Review: The Making of a Gentleman by Shana Galen

Sunday, October 31

Title:  The Making of a Gentleman*
Author:  Shana Galen
Series: Sons of the Revolution series book #2
Genre:  Historical Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Format:  mass market paperback & e-book
Date/Year:  October 2010

*This book was provided to me by the publisher for review

Summary from the publisher:

Twelve years in prison has stripped him of his humanity…

Armand, Comte de Valère has lost the ability to interact with polite society, until his family hires him a beautiful tutor, and he starts to come alive again…

Saving him is her only chance to escape a terrible fate…

Felicity Bennett vows she’ll do whatever it takes to help Armand fight back the demons that have held him captive for so long…

With Felicity’s help, Armand begins to heal, until a buried secret threatens to destroy their growing passion…

My Musings:

The story begins with Armand, the hero of the story, acting as a savage...unable to express himself with words, he's angry, frustrated and has problems interacting with his family let alone the London society befitting his rank as a Duc's brother.  His heroine, Felicity is hired to be his governess/tutor in hopes that she can make progress where others have failed.  She's desperate for employment after her father's death leaves her in dire straits.  With nowhere else to turn, and a fiancee who blackmails her for money she doesn't possess she agrees to take on the role even after she learns she is not to tutor a young boy, but a man.

I couldn't wait to read The Making of a Gentleman after reading The Making of a Duchess...it promised to have a tortured hero to die for, however the hero, Armand, didn't live up to my expectations.  Many times in the story Armand refers to the unspeakable horrors that he endured during his time in prison...and unfortunately that's what they were unspeakable...as in they weren't really discussed or revealed to the reader to give more insight into his emotional healing.  The reason for his silence and refusal to speak was explained, but it was hard for me to find his reasons believable as an adult, living a continent away from the danger he feared.  It also seemed that his fear of speaking, as well as his avoidance of touch from anyone other than Felicity, and need for open spaces, were the only long term effects of his imprisonment that were satisfactorily resolved.....like his preference for sleeping on the floor. Did this affect his relationship with Felicity at all?  I felt that many of his emotional hindrances were only briefly touched upon and in very little depth which kept me from feeling what he went through while in prison, and how he struggled to overcome what twelve years in solitary confinement can do to a person.

While I had a hard time understanding Armand, I felt that Felicity, his heroine, was a wonderful character.  She is truly in a rock and a hard place, and the twists and turns that the story takes, makes it harder and harder for her to find a way to have love and happiness, mostly due to Ms. Galen's well written villain who is a devious, deceitful person that is so vile that you love to hate him...but never fear this story does have a happily ever after and the villains get their due...even if I did feel that they got off a bit easy :)  Not quite sure what the says about me that I wanted their punishments to be harsher...

In the end I felt that while The Making of a Gentleman was a good story, it had the potential to be a great story...one that would stand out among a crowd of similar plots because of it's hero Armand, but his character wasn't explored in the depth that I wish he would have been.  I could have very easily done without the treasure seeking plot (although I do have to say that this part of the book was well written, with some nail biting scenes), reduce the villains to just the fiancee, and focus more on Armand and his healing process...his integration with his family and society.  Is it worth your time to read?  I would say yes...there was enough of the book that was good that you will enjoy reading, but it probably won't end up a "keeper".

Ratings:
Overall:  3.25 stars
Sensuality level:  3.0

For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings, click here


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*I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small (and I mean very small) referral fee for purchases made using a link on this blog. I don't use Amazon to earn money, I use it because the widgets are cool, easy to use, and serve my purposes to showcase books & such with minimal effort, but most importantly they have great prices and offer both new and used items. As a book addict I love that I can find just about anything I want in one place. If you are going to purchase a featured book anyway, and you know you won't pay more by using the links on this blog than you would by visiting Amazon on your own, I will be eternally grateful for supporting this blog by using the links, and don't forget that the referral fees from your purchases will sponsor the "Reader Rewards" giveaways :)

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Review: Highland Hellcat by Mary Wine

Title:  Highland Hellcat*
Author:  Mary Wine
Series: Highland Trilogy book #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher:  Sourcebooks
Format: mass market paperback & digital ebook
Date/Year: October 2010

*This book was provided to me by the publisher for review

Summary from the publisher:

He wants a wife he can control…


Connor Lindsey is a Highland laird, but his clan’s loyalty is hard won and he takes nothing for granted. He’ll do whatever it takes to find a virtuous wife, even if he has to kidnap her…

She has a spirit that can’t be tamed…

Brina Chattan has always defied convention. She sees no reason to be docile now that she’s been captured by a powerful laird and taken to his storm-tossed castle in the Highlands, far from her home.

When a rival laird’s interference nearly tears them apart, Connor discovers that a woman with a wild streak suits him much better than he’d ever imagined…


My Musings about this book:

Readers first met the hero, Connor Lindsey, in To Conquer a Highlander where he was a charasmatic rogue who was setting off to claim his rumored wayward betrothed bride.  This book, Highland Hellcat, begins with Connor finding that his bride is no longer pure and in a dilemma of how to keep a critical clan alliance while satisfying the demands of the clan that relies on him to lead them during precarious times.

I was looking forward to this story because of the hero....to see him get his day in the sun so to speak...going from an intriguing secondary character to primary hero.  Unfortunately, I felt that Connor took the backseat to his heroine Brina, and the book focused more on her and her motivations than Connor's.  I was disappointed that so much of the focus of the book was on Brina....even though I did like her as a heroine.

