Monday's Muse

Monday, January 28

Ahem, I have some apologies to make to you my dear friends.  I'm sorry the blog has been so stagnant the last couple of weeks, and honestly I have a feeling that this week will be much the same.  More than likely it will be the same until mid February, unfortunately.  But I'm really going to try to at least share with you my favorite reads from 2012.  If I do nothing else, I want to at least try and do that before February begins.

My personal life has been a bit hectic, nothing bad, so no worries there, just busier with life than normal.  That and I've also been busy on the design front, which is also good.   Something has to give since there are only 24 hrs in every day, and unfortunately the blog is it since it's a recreational activity for me.  I'm not closing!  I don't want you to worry about that, I'm just not going to be able to post as often as what I would like until I get a few things under control.  My goal is to try and share with you at least twice a week.  Monday's definitely, but the other day will totally depend on when I can find time.  So it'll be a surprise.  Do you like surprises? 

Hopefully this week's Muse will be a happy surprise for you :) 
(this one is for all the thigh, abs & arms lovers out there, LOL)


Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week, especially Musings authors Mary Wine, Lexxie Couper, Christie Ridgeway, Meredith Duran, Sue-Ellen Welfonder, Victoria Alexander, & Teresa Medeiros!



 
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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, January 21

Oh how time flies when you are incredibly busy!  Last week I was going to fly by the seat of my pants since I didn't have anything concrete scheduled for the blog, and if you didn't notice...that didn't work so well for me since I was absent after Monday :(  It wasn't my intention, but that's how it seemed to play out.  Obviously, blogging works better for me when I have an agenda.

While I don't have anything concrete scheduled this week on the blog, I do have a few things that I'd like to share this week so by writing them down here, I hope to try and stick to the schedule!

For our Muse this week, I thought maybe a motorcycle bad boy would be nice :)  Although really, I think he has more good guy in him than bad boy.  Should we take a vote?  Let me know what you think :)


This week at Seductive Musings: (what I'm going to try and stick to)
  • Wednesday:  My 2012 Favorites.  I can't believe I haven't shared this with you yet!
  • Thursday:  I would like to review either Give Into Me by Lacey Alexander or the first three installments in Lauren Jameson's serial novel Surrender to Me.  If you have a preference let me know in the comments.
  • Friday:  I will have something fun for Friday, or maybe share some of the recent freebies that I've taken advantage of at Amazon.
Also of Possible Interest:
  • This week I'm reading: Waking Up with a Rake by Connie Mason & Mia Marlowe.  In case you're curious :)  And yes, with my design schedule right now it will probably take me all week to read it.
  • I am woefully behind in emails and updating winner information.  I'd like to think I could attempt to get caught up with that, but we'll have to wait and see.  If you are waiting on something from me, I haven't forgotten!

Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week!
 


 

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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, January 14

Well, it's Monday...sigh.  I'm not quite ready for this week to begin, one or two more days of the weekend should do the trick :)  Unfortunately, that's not an option so I'm gonna put a smile on my face, grab a large iced tea & go full steam ahead!

I finished Kristen Ashley's Dream Man series and enjoyed them quite a bit.  DD, who reviews here occasionally told me about this author & how addictive her stories were last year, and I never got around to reading them.  Last week she shared her top 5 and the Dream Man series was one of her least favorite, so if I started with the ones that weren't the best, I can't wait to read the rest!  I plan on reading her backlist over the next several months.

Our Muse this week reminds me of a couple of the heroes in the Dream Man series so I couldn't resist sharing him with you.  What color do you think his eyes are?


This week at Seductive Musings:
  • I don't have anything officially planned, and I will be busy working on some book covers, but I have a few things that I might share this week when I find the time.  It'll be kind of a laid back, go with the flow kind of week :)  I kind of like that.
  • This week's Tempting Trailer is for Heat Seeker by Lucy Monroe.  I was a fan of this series when I first discovered Lucy's Brava books, but it's been a while since I've read one of her new ones.  What do you think, does it intrigue you?  While I'm on the fence about the book, I do like this new trend of more movie like book trailers!

Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week, especially Musings authors N.J. Walters & Shiloh Walker




 
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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 & Giveaway: Fall Into You by Roni Loren

Thursday, January 10

Title:  Fall Into You*
Author: Roni Loren
Series: Loving on the Edge #3
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publisher: Berkley Heat
Format: Trade paperback & E-book
Date/Year:  December 31, 2012
Reviewed by: Booklover1335

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

Summary from the publisher:

He’ll do anything for you. But you’d better say please.

When tomboy sports reporter Charli Beaumonde loses a dream TV job because she’s not girly enough for primetime, she’s determined to land a big scoop and prove her boss made a mistake. But when she gets too close to a football scandal and finds her life threatened, Charli accepts an offer from family friend Grant Waters to hide out at his place—even if Grant predicts nothing but trouble from his buddy’s hard-headed, uncompromising, irrepressible, younger sister. There’s one more problem…

Grant’s “place” is The Ranch, a BDSM resort in Texas, and he’s used to being in charge —even if that means trying to keep Charli in line. But much to Grant’s surprise, she’s intrigued—even envious—of his trainees. They’re the epitome of what she’s never been: sexy, beguiling, and totally irresistible to a man. Still, Grant doesn’t believe for a minute that the sharp-tongued Charli has it in her to be anyone’s submissive. But Charli’s already on her knees vying for the chance to prove that even the Master can be wrong sometimes.

Enjoy reading Ch1, then enjoy this special excerpt:
“Are you meeting someone?” The hostess’s voice drifted across the room, pulling Grant’s attention toward the main door.

His glass thunked onto the table as the muscles in his forearm forgot to work. He stared at the redheaded beauty murmuring to the hostess. Well, I’ll be damned.

Charli peered into the dining room, her fingers worrying what- ever she was holding in her hands. She looked lost. And unsure. And completely, jaw-hit-the-table gorgeous.

Grant rubbed the back of his neck, suddenly feeling hot all over. Damn. He’d known without a doubt that Charli would clean up well. Not many women could still look beautiful in relaxed-fit jeans and a ponytail like she did. But he hadn’t expected her to channel a Hollywood starlet or something.

The hostess leaned over and pointed to Grant’s booth. Somehow he managed to raise his hand in greeting and not smile like some goofy teenager who’s realized he’s landed a date with the prom queen. He straightened his shoulders, trying to regain his mental balance. He was supposed to be the cool and in control one here. Since when did he get like this over a pretty woman? He had beautiful subs offering themselves to him on a regular basis and it barely registered on his radar. This should be no different. She should be no different.

