Winter Holiday Traditions Guest Post from Lori Foster + Giveaway

Today I’d like to welcome one of my favorite authors, Lori Foster, to share some of her own holiday traditions here at Reading Reality as part of the Winter Holiday Traditions (+ reads!) tour from TLC Book Tours and Harlequin Books.

The book that Lori is featuring this time around (we were part of this tour last year too!) is Close Contact, the third book in her marvelous Body Armor series. I read it a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I hope that it’s one of the book that you might be thinking of curling up with this holiday season!

Bestselling Romance Author Lori Foster Shares
Her Own Family Holiday Traditions

While I detest cold weather, I LOVE the holidays. Ever since my husband and I first married – more than 39 years ago – we’ve been the holiday people. Family parties are at our house and as the family has grown, we’ve learned to adjust.

To make it easier on families with kids, we do Christmas Eve vs Christmas Day. With both sides of our families attending, we get anywhere from 40 to 70 guests. Much depends on whether or not the young adults bring dates. This year we’ll have kids from 6 months to 21 years. (Yes, I still count them as kids.)

I decorate the house inside and out (I hire decorators for the outside!) and I buy gifts for everyone who will be there. I prefer something wrapped to simple gift cards. Because there are so many people, I start my shopping early!

Before Christmas Eve, I get together 200+ Christmas cards to mail. I also do Christmas packages for my grandkids and a few other very special children who I adore. I’ve found that kids love getting mail! I include a Christmas card, a few pieces of candy, and some fun little toys that mail easily.

In early December, I have a luncheon for local authors and some reader friends. It’s so fun to get together with plenty of time to chat and catch up. We usually do an ornament exchange and (when I’m lucky) I end up with lots of cookies from guests. 😊

About 2 weeks before Christmas, I have a kids’ party – just to help the little ones unleash all that anticipatory energy. LOL. We play games, they win prizes, everyone gets a small gift, and then we chow on kid-fun food and desserts.

This year, we’ll probably have Christmas Eve in our new house! The contractor has been working on it for more than a year, but I think we’re close to it being done. It’ll work out better for us because it’s all one big open space – perfect for so many people to mingle. (Plus there’s still a large lower area where the young adults can go to play video games.)

In the middle of all, I still write! I’m like an ogre when I can’t spend at least a little time each weekday working on a story. However you celebrate the holidays, either in a frenzy of activity as I do, or more calmly, at a slower pace, I hope you have lots of love and peace.

About Close Contact:

There’s no resisting a desire like this…
MMA fighter Miles Dartman’s casual arrangement with personal shopper Maxi Nevar would be many men’s fantasy. She seeks him out, they have mindblowing sex, she leaves. Rinse, repeat. Yet lately, Miles wants more. And when Maxi requests his services via the Body Armor security agency, he’s ready to finally break through her defenses—and protect her day and night.
Receiving a large inheritance has brought chaos and uncertainty into Maxi’s life. Her ex has resurfaced, along with lots of former “friends,” and someone is making mysterious threats. Then there’s Miles, who doesn’t ask for anything…except her trust. Pleasure is easy. Now Maxi has to give her heart as well as her body…or risk losing a man who could be everything she needs.
“Foster writes a tale that is off-the-charts hot and steeped with mystery.” – RT Book Reviews on CLOSE CONTACT

“Mysterious things that go bump in the night fuel this romance right into a blaze.” -Night Owl Reviews on CLOSE CONTACT

About Lori Foster: Lori Foster is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author with books from a variety of publishers, including Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin and Silhouette. Lori has been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance. For more about Lori, visit her Web site at


Lori and Harlequin are giving away a$50 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky entrant on this tour!

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This post is part of a TLC book tour. Click on the logo for more reviews and features.

Q&A with Lori Foster + Giveaway

Lori FosterPlease enjoy this Q&A from Lori Foster, who recently published No Limits (reviewed here).

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, No Limits?

This is Cannon’s story, a character that readers met in my last series, Love Undercover. From the second Cannon showed up on the page, I knew he’d get his own story. He’s that kind of guy, the guy who steps up and takes notice and gets a lot of notice in return.

In No Limits, Cannon reunites with Yvette, another character from the previous series. They parted under strained circumstances, with Cannon just heading into professional MMA and Yvette young and traumatized from a horrific threat. Cannon saved her then, but he was noble because of her age and what she’d been through.

Now she’s older, more independent, and he’s ready to make up for lost time.