Much of the story is dedicated to Brina, and her unwavering belief that she cannot marry Connor (even though she grows to love him) without her father's consent and be able to keep her honor.  Honor is very important to Brina.  Honor, honor, honor.  By the end of the book I wanted her to throw her honor out the window.   I was frustrated by the need to reiterate this again and again.  Instead I wished the reader would have been given more moments where Brina realized the freedom that fate has gifted her with instead of being given to a convent.  I wanted her to realize that her training to become a mother superior wasn't in vain, that she could employ that training as the laird's wife...and all of the power and good she could do in that role. Brina fought so hard against marrying Connor to save her honor, that she seemed to have missed the point that she could have her cake (Connor) and eat it too (power and importance of a mother superior in her role as laird's wife).  I wanted her to waiver more between her love vs her honor.  If she couldn't have both I wanted her to choose Connor...I didn't come away from the story convinced of that.

Because Connor was born out of wedlock (but to two loving parents who later married) his illegitimacy, and his need to prove to his people that he is the right man to lead his clan, he needed to have a wife whose purity was above reproach.  However, by capturing Brina and taking her outside of the bonds of marriage, could cause any children that they could be subjected to the same stigma and treatment Connor himself received...and what he was so desperate to avoid in his own marriage and offspring.  In the end he goes against what he feels that his clan needs because he loved her...at least that is what I am assuming because this was barely addressed in the book, but felt that it should have played a larger part in the story since he refused to marry Brina's sister because of her impurity.  I felt that it at least should have held the same amount of importance as Brina's honor.

Besides those two sticking points, I really enjoyed the historical tidbits that were interwoven into the story.  Bath houses, the political unrest at the time due to a king that was a child, the importance of the role of each daughter born to man such as a laird.  I wanted to like Highland Hellcat more than I actually did.  I couldn't wait to read Connor's story, but after reading it I was completely indifferent to him as a hero in Hellcat.  In the end too much of the story revolved around Brina's honor, and since she was the main focus of the story I didn't feel like she grew enough as a heroine to make up for the lack of character in Connor, which is why I felt this was just an average romance with little to set it above a mediocre love story...I was saddened by that.

Ratings:

Overall:  3.0 stars
Sensuality level: 2.75

For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings, click here

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*I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small (and I mean very small) referral fee for purchases made using a link on this blog. I don't use Amazon to earn money, I use it because the widgets are cool, easy to use, and serve my purposes to showcase books & such with minimal effort, but most importantly they have great prices and offer both new and used items. As a book addict I love that I can find just about anything I want in one place. If you are going to purchase a featured book anyway, and you know you won't pay more by using the links on this blog than you would by visiting Amazon on your own, I will be eternally grateful for supporting this blog by using the links, and don't forget that the referral fees from your purchases will sponsor the "Reader Rewards" giveaways :)

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Review: Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning

Title:  Backstage Pass*
Author:  Olivia Cunning
Series: Sinners on Tour book #1
Genre:  Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Format:  Trade paperback
Date/Year: October 2010

*This book was provided to me by the publisher for review


Summary from the publisher:

Five stunning guys, one hot woman, and a feverish romance…


For him, life is all music and no play…

When Brian Sinclair, lead songwriter and guitarist of the hottest metal band on the scene, loses his creative spark, it will take nights of downright sinful passion to release his pent-up genius…

She’s the one to call the tune…

When sexy psychologist Myrna Evans goes on tour with the Sinners, every boy in the band tries to seduce her. But Brian is the only one she wants to get her hands on…

Then the two lovers’ wildly shocking behavior sparks the whole band to new heights of glory…and sin…

My Musings:

Backstage Pass is a great debut novel, for what promises to be a fantastic new series, by Olivia Cunning.  And when I say this book is HOT, I mean that it definitely belongs in the erotic romance category!

So what did I love about this book?  The characters!  I thought that Olivia Cunning did an absolute fantastic job of introducing each of the band members so that you can't wait for each of them to get their own stories, without detracting from Myrna and Brian's story.  And much of Brian and Myrna's story revolve around their adventurous sexual encounters (including a little bit of exhibitionism, BDSM, menage, and a few other things) without feeling gratuitous.  That's certainly not ALL that this story is about, but it plays a major part for both Myrna and Brian....Myrna overcoming the mental abuse she suffered while married to her ex-husband, and Brian finding his Muse in lovemaking to Myrna.

At first I didn't know how I would feel about a book about a Rock band.  I'm not much of a music junkie and didn't know if I would be able to connect with the lead characters and their lifestyle.  I'm happy to say this was not an issue for me, because even though the book revolves around the Rock band, very little of it's focus were the performances, but on the characters themselves.  It was about their life on the road, finding your Muse, the difficulties...and um, benefits that go along with that as well as the hardships of finding and having a lasting and loving relationship with a significant other while being on the road and being the focus of adoring obsessive fans. 

What didn't work for me?  There are just a few minor things that I wish would have been explored in more depth.  I wanted to understand Brian's frustration in not being able to write music without Myrna because the reader is lead to believe that he hadn't written any new music for quite some time, which is why him finding his Muse while making love to Myrna was so rejuvenating for him.  I wanted to know how his love for her influenced and inspired his music.  Because the scenes where he hears and composes his music were some of my favorite parts of the book.  Unfortunately, they were left by the wayside towards the end of the novel, much to my regret. 

I also wished that more would have been done with Myrna's inner dialogue that runs through her head telling her that her desires are abnormal, that she's not desirable, that being in a relationship with a younger man is wrong.  All of this stems from her failed marriage and the mental abuse that she suffered at the hands of her ex husband.  While the reader is made aware of what is going on in her head, she never really addresses them with Brian, nor does she ever really appear to overcome them...they just sort of disappear after a while with no apparent revelations. 