As Charli got closer, Grant saw what she was holding in her hands. Shoes. A pair of sexy black heels he’d picked out for her earlier today. A perfect complement, Kelsey had assured him, to the dark green strapless dress he’d chosen for Charli. His gaze went to her stocking feet, then slid up her long legs, to the hem of her short dress, and not stopping until he reached the column of her bare neck.

Not bare for long. The collar tucked into the inner pocket of his suit coat seemed to warm against his ribs at the thought. Soon.

He stood as Charli walked over to the booth. She set the shoes on the seat, put her hands on her hips, and arched a newly mani- cured brow at him. “Broken ankles or bare feet. Those are your choices.”

He smiled down at her. “Already giving me orders, freckles? That’s not how this works.”

She released a breath and then leaned in, keeping her voice low. “Look, it’s been a long day. I’ve been through what I think may be considered cruel and unusual under my constitutional rights as an American citizen. I’ve been waxed and plucked and exfoliated and . . . ironed, I think. Some woman whose name I can’t pronounce has now seen more of me than my gynecologist ever has. And this dress is . . . drafty. You gotta give me something here.”

He stared at her for a moment, a bit stunned by her rapid-fire speech, then laughed, loud and open, not caring that it drew the attention of the other guests. He raised his palms. “Fine. Point taken. Sit down. We’ll save the shoes for later.”

“Thank you.” She took his offered hand and stepped up into the raised booth, obviously forgetting she had a dress on as she climbed in. He got a delicious glimpse of the bottom curve of her ass.

He palmed her waist and moved behind her to block anyone else’s view. “Lesson one, freckles. When wearing a dress, you need to be more aware of yourself. Giving half the restaurant a Basic Instinct moment is not that big a deal here. But back in town that may be a bit embarrassing.”

“Shit.” She grabbed her hem, clamped her thighs together and hurriedly sat. “You shouldn’t have made me wear such a short dress. I feel naked.”

“You look beautiful,” he corrected, then slid into the spot across from her. “And be thankful. As my sub, I could’ve requested you to come to dinner only wearing those shoes.”


My Musings:

I discovered Roni Loren early into 2012 with her debut Crash Into You, the first book in her Loving on the Edge series, and I really loved it.  Since the first book I’ve been curious about the “The Ranch” club owner, Grant.  Ms. Loren has been teasing us with his character and I was very excited when I learned that Fall Into You would be his story.  I was also somewhat hesitant about it because so often it seems like some stories don’t deliver the goods on long anticipated characters after all the buildup.  I didn’t want to be disappointed by Grant’s story, and let me tell you--not only was I NOT disappointed in Fall Into You, I think it’s the best book so far in the Loving on the Edge series.

The heroine, Charli, is on the verge of proving to everyone, including herself, that she’s got what it takes to be an on-air sports reporter.  But on her way back from a secret, and what turns out to be a dangerous meeting with a insider who is willing to blow the whistle on illegal activities in a big time college football team, she finds herself in danger.  After being run off the road, finding her home invaded, and losing the job she has been working so hard towards, given to a woman who is everything she feels she is not (sexy bombshell) Charli finds herself floundering and wanting to find her feminine side and feels that Grant is the man that can make that happen.

Grant is an ex-military, ex-CIA agent turned vineyard & exclusive BDSM club owner who lost his beloved wife and has cut himself off from his family and his emotions due to his guilt and grief that he won't forgive himself for.  He’s lived the last several years of his life embracing his sexual desires, while remaining detached, by training women to be perfect submissives...just not for himself.   He finds himself attracted to Charli and wanting to protect her from the unknown danger she finds herself in, but tries to deny the attraction since he thinks the take charge Charli is more vanilla, not submissive.  He believes that not only are they not sexually compatible, but she makes him feel things he doesn’t want to-- A desire for more than just a casual connection.


Fall Into You is a very touching and emotional love story that definitely brings the heat.  Grant is the star of this book, no doubt.  I LOVED him.  He’s a hero that actually exceeded my expectations.  He’s got that cowboy charisma, along with all the sexy moves, but his emotional journey to learn to love again, learning to let go of the feelings of guilt over his wife's murder, and learning that loving another is not betraying the wife that he loved, is heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

Charli has her own demons to conquer.  After her mother left at her a young age, and was made to feel that she wasn’t beautiful, she was raised by her Father and her brother.  Being a tomboy was a roll she was much more comfortable with, but she feels that by attempting to learn to become a submissive that she can discover a more feminine side to herself.  Through Grant’s lessons she learns to believe that she is beautiful, desirable, and more than enough in every aspect of her life.  After seeing her Father living with a broken heart after his wife left him, Charli comes to believe that she deserves to have a man who is capable of loving her like she deserves, and being the competitive person that she is, wonders how she is supposed to win Grant’s heart when her opponent is a memory.

Fall Into You is everything that I love about erotic romance.  Yes, it is BDSM themed, but Charli is not your submissive doormat.  She struggles with the whole idea of the lifestyle, and I appreciated her ambivalence and insecurity in a role that is unfamiliar to her.  I also liked that Grant wasn’t an overbearing alpha-hole hero.  He was sweet, and charming, yet in no way Beta.  He’s alpha all the way, in the best sense of the word.  The story does have a small romantic suspense plot which I also liked.  Sometimes I feel that romantic suspense stories can be overtaken by the action rather than the romantic relationship, however in Fall Into You you the suspense part of the story is just a small, but important aspect of bringing the two characters together to support the story, not overshadow it.  The only issue I had with the plot was the coincidence that two strangers meet on a deserted road, only to find out the the heroine's brother is the man that saved the hero's life while serving in the military.  But after I got over the somewhat unbelievability in how Charli and Grant first met, I thought Fall Into You was one of the best erotic romances I’ve read this year (2012).  Grant is also one of my favorite romance heroes of 2012.  Love, love, love him!  I hope you pick this one up because I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! (and if you are then I don’t know if we can be book friends anymore, LOL).  Roni Loren is a must read for me and is my favorite romance reading find in 2012.

I would recommend it to anyone who likes Maya Banks’ Sweet series (a lighter BDSM themed series), Lorelei James’ Rough Riders (for the emotional intensity and hot lovin'), and possibly Cherise Sinclairs Shadowlands series (though very little of the story takes place at the club but in private encounters). 

Ratings:

Overall: 4.75 stars
Sensuality level:  4.50 (scenes including rope bondage, spanking, and role-play forced seduction---though she's totally on board with that, and lots of hot hot lovin' and a very tender kiss)

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

Other Reviews:

 
 
 If you'd like to learn more about Roni Loren and the books she writes you can find her at her website www.roniloren.com, her blog, on Facebook and at Twitter.

