Review: Making Waves by Tawna Fenske

Wednesday, August 31

Title:  Making Waves*
Author: Tawna Fenske
Series:N/A
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Format: Paperback & e-book
Date/Year:  August 2011
Reviewed by: Booklover1335

*This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Summary from the publisher:

She always wanted to belong…just not to a dysfunctional pirate crew


Juli has trouble fitting in, though she’d prefer to keep the reasons to herself. But when she mistakenly stows away on a ship of misfit corporate castoffs, her own secrets become the least of her concerns.

He knows plotting a diamond heist may be considered unusual behavior…

But Alex isn’t feeling very normal when his unscrupulous boss kicks him to the curb. Meeting Juli doesn’t do much to restore normalcy to Alex’s life either, but it sure is exhilarating!

As Alex and Juli bare their secrets—and a whole lot more—they find that while normal is nice, weird can be wonderful.

My Musings:

When I first learned about Making Waves, the debut novel by author Tawna Fenske, I had high hopes that she might be a new contemporary author that I would love.  The cover quote on the front of Making Waves describes it as “Hilarious!  A wild, sexy romp with a fresh, fun take on love.”  Hence my problem with cover quotes.  I know that they are promotional, and therefore exaggerations and sometimes not exactly revealing or truthful and the story contained within the pages.  And to be honest, the cover quote on the cover of Making Waves isn’t misleading in any way, because the book is fun and at times laugh out loud funny....but because of the quote I think I had unrealistically high, misplaced and unfair expectations of this new to me author being like a beloved author, Jill Shalvis, who writes some of my absolute favorite contemporary romances...and it wasn’t, much to my disappointment.

Juli Flynn is a genius, literally.  And like most geniuses, she has a problem connecting with people and fitting in and settling into a life with purpose.  She’s as infamous for her IQ, as for her failures in both life and in love.  She’s quirky, smart and fun and supposedly absolutely gorgeous.

Alex Bradshaw is a forty something executive who has devoted his life to the pursuit of professional success to prove that he is worthy.  After being dumped by his fiancée years ago for a Dentist who could offer her the kind of life, and the money that she wanted, he defines his self worth by his title and his bank account.  So when he’s given his pink slip with a drained bank account he is left with those old feelings of insecurity and the only way he knows to get back at his unscrupulous boss and fill his empty coffers is to become a pirate.

Making Waves is a fun romance, which is light on the romance and heavy on the cliché’s. There were moments in this book that were laugh out loud funny, but also moments that were completely ridiculous.  This author loves dichotomies.  For example,  a quirky nerd who is bombshell beautiful, an Ex Pro Football player who likes to be called “Cookie”, embroider his own aprons, grate his own nutmeg and wears women’s clothing.  Then there are also high seas pirates who are massive brooding muscle bound men who act like children yet are literary theologians.  Go figure.
At times it felt like the author was throwing polar opposite characteristics together to make the characters be more comical and funny, but instead seemed came off as contrived and absurd.  For me funny is finding the humor in everyday life, not forcing situations in order to add substance to otherwise weak character development.
I have mixed feelings about Making Waves.  There were moments that I really enjoyed…like when Alex and Juli first meet and pretend to be recently married in order to qualify to play a Newlywed type game to win some quick cash.  That was pretty darn hilarious!  Unfortunately those moments were few and far between for me.  For me the story was much more focused on the “funny” characteristics of the characters, than the characters themselves which resulted in what I felt to be a very superficial love story.  It was fluff, sometimes fun, but overall...forgettable.

Have you read it?  If so, I would love to know your thoughts on this book.

Ratings:

Overall:  3.00 stars  (the author's style of writing was fun, but the characters and plot leave a lot to be desired)

Sensuality level:  3.00 ( I kind of wavered on whether to say it was more 2.75 or a 3.00.  There are a few kissing and heavy petting scenes, and from what I can remember only one scene where they actually sleep together.  Very straight forward sex that is only mildly descriptive in it's explicitness)

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

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Winners: Making Waves

Tuesday, August 30

Considering how late it is tonight, it doesn't look like I am going to be able to finish putting my review together of Making Waves like I had originally planned.  However, I do have the winners from the giveaway associated with author Tawna Fenske being a guest at Seductive Musings last week.  I should have the review finished for you tomorrow.


