him in some creative way. OR your characters can even make a joke about it. Kelly and Brandon do…the second time around.

So, that's why my men wear rubbers. How do you feel about the whole deal?

Find the author online: blog | facebook



When Kelly Littleton takes the plunge and finally joins Facebook to socialize without the limits that her hearing impairment gives her. On a whim, she looks up a childhood friend. In sending him that first message, she ignites the memories of a crush from twenty years ago. But will they turn into the flames of romance, or end up the ashes of a Facebook affair?

Brandon Hopkins has a lot on his plate. A recent divorce, a pregnant sister, and now, he realizes he's in love with a woman who lives states away. Can he overcome the boundaries of internet romance to make this desire turn into something real, or will adversity and distance be their undoing?

A Facebook Affair was release by Breathless Press December 9th, 2011.


Thanks to Tara Chevrestt, one lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of A Facebook Affair!! Giveaway open Internationally. Answer Tara’s question in the comments and fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter. Giveaway ends February 14th, 2012. Please read Terms & Conditions at the bottom of the Rafflecopter form before entering. Good luck to all who enter!

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On My Wishlist (102)

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. If you want to know more click here.

bookShatter Me (Shatter Me, #1) by Tahereh Mafi (Amazon)
Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

bookSecond Chances by Lauren Dane (Amazon)
Ten years ago, Rori Simon left town shy, unattractive and with zero self-esteem. Now she’s back, older, stronger and finally loving herself—and it shows. Hot men are soon knocking at her door, including Jude Callahan, the bad boy who starred in her teenage daydreams…and her adult fantasies.

Jude can’t believe the sexy, confident woman before him is actually Rori! She’s gotten under his skin like no other woman has…and brings out secret desires he can’t resist. He wants to dominate Rori with every fiber of his being. Wants to own her and pleasure her. To cherish her as he makes her his.

Rori discovers she likes being controlled. She also knows Jude is not a one-woman man. Everything changes when she meets Zach Helm. Edgy, sensual Zach knows just what she needs, and before long, she’s in love. Jude watches them together and wonders if he’s lost his chance forever…

bookShaken by Dee Tenorio (Amazon)
Thirteen stories up. Two broken hearts. One last chance…

Surgeon Grant Sullivan’s once-perfect life lies in ruins. His daughter is gone—lost in a tragic accident he dare not allow himself to remember—and his beautiful wife now stares at him from across a legal table, insisting she wants nothing from him.

Julia Sullivan lost everything, especially her illusions about her marriage, after the accident. Her grief only seemed to drive Grant further into his emotional shell—except for the nights he turned to her in silent, furious passion. Unable to live like a ghost in her old life, she’s packed up what’s left of her broken heart and is ready to move on. Alone.

Determined to break their stalemate, Grant follows Julia onto the elevator just in time for an earthquake. Trapped for hours in a building pressure cooker of unspoken pain, he’ll do anything to remind her what she’s leaving behind, as deliciously as he can. But giving her what she needs to save their marriage is the one thing that could destroy his soul.

Warning: Heartbreak and passion ahead—desperate doctor determined to save his marriage at any cost…except for the one secret his wife will do anything to uncover.

What’s on your wishlist?

Kindle Books: Buy Now, Gift Later

An interesting question came to mind today; Can I buy a Kindle book now and gift it later? Let me explain. I’m currently reading a book I requested from NetGalley. So obviously the book was free to me. But the authors of this book (it’s an anthology) are so awesome that they are donating ALL OF THE PROCEEDS to a worthy cause. So I want to do my part by purchasing the book and give it away. You know, spread the cheer and all that.

GIVEAWAY: Beyond and Serenity by T.P. Boje


T. P. Boje is a mother of two, a stepmother of another two and a hardcore cartoon lover, Tim Burton enthusiast, and enjoys any movie the Coen Brothers have made (with the big Lebowski being her favorite strongly followed by Burn after Reading). She is also a writer of Y/A Paranormal Romance, fantasy and mystery. She is originally from Denmark but currently living in Florida, USA. Her books are translated into several languages.

To learn more follow her on Twitter, visit her fan site on Facebook or check out her web-page:



Have you ever wondered where you go when you die?

Meghan is 16 when it happens to her. She wakes up on a flying steamboat on her way to a school run by Angels in a white marble castle. She meets Mick who helps her through a difficult time in a different world filled with heavenly magic. One day she finds a mirror in the cellar of the school and goes through it. She ends up back on earth where she meets Jason. But Jason is in danger and Meghan knows something important.

Soon she will have to choose between the two worlds.

The one she belongs to now, and the one she left.

Beyond is a Y/A paranormal romance and the first book in T. P. Boje’s Afterlife-series.



It is Meghan’s second year at The Academy. While trying to help and care for Jason on earth she is struggling to keep up in school, where they this year will learn both to ride Pegasus’ and fly through severe storms. Meanwhile Mick is becoming more than a friend to her and soon she finds herself facing the unavoidable choice.

But something evil is threatening the students at the Academy and Meghan is no longer safe within the walls of the castle. Something causes several of the students to be caught in the middle of a nightmare, that they can’t wake up from.

Soon they suspect that there might be a traitor in their midst.

Serenity is a Y/A paranormal romance. It is the second book in the Afterlife-series.



