Seized: The Pipe Woman Chronicles

Mediating between two opposing sides in legal disputes comes just a little too easily for Naomi Witherspoon. She is an ace mediator for her law firm, but when she discovers that she can “suggest” that the car ahead of her just get out of her way, and it does so by running a red light almost causing a head-on collision, Naomi realizes that all the sudden coincidences in her life are more than just her being very good at her job.

Naomi never expects to discover that a Sioux goddess has chosen Naomi as her avatar for the upcoming end of the world. And Naomi isn’t all that sure that she wants the job.

It makes the conflict of Naomi’s emotions and beliefs a wild ride in Seized, the first book of The Pipe Woman Chronicles by Lynne Cantwell.

As Naomi’s journey begins, her life seems pretty good. She has a job she mostly like, a best friend she trusts and a handsome man who she hopes will finally pop the question after eight years of on-again/off-again that seems to finally be on track.

But there are some gaps in her life she still needs to fill. Her law firm is pretty wishy-washy about her mediation practice, and that’s a big problem. Naomi doesn’t feel right about litigation, especially considering some of the rich scumbags they’ve started representing. She’s good at finding compromises, maybe too good. She loves mediation, especially the court-appointed work she’s been doing.

About that man of hers…well, Brock has been part of her life since law school, but he’s got one heck of a roving eye, and sometimes other body parts. He’s very handsome but just a bit on the shady side when it comes to practicing law. But this time, their togetherness seems to be sticking. Naomi just wishes he’d finally ask her to marry him already.

There’s one haunting blank spot in Naomi’s life. She doesn’t know who her father is. Her mother says that he died in the Vietnam War, and won’t talk about him. His name isn’t on Naomi’s birth certificate, and there are no pictures. Her mom won’t talk about him. But the war ended two years before Naomi was born. Pregnancy may seem like forever, but it doesn’t last that long.

Naomi’s best friend Shannon knows all the answers. At least, enough of the answers to put Naomi on the right path. But Shannon knows Naomi well enough that Naomi will have to start the journey for herself.

But Shannon believes that the world encompasses more than just technology and logic. She believes that there is still magic, and faith, and powers that shape the universe in ways that Naomi’s legalist mind doesn’t want to see. Shannon says that she’s “fey on her Irish granny’s side”.

So when Naomi figures out that some of her gift of mediation is more than just training. Shannon takes her to a ritual Native American “sweat” outside of Denver. A very special ritual just for Naomi. So that Naomi can meet her destiny. And save the world.

But only if she can manage to accept it. While that destiny turns her entire set of beliefs, her identity, her world, upside-down and inside out.

Escape Rating B: This has the potential to be a very interesting series, and I definitely liked the opener. The story is ultimately about a war among the gods, through human avatars. What was interesting was that the primary point-of-view deity chose, not a warrior, but a mediator as their avatar. So the war is might be decided through negotiation rather than outright warfare. Neat choice!

This is a building of the fellowship type of story. A teacher, a healer, a mediator, a guardian create the team. The overarching story looks like a battle of the pantheons, with a flavor of “this has all happened before, and it will all happen again” thrown in for good measure. The gods and goddesses are picking sides, not because the conflict can be stopped, but because they want to make sure the result it “better” than the last time.

What constitutes “better”? That’s always the question. Naomi’s side represents better for the environment. The other side is looking for more unbridled development. Odin is on the other side. This has the potential to make things very, very interesting in the later books.

There is a love story involved, or rather, an insta-attraction sub-plot. But whether Naomi and Joseph’s story turns out to be real love or the goddess making sure things go along the right path for her purposes is something that will be further investigated in book 2. Which I want to read.

Lynne will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter on the tour.

So, if you want to read all of Naomi’s journey (or all that’s available so far), here’s your chance! Comment! Leave a comment on this review, and on all the stops on the review tour this week. Lynne will be giving one lucky commenter a $10 Amazon GC. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

May 21: A Case of Reading Insomnia
May 22: Cafe of Dreams Book Reviews
May 23: From Me to You … Video, Photography, & Book Reviews
May 24: Reading Reality
May 25: Stories of My Life


Guest Post: Lilly Cain on Writing and Loving the Alien + Giveaway

Let’s welcome Lilly Cain, the author of the science fiction romance series The Confederacy Treaty, to Reading Reality. SFR is a genre that’s near and dear to my heart, so I really enjoyed all three books in the series (I couldn’t wait to read Undercover Alliance).

