Monday's Muse: Ode to "The Perfect Play"

Monday, January 31

Sorry, but the image containing the Monday's Muse has been removed from this blog so as not to violate any copyright issues.  Thanks for your understanding!

It seems like I've been waiting forever for this week to come...i.e. the week Jaci Burton's first book in her Play by Play series, The Perfect Play, is released. I've really been into sports themed books lately. Most recently Double Play and Slow Heat by Jill Shalvis & Line of Scrimmage by Marie Force. In fact I can't seem to get enough of them. So in honor of finally being able to get my hands on it, and feed my current sports hero addiction I decided to dedicate this week's Muse to the perfection that is Jed Hill (the cover model for Jaci's book).  

I featured the original photo that the cover was made from a while back, but I didn't want to use that image again....after all you deserve something more, don't you think?  So here he is, Mr. Perfect Play, in one of my favorite photos of him (and if you want to see the original photo from the cover for The Perfect Play before it was altered click here).

This week at Seductive Musings, what you are going to get is a whole lotta me :)
  • Tuesday:  I hope to have my recap of January with ratings and a few short comments for the books that I read this month, as well as my favorite cover.  I read a lot of great books this month, so if we have similar reading tastes you may want to be prepared to break out the wallet.
  • Wednesday:  Review for Marie Force's Everyone Loves a Hero (my first 5 star read of the year)
  • Thursday:  I'll have a post for Thursday Thoughts.  I'm debating between two topics.  I'll eventually talk about both, I just haven't decided which I want to do first.
  • Friday:  Review for Elizabeth Hoyt's Notorious Pleasures (my second 5 star read of the year)
  • Sunday:  Winners for giveaways that ended during the week
Other new updates:
  • The new book trailer this week is for Samhain Publishing's Red Hot Winter Anthology featuring True Heart by Delilah Devlin, Winter Fire by Jess Dee, and Triple Dare by Lexxie Cooper.  Since it's been so cold and wintery last week and we are expected to get another foot of snow this week where I live (will winter never end?) I thought it was needed.  Desperately!

Finally, congratulations to all of the authors with these new releases this week! (of course this isn't inclusive of all of the new releases, just the ones that I'm interested in reading)



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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: Yours for the Taking by Robin Kaye

Saturday, January 29

Title:  Yours for the Taking *
Author:  Robin Kaye
Series:  Domestic Gods #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Format: mass market paperback, digital ebook
Date/Year: January 2011
Reviewed by:  Booklover1335

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

Summary from the publisher:

He might be too good to be true...

Ben Walsh shouldn't be single. Handsome and wealthy, Ben is equally at home in Idaho where he grew up and in Manhattan where he's now an art dealer. Suave and successful with impeccable taste, he normally has women beating down his door. But the one woman he wants can't be convinced that he's for real...

She isn't sure if she has time for fairy tales...

Gina Reyez has fought for every bit of her success, and it's about time for things to start going her way. So when Ben makes a proposal that will allow her to take care of her family the way she wants to, she agrees. Besides, a guy this perfect would never be interested in her...right? By the time Gina figures out that she's read Ben all wrong, the arrangements are made, the papers are signed...but what exactly are they getting themselves into?

My Musings:

This is the first book I’ve read of Robin Kaye’s Domestic Gods series.  By some accounts it’s her best, other’s her worst.  I can’t really be the judge of that since it’s my first, but here are some of my thoughts after reading Yours for the Taking.

Ben is a cowboy at heart, but also a Manhattan metrosexual who enjoys women...lots of women, just without any complications.  His grandfather, a wily though manipulative loving relative, has given Ben a short period of time to marry, otherwise his grandfather is going to sell Ben’s childhood ranch in Idaho where he holds cherished memories of his mother and father who died when he was younger.  He’s a driven, but caring person who is determined to have the ranch, pretty much at any cost....to the tune of many millions of dollars.  Just as long as the woman he marries knows that it is a marriage of convenience only...no emotional strings attached.