Meghan’s training at the Academy is coming to an end. Everything is going great for her as she comes closer to the graduation. She is engaged to be married and the wedding is very near when she hears some disturbing news that makes her rethink all of her coming life.

In class they are taught to catch dreams and fly with the speed of light. Meghan soon discovers that she has a lot of special talents and that she is much stronger than she thought. But unfortunately that doesn’t help her as she faces the truth about her own death which will be revealed to her at the end of the year.

Endurance is the third book in T. P. Boje’s Afterlife-series about a young girl’s life after death.


Thanks to T.P. Boje, one lucky winner will receive ebook copies of Beyond and Serenity and one lucky winner will receive print copies of Beyond and Serenity!! Giveaway open Internationally. Fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter. Giveaway ends February 9th, 2012. Please read Terms & Conditions at the bottom of the Rafflecopter form before entering. Good luck to all who enter!

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REVIEW: In Close by Brenda Novak

bookTitle: In Close (Amazon)
Bulletproof, #3
Brenda Novak 
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: NetGalley
Published: October 2011 by Mira

Claire O'Toole's mother, Alana, went missing fifteen years ago. That was big news in Pineview, Montana, the kind of town where nothing much ever happens. Then, last year, Claire's husband, David, died in a freak accident—after launching his own investigation into Alana's disappearance.

Is Alana dead? Or did she simply abandon her husband and daughters? Claire is determined to find out—and her former boyfriend, Isaac Morgan, wants to help. Although their relationship didn't end well, he still has feelings for her. And yet it isn't until he starts to suspect David's death wasn't an accident that he's drawn back into her life.

Together, Claire and Isaac search for answers to the questions that have haunted Pineview all this time. But as they soon discover, someone's prepared to kill so those answers won't be found….

Why I Read this Book: Inside (my review) and In Seconds (my review) were such good suspenseful reads that I just had to read In Close.

What I Liked: I had a feeling to as whom the villain was but the why was not at all what I was expecting. There are a lot of factors that come into play. A lot of secrets unfold. I wasn’t sure where the author was going with the mystery but once everything was solved I had an oooooh moment.

What I Didn’t Like: You know that game one of these things is not like the others? That’s how I felt about this book being part of the Bulletproof series. The first two books in the series shared a connection. In Close didn’t. The only connection this book had was Laurel’s character (the main character in the second book) but she only played a very small role in this book. Other than that, In Close had nothing to do with the first two books. That being said, this book could definitely be read as a stand alone. (And I feel that the series should have ended with the second book.)

I was really disappointed that Rex (a character from the first two books) didn’t get his own HEA. Hell, he wasn’t even mentioned in In Close. Not once! So there’s a piece of me that doesn’t feel closure, even though this book is the final book in this series.

There were some things that didn’t make sense to me. Claire’s stepfather moves on and remarries 6 months after Alana’s (Claire’s mother) disappearance. Six months! That just looks bad on the stepfather’s part. Fingers start pointing in his direction because of how quickly he moved on. Speaking of moving on, Claire herself moves on pretty fast as well. A year after her husband’s death and she’s dancing in the sheets with Isaac. It’s actually a little more complicated than that – Claire and Isaac have a history together - but their relationship (Claire’s and Isaac’s) left me wondering. Was Claire ever really over Isaac? Did she really love David enough to marry him? Was there any regret? Thus, I had a hard time rooting for Claire and Isaac. 

Overall Impression: Unfortunately, In Close didn’t live up to its predecessors for me. Whereas the first and second book in this series kept me on the edge of my seat, In Close was more of a mystery than a suspenseful thrill ride. In Close had more of a creep factor going on. This book makes the 4th novel I’ve read by Brenda Novak so far; two were hits and two were misses. I’m not yet ready to give up on this author but I will be a little more selective when it comes to picking up another one of her novels to read.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

2 Frogs

Author Guest Post & Giveaway: Aida Brassington

Today, I have author Aida Brassington here with us talking about how she ends a book.

Welcome Aida!

REVIEW: If You See Her by Shiloh Walker

bookTitle: If You See Her (Amazon)
The Ash Trilogy, #2
Shiloh Walker 
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: review copy from author
Published: January 31, 2012 by Ballantine Books


Hope Carson may not look like a survivor, but she has escaped an abusive ex-husband and recovered from a vicious assault. Now she endures the painful memories and suspicious rumors surrounding her involvement in the attack. Her ex is a cop, so the last people she trusts are law enforcement officials—and she certainly doesn’t trust how the local DA makes her feel inside.

Remy Jennings should know better. He has no business falling for a woman who he suspects may have a deeply troubled mind. And even if he did make a move, she’d bolt like a frightened rabbit. But how can he deny a burning desire that threatens to consume him? As Hope’s past catches up with her in the worst way, Remy is determined to break through her defenses, earn her trust, and keep her safe in his arms—before it’s too late.

Why I Read this Book: I needed to know if my suspicions as to whom the killer is were right.

