Blog Talk: Remember to check your follow links regularly

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Blog maintenance can be one of those necessary evils. The process doesn't bother me too much as long as issues do not involve major coding glitches or platform issues that take a lot of time to resolve. There are some very simple maintenance checks that should be done frequently that many blogs, including mine, may forget to do. A big one is to check follow links. 

It's easy for follow links to go dead. Links can get partially deleted during coding updates, the platform may change enough to where a new code is needed, there may be misspelled links, and links may no longer work if your site has changed titles. The latter is especially important for many RSS links. Sometimes the links just don't agree with browsers (which I tend to have a problem with), but the blog owner doesn't know that because they don't work with that browser.

These are all easy mistakes to make and they happen quite frequently. I notice it a lot when I'm on blog hops and try to follow blogs but am met with various error messages. Many times it's just missing the : or / in an address and I can still access the site. Other times it's not so easy. As a result, blogs can miss out on a lot of new followers.

So this is just a simple reminder to check your links every now and then, and please, if you notice a dead link on someone's site, inform them! 

Feature and Follow #18 (We're the featured blog!)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Book Cove is this week's featured blog! Thanks to everyone for stopping by and make sure to check out the other feature,

What is Feature and Follow?

F&F is a weekly blog hop that consists of book bloggers. It is hosted byAlison Can Read and Parajunkee. The rules of involvement are simple:
1.) Link up on the blog hop Linky gadget below this post, 2.) follow the hosts via their network of choice, 3.) follow the weekly featured blog(s) via their network of choice (listed as "featured" in the blog list below), and lastly, 4) check out the rest of the blogs on the hop! If you become a new follower of a blog, let them know and they will follow you back.

The F&F is a great way to network, meet other book bloggers, and gain new followers. Even more so, it's a great way to drive fun discussion on a weekly topic.

Interview with The Book Cove:

When did you start blogging? June 2013. There were many attempts at blogging before that but nothing that stuck around for too long.
What is your favorite part of book blogging? Finding new genres. I'll admit, I started off a bit of a genre snob because I'd had some bad reading experiences beforehand. Blogging and reading other blogs introduced me to many great works in various genres and I'm very happy about that!
What type of books do you mainly blog about? I read new adult contemporary romance a lot, but I have waves of interest where I read a lot of YA paranormal and regency era romance.
What is your favorite book(s)? I love the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead, the Gardella Chronicles by Colleen Gleason, A Different Blue by Amy Harmon, and just about everything by Rachel Van Dyken and Abbi Glines.
What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging? Besides meeting people and authors, I'd say it has helped me to become a better writer. When you write something for the world to see, no matter how big or small, there's usually a flaw that someone can (kindly) point out. It also makes me more self-conscious about my writing so I make sure to re-read and use grammar sites as much as possible haha.

~ Jessi ~

This week, the topic is:

Create an ad listing all the qualities and qualifications of your perfect co-blogger. - Suggested by Girl of 1000 Wonders

Since I already have the best co-blogger I can write the perfect ad listing pretty easily.

If your name is L.A. Kelley, please contact The Book Cove. Now.
The perfect co-blogger is creative, well written, and humerus. When you put those qualities together, then just about any post can be enjoyed by everyone- which is what I think every blog strives for.

Go check out some of L.A.'s books on her site! You won't be disappointed.


Author Spotlight: Blair McDowell on Plot Inspiration

Monday, November 17, 2014

Coming soon from Wild Rose Press...

Recently widowed, Lacey Telchev is on a whirlwind chase around Europe running from mysterious thugs, and trying to solve a mystery through clues left by her late husband. She encounters a handsome stranger along the way, but is he helping her or is he too just using her to find her husband's secret?