Gina is a survivor who grew up feeling responsible for the care and nurturing of her siblings.  She’s a fighter, who has learned the hard way to only rely on herself.  Consequently, she is at times abrasive, off-putting and needs to have control of her own destiny so that she won’t ever have to be reliant on someone else for her wellbeing again.  She came from nothing, but through hard work and diligence she’s made a good life for herself and her sister. She’s all work and no play, with just a few friends and no long term relationships. So when she’s offered a chance to marry a man she knows only through mutual acquaintances, for which she will be paid a substantial amount of money, she thinks not of what it will gain her, but how she can in return help those she loves the most.

Both have admirable, though self serving intentions that get thrown off track by their mutual desire for one another, which eventually leads to their happily ever after...sorta.

I didn’t really know what to expect from this modern day take on a marriage of convenience.  I was somewhat skeptical about what would motivate two people who barely know each other in a contemporary romance to marry, but the circumstances that the author places each character in makes it believable that they would both benefit from the arrangement.

Ben is a very likeable hero, and despite his need for a wife that he has no emotional entanglements with he quickly falls in lust and love with Gina...but for the life of me I couldn’t really tell you why.  Because you see, Gina isn’t really a likeable person...at least that is the way she comes across.  She’s hard and because of her situation growing up she trusts and relies on no one.  She has a hard time asking anyone for help, and isolates herself and her feelings to protect herself from further hurt and disappointment.  She’s always looking for people to fail her, so in the end she gets exactly what she looks for because if you look hard enough you can always find fault.

Normally, I am all for flawed and wounded characters because I love to see their growth as they learn to love and trust, but with Gina the reader finds little for Ben to fall in love with, despite his many declarations and magnanimous gestures.  Ben is certainly not perfect, and in fact proves her right by betraying her trust at one point in the story, but he does everything that he can to show how sorry and wrong he was.  He grows as a character because of his love for Gina.  At that point I did feel sorry for Gina, because Ben accused her of some terrible things, but at the same time I don’t know how fully she forgave him because at the end....I felt like she would be anticipating him failing her constant tests of his love for her.

I never really liked Gina as a person and felt that her character never progressed from someone who needs no one, to someone who needs the man she loves in her life.  I never really got why Ben loved Gina, but I certainly understood why Gina could fall in love with Ben.  To give some credit to Gina’s character, I don’t think the reader is really supposed to like her very much at the beginning because at one point in a conversation Gina’s best friend says to her, “Look why don’t you get off the phone with your best friend and go apologize to your very cute but temporary husband.  You might as well enjoy him while you have him.  Oh, and be nice.  You need to practice being nice.”  However sympathetic you may be to Gina at some points in the book, you never come to like her.  At least I didn’t, which is why I had a hard time understanding why Ben loved her.  As a result their love story seemed very one sided and that was a big disappointment.

Despite my feelings about Gina as a character I did enjoy my first Robin Kaye book.  I loved Ben. I loved the cast of supporting characters, the interaction and dialogue between the characters, and the overall plot and writing style.  I just wish that Gina’s character would have evolved more from beginning to end because that would have made this 3 star read a definite 4+ star read. 

Ratings:

Overall:  3.25 stars
Sensuality Level: 3.25

For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings system at Seductive Musings, click here


Other Reviews: 

Smexy Books
The Book Vixen
Romantic Crush Junkies


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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: The Princess in His Bed by Lila DiPasqua

Friday, January 28

Author:  Lila DiPasqua
Series: Fiery Tales series #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Format: Trade size paperback & digital e-book
Date/Year: November 2010

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

Summary from the publisher:


Inspired by “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Ugly Duckling, and “The Princess and the Pea,” Lila DiPasqua spins three sexy tales that give new meaning to the term bedtime story…