What was it like getting inside the mind of a mixed martial arts fighter?

no limits by lori fosterI’ve interviewed a few fighters over the years, chatted with others while getting promotional photos and during before and after “meet and greets” while at live events. Every single fighter I’ve met has been extremely nice, unassuming, dedicated to fans, and (though it sounds silly) very sweet. It took only a few questions to see how much they give to the sport they love, the discipline it takes to stay in training, and the confidence they gain from having extreme ability.

Since I’ve never asked a fighter about his love life, that part of the story is pure imagination on my part. But then I only write good guys, and talented lovers.

What is your process for choosing names like Cannon Colter?

I’m a terrible cheat when it comes to names. More often than not I see a name on Facebook or Twitter that I like. I never, ever use a first and last name together, but I do pick and choose and mix and match. When I see a unique name, or a name that resonates with me, I grab it up.

When I’m writing, I’m far less focused on names than I am on personality. Names for me are an afterthought, so stealing from my social media sites makes it easy.

What music did you listen to while writing No Limits?

I have a long playlist of about 150 songs. Much of it is from KORN and Kid Rock and Marilyn Manson, but I’ve also really gotten into Disturbed, The Pretty Reckless, Papa Roach, Skillet and Puddle of Mud. Oh, and Cage the Elephant. I like loud, strong music that I can sing along with while I’m writing.

Can you tell us about the process behind the cover artwork?

Ooooh, I LOVE getting new covers. So exciting. The way it works is that I give my editor an idea of what the characters look like. Usually this means emailing her my own character sheets – notes I keep on the characters to detail (and help me remember) height, eye and hair color, body type, etc… I usually include any and all info like the car he/she drives, job description, age and any other pertinent information that I might need to recall from book to book.

My editor also asks for a synopsis, but since they usually start working on covers long before I know what the story is about, it’s a guessing game on my end. I know there’ll be a hunk, a heroine, some suspense, hot sex, lots of emotion, and a happy ending. The how’s and why’s are often not clear to me at that point.

Then the publisher has a meeting with the art department and they all brainstorm cover ideas and come up with a concept that I get to see.

The concept is just an idea. It’ll show a model, but not THE model. It’ll show a pose, but not THE pose. I see where the placement of my name and the title will appear, along with any quotes.

Once that’s approved, the art dept does a photo shoot and from those images they choose the once they like best. I weigh in with pleas of chest hair.

Chest hair is always my #1 requirement if they show the model with his shirt off.
Understand, this is for new novels, not novellas or reissues. For those they generally use stock art.

It’s all very fun and I can honestly say I’ve loved the artwork so far.

Have you written an outline for the No Limits series or do you make it up as you go?

hard knocks by lori fosterI totally make it up as I go along. Or I should say my characters make it up. I never try to figure things out in advance because as sure as I do, the characters will have a different idea and they’ll rebel, making it difficult to write until I give them their way. Fighting it is futile. But since they’re seldom wrong, it works for us. (And yes, I’m nuts. I don’t fight that either.)

Usually the characters will give me enough clues along the way to keep the writing flow steady. For instance, while I was writing No Limits, Denver stepped up and talked about Cherry and made it clear his book needed to be next. Now while I’m writing Holding Strong (Denver’s story) Stack is giving me nudges, saying, “Me next, me next. And I’m going after Vanity… whether she or I know it yet or not.”

So that’s how I know Stack’s story will be after Denver’s.

Armie has said he wants to wait, stew on things a while, come to grips with his future… so I’m letting him get used to the idea of what is to come. 😉

What are you working on next?

I’m writing Denver’s story right now, titled Holding Strong. It’s due out in spring 2015 and I’m loving Denver and Cherry together – and them as a couple with the rest of the fighters around. It’s a very fun dynamic.

After that I’ll do another benefit novella for June 2015. It’ll be part of the Buckhorn family and all proceeds from sales of the book will go to a charity. I’m not yet sure which of the Buckhorn clan will be featured, but I’m sure it’ll all come to me in plenty of time.

And then I’ll jump into Stack’s story. He should be ready by then – which means I’ll also be ready. Luckily the characters keep me writing. In fact, if there were more hours in the day, I’m not sure they’d ever let me stop.


Lori is kindly giving away a copy of No Limits to one lucky winner (US only)! To enter, use the Rafflecopter below:

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Review: No Limits by Lori Foster

no limits by lori fosterFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, hardcover, mass market paperback, audiobook
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Ultimate, #1
Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Date Released: September 1, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Cannon Colter is quintessential hero material: chiseled jawline, shredded body—the works. He’s also the guy who rescued Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers, only to put an end to her romantic dreams. These days, she’s older, smarter, determined to face whatever life throws her way. Even the prospect of sharing a house and business with Cannon.