As writers we’re frequently reminded that we must pay attention to pacing in our stories, that we must “keep the story moving”. I like a fast-paced tale as well as the next reader, and as a writer, I know I should be getting on with the story. But I like to stop and smell the roses. I love setting a scene. I like painting verbal pictures. In Romantic Road my heroine finds herself pursued down the Romantische Strasse in Germany, through 14th century walled towns, to Salzburg, then the beautiful lake district where The Sound of Music was filmed, and finally to a terrifying climax on the shores of Hungary’s Lake Baleton.

When I describe the lakes of the Salzkammergut or the dark medieval towns of Germany or the vineyards in the countryside of Hungary, I draw on years of being in these places. The route my heroine follows is one I have driven many times. Romantic Road is almost as much about my on-going love affair with these settings as it is about the lives and loves of my characters.

As a reader, I enjoy the stories of Donna Leon, set in Venice exuding the atmosphere of that incredibly lovely city, and of Andrea Camillieri, whose Sicilian settings leave one feeling dry and dusty, yet immersed in the stark beauty of that remote part of Italy. Or M.L. Longworth’s stories set in Aix en Provence, where one can almost taste the wine. I often find myself rereading descriptive passages in these books just for the sheer joy I take in reading any really good writing.

When engaged in my own writing, description and setting are vitally important to me. I love to travel, and for years I’ve kept detailed journals that I refer to frequently as I write. When I find myself in an intriguing or particularly beautiful or historic place, somehow characters suggest themselves. And once they have, their story unfolds, often very completely, in my mind. In a sense, the setting and the characters tell me the story.

With Romantic Road, the seeds of the story first occurred to me three years ago when I spent some time in Rothenburg, on Germany’s old Roman Road, the Romantische Strasse. The tall forbidding walls surrounding the town, the fourteenth century houses crowded close together, the cobblestone streets and old fashioned lamp light, all cried out for a heroine in distress pursued by unknown assailants, and of course for the right hero to help keep her safe. It was just the kernel of an idea, but it wouldn’t leave my mind until I created a plot around it and started writing in earnest.

The following is an excerpt from Romantic Road.
“Where is it? Just tell us where it is and you won’t get hurt.” The taller man loomed over her, his face expressionless, a mask.

“Where is what? What are you talking about? Who are you?” Lacy began to be annoyed. That was better than being scared. “Can I see your badges again?”

The second man stared hard at her though dead-looking flat grey eyes. “Mrs. Telchev,” he said, his voice low and menacing, “we mean you no harm. But you must tell us where he hid his manuscript.”  

They knew her name? Icy tentacles of fear slipping down Lacy’s back. She shook her head. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

At that moment the red and white lights of a state police vehicle rounded the curve coming toward them. Seeing the blocked road it stopped. Two uniformed officers got out and approached the two parked cars.

“You’re blocking the road. What’s the trouble here?”

The taller man spoke.  “No trouble, Officer. Sorry about the way we’re parked. I’ll move the car immediately. The lady was pulled over here and we just stopped to see if she needed help.”

He flipped open his wallet and showed the officers the same ID he’d shown Lacy.
It seemed to mean something to the policemen.

Lacy opened her mouth to say something and then thought better of it. What could she tell the police? These men wanted a manuscript from her but she didn’t know where it was? Or what it was about? Or even if it existed. That it involved her dead husband? No. She wouldn’t say anything. Not until she knew more.


To find out more about Romantic Road or the writings of Blair McDowell visit

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

Book Talk: Is fanfiction flattery or plagiarism?


This post is meant as a discussion piece -- not a "right or wrong" opinion on my behalf. I'd really love to hear all of your thoughts on this. Warning, this is long-winded and filled with a ton of questions.

Is fanfiction flattery or plagiarism? My initial thoughts...

I've never read fanfiction. (Is it fanfiction, fan fiction, or fan-fiction?) Well, I guess I have. 50 Shades of Grey, anybody? Okay, I've never knowingly read something considered fanfiction. I don't quite understand the lucrative fandom behind 50 Shades either..but I digress.