Overall, I wanted more emotion and baring of souls from them both that would have progressed their sexual explorations into making love...a connection that would make you believe that they could have a lasting and loving relationship despite the obstacles.  That being said, if you want a contemporary erotic romance that has both the sexual scenes as well as an actual plot and intriguing characters (characters that you grow to love similar to what I like about Maya Bank's "Sweet" series) then I think you will really enjoy Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning.

Ratings:

Overall:  4.0 stars
Sensuality level: 4.25

For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings, click here

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*I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small (and I mean very small) referral fee for purchases made using a link on this blog. I don't use Amazon to earn money, I use it because the widgets are cool, easy to use, and serve my purposes to showcase books & such with minimal effort, but most importantly they have great prices and offer both new and used items. As a book addict I love that I can find just about anything I want in one place. If you are going to purchase a featured book anyway, and you know you won't pay more by using the links on this blog than you would by visiting Amazon on your own, I will be eternally grateful for supporting this blog by using the links, and don't forget that the referral fees from your purchases will sponsor the "Reader Rewards" giveaways :)

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You all know how much I want a Kindle right?

Saturday, October 30

I've made no secret about my quest to get a Kindle lately :)  It's not that I think it is superior to other digital readers, or possibly the best out there, but having a Kindle over other readers definitely has it's advantages which is why I want one so badly.  It would make my life easier, and more enjoyable ;)

Since I don't have the $$$ to buy one, I decided that I would try and earn one with my Swagbucks, and the good news is is that I already have $50 to put towards it.  BUT, and this is a big BUT Gena Showalter is currently running a contest and she's giving one away to the person who sends the most web traffic to this site.

So I'm asking nicely, would you pretty please with sugar on top click on the link above?  Show me some love, because you know how much I love you all!  And in the off chance that I win the Kindle from Gena's contest I will giveaway a $25 Amazon Gift Card code that I've already earned from Swagbucks, but yet not redeemed.  That way it will be a win for me AND you!  To be eligible to win the Amazon GC you need:
  • to be a Musings follower
  • be able to redeem it at Amazon.com
  • leave a comment letting me know you clicked the link (this is completely on the honor system, so I ask that you only leave a comment if you clicked the link)
  • if you want to increase your odds of winning the Amazon Gift Card code (ie increase my odds of winning the Kindle) Tweet or Like this on Twitter and/or on Facebook once you've visited the site....there's handy dandy links towards the bottom of the page that will make it super easy.
  • do all of this by November 8th 
  • sadly if I don't win the Kindle, I won't have any Swagbucks Amazon GC codes to share since I'll need to keep accumulating them to buy one :(  Therefore I won't be able to giveaway the $25 Amazon GC code.  Winning and gifting, in this case, go hand and hand.
I know it might come off bad asking you to click to help me win a Kindle, but I'm desperate here people :)  Seriously though, even if you don't click, I'll still love ya'll just for taking a few minutes out of your day to stop by the blog and read this post.  Have a great weekend!!!


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*I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small (and I mean very small) referral fee for purchases made using a link on this blog. I don't use Amazon to earn money, I use it because the widgets are cool, easy to use, and serve my purposes to showcase books & such with minimal effort, but most importantly they have great prices and offer both new and used items. As a book addict I love that I can find just about anything I want in one place. If you are going to purchase a featured book anyway, and you know you won't pay more by using the links on this blog than you would by visiting Amazon on your own, I will be eternally grateful for supporting this blog by using the links, and don't forget that the referral fees from your purchases will sponsor the "Reader Rewards" giveaways :)

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Guest Author & Giveaway: Angela Johnson featuring Vow of Deception

Friday, October 29

Remember back to Monday when I mentioned that I have a thing for dimples?  Well, I do...in a big way :)  What does that have to do with today's post you may ask?  The actor that was the inspiration for our hero today has one of the best sets of dimples....ever!  I'm not saying that our hero has dimples too, but I like to imagine that he does...even though he's a very serious sort....but I can guarantee, that in my imagination he definitely has dimples like this week's Muse does ;)

However, that's not the only thing our hero has going for him.  But I'll let my guest today, author Angela Johnson tell you more about her new medieval romance, Vow of Deception....her hero and heroine and how love conquers all.  Read and enjoy!


Welcome to Seductive Musings Angela! For you, what makes a romance novel a great love story and what makes writing historical romances so compellingly seductive to your muse?

Thank you very much for having me. I’m excited about being a guest today at Seductive Musings.  To me, a great love story is one in which the hero and heroine must overcome any obstacle to achieve the love they deserve.  They must delve within themselves and take an honest look at what are their fears, their secret desires, their hidden pains. Then they make the ultimate leap of faith by choosing love over fear.  Without faith, or belief in yourself, and the person you love, there can be no true, everlasting love.

What makes historical romance so compellingly seductive? Knights in shining armor.  Swashbuckling rogue pirates.  Rakish Regency aristocrats in tight buckskin breeches. Need I say more? But also, history is in my blood. It was my best subject in high school, and in college, my passion for History earned me a B.A. degree in it. I am amazed that so many of my friends think history is boring.

I, on the other hand, am fascinated when I imagine what it was like to live in an age gone by.  History is not just dry, boring facts, or the memorization of dates and battles.  It’s about people. People very much like you and me, who had the same hopes, fears, and desires as we do today. Writing historical romance combines both of my loves.  I can dream, and imagine what it was like in a past time period, then after extensive research, create a scenario that throws the hero and heroine into each other’s orbit, where, ultimately, they achieve their Happily Ever After.

Your newest historical romance, Vow of Deception, is the second book in your current series. Can you tell us a little bit about the books in this series, how many there might be, how they are all connected, and do you need to read them in order?