Cannon knew Yvette wanted him three years ago. But she was young—and some things are worth waiting for. Thrown together by her grandfather’s legacy, he realizes how deep Yvette’s scars really go, and how much danger lurks in their quiet town. As pent-up desire explodes between them, protecting her becomes the only fight that matters. And he’ll break all the rules to do it….

My Review:

No Limits is a Lori Foster story that ties together the alpha romance of her SBC Fighters series with the romantic suspense of her Love Undercover series.

dash of peril by lori fosterIn fact, the beginning of Cannon and Yvette’s relationship, including the horrific event that sent Yvette running to California, is part of the case that Dash and Margaret finally solve in Dash of Peril (reviewed here).

The way that Cannon and Yvette’s story begins in Dash of Peril, Cannon helps the police solve a serial rapist/murder case by trying his best to protect Yvette from the perpetrators. Although the bad get their just desserts, Yvette still suffers the terrible trauma of being kidnapped and doused in kerosene, threatened with rape and immolation, and forced to watch as another woman is raped.

Cannon is angry with himself because he wasn’t able to protect her, even though he was merely a neighborhood do-gooder, and not a police officer.

Yvette has always had a crush on Cannon, but he’s sure she’s too young for him. But she’s 20, not 18, and he never knew. She also throws herself at him, just before she leaves town to heal.

He never forgot her. He also kept kicking himself for thinking she was younger than she was. In three years, he’s been hoping for a way to start over, or to start where they didn’t quite leave off. Her grandfather’s death gives him that opportunity. Grandfather left his property in equal shares to Yvette and Cannon, not because Cannon needs it, but because Yvette’s grandfather is certain that Yvette needs to find a reason to come home to stay, and that Cannon will provide that reason if he ties them to each other.

Cannon’s perfectly willing to get with that program, its Yvette who balks. Everyone in their small Ohio town knows exactly what happened three years ago, and Yvette hates being the center of everyone’s attention, and especially their pity.

In California she can be exactly who she wants to be, and has carved out a life that allows her not to lean on anyone. She hates feeling like she’s still a victim.

Unfortunately for Yvette, there is more than one person in her town who is all too eager to make her a victim, yet again. But this time, she definitely has Cannon in her corner, and moving in to her life.

It’s up to her whether her inability to let herself lean on anyone will keep her from relying on Cannon and his friends when she really needs them, or whether she can finally let herself live her life.

hard knocks by lori fosterEscape Rating B: No Limits is the first full-length novel in Foster’s Ultimate series, after the short and sexy novella Hard Knocks (reviewed here).

No Limits does a terrific job of filling in the stage and providing further background and setup for the characters, while letting long-term readers get a glimpse and what our old friends are going from the two previous series.

Cannon is definitely an alpha hero in Foster’s marvelous of pattern of strong, sexy men who can’t help their protective instincts, while still believing that the women in their lives have agency and control over their actions. He’s there to keep Yvette safe because the things that are after her are beyond any single person’s control. She’s being stalked by an ex who has lost his marbles and really wants to hurt her.

It’s not that she’s not capable, but that there is more going on than any one person can handle. She’s willing to let her friend Vanity look out for her, but it takes her longer to accept that she’s become part of Cannon’s inner circle, and that all the guys want to watch out for her.

She has a huge chip on her shoulder about the attack from three years ago. It’s a small town, and everyone knows what happened. Her desire NOT to be the center of any more attention is understandable, even if she does take it way too far.

That there is someone in town who seems determined to both attack her and make her the center of even more negative attention adds suspense and makes Yvette want to retreat back into her shell.

Everything that happens gives Yvette further reasons to doubt herself and any relationship with Cannon. His patient but relentless pursuit is surprisingly sweet, while his eventual “catching” of her provides some serious heat.

I really enjoyed Cannon’s character and all the guys at the rec center. It was fun to see where the next relationships are going to be, and who is getting involved with whom often in spite of themselves.

I wish that the chip on Yvette’s shoulder hadn’t been quite so large. I wanted to shake her and get her to wake up and smell the proverbial coffee pretty often. Still, it’s obvious at the end that she realizes both how lucky she is, and what a close escape from danger she had. Again.

She gets by with a little (sometimes a lot) of help from both her own and Cannon’s friends..

***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 or borrowed from a public library 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.

Review: Hard Knocks by Lori Foster

hard knocks by lori fosterFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Ultimate, #0.5
Length: 61 pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Date Released: August 4, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Power. Brute strength. Unforgettable moves. It’s no wonder Harper Gates hasn’t been able to get her fling with Gage “Savage” Ringer out of her head. Months have passed since she laid eyes—or any other body parts—on him. Months without a word of contact…until, sidelined by injury, he comes back to town.