They say imitation is the best form of flattery. I understand why fans might want to try their hand at writing to take their favorite characters down a different path than the original author. I understand why fanfiction writers see it as a homage to their favorite authors, that it can be a fun hobby, a great online community, a creative place to bounce new ideas, a way to meet a lot of wonderful new people...

But I don't understand why some fanfiction is not considered plagiarism. Or maybe it sometimes is? Those more knowledgeable than me, please enlighten me on if/when that plagiarism line is considered to be crossed.

Here's where I think the line is crossed: when a fanfiction author is able to make money from someone else's brain child (e.g., 50 Shades of Grey). And why authors of the original aren't up in arms about it? Or are they and I just haven't heard about it?

In the example of E.L. James' 50 Shades of Grey (I use that because that's the most well known that comes to mind, but here are some others that you might be familiar with), what if Twilight hadn't been the massive success that it was? What if Stephanie Meyer never made a dime, but a huge fan happen to write a massive million-plus dollar hit based off from Twilight's characters? Honestly, if I was in Stephanie's shoes I'd be a pit peeved in that case. But had I already made $$$ off from my book, I probably wouldn't care as much. I'd probably be flattered by the thought that I could inspire someone to such great heights.

But is money really the big deciding factor between plagiarism and homage?

What about community fame? Local to international fame without the big bucks from that specific fanfiction story?

In other words, is riding on the coattails of someone else's work plagiarism?

Say 50 Shades of Grey didn't make a ton of money, but its massive success in online communities (where you can sell any work) drove E.L. James' to a community name (much like what happened minus the best sellers list and blockbuster movies)? I'm not saying that's bad. After all, it still takes hard work and creativity to develop a new world in a book. Who is to say that it is wrong to earn a reputation by using others?

I'll be honest, when I read 50 Shades of Grey I had no idea that it was borrowed/inspired by Twilight. Granted it may have been tweaked more since it's original fanfiction write up that went under a different name. Having read both series and thinking about it in retrospective, I can see where certain qualities were perhaps borrowed. But it wasn't/isn't obvious to me. Which is where the confusion comes in. Just because it was written as "fanfiction", does that automatically make the story borrowed? Even if it doesn't jump out and scream borrowed? Where is that borrowed line drawn? 

What if borrowed is simply inspiration? What if E.L. James wrote 50 Shades of Grey and made no mention of Twilight? Would the similarities have been noticed? I doubt it. But the fact is that it was laid out in the beginning to be fanfiction, and then it made money. So should that change the plagiarism line?

 Google's thoughts...

I think I'm just running my mind in circles with these wannabe-philosophical questions. I did ask the the all-powerful Google to help in this quest for an answer. I found some interesting responses by both fans and authors discussing the pros and cons of fanfiction

Fanfiction Pros: 

  • (Fan) It's a creative outlet that means no harm
  • (Fan) It's using general concepts and giving the author credit, so it's not plagarism
  • (Author) It drives interest and interest drives sales
  • (Author) It gives authors creative ideas

Fanfiction Cons:

  • (Fan/Author) can see why intellectual property rights might become an issue
  • (Fan/Author) can be a poor reflection on the author
  • (Fan/Author) Who owns what?
  • (Author) What if an author is not done writing a series but a fan jumps the gun and writes about a huge plot twist?
  • (Author) Sue-happy fans

My final thoughts...

After reading these, I understand where both sides come from. There doesn't seem to be anything illegal about it unless an author specifically states that no fanfiction derivatives are allowed (please, correct me if I'm wrong). But I can see where the legal issues might get a bit blurry. Especially the "who owns what" in a borrowed versus inspiration dispute.

This is what brings me back to my main concern: Why are fanfiction writers legally able to make lucrative careers from this? And, do authors gain more from fanfiction then they risk loosing? Is it like non-fiction writing in that if you provide references and give credit where credit is due then all is well? If that's the case, then shouldn't all genre's have the same accepted rules?

