…as Time Goes By….

WE ARE ONE YEAR OLD! How cool is DAT?! We ‘huffed’ and ‘puffed’ and this ‘choo-choo’ left the Station last year and it’s still slowly huffing and puffing…

Along the way, it picked Krissie, and who knows in the future someone else might want to join us on this ride! The more the merrier!

It took one review, one blog chick and the ‘bulb’ went up in my head! Could I, would I, and the most scariest question of them all: Will anyone want to read what I have to say?

Guess what?! One year later, 49-followers later and 27, 401 hits later… someone’s coming over to read our blog!  So, to all of you that stop by, comment or not, THANK YOU for peeking in and please come back ANYTIME!

I had so many ideas in my head about how I would like to celebrate this first year, and for some reason none ‘felt’ just right. And than it hit me! I posed a question to myself. How did I start reading Romance? The answer was so simple. ZORA JAJIC! I dare you to pronounce her name! She’s my best friend and many, many years ago, she gave me a book to read. It was ‘A ROSE IN WINTER’ by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and I was hooked, lined and sunk!

Are you ready to be ‘hooked’ ?

To celebrate our first year, I’ve decided to invite some of the very famous, best-selling authors as well as those that are just ‘wetting’ their toes into the romance world of writing. They will be stopping by every day throughout the month of November and they will be telling you about BOOKS that they would like to HOOK you, either to their work, or someone else’s. Now, keep in mind, some of those books might be old, and I say, BRING IT ON! There is NOTHING better to a BOOKWORM then a musty old book :)

So, sit back… relax… get some tea or coffee… hot chocolate too… and come join us in the discussion. Tell us all about how and who ‘hooked’ you to the romance land…What book did you give away to ‘hook’ someone, and if you haven’t done that, then which book are you going to giveaway to your friend and why? If you are like us, I know that ‘book talk’ is easy, so come on over and join the party…Who knows? You just might get ‘hooked’ all over again!

Before we get to celebrating in earnest, I thought we should salute those authors that are sadly not with us any more. Kathleen E. Woodiwiss passed away in 2007, but I still re-read her books. Elizabeth Thornton left us in 2010, but her work will be with me forever. Arnette Lamb has been gone awhile, but her stories still keep me entertained.

Today, let us remember all those that left their work to keep us warm, make us smile and cry, but always, always got us through to the next ‘chapter’ of our life.

Tell us about the author you’ll be remembering today…

1) Subscribe to our Blog…

2) ‘LIKE’ us on Facebook!

… I’ll pass my ‘treasures’.

Tomorrow we’ll start with Anna Campbell, then continue the celebration with Katharine Ash, Vanessa Kelly, Joanna Bourne, Shana Galen, Kristan Higgins, Candice Hern, Cara Elliott, Kieran Kramer, Eileen Dreyer, Rose Lerner and many, many more authors will pop in and out, so get ready to SALUTE those that have been there for us in sorrow and happiness. They truly are the heroes and heroines and deserve to be celebrated!

Now, where’s my drink?! CHEERS!

b2b will be ONE year old!

Guess what?! We’re about to celebrate our first year in the blogosphere! I ‘brain-stormed’ some ideas that were swirling in this head of mine, but none of them were ‘right’. I started to think about why and how I got to reading and loving romance novels and it hit me!

I was a ‘late bloomer’ and Romance Novels came to me when I was in my late twenties. My best friend gave me a copy of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’ ‘A ROSE IN WINTER’ and I was hooked. I went out and stocked up on all of her books. Then my friend gave me Johanna Lindsey’s ‘GENTLE ROGUE’ and I had to read everything she wrote.

I ‘got’ what my friend tried to do. She wanted me to get ‘hooked’ on her favorite authors, so she’d pick one of their books and give them away as a gift. It worked in my case. I not only got hooked on the authors, but the genre as well. I took up the banner of the ‘pay it forward’ and started to give my friends ‘books that will hook you’ gifts.

What a better way then to celebrate our first year ‘on’ by celebrating AUTHORS as well as READERS with what connects us all – BOOKS!

Through the month of November, b2b will be honored to host Authors such as Katharine Ash, Grace Burrowes, Anna Campbell, Vicky Dreiling, Eileen Dreyer, Maureen Driscoll, Cara Elliott, Shana Galen, Kieran Kramer and last but not least Rose Lerner.

This amazing group of very talented ‘tale tellers’ have agreed to gift you, the reader, with a book that they hope will ‘hook’ you to either their own work, or the author they chose to share with you.

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us which ‘Hook-a-Book’ did/would you likely give your friends…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

On November 1st I will let you know my ‘Hook-a-Book’ and celebrate with you this author that had me at ‘Sin’!

“The Black Hawk” by Joanna Bourne

STORY: He is her enemy. He is her lover. He is her only hope.

Someone is stalking agent Justine DeCabrillac through London’s gray streets. Under cover of the rain, the assassin strikes-and Justine staggers to the door of the one man who can save her. The man she once loved. The man she hated.  Adrian Hawkhurst.