The Marquis’ New Clothes: To save her cousin, Aimee de Miran must retrieve a jeweled ring from the most sinfully seductive man at court, the Marquis de Nattes. But to search his considerable wardrobe she’ll have to get very close to the notorious rake…and soon she finds herself very close to him indeed, with his clothes—and hers—utterly forgotten…

The Lovely Duckling: Reputed for his carnal skills, Joseph d’Alumbert prefers amorous encounters without emotional entanglement—until a quick-witted lady stirs tender feelings and hot desire. Emilie de Sarron suffered burns to her body as an infant, and keeps her scars—and her heart—well hidden. But Joseph is determined to peel away her inhibitions, one slow steamy kiss at a time, to reveal the beautiful swan inside…

The Princess and the Diamonds: Princess Gabrielle can’t sleep at night. There is something hard in her bed. No, not just the stolen diamonds tucked under her mattress, but the handsome Marquis on it….whose carnal talents she can’t resist. But he threatens her secret mission, and worse, she stands to lose far more than the diamonds---her heart is at stake….
My Musings:

The Princess in His Bed is Lila DiPasqua’s second collection of stories from her Fiery Tales series. I enjoyed her first collection Awakened by a Kiss and thought her unique twist to the classic fairy tales was original and “fiery” indeed, so I had high expectations for this next collection.  In some respects the author exceeded those expectations, but with a few disappointments as well.  I apologize ahead of time for comparing the two books in the collection, but I think it is important since they are based on the same premises.  I also won’t summarize each of the stories for you since the description from the publisher gives you the general idea of what each story is about, so instead I will tell you what worked for me and what didn’t since my issues pretty much apply to each of the three stories.

What I enjoyed so much about the first series is that the author used elements of the original fairy tales, but cleverly changed it up so that it seemed new and familiar all at the same time. I didn’t necessarily feel the new versions in The Princess in His Bed had as much in common with the older tales, but instead had only the most basic and fundamental facets to connect the old with the new.  I felt they each had less in common with the original version than I anticipated so as a result I didn’t think they were quite as clever as I expected them to be based on my first impression of this author’s talent in Awakened by a Kiss.  Therefore, I was a little bit disappointed even though I felt each story was well written.

In addition, at the beginning of each story in Awakened by a Kiss, there was a shortened version of each fairy tale by the original author that I especially enjoyed.  However, in The Princess in His Bed that was absent from the collection and I missed that as well.  I’m not sure if this was the author’s choice or the publisher’s, but I wish they would have kept this aspect of the series consistent.  It didn’t make a BIG difference to my impression of the stories, but it was a minor disappointment because you couldn’t exactly compare the original to the new version of each tale to highlight what made it special and “cleverly retold”.  That being said however, I thought that the quality of all three stories in The Princess in His Bed collection was higher and more consistent than they were in Awakened by a Kiss.

Each story in The Princess in His Bed had interesting and compelling characters, with fevered and passionate love scenes, and captivating plots that made it hard to put the book down. I enjoyed them all immensely...especially “The Lovely Duckling”.  “The Lovely Duckling” was the best story in the book in my opinion, with a rakish hero that hides his identity from the woman he desires in order to try and atone for past wrongs, and a heroine who yearns for passion despite being scarred both physically and emotionally from events in her past which leaves her insecure and reclusive from society. It was beautifully written with emotion, heart, despair, passion, redemption, and mostly importantly…love at it’s best.  This one would have been perfect, except for the fact that the ending felt a tad rushed.  I would have loved for this story to have been a full length novel to fully explore the depth and potential it had.  The Lovely Duckling alone is worth the price of the book, which makes The Marquis’ New Clothes, and The Princess and the Diamonds, icing on a most delectable cake.
 
Lila DiPasqua proves once again that she is an emerging and talented romance writer with what I hope is a promising future with her first full length novel, A Midnight Dance (August 2011), which is her retelling of Cinderella.  I for one am very much looking forward to it.  If you enjoyed Awakened by a Kiss then I think you will love The Princess in His Bed.  I know I did!