Vow of Deception is a stand-alone sequel to Vow of Seduction.  There is no official series name, but unofficially I think of these books as the "Knights of the Crusade" series.  I have three books planned in the series, all of the heroes having fought in the Ninth Crusade with Edward I. I have yet to find out if the 3rd book will be optioned.  Though you do not need to read the books in order, I would recommend it. Vow of Seduction is Kat and Alex’s story.  Rose and Rand, the heroine and hero of Vow of Deception, were secondary characters in Vow of Seduction.

Your heroes in Vow of Seduction and Vow of Deception are medieval Crusader knights, what makes them such great heroes in your opinion?

First, a bit history on the Crusades.  The heroes in my books fought in what later became known as the Ninth Crusade, led by Edward I.  At that time, Crusaders had been fighting in the Holy Land intermittently for nearly two hundred years.  Also, many of the cities and territories of the Holy Land that had been seized by the Crusaders had been lost once again to the Muslims or Infidel.  There were several reasons why Crusaders fought at this time. Crusader knights fought in defense and service of their Church and Christ.  In addition, it was a pious endeavor in which a knight could receive remission of his sins for fighting against the infidel.

In Vow of Seduction, Alex returns from captivity in Syria to reclaim the bride he abandoned, only to find her at the altar about to marry another man.  Alex’s initial motive to take up the cross was to support his liege, the then Lord Edward.  But also, for the not so chivalrous reason, that he wanted to escape his unwanted marriage.  Alex was as foolish as young, but his experiences while in captivity changed him for the better.  He returns home, vowing to do everything in his power to win back his wife and her love.

In Vow of Deception, Rand takes up the cross as one of Edward’s household knights.  Rand, more than Alex, is devoutly loyal to his liege.  It’s a point of honor for Rand because he strives to prove that he’s not disloyal, or disobedient, as his father claims.  His actions as a Crusader knight are bound up in his notions of loyalty and a strong, personal code of honor.  Ultimately, Rand's loyalty to both, his king and his wife, are challenged.

In summary, as former Crusader knights, Alex and Rand are both deeply loyal to their king and the Church.  It is ingrained in their blood, but their subsequent fidelity to, and their determination to protect, the women they love, makes them heroic, rather than their actions as Crusader knights.

If you had an opportunity to provide only a two or three sentence "teaser" quote from Vow of Deception, to grab the attention of potential readers and give them a glimpse and feeling of what the story is about what would it be?

Rose’s upcoming marriage to Sir Golan had exacerbated Rand’s growing discontent with his life. . . .

With every passing day he desired her more, her unique essence seeping into his blood and bone and sinew—a potent concoction.  His normal regimen of exhaustive pursuit of pleasure no longer could suppress his rising appetite to possess her, body and soul.

Tell us about your hero, Sir Rand Montague.  What do you think will make readers, much like his heroine Rosalyn, fall in love with him despite her intentions of a vow of chastity? And can you tell us a little bit about their story in Vow of Deception?

As a boy, Rand was very close to his mother and sister.  He always tried to protect them from his abusive father.  So when his sister and mother died tragically a year apart, he blames himself for their deaths.  As an adult he has strong protective instincts.  But he believes love is a curse, for everyone he’s every loved dies.

Conversely, Rose was a spoiled and well-loved child.  She knew no hardship or deep loss.  But she first marries an abusive man who hides his cruelty from everyone.  Rose is fiercely protective of her young son. Once Rose’s first husband is dead, the king betroths her to a cruel knight, and she obeys primarily to protect her son’s inheritance, but fears the situation.

Rand understands the reason for Rose’s fear of marriage, and rescues her when her betrothed attacks her.  Rand fights a trial by battle and wins her hand in marriage.  But because of Rose’s fear of the marriage bed, they forge a marriage of convenience.  Rand is perfectly content with the arrangement because he too, fears such intimacy, and believes it will lead to love, and then to death.

I think readers will love Rand because, despite his fear that he will be unable to properly protect Rose and her son, he defies the king to protect her.  He is patient and understanding with Rose, even when she continually expects him to be abusive like her first husband.  He is compassionate, loyal, and kind.  And though he was abused as a child by his father, he has no malice or hate for the man.  He knows hate is a destructive force, and vows never to let his father’s hatred turn him into a bitter man.

What makes Rose the perfect woman for Rand?  What are some of the qualities that attracts him to her and makes her irresistibly tempting...making him want to claim Rose as his own even though he believes he brings death to those he loves?

Rose is a healer in need of healing. And despite Rand’s fears, he wishes to heal her pain and prove that all men are not abusive. He also admires Rose because she will do anything to protect her son, and he secretly desires to be a good father, unlike his own. Rand sees beneath Rose's fear and pain, to the vivacious and loving girl she once was before her first marriage. Their shared abusive past draws them closer, eventually leading them to entrust each other with their hidden fears and desires.

What's your favorite scene or moment from Vow of Deception, and why? Can you describe it (or provide a short excerpt) for us without giving too much away?

That is a very difficult decision.  There are so many great scenes and pivotal moments for Rand and Rose. Many of my favorite scenes are in the last half of the novel.  One of the earlier important turning points for Rose, though, is when she realizes Rand masks his pain with ribald humor or salacious remarks, and then she calls him on it.  From this moment, Rose opens her heart to the possibility of a normal, loving marriage.  Here is a sneak peek at the scene:

Rand stood where she left him, gripping the carved bedpost.  A ripple of emotions swept across his face—an odd combination of desire and poignant regret.