To celebrate the release of Fall Into You, the third book in her Loving on the Edge series,  Roni will be giving away signed print copies of Crash Into You and Melt Into You, and a Kindle or Nook version of Still Into You (U.S. and Canada only) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory:  Leave a question or comment for Roni about this book, the review, or any other burning need to know question you might have (good for 1 entry)
How to enter:
  • Leave a comment at each stop on the blog tour to earn additional entries for the grand prize 
Rules and disclaimers:
  • The winner(s) will be selected randomly from among all of the comments of the blog tour by either the author or by Goddess Fish Promotions who will also be responsible for contacting the winner(s).  Please contact the promoter for all the official rules and disclaimers.
  • 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: Shannyn Schroeder featuring More Than This

Wednesday, January 9

For the most part we are all creatures of habit.  I know I am.  We get in a rut, and that rut becomes normal, even comfortable.  It's easy to do that.  How often do you find yourself going to a restaurant and ordering the exact same thing?  Comfort zones.  You know what to expect, therein lies the appeal, but also the downside.  There are very few surprises (both good and bad) in habits.  

Usually it's when the unexpected happens, or when you challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone, that you find something that brings joy to your life.  If you make a conscious effort of doing something daring or out of the ordinary it could be a complete disaster, or it could be a happy accident that leads to something verging on sublime.  Author Shannyn Schroeder is my guest today to share with us a bit about her heroine who dares to step outside of her quiet comfort zone to attempt to find her happy, in the new contemporary romance, More Than This.  Enjoy!

 ~~~***~~~

Thank you so much for hosting me today. The whole premise of my book, More Than This, is about stepping outside your comfort zone. My heroine, Quinn, is a practical and straight-laced high school English teacher. She wants to have a baby even though she has no prospects for a husband. In fact, she’s pretty much given up on men, but she desperately wants to be a mother. Her sister and friend don’t believe she can handle the chaos that comes with motherhood, especially when doing it alone. So they challenge her to spend her summer doing things outside her comfort zone.

The idea for Quinn’s summer list came to me based on an article I read that was something like “30 Things Women Should Do Before 30.”  That’s probably not the exact title, but you get the idea. I looked at various similar articles and then I turned to my best friend, who texted women she knows for ideas.

There are 8 things on Quinn’s list. Some are pretty tame, like indulging at an expensive restaurant. It’s not like Quinn would never go out to eat, but if she could go to a decent restaurant for $30, she wouldn’t see the need to go somewhere that would cost $100 (like I said, practical).

Quinn was an easy character for me to write because we’re pretty similar. When I created her list, I thought about the things I would and would not be willing to do. For instance, I would never go skydiving. I’m not afraid of heights, so it’s not the jumping that freaks me out; it’s the idea of landing. So I couldn’t make Quinn do that. There are quite a few things on her list that I personally haven’t done, but I might at least consider, even if I was scared (and no, I’m not confessing which I’ve done and which I haven’t).

I’m the kind of person that doesn’t like to step out of my comfort zone and I definitely don’t seek out adventure, so writing about Quinn trying to accomplish that was a lot of fun. She’s mostly successful, but far from perfect.

What’s the one thing you think every woman should experience?

Below, find an exclusive excerpt from More Than This. It’s the scene where Quinn gets her list from her sister, Indy, and friend, Kate. In the opening, Ryan (the hero) has interrupted the planning session. The middle section of the scene is removed so we can get to the list, but you’ll see from reading that in the deleted section, Ryan and Quinn share their first kiss.

“Quinn said you’re planning her summer. Anything interesting?”

Quinn forced her voice to work. “I’m sure there’s plenty.”

Indy nodded and her mouth spread into a wide grin. “I asked every woman I could find to name something all women should experience. We’re deciding what Quinn should do.”

Ryan returned his attention to Quinn. “Why are they choosing for you?”

“Indy wants to choose for me because I’m too pedestrian.” She sneered at the last word. “Because I’m not reckless with everything I do in my life, Indy thinks I don’t know how to have fun or adventure.”

“Is she right?”

Heat flushed her cheeks. Of course he thinks I’m boring. Compared to Indy, I am. She frowned and her muscles twitched in anger. She’d had enough.

Being told she’s boring on top of having to witness their flirtation was too much. She grabbed her purse and nudged at Ryan. “Let me out.” When he didn’t move, she hissed, “Please.”

~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

Quinn reentered the bar and crashed into Kate.

“Hey. Are you okay? Ryan went out to find you, but we didn’t see him come back in.”

“I’m fine.” Quinn looped her arm through Kate’s and propelled them both toward the booth.

Once Kate sat, Quinn scanned the bar and found Ryan. He stood at the edge of the hall with a buxom blonde, whose girlish grin began as flirtatious and moved toward seductive as she licked her lips and ran her hand down Ryan’s arm. Last week a redhead, this week a blonde. She should’ve known.

Quinn sat quickly, silently berating herself for her moment of insanity. This was the reason she needed to avoid good-looking, charming men. How embarrassed she would’ve been had she asked Ryan out. She could still taste him on her lips and he was already moving on.

“Everything okay?” Indy asked tentatively.

The tension Quinn held eased. “Don’t worry about it. Let’s eat and you can show me the list of how you think I’m spending my summer.”

“Here.” Kate handed her a sheet from her notebook. “The list is totally doable and you can get part of it done before summer starts, giving you extra time to find your romance. Complete these eight, then you’ve done half the list Indy and company developed. A respectable percentage.”

Quinn stared at the scrawled list. “Did you intentionally choose things to freak me out?”

Indy laughed. “We picked the most fun things. You’ll notice there’s no public sex. Be glad Kate wouldn’t let me add skydiving.”

“How am I supposed to do this?”

“Don’t worry, we’ll help. It’ll be fun.” Kate patted her shoulder. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Quinn scanned down the list. Dread rose immediately, but her nerves were still humming and the excitement of a challenge won. If she’d created the list herself, she wouldn’t have challenged herself this much. Indy knew how to push her, that was for sure.

1. Play hooky.
2. Sing karaoke in a crowded bar.
3. Ride a motorcycle.
4. Indulge at an expensive restaurant.
5. Take a vacation alone.
6. Pose nude for a photographer or artist.
7. Have a fabulous summer romance.
8. Have a night of multiorgasmic, mind-blowing sex.


When a lonely teacher teams up with a handsome bartender for some outrageous acts, they both get more than they bargained for…

Learning her ex-husband is going to be a father, Quinn Adams is determined to have a baby of her own—without the partnership of a man. But her sister and friends believe she needs to focus on herself first, and step out of her comfort zone by completing a list of adventures. Challenge number one is to go on five dates within two weeks. After a few disastrous attempts, Quinn’s ready to give up—until sexy bartender Ryan O’Leary offers his assistance.

Ryan has always been the dependable one in his family, often at his expense. But lately, he’s been longing for a life—and a woman—of his own. The woman he has in mind is Quinn. Though it seems all she wants is friendship, Ryan can’t ignore the explosive chemistry he feels between them. In the hopes of becoming closer, Ryan offers to help out with Quinn’s list. But when she asks him for a serious favor, he’s afraid it will jeopardize his chance to become more than friends.

Read an excerpt, and for your reading enjoyment here's an additional special excerpt:

She tugged her hand away and crossed her arms. Her eyes darted, as if keeping contact was a battle. Her voice lowered a fraction. “You don’t know how hard it is to find a normal date.”

“What makes you think that?” He pushed his palm against the wall next to her head and caught the soft, powdery scent of her perfume. Did it make him an ass that while she talked about dating other men, his thoughts focused on kissing her again?

She shifted and tucked her hair behind her ear. When she looked up again, her face had returned to the usual polite, impassive front. “Come on. I’m in here often enough to see you with all kinds of women. I’m not judging you, but you can’t compare picking the flavor of the week to dating.”

He didn’t address her comments. She was right—he liked women who required nothing from him but a good time. It wasn’t a concept she’d understand. She’d definitely require more. He hadn’t attempted anything more serious since Cassie. “So what’s your plan? Cast a wide net and see what you catch?”

She shrugged. “Indy said it’s all about numbers. I spent a bunch of money to join the stupid dating site. They guarantee I’ll meet someone special. It’s in my best interest to keep trying. Besides, I try to weed out the worst of the bunch.”

His burst of laughter made her jump, so he placed a hand on her shoulder. “Sweetheart, if you think you’re weeding out the bad ones, your radar is broken.”

Her lips pulled back, but it wasn’t quite a smile. “I was born without radar.”
 

Thanks Shannyn for being my guest today and congrats on the release of More Than This! I love romances that feature the girl next door finding true love with the hunky hero.  I'm rooting for Quinn to find her HEA, let it all hang loose on the day she plays hooky, and I can't wait to read the scene where she sings in a karoeke bar, not to mention the other sexy tasks she sets for herself, LOL.