The thing about science fiction, including science fiction romance, is that humans are not likely to be the only people out there in the galaxy. Which means that, sooner or later, we’re going to run across aliens. Some will be lovable and some will be detestable. Some will be cuddly and some will be sexy.

The sexy aliens are the stuff that science fiction romances are made of.

Writing And Loving the Alien

First of all, thanks for having me here, at Reading Reality! I’m so glad to be celebrating my erotic sci-fi series, The Confederacy Treaty, from Carina Press.  Alien Revealed is the first book of the series, and the third will be coming out in June – Undercover Alliance.






When I came up with the concept for the series – Earth’s first treaty with an alien political alliance, I decided that a big group of crazy looking aliens descending on earth would be fun, but probably not conducive to romance. I write erotic romance, walking way over the edge of sexy, so I knew my aliens would have to be, well, compatible with us. I decided that the Confederacy as a group would be wise enough to agree and would send the Inarrii, humanoids that look enough like us that we would be able to relate to them.

One decision led to another and I created aliens with a language, abilities, values and beliefs. They have their own original physical aspects, but they have a culture as well.

The Inarrii are telepathic, to varying degrees.  In writing any Alien or non human culture, I felt that it was important to really think about language, so the Inarrii have their own, but they also have methods of communicating emotion and memories. And in their world, a large part of their personal relationships (like ours, whether we want to admit it or not) revolve around sex.

Sex for the Inarrii helps them stay sane – their telepathic abilities need the physical act to unload stress. Without it they can lose their sanity. For my first book, Alien Revealed, the heroine Alinna Gaerrii has been sent to earth to spy on humans and their culture.  She isn’t meant to actually meet any of them.  But when she does, crash landing on earth, she’s far from any sexual relief with her own people. She has a duty to fulfill, and she can’t let people know who she is.  But without physical relief she will eventually lose her mind. Duty and honor are paramount in her society, but her needs are very real.

I think it is really important when writing any alien / human romance, that there is a parallel between lovers. A meeting of needs, and an understanding of values.  The Inarrii are based on a warrior clan system, so Alinna’s hero is Major David Brown.  His career in the space military gives him an ingrained sense of duty, honor, loyalty.

All techno gadgetry aside, most aliens in sci-fi fall in with what I have described above – people who are not so dissimilar from us.  Think Vulcans, Yoda, the boy from I am Number Four.  They are different but we can understand them, they often represent extremes of our own cultures.


I don’t know if real aliens will be anything like us. I can only comment on popular fiction. 🙂 But I kind of hope so.  What do you think?



Lilly Cain

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Q&A with Lauren Clark, Author of Dancing Naked in Dixie + Giveaway

I’d like to welcome Lauren Clark, the author of the absolutely terrific (check out my review here) Dancing Naked in Dixie to Reading Reality. I had the chance to cook up a few questions for Lauren, just in time for the release of Dancing Naked. (I love that title! And it fits so perfectly)

Tell us a little bit about Lauren Clark…

I am a mom of two school-aged boys, wife of a medical professional, daughter of a nurse practitioner and a college dean (also avid readers). I have a master’s degree in journalism and worked in TV news on-air for six years before deciding to write fiction. I love yoga, Pure Barre, travel, flavored coffee, the color pink, the ocean, my historic home, friends, laughter, and my family.

Is there a real Eufaula? Or what place, or places, were the inspirations for Eufaula Alabama?

Yes! It is a lovely place about three hours southwest of Atlanta, Georgia. I visited Eufaula and attended the Pilgrimage many times when I lived in Dothan, Alabama. It’s a magical place–the historic homes are marvelous, the people are so friendly, and Eufaula has a real sense of ‘community.’

Dancing Naked in Dixie is a terrific title. Can you tell us what brought that particular line to life?

I wanted a title that expressed unbridled joy and happiness–like the exhilaration of new love, the heady feeling that makes a person want to “dance naked.” I actually came up with the title before I wrote the book. Not something that usually happens, at least for me!

You refer to both Dancing Naked in Dixie and your first book, Stay Tuned, as women’s fiction rather than romance. What do you see as the difference?

The major difference, I believe, is my focus on a strong female protagonist who has a major challenge in her life. The crux of the story is finding a solution to that problem, or making a change in her life. That’s how she eventually finds happiness, not through finding the man of her dreams (although that part is an extra, added bonus if it happens!).

