Guest Post by Author Gina L. Maxwell on the Yin-Yang Relationship + Giveaway

Today I’d like to welcome Gina L. Maxwell, the author of the recently published Hawaiian island escape romance Rules of Entanglement (read my review of it here) and the totally awesome Seducing Cinderella (reviewed at Book Lovers Inc.)

 Rules of Engagement blog tour button

The Yin-Yang Relationship
by Gina L. Maxwell

One of the best compliments I’ve received when it comes to Rules of Entanglement is not only that readers love how different my hero Jax is from my heroine Vanessa, but how well they work as a couple.  They are, for all intents and purposes, complete opposites. He doesn’t own a watch and she believes in being on time—always! To give away all of their differences would be to spoil the book for you, but penning their story really drove home the fact that the Yin-Yang relationship is one of my absolute favorite to write. Being able to develop characters that are so different and yet so perfect for each other is not only a challenge, but it’s also one wickedly wild ride. Often times, the Yin-Yang relationship seems to be the most interesting. Yes, compatibility with someone is amazing, but when it comes to “opposites” couples, there’s just a little something extra that keeps them going. It translates well on paper, but sometimes, there are moments of doubt when you think to yourself, “these people would never really be together.” In those instances, you only need to look to real life to verify your work.

Take this couple I know. Let’s call him Nick and we’ll call her Amanda. Nick likes to hunt and fish and would rather be in a tree stand than doing anything else in the world. Amanda listens to classical music, loves British comedies and does Yoga. Apart, it would never dawn on me to envision these two as a couple, but when they are together, it’s like they were meant to be. The same goes for Jax and Vanessa. I couldn’t have written any other hero for her and I for damned sure couldn’t have put him with any other woman. They fit together. For all of his surfer swagger and her DA discipline, one thing is for sure; in their case, opposites not only attract. They smolder!

Gina L. MaxwellAbout Gina L. MaxwellGrowing up in small town Fort Atkinson, WI, Gina L. Maxwell, formerly Bisbee, could often be found onstage in the latest theatrical production, performing with her high school show choir, or holding office in her local FFA chapter. She dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps in the entertainment business, of enabling her audience to forget about life for a few hours as they enjoyed the stories she told through her love of singing, dancing, and acting. It wasn’t until her sophomore year in college when she realized she had no acting talent to speak of and her dream needed some adjusting. Another ten years would pass before she discovered a different means to accomplishing the same dream.Within those ten years Gina married her high school sweetheart, had two beautiful children, and moved more times than she cared to count. In 2009 she started writing as a hobby while her kids were in school, and it quickly became an obsession she couldn’t stop, and then a dream to publish stories of love and passion for romance addicts just like her.

Three years later, her dream came true when she signed with Entangled Publishing for a total of seven books in two of their imprints.
Her Fighting for Love series with MMA heroes debuted July 20th, 2012 for the digital Brazen imprint with the first book, Seducing Cinderella, and reached #9 on Barnes & Noble’s best seller list in just seven days.

When she’s not writing or wrangling plot bunnies, Gina keeps busy with her wonderful family and their ever-growing extra-curricular schedules. Thanks to their immense patience and support, she’s able to do The Thing She Was Meant To Do and live her dream of bringing a little romantic fantasy to the world, even if only in the pages of a good book.

To learn more about Gina, visit her website or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads.


Gina L. Maxwell Swag PackGina is giving away a Seducing Cinderella and Rules of Entanglement swag pack!

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Gina is also giving away a Kindle Fire HD or a $200 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner on the blog tour. To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. For even more chances to enter, visit the other stops on the blog tour!

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Review: Rules of Entanglement by Gina L. Maxwell

Rules of Entanglement by Gina L. MaxwellFormat read: ebook provided by the publisher
Formats available: ebook
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Fighting for Love, #2
Length: 397 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Date Released: March 31, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Seven days. And seven rules to break…

District Attorney Vanessa MacGregor firmly believes that structure and order are the stuff that dreams are made of. Happiness can be planned—and it starts with the seven rules she’s laid out for her future. But as she’s organizing her best friend’s wedding in Hawaii, all of Vanessa’s best-laid plans are about to meet their match in a wickedly hot MMA fighter…

Jackson “Jax” Maris is focused on surfing, training, and fighting. That is, until he opens up his big mouth and finds himself having to pretend he’s engaged to his little sister’s best friend, Vanessa. When they’re forced to share a romantic bungalow, however, their little charade suddenly takes a turn for the seriously sexy. And while Jax is definitely not part of Vanessa’s long-term plan, he has seven days—and seven naughty nights—to turn her seven-rule plan upside down.

My Review:

Leroy Jethro Gibbs from NCISFor this reader, it’s hard for a story to go wrong when one of the main characters starts by invoking Gibbs’ Rules. (For the uninitiated, that would be Leroy Jethro Gibbs, from NCIS.)

Vanessa McGregor created her seven rules to live by as a way to create structure and order in a life that originally had none. It’s her way of coping. Her rules give her control.