Staying focused on his training seemed like a smart move to Gage, even if he thought about Harper every day. Seeing her again only makes it clear how much is at stake. He’s got one night to earn back her trust. One night to show her that behind his breathtaking skill and ripped body is a man who’ll give her everything she needs.

My Review:

Hard Knocks is a short teaser that shows readers just how Lori Foster is planning to combine two of her series (Love Undercover and SBC Fighters) into one sizzling story.

getting rowdy by lori fosterThe action takes place at Cannon’s rec center. Cannon was an important side character in Getting Rowdy (reviewed here), the third book in Love Undercover. Cannon is a mixed martial arts fighter who is training himself to fight in the SBC. While training, he becomes Rowdy’s bartender and bouncer, and helps police the neighborhood and bring down the bad guys.

His reward is a contract with the SBC, but he uses some of his new found wealth and prestige to open a recreation center in the run-down town he started from. It’s a place where fighters can train, and most importantly, a safe place where kids can play, learn and keep off the streets. The disciplined fighters serve as coaches and role models for the kids who might otherwise be sucked into gangs or other dangerous and hopeless behaviors.

no limits by lori fosterWhile the story takes place at Cannon’s rec center, it isn’t Cannon’s story. That comes next in No Limits. But in this story, the neighborhood and all the fighters back at Cannon’s center are watching him fight on TV.

Instead, we have the story of Gage and Harper. While I want to say that Harper is kind of the mascot of Cannon’s rec center, that diminishes both her role and her agency, so it’s not quite right. She is kind of the glue that holds the neighborhood to the center, AND she’s the honorary sister of every one of the fighters who train there.

She’s family.

Gage is the one fighter who doesn’t see her as a little sister. They grew up together, but now that they are both adults, they were heading towards a relationship. Fast.

Until Gage went to another camp to train for an important fight, and wasn’t the least bit clear about his feelings for Harper or his intentions when he came back. Then he got injured in training and had to come home. He expected a warm welcome, and got the cold shoulder.

Let’s just say he was REALLY unclear (read that as silent) about his feelings for Harper or his hopes for furthering their relationship. He was too busy concentrating on the fight.

The sizzling heat of Hard Knocks is created when Gage and Harper try to figure out what they each want, while in the middle of that neighborhood crowd watching the fight. So everyone they know watches them court and spark.

Lots and lots of sparks, enough to set the place on fire.

Escape Rating B: Hard Knocks is way, way too short. It does provide a nice setup for the rest of the series (It feels like all the fighters we meet are going to get their own book!)

Gage and Harper’s story gets shorted just a bit. This isn’t a “falling in love” story, it’s more of a long-term friends into lovers story, but we don’t get quite enough background. Other people report on their feelings and reaction to each other, and we see into both of their heads a bit, but the story is more of one hot encounter than seeing them fall in love and getting invested in their relationship.

I also felt that Harper sold herself short, or gave up too easily about communicating what she needs. On the other hand, the introduction to the guys and the neighborhood was great.

As a tease for the Ultimate series, Hard Knocks certainly set the stage for plenty of hot romance and fighting action to follow.

***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 or borrowed from a public library 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.

Review: Dash of Peril by Lori Foster + Giveaway

dash of peril by lori fosterFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, ebook, large print, audiobook
Genre: romantic suspense
Series: Love Undercover #4
Length: 480 pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Date Released: March 25, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

To bring down a sleazy abduction ring, Lieutenant Margaret “Margo” Peterson has set herself up as bait. But recruiting Dashiel Riske as her unofficial partner is a whole other kind of danger. Dash is 6’4″ of laid-back masculine charm, a man who loves life—and women—to the limit. Until Margo is threatened, and he reveals a dark side that may just match her own.

Beneath Margo’s tough facade is a slow-burning sexiness that drives Dash crazy. The only way to finish this case is to work together side by side…skin to skin. And as their mission takes a lethal turn, he’ll have to prove he’s all the man she needs—in all the ways that matter.

My Review:

Lori Foster’s Love Undercover series comes to a smoking hot conclusion in Dash of Peril. If you enjoy your romantic suspense long on the romance and short on the suspense, this story is a winner.

And while it’s absolutely not necessary to have read the whole series to get totally into Dash of Peril, there is lots of input from characters previously introduced in the series that are much sweeter if you know all the players.

getting rowdy by lori fosterAlthough the romance starts almost as soon as the book does, this is not an insta-love story. Margo and Dash have been dancing around their attraction for each other since the second book in the series, Getting Rowdy (reviewed here). It’s just taken several months (and one more book) for things to reach a point where Margo is pretty much forced to acknowledge that whether or not she’s ever been taught that it is okay to need someone, she definitely needs Dash Riske, and for more than just his body in her bed.