Let’s talk about casting. If Dancing Naked were made into a movie, who would you want to see playing Shug and Julia?

Gosh, I love the thought of Emma Stone playing Julia, though one of my editors had a dream that Dancing Naked was made into a movie and Reese Witherspoon was the lead role!!! My best friend wants me to say Matthew McConaughey for Shug, and although he doesn’t have dark hair, I have to agree that he’d be a great choice.

There are so many strong women in Dancing Naked. Is there one in particular who is your favorite? And why?

I love Julia. She’s me in so many ways (klutzy, coffee-drinker, loves to travel), but I have a great relationship with my parents and I am NOT allergic to bees! I love that she has both a physical and personal journey to go on–and that the two mirror each other and allow her to grow as a career woman, daughter, and person. Julia is terribly unorganized, however, and that’s one of my strong points (or I would never get any writing done)!

Who introduced you to the love of reading?

My parents shut of the family television all summer, every summer. As a result, I spent LOTS of time at the local library and carried stacks of books back and forth every week. I must have read one hundred books a summer. My parents and my grandparents are/were also big readers and bookstore lovers, so I think I was destined to be an avid bookworm.

Who or what influenced you to become a writer?

I’d played around with writing fiction after I got out of TV news, but didn’t get serious about it until about 7 years ago. I hired a freelance editor to help me with two stories I’d written and am forever grateful for her help and encouragement. Stay Tuned was the third novel I finished.

Do you plan your stories out to the nth degree, or do your characters sometimes take over?

I do outline pretty extensively, meaning that I do a sentence or two for each chapter and plan out the entire story beforehand. Yes, sometimes the characters surprise me!! For example, I didn’t plan on Mary Katherine being quite so scheming and deliberate, but I was having so much fun with her that I expanded her role, especially near the end of the story!

What book do you recommend everyone should read, and why?

One of my favorite novels is My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. It’s a fabulous story about how a family disintegrates when one of the children is born with a life-threatening illness. An ending rarely surprises me, but this book did–and made me cry! (Do NOT see the movie version) Other highly recommended reads:  The Green Mile, The Poisonwood Bible, The Secret Life of Bees, and anything by Sophie Kinsella.

Tell us a little bit about what comes next for you after Dancing Naked in Dixie

I am working on story about The Pie Lab, which is an actual restaurant in Greensboro, Alabama. It’s a great little place, has wonderful pies (both dessert pies and quiche/taco/lunch-type pies), and provides a place where local folks can get on-the-job training. My protagonist is a young woman who’s vowed never to return to Greensboro (her hometown), but is forced to do so when her husband leaves her for another man.

Since on your website you admit to being a “non-reformed coffee drinker,” I’ll have to ask a different final question. Morning person or night owl? 

Morning. Early morning, much to the chagrin of my husband, who likes to ‘sleep in’ until at least 8 a.m. on the weekends!

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Cover Reveal: Succubus Lost by Tiffany Allee plus Giveaway

Uncovering a new file from the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency, today I am very, very pleased to be participating in the Cover Reveal for Succubus Lost by Tiffany Allee.

And yes, it is File #2 from that very mysterious Otherworlder Enforcement Agency, following the absolutely excellent first File, Banshee Charmer. Way back in January, when I reviewed Banshee Charmer, I hoped there would be more, and here we are in May, and there’s a second File on the way.

I love having my book wishes answered!

And just to whet all of our appetites, here’s the blurb from Succubus Lost, #2 From the Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency.

Someone is kidnapping and incinerating otherworlders beyond recognition, and Detective Marisol Whitman, a succubus, races to find the murderer before he claims another victim. But her pursuit is derailed when her responsible younger sister vanishes. Marisol suspects foul play and enlists support from an unlikely source: an agent from the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency, Valerio Costa.

When the trail pointing to everyone from vampires to witches dries up, Agent Costa admits to knowing more than he’s shared. Marisol’s sister’s kidnapper harnesses more magic than she can imagine—and they’re running out of time. To find her sister before her powers are drained and twisted beyond recognition, Marisol must connect the dots between cases and put her trust in Costa, a salamander who may burn her before she can solve either case.