If you'd like learn more about Shannyn and the books she writes you can find her at her website www.shannynschroeder.com, Twitter, Pinterest & Goodreads.

To celebrate the release of More Than This Shannyn will be giving away a 15" x 12" Pampered Chef flat baking stone (similar to the one her heroine uses) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US only).  And she'll also be awarding a Keeper Kase (to keep your autographed book cover flats in) with an autographed cover flat from "More Than This" to one commenter at every stop (US only).  Here's how you can enter to win:

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory:  Leave a question or comment for Shannyn about this book, or any other burning need to know question you might have (good for 1 entry)
How to enter:
  • Leave a comment at each stop on the blog tour to earn additional entries for the grand prize 
Rules and disclaimers:
  • The winner(s) will be selected randomly from among all of the comments of the blog tour by either the author or by Goddess Fish Promotions who will also be responsible for contacting the winner(s).  Please contact the promoter for all the official rules and disclaimers.
  • 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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Review: Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole

Tuesday, January 8

Title:  Shadow's Claim*
Author: Kresley Cole
Series: The Dacians #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
Format: E-book & Paperback
Date/Year:  November 2012
Reviewed by: Andrea

*This book was borrowed from the reviewer's local library

Summary from the publisher:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Dacians: Realm of Blood and Mist, a new paranormal series following the royal bloodline of Dacia, a vampire kingdom hidden within the Lore of the Immortals After Dark.

Shadow's Claim features Prince Trehan, a ruthless master assassin who will do anything to possess Bettina, his beautiful sorceress mate, even compete for her hand in a blood-sport tournament—to the death.

He won't be denied...

Trehan Daciano, known as the Prince of Shadows, has spent his life serving his people, striking in the night, quietly executing any threat to their realm. The coldly disciplined swordsman has never desired anything for himself—until he beholds Bettina, the sheltered ward of two of the Lore's most fearsome villains.

She's bound to another...

Desperate to earn her guardians' approval after a life-shattering mistake, young Bettina has no choice but to marry whichever suitor prevails—even though she's lost her heart to another. Yet one lethal competitor, a mysterious cloaked swordsman, invades her dreams, tempting her with forbidden pleasure.

A battle for her body and soul...

Even if Trehan can survive the punishing contests to claim her as his wife, the true battle for Bettina's heart is yet to come. And unleashing a millennium's worth of savage need will either frighten his Bride away—or stoke Bettina's own desires to a fever-pitch...


My Musings:

If I had to pick my favorite author of all time it would be Kresley Cole.  I love the Immortals After Dark series, from which Shadow’s Claim is spin off, and have been looking forward to this book for months.

Shadow’s Claim is the first book of The DaciansThe Dacians are the mythical vampires of Dacia.  They are so secretive and protective of their home that nobody in the Lore knows for sure if they even exist.  Trehan is the sword of Dacia, that basically means that he is the prince of the assassin line of the royal family.  He is a cold, detached killer going through the motions of life but feeling nothing.  It’s a bit of a cliche in the paranormal romance genre but it works well in this book.

Bettina is the half-demon, half-sorceress princess in the Demonarchy of Abbadon, the home of the death demons.  Bettina is next in line to the throne of the Demonarchy.  She is broken and disheartened after being attacked and almost killed.  The most devastating part of that attack is that they also stole her power.  I was sympathetic to her and liked her most of the time, though some of her actions and decisions did make me want to strangle her.

What I love so much about Kresley Cole’s books is that they have a really strong paranormal plot as well a steamy romance brewing at the same time.  It’s what I expect with her books and I wasn’t let down with Shadow’s Claim.  I loved the storyline of an immortal tournament open to all members of the Lore.  Such a wide variety of paranormal creatures battling for for the right to rule Abbadon and marry Bettina was exciting.  I also loved the guest appearances from familiar favorites like Lothaire & Elizabeth, Sabine and my favorite Valkyrie, Nix.

The romance between Trehan and Bettina was good.  I really liked Trehan and was pulling for him to be the winner of the tournament.  The guy sacrificed everything to be with Bettina, how can anyone not adore him!? The one-sided love Bettina had going with Caspion got old quickly.  I can understand loyalty, but Bettina was blinded by it and that led to a lot of my frustration with her.  As much as she annoyed me, it did make for an interesting romance.  My only major issue with the book was Bettina.  I kept thinking she would eventually take responsibility for her actions and make a genuine gesture proving herself worthy of Trehan.  She never did enough to win me over.  I ended the book loving Trehan and only tolerating Bettina.

Despite that, it’s a great book and this series is definitely worth reading.  I recommend it to readers who like a steamy romance with a strong paranormal element.

Ratings:

Overall: 4.25
Sensuality level: 3.25


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

Other Reviews:





*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, January 7

Happy New Year!  Did you have a good holiday?  What goodies did you get, or buy for yourself?  Tell me, tell me, tell me!

Me, I'm buying myself a new computer.  **Squee**  I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about this!  I received money from my family for Christmas so it made the possibility of getting what I really wanted a reality instead of settling for what I could have previously afforded.  I also received a fab new camera.  It's nothing terribly fancy, but it has 24x times zoom and some really fun settings.  I love it so far.  Truth be told the last camera that I bought, was one that used film....I know, you don't need to say it...it was a long time ago,  obviously :)

What else have I been up to?  I did some design work, and spent a lot of time with my family, and even had some time to read some books.  Some of which have been Kristen Ashley's Dream Man series.  I'm really enjoying them, and I have some theories about her heroes which I'll share with you once I read all of them.  Have you read these?  If so I'd love to know what who your favorite hero was and why.

It's been awhile since we've had a new Muse, will this inspire you?


This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Tuesday:  I'll be sharing my favorite reads from 2012.  Anyone want to guess what my favorite read of 2012 was?  I can't wait to share it with you :)
  • Wednesday:  Author Shannyn Schroeder will be my guest to share with us her book More Than This
  • Thursday:  I'll have my review of Roni Loren's Fall Into You, and there will also be a chance to win some prizes :)
  • Friday:  I'll have Andrea's review of Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole.
  • Tempting Trailer:  I don't have one for you.  I looked, trust me, and yes there were some new ones....but they just weren't any good and worthy of your time, nor mine.  Kinda makes me sad :(


Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week, especially Musings authors Mia Marlowe, Shona Husk, Jayne Fresina, Stephanie Sloane, Roni Loren, Stephanie Julian, Maya Banks, Jennifer Ashley, & Gena Showalter*



*Note:  We haven't had a Monday's Muse post for several weeks, but I've still been keeping track of all of the new release during that time so this week has a TON!  Some of which you may have already known about.

 
Booklover signature (revised)

*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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Reviewer Michele's Favorite Romances of 2012

Friday, January 4


Today we're featuring Musings reviewer Michele's favorite romance reads of 2012.  I think it's important to reiterate that we're not trying to say that these are necessarily the "Best" books published in 2012, but instead were each reader's favorite romance reads that they read in 2012.  In addition the books considered did not have to be published in 2012, but could have been published before last year.

And in case you missed the previous days posts outlining how the favorites were selected here are the guidelines that were used:
  • A book had to receive a 4.5 star or above rating to be eligible for "Favorites" consideration, then they were separated out by sub-genre (historical, contemporary...).  
  • Not all of the books that received a 4.5 or above rating made the favorites list.  The stories that made the final lists are ones that "stuck" with each of us throughout the year...in other words were memorable (the story was special in some way).  
  • You may also notice that not all of the subgenres of romance are represented for each person's favorites list....that's because the books in those categories didn't score a high enough star rating to qualify for the status of "favorite", or isn't a subgenre that was enjoyed by that reviewer.
  • End result, these are the books that we would highly recommend even if it was a book that you normally wouldn't be drawn to. Long story short...We LOVED LOVED LOVED these romances and thank our lucky stars that we read them this past year!
  • Also good to note, not all of the books that made the list were published in 2012, some were published prior to that, but all were read by each person in 2012. 
~~~***~~~

