If Anything Can Get Me to Exercise More...

Tuesday, November 29

So, right now I should be writing reviews. Instead I was doing some email answering and was checking out an author's blog and found this video and thought it was just beyond fun and couldn't wait until Friday to share it (especially since Jill Shalvis will be here).

I think going into the holiday season we could all use a little bit more motivation to work off some extra calories...and this my friends is just the ticket!


Hopefully this will get you through Wednesday.  Let me know what you think after you watch it :)


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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: Lady Northam's Wicked Surrender by Vivienne Westlake

Monday, November 28

Title:  Lady Northam's Wicked Surrender*
Author: Vivienne Westlake
Series: Rekindled Passions #1
Genre: Erotic Historical Romance
Publisher: self published
Format: e-book
Date/Year:  October 2011
Reviewed by: DD

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

Summary from the publisher:

A midnight encounter between two estranged lovers rekindles a passion beyond their wildest dreams...

Rowena, Countess of Northam, is surprised to find her former suitor has returned from India and is on his way to the very house where she is staying. When he appears in her room late at night, she can only believe it is a dream. Her fantasy soon becomes reality when Simon makes every effort to seduce her.

Despite his six year absence, and the fact that Rowena married his best friend, Simon is determined to have her back now that she is a widow. It soon becomes clear that while her body craves his affections, she doesn't trust him enough to give her heart. Can Simon forget her past betrayal and convince her to surrender to the greatest love they’ve ever known?

My Musings:

Rowena, Lady of Northam and her sister, Delphine make a long journey for a “country visit” to see friend Alice, whom is in a delicate condition. Alice, Lady Chilton, also happens to be the sister of Lord Simon Rutherford, whom is Rowena’s long lost love.  When he arrives to be alongside his sister and tend to business surrounding a dying uncle, it is clear that not all is gone between he and Rowena.

Simon is strong yet sensitive and loving pseudo-rake with a soft spot for his family. Soon after his arrival he hears his niece in the next room, and goes to comfort her as he knows she is plagued with nightmares. He has similar concern for his beloved Rowena.  He gives her the space she needs and waits until she is ready to see him to make an appearance in her life again.  Although not altogether unselfish, he still is the type of man to take into account the feelings of those he holds dear. He is dreadfully angry at Rowena for marrying his best friend Paul, but he cannot resist the tide of conflicted emotions that rise to the surface in her presence.

Rowena is a lady through and through, but she struggles with un-lady like thoughts, especially while thinking about Simon or dealing with her big mouthed sister, Delphine. She has made past decisions based on what she thinks is reality, but unfortunately that reality is skewed and fueled by the inevitable misunderstandings in the world of courtship.

I enjoyed Simon. Not to say that he is that much different from the few Heroes in the Historical genre that I have experienced, but I like him and I think he is a good man. In this story, he has gotten the short end of the stick, and that kind of makes me mad. I feel like Rowena should trust him more and I think that is frustrating for the reader. But it appears that she just does not know how to have faith in Simon after what she perceives as his abandonment of her.

Rowena has her good qualities-but mostly I think she is a whiny righteous brat. Despite that, she is still a likable character.  I do think that the relationship she has with her sister is laced with humor, and is a realistic description of the sometimes frustrating bonds of siblings. It is one of the most delightful parts of the novella. Rowena would like to sometimes murder Delphine with her bare hands, but at the same time cannot bear to be away from her.
“While she had a face as angelic as a porcelain doll and she dressed to the epitome of elegance, Delphine had the tact of an untamed dog”
In my opinion, although this is a romance, I feel like the emotional relationship between Rowena and Delphine was explored even more than that same aspect was between Rowena and Simon.

I really loved the descriptions of Alice’s home when Rowena and Delphine arrived.  I got a warm feeling, almost like I was in the home myself with the fire going, looking forward to sleeping in a cozy bed in the home of a cherished girlfriend after a long arduous journey. Kind of like a parent feels when all her birds are in the ‘nest’ for the night, you get a feeling that all is right with the world throughout the story when Rowena, Delphine, Alice, and Simon are all under the same roof.

I can say that although this is a novella, I would have been much happier with a full length novel. It is a cross to bear of novellas to try and cram emotional and physical aspects together and create a satisfying love story in 50 or so pages. I am not so sure this is really possible. The love scenes were pretty warm, but not laced with enough emotion to me and seemed a little forced. Rowena seems outraged that Simon wishes to rendezvous in the afternoon-but then I was jarred to see the words C*^k and P*$$y in a period story when I am not entirely sure they even spoke or thought that way during those times. The sentiments and Rowena’s virtuous attitude just did not gel for me. Those terms (although I do not mind them at all, when appropriate to the atmosphere of the story) were not necessary to punctuate what was going on in the Bedroom. It turned what was masquerading as passionate love and longing for lost time to something bordering on kitschy. Dirty words do not an awesome love scene make.

Ratings:

Overall:   2.75 Stars. (I think it should have been longer and felt that Rowena needed some more depth for me to empathize with her. I wanted to get to know her better. I feel this novella has a ton of potential and just didn’t quite get there this time.)