About the Author, Tiffany Allee:

Tiffany currently lives in Phoenix, AZ, by way of Chicago and Denver, and is happily married to a secret romantic. She spends her days working in Corporate America while daydreaming about sexy heroes, ass-kicking heroines, and interesting ways to kill people (for her books, of course). Her nights are reserved for writing and bothering her husband and cats (according to them). Her passions include reading, chocolate, travel, wine, and family. You can find Tiffany at

Tiffany will be back at Reading Reality on May 31 for an interview, courtesy of Bewitching Book Tours. And I’ll be reviewing Succubus Lost on June 6.

I’m not sure which I’m looking forward to more–the chance to ask her questions about her writing and the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency, or getting my hands on the book!

And you have a chance to get your hands on a copy of Succubus Lost, too. One lucky winner, there’s the rafflecopter, waiting for your entry. One winner tour-wide for a ebook copy of the book and the Salamander pin pictured to the right.
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What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? AKA The Sunday Post 5-20-12

It’s Sunday, do you know where your books are?

Mine are back home, after a trip to Cincinnati to see my mom for Mother’s Day. It was a great trip (I also got to see some of my cousins), but it’s good to be back home with my husband and my cats. Also where my big computer and double-monitor set-up is. I work better in my own space.

The combination of My Mostly Virtual Nightstand and The Sunday Post (see Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer for complete details) is a chance to recap, showcase upcoming important events, and talk about the books I have on my nightstand or iPad for the week after this.

Moving right along…

If you are interested in a chance to win a copy of either a fun contemporary romance or a hot romantic suspense story, take a look back at my reviews of Bad Girl Lessons (the contemporary) and Satisfying the Curse (the suspense). The giveaways for both titles (Lessons giveaway) and (Curse giveaway) still have a few days to go.

Coming up this week…LOTS!

On Monday in addition to Ebook Review Central (this week’s feature is Dreamspinner Press’ April titles) I’m participating in a Cover Reveal for Kinley Baker‘s new fantasy romance, Denied. (There’s a tour-wide Amazon GC giveaway)

Also on Monday, I’m also participating in the Diamond Jubilee Blog Hop being organized by Romance at Random to celebrate the upcoming release of Ruthie Knox‘ new book About Last Night. Ruthie Knox will be at Reading Reality on June 8.  Lots of book prizes tour-wide on this blog hop.

Tuesday, May 22, I’ll have the Cover Reveal for Succubus Lost, the sequel to Tiffany Allee‘s urban fantasy/paranormal romance Banshee Charmer. I really liked Banshee Charmer, so I’m looking forward to Succubus Lost quite a bit. I’m interviewing Tiffany on May 31 and I’ll be reviewing the new book in June.

Not to be done with Tuesday, I’ll be interviewing Lauren Clark, the author of Dancing Naked in Dixie, and reviewing her book as part of the Bewitching Book Tours release celebration, which does include a tour-wide Gift Card giveaway.

Wednesday, May 23, Reading Reality will have a guest post from Lilly Cain, the author of the science fiction romance Confederacy Treaty series, and I’ll be reviewing the first book of the series, Alien Revealed also as part of a tour for Bewitching Books.

Thursday I’ll be reviewing Seized, the first book in Lynne Cantwell’s Pipe Woman Chronicles, as part of a Goddess Fish Virtual Book Tour.

Looking forward to the following week, Monday, May 25 is Memorial Day in the U.S. The official start of summer. Living in Atlanta, unofficially, it’s already summer!

I only have a few books that have publication dates next week, or that I have on tour. The holiday may have something to do with that!

The book tour scheduled for next week is Dark Inheritance: Fallen Empire by K. Reed. It’s both post-apocalyptic and a Regency romance. I’m really curious to see how that combination works out.

I have four books I picked up from NetGalley. NetGalley is like book shopping, except that I pay with my time to write the reviews instead of my money.

The Bewitching Tale of Stormy Gale by Christine Bell is the sequel to The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale. Earlier this year, Carina Press gave away some of their early titles to subscribers to their newsletter, and I “bought” Twisted Tales then. But I need to read it to review the sequel. Lucky for me, they are both relatively short.

Black Stiletto: Black & White by Raymond Benson, is also a sequel, this time to The Black Stiletto. But I picked this from NetGalley specifically because I read the first book and was absolutely fascinated. The Black Stiletto is the story of a woman in the 1950s and 60s who becomes a masked vigilante, rather like Batman. Except that in this story, her secret identity isn’t revealed until her son discovers her diaries over 50 years later.

