Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rome in Love

Idgie Says:
I agreed to review this book as it sounded like a fun little romantic romp of a story, with some dash of Audrey Hepburn mystery thrown in.  (Who doesn't love Audrey?)

Unfortunately, by page 10 the constant product placement had driven me insane.  Food, drink, shoes, clothes, barrettes, couches, socks.  Okay, not socks, but perhaps I had not gotten to a sock part yet. Every single sentence seemed to have a label of some sort in it.   It was like talking to the person at the party who constantly makes sure you know what they're wearing.  I could not imagine reading an entire novel that is like Elle magazine without pictures.

Then suddenly it goes into an R rated sex scene!  I found the sex scene startling as I was so distracted by realizing that I was reading nothing but labels that somehow the fact two people were even getting close enough to rip each others clothes off completely eluded me.

It was like watching a racy HBO show and suddenly the commercials pop up. 

This may be a good read.  I will never know.  I simply could not get past the utter distraction of so many names and labels and dinner items being thrown into the story.  The story wasn't even really about vast riches so that the descriptions were needed to remind you of how wealthy they are - Pottery Barn and Adidas were in there too. That much description is simply not needed to tell a story.   


St. Martin's Griffin
August 4, 2015

Book Description:
When Amelia Tate is cast to play the Audrey Hepburn role in a remake of Roman Holiday, she feels as if all her dreams have come true. She has a handsome boyfriend, is portraying her idol in a major motion picture, and gets to live in beautiful, Italian city of Rome for the next two months.

Once there, she befriends a young woman named Sophie with whom she begins to explore the city. Together, they discover all the amazing riches that Rome has to offer. But when Amelia's boyfriend breaks up with her over her acting career, her perfect world begins to crumble.

While moping in her hotel suite, Amelia discovers a stack of letters written by Audrey Hepburn that start to put her own life into perspective. Then, she meets Philip, a handsome journalist who is under the impression that she is a hotel maid, and it appears as if things are finally looking up. The problem is she can never find the right time to tell Philip her true identity. Not to mention that Philip has a few secrets of his own. Can Amelia finally have both the career and love that she's always wanted, or will she be forced to choose again?

With her sensory descriptions of the beautiful sites, decadent food, and high fashion of Rome, Hughes draws readers into this fast-paced and superbly written novel. Rome in Love will capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Confessions of a Queen B* - A Shout Out plus Excerpt

Idgie Says:
I love these positive teen novels where they use their "skills/popularity" for good.  But let's see if she takes it too far and turns into someone just as bad as the crowd she's going after.

Were you the #QueenB* in high school? @crista_mchugh wants to know! @rockstarlitprlc
Confessions of a Queen B*
Date of Publication:
July 28, 2015
After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she's carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check.

Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check.

Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan.

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now.