What I Liked: Ever since reading If You Hear Her (my review), I had a theory on who the killer is. And I was so convinced that I had it figured out. Until page 300-something (I’m not going to give you an exact page because you’ll either jump straight to the page or it’ll preoccupy your mind when you should be paying attention to the story), I knew it was [insert character who I thought was the killer]. But then [insert event that happens that squashes my theory] occurs. The choices for the killer are somewhat limited; there’s one detail regarding the killer that’s given away in the first book (no, I’m not going to say what that detail is but it’s an important one) and most characters don’t fit the profile because of that small detail. In fact, I do not even know who fit’s the killer’s profile now. *scratches head*

I love how Remy challenged Hope, in more ways than one. Remy would ask Hope how she was feeling and she would reply I’m fine or I’m okay and he’d rebut her by calling her out as a liar. It made me chuckle but I’m glad he didn’t let her get away from addressing her feelings. I think an important thing with someone who’s as broken as Hope is to get them to express their feelings instead of keeping it all bottled up inside. And Remy did a fine job at coaxing it out of her.

I had the notion that the author was so wickedly forthcoming with some details (like internal dialogue). A new detail came to light regarding the person I *thought* was the killer and yet, I was still in denial. I was ready to go back and skim through the entire book to prove to myself that my theory could still hold weight. But I decided to keep reading and another new detail came to light and completely derailed my suspicions. I now have absolutely NO IDEA who the killer is. And I like it! Otherwise it would have felt too predictable. And if’s there’s one thing If You See Her is NOT, it’s predictable.

What I Didn’t Like: There was a time or two when Remy just needed to be a little more cautious with his physical movements around Hope. He knew better.

There were a few times when the descriptive narration felt repetitious. I’d read a sentence and think I just read that.

Overall Impression: By the end of If You See Her, my theory on who the killer is was completely debunked. I am now stumped and thoroughly confused. I have been completely and utterly invested in figuring out who the killer is and I can’t wait to read If You Know Her.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

4 Frogs


Tour Schedule:

1/23 - The Book Vixen
1/24 - Urban Girl Reader
1/25 - Lynette's Two Cents
1/26 - Under the Covers
1/27 - I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read!

On My Wishlist (101)

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. If you want to know more click here.

bookOne Moment by Kristina McBride (Amazon)
This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it's the one she'd do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below – dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

The latest novel from the author of The Tension of Opposites, One Moment is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you.

bookFirst Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) by Darynda Jones (Amazon)
Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

bookShaedes of Gray (Shaede Assassin, #1) by Amanda Bonilla (Amazon)
In the shadows of the night, Darian has lived alone for almost a century. Made and abandoned by her former love, Darian is the last of her kind—an immortal Shaede who can slip into darkness as easily as breathing. With no one else to rely on, she has taught herself how to survive, using her unique skills to become a deadly assassin.

When Darian's next mark turns out to be Xander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation, her whole worldview is thrown into question. Darian begins to wonder if she's taken on more than her conscience will allow. But a good assassin never leaves a job unfinished...

What’s on your wishlist?

REVIEW: Bring Me Home for Christmas by Robyn Carr

bookTitle: Bring Me Home for Christmas (Amazon)
Virgin River, #16
Robyn Carr
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: review copy
Published: October 2011 by Mira

This year, Becca Timm knows the number one item on her Christmas wish list—getting over Denny Cutler. Three years ago, Denny broke her heart before heading off to war. It's time she got over her silly high-school relationship and moved on.

So she takes matters into her own hands and heads up to Virgin River, the rugged little mountain town that Denny calls home, as an uninvited guest on her brother's men-only hunting weekend. But when an accident turns her impromptu visit into an extended stay, Becca finds herself stranded in Virgin River. With Denny. In very close quarters.

As the power of Christmas envelops the little town, Becca discovers that the boy she once loved has become a strong and confident man. And the most delicious Christmas present she can imagine.

Why I Read this Book: I had not read a single book in the Virgin River series nor had I read anything else by this author. But when I came across Bring Me Home for Christmas, I was in the mood for a light contemporary romance and I couldn’t pass this one up.

What I Liked: Becca’s on the verge of getting engaged but there’s a speck of doubt floating around in the back of her mind. She can’t stop thinking about her ex so she decides to see him to find out if she’s ready to completely move on. She wants to marry someone because she is absolutely, unequivocally in love with him, not because he looks good on paper.

Virgin River seems to be the place where people come to escape but ending up staying and setting up house. The people of Virgin River are like an extended family; everyone looks out for each other. It feels like a nice and welcoming place.

It was refreshing to have a female character brought in to the story and befriend Becca instead of her being Becca’s competition. No crazy drama in Bring Me Home for Christmas.

What I Didn’t Like: Some aspects of the story were predictable. I pretty much knew who Becca was going to end up with but I was interested to find out the how.

I don’t like to mix children with my romance novels. I’ve got 3 kids of my own so it’s not much of an escape if there are kids in the books I read.

Memorable Moment:

“The safest place for a family is under the umbrella of a happy marriage.”

Love this quote. It gave me the warm and fuzzies.

Overall Impression: Bring Me Home for Christmas was a lovely story and can definitely be read as a stand alone. I fell in love with not only the hero and heroine but the people of Virgin River as well. I will be checking out the rest of this series. If you’re one of those Lifetime/Hallmark movie channel junkies (like I am) you’ll enjoy reading this book. It’s one of those feel good stories.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

3 Frogs 

Kiss of Death Blog Tour: Romantic Suspense Rocks



Why I Like Romantic Suspense
By Rebecca York

I think we tend to read what our parents read.  My mom was deep into mystery, thrillers, science fiction and fantasy, and I happily followed her lead.  I loved those genres. In fact I didn’t even know there was a genre called “romance” until a friend asked me if I wanted to try and write one with her.  When I said I’d never read a romance, she brought me shopping bags full of them. What I discovered were books where the man/woman sub-plots I loved in the books I’d been reading turned into the whole story, which focused on a developing romantic relationship. We did write and sell several romances.  But after my initial excitement in discovering the genre, I started slipping in the danger, suspense, and paranormal elements I’d loved as a kid.  And gradually I morphed into a writer of “romantic suspense,” the perfect genre for me, where a man and a woman fall in love against a dark and dangerous background.  I love researching the action sequences in my stories.  I love plotting books where the hero and heroine are on a knife edge of tension as they battle to save their lives. But their love for each other grows and develops throughout the story, and their reward for defeating the bad guys is always a happily ever after. 