Sensuality level: 4.00 (Pretty steamy, but I didn’t really connect with them emotionally or sexually. That being said the love scenes are central to the story.)

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Review: Destined Mate by Katie Reus

Title:  Destined Mate*
Author: Katie Reus
Series: N/A
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne Cravings  
Format: e-book
Date/Year: October 2011 
Reviewed by:  ElaineReads 

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

Summary from the publisher:

Almost a century ago, Angela Lavigne and Alpha werewolf Knox had a shared passion neither could control. Then Angela was turned into a vampire and disappeared.

The last thing Knox expects is for Angela to show up on his doorstep on a rescue mission, as sexy and irresistible as ever. And he can sense how much she still wants him, too. She's gone against both their species' rules and trespassed on his land. By law he can keep her as long as he wants--and Knox doesn't intend to let her go ever again.

As their desire explodes once again, Knox is more sure than ever that he must claim her forever. But as vampire and werewolf, they are natural born enemies. Can she truly be his destined mate?

My Musings:

Angela has been hiding from Knox for decades.  She knows how much the Alpha werewolf hates vampires and cannot face the idea of her former lover killing her.  Only the kidnapping of her friend gives her the courage to risk her heart and her life by seeing him again.

Knox has hated vampires since they destroyed his family centuries before. He believes they are all evil and should be killed on sight.  That is until his lover is turned against her will.

He has searched for her for decades without success and suddenly she is on his land and in his power.  Can he convince her that his feelings about vampires have changed, but his feelings for her never have?

This story was a quick read at slightly over sixty pages.  Although the forbidden relationship between a vampire and a werewolf is not unique, the author develops the story well in regards to how the pack does or does not accept Angela.

Most of the tension in this book has less to do with Knox convincing Angela that he still loves her as it does with Angela not understanding his reactions as a werewolf.  That is not much different than human women not understanding human men . . . now is it?

My only reservation with this story is...that it is a short story.  I would love an expanded version that explores the dynamics of Angela’s vampire tribe and Knox’s werewolf pack.  I would also like to see more of how the female werewolves accept her as their Alpha female.

Ratings:

Overall:  3.0 stars
Sensuality level: 4.0

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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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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!

Did you all survive the holiday weekend?  I did, but barely.  I was one of those crazy stupid people that shopped on both Thursday, Friday...and let's not forget Saturday and Sunday.  Yeah.  Don't even go there because I know...crazy stupid!  I wish I would have had this week's Muse to coax me back to bed @ 4:30 in the morning after only getting to bed @ 1 am.  I would have been a much more pleasant person to live with :) 

My intention was to go on Thursday to get the few things that I had to get in a store and do the rest of the shopping online...but somehow that didn't work out....at all.  Then on Thursday my cell phone completely crapped out on me so I had to replace it (which I hate!).  Which also meant on Saturday I had to go to the mall and stalk people to get a parking space in order to wait forever in the cell phone store, only to be given the choice of two less than stellar cell phones to replace what I had.

I use my cell phone as a necessary evil and just can bring myself to pay the $$$ for a smart phone contract.  It's not the cell phone price itself that stuns me (because I could have gotten a smart phone cheaper than what I paid for the lesser phone that I ended up with)...it's what it would cost me each month to have it.  I just can't do it.  Do you view your cell phone bill like any other utility cost and just pay what it costs?  Is the convenience really worth what you pay for it?  How much do you pay? (if you don't mind my asking)

As a final thought, I've used this Muse before (back in blog baby days), but sometimes you can't have too much of a good thing, right?  Do you have a favorite Muse you would like to see again?  Should I have voting for favorite Muse of the year in December, or not?

This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Tuesday-Thursday:  will be catch up days ;)  I think I have some winners to announce, some email to respond to, some reviews to post...and maybe a few other things that I didn't get done last week.
  • Friday:  Author Jill Shalvis will be my guest to celebrate the release of the third book in her Lucky Harbor series, Head Over Heels.  Jill won a RITA award for the first book in the series, Simply Irresistible (which I happened to love love love).  Her blog is also one of my favorite daily stops so I'm pretty excited that she will be here this week!
  • Tempting Trailer:  This week's Tempting Trailer is A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant which releases on December 27th of this year.  I received a copy of this book for review via the Amazon Vine program and have to say I'm looking forward to reading it


Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors will new releases this week, especially Musings authors Larissa Ione, Jill Shalvis, Lilli Feisty, & Karen Erickson!  Congrats ladies!!!



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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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Monday's Muse

Monday, November 21

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!

Thanksgiving is this week in the US, so I might be a little scarce despite my best review intentions. And since Thanksgiving is this week, I thought I would have my own side helping of Muse to go along with the turkey :)  And what better with turkey, than football & a drool worthy Muse?  So tell me what's your favorite part...the thigh, the breast, the giblets (LOL)...on the turkey of course :)  This Muse is too deliciously edible/lickable to break down by favorite part, but if you'd like to share, I'd love to know your fav!