I obviously have a ton of questions about this. More-so food for thought than anything.

Writing fanfiction can be a great way to get your name out there because it appeals to a certain audience. I don't think there's any wrong in "riding on someone else's coattails". But I do think there is a line between using someone else's work to help hone your skills and build a fan base versus using their work to build an empire.

Feature and Follow #17 (Create a playlist)

Friday, November 14, 2014

What is Feature and Follow?

F&F is a weekly blog hop that consists of book bloggers. It is hosted byAlison Can Read and Parajunkee. The rules of involvement are simple:
1.) Link up on the blog hop Linky gadget below this post, 2.) follow the hosts via their network of choice, 3.) follow the weekly featured blog(s) via their network of choice (listed as "featured" in the blog list below), and lastly, 4) check out the rest of the blogs on the hop! If you become a new follower of a blog, let them know and they will follow you back.

The F&F is a great way to network, meet other book bloggers, and gain new followers. Even more so, it's a great way to drive fun discussion on a weekly topic.

This week, the topic is:

Create a playlist for a book - or a single song if you don't want to do an entire playlist - Suggested by This Girl Reads A Lot and Bubbly and Bookish 

Jessi: Playlist for one of my favorite series Damaged by H.M. Ward. My reviews for books 1 and 2 are posted, respectively.

  1. End of the Earth by Lord Huron
  2. Wait by M83
  3. Division by Aly and AJ
  4. Kiss with a Fist by Florence + The Machine
  5. Lips Are Moving by Meghan Trainon
  6. Wicked Games by The Weeknd
  7. Do I Wanna Know by The Arctic Monkeys
  8. Say Something by A Great Big World
  9. Love Runs Out by One Republic
  10. Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

Book Review: Crazy Beautiful Love (The Martelli Brothers #1) by J.S. Cooper

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Crazy Beautiful Love by J.S. Cooper is part of The Bad Boys of Summer anthology (ft. authors Emily Snow, Erin Noelle, J.S. Cooper, Michelle Lynn & Nevaeh Lee, Selena Laurence, Shanora Williams, and T. Torrest)

(Blurb): This is not the typical bad boy meets good girl story.

Logan Martelli is a bad boy. He's handsome, sexy, and knows what he wants. He steals cars. He doesn't do relationships. And he has the hottest green eyes in River Valley.

Maddie Wright is a good girl with a wild streak. She's confident, strong, and goes after whatever or whoever she wants. And Maddie wants Logan Martelli with a passion.

One fateful night brings Logan and Maddie together and electricity sparks between them. Maddie and Logan make a real connection, but when Logan finds out who she is, he wants nothing to do with her. However, he soon realizes he can get the ultimate revenge for his family if he continues to date Maddie. The problem is he's starting to fall for Maddie, and he knows that a relationship will mess up everything.

Logan has to decide if revenge is worth losing his one shot at real love. What price will he pay if he betrays the one woman who may finally see behind his bad boy image?

Book Information:
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: New adult
Pages: 277
Series: Standalone

What I liked

Contrary to the blurb's opening statement, Crazy Beautiful Love is one of those typical bad-boy-meets-good-girl books. I have no fault with those (I'll willfully admit I love me some bad boys) and I knew that before starting it.  If you've read too many of those lately then you're probably going to want to skip this one for now.

Logan Martelli is a badass. We know that from the book blurb and we know that from the 6th line in the book where Logan himself states that he isn't much for crowds because people point and stare and say, "I think that's Logan Martelli," in awe-struck tones as if I were Al Capone or someone. 

I was a little worried after reading that because I didn't know if Logan would turn out to be one of those self-depreciating bad boys, serial killer bad boys, or the I-think-I'm-a-badass-but-have-never-left-home bad boys. I prayed it wasn't the latter (don't judge me...).

Turns out Logan is a fairly legit bad boy, although I think he was portrayed worse by the community (and author) than what he actually was. Moot point.