And one of the satisfactions of my career is that after I started giving Mom my books, I turned her into a die-hard romantic suspense reader.


Rebecca has written more than 100 books, and she has authored or co-authored more than 60 romantic suspense novels. She is a New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling and award-winning author.

She is one of the many talented authors who belong to the Romance Writers of America’s Kiss of Death chapter. At Kiss of Death we believe that every great romance should include suspense. Whether a spy thriller in Regency times, a paranormal romance with a revenge-seeking zombie, or a traditional serial killer after the heroine, romance relies on suspense, leading the reader through the trials of the heroine and hero to see if they will get their happily ever after ending. If you can call your writing suspenseful, then the Kiss of Death has something for you! Find out more and join at and follow us on Twitter at @RWAKissofDeath.

Find out more about Rebecca York at her website



Brady Lockwood had no choice but to rescue the woman who'd witnessed his brother's murder. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Grace Cunningham had become a target, and only he could keep her alive. But Brady was convinced she knew more than she was telling.

More than what she'd seen, Grace was haunted by what she kept secret. Things she couldn't tell anyone, especially Brady. Things that went beyond his brother's murder. Her brooding bodyguard had given her not only protection but passion and pleasure. And now Grace feared losing Brady to the killers at their heels--and to a secret that could rip him away.


Thanks to Rebecca York, one lucky winner will receive a print copy of Guarding Grace!! Please read Terms & Conditions at the bottom of the Rafflecopter form before entering. Good luck to all who enter!

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REVIEW: The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton

bookTitle: The Heart of a Killer (Amazon)
The Killer, #1
Jaci Burton
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: NetGalley
Published: October 18, 2011 by Mira

Before the Special Forces hero has even unpacked his bags from twelve years of active duty, he's embroiled in murder—corpses bearing the brutal trademark he's seen only once before—on the worst night of his life.

The last time Detective Anna Pallino saw Dante Renaldi, they were in love. Now, he's part of the connection to a string of fresh homicides and a horrible assault Anna only survived thanks to him.

More than anything, Anna wants to trust Dante. But as the bodies and the coincidences stack up, Anna will have to decide, and fast: Is the man she owes her life to the very same one who wants her dead?

Why I Read this Book: I’ve been wanting to read a book by this author for some time now. Her name is all over the book blogging community thanks to her infamous Play by Play series and I wanted in on the action. When I saw that she had a new romantic suspense novel, I jumped all over that!

What I Liked: The Heart of a Killer starts off with an intense prologue that had quite a numbing effect. It gives you the background story upfront. As a reader, you experience everything that sets the foundation for the rest of the story.

Things are not as they seem in The Heart of a Killer. I had a suspicion as to whom the killer was at about 46% of the way into the book. That is not to say that this book was overly predictable, because it wasn’t. I just had an inkling (which proved to be correct) but I didn’t know, or I should say understand, the motive at that point. I second guessed myself numerous times as I continued reading because I just didn’t see reasonable cause to support my assumption at that point.

There is a bit of romance in The Heart of a Killer (including a few steamy love scenes), however the mystery/suspense element was more at the forefront in this story.

The author wasn’t afraid to bring the reader to tears by killing off a character they’d grown to like. Jaci Burton made me cry!!

What I Didn’t Like: What happened to Dante during those 12 years he was away from his hometown? The reader isn’t given much to go on (just that he was in the Special Forces), which made it difficult for me to understand how he has so many convenient resources and credentials. I didn’t get a complete sense of who he is, the man that is Dante. I kept waiting for a glimpse into his past – memories or flashbacks – but unfortunately that didn’t happen.

Overall Impression: Thank goodness The Heart of a Killer is just the beginning of a series. I don’t know when the next book will come out but I sure do hope it’s Gabe’s story. That man has secrets and I want to know all about them. I have my own theories about his ‘profession’ and can’t wait to see if I’m right. I’m eager to read more from this author. Perhaps I shall read her Play by Play series to tide me over - you know, the series with the hot males bodies on the cover.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

4 Frogs

Giveaway: Amaranth by Rachael Wade


Knowledge changes everything…

Hoodoo-influenced Southern Louisiana seems like the perfect place for Camille to escape her abusive past and dysfunctional family. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with the handsome Gavin Devereaux and plummet into the world of Amaranth, a place of exile for reformed vampires.

Wrestling to escape a deadly ex-boyfriend while giving Gavin a chance, Camille is confronted with decisions that threaten not only her life, but the lives of her inhuman friends she has come to love. Entangled in her friends’ quest for freedom, she dives into their realm and faces the threats of Amaranth’s ruler—the mother of all vampires—and her own inner demons.