Brett texted me to say he’d meet me at my locker for the doll handoff. I drove to school, my stomach doing little flip-flops of glee, anticipating that Brett would look as miserable as I felt yesterday.
No such luck.
If anything, the jerk looked better than normal.
Damn it.
He grinned and started unstrapping the carrier when he saw me. “Made it on time today, eh?”
“How can you be so cheerful after that thing kept screaming all night?”
“I’ve got the diaper-bottle-burp drill down. Once you have it, you’ll see it’s easier with babies.” He held out the carrier with the doll still strapped inside. “Should I help you put it on again?”
“So you can feel me up in the process?” He was so perfect, it was infuriating, so I had to find a flaw in him. In this case, it was turning his offer to help into a dick move.
“If that’s an invitation…”
Sure, if you want to, that traitorous little voice in my head replied.
“It’s not,” I snapped, ignoring the rush of heat that flowed along the surface of my skin while I tried to navigate my arms through the confusing tangle of straps.
He raised both brows. “Are you always this stubborn?”
“I don’t need a man to help me out with something as simple as this.” Except somehow, I’d managed to put the carrier on upside down and was holding the doll by its head to keep it from falling out.
“May I please help you so we don’t both end up with Fs because you dropped the kid?” He came closer, that annoying bemused grin still on his face, and took the doll out of the carrier. “Just unbuckle it here, turn it around, and secure everything before you try to put the baby in.”
His finger brushed the area along my ribs when he pointed out where I should unbuckle it, and a delicious shiver raced up my spine. I hated my hormones sometimes, especially when they overruled my brain concerning Brett Pederson. It was screaming for me to run away before I made a fool of myself by drooling over him, but I ended up inching closer to him. I’d always thought his eyes were plain brown, but the sun streaming in from the skylight above revealed tiny flecks of green and gold in them.
And those eyes were fixed right on me.
“Yo, Pederson, you’re playing a dangerous game getting that close to her without protective equipment on,” Sanchez shouted from down the hall, ruining what had been a “moment.”
As if I was capable of having a moment with Brett.
“I’ve got it under control,” Brett shouted back before dropping his voice to add, “You’re not going to hurt me, right?”
“On what?” He wasn’t backing away, so neither would I.
“On how pissed off you’re going to make me.”
“And how would I piss you off?”
He was baiting me. I knew he was, and yet I played right along with him. “Your existence pisses me off.”
“Is that all?” His grin widened.
The asshole was mocking me.
“Do I need to make you a list?” I shoved him back and adjusted the carrier, following his instructions.
“Maybe. How long would that list be?”
I snatched the doll back and tucked it away. “Not worth my time.”
I’d barely made it ten feet before Richard fell into step beside me. “Okay, what is going on between you two, because that was some serious tension?”
“The only tension between us is the one in my arm that’s keeping me from slapping that arrogant little smirk off his face.”
Richard pretended to cover his mouth, mimicking a shocked expression. “Oh my God, you’ve progressed to violent thoughts. Do we need to schedule an intervention at the fro-yo place this afternoon so we get all that hostility out over a cup of mocha chocolate chip?”
“No, thank you.” I liked my hostility right where it was. It was the only thing keeping me from admitting that yeah, maybe I was slightly attracted to Brett.
I glanced over my shoulder just in time to see Summer looping her arm through his. The message was as clear as day. He was hers, and I had no chance in hell of ending up with someone like him.
Not that I’d want to. It would mean I’d have to be nice to Sanchez and the rest of the team.
But that didn’t keep me from thinking about how things might be different if we weren’t in this tiny microcosm of hell called high school.

Crista McHugh
Crista McHugh is an award-winning author of fantasy and romance who writes heroines who are smart, sexy and anything but ordinary. She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends.

She is an active member of the Romance Writers of America (including the Greater Seattle Chapter and the Seattle Eastside Chapters), and Romance Divas.

Just for laughs, here are some of the jobs she’s had in the past to pay the bills: barista, bartender, sommelier, stagehand, actress, morgue attendant, and autopsy assistant.

And she’s also a recovering LARPer. (She blames it on her crazy college days)

The Bourbon Kings - A Shout Out

Idgie Says:
Dynasty Lives again - but in Kentucky!  Fun!

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal.... 

Ward has done something few writers are doing these days.  In THE BOURBON KINGS (NAL Hardcover; July 28, 2015; $27.95), she has created an epic family saga—sweeping, sexy, and page-turning—but set in modern times.  She introduces the Bradfords, a wealthy, influential, and dysfunctional Kentucky family who has made their fortune in the bourbon business in America’s bluegrass state.

THE BOURBON KINGS has it all: Derby brunches that cost $50,000 dollars, private jets, priceless jewels, and an opulent family estate. And a powerful and ruthless patriarch who puts business ahead of his children, while his wife lies in self-induced stupor in luxurious rooms above.  There is a prodigal son who falls in love with the estate’s gardener—and another who has been physically and emotionally damaged at his father’s hand.  A daughter is bartered for marriage in a business agreement, and becomes a virtual prisoner in her own home.  This tense family drama is set against the rising suspicion that someone is embezzling millions of dollars from the family. Secrets and scandals abound within the Bradford’s inner circle, and no one will be left unscathed… 

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

J. R. Ward is the author of more than twenty previous novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Black Dagger Brotherhood. There are more than fifteen million copies of Ward’s novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-five different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.