To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Making Waves, Tawna Fenske's publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca would like to giveaway a copy of the book to these two lucky Musings followers...
 



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 Friday September 2nd 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.

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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Review: In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks

Monday, August 29

Title:  In Bed with a Highlander*
Author:  Maya Banks
Series: The McCabe Trilogy #1
Genre: Historical Romance 
Publisher: Ballantine
Format: paperback & ebook
Date/Year:  August 2011
Reviewed by: Booklover1335

*This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

Bestselling author Maya Banks’s beguiling new trilogy features three unforgettable brothers risking everything to save their clan and their legacy—and to surrender their hearts to love.

Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

My Musings:

Maya Banks is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors.  I love the way she tells a love story, and the captivating characters that she creates that keeps me coming back for more time after time.  Which is why when I found out that Ms. Banks was writing a historical romance series, set in the Scottish Highlands I thought I might have died and gone to a kilt clad match made in heaven...three of my favorite romance things in one book:  Maya Banks’ story telling, Historical Romance and Highlanders.

The Hero in In Bed with a Highlander is Ewan McCabe.  The Laird of Clan McCabe who has seen great tragedy befall his family and his clan and takes his responsibility to his people very seriously.  He’s an alpha warrior who expects his word and his wishes to be followed without question.  He is master of his domain, practical, who loves deeply, but also guards his heart well with almost impenetrable walls.  Ewan is autocratic, domineering, possessive, honest and fair…everything you love about Highland Heroes.

Mairin is his Heroine, and unlike Ewan she has lead a very sheltered life.  Hidden in secret she has been living in a convent and has been raised by Nuns. Waiting for the day to assume her duty to King and Country by marrying and becoming a wife and mother.  But being raised by Nuns has not prepared her for the reality of being kidnapped, beaten, escaping a villain, only to find herself in the possession of another imposing autocratic man…except this one vows to protect her in exchange for her marriage vows, political connections and sizeable dowry.   Not quite a love match.  While she has been raised to be dutiful, she is strong willed with definite opinions on what her role in life should be, and finds that living with Ewan is much more difficult and  than she imagined, because his domineering ways would be trying even for a saint, let alone a woman used to a certain amount of freedom.

I was enamored with Mairin and Ewan’s love story and their struggle to form not only an alliance that is beneficial to both of them, but also learning to live with and love each other from the very first page.  In Bed with a Highlander has almost all of the elements fans of Highland Romances expect...warring Clans, kidnapped brides, a despicable villain, sword wielding alpha heroes,  and quickie weddings (and in this instance quickie beddings too, much to Mairin’s disappointment though Ewan redeems himself verra nicely :)  The only things that were missing from this story that I love to have in Highland Romances were kilts and brogues.  Though some readers will be happy to see that a Highland dialect is for the most part absent in the dialogue between characters I missed it.

This book kept me engrossed from beginning to end.  I devoured it in a single day, and at the end all I wanted to do was to grab the next book in the series and enjoy it just as much.  It was fast paced, sexy, suspenseful, with some humor, and conflicts…not to mention heroes galore!  You may be wondering …if I loved In Bed with a Highlander so much why I am only giving the book 4.25 stars…here are my reasons why:  The plot wasn’t all that original, though it didn’t stop me from enjoying it immensely.   I also thought there were some loose ends regarding the villains…who knows they may play a part in one of the two upcoming books, but a hint as to their demise or survival would have been nice.   There were also a few things that just “happened” to easily help the characters out of difficult situations that I found unrealistic and without further explanation or story development surrounding these instances, they lacked credibility and believability.  And lastly I found it hard to believe that Mairin wasn’t more curious about Ewan’s first wife who died.  I don’t know any woman who wouldn’t be at least a little curious about a woman she was replacing as a prominent figure within the clan and within Ewan’s heart.  I expect more from this author so these few things that I felt weren’t explored sufficiently were a tad disappointing which is why I didn’t feel like I could give it 4.5 stars or better.