A Gentleman Undone is by Cecilia Grant, the same author who wrote A Lady Awakened. Lady Awakened was a debut romance that no one was neutral about. Readers either loved it or detested it. I quite liked it, enough that I want to see if she can do it again.

Because everyone has raved about Larissa Ione’s Lords of Deliverance series, I grabbed Lethal Rider. But I need to read the first three books first. And before Rogue Rider comes out in November.

I also have something from Edelweiss. I take fewer books from Edelweiss, because they timebomb on my iPad much quicker. But every once in a while there’s something I absolutely can’t resist.

Steampunk is one of my weaknesses. So, when Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris’ Janus Affair  popped up on Edelweiss, I was so there. This is the second book in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, and I have the first book, Phoenix Rising, and I’ve been meaning to read it. Getting Janus Affair from Edelweiss should get me to do it.

My other big weakness is science fiction romance. So I have Luminous by Corrina Lawson, the second book in her Phoenix Institute series. And I have the first book Phoenix Rising, somewhere in my iPad, just waiting for me.

And I just did a double-take. Yes, the first book in both the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences and Phoenix Institute Series have the same title; Phoenix Rising. I triple-checked to be sure. Weird coincidence.

As they say, that’s all the news that’s fit to print for the next couple of weeks. I’m going to be busy, busy, busy. I foresee LOTS of caffeine in my future! (My drink of choice is Diet Coke with Lime)

I’d love to know what you’re looking forward to this week!


Guest Post: Character Interview with Jackson Cope from Bad Girl Lessons plus Giveaway

For Reading Reality’s first ever character interview, let’s all welcome Seraphina Donavan and the hero of her delicious (if you don’t believe me, read the review here) story Bad Girl Lessons, Jackson Cope, to the “pages” of Reading Reality.

Seraphina: Jackson, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us today. 

Jackson: (With a cheeky grin) Well, Evie does tend to keep me occupied, not that I’m complaining.

Seraphina: You and Evie Harper might be perceived as an odd couple.  What do you say to people who think that you’re corrupting the innocent? 

Jackson: (Shrugging) They’re not wrong.  But as this particular innocent is well over the age of consent and doesn’t seem to mind one bit, I tell them to mind their own damned business.

Seraphina: You’ve got quite a history around town as a ladies man.  Any qualms about settling down with just one woman?

Jackson: Not one woman.  The woman.  The only one that matters.

Seraphina: Oh, you’re good. 

Jackson: (He laughs in response) Or good at it.  Depends on who you’re talking to, I guess.  Seriously, Evie is it for me.  Always has been and always will be.  So, doesn’t matter what people think or what people say.  The only thing that matters to me at the end of the day is that she’s happy and we’re together.

Seraphina: (At this point I had to stop and fan myself a little.  He’s just so hot and he says the SWEETEST things).  You and Evie had something of an unusual courtship.  I believe there were lessons on being bad?  How did that come about?

Jackson: Evie wanted to know what it felt like to walk on the wild side.  And I sure as hell wasn’t going to let anyone else teach her.  Turns out my sweet, little Evie was a vixen all along.

Seraphina: So tell me about a perfect day in the life of Jackson Cope…

Jackson: (With a wide grin) Well, I’d wake up with my girl, and being a gentleman, I’m not going to tell you what would happen next.  Suffice to say, it might be a while before I actually roll out of bed.  Me and my buddy Reed would go fishing, which is really just an excuse to tell lies and drink beer.  Then we’d pack up and head home.  I’d get cleaned up, since Evie doesn’t care too much for the smell of the creek bed these days, then we’d go out to dinner and I’d end my day just like I started it… in bed with my girl.  Life doesn’t get much better than that.  Unless, of course, it’s football season.

Seraphina: Thanks for talking with me today, Jackson.  And before you go, can I just say that Evie Harper is one lucky woman because you are gorgeous from head to toe. 

Jackson doesn’t say goodbye as he leaves.  He just tosses me a wink and another cheeky grin as he heads out the door.  What is it about those Southern boys?  My, oh my!

All I can say is that Seraphina was very lucky to conduct that interview! But if you want to see what all the fuss and fanning was about, your opportunity is right here. As part of the BTS Virtual Book Tour, Seraphina will be giving away a copy of Bad Girl Lessons to one lucky winner. So one lucky reader will be able to find out for themselves. (If you’re not the lucky winner, just buy the book. This was a terrifically fun read!)