I'm making the turkey again this year since the recipe that I made last year was such a big hit.  It was super easy, and everyone said it was the best turkey they ever had.  I got the recipe from Cooking Light, and modified it just a bit by injecting the turkey with turkey stock (which I bought), and rubbing butter under the skin. Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe, if so I'd love for you to share it!  BTW I make the gravy (no lumps) and it is delicious too!

This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Tuesday-Friday:  Reviews, cleaning, baking, cooking, cleaning again...eating and of course shopping :)  All kidding aside I hope to have reviews for If You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker, as well as Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and The Virtuoso both by Grace Burrowes.  And if I have time...one or two more from some of the other Seductive Reviewers.
  • Tempting Trailer: This week's Tempting Trailer is for Sabrina Jeffries' newest addition to her Hellions of Halstead Hall series, To Wed a Wild Lord.  While I love Ms. Jeffries romances I found this video less than inspiring and I especially disliked the narration of the story.  Does the narrator sound like a hero to you?  Not me!  The voice is ALL kinds of wrong which is why you just don't do it. Period.

    Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors will new releases this week, especially Musings authors Sabrina Jeffries & Beth Kery.  Congrats Ladies!!!



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    Guest Author & Giveaway: Amanda Forester featuring The Highlander's Heart

    Friday, November 18

    I occasionally play the lottery, I think it's my only hope of ever being rich. Not that that's really important to me...ya know, except for the practically unlimited book buying budget :)  That would be FANTASTIC!  And the need not to work, and possibly have more time to read the books purchased with the practically unlimited book buying budget.

    While the idea of a lottery was not new to Medieval times, it wasn't quite as easy to play as it is today, so there weren't very many ways to gain wealth unexpectedly....except for maybe via ransom!  Historical Romance author Amanda Forester is my guest today to share a bit about her medieval Highland romance, The Highlander's Heart where ransoming plays a major role in the plot of her story...in more ways than one.  Read and enjoy!


    Ransom: How to Get Rich Quick in Medieval Europe

    You have heard of Robert the Bruce – right?  He claimed the throne of Scotland and kicked some English butt at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.  But what happened after that glorious battle?  Did you know Robert had a son, David, who went on to rule Scotland for 42 years?  Never heard of him?  Most likely because he spent most of his days in English captivity, waiting to be ransomed.

    Unlike battles today, the goal was often not to kill your enemy, it was to capture your opponent.  Knights and nobles caught alive could be ransomed for a nice sum.  A dead knight was worth nothing.  Thus, there was a strong incentive to capture your opponent alive.

    However, in the massive battles, how could you tell who was who?  Here is where heraldry became important.  Knights decorated themselves and their shields in bright colors so as not to be missed.  These symbols were basically an announcement about their noble lineage, and an advertisement of their ransom potential.  A brightly colored shield said, "Hey, don't kill me, I'm worth money!"

    Chivalry rules guided the conduct of how someone was ransomed and how the "host" was supposed to treat their captive.  Far from being locked in a dungeon, captured knights and nobles were treated as "guests".  Captives, on the other hand, were honor bound not to run off, and sometimes were even allowed to return home to collect the ransom amount.  However, they were expected to return if the ransom could not be raised.

    In 1355, Scotland's King David had been held captive in England for ten years.  He was tiring of captivity and was willing to make a deal with the Scottish throne.  Nobles in Scotland, on the other hand, were ready to let England keep their long absent king, and clans jostled to claim power.  This is the setting for my latest release, The Highlander's Heart.  When Laird Campbell comes across Lady Isabelle, a lost English countess, he does the most natural thing and plans to ransom her back to her kin.  All does not go according to plan, however, as it seems nobody ever told Lady Isabelle that she wasn't supposed to run away!

    In the end, Isabelle decides she'd rather stay with her hunky Highlander (who wouldn't?) and Campbell decides the girl is far more valuable than the ransom.  History did not give King David quite as happy an ending; he was eventually ransomed for 100,000 merks, but his ransom was never fully paid.

    Lady Isabelle escapes her murderous English husband only to be abducted by a Highland warrior and held for ransom.  Her determination to break free from captivity is exceeded only by the passion growing between her and the Highland Laird.  David Campbell plans to hold Isabelle for ransom as an easy way to line his pockets and return her back where she belongs, but he is unprepared for a feisty English lass with a penchant for finding trouble.  Caught between rival clans bent on claiming the throne of Scotland, Campbell must choose a side, and a bride.  Standing on the brink of war, Isabelle may be his only hope to save his clan, and his heart.




    Thanks Amanda for being my guest today, as well as all of the fun history info.  See, you can read romance and learn a few things at the same time :)  Who needs history books when you can read romance!  I'm looking forward to learning more (*wink wink*) in Amanda's next book True Highland Spirit due to be released in March 2012 (I think it's her best cover yet).

    If you'd like to learn more about author Amanda Forester and the Medieval Scottish Romances that she writes you can find her at her website www.amandaforester.com, her blog, on Facebook and Twitter.

