Avon Romance eBook Sale! Prepare To Be Pleased! Part 1

Avon is having an eBook sale! These digital romances are all on sale for $1.99 for a limited time only.  Clicking the cover will take you to the Amazon product page.  Check back tomorrow for a few more bargains!

Have you read any of these? Which would you recommend?

To Pleasure a Duke by Sarah Bennett

It has taken Eugenie Belmont but a moment to decide whom to marry . . .

Unfortunately the gentleman in question, the Duke of Somerton, hasn’t yet offered—a mere formality for a confirmed member of the Husband Hunters Club of Miss Debenham’s Finishing School. Like her friends, Eugenie is unwilling to wait demurely until the perfect mate happens by. And, despite the handsome duke’s imposing reputation, she can feel his heated glances in her direction are charged with desire . . . and possibilities.

Saddled with a dukedom, a haughty dowager,and an irresponsible younger sister, Sinclair St. John is far too occupied with important matters to indulge in romantic whims. But for the first time in his life, a brazen temptress has him utterly distracted. He could—and he should—dismiss her and court someone more befitting his station. But he is irresistibly drawn to this bewitching woman . . . and must match her game of seduction, move for passionate move.

 

His Christmas Pleasure by Cathy Maxwell

Anything can happen at Christmas!

When her father threatens to marry Abigail Montross off to a man twice her age (and with thirteen children!), she decides to elope instead with the irresistibly handsome Baron de Vasconia. She knows all about his notorious reputation. He is the most seductive man in all of London, but he’s vowed to protect her, so she allows herself to be tempted into his bed, promising to guard her heart at all costs.

Andres believes he’s entered into nothing more than a marriage of convenience with a charming and very wealthy young woman. But the days—and nights—Abigail spends in his arms soon reform this rogue. He’ll do anything to gain her love—until they each discover the truth about the other and old wounds are revealed.

It’s the season of miracles and passion—when love not only awakens the senses but delivers the greatest gift of all . . .

 

 

Sinful Pleasures by Mary Reed McCall

A Noble Knight…

Once, Lady Alissende de Montague and Sir Damien de Ashby were passionate, secret lovers — until the day Alissende had to turn her back on him, shattering both their hearts and changing their lives forever. Knowing he would never love another, Damien cast off all earthly concerns to dedicate his life to the Templar Knights. But now, his life endangered, he is thrust back into a world he’d left behind…coming face-to-face with the proud beauty who’d once spurned him.

A Wicked Promise…

Alissende will use her influence to save the man she still loves in exchange for his protection from the detestable, powerful earl bent on claiming her. It is a perilous bargain, forcing Damien to reunite with the one woman who could make him reject his vows for the temptations of the flesh. For their love rekindled will only burn deeper, threatening to consume them in the flames of dangerous intrigue and forbidden desires…

 

 

Perilous Pleasure by Jenny Brown

A Mysterious Lord under A Vow of Chastity…A Virgin Who Must Seduce Him to Save Her Life

Lord Ramsay has waited years to exact his vengeance on the scheming courtesan who sent his sister to the guillotine. Now the courtesan’s grown daughter is completely under his control. Her virginity is essential for the ancient rite that will give him the mystical powers he’s worked to master since his sister’s death. But Ramsay isn’t prepared for the vulnerable, courageous woman he finds–a woman with powers of her own.

Zoe has only one weapon against the fate that awaits her…seduction. Only that will rid her of the virginity Ramsay so prizes. Yet even as Zoe uses her charms to bewitch her abductor, Ramsay’s haunted, Pisces soul weaves a sensual spell around her too. Soon, the two will be bound together by a passion as bright as the stars–and locked in a desperate struggle against an ancient sorcery that can only be vanquished by love.


 

Passion and Pleasure in London by Melody Thomas

Winter Ashburn was once the toast of the ton, but now she skirts the margins of high society by stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Her latest mark is none other than Rory Jameson, the rake who dared mistake her for a lady of the evening. Winter has stolen from her fair share of scandalously handsome men in the past . . . so why does her heart beat faster as she approaches his door?

Rory Jameson is a rake, it’s true. And he’s caught many a thief while on secret missions for the Crown, but none has been this intriguing, this enticing. He will make Winter repay what she took so shamelessly . . . and melt her icy facade with the heat of his wicked touch. But her kiss sets his soul on fire—and now he will never be satisfied until he has made this alluring temptress his own.