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Satisfying the Curse

Satisfying the Curse by Kelly Gendron is a romantic suspense story that starts out by having the hero drugged and tied to a hotel bed to service the heroine’s curse! The scene teases her limits, his libido and the reader’s expectations, but all in surprising, and ultimately satisfying, ways.

About that bondage scene…Juliana Pratt believes that she is cursed. She’s twenty-six, and has spent her entire over-educated life in environments where she keeps herself as far away from men as possible. Her father has her convinced that her mother was a wanton adulteress and that Juliana suffers the same curse. Juliana has never even let herself be tempted to give in.

But Daddy Dearest is facing murder charges, and Juliana is the only witness that can corroborate his alibi. So while he is in prison awaiting his trial, she is free. Well, sort of free. Daddy Dearest (AKA Warren Pritchard) is rich and influential. He’s committed a LOT of dirty deeds, but always managed to buy his way out, until this time. During Juliana’s limited bit of freedom, she is supposed to be doing the talk show circuit, playing up the dutiful daughter image and making sure that any jury is prejudiced in his favor before the trial starts. In return, he has promised to finally give Juliana some of her inheritance.

But this talk-show junket is Juliana’s first experience of life outside of all-girls schools and educational institutions. She’s finally experiencing real life, even if it is a real life punctuated by regular death threats and attempted kidnappings.

Somebody wants her dead, or at least beaten down. And Juliana knows it’s her father. He wants to make sure she corroborates his alibi.

Juliana has a bodyguard. And that’s where the real fun comes in. Her first bodyguard, Josie, introduces her to the fun of watching mixed martial arts. Watching the fighters wakes up Juliana’s curse of wantonness. or that’s what Juliana believes. Juliana asks her bodyguard, her best and only friend, to help her get one particular fighter at her mercy for one night, so she can lose her pesky virginity and satisfy her curse.

The plan works flawlessly. Except…once  she’s got the man tied up and practically begging, Juliana can’t follow through. And her inexperience reveals the fact that she’s a virgin, which leads to the next flaw, the fighter may have done a lot of ring bunnies in his time, but he doesn’t play with virgins. Ever.

Then there’s problem number three, and it’s a doozy. Juliana’s protection detail gets handed off the morning after the curse-removal disaster to a new bodyguard. And the fighter she tried to play bondage games with is her new babysitter. And her curse still wants him, really, really bad.

Too bad Agent T. Ryker still doesn’t do virgins. No matter how much they beg. Or how much he wants to.

That her father is going on trial for murdering his aunt, the woman who raised him? That’s just one more reason to guard his heart from the beautiful woman whose body he’s supposed to be protecting.

Escape Rating B+: The opening scene started out pretty darn funny. The bondage thing was just crazy. And hot. But then things took twists into a little more serious territory.

Juliana (she goes by Ana) thinks she’s cursed, because that’s how Daddy brainwashed her. Ryker thinks he’s tainted because of the circumstances of his birth. As a pair, they have a whole train-load of baggage to sort through, and they really have to work at it. Misunderstandings abound! Neither of them have ever trusted anyone, and it takes them a while to figure out it’s even possible.

The level of sexual torment on both sides is also very hot!

I did spend a chunk of this book wanting to beat Daddy Dearest with a baseball bat. If he has a redeeming characteristic, I didn’t see it. Unrelieved evil is fun to read every once in a while.

There was a very nice twist at the end that surprised the heck out of me. Excellent, excellent!


What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 5-13-12 AKA The Sunday Post

In the U.S. today is Mother’s Day. So for all of you are mothers, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day. My present to my mom this Mother’s Day is going to Cincinnati to visit her. Hopefully, it will beat flowers or chocolate. (And yes, she does know I’m coming)

Welcome back to my Mostly Virtual Nightstand, also known as The Sunday Post. This is where I take a look at the events coming up on Reading Reality in the week ahead, and I also take a peek at the books I have on my schedule in the week after that, so I keep myself on track with my deadlines.

Otherwise I occasionally find myself in the unfortunate position of needing a review on Tuesday for a book I haven’t started reading yet on Sunday. I still get surprised, but with a bit more warning!

Monday on Reading Reality is always Ebook Review Central. (Not on Memorial Day, though, but almost, almost always). This week’s ERC will feature the Carina Press titles from April 2012. Looking at the reviews, Carina had some pretty big hits last month. And a couple of misses.