This is where the suspense takes a second place to the romance. One of the parts of the overall story is that there used to be a LOT of corruption within the police department, a department where Margo Peterson is a detective and a lieutenant. Dash’ brother Logan is one of her trusted officers (his story was told in the excellent series starter, Run the Risk). Her other trusted officer, and Logan’s detective partner, is Reese Bareden, the human hero of Bare it All. (The canine hero is pretty awesome too!)

Bare It All by Lori FosterBut Margo’s father is the retired chief of police, and we discover that there is a cloud around his retirement. (Also that Margo’s family redefines dysfunctional).

There’s a case that fuels the suspense part of the story. Someone is kidnapping and drugging young women, and raping them while filming the entire disgusting episode for amateur porn. Two women are dead, and two other women will need years to get their lives back. Margo has been hunting for the perps.

Suddenly they are hunting her. There’s a contract on her life, and the way she discovers that there is a price on her head is when someone t-bones her car, on purpose in a smash and run. Only Dash’ presence on the scene saves her from being finished off right then.

Now that Margo is wounded (a concussion, her elbow is dislocated, and seriously ouch!) she needs help. And she needs an able-bodied person to stick around until she’s healed enough to get back to work and use her gun hand.

Dash has been trying to find a way into Margo’s life since she first let him be her unofficial partner in an undercover sting on this same set of villains.

Dash takes the opportunity to help Margo figure out that she can still be the alpha cop at work while letting herself be something else on her off-duty time. And that it’s important to have some off-duty time!

But while they are redefining their surprisingly hot and inventive relationship, someone much closer to home is bringing the bad guys to Margo’s door.

Escape Rating A-: I enjoyed Dash of Peril the most of the entire series, and I liked all of them! But this one I just couldn’t put down at all. As absolutely hot and sexy as Dash seemed to be, what really made the story for me was Margo. I could identify with the woman who had to be in such control at work, and with good reason, that she had a hard time letting go in any way when she wasn’t on the job. So she let her work consume her life and her identity.

Once she lets herself admit that she has feelings for Dash, he is able to get into her life, and help her to achieve, let’s call it a better work/life balance, where before she didn’t have any balance at all.

Run the Risk by Lori FosterThe way in which her family dynamics are totally screwed up gave me even more sympathy for her. Lots of people wouldn’t have done half as well. But those same family dynamics help obscure the identity of one of the villains, and in a way that keeps the readers guessing until the very end.

Dash of Peril also wraps up the long-simmering tension in the police department, and in a way that provides resolution for the characters and the reader.

As an added bonus, a couple of the great guys from Foster’s SBC series make a cameo appearance, as a way of kicking off (or punching out) the beginning of her next series, starting with Cannon, Rowdy’s friend and a very appealing side-character in this series. I can hardly wait!


Lori is giving away a print copy of Dash of Peril to one lucky commenter below (US/CAN only).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

***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 or borrowed from a public library 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.

Q&A with Lori Foster + Giveaway

Lori FosterToday, Reading Reality is part of Lori Foster’s Getting Rowdy Blog Tour! Read my review of Getting Rowdy here and enjoy this Q&A from Lori.

Marlene: What is your favorite scene from the book and why?

Lori: I based the video book trailer for Getting Rowdy off my favorite scene: Avery showing up at Rowdy’s apartment, soaking wet from a furious rain, insistent that he follow through on sensual promises. :::sigh::: Rowdy needed her to do that, and somehow Avery knew. If you haven’t seen the book trailer, it’s here on YouTube.

honor's splendour by julie garwoodMarlene: Book you most want to read again for the first time?

Lori: Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood. Ooooh, I just love, love that book! Also Lion’s Lady and The Bride and… well, all of her historicals. I also love historicals by Catherine Coulter and Johanna Lindsay and Amanda Quick… good stuff!

Marlene: What projects do you have planned for the future?

Lori: I just finished Dash’s story. Dash is the brother of the hero from the first book, Run the Risk. I think readers will be surprised with Dash now that it’s his turn to reveal his soul. I know I was surprised! I kept thinking, Dash, you devil! Lol.

And now I’m ready to get started on Cannon’s book. Cannon (You met him in Getting Rowdy) will actually star in the first book of a new series set for Sept 2014. I really enjoyed him in Getting Rowdy, and he has a larger role in Dash’s book, Dash of Peril (April 2014) so I hope readers like him as much as I do!

Marlene: What are some words your family and friends would use to describe you?