What I didn't like

Maddie gave me a bit of character whiplash. She comes off strong right out of the gates. This was something that took me a bit by surprise (because I haven't read a female character like that in a while) and it excited me to come across a take-charge girl.

Too quickly that attitude left, unfortunately. And then just when you thought Maddie was going soft there would be a 180 and she'd be talkin' the talk again. The problem was she never quite walked the walk. Her actions didn't match her mind and I had a hard time telling if she was acting that way just to play Logan or if she had a real deep-rooted problem. It later became a little more clear, but it still never felt like her actions and thoughts mirrored one another.

Logan was a bit too self-depreciating for my liking. We've all met the brooding boy time and time again. This time I couldn't connect with him. His heart and mind were in the right place, but I didn't feel that his backstory quite lined up with his present state of mind. He was kind of stuck in the past (which he acknowledges), and never gives a good reason as to why he continues with those ways when there are opportunities for outs. There's this story involving an altercation between him and the Mayor back when, but that story was never fully explained. I thought it would be fully explained later but it never was and it left me saying, "What?! No way did that make you into the person you are today!" 

Essentially, the characters of Maddie and Logan had the same writing flaws. It was hard to tell where their mind was really at in situations and it felt like they were constantly hiding a secret that the reader was never privy of.

Overall, Crazy Beautiful Love is an average book with this type of bad boy plot. There were some emotional holes left to be filled, and had they been, I think this would rate a lot higher.

Book Talk: Should an author respond to a review? Perspective from an author and a reviewer

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Should an author respond to a review? 

L.A. (Author): 

I don’t think any response is necessary on sites like Amazon or GoodReads and can even take on a creepy stalker vibe if the author responds to every comment, but a requested review posted on a website or blog requires a thank-you. Yup, even if it’s bad. You don’t have to agree. The review is a service done for you and deserves acknowledgement. A simple ‘I appreciate your time’ to the blog or website owner is enough. The words may stick in your throat. It’s hard to read a bad review. After pouring your life’s blood into a work, the natural response is to lash back. (Actually, my natural response is to bite the reviewer.)

A defensive rejoinder especially to an anonymous review on a site like Amazon gets the author nothing except coming across as a thin-skinned jerk. Reviews like this are especially hard to ignore if the comments are insulting and you can tell the person didn’t read the book. The unanimous agreement among the writers I know is don't respond.  There is no telling what went through this reviewer’s head. You don’t want to get into a spitting contest with a nutcase.  Doing anonymous hurtful things gives them a feeling of power. Don’t offer any more by letting them know you’re wounded or you’ll set yourself up for being bullied and harassed.

The problem is more widespread than most people think. A current petition on requests Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO, protect authors from bullying and harassment. The proposal requires identity verification for reviewing and forum participation. The gift of anonymity allows expression of views without fear of punishment, but the power has a dark side. It also allows a person to spew venom to the detriment of a writer’s livelihood.  Anonymity enables people to write horrible things they would never do if forced to admit to them.

I agree with the petition. If you don’t like a book, say why without the insults and put your name on the review.  What exactly are you afraid of? Veronica Roth will TP your house if you hated Divergent? Trust me, she’s got better things to do. If you balk at signing a review then maybe the problem isn’t with the book after all, but some internal demon of your own.


Jessi (Reviewer):

I have much of the same feelings as L.A. so I will not go into great detail about where I come from on this issue. I will reiterate a point she made about not adding fuel to the fire because,  "There is no telling what went through this reviewer’s head."

I've read 5 stars and given them 2 stars. I've read 2 stars and thought they knocked the ball out of the park. It's all perspective and a writer cannot fill everyone's emotional want and need. Hating a book is not personal disrespect to the author, typically. And if a review is aimed more at the author than the book, then those are issues that the author cannot solve and should not engage it. Just leave that person be in their own miserable world.