    To celebrate the release of The Highlander's Heart, Amanda's publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca would like to giveaway a print copy of the book to one lucky Musings follower.  Here's how you can enter to win:

    Ways to earn entries:
    • Mandatory: Tell me this...what bits of history have you learned from reading romance?  AND please leave some comment/question love for Amanda about her books, or the post. (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.  No PO Boxes.
    • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
    • The contest will end on November 21st 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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    Winners! : Christie Ridgway, Turning Up the Heat, Embrace the Highland Warrior, Turn It On, & The September Queen

    Wednesday, November 16

    Want a mid-week boost?  How about some winners :)


    To celebrate our men in women in uniform, our veterans, and the release of SEAL of My Dreams in honor of Veteran's Day, author Christie Ridgway would like to giveaway a signed set of her Three Kisses trilogy which includes Crush on You (which was named the best contemporary romance of 2010 by RT), Then He Kissed Me, and Can't Hurry Love to lucky Musings follower...



    To celebrate the Turning Up the Heat blog tour and the release of both Deliciously Sinful by Lilli Feisty, and Too Wicked to Wed by Cara Elliott, their publisher Forever Romance would like to giveaway a copy of each book to lucky Musings followers...

    (those extra entries from your Musings store purchases really paid off Maria!)

    To celebrate the release of the second book in this series, Embrace the Highland Warrior, Anita's publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca would like to giveaway a print copy of the book to two lucky Musings followers. 

    (those extra entries from your Musings store purchases really paid off Maria...again!)


    To celebrate the release of the new version of Rocky Mountain Heat, Vivian would like to giveaway a print copy of Turn It On (Book #1 in the Turner Twins series)






    To celebrate the release of The September Queen, Gillian's publisher Berkley/Penguin would like to giveaway a print copy of the book to one lucky Musings follower.

    kimmyl *

    *Kimmy,  I already have your mailing info from the giveaway form you entered so there's no need to fill out the contact form.  Your book should be on it's way!



    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 November 19th 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: Rocky Mountain Heat by Vivian Arend

    Tuesday, November 15

    Title: Rocky Mountain Heat*
    Author: Vivian Arend
    Series: Six Pack Ranch #1
    Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
    Publisher: Samhain
    Format: e-book
    Date/Year:  11/15/2011 (re-issued with new content)
    Reviewed by:  Booklover1335

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

    Summary from the publisher:

    He’s the one who taught her to ride. Now all he wants is to ride her.

    Blake Coleman is old enough to know that acting on impulse causes nothing but a heap of trouble. But when trouble’s a western-hat-wearing blonde with slim legs that go on forever, what’s a man to do? Wanting the sweet girl next door is just wrong. The responsible thing to do is keep his hands off.

    Jaxi has other plans for Blake’s hands, and his heart. She may have once considered him a big brother, but that was a long time ago. She’s all grown up now and ready to convince him that she’s perfect for him. Except he can’t seem to see past the big “don’t touch” sign that’s apparently still hanging around her neck.

    When Jaxi ends up living right under Blake’s nose, the undeniable heat between them slides off simmer and leaps up to barn-burning levels. However, a few of the younger six-pack Colemans have decided Jaxi’s brand of trouble is worth risking a few busted bones.

    That is, if Blake’s finally ready to let go the reins and fight for what he wants…

    Warning: Sexy cowboys seducing and being seduced in trucks, pool halls and barns. Droolworthy country charm, a little double-teaming, a few secrets and a whole lot of brothers to look forward to. Anyone wanna go for a ride?

    My Musings:

    Rocky Mountain Heat is the book that I discovered author Vivian Arend with, so in some respects it will always hold a special place in my little booklover heart :) So when I found out it was being reissued with new content I was curious to see if it would hold up to what I remembered, as well as how the author would try to make it better than I thought  it was before.

    The heroine, Jaxi, has been friends with the Coleman family since she was a young and daring girl who lived adjacent to the Coleman ranch.  With parents that were more interested in their own lives than their lonely wild child daughter, Jaxi sought the companionship of the entire Coleman clan, including the man she eventually comes to love, Blake Coleman.   She believes that he is the perfect man for her, and decides that she will become the perfect ranch wife for him.  A perfect match...if only Blake would see her as more than the 13 yr old girl that she used to be.

    Little does she know that Blake has definitely noticed that she is no longer that young girl, and while he is undeniably attracted to her, he feels that their age difference is too great for him to act on it (approx 10 years or so).  He’s the oldest of six siblings and feels responsible for the Ranch, his family, and of course Jaxi.  He’s honorable, yet a tad bit misguided in thinking Jaxi isn’t mature enough, or ready enough to take him on.  At times this is a bit frustrating for both Jaxi and the Reader.

    When Blake’s mother has an accident and needs help taking care of herself and take on her ranch responsibilities Jaxi is more than happy to step in and help out in any way that she can....and if by chance that gives her the perfect opportunity to prove to Blake that she is his perfect match both in and out of the bedroom than all the better!