Lori: Hmmm… I actually just asked them, and here’s what they said:

Compassionate, considerate, kind, animal lover, grounded and organized, and from one of my sons: Small and Feisty, but also faithful and considerate.

Awww… I have such wonderful family and friends!

Marlene: Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Lori: Morning! I’m usually up by 4:30 am and by 9:00 pm I want to be in my PJs. I’m usually dragging off to bed by 10 or 10:30 pm. I’ve always been something of an insomniac, and about 6 hours in the bed is all I can take.



Lori is kindly giving away a paperback copy of Getting Rowdy to one lucky winner. To enter, use the Rafflecopter below.

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Review: Getting Rowdy by Lori Foster

getting rowdy by lori fosterFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, paperback, audiobook
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Love Undercover #3
Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Date Released: September 24, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Charismatic bar owner Rowdy Yates isn’t the kind of man women say no to. So when he approaches waitress Avery Mullins, he fully expects to get her number. However, the elusive beauty has her reasons for keeping her distance—including a past that might come back to haunt them both.

Avery spends her nights working for tips… and trying to forget the secret Rowdy is determined to unearth. But when history threatens to repeat itself, Avery grows to rely on Rowdy’s protective presence. As the sparks between them ignite, she will be forced to choose between the security she’s finally found… and the passion she’s always wanted..

My Review:

506px-Clint_Eastwood-Rawhide_publicityI love that the main character of Getting Rowdy was named for the character Clint Eastwood played in the old TV western Rawhide, way, way back, Rowdy Yates. There is even a resemblance between the book cover picture and the character.

And it’s all too possible to think of lots of Eastwood’s western heroes riding to the rescue of Avery Mullins the way that this Rowdy Yates does, whether Avery consents to being rescued or not. Because Avery needs a little help from a friend, and Rowdy is willing to be that friend, or even “friends with benefits”, if he can get Avery to let him get that close.

This a story of two people who don’t let anyone close, although they have totally different reasons for why they keep people outside of their inner circle and exactly how they each define what “close” means.

Run the Risk by Lori FosterRowdy has his sister Pepper. We’ve already read her story in Run the Risk (reviewed here) Because of the childhood abuse that Rowdy protected Pepper from, he grew up not trusting anyone. The last several years he spent hiding in plain sight while he guarded Pepper did not make him more trusting. After all, it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you. And the mob, along with some corrupt cops, really were out to get him. But that’s finally behind them and Pepper is married to one of the good cops, Logan Riske.

So Rowdy has started to put down roots in order to stay close to Pepper. He’s bought a bar and is cleaning up the place. Not clean up as in dirt, but clean up as in getting the low-lifes out of the area. It used to be a place where the owner did drug dealing and flesh peddling. Now it’s a middle-class place where people can get a halfway decent meal and the drinks aren’t watered down. It’s a safe place and Rowdy keeps it that way.

It’s also where he picks up too many women for his bartender’s comfort. Avery Mullins is the one woman he really wants, but she keeps turning him down. Rowdy uses sex as a way of keeping his nightmares away. There’s just been too much crap in his life. He doesn’t sleep much and no-strings-attached sex is his way of finding oblivion.

Avery has demons and secrets of her own, but no-strings-attached sex with Rowdy Yates is about the last thing she’s going after as a way of getting past anything. She wants him, but she has no interest in being just another notch on his much-marked bedpost. And her job as bartender at his place is too good to jeopardize with a one-night-stand, no matter how terrific.

One-night-stands are all Rowdy ever does. His friendship is more important to Avery than sex. Then she discovers that his protection is an absolute necessity, because her past comes back to find her.

And once Rowdy discovers that Avery needs him, he realizes that he wants to protect her much, much more than he ever thought he wanted to escape. The man who never had a home may have finally found one, if he can convince himself that he’s worthy of keeping her.

Escape Rating B+: I always look forward to another Lori Foster book. Her romantic suspense series deliver marvelous stories that fulfill both parts of that equation every single time! She always tells a delicious romantic story that also includes spine-tingling suspense, and Getting Rowdy definitely was another story in that marvelous tradition!

Rowdy and Avery have been dancing around each other since they first met in Run the Risk, so it was terrific to see both what was keeping them apart and how they finally managed to get together. While we know a lot of Rowdy’s history from Pepper, it was different seeing things from Rowdy’s perspective; he protected her from a lot of the worst of it, which means he had a lot of healing to do.

Avery might have been a bit more understanding about Rowdy’s parade of female bed partners than other women would have been. While he doesn’t owe her anything until they start seeing each other, it would have been more than unnerving to have a man hit on you nearly every night and then pick someone else up when you turned him down. Only to rinse and repeat the very next evening.