A tender, indefinable feeling clutched her heart.  “Why do you do that, Rand?” she asked, her voice a soft plea.

He jerked his gaze up.  Rose stood not far away, her head cocked.  Catching him unaware, her gaze intent, she saw his pupils contract and then close off all emotion from her probing stare.

“Do what?”  Rand straightened and tugged a dark green surcoate on over his head.

“Every time it gets too emotional you say something to push me away.  Why?  What are you afraid of?”

She saw a pulse beat in his throat.

“I don’t know what you are talking about, Rose.”

“I think you do.  And that it has something to do with your sister’s death.  That day in the garden, I heard the anguish in your voice.  Your refusal to speak of Juliana and your hesitation to save the boy from drowning made me realize how deeply her death affected you.”

She took two steps and stopped.  A hairsbreadth from him, she felt a sensual tension shimmer betwixt them.  Rand grasped the bedpost once more, his white knuckles straining and jaw clenching.

She cupped his cheek, his whiskers tickling her palm.  “By the river today you asked me to confide in you, and I responded thoughtlessly, hurting you, I believe, and then you lashed out.  Deny it, but I know better now.”  She stood on tiptoes, clutched his shoulders, and kissed him, gently, tenderly.

Rand’s velvety soft lips clung to hers, his sweet breath mingling with hers for an instant before he clutched her waist and drew her against him.  Cushioned against the heat and strength of his hard muscled chest, her nipples throbbed and pulsed with desire.

Her soft moan merged with his deep groan.  Someone rapped on the chamber door.  Rose jerked away, startled.

What are five fun facts about you or this book, that readers would love to know?
  • The inspiration for Rose’s son was my husband’s three year old nephew.
  • Originally, Rand had a fear of drowning.  I changed it to a fear of--. I don’t want to spoil it for the readers. In the end, he must overcome this fear to save Rose and her son.
  • The inspiration for a setting in one of the last scenes of the book was a medieval hospital dedicated to St. Giles in Norwich, England.  A computer generated video of what the hospital might have looked like in the Middle Ages can be found at The Great Hospital Online
  • The inspiration for Rose was Kate Hudson. Inspiration for Rand was Josh Holloway in his early modeling days.
  • I combine my History degree training with exhaustive research to make sure every detail of my books is historically accurate and honest to the time period they are set in. Library records can verify the tons of books used for my research, and that does not include the Internet and other valuable resources I reference for each book. Though historical romance is fictional and often lighthearted, I take pride in making sure historical details are as accurate as I can make them.  

Can you tell us about some of your upcoming releases, or new projects that we can look forward to?

The third book in this series, about a repentant knight who must marry his dead brother’s beautiful betrothed, is currently out on proposal.  After that, I have a Regency trilogy planned about three female friends who each must marry when caught in scandalous situations.

If you could ask readers a question what would it be?

The hero in my first book is an Alpha male.  Rand is a Beta male.  Which do you prefer, an Alpha or Beta hero?  And why?

Finally, just for fun…if you could write the “fortune” in a fortune cookie what would it be?

The “fortune” I would write for a fortune cookie would be the words I have posted on my computer screen: Luck prefers the prepared person.




Your first allegiance is to your heart…

As a knight, Sir Rand Montague’s allegiance is to King Edward I. But when the king orders Rand to escort Rosalyn Harcourt to court in order to wed her off to Sir Golan—a crass knight Rand abhors—he’s torn between duty and desire. For Rand has never forgotten the woman he spent one incredible night of passion with…

After suffering abuse at the hands of her deceased husband, Rose wishes to never wed again. But when Rand rescues her after Sir Golan attempts to compromise her, she agrees to marry Rand in name only. However, sharing such close quarters with Rand brings back memories of their torrid rendezvous—and tempts Rose to give in to an all-consuming desire…

Read an excerpt, & an exclusive excerpt for Musings readers


Congratulations Angela!  And thank you for being my guest :)  Vow of Deception officially releases on Tuesday November 2nd (just 4 days away) and is a bargain at only $5.99 (which means you should be able to get it for less at Walmart & Target has it for $5.09...)  I didn't know they still priced a paperback for less than $7.99 anymore, but I have to tell you that I LIKE IT!  If you'd like to learn more about Angela Johnson and the books she writes you can find her at her beautiful website www.angelajohnsonauthor.com, and on Facebook.

To celebrate the release of her new medieval romance, the second book in her Vows series, author Angela Johnson has offered to giveaway a signed copy of Vow of Seduction, and a signed copy of Vow of Deception to Musings followers (one book each).  Here's how you can enter to win...

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory: Answer the question Angela asked readers in the interview AND leave a meaningful comment and/or ask her a question.  (good for 1 entry)
  • Mandatory: You MUST be a Google Friend Connect (GFC) follower in order to be eligible to win (unfortunately an email subscriber, or subscription in Google reader, and a follower are not the same thing so make sure you are signed up as a follower if you'd like to win this book)
  • If you have a blog, or even if you don't, you can earn extra entries by telling your friends. If they successfully enter to win and mention that you sent them you can each earn extra entries. You can blog about it with a link to this post, post it on Facebook, Twitter, email...or even word of mouth (good for 5 entries for the referrer and the commenter for each friend) . Please note that to earn the points they must mention your GFC name so that I can match you.
  • Purchase any item from the Seductive Musings Amazon store by using this link, or the Amazon widget contained within this post and email a copy of your purchase receipt to me no later than the deadline to enter (email available in sidebar). Sorry purchases made prior to this date do not apply, and link contained in this post must be used. No faxes or snail mail copies are allowed. No purchases are necessary to win. (good for 25 entries, or 50 entries if a purchase is made from the featured author's available titles)
How to enter:
  • You can choose to enter as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment 
Rules and disclaimers:
  • This contest is open to US & Canadian addresses only
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on November 1st at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner(s) will be selected using Random.org
  • The winner(s) will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
  • The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
  • Winners will be subject to one copy per household, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, that you will only receive one copy of the title in the mail
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
Good Luck!