Review: Pidgy’s Surprise by Jeanne Mellin

Title:  Pidgy’s Surprise: The Little Shetland Pony with a Big Heart

Author:  Jeanne Mellin

Publisher:  Willow Bend Publishing

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Early Chapter Book Ages 7-8   Pidgy’s Surprise is the story of Cindy Sawyer and her plucky little Shetland pony named Pidgy. Cindy is always dreaming of the beautiful horse she hopes to own. Ponies are nice, but a horse would be wonderful. Cindy’s dream soon becomes an obsession and her parents realize that she is becoming a very unhappy girl. After a summer full of fun and riding, a morning comes when Pidgy goes missing. Not until she looks into the empty stall does Cindy realize how much she really loves her pony. Over 80 detailed drawings by famed equine author/illustrator Jeanne Mellin.


Review:

If you follow the blog at all, you know how much I love horses.  When I saw this book by Jeanne Mellin, I was dying to read it.  Originally published in 1955, Willow Bend Publishing worked with the author to update the text to make it more relatable to modern readers, without changing the flavor of the original story.  I thought they did a wonderful job; the story flows smoothly, and the dialog  doesn’t feel stiff or unnatural.  Cindy’s dream to own a horse instead of her stubby little pony will resonate with young, horse-crazy girls.  It certainly resonated for me!

Cindy Sawyer dreams constantly of owning a sleek, graceful, and bold horse.  What she has instead is Pidgy, a chubby Shetland Pony.  Unremarkable in any way, Cindy feels that she’s outgrown her childhood companion, and now all she can think about is getting a horse.  She wants to compete at the summer horse show, and, besides, all of her friends have horses now!  It’s unfair that she’s the only one who still has a pony.

After initially disliking Cindy because she seemed a bit spoiled to me, I gradually warmed up to her.  When I was her age, I would have done anything to have a pony or a horse.  I would have done anything to even be able to take riding lessons.  My parents did not understand the depth of my equine obsession, but it never went away.  When I moved out of the city, I continually talked about taking riding lesson.  The DH, finally fed up with hearing me talk about it but never do anything about it, told me I wasn’t getting any younger and if I was serious about learning to ride, I needed to do something now, or I needed to stop talking about horses.  Several years later, I am the proud owner of not one, but two, horses, and I’m sure he wishes he hadn’t said anything to me at all!  I will remain eternally grateful!

So, getting back to young Cindy, she had a perfectly pleasant pony she could hack around on.  Pidgy is about as bomb-proof as they come, and Cindy often jaunted about town bareback.  For her to wish and wish and wish for a horse seemed a little greedy to me.  But then I began to sympathize with her and her dream to own a horse.  All of her friends had gorgeous, flashy mounts that were spirited and fun to ride.  Comparing the shaggy little Pidgy to these beautiful horses was a little bit like comparing a Smart car to a Ferrari.  Being surrounded by all of that horsey hotness made Cindy miserable.  They were everything that Pidgy was not.

I liked the portrayal of Cindy’s parents.  They are sympathetic to her unhappiness, but they also can’t see anything wrong with Pidgy.  Her mother actively attempts to find a solution for her daughter’s misery, and after allowing her to show Pidgy in a local horse show, they allow the pony to prove to Cindy that they still have many adventures to enjoy together.

The descriptions of the horse show are spot-on, as is Pidgy’s stubborn, mischievous personality.  I don’t know much about Shetlands, but when Hackney ponies get a little big for their tiny britches, we just laugh and say, “That’s a pony for you!”  They are smart and they thrive on attention.  They are also gifted at getting into trouble.  Pidgy behaved much the same, and proved that she had a mind of her own, and that she wasn’t afraid to use it.  When they had a battle of wills, it was debatable whether Cindy won, or whether Pidgy allowed her to think she had. 

My favorite part of the book are the beautiful illustrations.  Each drawing is detailed, and the horses are lovingly rendered.  They add so much personality to the story, and I enjoyed all of them.  Though it would be prohibitively  expensive, I would have loved to see some of these in color.  Jane Mellin knows horses, and her illustrations are a joy to behold.  The book would be greatly diminished without them.

If you have a horse crazy girl in the house, I can’t recommend this book enough.  Pidgy’s Surprise would also make a wonderful addition to a classroom library.

NOTE: As mentioned in the forward, Pidgy’s Surprise was written before wearing helmets was common.  After recently falling off one of my horses when I was trying to dismount, I can’t stress strongly enough how important it is to strap on an approved helmet before getting on a horse. 