Now Camille must decide whether she will derail her life and make the ultimate sacrifice for the monsters that interrupted her bumpy path back to sanity—what she still wants so desperately—or escape with Gavin before it’s too late for both of them.

Buy links: Amazon


Residing in Orlando, Florida, Rachael Wade is the author of Amaranth, the first installment of the epic fantasy romance series, The Resistance Trilogy. She is a member of the FF&P (Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal) Special Interest Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and her work has been published in The Storyteller magazine and A Hudson View  International Poetry Digest. When she’s not writing, she’s busy learning French, watching too many movies, and learning how to help end animal cruelty.

Find the author online: website | twitter | facebook


Thanks to Rachael Wade, two lucky winners will receive an eBook copy of Amaranth!!

Good luck to all who enter!

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REVIEW: Hot Zone by Catherine Mann

bookTitle: Hot Zone (Amazon)
Elite Force, #2
Catherine Mann

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: NetGalley
Published: December 1, 2011 by Sourcebooks Casablanca

Master sergeant Hugh Franco lives only to save others, until he plucks beautiful attorney Amelia Bailey from the wreckage of an earthquake and finds himself embroiled in ways he never expected. On the run from kidnappers, Hugh must call on all his training to protect them. But Amelia's fiery touch threatens to crack his world—and his heart—wide open.

Why I Read this Book: After reading the first chapter of Hot Zone at the end of Cover Me (my review), I knew I had to read this book. That first chapter is so intense! 

What I Liked: The book started off with a bang. I was thrown in under the rubble right along side Amelia and Hugh. It was refreshing to have a calm, albeit shocked, heroine. She didn’t go insanely crazy during the disaster. She was as under control and level-headed as possible, considering the situation and circumstances.

Hugh’s past broke my heart and made me cry. Because of the great loss he suffered, he throws himself into danger’s arms during every rescue mission. He literally lives by the mantra “That others may live”.

Not only is there the main love interest between Hugh and Amelia going on but there’s a budding romance between Hugh’s boss, Liam, and another rescuer, Rachel. I really enjoyed their funny and flirtatious banter.

What I Didn’t Like: There were some inconsistencies in a couple of scenes. One was where:

Amelia slumped down with her back against a tree, drawing in shaky breaths one after the other. She hugged her knees to her chest.


She turned toward him, burying her face in his chest.

Wait a minute, she was just hugging her knees – when did she stand up to bury her face in Hugh’s chest?

This may seem like a minute detail but it put a kink in my reading momentum. When I read, I’m visualizing what’s going on in my head - like a movie playing. (Who doesn’t, right?) When an inconsistency occurs such as this, it stops me in my tracks and I’ve got to backtrack. I read and re-read this part a few times trying to figure out how it went from her being on the ground to being in his arms.

Here’s another inconsistency – When Liam and Rachel are searching for Hugh, they let Disco (Rachel’s search dog) sniff a shirt recently worn by Hugh so as to pick up Hugh’s sent. Rachel commanded Disco to “go find” Hugh and then she announced that “he’s locked in on the scent”. The book shifts to a different story arc. Then 35 pages later we return to Liam and Rachel, only now they’re at a collapsed apartment complex searching for survivors. What happened about searching for Hugh? When we return to Liam and Rachel they’re somewhere completely differently than where they last left off. That kink in the continuity of their story line threw me off.

Memorable Moments: Hugh does the “Vulcan nerve pinch” on a villain. I seriously had no idea what this is; I had to Google it. A fun Twitter conversation ensued after.

“Believe it or not, [condoms] are part of the gear in a survival vest – the most efficient way to carry water.”

You learn something new everyday folks!

Survival was paramount right now, right along with making sure [Amelia] didn’t fall on her face.

Keeping it real! LOL (That’s totally me right there – making sure not to fall flat on my face in the utmost important of times).

Overall Impression: Hot Zone is about finding love when all in the world seems bleak. The limelight was stolen away from the hero and heroine from time to time because of too many story arcs going on in the same book. But the author carried an intensity that never floundered. It pleases me to know that the next book in the Elite Force series, Under Fire, will be Liam and Rachel’s story.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

3 Frogs

On My Wishlist (100)

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. If you want to know more click here.

bookMy Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (Amazon)
"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen year old Samantha wishes she was one of them… until the day Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything.

Jase can sense that his beautiful neighbor is missing something in her sterile home, and as the two fall fiercely in love, his family makes her one of their own.

But when the bottom drops out of Sam's world, which perfect family will save her–and will her perfect love survive?

Set among the haves and have-nots of a coastal New England town, My LIFE NEXT DOOR captures the angst, the heartache, and the raw-nerve emotions of first time love—and biting loss.

bookBecause of You (Coming Home, #1) by Jessica Scott (Amazon)
Keeping his men alive is all that matters to Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison. But meeting Jen St. James the night before his latest deployment makes Shane wonder if there’s more to life than war. He leaves for Iraq remembering a single kiss with a woman he’ll never see again—until a near fatal attack lands him back at home and in her care.