Booklover signature (revised)
*I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small (and I mean very small) referral fee for purchases made using a link on this blog. I don't use Amazon to earn money, I use it because the widgets are cool, easy to use, and serve my purposes to showcase books & such with minimal effort, but most importantly they have great prices and offer both new and used items. As a book addict I love that I can find just about anything I want in one place. If you are going to purchase a featured book anyway, and you know you won't pay more by using the links on this blog than you would by visiting Amazon on your own, I will be eternally grateful for supporting this blog by using the links, and don't forget that the referral fees from your purchases will sponsor the "Reader Rewards" giveaways :)

Read more...

Guest Author & Giveaway: Gena Showalter featuring Ecstasy in Darkness

Thursday, October 28

I haven't read that many paranormal romances this year, but when I read the excerpt for Ecstasy in Darkness by Gena Showalter I knew that I would make an exception for her newest Alien Huntress novel.  When I read the excerpt I laughed out loud, and smiled during the rest of it.  I love when a book makes me "feel" whether is tears or laughter....doesn't matter, because frankly sometimes I want a book that is light and fun...not "fluffy light", as in no substance, but not a tear jerker either.  Although sometimes I'm in the mood for that too :)

I'm a total mood reader, and today's heroine, Ava, is ruled by her passions too...including her hero McKell :)  New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter is here today to share Ecstasy in Darkness with us.  Woo hoo!  Read and enjoy!


Welcome to Seductive Musings Gena!  Your newest novel in the Alien Huntress series is Ecstasy in Darkness. Can you tell us about all of the stories in this series?  How are they related, and for someone who has not had the pleasure of reading them, can you give us a brief summary about each of these stories?

Awaken Me Darkly introduces a near future, alternate Earth where aliens – beings with strange abilities – walk among us and the AIR (Alien Investigation and Removal) agents who police them.  And as always with my books, there’s a love story.  This one is between a female AIR agent and the leader of one of those alien races – a powerful man who is her main suspect in a grizzly murder.  (As all the good ones are LOL)

Enslave Me Sweetly delves into the black opps organization that works alongside AIR – whey they want – and against AIR when they don’t.  Two sexy, darkly amusing assassins go undercover on the same case, and their chemistry is explosive.  Sometimes literally.

Savor Me Slowly blends AIR with the black ops world.  A seemingly by-the-book agent is kidnapped, tortured, and ultimately saved by a woman whose order to keep him alive or kill him depends on what she can learn from him.  And though she falls in love with him, she is controlled by a chip in her brain, and will ultimately hurt him if commanded.

Seduce the Darkness introduces the vampires who have been living underground for centuries.  The heroine thinks she is the only living vampire left, and the hero is a seductive alien king who knows better.  Each has something the other wants, and they constantly one up each other to get it.  

If you had an opportunity to provide only a two or three sentence "teaser" quote from Ecstasy in Darkness, to grab the attention of potential readers and give them a glimpse and feeling of what the story is about what would it be?

One agent is describing a fight he witnessed to another agent.  Ava, of course, was the one doing the fighting.  The below quote pretty much describes her entire personality.  Meaning, she does what it takes to win, always, but maybe kinda sorta plays with the details afterward.

“Ava said her hand accidentally slipped and made contact with the guy’s nose. I said, Repeatedly? And she said, ‘Uh, yeah. I’m really clumsy.’”

Tell us about your hero, McKell.  What do you think will make readers, much like his heroine Ava, fall in love with him despite his being, in her words, a “murderous bloodsucker”? Can you tell us a little bit about their story in Ecstasy in Darkness?

I love McKell because he is possessive, violent when he needs to be, protective when he wants to be, and willing to do absolutely anything to get what he wants.  Plus, when he decides to turn on the charm . . .shiver.  He’s pure heat.

AIR wants McKell brought in because he injured several of their agents.  Something that is punishable by death.  Yet no one has succeeded in getting close to him.  Ava and her best friend Noelle are sent in, even though they are only trainees, and the results are . . . fun.

Ava, your heroine in Ecstasy in Darkness, seems like a woman struggling to survive and takes control of her life by becoming a Huntress... but McKell definitely tempts her in the most seductive of ways :)  Tell us more about her.  What makes her the perfect woman for McKell?  What attracts him to her and makes her irresistibly tempting?

Her scent is what first catches his attention.  Butterscotch, like her favorite candy.  Maybe because she is always eating butterscotch.  But then, once his attention is caught, he begins to notice her wit, her playfulness, her determination that matches his, her strength, her vulnerability, her dark side, her all around complexity.  And suddenly the vampire who can’t share is dealing with a woman who refuses to commit, and he has to prove how good they can be together.

What's your favorite scene or moment from Ecstasy in Darkness, and why? Can you describe it (or provide a short excerpt) for us without giving too much away?