    There are several things that I love about Rocky Mountain Heat and the Six Pack Ranch series, both the original and the new versions; most importantly it is the love story of Blake and Jaxi.   The push and pull between the two as they try to find their way to having a relationship is sexy, and fun, including a meddling but well meaning family.  As much as Blake fights against their attraction to each other, Jaxi fights for a permanent place in his heart.  And fight for it she does...with some help from a few of Blake’s brothers.  She knows exactly the type of man Blake is, and also knows that despite a few missteps that he is the perfect man for her.

    Then there is the Coleman family in general.  You can understand why Jaxi was drawn to them growing up because they are such a loving family.  With the Six Pack Ranch series Ms. Arend has created a family that you care about with charismatic characters, and in this newest version of the story you get even more glimpses of each of the brothers and hints about what will eventually drive each of their own love stories.  Obviously there is Blake who has age difference issues with Jaxi, then there is Daniel, a brother who is sterile due to an adult illness but wants a family of his own, also Matt who has only been with one woman in his life...his high school sweetheart(who is a complete witch and I hate already), a brother who appears to be into BDSM and may be bi-sexual (not sure on that though), and twins who like to share their women...most of the time (one of whom is just a tad bit in love with Jaxi).

    And one thing I can’t fail to mention is that there is some serious “heat” in Rocky Mountain Heat!  Vivian Arend, in my opinion, does a superb job in writing stories that are sensually erotic, but most importantly are romances first and foremost.  If you took out all of the love scenes, the essence of the romance would still be there.  Not that I want that to happen mind you :)  Some of my favorite heat induced scenes include playing pool in a most creative and explicit way....honestly I had no idea pool could be that...um, interesting :)  Then of course there are a few shower scenes that could create enough steam...without a water heater. And those are just a few examples...and unlike some movie trailers I didn’t mention all of the best parts here to give you a false impression, in fact I would consider it understated.  This is one seriously sexy romance!

    You may wonder what additions or changes were made and if it is worth buying the new version if you read it when it first came out, and my answer would be...yes, it’s worth reading and/or buying again.  The beginning of the story is changed slightly, but not enough to make a difference in the overall plot.  Then there is also a new epilogue at the end that shows how Blake and Jaxi first met, how Jaxi got her nickname of “Slick”, and kind of explains why he sees himself as her protector and pseudo older brother.  Some of the other additions revolve around learning quite a bit more about each of the brothers, which in turn made the family dynamics and connections stronger.  The other brothers became more than just names; they became contributing characters that you began to care about.  In relation to Blake and Jaxi, most of the story is the same, with the addition of several lovely scenes where Blake courts (dates) Jaxi, that I felt made their relationship feel more realistic.  The courtship was alluded to in the original version, but in the new version the reader gets to experience them realizing that what they have together is strong enough to last and is more than just lust, but love.  The new scenes show them having fun with each other (going to a movie, eating at a restaurant, having a picnic)...and frankly you don’t see a lot of that in romance which is kind of sad I think.  The courtship scenes with Blake and Jaxi are a great addition to the story and filled in what I felt were some missed opportunities in the original version that was published. 

    The only drawback to the additional content in my opinion was the sub story of Blake’s brother Matt and his girlfriend Helen.  I felt that too much attention was given to their issues (including the ménage scene which was....a...hot, but felt out of place), especially since Matt’s story is not the next book to be released in the Six Pack Ranch series.  I felt that a more in depth exploration of Matt’s story would have been better in the book immediately preceding his story (Daniel’s maybe?), instead of in Blake and Jaxi’s where I felt it was somewhat distracting to the story that I was already invested in.

    In the end Rocky Mountain Heat was just as good as I remembered, and with the additional scenes it was only that much better.  I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, I love love love Vivian Arend’s contemporary romances!  Consider me a cowboy junkie for the Coleman Six Pack Ranch series :) The next installment in the series to look forward to is Rocky Mountain Haven scheduled to be released January 2012, with Rocky Mountain Desire in March 2012.  Seriously, I can’t wait!

    Ratings:

    Overall:  4.25 stars (an engaging, fun read)
    Sensuality level:  4.25 sensuality (a few very sexy love scenes between the H/h, as well as a few steamy scenes (literally and figuratively to add into the mix, and one menage scene involving characters other than the H/h, but otherwise just hot hot monogamous lovin')

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

    Other Reviews:


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    Monday's Muse

    Monday, November 14

    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!

