Review: That Night by Diane Dooley

Format read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available: ebook
Genre: Holiday Romance, Contemporary Romance
Length: 42 pages
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Date Released: December 12, 2012
Purchasing Info:Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance

Lindy Hopkins works early, works late, always gets the job done and never, ever has incredible one night stands with handsome coworkers. Until that night. But it’s okay. She’s just going to keep on pretending that it never happened.

Alex Anderson never imagined that buttoned-down workaholic Lindy had the ability to transform into a table-dancing, champagne-guzzling femme fatale. Until that night. And it’s not okay that she’s been giving him the coldest of shoulders ever since.

Neither are prepared to face the other, but they have no choice. They’ve each booked the company Catskill cabin for a few days before Christmas and are both too stubborn to budge. Over mulled wine and under a blanket of snow, it’s starting to look like that night might happen all over again. But this time Alex is playing for keeps, while Lindy is determined that no man will come before her career. Will they find that love is forever or will it be just another night to remember?

A cute, sweet holiday treat. A lot like the reindeer cupcake I had last night. I’m not sure it would work any other time of the year, but for right now, utterly yummy.

Lindy Hopkins books the company cabin in the Catskills for the holidays because she doesn’t want to spend Christmas with her family. They exhaust her. And that’s a telling part of this story. Lindy is from upstate New York, but from a dying small town. And from a family that expected her to stay close to home, marry early, and live a conventional small town life.

Because Lindy didn’t do what her family expects, she does nothing but disappoint them. She is terrific, but because they can’t understand anything about who and what she is, all she feels from them is hurt. She can’t get anything right, so she just keeps trying harder. And harder. She has no life. We all know people like that.

One night, she celebrated a bit too much, and spent a glorious night with Alex Anderson, another rising star at the company. She expected to face a “walk of shame” the next morning, but nothing happened. Alex never told.

Lindy never forgot a single thrilling moment of that night, but she acted like it never happened. Men can have affairs with co-workers and no one thinks a thing of it, but there is still a double-standard. Lindy doesn’t want her work denigrated because she slept with Alex. She needs respect.

Alex wants more from Lindy than a one-night stand. So he arranges to be at that cabin for Christmas. They need to talk about what happened. Whether there is the possibility of more, or whether that was all that there was. But they need to talk about it at least once!

He’s playing for keeps. Lindy is just plain afraid. But until they finally talk it through, neither knows a thing. A little wine, a little snow, and a whole lot of truth might turn Lindy’s lonely Christmas into the best one she ever had.

Who knew that cheesy romance novels like “Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire” contained a kernel of truth after all?

Escape Rating B: That Night is delicious late night reading pleasure. It’s just a cute, and slightly steamy story about two people who need to be alone together and start communicating to finally figure out that they really are perfect together.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Interview with Author Diane Dooley + Giveaway

Today on Reading Reality we’re blasting off into the Blue Universe of my very special guest, Diane Dooley. Diane writes in a genre that is very close to my heart, science fiction romance. (It’s so close, in fact, that Diane and I are both members of the SFR Brigade, an organization that promotes science fiction romance)

Diane is here today to celebrate the release of her latest voyage into SFR, Blue Nebula, the sequel to Blue Galaxy. If you like science fiction romance at all, or even if you’re thinking about giving it a try, you must check these two books out. (See my reviews of Galaxy and Nebula for more details). Diane’s universe is a blast!

Marlene: Diane, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Diane: I’m originally from Jersey, a small and beautiful island off the coast of France. My family moved to Scotland when I was ten and I grew up there. I took off travelling when I was about twenty one and didn’t really settle down until I had my two kids. I studied history at university, but worked mostly in social services (and still do.) I’m a voracious reader, a music geek, I laugh a lot and live in an old farmhouse in upstate New York with my guys, my garden, my critters and my books.

Marlene: I know you’re a member of the SFR Brigade (me too!) Would you like to tell the readers a little bit about the Brigade?

Diane: The Science Fiction Romance Brigade, the brainchild of Laurie Green,  is a group of SFR writers and supporters  who work to assist each other and advance the genre. We’re a fun and busy bunch!  SFR readers would like the FanPage on Facebook for details of new releases, cover reveals, blog tours, giveaways and more.  SFR writers and bloggers would like the Facebook Brigade group, which is more for networking and information-sharing. We also have a blog. We’re currently working on creating an anthology of SFR short stories and novelettes. I’m an administrator for the FB group, so if there is anyone reading this who would like to join or get more information, please do contact me.

Marlene: What made you choose to write science fiction romance (SFR)? Why not more “traditional” SF? Or another genre altogether?

