April 30, 2013

Guest Post: Ava Bleu

Author of The Diva of Peddler's Creek

Welcome to Literary Marie's Precision Reviews. Today we have a special guest post from Ava Bleu, author of The Diva of Peddler's Creek.

The Beauty of Imagination:
People ask me why I decided to write a modern African American romance based in a rural community. That’s simple–because I couldn’t find one on the shelves!

For some reason when it comes to African Americans, we seem to judge art based upon how closely it reminds us of our own lives, as though our art expression must hold realism as a key component. The art must reflect our reality or it is not worthy.

I urge readers to remember that fiction can be realistic, but it can also be fantasy, science fiction, historical and futuristic. It can be as close to what we know as true life, but it can also be as far away as the stars. Fiction is imagination. It should never have boundaries.

To many of us, imaginations have always been our primary means of escaping reality. If I don’t have a radio or television or—God forbid—a book in my hands, there is always my imagination. As a writer, creating fiction that mirrors reality is an option, but not a requirement. As a writer, it is my responsibility to make you feel that the story or world I create feels like reality. The best writers can take you places you’ve never been and never dreamed of going and make you feel you are right there in the protagonist’s head. You’re not thinking “what’s this gal doing in outer space?” You’re thinking “I have to hurry up and finish building the space capacitor to get this ship to the planet Oxygon before it blows up!” (Now my little romance set on a farm doesn’t seem so far out there, does it?)

That’s what fiction is all about—storytelling without bounds. Wherever our imagination takes us, thus go our keyboards.
Book Description:
Romance novelist Taylor Beir will stop at nothing to get her mother off her back, including relocating to teach a little boy she’s never met how to read. But Christopher Doubleday doesn’t want to learn. Handsome older brother, Boyd, has an invisible stick up his backside. And she suspects sweet Mary and Jesse are trying transform her into the mythical “good girl” she’s never been; either by power of suggestion or bribing her with endless goodies from Mary’s kitchen.

Taylor may be down—and stuffed—but she’s not out. Someday the townspeople of Peddler’s Creek, West Virginia will realize their hostility is misplaced and recognize her for the gentle, misunderstood soul she really is. And they will admit that Taylor Beir truly is the best thing to ever happen to their tiny, dirt road, middle-of-nowhere, backwater town of Peddler’s Creek, West Virginia…if they know what’s good for them. 

He pretended not to notice…

…Taylor’s quick blink of surprise and then her sudden clutch onto the horse as she
realized she was high in the air with no one to steady her.

“What the hell…?” she said, grabbing the saddle.

“Take the reins,” Boyd said from beside her, thrusting the leather into her hands
without meeting her eyes. He couldn’t, or she would surely see the desire he was trying so hard
to hide. The last damn thing he needed was Taylor getting wind that he found her attractive—
any more than she already knew.

She took the reins quickly, annoyance making her movements jerky.

“Take it easy!” he barked, allowing his frustration to masquerade as anger and his desire
to transfer into bluster. “I hope you realize you lost the wager.”

“What? No way.”

“I put you on the horse.”

“You didn’t have the patience to allow me to do it myself.”

“You couldn’t do it yourself.”

“I could have, you didn’t want me to.”

“You didn’t,” he said with finality, turning away. He could feel the heat of her anger
from where he stood, but only had a split second to enjoy it when…

“You are such a son of a…” She paired the last word with an angry kick. More of a jerk, really. But it didn’t matter whether it was a kick or a jerk, because a millisecond later the horse beneath her kicked up its front feet, taking Taylor high into the air.

Boyd watched in horror as Flame reared slightly, causing Taylor’s eyes to go wide
with surprise, and a screech to erupt from her throat before his prize steed took off and she disappeared like a blur before him…

About the Author:
Ava Bleu lives and loves in the Midwest, countering bitter winters with smooth jazz and tasty edibles. A book-lover, author, artist and photographer, Ava believes creativity in any form is worth celebrating. She can be found in bookstores and the public library camped next to the cookbooks and/or on the town keeping an eye out for hero-material.

For more information on Ava Bleu, please visit www.avableu.blogspot.com
Click here to order or add The Diva of Peddler's Creek to your reading wish list.  


April 28, 2013

Series Sunday: Just One Night, Part 3: Binding Agreement

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Reviews. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.