I loved almost everything about In Bed with a Highlander.  With her first Historical Romance penned as Maya Banks (I believe she wrote a few as Sharon Long), the author proves that she can write a great story with captivating characters in any time period.  Ms. Banks knows her readers well and her audience well, and gives them what they want.  While the plot and situations the characters find themselves in may not be vastly different than many other Highland Romances set in the same time period, the uniqueness is in how she tells their story of love and the connection that the reader feels to those characters...that makes you loath to leave their world.  I think Maya Banks is a genius at creating casts of characters that you love and she has you craving more again, and again.  I also think that if you love Highland Romances then In Bed with a Highlander (and most likely the entire series) will be a must read for you, especially if you loved the Julie Garwood Highlander books The Bride, The Secret, and Ransom as well as stories like Hannah Howell’s Highland Bride.  I hope you read it and enjoy it as much as I did.


Ratings:

Overall: 4.25 stars
Sensuality level: 3.75 (while this story doesn't have the same level of hotness that Maya's readers have come to expect in her Erotic Romances, you still have the steamy intimacy between the Hero and Heroine and the sensuality level in the book feels appropriate to the time period and it's more traditional Historical Romance category)

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

Other Reviews:

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Monday's Muse

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!

Do any of you remember the song "I'll Stop the World and Melt With You" by Modern English?  I'm totally showing my age by admitting this kind of music was so my thing in high school.  Anyhoo, when I saw this week's Muse I completely....melted.  I'm a puddle of lust.  He kind of reminds me a little of the Hero on the cover of Maggie Robinson's new historical romance, Mistress by Marriage (a book I am currently in love with so that could have something to do with it too).  There is not one single thing that I would wish different about our Muse.  He's perfect...hopefully in every important way ;)  The eyes, they are my favorite.  I could just stare into those eyes all...day....long,  preferably in close quarters ;)  He's got nice lips too.  Very kissable and nibbleable (is that even a word?).  Enjoy!


This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Monday:  Review:  In Bed With a Highlander by Maya Banks.  This was supposed to be posted on Friday, so my apologies to everyone who was anticipating in last week.  This should be up at some point in the day.  Apologies for the delay!
  • Tuesday:  Review:  Making Waves by Tawna Fenske
  • Wednesday:  Review:  Midnight Waltz by Jennifer Blake
  • Thursday:  Author Maggie Robinson will be my guest to celebrate the release of Mistress by Marriage. Woo hoo!  I love the Courtesan Court series :)
  • Friday: Author Elisabeth Naughton will be here to share a bit about her newest book in her Eternal Guardian series, Tempted
  • Tempting Trailer:  This week's Tempting Trailer is for Christina Brooke's Heiress in Love.  I actually have this book in my TBR.  I bought it on a whim at the grocery store not knowing anything about it.  I discovered the video this past week, and after viewing it I can't wait to pull it out of the TBR! It was buried romance treasure :)   And did you know that Christina Brooke is also Christine Wells?  I so did not know that, well...until now.
    Also of Interest:
    • Vivian Arend's Wolfie World Tour begins this week on Thursday Sept 1st.  She'll have a blog stop each day as well as guests on her own website blog with lots of book giveaways and general wolfie goodness.  Should be lots of fun!  More info on the blog tour can also been seen in the banner to the right.

    Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors will new releases this week, especially Musings authors Maggie Robinson, Maya Banks, Lauren Dane, Victoria Dahl, Tessa Dare, Katharine Ashe, Donna Grant, Karin Harlow, Larissa Ione, Lydia Dare, Erin McCarthy, Leigh Michaels, Elisabeth Naughton, Shana Galen, Isobel Carr, & Cherry Adair!  Congrats!




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    *Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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    Winners: Confessions of an Improper Bride (again)

    Thursday, August 25

    Two of the previously posted winners were lucky enough to have one Jennifer Haymore's new historical romance, Confessions of an Improper Bride, on other blogs so the two new lucky replacement winners are....



    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 Saturday August 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.

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    *Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

    Read more...

    Guest Author & Giveaway: Tawna Fenske featuring Making Waves

    Wednesday, August 24

    I happen to really love Pirate Romances...it's like my "dirty little secret" kind of love :)  And I often lament that there aren't more Pirate Romances published these days...let alone one that is not a historical, ie a contemporary setting.  That's like finding buried treasure, my friends because it almost never happens.  I like them so much that I'm seriously considering dedicating a whole week to a variety of outstanding ones.

    So, when I heard about Tawna Fenske's debut novel, Making Waves, I was excited for two different reasons.  (1) Pirate Romance-like,  and  (2) after reading the cover quote, "Hilarious, a wild, sexy romp with a fresh, fun take on love" I thought to myself that I might have found an Contemporary Romance author that I could love, much like I love Jill Shalvis' sexy fun romances.  Who wouldn't want more of those?  