    This week's Muse is inspired by Vivian Arend's Rocky Mountain Heat that is being released this week by Samhain (just in case you needed another reason to check the book out).  There is one scene in the book where the hero decides that he is going to use the outdoor shower au naturale before dinner...and the heroine totally admires the view while gardening (unbeknownst to him LOL).  I have to admit that if I had a view like that, it might tempt me into doing some gardening myself ;)

    This week at Seductive Musings:
    • Monday:  I will be back later today with a review for If You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker
    • Tuesday:  Review for Rocky Mountain Heat by Vivian Arend
    • Wednesday:  I will post the winners from any outstanding giveaways, as well as reviews for Destined Mate by Katie Reus, and Lady Northam's Wicked Surrender by Vivienne Westlake.
    • Thursday:  One or two more reviews :)
    • Friday:  Historical Romance Author, Amanda Forester will be my guest to celebrate the release of her new book The Highlander's Heart.  If time allows I'll also be posting my review of the book on the same day.
    • Tempting Trailer:  This week's Tempting Trailer is for Renee Bernard's historical romance Ecstasy Wears Emeralds, the third book in her Jaded Gentleman series.  I don't know about you, but everyday should be a day to wear emeralds ;)  I don't know if this book video really represents the book well since it looks more like a video for a contemporary romance if you didn't read the script that goes with it.  Regardless though, the story itself sounds interesting and looks as if it has gotten pretty positive reviews.  Have you read it?  If so what did you think of the book, and how about the trailer? 

    Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors will new releases this week, especially Musings authors Vicki Lewis Thompson, Tessa Dare, and Vivian Arend!  Congrats ladies!!!



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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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    Guest Author & Giveaway: Christie Ridgway featuring the SEAL of My Dreams anthology

    Friday, November 11

     
    I first found out about the SEAL of My Dreams charity anthology benefiting our Veterans when I spotted the cover.  Yeah, I'm a complete cover 'ho what can I say :)  But really, I don't think you can blame me once you see the cover that made me stop in my virtual web tracks and learn more about it.  Which of course led me to contemporary romance author Christie Ridgway, and me hounding the poor woman to be my guest today :)  I may have been helped in my quest by her slightly incapacitated state due to a broken leg, and quite possibly some pain meds...but that's neither her nor there :)

    Author Christie Ridgway is my special guest today to share the evolution of the SEAL of My Dreams charity anthology and even a little bit about the image on the cover LOL.  Read and enjoy!


    When I threw out a little tweet suggesting a charity anthology featuring Navy SEALs...well, I was throwing out a little tweet suggesting a charity anthology featuring Navy SEALs. I didn't really think...I couldn't really imagine...the idea was tantalizing but oh-so-daunting... Alison Kent was the first to send me a direct message on Twitter. "How can I help make this happen?" And I gulped and replied, "I guess we start asking authors."

    And then authors started saying "yes."

    And the daunting idea became oh-so-much-more tantalizing.

    The romance writing community is a small one. Authors know each other through conferences and publisher email loops, through Romance Writers of America and through moments of pure fan-dom that endear us to our fellow writers (Robyn Carr remembers my thrilled gasp via email the first time we corresponded). So the roster of authors came together within short days as we contacted who we knew and they asked who they knew and thought might have the time to write a romantic short story featuring a Navy SEAL. (Turns out we all had to make time, of course, but that's why they call it a labor of love!)

    Bell Bridge Books (a very successful small press originated by romance writers) stepped up to turn our stories into a professional product. With their help, our anthology is available in e-edition and print and they helped get the word out everywhere. Bloggers, reviewers, and readers are doing their part too (thanks, Seductive Musings!) for this worthy cause. And that cause? All proceeds benefit the non-profit Veterans Medical Research Corporation, which funds medical research benefiting service men and women from all branches of the military. For example, they are doing great things to help with the health challenges of PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury).

    When you buy the anthology, not only are you supporting such a worthy cause, but you are getting eighteen stories featuring Navy SEALs. Some are set in the worlds of favorite series, some kick-off new series, some are holiday-themed. All honor the courage and sacrifice of those who serve in the military--and those who hold them in their hearts. If you love romance, I guarantee you'll love SEAL of My Dreams!

    Last, a word on our cover. Check it out again. That's no model, that's a real Navy SEAL and the photo, from 2007, was what inspired eighteen stories of romance. Many thanks to that anonymous hero for his service to our country and for his part in our project.

    Many of the authors in the anthology have ties to the military. My dad is an Army vet, my father-in-law a retired Navy aviator. Give a shout out to a service member or veteran you know (or just a shout out of support to all our military).



    Here's an exclusive excerpt from Christie's own story in the SEAL of My Dreams anthology, Signed, SEALed, Delivered...I'm Yours!


    They stared at each other again, that palpable pull between them running as strong as the day before. One summer, Mandy had been caught in an ocean undertow. This was like that—a current more powerful than her strength and her will was carrying her toward this man. “Josh,” she whispered, her heart aching with bittersweet yearning.

    His eyes closed for a moment. “I know—”

    Knuckles rapped on the hotel room door. They both started, and then Josh moved to the entry to allow in the room service cart. The waiter set it on the balcony outside her 31st-floor room. Dusk was falling and the air was warm but not unbearably humid. They feasted on a beans and rice dish, fresh fish, and a delicious concoction of corn-based dough, meat, vegetables, and spices wrapped in plantain leaves. For dessert, there were slices of tropical fruit.