  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.
"I'm being granted power and influence without respect." ~ pg. 52

My Series Sunday pick is Just One Night: Binding Agreement, the third installment of the Just One Night trilogy by Kyra Davis. That one wild night in Vegas changed Kasie's whole world. It affected her job, engagement and even her relationship with her parents. Now Kasie is trying to settle into this new position of power, seduction and success all while balancing a passionate affair with sexy Robert Dade. As time moves on, Kasie wonders whether Robert is the right man or whether he is a stranger meant for just one night.

This conclusion to the trilogy wrapped up Kasie's story in a plain gift box without a pretty bow. Where I thought the plot would go, it didn't. And I wished it had. I was not satisfied with the conclusion of this trilogy but glad that author Kyra Davis tried her hand at erotic romance.

Just One Night, Part 3: Binding Agreement will be available on May 20 for just $1.99. I recommend the first two installments but if you're like me, you may be disappointed with this third part but have to read it for conclusion's sake.

DISCLAIMER: This book was received directly from the publisher for review purposes only. In no way does it influence my review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Title: Just One Night, Part 3: Binding Agreement
Author: Kyra Davis
Published: May 2013
Pages: 164
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥


April 26, 2013

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Reviews. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

"Here, says Carey Mulligan, alighting excitedly on a page in a well-thumbed paperback biography of Zelda Fitzgerald. 'She had no more worries than a puppy would have, or a kitten...' That's Zelda. That's Daisy."
~ Great Expectations ~ Vogue May 2013 issue

"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since."

 ~ The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Re-read this classic along with me, bookhearts! 


April 24, 2013

April eMags

I am Living La Vida NOOK with these April eMags:

The Writer ~ Stage Voice: Adapting Books for Theater

Real Simple ~ No Time To Clean? Very Best Products and Ideas

MacLife ~ Schedule Posts/Tweets, Search Better, Safeguard iOS

US Weekly ~ Adele's Secret Wedding Plans

Essence ~ Career Success Guide for Black Women

Vogue ~ How First Lady & President Are Inspiring America

Marie Claire ~ Bring on Spring!

InStyle ~ Color Issue!

Shape ~  Beyoncé Strong & Sexy: Her Powerful Post Baby Body

Jet ~ Nia Long Always Worth The Wait

Ebony ~ Annual Comedy Issue

Entertainment Weekly ~ Crazy in Love with Scandal


April 22, 2013

Catching Fire Movie Trailer

Every revolution begins with a spark. Catching Fire in theaters November 22.


April 21, 2013

Series Sunday: I is for Innocent

(Kinsey Millhone Alphabet #9)

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Reviews. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

My Series Sunday pick is I is for Innocent, the ninth book in the Kinsey Millhone alphabet series by Sue Grafton. Private Investigator Kinsey Millhone agrees to take over another P.I.'s investigation after he unexpectedly dies of a heart attack. Morley Shine was one of the greats in the business so it should be nothing but tying up loose ends. However, Kinsey finds the investigation is not easy at all. Notes are in a disarray. Witnesses deny ever being questioned. Kinsey begins to doubt whether the accused is innocent after all.

The format of I is for Innocent was appropriate to the title. It favored a legal case—prosecution side, defense side, cross-examination and closing arguments. It was fast-paced and filled with more action than previous Kinsey Millhone books. Yet it was kind of predictable.

However, I am still a little iffy on whether the series is starting to slip but will continue reading further. It was just released that the latest installment (W) will be published later this year. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Title: I is for Innocent
Author: Sue Grafton
Published: May 1992
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♡


April 19, 2013

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Reviews. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

"What a witch."
~ A House Divided by Kimberla Lawson Roby (First 7 Chapters Available for FREE Download on NOOK, Kindle, Google Books and iBooks)

April 17, 2013

Guest Post: A. T. Hicks

 Author of the Peaches Donnelly Mystery Series

Welcome to Literary Marie's Precision Reviews. Today we have a special guest post from A. T. Hicks, author of the Peaches Donnelly Mystery Series.

Creating Characters for a Mystery Novel Series:
When I first started thinking about the Peaches Donnelly Mystery Series it was a loose thought. Very loose. For one, I had never even written a mystery novel, let alone created characters for an entire series! But once my mind settles on doing something, it won’t stop until I see the project through. So once I had the mystery novel formula down packed I began rough sketches for the characters.

The first question I asked myself was ‘Who did I want the characters to be?’ Because I adore a good cozy mystery and love women sleuths, I decided that I wanted the main character to be quirky and funny. But I also wanted a character that was far more risqué than most cozy mysteries allow for. For instance, Peaches Donnelly, the main character and amateur sleuth in training, has a vast selection of vibrators. Risque right? But funny and very, ummm, real. Hey—a girl needs a little self therapy from time to time! So I scrapped the idea of a cozy mystery and decided on a Not-So-Cozy series of mysteries instead. This decision set the pace for the rest of the recurring characters that show up in this series of novels.