Diane: I’ve always enjoyed more character-focused science fiction, so it just seemed to make sense for me to write science fiction that paid more attention to relationships than traditional science fiction. I do write in other genres: horror, contemporary romance, humor, and I have a couple of other works in progress that are of other genres entirely.

Marlene: Blue Nebula is the sequel to Blue Galaxy (which I loved). What was different about writing a sequel instead of starting over in a new world?

Diane: It’s easier in one way; the world is already imagined, so you don’t have to start building one from scratch. A sequel is harder in another way, in that it must still stand alone. The reader should not have to have read the first one in order for the story to make sense. I worked hard to make Blue Nebula stand on its own. That said, I still think it’s best to read Blue Galaxy first.

Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Diane: I’m at the computer all day, along with a lengthy to-do list. I also have a freelance writing gig, creating curriculum for learners with disabilities. In addition to the writing, there is also the blogging, the website to keep updated, tasks for the SFR Brigade, beta reading for writing colleagues, and keeping up an online presence on Facebook and Twitter.

I’ve both planned and pantsed. The shorter the work the more likely it is I’ll pants it. Novel-length and series I tend to plan, though quite loosely. I must admit to enjoying pantsing the most, though. I love not knowing where the story is going. It makes for a much more visceral fun ride of a writing experience for me.

Marlene: What is your favorite thing about the writing experience and why?

Diane: The initial imagining of the story is the most fun for me. Even when I don’t outline a story, I usually have a lot of it figured out in my head before I start getting it down on the hard drive. Just thinking it up is easy and fun; writing it down is hard and grueling.

Marlene: What was the first moment you know you wanted to write?

Diane: I never really thought I would be a writer. I may have daydreamed about it as a child, but never thought it would make a practical and secure career. And it isn’t! One day, while doing a stint as a stay at home mom, I told my husband I needed some intellectual stimulation and that I thought I could write a book. He bought me a computer and I wrote my first novel in about eight weeks. I haven’t stopped writing since.  I have tried to stop. It really isn’t lucrative or practical, but I got horribly depressed when I gave it up. It had turned into something I simply had to do.

Marlene: What book do you recommend everyone should read and why did you pick that particular book?

Diane: I think every writer should read The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. It’s not a ‘how to’ book, rather it’s about how damn tortuous the urge to write can be. Dillard is an exquisite writer, but this books describes how bloody difficult writing a good sentence or selecting the perfect word can be.  For everyone I recommend Roald Dahl’s stories for children: clever, funny, sad, honest – just brilliant.

Marlene: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?

Diane: *scratches head* I really should have a canned answer for this one, but I don’t. *scratches head some more* I think I provide an intense reading experience. There is usually adventure of some kind or other, splashes of dark humor, twists and turns, secrets being revealed at the worst possible moments, damaged people finding love in unexpected places. It’s a rich brew and definitely not to everyone’s taste.  I like tragedy and trauma, love and redemption. Readers should expect the unexpected.

Marlene: Will there be more books in this series? What is next on your schedule?

Diane: There is one more book in the Blue Universe series, but it’s giving me difficulty. The darn thing wants to be two books and I’m currently trying to wrestle it into submission. I have a contemporary romance, That Night, coming out in December from Wild Rose Press. It’s my version of a sweet holiday-flavored romance, in which, unusually for me,  no one dies or gets betrayed. I’m also working on a couple of short stories, a gothic romance and am doing research for a historical.

Marlene: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books? (I shouldn’t have asked this twice, but Diane came up with such a damn good answer, I’m leaving it in!)

Diane: Eek, three more reasons? Um. I guess I’ll quote my husband on this one: “bold, unique and original.” Yeah, he loves me a lot *grin*.

Marlene: Morning person or night owl?

Diane: Night owl, for sure. The crack of dawn looks suspiciously like hell to me, though it does improve with lots of coffee.

Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Marlene! I’d like to give away e-copies of Blue Galaxy and its sequel, Blue Nebula. To enter the giveaway please answer Marlene’s question “What book do you recommend everyone should read and why did you pick that particular book?”

Wow, Diane, thanks for being such a terrific guest! I’m thrilled to know there will be one more trip to the Blue Universe. Can I vote and say that two trips (two more books) would be absolutely fine with me? 


One lucky commenter will win an ebook copy of Blue Galaxy, and one lucky commenter will win an ebook copy of Blue Nebula.

All you have to do is answer the question: What book do you recommend everyone should read and why did you pick that particular book?

Winners will be chosen by

Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment)

This giveaway is open to all!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, October 20, 2012.

Good luck!


Diane Dooley writes romance, science fiction and horror – sometimes all in the same story. You can catch up with her on her blog, Facebook or Twitter. She also blogs regularly at Contact: Infinite Futures and is a regular contributor to The Galaxy Express.