    Realizing she hadn't eaten much since the morning before, Mandy ate heartily. She felt greedy, storing up the moments with Josh sitting across her table. Her leg accidentally bumped his, and he captured it between his knees, a gentle clasp that sent her pulse soaring and her skin flushing warm.

    She'd never expected to feel this happy again. And she'd never felt as happy as she'd been the day before. His voice echoed in her head then, the SEAL motto. The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday. It was so easy, so right, when the two of them were together.

    At full dark, he wheeled the cart through the doors to her room and then out into the hall. They returned to the balcony, sitting in side-by-side chairs as they watched the bright lights of the city twinkle like holiday glitter in the darkness. “We're officially in the Christmas season,” she said. “Where will you be on the 25th?”

    “I'm based in San Diego,” he replied. “It's where my family lives too.”

    She shot him a quick glance. “That's not far from L.A.”

    “You're right.” He reached over and took her hand. Bending his head, he studied it like a precious object, stroking the palm, curling each finger then straightening it again.

    A shiver rolled up the inside of her arm, and a voice whispered in her ear. You could have a long-distance romance. It's not even a “long” distance. If you drove south and he drove north, you'd meet within an hour.

    It wouldn't last, of course, because she wanted to have that home-every-night guy. All her life she'd wished for that, but she could have Josh for a little while. Maybe a not-so-little while.

    “The thing is, Mandy,” he said now, running the back of her hand against the clean-shaven surface of his warm cheek, “I don't know when I'll be returning to California. We go wheels up again tomorrow. No return date guaranteed.”

    She could only have him tonight.
    Want more?  Check out the teasers for each one of the stories in the anthology here :)


    Thank you so much Christie, not only for being my guest today, but also for having the idea to do this, as well as generously giving your time and talent in organizing this charity anthology to support our troops and our veterans!  Not only do readers get the opportunity to give back in a small way to those who serve our country by buying SEAL of My Dreams, but we get great reads too by almost twenty bestselling authors....doesn't get much better than that, my friends!  BTW Christie says the cover is even more gorgeous in person...just in case you need another reason to want it ;)

    If you'd like to learn more about author Christie Ridgway and the contemporary romances  she writes you can find her at www.christieridgway.com, her blog, & on Facebook, Twitter.

    To celebrate our men in women in uniform, our veterans, and the release of SEAL of My Dreams on this fine Veteran's Day, author Christie Ridgway would like to giveaway a signed set of her Three Kisses trilogy which includes Crush on You (which was named the best contemporary romance of 2010 by RT), Then He Kissed Me, and Can't Hurry Love to one very lucky Musings follower.  Here's how you can enter to win:

    (psst... here's a not so subtle hint:  now would be a perfect time to purchase the anthology and earn extra entries for this awesome and generous giveaway AND please share this post on Facebook and Twitter to help share the love about SEAL of My Dreams)

    Ways to earn entries:
    • Mandatory: Have a relative or friend in the military, or who is a veteran? Please share a bit about them in a comment, AND if you have a favorite way to support our troops through letters or care packages please leave links so that others can learn about them in case they might be interested.  I know I'd like to send out a few care packages this holiday season and would like to know how to go about it so I could use your help...cause it would save me lots of time in locating them myself :)  (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.  No PO Boxes.
    • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
    • The contest will end on November 14th 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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    Guest Author & Giveaway: Lilli Feisty's Deliciously Sinful & Cara Elliott's Too Wicked to Wed

    Thursday, November 10


    I have the perfect combo of heroes for you today.  Both are wickedly sexy...one a man who cooks (yum), the other a delicious rake (yum)...both promise to turn up the heat in your romance reading :)

    One of the authors from Forever Romance's Turning Up The Heat Tour, Lilli Feisty, is my guest today to share a bit about her new contemporary erotic romance, Deliciously Sinful.  Read and enjoy!


    Welcome to Seductive Musings Lilli! If you had to write a recipe to describe the elements you like to include in a book that you are writing what would it be? In essence, what would you consider to be the perfect blend of ingredients to make an erotic romance a great love story? 

    Let’s see. I would say take one part chemistry, one part external challenge forcing the characters to work together, and one part learning to grow from the other person. To me, that equals love, and that’s what makes up the ingredients for every good romance novel.

    If you had an opportunity to provide only a two or three sentence "teaser" quote from Deliciously Sinful, 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 think this bit from the scene where Phoebe meets Nick showcases Phoebe’s inner battle to be Nick’s boss, even though she quickly realizes he’s going to be a challenge-and she’s already fighting her attraction to him.

    Obviously, Phoebe was going to have to establish herself as the boss from the get-go.

    Fine. She was fine with that. She could do this.

    Even if something about Nick made her nerves buzz with nervous energy. Even if his direct stare was unnerving. Even if, for some reason, she felt herself responding to him as a woman, when she should be reacting like his superior.

    Get a grip. You can do this.

    “Now. If you’ll come with me, I’ll show you around the café.”

    His smile dripped sugar as he made a sweeping hand gesture. “After you, Miss Mayle.”