Contemporary Romance: 

At the start of this year, it was hard for me to find contemporary romances that I enjoyed but as the year wore on, I discovered more and more of them, thanks to Twitter and Facebook and all the great reviewers online. Some of these could just as easily appear under the erotic romance category, but they are all wonderful contemporaries in their own right.
  • Hidden Paradise by Janet Mullany
  • Seducing Cinderella (Fighting for Love #1)  by Gina L. Maxwell
  • Sweet as Sin by Inez Kelley
  • Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye
  • One Night with a Hero (The Hero #2) by Laura Kaye
  • Simply Irresistible (Lucky Harbor #1) by Jill Shalvis
  • Exclusively Yours (Kowalski Family #1) by Shannon Stacey
  • Thoughtless (Thoughtless #1) by S.C. Stephens
  • On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
  • About Last Night by Ruthie Knox
Honorable Mention: The Sullivans series by Bella Andre

Summary: 

I’ve grown to love the contemporary romance and hope to find more that are actually stand-alone and not part of an ongoing series where everyone is related and lives in that perfect little town with the cute name (not that those aren’t great reads, too!).


~~~***~~~

Historical Romance:

I’ve been reading historical romance since back in the day with Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers, but the ones I read this year more than hold their own. These are the books that made me cry and yell and swoon.
  • Then Came You (Gamblers #1) by Lisa Kleypas
  • Dreaming of You (Gamblers #2) by Lisa Kleypas
  • Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas
  • Beguiling the Beauty (Fitzhugh Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas
  • Ravishing the Heiress (Fitzhugh Trilogy #2) by Sherry Thomas
  • Tempting the Bride (Fitzhugh Trilogy #3) by Sherry Thomas
  • The Price of Innocence by Susan Sizemore
  • Strictly Seduction by Shayla Black writing as Shelley Bradley
  • A Woman Scorned (Lorimer Family & Clan Cameron #2) by Liz Carlyle
Honorable Mention: The House of Pleasure series - Kate Pearce
Summary:

As you can see, the bulk of my favorites this year came from the fabulous Sherry Thomas, who always knows just how to rip my heart out and make me beg for more. I’m looking forward to more older out-of-print historicals becoming available as ebooks as their authors, such as Shelley Bradley, regain their publishing rights.


~~~***~~~

Paranormal Romance:

Maybe it’s because I was such a huge fan of Anne Rice back when she was first writing the Lestat and Mayfair books but I’m just not very much of a paranormal romance reader these days. And yet, I managed to come up with ten great ones that made me very glad I’d taken the time to read them.