Tuesday, May 15 I’ll be interviewing romantic suspense author Kelly Gendron, and posting a review of her recent book, Satisfying the Curse. I don’t want to post spoilers, but I will say that the book was great if you like bad boy heroes. This tour is from Sizzling PR.

Thursday, May 17 I’ll be reviewing Bad Girl Lessons by Seraphina Donovan, and there will also be a guest post from the author as part of a tour from Book and Trailer Showcase Virtual Book Tours. Read this book for fun!

Reading Reality has a Help Wanted sign out. I am looking for associate reviewers. Think of it as “Blogger seeking fellow book addicts for fun and free books.” If you think you might be interested, click on the sign for details.

About those books…

For the week of May 21 (like the old song said, time keeps on slipping into the future) I have some books for blog tours and some books that I picked from NetGalley or Edelweiss that are just coming out that week.  I have books.

As I said, I will be travelling again this week. I always take a print book along on the airplane, since they can’t make me turn it off as an electronic device. This trip it will be The Mongoliad, since I have to turn in a review to Library Journal by May 21.

I also have Dancing Naked in Dixie by Lauren Clark for a Bewitching Books blog tour next week. I need to read it and send the interview questions. I like to read the book first and base some of the questions on the book. I liked the sound of this book. It’s a contemporary romance about an international travel writer who has to save her career by taking an assignment to cover Eufalia, Alabama. Since I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia, I thought it would be fun. So far, it is!

Seized by Lynne Cantwell is the first book in her Pipe Woman Chronicles. Reading Reality is part of a Goddess Fish tour on May 24. Seized appealed to me as a paranormal/urban fantasy with a Native American flavor. I’m intrigued.

I also have to read and review Kiss of the Goblin Prince for Book Lovers Inc. before the end of May. I hadn’t read either The Summons or The Goblin King, but I’d always intended to, because the reviews were so fantastic. Finished Summons, and I’m in the middle of Goblin King now. The reviews were right. I’m looking forward to Kiss of the Goblin Prince. Some deadlines are no burden at all!

I have some other books that I picked up that either have publication dates or will timebomb on my iPad next week. Zombie Island by Lori Handeland, the second book in her Shakespeare Undead series, and Her Majesty’s Will by David Blixt. There’s a theme in these two; Shakespeare wasn’t what he seemed. He’s either a zombie, or a spy.

And a friend strongly recommended The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn. I was able to get it from Edelweiss before the publisher archived it, but my copy is going to timebomb. End of May is pretty much now or never on this one.

As the late, great Edward Gorey said, “So many books, so little time.”


So my nightstand is portable this Sunday. Lucky for me most of it is on my iPad. But what about you? What’s on your nightstand this week?


Night Walker

Night Walker by Lisa Kessler is a paranormal romance that combines two very powerful themes in modern PNR, vampires and reincarnation. Either one of those elements would make for a very moving love story. Mix them together and you have one very special romance indeed.

The story begins with our modern heroine facing a very contemporary dilemma. Her fiance is a two-timing snake. Kate’s just caught him with one of his grad students, and their engagement is very definitely over. Now she’s on her way from Reno to San Diego to finish up the other unfinished business in her life, closing up her late parents’ house. After her parents’ death in an accident two years ago, she’s been putting off that closure. Now it’s time. Ending her engagement, cancelling her wedding, and realizing that she’s more embarrassed and angry than emotionally devastated, tells her that it’s finally time to take control over the rest of her life.

Kate and her best girlfriends do the tourist thing in San Diego, visiting the Mission de Alcala on the Day of the Dead for Mass brings her into contact with the darkly handsome and eminently mysterious Calisto Terana as she examines the rare and beautiful flowers placed on a centuries-old grave in the Native cemetery surrounding the Mission. Calisto gives Kate the strangest sense of deja vu, as if they have not merely met, but known each other intimately, before. Kate is certain she’d remember meeting a man as compelling as Calisto before.

Kate is both right and wrong. She’s never met Calisto before. But he remembers her. He’s walked the night for two centuries, waiting for her to return.

When the Mission de Alcala was built, Calisto Terana was Father Gregorio Salvador, and he was part of the Spanish mission that helped to build it. When he fell in love with a native girl he betrayed his vows and decided to leave the church. The church refused to let him go. Someone foolishly thought that if they got the girl out of the way, their errant priest would meekly return to the fold.