    Tell us about your bad boy hero, Nick Avalon.  What do you think will make readers, much like his heroine Phoebe, fall in love with him? And can you tell us a little bit about their story in Deliciously Sinful?

    Nick is really a combination of a few men I’ve dated. He’s basically a good guy, but he’s a bit over-confident because he’s a survivor. I think readers will be attracted to Nick’s way of making his way to the top of the food chain, so to speak, by pure self-determination and drive. But his cockiness is his downfall, and that’s how he finds himself cooking in a small restaurant owned by Phoebe Mayle. Living in the small town, and falling in love with Phoebe, force Nick to discover he’s not quite the “prick” he’s known as through his reputation.

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

    I really like this scene featuring Jesse, Phoebe’s 18-year-old niece.  Jesse’s story really came to life for me. She’s grown up in a small town and has convinced herself she’ll be there forever in order to take care of her widowed father.  But Jesse secretly yearns to leave, see the world and move to Paris. In this scene she sees a pair of fancy shoes left in her house. They belong to the worldly and sophisticated character of Sherry, Nick’s best friend from L.A. Jesse can’t help herself-she tries on the shoes. And I love little glimpse into how Jesse begins to grow from a teenager into a woman:

    Looking at her reflection, she couldn’t help the little jolt of excitement she got from seeing how amazing the shoes looked on her. Not only were the pumps themselves beautiful (Jesse was especially fond of the little opening that gave a peep of her toes), but she was astounded at how the shoes elongated her legs and made her calves look like she’d spent hours in the gym.

    Jesse spun around, looking over her shoulder to gaze at the back image of her reflection.

    Wow. Just wow. They may not be the most comfortable footwear in the world, but they were s o o o o worth it. Because the shoes were luscious, and the way they made her feel was so...feminine. Sexy. Confident.

    All from a pair of shoes? Who knew?

    Finally, what are five fun facts about this book that readers would love to know?
    1. I’ve had this idea for about ten years. I was traveling in Northern California and was at a small café, and for some reason the idea just formed then and always stayed with me.
    2. I personally love to garden and I’ve always planted a lot of bee-friendly plants to help propagate more plants and promote the growth of honey. That’s where Phoebe gets her desire to farm bees.
    3. I grew up in Humboldt County, so most locations are based on actual places I’ve been.
    4. I love techno music, and it was really fun making Nick’s playlist.
    5. Out of all the female characters I’ve written, Phoebe Mayle is the least like me. 

    Things are cooking in the kitchen…and the bedroom.

    Restaurant owner Phoebe Mayle thought she had it all under control. Sure, her new chef has a bad-boy reputation—and a chiseled body to match—but she’s positive she can whip him into shape.

    But from the moment Nick Avalon roars into town in his Hummer, he makes her whole world sizzle. Now Phoebe has lost control of her kitchen, and Nick has taken over her mind and her body. His insatiable appetite for pleasure leaves her breathless with carnal cravings only he can satisfy. Yet can their hunger for each other be a recipe for a love that lasts?

    Read a special excerpt for Musings readers in the flipbook below


    or you can also read it in this Google document


    Outspoken and independent, Lady Alexa Bingham enjoys the heady freedom of making all her own decisions, even though the challenges of overseeing her family's country estate are daunting. But when a chance encounter with London's most notorious rake awakens a secret longing for adventure, she accepts her aunt's invitation for a Season in Town . . . only to find that breaking the rules of the ton has serious consequences.

    The Earl of Killingworth uses his rakehell reputation to hide the fact that poverty has forced him to work for a living. As the owner of a gambling den and brothel, Connor has no time for glittering ballrooms or innocent young ladies. But after a reckless wager leaves him with a new business partner, he is forced to take a risky gamble . . . Will the cards fall in their favor? Alexa and Connor begin to play a dangerous game of intrigue and deception as they seek to outwit a cunning adversary who wants to put them permanently out of business. But if they are not careful, it is the flames of their own fiery attraction that may destroy them.



    Thank you so much Lilli for being my guest today, and many congrats to both Lilli and Cara on their new releases!  If you'd like to learn more about either author you can find them at www.lillianfeisty.com and www.caraelliott.com respectively where there are all sorts of goodies and links to other social media.

    To celebrate the Turning Up the Heat blog tour and the release of both Deliciously Sinful by Lilli Feisty, and Too Wicked to Wed by Cara Elliott, their publisher Forever Romance would like to giveaway a copy of each book to three lucky Musings followers.  Here's how you can enter to win:

    Ways to earn entries:
    • Mandatory: Answer this question: Who's your favorite chef that heats up more than just the kitchen?  AND please show Lilli and Cara some comment love with a question or thought about their books. (hint: the answer to the question is in the interview)  (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.
    • You can also earn extra entries by sharing the flipbook excerpt on Facebook, Twitter, your website or blog or other social media sites. You can earn 5 entries for each place that you share it and leave a link in the comments.    
    • 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.  No PO Boxes.
    • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
    • The contest will end on November 14th 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?)
    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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