Her website is the best place to find her books and their buy links. Her blog is the best spot to find her short stories. They are listed here.


Review: Blue Nebula by Diane Dooley

Format read: ebook received from NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, audiobook
Genre: science fiction romance
Series: Blue Universe #2
Length: 129 pages
Publisher: Carina Press
Date Released: September 24, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance

Sola de la Vega is on a mission to save the galaxy, and nothing will sway her. Not even the pleas of her beloved husband, Captain Javan Rhodes, to keep herself and their unborn child safe.

Fitted with a series of technological “enhancements” entwined with her central nervous system, Sola is not fully human. Her father is the undisputed leader of Earth, and Sola is driven to put an end to his genocidal rule—before he can follow through with his plans to consolidate power over the universe into the hands of the aristocracy.

Despite Javan’s fears for her safety, and coping with a difficult pregnancy, Sola’s quest has become an obsession she cannot control. Compelled to choose, duty must come before her love for Javan. And when Sola joins forces with Destin Grady — her father’s sworn enemy — in a plot to execute the dictator and seize power, she soon uncovers secrets from the past that have her facing a future she never could have imagined…

If you like science fiction romance AT ALL, get Blue Galaxy now. I’ll wait for you to catch up to me. It is just SO worth it. Don’t believe me? Take a look at my review of the first book in Diane Dooley’s Blue Universe for the first chapter of Javan and Sola’s story.

(And it’s impossible to review book two without spoiling book one at least a little. I want you to discover this world for yourself. Much more fun that way.)

At the end of Blue Galaxy, Javan and Sola have more of a “Happy-For-Now” than a “Happy-Ever-After”. Not because they aren’t crazy in love with each other, but because the entire universe really is out to get them.

Sola is determined that the only way she and Javan can have their happiness forever is if she goes home and gets rid of the enemy who is dogging their every step. There are only a few problems with her plan.

1) Their enemy is the all-powerful Dictator of Earth.
2) He’s Sola’s daddy.
3) Sola is pregnant.
4) Daddy dearest inserted some really messed-up bio-engineered programming into Sola that is messing up her pregnancy and her emotional balance.

And then there’s the really big problem–her daddy the dictator planned all of this (except Sola’s pregnancy) because he wanted Sola to take over from him. He’s dying. He wants her to be the next dictator.

Sola only knows what she wants when she turns off all her enhancements. But without her enhancements, she’s not sure she can survive everything that’s being thrown at her. Especially after her programming makes her give Javan up. But it can’t make her forget him.

No matter how many times she puts her memories of him into data storage. Love is stronger than programming. Love can conquer everything.

Escape Rating B+: Blue Nebula was every bit as good as Blue Galaxy. I loved finding out more about Sola and her world. In the first story, she’s such an enigma. Here we find out what happened to her. But then, so does she!

There’s also a lot of heartbreak. Not just for Sola and Javan, but also for Destin Grady, who loved Sola and lost her twice. I kind of hope there will be a sequel where he finally gets another chance at happiness with someone else. He’s finally earned one.

I do still wish we knew a bit more about Daddy Dearest’s motivations for totally warping all of his children. He was just plain way out there. I kind of get why he became dictator, but not the stuff he did to turn his children into monsters.

Blue Galaxy and Blue Nebula pack a LOT of story into surprisingly short novels. I still wish there were more.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 10-7-12

Today has been a very sleepy Sunday. It would have been a terrific day to curl up with the cats and just let the day segue from the morning nap to the afternoon nap. And for all I got accomplished today I probably would have been better off if I had!

Two things I did manage to get done, with a little help from my friend Rafflecopter, was to pick the winners for recent giveaways.

Joy Flynn won the paperback copy of Carol Tibaldi’s Roaring 20s suspense thriller, Willow Pond. And the one that everyone was drooling over, Suzanne Selfor’s Chocolate Giveaway was won by Jennifer Stewart Shaw.

Let’s take a look at the wrap-up of this week’s posts:

Ebook Review Central Featured Titles from Carina Press for August 2012: #1 Men of Smithfield: Mark and Tony by L.B. Gregg, #2 The Guardian of Bastet by Jacqueline M. Battisti, #3 Planning for Love (Aisle Bound #1) by Christi Barth
B+ Review: Better Than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts + Interview
Celebrate the Freedom to Read! (Banned Books Week)
B+ Review: Operation Endgame (When the Mission Ends #1) by Christi Snow + Interview
A+ Review: Local Custom (Liaden Universe #4) by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Last week is over. So what’s coming up this week?