Adrian wanted the treacherous beauty known as “Owl” back in his bed, but not wounded and clinging to life. Now, as he helps her heal, the two must learn to trust each other to confront the hidden menace that’s trying to kill them-and survive long enough to explore the passion simmering between them once again…

REVIEW: ‘The Black Hawk’ by Joanna Bourne is a tale that had to be told. I have a feeling that if Ms. Bourne never intended for it, she would have been literally mobbed by every fan of her earlier tales, until she ‘put it out there’.  

How can I relate to you my emotions while reading this tender love story?! Reading it I felt like Julia Roberts in that scene with Richard Gere from “Pretty Woman’ where he dolls her all up and takes her to see her first Opera. She is so taken by the performance that she almost leaps out of her seat over the balcony, with her eyes filled with tears and her heart so full of too many emotions to be put to words. She just sat there taking it all in. Absorbing it like a sponge, thinking it unreal, and afraid it would end too soon for her to absorb it ALL!

That’s me. That’s exactly how I felt reading this tale.

If you’ve never read a Joanna Bourne novel, then that’s what you’re missing. You are missing a trip to a time that was not so pleasant, to say the least, in the History of the French as well as the World, yet filled with uncertainty and excitement, but also with love.

Romance for each of us starts at a different time and age, and sometimes we don’t even know it until it’s way too late. Occasionally, and if we’re lucky, we might recognize it and call it love.

For Adrian and Justine that romance started at an age that some would say was too young, unless they knew that these two never had a chance to BE young. Their souls were forced to grow old at an early age. Many years will pass before they realize and admit to each other their love for one another and let their souls finally feel they’ve come home.

I will not summarize the plot for you, but I will tell you about a boy who grew up without a name (he named himself), isn’t even sure how old he is, survives the worst of the slums of London by his intelligence and wits (light fingers, cunning and a skill with a knife notwithstanding).

By providence, he gets recruited by and taken under the protective wing of William Doyle (The Forbidden Rose) to be trained as an English Spy for British Intelligence Service. We, the readers, are fortunate to watch this sprite become a most efficient and ruthless of spies, who ends up Knighted and becomes a Head of BIS.

Adrian and Justine meet for the first time in Doyle and Maggie’s story (The Forbidden Rose), and we follow Adrian through two other happily ever after of Annique and Gray (The Spymaster’s Lady) and Bastien and Jess (My Lord and Spymaster).

Justine DeCabrillac was eleven years old when her parents were killed and she taken with her two-year old sister by a family ‘friend’ to a brothel and forced into whoring. From that hell, she is rescued and given home by Madame, a head of the Secret Police in Paris. By the time she meets ‘Awker two years later, she’s become an employee and a spy for the Secret Police, and is now working for Adrian’s enemy.

Even though they worked for the opposite sides, their missions placed them in a close proximity of each other, and they gained respect for one another and became friends. Because of what she went through as a child, Adrian did his best to not even broach her on his feelings for her. If anything was to happen between them, he knew that it would have to be started by Justine.

And after she finally approaches him, ‘Awker knows that to make love to her, he would need to ‘cleanse’ her from the inside out, before he takes her on a journey that will eventually lead them to their destiny.

Adrian Hawkhurst ‘Hawker’ and Justine DeCabrillac ‘Owl’ have a mystery to solve, bad guys to catch, and big, life changing decisions to make, and I had a front row seat as I was invited to witness their life as it happened.

Ms. Bourne’s prose is legendary by now, but if you’re still not convinced at how good she can ‘spin a tale’ here’s just one of many, many favorite parts of mine in this tale.

The scene below is of Justine and Hawker in a room full of people at a fancy ball. They’re on a lookout for the enemy, and he is very worried about her as she’s not quite healed yet from her knife wound. He kept following her with his eyes, not seeing anyone but her.

“He couldn’t touch Owl, except with his eyes, so he let his imagination slide across her, planning where he’d kiss her later tonight. He liked kissing beauty and he’d done a certain amount of that over the years. With Owl, he’d start with beauty and go on to kissing ruthlessness and ideals in the lines at the corners of her eyes. Passion and practicality sitting around her mouth. Not a comfortable woman, his Owl. Not ordinary.”

So, my dear bookworm, if you like sweet romance, this book has it in spades. If you prefer intrigue, you won’t go wrong with this tale. It is chock full of it. Not convinced yet?! Well, let me put it this way.

Ms. Bourne has wrapped this story in drama, romance, plot, intrigue and sensuality and made it a one-stop-shop so I cried a little, laughed a little but I was never bored, even a little!

*BRAKING NEWS*BREAKING NEWS*

This is one of the Seasons that I look forward to. Early Fall, with its colors changing daily makes me feel all warm inside and always brings fond memories back from way, way back….

This one brought me some news that made me happy and sad.

My son and his lovely wife are taking the opportunity that presented itself, to move to the Grand Canyon state. And while I’m sad that they won’t be close by for me to ‘bug’, I’m very happy to see their love and support of each other for this major move. On the one hand my mother’s mind is happy, on the other, my mother’s heart sometimes wishes he were still a little boy…I am so glad that our dear Lord in His infinite wisdom had put Heather in his path…

Okay, before I start crying, I’ll tell you my second news…READY?!