Ratings:

Overall: 4.25 stars.  I would give the individual stories the following ratings:
  • The Marquis' New Clothes: 4.0 stars
  • The Lovely Duckling 4.50 stars
  • The Princess and the Diamonds 3.75 stars
Sensuality level:  3.5
For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings, click here


Other Reviews:


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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: The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell

Thursday, January 27

Title: The Darling Strumpet *
Author: Gillian Bagwell
Series: N/A
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Format: Trade size paperback
Date/Year: January 2011
Reviewed by: ElaineReads

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


Summary from the publisher:

A thrilling debut novel starring one of history's most famous and beloved courtesans.

From London's slums to its bawdy playhouses, The Darling Strumpet transports the reader to the tumultuous world of seventeenth-century England, charting the meteoric rise of the dazzling Nell Gwynn, who captivates the heart of King Charles II-and becomes one of the century's most famous courtesans.

Witty and beautiful, Nell was born into poverty but is drawn into the enthralling world of the theater, where her saucy humor and sensuous charm earn her a place in the King's Company. As one of the first actresses in the newly-opened playhouses, she catapults to fame, winning the affection of legions of fans-and the heart of the most powerful man in all of England, the King himself. Surrendering herself to Charles, Nell will be forced to maneuver the ruthless and shifting allegiances of the royal court-and discover a world of decadence and passion she never imagined possible.


ElaineReads' Musings:

First of all, a thank you to Seductive Musings for asking me to guest review this book.  Although I read a lot of historical fiction, I tend to concentrate on the seventeen and eighteen hundreds.  The Darling Strumpet takes place in the latter half of the 1600s, so it is a new era for me.

Oliver Cromwell is dead and the beloved Charles II has returned to England to take up his crown.  In the streets of London, a young Nell Gwynn runs away from her abusive mother and joins her sister in a brothel.  Who would ever expect the paths of the King of England and a lowborn child prostitute to cross?

I have very mixed feelings about this book.  I loved Nell and thought her life was described fairly honestly.  There was no attempt to romanticize her career as a prostitute and mistress.  She knew her existence was strictly at the whim of whatever man had her in their power, be he low born or royalty.  However, despite that, she had many male friends (including former lovers) who she kept due to her wit and loyalty.

Although Charles II was presented very sympathetically, I could not like him.  Infidelity has always been the sticking point for me and he had three mistresses, a wife, and numerous casual trysts.  This was all at the same time.  And yes, I do realize the morals of the time, not to mention the fact he was King are supposed to make a difference.

Of course, the book is based on historical fact.  Charles II did have multiple mistresses.  The author is only being true to the facts.

This is probably not a book I will ever re-read.  I don’t need to . . . I will never forget it.

According to her website, Gillian Bagwell spent twenty years researching this, her debut book.  The wealth of historical detail makes it obvious that the time was well spent.  Fortunately, we will not have to wait so long for her next book which is based on another woman in Charles’ life:  Jane Lane.  The September Queen is due to be published in November of 2011.

Ratings:

Overall:  4 stars - in love (didn’t care for the quotations from plays)
Sensuality Level:  4 steamy

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

Other Reviews: 

*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives 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 Review: Wedding of the Season by Laura Lee Guhrke

Wednesday, January 26

Title: Wedding of the Season*
Author: Laura Lee Guhrke
Series: Abandoned at the Altar
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon
Format: Mass Market Paperback, digital book
Date/Year: January 2011
Reviewed by:  Julia

*The reviewer procured this book from her local public library.





Summary from the publisher: 

Abandoned at the altar . . .

Lady Beatrix Danbury had always known she would marry William Mallory. She'd loved him forever and she'd never doubted he loved her, too. But when she made him choose between their life together or his lifelong dream, Will chose the latter . . . and left two weeks before their wedding.

Return of the duke . . .