  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • Dark Lover by J. R. Ward
  • Where There’s A Will (Good Girl Series #2) by Karen Kelley
  • North of Need (Hearts of the Anemoi #1) by Laura Kaye
  • West of Want (Hearts of the Anemoi #2) by Laura Kaye
  • Fetish by Sherri L. King
  • Platinum Passion (Gods of Love #1) by Jennifer Lynne
  • Aphrodite Calling (Gods of Love #2) by Jennifer Lynne
  • Dream Master by Claire Thompson
  • Petals and Thorns by Jeffe Kennedy writing as Jennifer Paris
Summary:

This category might still put me off, but at least I know now that it’s not just about vampires and werewolves. I’m still not quite ready to seriously read a shifter romance, although I do have some of the Breeds books waiting to prove me wrong. If anybody can make me like them, it’s Lora Leigh.

~~~***~~~

Erotic Romance  (BDSM themed):

Now we’re in my reading wheelhouse. I read and love so many erotic romances this year that I had to split the category in an attempt to give more of them the respect they are due. Make no mistake, there are at least 15 more that I would have put on this list if it wasn’t limited to 10, and as you can see, I did still cheat a little by posting series where all the books were 5 star reads.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1) by E.L. James
  • The Original Sinners series (The Siren/The Angel/The Prince) by Tiffany Reisz
  • Release Me by J. Kenner
  • The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden
  • Hold ‘Em (Vegas Top Guns #3) by Katie Porter
  • My Liege of Dark Haven by Cherise Sinclair
  • Hostile Takeover (Knights of the Boardroom #5) by Joey W. Hill
  • Blushing Violet by Ann Mayburn
  • Master Class by Cassandra Carr
  • Sweet Persuasion (Sweet #2) by Maya Banks
Honorable Mention: The Club Shadowlands series - Cherise Sinclair

Summary:

It’s safe to say from all the recent announcements by established romance authors that there is going to be an explosion of BDSM Billionaire trilogies in 2013, thanks to the success of the Fifty Shades trilogy. Here’s hoping the majority of them are worth reading.


~~~***~~~

Erotic Romance (non BDSM themed):

It’s a fine line between erotic romance and erotica, and all these authors made it look easy. It’s not.
  • The CrossFire series (Bared To You/Reflected in You) by Sylvia Day
  • Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun
  • Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun
  • Curio (and its 5 follow-up vignettes) by Cara McKenna
  • On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
  • Forbidden Pleasure by Lora Leigh
  • Broken by Megan Hart
  • Seven Sexy Sins by Serenity Woods
  • Inside Bet (Vegas Hot Shots #2) by Katie Porter
  • By Mutual Desire by Dalton Diaz
Honorable Mention: The Rough Riders series - Lorelei James

Summary:

I love erotic romance, with or without BDSM. There are so many great new series and follow-up books in existing series that 2013 is going to be the year of erotic romance. I can’t wait!

~~~***~~~

 M/M GBLT Romance:

I’ve only recently started to appreciate same-sex romances, and my favorites are somewhat evenly split between M/M/F menages and M/M pairings.
  • Pulled Long (Long Shots #3) by Christine d’Abo
  • Calling the Shots (Long Shots #4) by Christine d'Abo
  • Long Hard Ride (Rough Riders #1) by Lorelei James
  • Rough, Raw, and Ready (Rough Riders #5) by Lorelei James
  • Backwoods (Shivaree #1) by Cara McKenna
  • Shivaree (Shivaree #2) by Cara McKenna
  • Getaway (Shivaree #3) by Cara McKenna
  • The Angel (Original Sinners #2) by Tiffany Reisz
  • The Prince (Original Sinners #3) by Tiffany Reisz
  • Siren Beloved (Texas Siren #4) by Sophie Oak
Summary:

One of my reading goals in the upcoming year is to get all caught up with J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books so that I can be ready to read what is clearly the most anticipated M/M romance of 2013: Lover at Last. If online expressions of desire for this book are any indication of potential sales, this book could be the Fifty Shades of Grey for M/M romance. And that would be a good thing.


~~~***~~~

Dark Erotica:
For this category, I reiterate what Kitty Thomas always says: “Heed the disclaimers!” If these are the kind of stories you like, you will like these stories.
  • Big Sky by Kitty Thomas
  • Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas
  • Willing Victim by Cara McKenna
  • Deep Desires by Charlotte Stein
  • Restraint by Charlotte Stein
  • Keep Me Safe by Skye Warren
  • Topping From Below by Laura Reese
  • The Auction by Claire Thompson
  • The Dark Duet #1 and #2 by C.J. Roberts
  • The Business of Pleasure by Justine Elyot
Honorable Mention: The Marketplace series - Laura Antoniou


~~~***~~~

Romantic Suspense:

I don’t always like to read romantic suspense because the suspense often seems to distract me away from the romance to the point where I race through trying to get to the part where the couple is safe again instead of relaxing and enjoying the ride. But these books helped me see that a well-paced romantic suspense novel is something to seek out, not avoid.

  • Wicked Ties (Wicked Lovers #1) by Shayla Black
  • Decadent (Wicked Lovers #2) by Shayla Black
  • Surrender to Me (Wicked Lovers #4) by Shayla Black
  • Belong to Me (Wicked Lovers #5) by Shayla Black
  • The Dom Who Loved Me (Masters and Mercenaries #1) by Lexi Blake
  • A Dom is Forever (Masters and Mercenaries #3) by Lexi Blake
  • Crash Into You (Lovers on the Edge #1) by Roni Loren
  • Melt Into You (Lovers on the Edge #2) by Roni Loren
  • Truth (Consequences #2) by Aleatha Romig
  • Natural Law (Nature of Desire #2) by Joey W. Hill
Summary:

I hope to finally get started on the J.D. Robb “In Death” series this coming year. They may take over the category entirely next time if they are half as good as everyone keeps telling me.

~~~***~~~


My Favorite Romance Read of 2012:

The Siren by Tiffany Reisz


Many books came close, but this one still rules 2012 for me. It stands alone as a fantastic self-contained story which breaks nearly every taboo on what is and is not appropriate in a romance novel and does it with style and grace and some of the best paced writing I’ve come across in a very long time. It also establishes a new world of the Original Sinners, one where we think we understand what is going on between its characters, at least until the next book in the series. I love how Tiffany Reisz can fill in the blanks that you didn’t even realize existed in a way that neither cheats the reader nor violates any previous canon established in an earlier or later story. She’s dancing on a high wire without a net and we can only hope she doesn’t fall before getting to the end of her performance. I can’t wait to read what’s next.