Jackson “Jax” Maris usually has too much control. His parents died in an accident when he was barely 18, leaving him to raise his baby sister alone. He held off on his dreams until Lucie was out of school, then he turned to MMA, mixed martial arts, and made his career as a fighter. Control, and again, control. It’s only when he takes a break on his island home in Hawaii that he lays back, a bit.

But his baby sister is marrying his best friend (see Seducing Cinderella, reviewed by Stella and me here) at the Hawaiian resort where Jax is a silent partner, so Jax has to host the festivities, and Lucie’s uber-controlling best friend Nessie. Even worse, Jax and Nessie have to stand in for Lucie and Reid in all the last-minute pre-wedding decision making while Lucie recovers from food poisoning.

It should be simple. He and Nessie should be able to work together well enough to take care of things for their friends. Except that he’s used to being in control, and so is she. And the first thing he does is break one of her “rules”. He’s late picking her up. And then, he expects to smooth it over with charm and steam-roller her into accepting his help, breaking two more rules in about two more minutes.

Nessie is so not having that. She acts more like a dragon than the sea-monster her nickname implies, and starts to breath fire. Jax, used to women falling all over themselves at his charm, is intrigued, and challenged. So he breaks the biggest rule of all. He lies to keep her with him, saying they have to pose as the lovebirds to get into the resort.

The love-bird posing becomes all-too-real, all-too quickly. Both Jax and Nessie are turned on by the challenge that the other one represents. And, they discover that what they have been looking for all along is not someone who fits their previous notions, but someone who stands up to them.

They also have chemistry hotter than an island volcano.

But can they get past Jax’ whopping big lie?

Escape Rating B: I enjoyed Rules of Entanglement, but it didn’t quite live up to the level of fantastic escape set by Seducing Cinderella.

Seducing Cinderella by Gina L. MaxwellNessie has created all those “Rules” because she’s afraid to let herself be happy. She feels guilty at not saving her little sister from probably being abused by one of their many stepfathers. That sounds awful, and it most likely was, but, we don’t get to empathize enough to really feel Nessie’s pain. We don’t meet her sister in the book, she remains a distant and mysterious figure.

Jax spends a lot of the story needing to own who he is. He found out just after his parents died that he was adopted, but never told his sister. He’s a silent partner in the resort, but no one knows. He lied to Nessie to keep her close, but doesn’t tell her the truth until it’s almost too late to save their relationship. At his sister’s wedding, he figures out a way to use his own version of “the Rules” to straighten everything out. It was very sweet, but he certainly took a roundabout way to finally get there!

***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 4-28-13

Sunday PostIn case you’ve missed it, we’re Star Trek fans. If you are, and you missed the showing of star trek best of both worldsthe Star Trek TNG episode The Best of Both Worlds on the big screen this week, you missed a real treat. Not just because the remastered edition is awesome (and a terrific commercial for the Blu-Ray edition damn it!) but because it was great to be in a theater full of fans. Trek can still fill a theater. The original canon Trek can still fill a theater. <insert raspberry here> Which doesn’t mean I didn’t like the reboot and that I’m not going to see Star Trek Into Darkness.

The reboot is fun, but it isn’t quite my Star Trek.

Getting down off my soap box and moving on to the blog, there is still time to enter the Magic Touch Blog Hop. Lots of people are saying that the magic touch they would most like to have is the power to heal. I’m still thinking of Suzanne Selfors book, The Sweetest Spell. I want the power of CHOCOLATE! With enough chocolate, you can heal pretty much anything.

The Magic Circle by Jenny DavidsonThere is also a bit of time to get in on the giveaway for 4 $25 Amazon gift cards from Elise Sax in celebration of her hilarious new romantic suspense story, An Affair to Dismember. Her guest post about a day in the life of her heroine is a laugh out loud read!

And finally, Jenny Davidson is giving away a copy of her fascinating look at immersion in games, and the difference between playing and role-playing, The Magic Circle. This one haunts.

River Road by Suzanne JohnsonHere’s the full recap:

B Review: An Affair to Dismember by Elise Sax
Guest Post by Author Elise Sax: A Day in the Life of Gladie Burger + Giveaway
B+ Review: After Hours by Cara McKenna
A Review: Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson
A Review: River Road by Suzanne Johnson
Interview with Author Suzanne Johnson
B+ Review: The Magic Circle by Jenny Davidson
Guest Post by Author Jenny Davidson + Giveaway
Stacking the Shelves (42)

The Forever Knight by John MarcoI have two guests this week! Speaking of reboots, on Monday, John Marco will be here to talk about the reboot of his Bronze Knight series, an absolutely awesome epic fantasy series. Since his reboot is starting with The Forever Knight, I’ll also have a review of that book and John will be giving away a signed copy of the book.

On Thursday taking a completely different tack, I’ll be reviewing Rules of Entanglement, the second book in Gina L. Maxwell’s Fighting for Love series, after the tremendously fun Seducing Cinderella (reviewed at Book Lovers Inc.) I’ll also have a guest post from Gina and she’ll be giving away a copy of Rules to one lucky winner.