You all know that I do some of my reviews for ROMANCE READER AT HEART website, and Nancy has been and continues to be my inspiration and someone I’ll always look up to. She has welcomed me into her fold like a mother hen and I love and respect her dearly; always will.  I love reviewing books for her site and will continue to do so as long as she’ll put up with me!

Now, Christine S. Morehouse from the ROMANTIC CRUSH JUNKIES website was on a ‘proul’ for some new ‘blood’ (love that metaphor) for her brand new e zine site. I applied, NEVER thinking she might come-a-knocking on my door.

When she did, I jumped at a chance and as with RRAH, I’m still pinching myself!

Both Nancy and Christine are giving me a oportunity to indulge my love for reading and writing and for that I am forever in their debt.

Both of them make me feel a part of this vast romance community and it makes my heart sing! 

If any of you think you might like to join her team, please send her an email at: csmorehouse@hotmail.com and good luck to all of you :)

The video above conveys my feelings every time I talk to them and all the wonderful authors, bloggers and fellow reviewers :)

I also have a mini-news, of sorts, but never the less important to both Krissie and I. We have now created an Facebook page for b2b and would love it if you’ll spread the word, but don’t forget to stop by it and LIKE us too!

…and just a bit of a heads-up…Our one year blogoversary is coming up in November and we mean to do something very special, so keep an eye on us! More info to come ;)

And now, get going and LIKE us!

“Always A Temptress” by Eileen Dreyer

STORY: His greatest battle is just beginning . . .

Captain Harry Lidge has done his duty. After losing too many good men on the battlefield, he’s ready to put his responsibilities behind him and live a life free of care. But first he has one last mission: find out what the most outrageous woman in London, the same woman who betrayed him nearly a decade earlier, is concealing, before her secrets take down the crown.

Her heart is the only thing she won’t risk . . .

Surrounded by ardent admirers and a few loyal friends, Lady Kate Seaton glides through the ton on a confection of couture gowns and bon mots. No one suspects that beneath her lighthearted façade Kate hides a sorrow so scandalous she’ll do anything to keep it hidden. But only when she trusts Harry with the truth and only when he trusts her with his heart can they stop the villains all too willing to kill Kate to attain their ultimate goal: destroy England.

REVIEW: In 2010 Eileen Dreyer introduced us to her Drake’s Rakes and to three of them, she gave a Grace for their very own.

In ‘Barely a Lady’, Jack found his Grace, Olivia Grace that is and in ‘Never a Gentleman’, Diccan couldn’t outrun his Grace, Grace Fairchild. And then Harry confronts Her Grace, the Dowager Duchess of Murther in ’Always a Temptress’ and their story, as the earlier two, had me spellbound and on the edge of my seat.

How can I do this novel justice AND keep the ‘spoilers’ out?! I want to shout it out loud and let you know all the why’s and what for’s…but I’ll contain my enthusiasm, and tell you why I loved Kate and Harry’s love story.

We met this flamboyant woman in the first book, and she was someone you couldn’t help but like from the start. She was a daughter, sister and a wife of a Duke; fearless, hated, envied and admired. She surrounded herself with friends from all walks of life; aristocrats, soldiers and a motley crew of misfits in her employ made up an eclectic ‘bouquet’ of friends that kept the darkness away and Kate’s life content.

Until the day that greed and secrets, kept by her and from her, shattered, battered and forced her to face all her fears she carefully and methodically hid, in the dark corners of her soul.

Major Sir Harry Lidge we met in the previous book and we knew from his interactions with Kate that the past they shared would one day come to haunt both, and once it did, both would have ‘some splainin’ to do’.

Harry’s life ten years ago was filled with dreams of travel and love for a girl of a Duke, and as a second son of a squire, that was a dream a bit too high, even for him. That however didn’t stop him and the love he felt for his ‘Katie’ came crashing down all around him, like the famous buildings he dreamed one day of building. Being brought up by loving parents, in a home that buzzed with activity and happiness, Harry’s decision to accept the Duke’s offer of a commission was the right thing to do. He knew that his dreams, if ever he survived the war, might be rebuilt and hopes for that dream kept him alive; kept him moving even when the nightmares of the battles fought tried to keep him down.

Upon finishing this novel, I truly couldn’t decide who was more the hero of this piece, Kate or Harry. Both had major hurdles to overcome, but the strength that Kate displayed was ferocious!

The story opens with Kate’s abduction for her protection and continues with her brother’s attempts to commit her to an asylum for her outrageous behavior. In the middle of it all, Drake’s Rakes are still in pursuit of the cursed verse and assassin’s attempts at killing our hero and heroine almost succeed. To some, this might be too much happening all at once, but trust me, none is, and all is important to the story that is fast paced, and every character we meet has depth, but none so like our Kate and Harry. Their road back to each other despite of all the hardships they lived through was destined to end with love and passion winning the day!

‘Always a Temptress’ had me smile, cry and sigh, but it never, EVER had me bored! Ms. Dreyer, I hear that you’ll be writing more of Drake’s Rakes, so BRING THEM ON! I refuse to think that Ian is dead!

*To buy this book, click on the cover*

*To learn more about the author, click on her name*

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*