I have been a fast and prolific reader all my life, but 2012 was the year that my reading count exploded. Because I have only started being diligent about entering books into GoodReads, I don’t have a final definitive count but the total is in the range of at least 500, and likely well above that. To be fair, most of those books were in the 150-250 page range, and some were even shorter (hello, Decadent’s 1NightStand!). But I do spend most evenings and weekends reading, and thanks to the great internet recs and immediate availability of whole series on Kindle and Nook, it’s now fairly easy for me to discover a new series and spend a whole weekend glomming through them like a giant bag of Halloween candy. Both my husband and budget are hoping that I will be able to settle down and slow the reading (and book acquiring pace) for 2013. We’ll see.






*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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Reviewer Andrea's Favorite Romances of 2012

Thursday, January 3

Today we're featuring Musings reviewer Andrea's favorite romance reads of 2012.  I think it's important to reiterate that we're not trying to say that these are necessarily the "Best" books published in 2012, but instead were each reader's favorite romance reads that they read in 2012.  In addition the books considered did not have to be published in 2012, but could have been published before last year.

And in case you missed the post yesterday outlining how the favorites were selected here are the guidelines that were used:

  • A book had to receive a 4.5 star or above rating to be eligible for "Favorites" consideration, then they were separated out by sub-genre (historical, contemporary...).  
  • Not all of the books that received a 4.5 or above rating made the favorites list.  The stories that made the final lists are ones that "stuck" with each of us throughout the year...in other words were memorable (the story was special in some way).  
  • You may also notice that not all of the subgenres of romance are represented for each person's favorites list....that's because the books in those categories didn't score a high enough star rating to qualify for the status of "favorite", or isn't a subgenre that was enjoyed by that reviewer.
  • End result, these are the books that we would highly recommend even if it was a book that you normally wouldn't be drawn to. Long story short...We LOVED LOVED LOVED these romances and thank our lucky stars that we read them this past year!
  • Also good to note, not all of the books that made the list were published in 2012, some were published prior to that, but all were read by each person in 2012. 
~~~***~~~

 Historical Romance:

Preface: Historicals are one of my favorite genres but lately they all seem to run together for me. I will read one and enjoy it but then won’t remember any of the details just a couple weeks later. Only two books stood out for me this year.
  • Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas 4.5 stars
  • Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn 4.5 stars
Honorable Mention: The entire Hathaway series by Lisa Kleypas

Summary:

There are so many similarities between all the books I’ve mentioned. They all have strong females and non-traditional men. The men are all a little bit dangerous and the women they’re drawn to have been overlooked by most everyone else. What makes all of these books stand out is that they’re fantastic! Take a look at the reviews on Goodreads for these books and you’ll see that most readers agree with me. If you like historical you need to read all of these books.

~~~***~~~

Paranormal Romance:

Preface:  Paranormal is my absolute favorite genre.  It’s my comfort zone where I run whenever I want a book I’m guaranteed to like. 
  • Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon 5 stars
  • Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh 5 stars
  • Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter 4.5 stars
  • Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward 4.75 stars
Summary:
Every one of these books is part of a larger series to which I am addicted.  Once again, there is a common theme which works for me.  The men are fighters which most people fear.  The women are equally exceptional.  They have their own gifts and abilities which make them the perfect partners for these volatile men.

~~~***~~~

Erotic Romance:

Preface:  I don’t read very much which falls into this category.  The only time I one is if there is so much buzz surrounding the book that I need to know why everyone is talking about it.
  •     The Siren by Tiffany Reisz 4.75 stars
Summary:
I already reviewed this book and there isn’t much more I can say about it.  It’s a fantastic book which blew everything else out of the water.  I’m not a fan of BDSM novels and this one was still one of my favorites all year.  I’ve recommended this book to everyone I know and those that have read it have loved it.

~~~***~~~

M/M GBLT Romance:

Preface: I only discovered M/M romance this year and it quickly became my favorite types of romance.  I spent most of the year reading the books everyone else recommended.  I had a really tough time narrowing down this category.
  • Caregiver by Rick R. Reed 5 stars
  • Second Chances by T.A. Webb 5 stars
  • Aaron by J.P. Barnaby 4.5 stars
  • To Touch the Stars by Jeremy Pack  5 stars
  • The Good Fight by Andrew Grey 4.5 stars
  • Unconditional Love by Andrew Grey 5 stars
  • Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton 5 stars
  • Promises by Marie Sexton 5 stars
  • College Boys (Men of Holsum College #1) by Daisy Harris 4.75 stars
  • Special Delivery by Heidi Cullinan 5 stars
Summary:
The only thing these books have in common is that they have love between men.  Caregiver, Second Chances, Aaron and Unconditional Love are all here because they are deeply emotional.  They’re books you won’t be able to forget.  To Touch the Stars is beyond amazing.  I hate that this book is forced into being labeled as M/M because it’s much bigger than that.  It is simply great fiction written by an amazing author.  The rest are just great examples of what a romance can be when you have lovable characters and a good story bringing them together. 
~~~***~~~

My Favorite Romance Read of 2012:

Caregiver by Rick R. Reed


This book took to a place no other book ever has.  It allowed me to experience the terror and love which surrounded the life of a gay man at the height of the AIDS epidemic.  It was a life altering read.  Even now when I think back to this book I get tears in my eyes.  I love this book and doubt any book will ever replace it as my all time favorite.


 
 
 
The Stats:
   Total books read: 416 comprised of :
  • Historical: 46 (11%)
  • Erotic: 10 (2%)
  • Contemporary:  3 (0.7%)
  • Paranormal:  52 (13%)
  • M/M: 301 (72%)
  • Science Fiction: 4 (1%)
    Ratings overview :
  • 4.5 stars or higher: # 27 (6%)
  • 4.0-4.49 stars: # 87 (21%)
  • 3.00-3.99 stars: # 260 (63%)
  • 1-2.99  stars: # 41 (10%)






*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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Reviewer E.L.F.'s Favorite Romances of 2012

Wednesday, January 2

The past few years I've featured my favorite romances that I read in the previous year.  It's one of my favorite posts to look back on to see how my reading tastes change annually.  A lot of blogs and sites like to list them as "The Best of...", but I don't like to phrase it that way.  I like "Favorites" better because the selection process is somewhat subjective to individual reading tastes.

This year instead of just sharing the books that I've loved, I thought I would also ask some of the Seductive Reviewers if they'd like to share some of their favorite reads as well.  I can't wait to share all of them with you!  What I've found interesting while looking over their lists is that they've all read A LOT of books, and only a few books are listed more than once.  They are so diverse and I love that!

Over the next few days I will be featuring a different list from each reviewer, then I'll share mine with you on Tuesday 1/8 to put an end to 2012.  I hope you enjoy them, and you never know, maybe you'll find a few good reads that you might have missed or overlooked to add to your TBR :)