The one thing I hate as a reviewer - and will result in many fans losing respect for an author - is when a well thought out and written review is provided, albeit bad, and the author or their press henchmen respond with "You couldn't have read the book! If you did, then (insert required gain here). You'd realize (--), and think (--), and feel (--)." This has personally happened a few times and I just let the person dig their own hole. There's something to be said about a person that is too defensive...

That's not to say that I don't enjoy discussion. I've had great comment-section discussions with authors over misinterpreted plot lines and "flaws" and in the end we both agree to disagree or find merit in the other's thoughts. That's actually what I hope for with every review that I write. I'd love for the author to creatively challenge a point or ask more about why my thoughts went a certain way. It's thought provoking as a reviewer and it's constructive critiquing for the author. Win win. 

I also love a simple thank-you, as mentioned by L.A. Not saying that I expect one, but just knowing that the author is sincerely interested enough in a review to read it and leave a small note saying they stopped by your site is pretty cool. 

Summing it up, there's nothing wrong with authors commenting on reviews of their books. Just pick your battles and realize that sometimes saying nothing is the best response of all.

Authors, readers, reviewers - what are you're thoughts and experiences with this?

Author Spotlight: Hebby Roman Writes About Seat of the Pants Versus Obsessive Compulsive

Monday, November 10, 2014


Raul de Porcelos, a dedicated Knight Templar, is duty bound to bring orphaned Irish Princess Cahira O'Donnell to wed the Earl of Orkney, Raul's lord. But Cahira has a mind of her own and resists the handsome Templar, refusing to relinquish the castle and lands that her family died to protect.

Thrown together by fate, they come to know each other and a forbidden passion is kindled.  Who will be the first to surrender to desire, the warrior-princess or the warrior-monk?
Author Hebby Roman discusses seat of the pants verses the obsessive compulsive in writing.
Strange name for a blog, but what I'm asking is: which kind of writer are you, a seat of the pants type or an obsessive compulsive type? I personally know lots of authors who have brilliant story beginnings and then they go with it and let the story unravel organically. I envy those writers because for me, beginning a story is about as painful as giving birth.
I'm the second type, the obsessively organized, compulsive writer. When I started writing, I was totally freaked out about writing dialogue. I was the Czarina of telling, not showing. I avoided that scary stuff by writing a long outline of my story, detailing every twist and turn of the plot, along with the characters' reactions and feelings.

I wrote my first historical romances from long outlines, and I never had a saggy middle. Even better, my outlines helped me to know what journey the characters needed and how the book should end. Sounds pretty good but then my fellow writers convinced me that adhering to a strict outline stifled my creativity. I listened and realized my characters were feeling the "pinch." They wanted to be released from their strait-laced outline. I decided to change my approach, and I zeroed in on the characters' backstory and their life experiences. I put the h/h together and let the magic begin. I also did a high-level, general outline to direct the overall arc of the story.

For example, in THE BEST BET (my second contemporary romance), the heroine has been strongly influenced by her father to put her ambition above finding love. I leave it to my hero's unwavering patience, unconditional love, and story elements to change her mind, so she can take a chance on love.

THE BEST GAME is a story about two strong, beautiful, and charismatic individuals. The hero's a big frog in a small pond: a handsome ex-jock type and very successful salesman. The heroine is a glamorous New York model. So what's the problem? They're both so accomplished they don't trust the other person to love them for their real selves, warts and all. I had to thrust them into situations where trust could grow between them.

In my historical, featured here, THE PRINCESS AND THE TEMPLAR, I constructed it based on the concept of a medieval version of the Thornbirds, where a celibate warrior-monk, who's also bastard-born, falls in love with an Irish princess. The princess falls in love with the hero, despite his birth and vocation. But the hero feels he has to strive to win her regard and affection to overcome the difference in their ranks. Not to mention, he has to come to terms with what he will do about his vow of celibacy and his Templar Order. History intervenes in the form of the Templar purge, which helps to compel the story to its end. Again, though, you can see how the h/h's backstory propels the romance.