Jen has survived her own brush with death and endured its scars. And yet there’s a fire in Shane that makes Jen forget all about her past. He may be her patient, but when this warrior looks her in the eyes, she feels—for the first time in a long time—like a woman. Shane is too proud to ask for help, but for Jen, caring for him is more than a duty—it’s a need. And as Jen guides Shane through the fires of healing, she finds something she never expected—her deepest desire.

bookOnce (Eve, #2) by Anna Carey (Amazon)
Sixteen years have passed since a deadly virus wiped out most of the Earth’s population. After learning of the terrifying part she and her classmates were fated to play in the rebuilding of New America, eighteen-year-old Eve fled to the wilds and Califia, a haven for women determined to live outside the oppressive rule of the king of New America. However, her freedom came at a price: she was forced to leave Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. Eve quickly learns that Califia may not be as safe as it seems and soon finds herself in the City of Sand and the palace of the king. There she uncovers the real reason he was so intent on her capture, and the unbelievable role he intends her to fill. When she is finally reunited with Caleb, they will enact a plan as daring as it is dangerous. But will Eve once again risk everything—her freedom, her life—for love?

Brimming with danger and star-crossed romance, and featuring a vivid dystopian landscape, this electrifying follow-up to Eve, which bestselling author Lauren Kate called “a gripping, unforgettable adventure—and a fresh look at what it means to love” is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes adventure of The Hunger Games and the irresistible love story of Romeo and Juliet.

What’s on your wishlist?

Author Guest Post & Giveaway: Jaye Frances

Today, I have author Jaye Frances here with us talking about her book The Kure.

Welcome Jaye!

Blog Tour: The Guys' Guy's Guide to Love by Robert Manni

Today, I have author Robert Manni here with us with his list on How to Jumpstart Your Dating Life in 2012.

Welcome Robert!

GUEST REVIEW: Ruthless by Sara Shepard

bookTitle: Ruthless
Series: Pretty Little Liars, #10
Author: Sara Shepard
Genre: Young Adult
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: December 2011 by HarperTeen

For years scandal has rocked Rosewood, Pennsylvania—and high school seniors Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer have always been at the center of the drama. They’ve lost friends, been targeted by a ruthless stalker named A, and narrowly escaped death. And it’s not over yet.

Aria’s love life is on the fritz. Emily’s exploring her wild side. Hanna’s kissing the enemy. And someone from Spencer’s past—someone she never thought she’d see again—is back to haunt her.

But none of that compares to what happened last spring break. It’s their darkest secret yet and guess who found out? Now A is determined to make them pay for their crime, and the only thing scarier than A is the fear that maybe, just maybe, they deserve what’s coming to them.

Reviewed by Terra:

First of all I am so glad to be here at The Book Vixen.  I've been following this blog for some time now, and it is a privilege to be here doing a guest review! So thank you!

I must say, this is one of the best PPL books I've read.  When I first started the books, I was a little weary because I thought they were a little too childish for me.  Since reading all of them they have become my guilty pleasure reads.  Like chocolate for me.  I love the way Sara writes, how she describes every detail.  She brings you into the story and makes you feel like you are there, trying to solve the mystery of A with the rest of the Rosewood girls.

With what happened last Spring Break in Jamaica with the fab 4; Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily, they thought their troubles were over and left in a different country.  Out of sight out of mind right? WRONG!  Since their return to Rosewood things have gotten worse and the girls have gone on a downward spiral.  Emily has a little surprise of her own, Spencer tries anything to get into Princeton which does a number on her mental state and friendship.  Aria deals with the blackmail of the new exchange student and losing her boyfriend.  She also has to deal with the return of Ezra.  Hanna gets stuck in the middle of something terrible trying to help out Spencer as well as another heartbreak while helping her dad with his election.

*Sigh* So much drama and so little time! Tailing the major problems with the girls, up pops another A! That's right! But you already knew that. This time A hits below the belt and she knows things that no one should know about like the incident in Jamaica.  The 4 girls were there with themselves, Noel and Mike.  That's it! Along the way they did meet a girl named Tabitha but what happened there was supposed to be secret.  With Tabitha supposedly dead, the girls are racking their brains on who could possibly be sending them the anonymous texts.  Unless...Tabitha never really died that day Aria pushed her off the cliff.

In comes a new friend, Kelsey.  Spencer has every right to keep her distance from Kelsey since she is the reason that Kelsey was locked up in Juvie.  Keeping her secret, as all the girls have with their time apart.  But when Kelsey gets out and ends up meeting Em at a party with her older sister Beth, she brings out the "bad" side of Emily.  Emily had a much needed release at the party after her big "secret" and became friends with Kelsey.  Spencer learns about their new friendship and tell Em that she is bad news, and ends up telling her that she had Hanna help her with getting Kelsey put away.  Well wouldn't ya know it, the fab 4 gals from Rosewood are getting more and more violent texts from A and whenever they see Kelsey it's right when they happen to get a text.  Let's pin it on her right?  One thing, when they get the texts, they all hear a faint giggle and see the flash of blonde hair and that yellow sundress.  The yellow sundress they last saw in Jamaica.

The story kept me guessing, is it Kelsey, is Tabitha back, is it Noel or Mike?  Who the heck is A?! Right when you think you know for sure, you never do.  Towards the end of the story the girls find themselves back at the looney bin where the REAL Ali was, and where Hanna had bet who she thought was A, Iris. Quite a bit of twists and turns, and I don't want to ruin the whole story for you, but like I said, it was one of the best for me.  I love the books that make me comment out loud while I am reading.  I can't tell you how many times I said "Ohhhhhhhh snap!" or "Ohhhhhhhmygosh!"  This 10th installment of the PPL series was a fantastic, fun, thrilling, read that kept me on the edge of my seat.  Loved it, and I loved seeing the girls go through some more REAL LIFE problems instead of just getting in trouble with their parents.