Will has no illusions that Beatrix would welcome him back with open arms, but six years did not dim his love or desire for her. The only problem is, she's about to marry someone else. Someone safe and predictable . . . the complete opposite of Will. But can he stop the wedding of the season and win Beatrix back, or is it just too late?

Julia's Musings:

Last Spring I was introduced to Laura Lee Guhrke by chance and happenstance. Reading Eloisa James’ Barnes and Noble column about heroines with careers, I stumbled across Guhrke’s name. Her Girl-Bachelors series sounded interesting and it was available at the library as an eBook. I read it and loved it. So I read the next one and the next until I devoured all four, leaving me with a fresh take on historical romance that I had desperately needed.

Needless to say when I heard that she was coming out with a new series, I was one of the first people in line to get it at the library. But this first book left me underwhelmed. Coming from her Girl-Bachelor series, which pushed the boundaries of what I had come to expect in a historical romance, this book was a disappointment. My boundary pushing was really nowhere to be found.

Even if we take away my overly high expectations and just focus on the story, I am still slightly underwhelmed. The book started off awesome. There is a car! A car with a crank! How often is that in a historical romance? First time I’ve ever read it. But as we delved more into the story and less on the awesome side details, I realized I wasn’t connecting with the main characters. There was something about my hero that I just didn’t like. I still can’t put my finger on what it is exactly

Frankly, I was bored. The same two thoughts were repeated ad nauseum by our hero and heroine, and at the end, I just felt like I could not believe in the characters growth. I couldn’t help but think of where this story could have gone. Thus you have a completely underwhelmed me.

You know what is funny though? I am still going to read the sequel. Because the best thing about this book was the car and do you know where the car came from? The awesome secondary character named Julia. And her book is next.

Overall thoughts? It didn’t click with me. According to Goodreads though I am in the minority. Despite this, I still think she is a great author and am willing to chalk this up to a fluke of nature and Julia’s book will blow me out of the water with it’s awesomeness.

And since I don’t want to make my first review here completely negative, I would highly recommend checking out Guhrke’s Girl-Bachelors series. The first book is And Then He Kissed Her. If you want something different from your normal historical romance (set in the late 1800s, strong female heroines that are not defined by men that actually work), this is your series!

Ratings:

Overall Rating: 2 stars
Sensuality: 3 stars
For a complete understanding and definition of Seductive Musings ratings guide, click here



Links to a few other reviews:

*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives 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: Elizabeth Hoyt featuring Notorious Pleasures

Tuesday, January 25


My guest today has made my "Favorites" list at the end of the year two years running....basically since I found out about her books.  I love them!  I love that they are emotionally intense, they're sexy AND sensual (and no, they are not the same thing... at least to me), the heroines are strong and the heroes, though sometimes wounded, are to die for!  I can't get enough of them, which is why I am glad I can finally feed my Hoyt addiction with a new addition to her latest historical romance in the Maiden Lane series, Notorious Pleasures.

Elizabeth Hoyt is here today to share some insight into Notorious Pleasures with us, which is completely my pleasure to bring to you with an interview, as well as a exclusive excerpt just for Musings readers.  Read and enjoy!


Welcome back to Seductive Musings Elizabeth! Your historical romances have made my list of “Favorites” at the end of the year two years running (ie ever since I discovered you in 2009).  For you, what makes a romance novel a great love story and what makes writing historical romances so compellingly seductive to your muse?
 
Emotion is at the heart of all great romance stories. Without deeply felt, sometimes wrenching emotion, the story is flat. But in order for the reader to truly feel the emotion, they have to connect to the characters, so the characters have to be so real they breathe.

I think historicals give me freer rein to explore metaphors and characters and over-arcing themes. That seems a bit counter-intuitive because of course historical romances are constrained by the time period and conventions of that time period. But oddly, those constraints provide a framework to hang all that good stuff on.