    Tawna Fenske is my guest today to share a bit about her "Piratebitch" of a romance, Making Waves :)  Read and enjoy!

    Want to know a secret?

    Every manuscript I’ve written has a working title that bears little resemblance to the finished title stamped on the cover of the book. Though I’m delighted with the title for Making Waves, that will never be the book’s name in my mind.

    To me, it will always be Piratebitch.

    That’s what I called it from the day I first began crafting the manuscript, and it’s how I continue to think of it even when all the reviews refer to the book by its real name.

    Piratebitch – er, Making Waves – is the story of a guy who spends his life playing by the rules as an executive for the world’s largest shipping company. When the boss screws him over in a shady layoff, Alex decides he’s had enough of the rules. He makes a plan to reclaim his life, pension, and dignity by sailing to the Caribbean and intercepting the boss’s illegal diamond shipment in the most dysfunctional pirate mission in history.

    Reviewers have dubbed the book a “pirate farce,” a description I think is pretty accurate. One thing I wanted to do with this book is take the traditional pirate romance cliché and turn it on its head.

    But that’s not to say I think pirate romances deserve mockery. On the contrary, there’s a reason they’re so popular. There’s something appealing about a guy who breaks all the rules to get what’s owed to him. There’s something sexy about the element of danger. There’s something hot about a take charge man with a great set of pecs and a cutlass in his trousers and—

    Is it hot in here?

    The heroine in Piratebitch – er, Making Waves – isn’t your typical damsel in distress with heaving bosoms and an ill-fitting bustier. She’s quirky and more than a little socially awkward (the reasons for which Juli would prefer to keep to herself). Though her presence on the ship is the result of a bad reaction to seasickness medication, she’s hardly an unwilling captive.

    In fact, she urgently wants to belong to the misfit pirate crew, despite the fact that they’re clearly more suited for the boardroom than the poop deck. She hasn’t found a career that holds her interest so far, and piracy seems like a viable option. Getting into the spirit of her new career, she turns up in one scene wearing an eye patch fashioned from a pair of black thong panties.

    But Juli also embraces some aspects of the pirate crew cliché. She loves the idea of belonging somewhere, even if it’s with a band of corporate castoffs attempting a high seas diamond heist. She’s inspired by the camaraderie and mentally stimulated by mission.

    She’s stimulated by a few other things, too, something this book certainly shares with pirate romances of yore.

    What do you find most appealing about pirate romances? Are there elements of those tales you’d just as soon see take a walk off the plank? Please share!

    And happy sailing to all of you! Arrrr!


    She always wanted to belong…just not to a dysfunctional pirate crew

    Juli has trouble fitting in, though she’d prefer to keep the reasons to herself. But when she mistakenly stows away on a ship of misfit corporate castoffs, her own secrets become the least of her concerns.

    He knows plotting a diamond heist may be considered unusual behavior…

    But Alex isn’t feeling very normal when his unscrupulous boss kicks him to the curb. Meeting Juli doesn’t do much to restore normalcy to Alex’s life either, but it sure is exhilarating!

    As Alex and Juli bare their secrets—and a whole lot more—they find that while normal is nice, weird can be wonderful.

    Read an excerpt


    Congratulations Tawna on your debut, and thanks for being a guest at Seductive Musings today!  If you'd like to learn more about Tawna Fenske and her "Bombshell" path to publication, you can find her at her website www.tawnafenske.com, Facebook, Twitter, and her blog "Don't Pet Me, I'm Writing"...kind of like "Don't Feed the Animals" ;)

    To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Making Waves, her publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca would like to giveaway a copy of the book to TWO piratebitches, er lucky Musings followers.  Here's how you can enter to win...

    Ways to earn entries:
    • Mandatory:  Answer the questions Tawna asked readers in her post and leave her some general comment love. (more than "I'd like to win".) (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)
    • Just For Fun:  Since National Talk Like a Pirate Day is coming up (Sept 19th).  Tell me what your Pirate Name is after taking the What's My Pirate Name Quiz?  (Mine was Captain Charity Flint...I'm likin' it...ARRRR!)
    • 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 & Canada addresses only.
    • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
    • The contest will end on August 27th 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!

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    *Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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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?)
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