Avery’s situation starts out chilling and only gets squickier. No wonder she ran. I like her character and the way she took charge of her life a lot. I was a bit surprised at just how creepy her enemies turned out to be. The evil-dude turned out to be a bit over-the-top, to the point where I was amazed that if he was that much of a creepazoid, I wondered why he hadn’t dragged her back earlier.

Bare It All by Lori FosterThe group dynamics as a whole are loads of fun. It was great to see Logan, Pepper, Reese and Alice (especially Cash!) from Run the Risk and Bare it All (reviewed here) again. Rowdy’s reluctant bonding with the rest of the guys is a hoot.

I can’t wait for book 4, Dash of Peril.

***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 or borrowed from a public library 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.

Q&A with Author Lori Foster + Giveaway

Today, Reading Reality is part of Lori Foster’s Bare It All Blog Tour! Read my review of Bare It All here and enjoy this Q&A from Lori.

Also, I’m very pleased to be able to host a giveaway, courtesy of the tour, of one print copy of Bare It All. (US only)

Marlene: Describe the qualities in your “perfect” hero.

Lori: Well first off, he has to be imperfect. I can’t imagine anything more boring that perfection.

He has to be a man. A man’s man. I’m totally not into the metrosexual guy. If he paints his toenails… yeah, he won’t be in my book. Oh, and if he waxes his chest? Bleh. My guys are too busy kicking butt and saving mankind to groom their chests.

He has to be strong – physically strong is nice, but more important than that is mental and emotional strength. If he’s going to cry, it better be for a really good reason. Not because he lost a sporting event or watched a sad movie.

He has to be respectful to everyone who deserves it – which means unless someone has given him real reason to be disrespectful, he’ll be polite.

He has to be capable. It drives me INSANE when someone writes a hero who can’t change a diaper. I mean, that’s pretty basic. If you can’t do that, how can you possibly master anything complicated like driving a car or shaving?

He should be kind, with a sense of humor.

And he absolutely MUST love animals and feel protective toward children.

Being a stallion in bed doesn’t hurt either.

Marlene: When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?

Lori: Tried and true! Nothing with eyeballs. Nothing that looks like a bug. (Shrimp = grub worms. Lobsters = insects. Whole fish that are looking at me… shudders.) I love roast and mashed potatoes, stuffed pork chops, beef stew and bean soup and sauerkraut with ribs… I’m a country girl.

And I’ve never met a dessert I didn’t like!

Marlene: As a romance writer, what is your idea of the “ideal romantic evening”?

Lori: My husband and I are not, and never have been, party people – unless it’s an afternoon family party. When we go to the movies, it’s usually a matinee. So with that in mind, I like easy, slow evenings where he cooks me something delicious for dinner (he’s turned into an amazing cook!) and then either the theater (not too late) or a good movie on the television, dressed in our comfortable clothes. Just us, quiet time, being together.

Marlene: Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next?

Lori: I have an event schedule to make it easier for readers to locate me!

I’m all over the net, too. Goodreads, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, PushPage, and I have a really useful once-a-month newsletter that keeps readers caught up on all the happenings.

June of every year I organize the “Reader & Author Get Together” with my good friend Duffy Brown. 500 romance readers, authors, editors, and editors getting together for fun, food, games, raffles and book signings. We’ve sold out already, but the book signings are open to the public! Check out the deets on that here!

Marlene: What project are you working on next?

Lori: That depends on how long it takes me to finish my current manuscript – which will be book 4 in the Love Undercover series. If I finish it early enough, I’ll start a new L. L. Foster book, meaning more urban fantasy and more graphic gore. If it takes longer to finish, then I’ll jump into the next romance single title.

BlogtourSuitcase_BARE IT ALL


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Bare It All by Lori Foster

Bare It All by Lori FosterFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, mass market paperback, audiobook
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Love Undercover, #2
Length: 476 pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Date Released: April 30, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

As the person responsible for taking down a brutal human trafficker, Alice Appleton fears retaliation at every turn. No one knows about her past, which is exactly how she prefers it…until the sexy cop next door comes knocking.

Detective Reese Bareden thinks he knows what makes women tick, but his ever-elusive neighbor keeps him guessing like no other. Is his goal to unmask Alice’s secrets? Or protect her from a dangerous new threat? One thing is certain: their chemistry is a time bomb waiting to explode. And with no one to trust but each other, Reese and Alice are soon drawn into a deadly maze of corruption, intrigue and desire—and into the line of fire….

My Review:

The way to a man’s heart may be through his stomach, but the way to a woman’s heart is through a dog…at least if the dog is as adorable as the former stray Cash seems to be.