Backstory is key, along with a little bit of obsessiveness in the form of a general outline. When you put the two together and let your characters "talk" to you, they will lead you through the trials and tribulations they need to tackle and overcome in order to fall in love and find their happily-ever-after ending.


EXCERPT from The Princess and the Templar

The wind rose to a shriek, sounding like a woman in travail. The sea heaved and churned. The ship leaned sharply. Cahira felt her feet slipping. She grabbed for the rail, but her cold hands were too stiff. The rail slipped from her grasp, and she was falling.

Raul caught her in his strong arms. She placed one hand on his broad chest and felt his heart beating beneath his tunic. At the touch of her hand, his pulse leapt and raced. Realizing his response, heat suffused her. She licked her lips and removed her hand. She was steady now, but he didn’t release her. His unfathomable black gaze captured hers and they stood, clasped in each other’s arms.

He bent his head, and his lips were within inches of hers. Her heart leapt, too, plunging in a mad gallop. Was he going to kiss her again? Without thinking, she leaned closer, willing him to kiss her, craving the forbidden intimacy. But at the last moment, he drew back. Her breath stopped in her chest, and she remained perfectly still. Her shoulders sagged, but with her disappointment, came the sharp-edged stab of guilt. For surely, she was a wanton.

He possessed iron self-control. She knew because she’d felt his body’s response, sensed he wanted to kiss her as badly as she wanted him to.

She stepped back and grasped the ship’s rail. “Thank you for stopping me from going overboard.”

He reached out, and his strong fingers cupped her chin, his touch burning her chilled skin. “No need to thank me.” His ebony eyes gleamed, the darker pupils narrowing. His gaze moved over her like a caress. “Your face is as cold as fresh snow.” he murmured huskily.  Without warning, his iron control reasserted itself, and he suddenly released her, clearing his throat. “You should go to your cabin. We can talk about the journey later.” 

How dare he dismiss her? And his smooth words didn’t fool her, either. He hadn’t touched her again to learn if she was cold or not. Nay, the yearning she’d glimpsed in his eyes mirrored the throb in her own body. 

How much longer could they go on torturing each other?


You can find Hebby at:

You can find The Princess and the Templar at:

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

Feature and Follow #16 (What would you do for an ARC?)

Friday, November 7, 2014

What is Feature and Follow?

F&F is a weekly blog hop that consists of book bloggers. It is hosted byAlison Can Read and Parajunkee. The rules of involvement are simple:
1.) Link up on the blog hop Linky gadget below this post, 2.) follow the hosts via their network of choice, 3.) follow the weekly featured blog(s) via their network of choice (listed as "featured" in the blog list below), and lastly, 4) check out the rest of the blogs on the hop! If you become a new follower of a blog, let them know and they will follow you back.

The F&F is a great way to network, meet other book bloggers, and gain new followers. Even more so, it's a great way to drive fun discussion on a weekly topic.

This week, the topic is:

What is the craziest thing that you would do for an ARC?

Jessi: Hmm... I'd probably do something that resulted in jail time just to get my hands on an ARC. I'd hope that whatever I did had some kind of cool and exciting story though. Maybe hacking into a highly anticipated draft copy with the early motives and endings! (is that really cool and exciting?) Then I could read the published version from my jail cell undisturbed. Just kidding. I am never that excited about ARCs. Which is probably a good thing! I wouldn't fare well in a jail cell...

L.A: I would gladly hand over both of my children for an ARC of the next Andy Weir novel. Please don't be horrified. I've discussed the idea with them and as they are both fans of The Martian, are totally on board--nay, enthusiastic. They ask that the transfer be done before Christmas so they don't have to sit next to Uncle Edgar during any more holiday dinners. He chews with his mouth open and voices loud political opinions more suitable for a feudal lord in the 12th century.