Wild Invitation by Nalini SinghIn between there’ll be reviews of Nalini Singh’s tide-us-over Psy-Changeling collection, Wild Invitation, and Larry Correia’s first Monster Hunter International gun-fest, along with another story from the yummy Strangers on a Train collection.

Come back this week to “read all about it!”


Dual Review: Seducing Cinderella

Format read: ebook
Release Date: 20 July 2012
Series: Book #1 in the Fighting for Love series
Number of pages: 177 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Brazen)
Formats available: ebook
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Read an excerpt


Mixed martial arts fighter Reid Andrews’s chance to reclaim his title as light heavyweight champ is shattered when he’s injured only months before the rematch. To make sure he’s healed in time, his trainer sends him to recuperate under a professional’s care—Reid’s best friend’s little sister, all grown up.

Disorganized and bookish Lucie Miller needs some professional help of her own. She’d do anything to catch the eye of a doctor she’s crushed on for years, so when Reid offers seduction lessons in exchange for 24/7 conditioning for the biggest fight of his career, Lucie jumps at the chance.

Soon Reid finds him himself in the fight of his life…winning Lucie’s heart before she gives it to someone else.

Our Thoughts:

Marlene: The “lessons in seduction” trope is one of my secret favorites, I love seeing it done right. It’s hard to do in contemporary stories without making one of the characters very young, but Maxwell really managed to pull it off with adults. This was terrific.

Stella: Oh I agree Marlene, there is just something delicious in how the hero awakens the heroine to her sensual side and makes her discover a whole new world 😉

Marlene: The use of the “Cinderella” motif was playful and fun, but if we’re talking about fairy tales, this is much more of an “Ugly Duckling” story.

Stella: This is really funny Marlene, as I was reading Seducing Cinderella I kept making notes asking myself why the story was titled Cinderella and not Seducing My Fair Lady, as it was more of a Pygmalion, Ugly Duckling story with how Reid made Lucie the invisible sweats and glasses wearing girl transform into a sexy va-va-voom vixen.

Marlene: The reasons why Lucie needed a transformation were reasonable. She’d been hurt and was hiding in her shapeless clothes and shyness.

Stella: Hm.. interesting I didn’t see it that way, I just thought she was more of a tomboy and was more comfortable in her practical clothes. Since she had a really sexy best friend I found it a bit puzzling how come her temptress of BF didn’t give her tips on how to dress in a more advantageous way and highlight her features with some light makeup.

Marlene: Lucie was definitely a tomboy, but her selfish oaf of an ex- seriously did a number on her. Hiding behind her competence after that experience made sense to me. YMMV. What made Reid the right man for her was that he was interested in her before he transformed her, he was interested while he transformed her, and he was interested after. That idiot doctor only saw the wrapping and not the package.

Stella: Oh don’t even get me started on the doctor, he was such a slimebag I get creeped out just thinking about him. It was quite one big turn off regarding Lucie, I couldn’t understand how she could be such a horrible judge of character that she was blind to what a hypocritical and shallow, egotistical jerk her big crush was. Ugh.. Reid on the other hand was great. Maybe a bit too knowledgeable in some feminine ways but definitely warm-hearted generous, tender and caring towards Lucie and still so virile and strong mmm *dreamy eyes*

Marlene: One of the things that makes this story work is that neither the hero nor the heroine are perfect. Another way of looking at it, continuing the fairy tale themes, would be if Lucie is the Ugly Duckling that Reid helps to turn into a beautiful swan, or if Lucie is Cinderella and Reid is her fairy godfather, then Lucie is also ultimately Beauty to Reid’s Beast, the one woman who sees him as more than just a fighter. They redeem each other, but not until after Reid treats Lucie fairly beastly. There is one pretty big misunderstandammit.

Stella: Oh that Beauty and the Beast parallel you drew is spot on Marlene! Although at times I found that Reid’s knowledge about feminine tricks regarding make up and sexy clothes was a bit too much, I definitely loved how Lucie saw the person behind the fighter and how she supported and loved the man behind the title.

Marlene: We don’t see much of the side characters, but what we do see of Lucie’s friends shows that she does have a good support group. I love her friend Vanessa; she watches NCIS!

Stella: I also loved Vanessa, she was fun, and the gay guy friends were also a riot! Hope to see them again in the next books!


Marlene: I read Seducing Cinderella a few weeks ago in order to write the interview questions, but when it came time to write this review, I got totally sucked in and re-read the book. I only intended to skim it, but I got lost in the story again. It’s not just that the writing was good, but I felt for, or maybe that’s fell for, the characters all over again.

I am seduced into giving Seducing Cinderella 4 ½ stars.

Stella: I agree that Seducing Cinderella was an enchanting and captivating story, I remember that I devoured it in no time and enjoyed every minute of it. Reid was a considerate and delicious hero and Lucie was a very relatable heroine with her insecurities, and when these two got together the air sizzled! A wonderful hot read for summer nights and I’m looking forward to reading the next books in the series!

I give Seducing Cinderella 4 stars!


***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.