If you are one of the few that haven't read the PPL series, get out there and get it! It's a fun mystery read! (Not to mention a fashion dictionary.  I can't tell you how many times I googled a brand, LOL) Happy Reading all, and thank you again to The Book Vixen for inviting me over!

Terra’s Rating:

4 Frogs

On My Wishlist (99)

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. If you want to know more click here.

bookFever by Joan Swan (Amazon)

When Dr. Alyssa Foster is taken hostage by a prison inmate, she knows she's in deep trouble. Not just because Teague Creek is desperate for freedom, but because the moment his fingers brush against her skin, Alyssa feels a razor-sharp pang of need...

A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose. At least Teague doesn't, until his escape plan develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives, he can only give her lies, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever...

bookSweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (Amazon)

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

Anna, a tender-hearted southern girl, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

A cross-country trip forces Anna and Kai to face the reality that hope and love are not options for their kind. When it's time for Anna to confront her demons, will she choose to embrace her halo or her horns?

What’s on your wishlist?

Author Guest Post & Giveaway: Nadia Lee

Today, I have author Nadia Lee here with us talking about book titles.

Welcome Nadia!

2011 Year in Review


Books read: 100
Pages read: 28,319
Books re-read: 1
Books DNF’d: 13
Books reviewed: 84

You can see a list of my Top Reads of 2011 HERE and my most anticipated 2012 book releases HERE.


Reading Challenges completed:

  1. Men in Uniform Reading Challenge – read 26 books
  2. eBook Reading Challenge – read 44 books
  3. Romantic Suspense Reading Challenge – read 18 books
  4. 100+ Reading Challenge – read 100 books
  5. YA Reading Challenge – read 28 books
  6. Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge – read 34 books

Reading Challenges not completed:

  1. YA of the 80s and 90s Reading Challenge – read 0 books
  2. Nicholas Sparks Reading Challenge – read 1 books
  3. Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge – read 100 books
  4. Off the Shelf Reading Challenge – read 18 books
  5. Stephen King Reading Challenge – read 0 books
  6. Show Me the Free Reading Challenge – read 7 books
  7. Book Blogger Recommendation Reading Challenge – read 5 books
  8. Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge – read 16 books

I went overboard with the reading challenges last year. This year I’m only participating in five:

  1. 100+ Books in a Year Reading Challenge – hopefully 101 this year.
  2. eBook Reading Challenge – starting off with 5 ebooks but I’m sure I’ll read way more.
  3. Men in Uniform Reading Challenge – starting off with 5 books.
  4. Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge – gotta read at least 101 books this year.
  5. TBR Pile Reading Challenge – starting off with 10 books but my ultimate goal will be at least 25 books.

*Links go to my specific reading challenge page


Goals for 2012:

  1. Keep it simple. 2012 is the year all about simplifying.
  2. Read 100+ books.
  3. Read books from my TBR Pile. 2012 is year of ‘tackle my TBR pile’ (on the shelf and on the Kindle).
  4. Better organize my Goodreads shelves.
  5. Don’t get behind on writing reviews. Write review soon after finish reading the book.
  6. Take a break from review requests. I may browse NetGalley once in a while but I plan to mainly read books I already own.
  7. Comment more. On my blog (interact) and other blogs.
  8. Limit time spent on Twitter. Oh, who am I kidding! Like that’s ever going to happen.
  9. Spruce up the blog a bit. Nothing major but I would like to make some aesthetic changes.
  10. Get my bounce rate down.
  11. Answer emails regularly and keep the inbox clean.

[ MISC ]

I’ve put some ‘quick links’ on the top middle section of my blog (under “Looking for Something?”). I’ve been putting links for winners, eBook deal posts, Reading Challenge sign-up posts and current month review link up posts. What do you think? Like?

I got rid of the @TBVKindleDeals Twitter account. (See goal #1 above.) I will tweet Kindle deals and freebies from my main (and only) Twitter account (@TheBookVixen).

What are your reading goals for 2012? If you did a 2011 wrap up post, link it in the comments so I can check it out.

Month in Review: December 2011

Boy, am I glad the holidays are over! I have A LOT of catching up to do, with writing reviews and other blog stuff, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. I need a personal assistant. Any volunteers? Winking smile

Books Read/Reviewed:

  1. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler – 4 1/2 frogs
  2. Hot Zone by Catherine Mann – (review to come)
  3. Open Me by Reina Stowe – (review to come)
  4. In Close by Brenda Novak – (review to come)
  5. All I Want for Christmas by Liliana Hart – (review to come)
  6. A Present for Christmas by Shiloh Walker – (review to come)
  7. Four Kisses by Bonnie Dee – (review to come)
  8. Make Mine Midnight by Annmarie McKenna – (review to come)
  9. Baby, I’m Yours by Stephanie Bond – (review to come)
  10. Only Us: A Fool’s Gold Holiday by Susan Mallery – (review to come)

*It may look as if I read a lot of books but most of them were novellas.


2011 Reading Challenges Status Report:

How was your December? Leave a comment with the link to your wrap up post and I’ll stop by Open-mouthed smile

January Review Link Up: Men in Uniform Reading Challenge

To sign up for this reading challenge, CLICK HERE.

January Review Link Up: Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

To sign up for this reading challenge, CLICK HERE.