What’s the craziest, funniest, most embarrassing, or most bizarre thing you’ve ever researched, experienced, observed, or done for one of your books?  And did that experience make it's way into any of your books in some way?

Well, there was the con woman who convinced a great many learned men—including George III—that she was giving birth to rabbits on a regular basis. I can’t remember what I was researching when I ran across this character, and sadly I haven’t been able to use her in a book, but I did write an article about her on my website research page.

Your newest story in the Maiden Lane series is NOTORIOUS PLEASURES. Can you tell us how many books are planned for this series?  How WICKED INTENTIONS and NOTORIOUS PLEASURES are related, and for someone who has not had the pleasure of reading the first one, can you give us a brief summary about each of these stories? And do they need to be read in order? 

My earlier books don’t really need to be read in order, but I do think the reader will get the most out of the Maiden Lane series if it’s read in order. At the moment there are only three books to the series, but I do plan to continue with the characters and setting, even if it’s under another series name (so people waiting for Winter’s book, don’t panic!)

In Wicked Intentions Lord Caire is hunting for a murderer in the worse part of London—St. Giles. But since he’s an aristocrat, Caire is having trouble getting people to talk to him so he turns to Temperance Dews. Temperance runs an orphanage in St. Giles and knows the area like the back of her hand. But even as Caire’s search brings them together, it also sends Temperance into danger.

Notorious Pleasures also takes place partially in St. Giles, and features Lady Hero Batten, the new patroness of the orphanage.

Most authors have a synopsis, outline or idea of what the story they are about to write will be before beginning.  However, sometimes during the writing process your “Muse” might speak to you and lead you in different or unplanned directions.  What surprised or changed the most from your original intent for NOTORIOUS PLEASURES, or this series in general?

I originally thought the orphanage in St. Giles would only appear in Wicked Intentions, but it’s almost become a reoccurring character. Since I deal with sad stuff like gin addiction, poverty, and etc. in St. Giles, it seems right to have a beacon of hope and love embodied in the orphanage.

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

“I am a veritable blackguard,” Lord Griffin said. “A seducer, a rake, the worst sort of profligate. I am notorious for my pleasures. I have no discretion, no morals, and no desire for either. I am, in short, the devil himself, and you, my dearest Lady Perfect, would do well to avoid my company at all costs.”

Tell us about your hero, Lord Griffin Reading.  What do you think will make readers, much like his heroine Hero, fall in love with him despite taking an instant dislike to him? And can you tell us a little bit about their story in NOTORIOUS PLEASURES?

Griffin is interested in his own pleasure—and unrepentant about it—but he’s also intelligent and hard-working and modest enough to pull his family from the brink of financial ruin without taking any credit for it. Oh, and he’s sexy. ;-)

Tell us about your heroine, Lady Hero Batten, and what makes her the perfect woman for Griffin?  What are some of the qualities that attracts him to her and makes her irresistibly tempting despite viewing her as too proper, too good...too perfect?  And what made you choose Hero for your heroine’s name?

Hero is from Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” She’s kind of the secondary heroine behind Beatrice who banters so wonderfully with Benedict. Hero was sweet and kind and rather innocent—almost perfect, in fact, and rather bland because of it. I thought that was a good starting point for my nearly perfect Hero. My Hero is nearly perfect—on the outside anyway. In reality she’s never had reason to challenge that perfection—until she runs across Griffin.

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

I really enjoyed writing a scene that takes place in a pleasure garden where everyone is masked. Here’s a short excerpt from the beginning of the scene:

Behind her, Reading laughed. "Touché, my Lady Perfect."
"Don't call me that," Hero snapped.
"Why not? Are you not perfection itself?"
She repressed a shiver. "Whether I am or not, I'm certainly not yours."
"Pity."
She stopped. "What did you say?"
"Pretty." He raised innocent eyebrows at her. "You're very pretty tonight."

What are five fun facts about you or this book, that readers would love to know?