So once I decided who I wanted the characters to be, I started working on the characteristics of each individual.

Peaches' besties, Lynn and Charm, sort of hate one another. Being that Lynn is the overweight über successful, uptight career girl and Charm is a tall, gorgeous, leggy bartender cum aspiring actress whose morals are loose and whose life is borderline fabulous, the two of them are like oil and water. Peaches' two daughters, Nina, an annoying, boy crazy teenager with problems of her own and Sly, an elementary aged student whose main purpose in life is to aggravate Nina, play an additional hilarious role in each book. The two men in her life are Stick and Vernon. Stick she wants with all of her heart. Vernon, the unfaithful ex-boyfriend, is still hanging around like a cold and trying to get back in her good graces. Her younger opera singer sister Viviana just appeared in my mind out of the blue. I’m not quite sure why I developed this character; I just knew I loved her. She’s a famous opera singer living in Italy, high maintenance, well off and pretty loosy-goosy when it comes to leaving Peaches high and dry in varying awkward situations. And last but not least, there’s Mitch Donnelly, Peaches' single father and iffy family patriarch. All he wants is a little peace and quiet, for his two lovely daughters to exist in the same room without a war erupting, and some free lovin’ from whatever sympathetic widower wants to throw some his way. Each of these characters needed to be funny on their own as well as in situations that involved the main character. This makes for a comical read from beginning to end.

Recurring characters are fairly easy to develop once you decide exactly what you want your mystery series to be about. Will it be comical, hard-boiled, adventurous, or dangerous or perhaps a mixture of each? Will you have a hardcore P.I. or will your character be a bumbling amateur sleuth? What type of information will your main character have access to and how? Will they have recurring friends, family and associates that get involved in helping them solve the crime or will they have a different cast of characters that brings them to the resolution of the mystery in each book? These are the questions you’ll have to answer as you begin writing your mystery series. Or else you’ll have unbalanced characters that don’t pan out and won’t keep readers short attention spans!

Proper character development is an important part to writing not only a well-loved series but a successful book. In the case of the Peaches Donnelly Mystery Series, the characters not only set the stage for hilarity in each of the novels in the Peaches Donnelly Mystery Series, but each of them also plumps the story out making it more interesting and engaging for the reader.

Book Blurb:
What does a strip club, a dead man, and a Dove ice cream bar all have in common? Peaches Donnelly

About the Author:
When author A. T. Hicks isn't penning outrageous fiction, she's shooting a renegade tomcat out of her garden, desperately trying to prevent her escape artist dog from slipping out once again, and negotiating power deals with her daughter to complete her chores.

For more information on A. T. Hicks, please visit www.saltygurl.com where you can register for a FREE copy of the first installment in the Peaches Donnelly mystery series, read excerpts and more. You can also find A. T. Hicks on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.


April 16, 2013


Bookfessions is one of my favorite book blogs. It features the obvious: confessions from book lovers. Below are bookfessions that I relate to. They are so me, and may describe you too! Be sure to check out and follow Bookfessions on Tumblr. Happy reading and confessing, bookhearts!

Source: proverbial-sunrise Source: witharms-waitingfor-wyattSource: heathurautrySource: visceralmoueSource:sherloxSource:biancasaraiSource:feveerdreeamSource: haveaviewSource:heavylidsandlunarlullabiesSource:i-keep-believingSource: fuckyeahcarefreeCredit: socialinadequacybeingsuchamustCredit: sierraaprilCredit: seinfeld42


April 14, 2013

Series Sunday: Deck of Lies

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Reviews. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name. 

Today's Series Sunday features the Deck of Lies YA series by Jade Varden. In a single day, Rain Ramey's life changed. She discovers her life is based on a deck of lies and is determined to uncover them all. There are four books in the series:
  1.  Justice
  2. The Tower
  3. Death
  4. Judgment
Check out the book trailer below and visit the Deck of Lies Goodreads page for excerpts, blog posts by the author, reviews and more.


April 12, 2013

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Reviews. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

"Delicious political intrigue, shocking twists, oh-so-chic clothes, and the hottest White House affair since Marilyn sang for JFK—That's why viewers are electing Scandal their new TV (and Twitter) obsession."
~ Crazy in Love with Scandal: Entertainment Weekly 4/12/13 


April 11, 2013

Guest Post: M.J. Rose, author of Seduction

Welcome to Literary Marie's Precision Reviews, the virtual book tour stop for Seduction.