Book Review: Compromising Kessen by Rachel Van Dyken

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I'm a huge fan of Rachel Van Dyken. My favorite of her series unities the mafia with ever-popular new adult line and makes for a fantastic suspense/romance/thriller, Eagle Elite. Her other hugely popular series is Seaside; a general NA contemporary romance series which I've also had the pleasure of reading. If you're a fan of Abbi Glines, Colleen Hoover, and the like, then you will love the Seaside novels. In the Vandenbrook series, Rachel expands on her contemporary romance streak with a romantic comedy.

(Blurb): The last thing career-driven Kessen Newberry wants is to leave her home in Colorado to spend a Season in London, far away from her job, her friends and the memories of her mother. However, her father, the Earl of Newberry, threatens to disinherit her unless she gets in touch with her British roots. She complies, but has no intention of enjoying the experience. That is until she meets Christian Vandenbrook, the arrogant and irritatingly handsome future Duke of Albany and her father’s business partner. Unfortunately, Christian hates Americans. And coffee. And apparently, Kessen. A hatred this passionate can only lead to one thing… marriage. Caught in the middle of a Regency-inspired nightmare, Kessen and Christian are forced to marry in only one week’s time. Resigned to their fate, the two resolve to give the relationship a chance—which would be much easier if everyone would stop interrupting them every time they found a moment alone.

Book Information
Age group: New adult/Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 283p
Version: eBook

What I liked

Compromising Kessen (The Vandenbrook Series, #1) delivers a comedic take on a "set-up" marriage between a very successful British business man and the American-British heiress of a sensational coffee company.

Both characters are on even playing ground, if you will, in terms of both coming from money, both are very successful and trying to take over respective companies, and both have something to prove to their families before they  will be able to take over the companies. That provides for a humorous get-to-know-you-period for both characters. Stirring the plot-pot you also have the British father of the American-raised Kessen who is trying to integrate her more into British culture - of which Kessen would rather not.

Compromising Kessen also provides the meddling grandmother (a Van Dyken classic like that in The Bet series), many American and British stereotypes to laugh at, a strong love for coffee or tea (in this you must pick a side ;-)), and of course a very handsome Mr. Christian Vandenbrook who has a secret that he's keeping from Kessen. What more could you ask for?!

What I didn't like
I fell in love with all of the characters in the beginning, and the love-hate tension between Christian and Kessen due to their respective situations within the company was great! However, as their relationship evolved I felt as though their maturity greatly waned and there was a specific event that had me yelling "WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! Are we 12?!" and then skimming through the pages until that part was over. Christian and his friends immaturity especially started to drive me nuts. There are certain things that you read in a book and you're like "meh, ok. I don't really get it but whatever," and then there are other things that you read that have you screaming "WTF," because who in their right mind would do that?!  I don't normally rant about a specific part of a book, but because I love Rachel so much and I was so disappointed in this I am going to. For specific details read below or skip to the end of the minor spoiler.

*** Spoiler ahead ***

Christian was completely unable to express any feelings towards Kessen (okay, so maybe he was shy/hesitant/thinking life through. I get it.). For whatever reason his friends decided that the best way to make him admit his feelings was to stage a kidnapping (WHAT?!). We're talking fake news crews, fake friends, fake chaos...all staged for the hell of it as a life lesson prank. The whole thing was ridiculous, embarrassing as a reader (considering these people were supposedly 25+ years old), and didn't make sense! Once you got over the initial "WTF" thoughts you start to think, okay maybe this can turn out fun. Maybe. But then it's just over and all of a sudden all is fine in the world. Both parties realized how important it was for their friends to stage a ridiculous kidnapping in order to get a guy to say "I love you". WHAT? So yeah. That pretty much ruined the ending for me.

***end of spoiler***

Overall, how the story played out in the end really tainted my good loving feelings from the beginning. How the characters mentally responded to those later events was not how I would have thought they would have based on their mentality up to that point. So it was a bit of a character building let down. It was a pretty good read besides that and the writing style was exceptional as always.

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