1.  When researching gin distilling I found out that all sorts of non-edible things were sometimes added, including creosote and vitriol (sulfuric acid.)

2.Also, something like 90% of infant orphans died in London during this period—a very depressing fact that I chose to ignore for my orphanage!

3.  I often chew gum when writing—the closer to deadline, the more gum!

4.  The cover of Notorious Pleasures was changed to a close up of the couple. Future reprints of Wicked Intentions will have a close-up of Temperance as well to match.

    
5.  Cousin Bathilda is based on a portrait of Queen Sophie Dorothea of Prussia (pictured below).

    Finally, if you could ask readers a question, or have them finish a sentence what would it be?

    "Appalled by the utter lack of manners in young people today, Cousin Bathilda vowed to____"


    Their lives were perfect . . .

    Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn't bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother . . .

    Until they met each other.

    Griffin Remmington, Lord Reading, is far from perfect - and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire - desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero's wedding nears, and Griffin's enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?

    Read an excerpt, listen to an excerpt, & a bonus excerpt especially for Musings readers


    Congrats Elizabeth! I have no doubt that you will end up on my "Best of" list in 2010 as well...especially since I can't wait to read Silence and "Charming" Mickey's story in Scandalous Desires (Nov 2011) in addition to Hero and Griffin's love story.  There's nothing better than a great historical romance read, which is why I always look forward to your novels.

    If you'd like to learn more about Elizabeth Hoyt and the books she writes you can find her at her website www.elizabethhoyt.com and www.juliaharper.com, her blogTwitter, and Facebook where she has a short video from the photo shoot for the next Maiden Lane book, Scandalous Desires (did I mention that I am really looking forward to this book?).  She has a great extras page, and if you send her a self addressed stamped envelope you can get assorted goodies (like lovely bookmarks) and a signed bookplate.  I love goodies!

    To celebrate the release of Elizabeth Hoyt's second book in her Maiden Lane series, Notorious Pleasures, her publisher, Grand Central Publishing, would like to giveaway a copy of her book to three lucky Musings followers.  Here's how you can enter to win...

    Ways to earn entries:
    • Mandatory:  Finish the sentence Elizabeth asked readers to finish in the interview, AND show her some comment love by leaving a meaningful comment or question for her.   (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 February 5th 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...

    Winners...long overdue :)

    Monday, January 24

    Sorry it took me so long to announce these, some of these were from a few weeks ago. Egads!

    To celebrate the release of the second book in the Courtesan Court Trilogy, Mistress by Midnight, author Maggie Robinson would like to giveaway both Mistress by Midnight AND the book that started it all, Mistress by Mistake, to Musings follower....




    To celebrate the release of Vicky Dreiling's debut, How to Marry a Duke, her publisher, Forever Romance, would like to giveaway a copy of the book to these three lucky Musings followers...




    To celebrate the release of Gillian Bagwells's debut novel, The Darling Strumpet, her publisher, Berkley/Penguin, would like to giveaway one copy of her book to Musings follower...






    To celebrate the release of The Arrangement, author Delaney Diamond would like to giveaway one digital copy of the book to Musings follower...








    Are you ready for the next winner in the Outlander giveaway?  I am!  This week's winner of my epically big, just like the book giveaway is...

    (who requested 5 copies)


    Congratulations!   As always, you can click on any of the links or the book covers found on this blog to purchase the books you are dying to read...even if you didn't win them.  If you didn't win one of these, don't lose heart because I'll have some new ones for you soon!

    If however,  you've been lucky enough to have already won these book(s) in another giveaway please let me know so that alternate winner(s) can be selected.  The winners will have until Thursday January 27th to contact me with your mailing address, otherwise alternate winner(s) will be selected.  For new followers to Seductive Musings please take note I do NOT email you that you have won.  The blog post serves as the announcement and it is your responsibility to contact me with your mailing address. You can send your mailing address to me by using the Contact link in the menu bar at the top of the blog then filling out the form.


    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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