Publication Date: May 7, 2013

Atria Books

Hardcover; 384p
ISBN-10: 1451621507 

Book Synopsis:

From the author of The Book of Lost Fragrances comes a haunting novel about a grieving woman who discovers the lost journal of novelist Victor Hugo, awakening a mystery that spans centuries.

In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo’s beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, Hugo began participating in hundreds of séances to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with the likes of Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus—and even the Devil himself. Hugo’s transcriptions of these conversations have all been published. Or so it was believed.

Recovering from her own losses, mythologist Jac L’Etoile arrives on the Isle of Jersey—where Hugo conducted the séances—hoping to uncover a secret about the island’s Celtic roots. But the man who’s invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, has hopes she’ll help him discover something quite different—Hugo’s lost conversations with someone called the Shadow of the Sepulcher.

What follows is an intricately plotted and atmospheric tale of suspense with a spellbinding ghost story at its heart, by one of America’s most gifted and imaginative novelists.

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." — Victor Hugo

Excerpt from Seduction Chapter 10:
--> Inside harp music played. A lush and ethereal accompaniment to the colors in the night sky, the twisting trees, the dour faced monks, and this house. The scents of frankincense and vanilla suffused the air. Her senses bombarded, Jac stood inside front hall with its high ceiling and looked around.

About the Author:

M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.  Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors - Authorbuzz.com.  The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype.  She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com. 
Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. Visit Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for the complete tour schedule or the Twitter hashtag: #SeductionVirtualTour 

Check out M.J. Rose's previous guest post here.

April 9, 2013

Spring/Summer 2013 Anticipated Reads


Yes, I will twerk for books, especially new releases and ARCs. I am such a book whore when it comes to new releases from authors I love. Below are just a few of the books I am anticipating this spring/summer. Each book synopsis is from Goodreads.

Expected Pub Date: April 23, 2013
Lottie is tired of long-term boyfriends who don’t want to commit to marriage. When her old boyfriend Ben reappears and reminds her of their pact to get married if they were both still single at thirty, she jumps at the chance. There will be no dates and no engagement—just a straight wedding march to the altar! Next comes the honeymoon on the Greek island where they first met. But not everyone is thrilled with Lottie and Ben’s rushed marriage, and family and friends are determined to intervene. Will Lottie and Ben have a wedding night to remember or one to forget?

Expected Pub Date: May 7, 2013
It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly.

But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.

Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets …even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.

Expected Pub Date: May 7, 2013
Life is close to perfect for Charlotte and Curtis Black--except that their son Matthew's girlfriend, Racquel, is eight months pregnant and Racquel's mother, Mona, and Charlotte can't stand each other. On the day of Racquel's baby shower, Charlotte and Mona have a major blow up and the stress sends Racquel into early labor. Curtis is displeased with Charlotte's behavior, something that slowly but surely drives a new wedge between them. At the same time, Curtis is consumed with church business, and trying to uncover who is behind a series of mysterious letters that threaten to expose Curtis's biggest secret. Increasingly furious with his mother, Matthew gives Charlotte an ultimatum--treat Racquel and her mom with respect or she'll be cut off from seeing the baby altogether. This sends Charlotte down a road of revenge. Once again, the Black household is torn apart, and it will take a miracle for anyone to recover.

Expected Pub Date: June 4, 2013
The worldwide phenomenon continues as Eva and Gideon face the demons of their pasts, and accept the consequences of their obsessive desires. Entwined by our secrets, we tried to defy the odds. We made our own rules and surrendered completely to the exquisite power of possession…

Expected Pub Date: June 4, 2013

The sequel you’ve been waiting for: the follow-up to the sensational #1 bestseller The Devil Wears Prada. Eight years have passed since Andrea “Andy” Sachs quit the job “a million girls would die for” working for Miranda Priestly at Runway Magazine—a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Now Andy’s on the top of the world: she’s writing and reporting to her heart’s content; running The Plunge, her wildly successful high fashion bridal magazine with Miranda’s other ex-assistant, Emily; and most importantly, getting married to the scion of a storied media family and the love of her life. Karma’s a bitch. And Andy’s efforts to build a bright new life have led her directly to the one she fled—and into the path of the Devil herself.

What book(s) are you looking forward to this spring/summer?