I really love when Ava and McKell interact.  They aren’t afraid of each other, and they absolutely understand each other – and admire each other even more because of that.  Whether they are agreeing, disagreeing, fighting or making up, they find enjoyment with each other.  Here’s an example of that enjoyment:

    “You may have a sip,” Ava told him regally. “But only a sip. Okay, maybe a few gulps. But that’s it. Any more than that, and you’ll have to say good-bye to your balls.”
    He looked at her wrist, where her pulse thumped wildly, and then her eyes. “Why are you offering?” he asked, clearly suspicious.
    Time to lie her ass off. Except, the words emerged on a surprising sigh of truth. “We’re headed into a nest of AIR agents, like I told you, and I need you at your best. You seemed to handle my blood earlier, so I figured you could keep a little more down. Plus, you were being nice and that deserves a reward.”
    Positive reinforcement. If she pretended to reward him for being nice, he would continue to be nice. And as an added benefit, the bite would hurt and she would stop craving it. Stop wanting to tear other women away from him.
    His fingers wrapped around her wrist, gentle and warm, still sizzling. Finally, he was touching her again. She licked her lips; she just couldn’t help herself. But he didn’t swoop down and bite. Not yet. He stood there for several heartbeats of time, the wait
making her ache. Eager.
    “Why are we going into a nest of AIR vipers?” he asked.
    “Scared? I understand.” Negative reinforcement would work, too, she supposed, then frowned. What? Did she now want him to go with her? You’ll protect him. Take a pyre-ray for him just as he claimed he’d do for you. Better that than splitting up again. No telling when he’d return.
    His nostrils flared as he inhaled sharply. “I’m scared of nothing. I’m merely curious.”
    She tried not to smile. So easily manipulated, her vampire. She’d just assured he would go with her, no matter what. Now, he had to prove himself.
    His gaze cut at her, the violet hard as an amethyst. “You suddenly smell of smugness. Which means you were baiting me, you tricky hussy.” His thumb traced
a figure eight over her wrist, even while he pulled her closer, the jewel-rigidity in his eyes softening. His warm, minty breath trekked over her face. “But I don’t mind. I like it.”

What are five fun facts about you or this book that readers would love to know?
  1. I wanted to write about the skinny green, dark eyed aliens people talk about seeing, so I found a way to make that work in the storyline.  But no, neither of the leads is green.
  2. I based McKell’s possessive attitude on toddlers.  You know, the toddlers who will slap other kids around for messing with their toys.
  3. I completely rewrote the ending of this book.  Three times.
  4. Ava’s relationship with her best friend is loosely based on a relationship I have with someone.  And nope, I won’t say who.
  5. I originally wanted to pair McKell with Noelle, but he had other plans.
If you could ask readers to finish a sentence what would it be?

The best kind of hero in a book is . . .

What are some of your upcoming releases, or new projects that we can look forward to?
  • On the Hunt, an anthology about shadow creatures, intoxicating magic and hunters who know a little something about a good slay, releases February 2011.  
  • The Darkest Secret, the next Lords of the Underworld novel, releases April 1, 2011. 
  • The Darkest Surrender, another Lords of the Underworld novel, releases July 2011.
  • Twisted, the next Intertwined novel, releases September 2011.
Finally, just for fun…if you could write the “fortune” in a fortune cookie what would it be?

Like Ava, I love positive reinforcement, so I’d probably write something like:

Be nice to others and they will be nice to you.

But of course, Ava’s would be more along the lines of –

Be nice and I won’t pound your face into the ground.


Growing up poor on New Chicago's meanest streets, Ava Sans had two options: be the predator or be the prey. No contest. Now, working for Alien Investigation and Removal, she's been ordered to capture the biggest, baddest warrior of all—a vampire too beautiful to be real, with the abilityto manipulate time. Once the leader of the entire vampire army, McKell has been deemed savage and unstable, spurned even by his own kind.

To McKell, humans should be nothing more than sustenance. Yet the petite, golden-skinned Ava is a fascinating contradiction—vicious yet witty, strong yet vulnerable, lethal but fiercely loyal. Against his better judgment, McKell craves that loyalty, and much more. When the chase leads to seduction, McKell and Ava will race to discover the truth about his past. But the answers will come at a price, even for a woman who thought she had nothing left to lose. . . .



Congratulations Gena! Any many thanks for being my guest.  If you'd like to learn more about Gena Showalter and the books she writes you can find her at her website www.members.genashowalter.com, her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

To celebrate the release of Ecstasy in Darkness, the fifth book in the Alien Huntress series, Gena's publisher Pocket Books has offered to giveaway TWO copies to Musings followers.  Here's how you can enter to win...

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory: Finish the sentence Gena posed to readers in the interview AND leave a meaningful comment and/or ask her a question.  (good for 1 entry)
  • Mandatory: You MUST be a Google Friend Connect (GFC) follower in order to be eligible to win (unfortunately an email subscriber, or subscription in Google reader, and a follower are not the same thing so make sure you are signed up as a follower if you'd like to win this book)
  • If you have a blog, or even if you don't, you can earn extra entries by telling your friends. If they successfully enter to win and mention that you sent them you can each earn extra entries. You can blog about it with a link to this post, post it on Facebook, Twitter, email...or even word of mouth (good for 5 entries for the referrer and the commenter for each friend) . Please note that to earn the points they must mention your GFC name so that I can match you.
  • Purchase any item from the Seductive Musings Amazon store by using this link, or the Amazon widget contained within this post and email a copy of your purchase receipt to me no later than the deadline to enter (email available in sidebar). Sorry purchases made prior to this date do not apply, and link contained in this post must be used. No faxes or snail mail copies are allowed. No purchases are necessary to win. (good for 25 entries, or 50 entries if a purchase is made from the featured author's available titles)
How to enter:
  • You can choose to enter as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment 
Rules and disclaimers:
  • This contest is open to US addresses only
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on October 30th at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner(s) will be selected using Random.org
  • The winner(s) will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
  • The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
  • Winners will be subject to one copy per household, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, that you will only receive one copy of the title in the mail
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
Good Luck!