Cash snuffles his way into Alice Appleton’s guarded heart with his doggy grin and open-hearted need for affection and discipline, allowing his owner Reese Bareden to slip in along with him. Alice didn’t stand a chance.

Run the Risk by Lori FosterAlice makes her first appearance in Run the Risk, lending her calm manner and her Glock to the takedown of the bad guys stalking Rowdy and Pepper Yates and staking out Reese’s apartment. Up until then, she’s been Reese’s intriguing pet-sitter for the young and rambunctious Cash.

But her focused demeanor in the midst of utter chaos sets off all Reese’s cop senses. He’s always been interested in Alice as a beautiful woman, but now he knows that she’s hiding some serious secrets, and he can’t help but want to know more. Something about the shy woman with the heart of a lioness brings out his protective streak.

While the cleanup crew washes “death” out of his apartment, Reese uses Alice’s care for Cash as an excuse to stay in her apartment. They all need someone to be with after the shootout. But the close proximity leads to explosive chemistry that neither of them can resist.

And as Reese begins to peel back the layers that have made Alice into the determined, and determinedly protective, woman that she it, Reese Bareden discovers that he wants, no he needs to discover not just what made her that way, but whether they can bare both their bodies and their souls to each other.

If they can get past the need to keep so damn many secrets.

Escape Rating B+: The group dynamic in this story is tremendously fun! We see Logan and Pepper, the couple from the first story (Run the Risk, reviewed here) still working out their relationship. And we see Pepper’s protective brother Rowdy trying to find a new way to live now that he doesn’t have to spend 24/7 guarding Pepper.

Rowdy’s spent several years skirting the edge of the law, so he’s having a hard time adjusting to the idea that his soon-to-be brother-in-law is a cop. Best of all, the first “job” that Rowdy takes on is protecting Alice. They immediately bond as quasi-siblings, and it drives Reese nuts. The banter between Rowdy and Alice was hilarious, and listening in on Alice egging Reese on was great!

The suspense element in Bare It All was terrific. Not just about Alice’s past, but also Alice’s steps into becoming a vigilante, and getting it all to tie into the crooked cops in Reese and Logan’s squad and Rowdy’s new business. The danger to Alice, and to the whole crew, really ratcheted up the tension!

getting rowdyI can’t wait for Getting Rowdy to see where the danger leads this crew next!

***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 5-5-13

Sunday Post

It’s been a good week! I managed to get a plug in for science fiction romance at my day job this week. The Seattle Public Library blog Shelf Talk mostly talks about books (surprise!) My post this week, Romance, with a little rocket fuel, highlighted some recent SFR. I’ll be posting semi-regularly on romance, but I wanted to start off with a bit of a zing.

Back to our regularly scheduled Sunday Post on this blog.

Gina L. Maxwell Swag PackWe have a Winner! The winner of The Magic Touch Blog Hop last week was Trix. I’ve already contacted her and sent her the $10 Amazon Gift Card. I hope she gets something really wonderful (dare I say magical) to read.

There is still time to enter the giveaway this week for an autographed copy of John Marco’s The Forever Knight. This one is print, so it’s US/CAN shipping only.

And, there is still time to enter Gina L. Maxwell’s Seducing Cinderella/Rules of Entanglement swag pack giveaway AND her tourwide giveaway of a Kindle Fire HD or $200 Amazon Gift Card.

The forever Knight by john MarcoHere’s everything that happened this week:

A- Review: The Forever Knight by John Marco
Interview with Author John Marco + Giveaway
Wild Invitation by Nalini Singh: Beat of Temptation B-; Stroke of Enticement B; Declaration of Courtship C; Texture of Intimacy B+
B Review: Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia
B Review: Rules of Entanglement by Gina L. Maxwell
Guest Post by Author Gina L. Maxwell on the Yin-Yang Relationship + Giveaway
B Review: Thank You for Riding by Meg Maguire
Stacking the Shelves (43)

Bare It All by Lori FosterComing up this week, on Tuesday Lori Foster’s Bare It All tour will be stopping at Reading Reality. In addition to a review of the latest book in her Love Undercover series, I have a Q&A with Lori and a chance for one lucky commenter to win a copy of the book.

On Thursday, Robin Covington will be here for an interview, and readers will have a chance to win a copy of her new book, His Southern Temptation. (My review of that delicious story was posted on April 17)

Wicked as She Wants by Delilah S. DawsonAnd because I find the Blud series irresistibly wicked, I’ll have reviews of Delilah S. Dawson’s The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance and the long awaited Wicked As She Wants to round out the week.

I hope you’re having a wickedly delicious spring!