Instead, he found an entirely different path. A much, much darker way, but one that allowed him to wait for his lover’s spirit to be born again.

There were only two flaws to Gregorio’s, now Calisto’s plan. In the 21st century, Kate remembered nothing of her previous existence. Calisto had to woo and win her all over again. He loved and wanted her more after two centuries of waiting than he had in the flush of first love. The hunger of a night walker made him even less patient than a normal man.

That other flaw? The church is eternal.

Escape Rating A-: I was surprised at how good this was. Even though the elements of the story have been used before, the combination was different enough that I got sucked right in. One of the particularly neat things is that the historic aspects, the Mission and the history of it, are pretty close to what’s known of the events. It’s one of those points in colonial history where records were lost so there’s a ton of room for speculation, fiction and well, just plain flights of fancy. This story was an especially good way of filling that gap.

I didn’t use the word vampire in the review because, although Calisto is a vampire, he doesn’t think of himself as one or refer to himself as one. He knows what vampires are, and they aren’t him. He thinks they’re flashier, for one thing.

The next book in this series is The Night Demon, and starts out in the Yucatan jungle, sometime later this year. I can hardly wait.




What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 5-6-12 AKA The Sunday Post

As I looked for a replacement Mailbox meme, I looked long and hard at The Sunday Post. Why? Because I do a Sunday post, it’s this one, my mostly virtual nightstand.

Kimba the Caffeinated Book Lover (and I love that name, BTW) created her meme in part to fill the gap. But The Sunday Post is also intended as a

“chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.”

I use Virtual Nightstand to do the forward looking parts of that. I’ve chosen Stacking the Shelves as a way of handling the Mailbox bits of the mandate. But Virtual Nightstand is my news and upcoming reviews post.

To make a long story short, I’m going to link Virtual Nightstand to The Sunday Post. Anyone who comes here from that link might wonder why they got here. Or hopefully they’ll just jump down to the cover pictures.

What’s up this week?

Monday is Ebook Review Central, of course! This week is Leap Week, so I’ll be covering two new publishers, Red Sage Publishing and Curiosity Quills. They are permanent additions to ERC. For this first round, you’ll see a round up that takes them back to the beginning of ERC and catches them up to everyone else, so September 2011 through March 2012, if they have titles back that far.

Tuesday, May 8, I’m hosting an interview with Lisa Kessler, author of Night Walker, as part of a Bewitching Book Tour to celebrate the re-release of Night Walker in paperback! I’ll also have a review of Night Walker and an entry for several tour-wide giveaways.

Thursday, May 10 Reading Reality will be the host for a guest blog from Kay Dee Royal, promoting her book Staring into the Eyes of Chance. This is also part of a virtual book tour from Bewitching Book Tours. And I will also be posting a review of this shapeshifter/paranormal romance, the first book in Ms. Royal’s new Lycan International Investigation Agency Series.

On my nightstand, there are books I’m reading to prepare for next week. I always look a week ahead so I don’t get too surprised. Also, next week I’ll be traveling again, which does throw things off a bit!

There are only four, so maybe I’ll have a chance to catch up with myself. Probably not. But a girl can dream next to her nightstand, can’t she?

I asked for A Patch of Darkness by Yolanda Sfetsos from Samhain because it sounded like an interesting urban fantasy/paranormal romance. And because some of Ms. Sfetsos’ previous work has been well-reviewed. And because it’s book 1 in a series, so I don’t have to jump into the middle, or read a long backstory. All good things. I’ve averted my eyes from some early reviews.

Railsea by China Miéville is a book that I selected from NetGalley because my husband likes China Miéville’s work. And Galen is supposed to provide a guest review for this one for me.

On May 17 Reading Reality will be hosting a Virtual Book Tour of Bad Girl Lessons by Seraphina Donovan for Book and Trailer Showcase. So, I need to read and review the book before the tour.  This book just sounded like yummy fun. Good girl seeks bad boy to teach her how to have a good time after she gets dumped at the altar. Sex, love and romance ensue.

I have to remind myself that I also have a print ARC of The Mongoliad Book One by Greg and Erik Bear and a host of others on my nightstand. It’s not only a relatively big monster (450 pages), but I owe my editor at Library Journal a review on May 21. This one is sort of looming out there. Like an attacking horde.

So, are there any books on your nightstand that you’re looking forward to? How’s your Sunday treating you? And what do you have planned for your week?