Booklover signature (revised)
*I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small (and I mean very small) referral fee for purchases made using a link on this blog. I don't use Amazon to earn money, I use it because the widgets are cool, easy to use, and serve my purposes to showcase books & such with minimal effort, but most importantly they have great prices and offer both new and used items. As a book addict I love that I can find just about anything I want in one place. If you are going to purchase a featured book anyway, and you know you won't pay more by using the links on this blog than you would by visiting Amazon on your own, I will be eternally grateful for supporting this blog by using the links, and don't forget that the referral fees from your purchases will sponsor the "Reader Rewards" giveaways :)

Read more...

Guest Author: Cherise Sinclair featuring Master of the Abyss

Tuesday, October 26

My guest today is an another author that I discovered because of a fellow blogger, Book Junkie.  She posted a review of an erotic romance titled  Master of the Mountain by Cherise Sinclair, and I was so intrigued by the book that after reading the review I had to read it...despite my wariness with BDSM. I really enjoyed it, and then earlier this year I read her Club Shadowlands series and LOVED them! I devoured them all back to back in a week.  It was an addiction :) 

In my opinion no one writes erotic romance with a touch of BDSM like Cherise Sinclair does.  Even if you are a person who normally doesn't like BDSM in your romance, or doesn't like anything extreme or degrading, then I think you might like her stories, they're just that good.  For me they never cross the line into something I find objectionable, but I think they still accurately portray what the lifestyle is all about.  They are sizzling hot with lots of emotion.  Love love love them!  She can't write fast enough for me.  Write Cherise write!

Today I have the pleasure of sharing a journal entry from Cherise's fictional character, Chelsea,  who is a new reporter for The Kinky Planet.  Chelsea interviewed the two "Masters", Logan and Jack, and came away from her time on the Mountain a changed woman...with a tender...backside and a desire for more :)  Read and enjoy!


On the mountain, the watcher seeks out evil women. And then they die.

Two years ago, when Jake Hunt uncollared his slave, she committed suicide. Guilt-ridden, he will commit to a woman for one night only, devoting his energy to a mountain lodge that caters to a BDSM crowd.

Kallie Masterson is tough. Unwanted as a child, she worked hard to become a wilderness guide. She’s proud of who she is, and hurt that Jake frowns on her for acting like a man.

After rescuing the macho guide from a bar fight, Jake is stunned that the ugly men’s clothing hides a warm, responsive woman. A submissive woman. When guide business brings her to the lodge on BDSM night, and she is obviously aroused by the play, Jake takes the little sub right into his world of pain and pleasure. He warns her: one night only. But she responds so beautifully -- so joyously -- under his command, that one night soon becomes two, then three...

Then a missing hiker reminds Jake of his past lover, and he realizes he’s become too involved. He pulls back.

Meanwhile, the watcher on the mountain has rendered his verdict: Kallie Masterson is evil. The sentence: Death.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and elements, exhibitionism, violence, voyeurism.

Read an excerpt, and an exclusive excerpt for Musings readers


Congratulations Cherise! And thank you so much for being my guest and sharing you newest novel with us. If you'd like to learn more about author Cherise Sinclair and the Dominant males in her sizzling tales you can find her at her website www.cherisesinclair.com, on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her collaborative blog Some Write it Hot.

Today is the official release day of Master of the Abyss.  Woohoo!  I can't wait to read it!!!  You can purchase Master of the Abyss starting today, exclusively at  Loose ID (until late December/early January in which case you should be able to buy it at Amazon, AllRomance, Fictionwise...).  Her previously published novels are available at Loose Id, Amazon, AllRomance, Fictionwise...in digital formats and most are available in print as well.

Tell me,  have you read any Cherise Sinclair novels?  If you have I'd love to know which one is your favorite and why.  If you haven't, why not? Is it because she is a new to you author, or is it the BDSM element that holds you back? 

p.s...If I like it (and once it is available at AllRomance so I can gift it) you may find a Musings reader giveaway of Master of the Abyss to celebrate the New Year....but only the readers who comment on this post will be eligible if I decide to do it.


Booklover signature (revised)
*I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small (and I mean very small) referral fee for purchases made using a link on this blog. I don't use Amazon to earn money, I use it because the widgets are cool, easy to use, and serve my purposes to showcase books & such with minimal effort, but most importantly they have great prices and offer both new and used items. As a book addict I love that I can find just about anything I want in one place. If you are going to purchase a featured book anyway, and you know you won't pay more by using the links on this blog than you would by visiting Amazon on your own, I will be eternally grateful for supporting this blog by using the links, and don't forget that the referral fees from your purchases will sponsor the "Reader Rewards" giveaways :)

Read more...
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My FREE Kindle Quest

I've wanted a Kindle for what seems like forever, but haven't been able to afford it (and that's saying something since I can justify the cost of just about ANYTHING that I really want). I've tried winning one in one of the many giveaways that have taken place over the couple of years, but with no luck :( So I've decided to take matters in hand so to speak :) I've now decided that I am going to accumulate enough Swagbucks from my Swabucks searches to buy one...so in essence my new Kindle will be FREE...funded entirely by my internet searches done on Swagbucks. I'll keep you informed of the Great Kindle Quest below (in case you're interested....if not feel free to just skip over this part, but really who wouldn't be interested in a FREE Kindle?)
Goal: $119
Current Swagbucks Amazon Gift Card balance: $90.00
If you'd like to learn how you can earn Swagbucks and earn your own Amazon Gift Cards to buy books, a Kindle or other merchandise sold at Amazon contact me and I would be more than happy to tell you how I plan to go about it. (just so you know you can earn both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca gift cards on this rewards site)
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