AUTHOR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Jodie Becker and Sidney Bristol

Fiction Vixens: Not Just A Pretty Face

SIDNEY BRISTOL: I am Sidney. Today Jodie and I are going to talk about our heroines. I like a variety, as far as body types go. For Cody-Lynn it made sense that she'd be an athletic, average size as far as body type. In a lot of ways I picture her as having my mother's figure. I'm a little jealous of her, shhhhhhh. Cody started out barrel racing out of high school, going to jack pots and hitting up rodeos to win cash to feed herself and her horse. Along the way she did a string of random jobs, but after a few years she realized she needed to grow up and decided to study to be a vet. She likes animals, and enjoys hard work.

JODIE BECKER: I haven’t seen a rodeo heroine. Usually the guy is one and the heroine is all over that. I would be all over that! What’s not to like with the hat, boot, chaps… *ahem* Sorry. I dug your heroine, Sid. She’s so independent and “I can do it all” type of gal. And her sister! LOL I can’t wait to see what you do with that kooky family in Flirting with Rescue. My heroine is a primary school teacher. Although it doesn’t play as a main feature in the book, it flows over in how soft spoken she is. Erica is a full bodied woman with curves and I like that about her. Plus, she has a love for food and isn’t going to let magazines decide she can’t have that brownie late at night. To be honest, I like my heroines to feel real. I don’t want them to be able to leap over buildings in one bound or have this amazingly proportionate body with boobs that can put her back out. I like them to have flaws that I feel soften them.

SB: This is going to get me on a soap box! Somewhere along the way we've allowed ourselves, even as writers, to think we have to obey this preconceived idea of what a woman is supposed to be like if she'll attract a man. It's bogus! The truth is that men like a variety of women, and I think we should write them. Jodie's right, Cody isn't a "typical" romance heroine. While she does do some dumb stuff, like run head first into danger, it's out of her confidence that she can handle the situation. As the middle child of five, she's had to fend for herself, and I believe that shows in her personality and the way she handles things. Jodie's heroine in Dirty Beautiful is Cody's opposite! They're as different as night and day, and I like that. Erica is a type of every woman character, and I love that about her. It challenges us to realize that you don't necessarily have to be body image perfect to live with romance. It's a choice Erica made.

JB: *Nods* And the art of creating a heroine isn’t simply, giving her a name and occupation, it’s about giving her layers. Cody has a deep abiding love for family and a dry sense of humour. Whereas Erica has insecurities but is also very giving. I think long and hard when developing a heroine and I worry about getting the dreaded TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) tag attached to the woman many other readers are trying to connect with. We as writers want our readers to feel like this woman is a person they know. Someone they’d want to hang out with. Or think “Hey, this is me”. It’s important to have something invested in the characters, and by humanizing them, we do that and hopefully the reader wants to see their HEA (Happily Ever After).

SB: Exactly! As a writer, my goal is to make my heroine's relatable. I want for a reader to look at Cody, for example, and think, "I want to be in her shoes!" I like to think that my heroines and their story challenge readers to reach for what they want. Sure, its fantasy in part, but it’s rooted in real life. It's one of the reasons I like contemporary romance, there are so many elements that we write that can happen. We live in an imperfect world. For a little while, I’d love to give someone a dream of what life can be like.

JB: So both Sidney and I love our heroine. We wrote them with layers, flaws and hearts of gold. We hope you like them too. You can check them out below.

Jodie Becker: website
Sidney Bristol: website


clip_image001[4]FLIRTING WITH RESCUE:

Scott Carrillo has sworn off women after being burned so he can focus on his animal shelter. Used to handling cats and dogs, he’s out of his element when horses are brought to him for rehabilitation. He needs help, in more ways than one.

Veterinarian Cody-Lynn Parker has always had a soft spot for horses. Rodeo and racing are part of her bloodlines. When an equine emergency brings her into the city to retrieve two abused thoroughbreds, it’s not all she ends up rescuing.

From the moment Scott meets Cody sparks fly. Working side by side they don’t waste any downtime getting to know each other. Not that Cody minds having a sexy Cuban’s magic hands on her. What starts out as a steamy fling turns into an affair of the heart, where everyone is tied in knots. Cody’s southern drawl does things to Scott that can’t be undone. But first he has to keep her safe from the dangerous men who want their property back, and that’s a tall order with a woman as alluring and independent as Cody.



Disillusioned by love, Erica has tasted the bitter pill of betrayal and wonders if she’s enough for one man. When a hot guy moves in next door, Erica decides to settle for good old-fashioned lust. What starts out as a simple seduction quickly evolves, and Erica is fast finding out Dylan is dangerous not only to her libido, but her heart as well.

Recently retired from the adult-film industry, Dylan hopes for a fresh start in Templeton where his porn persona, Drake Van Wulf, is unknown. His new neighbor is unlike the women he’s accustomed to, but she stirs his blood nonetheless. His rule not to get involved is quickly tested by Erica and her lush curves. Unable to withstand her allure, Dylan finds himself wanting more from Erica than just her body. He wants her heart also.

With the secret of his past hanging in the shadows, Dylan’s about to find out if love truly conquers all.


prizeThanks to Jodie Becker and Sidney Bristol, one lucky winner will receive a bohemian heart necklace! Please read Terms & Conditions at the bottom of the Rafflecopter form before entering. Good luck to all who enter!

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