Recommended for ages 7  – 8, but I think this will appeal even to older girls, as well as some adults, due to the fantastic interior illustrations.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Just for Fun:

This is a picture of Bentley, a Hackney pony, standing next to a Freisian.  If you are wondering how Cindy felt riding her pony next to her friends with their horses, this picture should give you a good idea!

Interview with Jeramey Kraatz, Author of The Cloak Society

 

Jeramey Kraatz stopped by the Café to introduce himself and his new book, The Cloak Society.  I am excited about reading this book because I love super villains!  Especially super villains who are really good guys at heart.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Jeramey Kraatz] Writer, Reader, and all-around nerd. Avocado and cat enthusiast (separately). Likes to pretend he’s in music videos when no one’s around.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Cloak Society?

[Jeramey Kraatz] Of course! The book follows Alex Knight, a 12-year-old boy with telekinetic powers born into The Cloak Society—a secret team of supervillains in Texas. Alex is fourth-generation Cloak, so he’s got a lot to live up to. Cloak was defeated ten years ago by the Rangers of Justice, a team of much-loved superheroes, and now the villains have been lying in wait, looking for the perfect moment to enact their revenge.

Alex is part of the Beta Team—the other Cloak Society members around his age—and the book starts off on their first mission, which should be a routine bank heist. But it goes terribly awry when the heroes show up and Alex saves the life of a Junior Ranger named Kirbie. From there, Alex’s world gets…complicated.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Jeramey Kraatz] The initial concept came from me joking around with another writer about genre adaptations of Shakespearean works. I proposed a superhero Romeo and Juliet where instead of the Montagues and Capulets you had, say, the Masters of Evil and the Avengers. Weeks went by and I couldn’t get the premise out of my head. The problem was that to make the story compelling, I’d have to make the supervillain lead likeable in some way, which was the idea/challenge I really latched onto—I didn’t want to write a run-of-the-mill superhero origin story like I’d read in comics and seen in movies countless times. As the world and characters got fleshed out, the Shakespeare fell away, and Alex and the Cloak Society became the focus of the novel.

Character creation was so much fun for this book since most of the main cast has superpowers. They came about in two ways: Either I had a superpower I wanted to use in the mix and had to think “What would a person who could control temperatures act like,” or it was the opposite, and I had a character in mind and had to find a power that complemented their personality. I wanted to make sure that all of the powers in some way reflected who these characters are, to have shaped them in some way.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Alex?

[Jeramey Kraatz] Full. Of. Potential. I think that’s probably cheating, but it couldn’t be more apt.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Alex would never have in his pocket?

[Jeramey Kraatz] 1. Keys (Cloak’s security system is SO beyond simple locks)

2. A cell phone (too traceable)

3. A lockpick (he’s got telekinetic powers—he’s totally outgrown those)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Alex had a theme song, what would it be?

[Jeramey Kraatz] Young Men Dead by The Black Angels. The guitar line is kind of creepy and foreboding, and the lyrics are really battle oriented. I listened to it a lot when working on the first draft. Bonus points for being a Texas band!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Jeramey Kraatz] For this book, I’m definitely drawing on a lifetime of reading comics. It probably shows on every page, in every little nod or Easter egg dropped in that only comic book readers will pick up on. Joss Whedon’s work, for sure. Claremont’s “Dark Phoenix Saga” is probably the biggest influence in terms of specific stories. I interned at Marvel in the X-Men editorial department while I was in grad school, and seeing how big story arcs were scripted and planned was definitely invaluable when I was working on the original outline.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Jeramey Kraatz] Caffeine, room to pace, and snack rewards. I’m very food motivated. Finish a chapter, and I get the piece of cake. I always feel really out of shape by the time I finish a big draft or edit.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Jeramey Kraatz] I finally got around to reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke after years of staring at it on my bookshelf and being scared by its size. It was such a complex, engrossing novel…probably the first time in a while that I’ve finished a book and immediately thought “I have to read that again.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Jeramey Kraatz] I learned to read using The Foot Book and never stopped.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Jeramey Kraatz] Reading a ton, from comics to YA to scholarly nonfiction—I try to keep it varied. I’m a sucker for bad horror movies and Netflix TV marathons. I work in the anime industry, so as part of my job I sometimes get to watch cartoons all day. So really, I’m living the geek dream.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Jeramey Kraatz] I’m all over the place. You can contact me directly through jerameykraatz.com, or follow me on twitter @jerameykraatz. I love hearing from other readers and writers, so feel free to be get in touch with me!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can preorder The Cloak Society from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below.  Available in print and digital.