There’s a Monday holiday (admittedly a minor one) so there’s no Ebook Review Central this week. Instead, I’ll be reviewing Zoë Archer’s Skies of Steel, the third book in the steampunk romance series The Ether Chronicles, that Zoë is co-authoring with Nico Rosso. I enjoyed the first two books in the series, and this was my treat to myself.

On Tuesday, my guest will be T. K. Anthony, the author of Forge, the first book of the Thrall Web series. If the phrase “Thrall Web” isn’t a hint, Forge is science fiction romance, a genre that is near and dear to my heart. I couldn’t resist this title. I’ll have an interview with T.K. as well as a review of Forge.

And Wednesday my guest will be my fellow SFR Brigade member Diane Dooley, to give us a peek into the science fiction world of her books Blue Galaxy (see review) and her latest Blue Nebula. Diane will be giving away copies of her books, as well as answering a few questions. I’ll have a review of Blue Nebula, too.

Thursday we’ll leave the future, science fictional or steampunk, to return to the contemporary world of Lori Foster’s latest romantic suspense novel, Run the Risk. Lori’s tour will be stopping at Reading Reality for an interview with Lori, as well as a review of the book and a giveaway.

It’s going to be another busy week! I also have two pretty intense historical fiction reviews that will be posted this week at Book Lovers Inc: Before Versailles by Karleen Koen and C.C. Humphreys’ A Place Called Armageddon.

And next week is shaping up to have a theme all its own! Courtney Cole’s Of Blood and Bone,  Louisa Bacio’s A Date with Death, and Sheila Stewart’s The Naughty Angel–all in the same week. Followed by the Wicked Romances Blog Hop. Sounds positively, well, wicked! And a perfect lead-in for the Halloween season.

Weren’t we just talking about chocolate?

Mako’s Bounty

Mako’s Bounty by Diane Dooley is part of Decadent Publishing’s 1 Night Stand series. And that description just about encapsulates the book. The story is about a one-night stand, and it is a decadently delicious little treat of a science fiction romance.

Mako is Makiko Dolan, and she is an intergalactic bounty hunter. With a name like Makiko, and a profession like hers, winding up being nicknamed for the earth-bound shark seems only natural. Especially since Makiko, like the shark she is named for, always puts the bite on her prey.

Her prey in this story is a man named Vin Sainte, who naturally has a nickname of his own: “the Saint,” of course. The Saint is on the run from Ravenscorp, the evil mercantile empire that controls the galaxy, or at least the human-inhabited corner of it.

Mako has been chasing the Saint for months, because she needs the major bounty he’ll bring in. Ravenscorp has been keeping Mako’s mother imprisoned in indentured servitude, and Mako desperately needs a big payday to get her out.

So Mako chases the Saint to Earth. Literally to Earth, as in the planet Earth. She’s arranged a meeting. Not just an ordinary meeting, but a one-night stand arranged through Madame Eve’s exclusive dating agency. Mako’s plan is to sex him up and then handcuff him while he’s still “recovering”.

Mako doesn’t count on the sensory overload she gets from being on Earth for the first time. She’s used to the deprivations of a backwater colony–and the empty vastness of space. Earth is almost an LSD trip.

But Mako’s big surprise is the Saint himself. She’s been studying his picture for months. But in person, he’s, well, she has to admit to herself that he’s the best looking man she’s seen in a long time. The Saint is a major part of that sensory overload.

And even bigger surprise is that he knows exactly who Mako is, and why she’s there. The Saint knows it’s a honey trap. He’s there to bring the little shark over to his own cause.

Until Vin Sainte met Mako, he thought his mission was just to convert the bounty hunter from Ravenscorp’s side to his.

When he finds her naked in his hotel room, he realizes that he needs to convert her to his cause, heart, body and soul.

Escape Rating C+: This story is cute and fun. It’s a very quick and enjoyable dip into the science fiction romance pool.

However, because the story is very short (about 40 pages) there isn’t time to do a lot of worldbuilding, so the science fiction part rides on some assumptions. The beginning has a very good SF feel at the space station, and I loved that one ship was named Gagarin.

But…adjusting to Earth’s gravity wouldn’t be that easy for a lifetime spacer, or I don’t think so.  The mental adjustment, perhaps, but the physical, not so much.

The bigger question for me was Vin Sainte’s religious beliefs. He is a devout practitioner of a religious faith that isn’t named but seems awfully familiar. He certainly prays a lot, and at surprising moments. In a story of this length, inventing a religion would have taken up a lot of worldbuilding time. That being said, assuming that current religions would survive into space relatively unchanged seemed a stretch.

Of course, there’s that scene from the end of the Babylon 5 episode The Parliament of Dreams, where representatives from ALL the Earth’s religions come to the station in 2258. It could happen.