~~~***~~~

Here's how the favorites were selected:
  • A book had to receive a 4.5 star or above rating to be eligible for "Favorites" consideration, then they were separated out by sub-genre (historical, contemporary...).  
  • Not all of the books that received a 4.5 or above rating made the favorites list.  The stories that made the final lists are ones that "stuck" with each of us throughout the year...in other words were memorable (the story was special in some way).  
  • You may also notice that not all of the subgenres of romance are represented for each person's favorites list....that's because the books in those categories didn't score a high enough star rating to qualify for the status of "favorite", or isn't a subgenre that was enjoyed by that reviewer.
  • End result, these are the books that we would highly recommend even if it was a book that you normally wouldn't be drawn to. Long story short...We LOVED LOVED LOVED these romances and thank our lucky stars that we read them this past year!
  • Also good to note, not all of the books that made the list were published in 2012, some were published prior to that, but all were read by each person in 2012. 

Contemporary Romance:
  • Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts
  • The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne
I am an unabashed Nora Roberts/JD Robb fan and I think she is such a remarkably prolific but not a cookie-cutter romance writer.  Each of her books has similar elements yet presents a unique tale and I always sigh at the beautiful imagery and intense passion she conveys.  Hester Browne’s book was a lot of fun for me to read...despite its very British flavor...which has references that are unfamiliar to someone who has very little international experience.  The excesses and fairy-tale quality of the story contrasted with the earthy (literally) experiences of the heroine was very entertaining for me.

~~~***~~~

Romantic Suspense:
  • Scorched by Laura Griffen
  • Reunited by Shiloh Walker (also a paranormal romance)
Both of these books combined the thrill and rollercoaster ride of suspense even as one roots for the strong characters being depicted.  I love very strong heroines and both of these authors definitely know how to craft charismatic women who work with the men in their lives but don’t wait around to be rescued!


~~~***~~~

Fantasy Romance:
  • Spellcrossed by Barbara Ashford
  • Charmed by His Love by Janet Chapman
  • Bridge of Dreams by Anne Bishop
The combination of romance and imagination is wonderful in all of these books which are all part of series.  The Chapman series actually interconnect multiple titles and I haven’t read all of them but the ones I have read combine fantasy with very real child care concerns as there seem to be quite a few youngsters wandering around.  Combine that with a person who communicates with mountains themselves...a fun read.  Ashford’s book combines the ambience of musical theater with a mystical experience that is delightful to experience, even if one has no experience with theater production. 

Anne Bishop’s book was mind boggling in a good way.  The worlds that she creates are always impressive and I loved her Black Jewels series but this particular title was so different but enthralling.  It is also part of a series but I thought this was the best one thus far.

~~~***~~~

Paranormal Romance:
  • The Silvered by Tanya Huff
  • Mortal Ties by Eileen Wilks
  • All Seeing Eye, Doubletake by Rob Thurman
  • Natural Evil by Thea Harrison
I am a big paranormal fan but sometimes I wonder if the genre is saturated...then I read novels by these fantastic authors and I am relieved that they are gifting us with these mesmerizing titles.  Each of these authors writes about otherworldly beings who battle sometimes unimaginable foes yet they have the capability to love as hard as they fight.

~~~***~~~

Erotic Romance:
  • Reflected in You by Sylvia Day
  • Frankendom by Robin Rotham
  • Exposed to You by Beth Kery
  • Cowboy Bad Boys by Randi Alexander
  • Billionaire Bad Boy's Club by Emma Holly
  • Nobody's Perfect by Kallypso Masters
  • Tart by Lauren Dane
  • Never Enough by Lauren Dane
Wow!  There were some impressive erotica reads this year.  Some definitely push the edge in terms of kink (a lot of BDSM is popular in erotica this year) and atypical relationships but all definitely have a strong flavor of romance. 

I adore the Brown Siblings series and am fascinated by Lauren Dane’s exploration of unconventional living arrangements such as the triads that she depicts.  These are very spicy books as well but I love the intense romance that characterizes them.

Note:  The Holly book starts with a M/M relationship that is a wonderful description of two young men who turn to each other after dealing with horrific home circumstances and follows them as they find a woman whom they both can love.  The Masters book may not be to everyone’s taste as it explores repercussions of sexual abuse and the Rotham book is a pretty dark read but mesmerizing.

~~~***~~~

Historical Romance:
  • Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries
  • The Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens
  • Ruined by Moonlight by Emma Wildes
  • A Lady's Pleasure by Robin Schone
  • Miss Isabella Thaws a Frosty Lord by Larissa Lyons
All of these were beautiful period romances that conjure up the intriguing facets of life in old England and highlight what happens when men and women step outside of their traditional roles and follow their hearts.  I was delighted to discover Ms Schone’s works which explores a sensual side of period society and combines eroticism and beautiful language.  I was also very impressed by Ms Lyons’ emphasis on a heroine with a handicap and her ability to weave a beautiful romance with humor and emotionalism in a style that is reminiscent of Jane Austen to me.  I have long been a big fan of Ms Laurens and always enjoy her romances, but this was even more interesting to me because it added in a mystery.  It seems that either one really likes this or one can’t stand it so each person obviously sees something different.

~~~***~~~

Military Romance:
  • The Night is Mine by M.L. Buchman
  • A SEAL at Heart by Anne Elizabeth
  • Until There Was You by Jessica Scott
  • Because of You by Jessica Scott
All of these reads provided poignant examples of the stresses and sacrifices of those who serve.  Unfortunately, given the nature of the genre, most of the endings are HFN (i.e. Happy for Now)  

~~~***~~~

My Favorite Romance Read of 2012:

It’s really tough for me to choose my very favorite book for the year but I think I would have to choose Tanya Huff’s “The Silvered”.  


It was a departure from the typical shifter tale and there actually is a very gently unfolding primary romance along with the tortuous tangential romances that are alluded to.  I thought it was a great introduction to a intriguing world that is harsh and violent with a disturbing view of the dangers of discrimination through ignorance. 

I wish all of you a 2013 filled with fascinating and satisfying books and thanks to Seductive Musings for such a great blog which showcases so many wonderful titles!








*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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