Weekly Shonen Jump–January 21st Issue

Last week I was dealing with a house full of sick people (including me!) so I didn’t get a chance to read the January 14 issue of WSJA until today, so I’m just going to skip a recap of it and jump right into the January 21 issue.  This is the first issue of the simulations release with the Japanese magazine, and the magazine has been renamed Weekly Shonen Jump.  Good-bye Alpha and good-bye waiting for an English translation! 

This week’s issue is 185 pages, and introduced One-Punch Man to the line-up.  I have also discovered, much to my chagrin, that my by beloved Kenshin will only appear monthly as it is actually published in Jump Square.  Boo hoo!  But let’s put that disappointment behind us, and dive into this week’s issue of WSJ!

Naruto Chapter 616 – Nice color spread this issue and a congratulatory message from creator Masashi Kishimoto for going simultaneous!  After getting a pep talk about not letting Neji’s death be in vain, Naruto gets a second wind (or probably 4th or 5th with as long as this battle has been going on).  His chakra recharges and he quickly shares his renewed energy with the other ninja.  Yay!  We also get brave, determined declarations that he will never give up trying to save his comrades, and that despite loss and heartbreak, ninja will endure!  Very motivating!  These last two chapters have been my favorite since I have been reading the magazine, and the plot is starting to make more sense.  All of these quick battle chapters can get confusing when you just get dumped into them, and they last for, what, over 2 months now?

One-Punch Man Chapter One – New series!  Uhhhh.  Short chapter.  Saitama is a hero for fun, and he’s looking for an opponent who he can’t beat in one punch.  Uhhh…  Not sure about this one.  I like the art, but I don’t like Saitama’s character design.  He looks like a dork with an egg for a head.  This chapter was so short that I don’t think it was a good intro to the series.  Maybe next week’s chapter will knock my socks off?

One Piece Chapter 695 – Finally!  Luffy and the gang has escaped from the lab!  They are out in the fresh air and they won’t be victims of the poison gas!  Buffalo and Baby 5 scoop up Caesar and try to make a break for it, but no-uh-uh!  Usopp isn’t having any of that!  This is a quick, fun chapter with lots of great art and great poses.  I was getting bored of the lab drama, so I am looking forward to their next adventure!

Nisekoi Chapter 58 – Miyamoto has lost her glasses!  Ichijo and Onodera help her look for them, and Ruri, frustrated that they like each other, but won’t confess their feelings, tries to get them together.  Since Ichijo is so dense, her efforts don’t pay off.  Not a very original chapter, but the expressive art and the clueless Ichijo made it a fun read.

Bleach Chapter 523 -  Very cool color page get things kicked off.  Ichigo and Renji get to play with Oh-Etsu Nimaiya, the creator of Zanpaku-to!  More accurately, he gets to play with them.  He throws them in the middle of a horde of angry Asauchi, which are the ultimate Zanpaku-tos that can become anything.  They are pissed at how Ichigo and Renji have been using their Zanpaku-tos.  Quick shift to  Yachiru and Zaraki, who are facing off in the Soul Society’s underground prison.  These guys are so serious!  Someone is going to get hurt!  And then – the chapter ends!  This is a great setup for next week, and has  me re-engaged in the story.  I love Ichigo, but I am intrigued by Yachiru and want to see her and Zaraki cross swords.  I am sure it will be an epic confrontation!

Cross Manage Chapter 17 – I love this one.  The team is playing their first match, and after a motivating (more accurately, embarrassing) pep talk from Sakurai, the girls have been given the confidence to play all out!  This is a feel good series, and I have enjoyed it every week.  I keep gushing about it, but I love sports manga and wish there were more series available for me to read.  When are we going to get more Crimson Hero? 

Toriko Chapter 218 – Gourmet Corp is invading!  Their giraffe birds and other weird creatures are out for blood!  Starjun tries to make a grab for Komatsu, but Toriko is there to save him!  While this hasn’t been my favorite manga, this week’s was pretty good, probably because I wasn’t inundated with a billion new chef’s and their specialties.  The constant character intros has been driving me nuts!  Wow, I might not cringe next week when I come to the next chapter.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Chapter 26 – I just don’t get this one.  It is boring and I can’t force myself to get interested in the plot.  I like the art and the character designs, but the story itself – yawn.  I don’t get the rules of the game, and so I find myself just skimming this one every week. 

And that’s it for this week!  Next week there’s a one-shot by Akira Toriyama!

The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–January 27th Edition

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

I spent most of last week trying to not catch whatever it is that Dean has.  We both got flu shots, so I was surprised that he was so sick, but this is supposedly the worst cold and flu season in the last ten years, so go figure.  Poppy went to her first training class with other dogs, and I thought she acted like a freaking rock star.  At the class.  The rest of the week, at home, not so much.  At least she behaved herself in public.   Sigh.

Check out my current contests! See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library. Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

I was swamped with great books last week (some unsolicited books I didn’t even know existed!) and those Amazon Kindle sales continue to tempt me.

The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith

Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox

The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel Volume Three by Robert Jordan

Peanut by Ayun Halliday & Paul Hoppe

Once Tempted by Laura Moore

Me, Him, Them, and It by Caela Carter

 

Nikki and the Lone Wolf (Harlequin Romance) by Marion Lennox

The Office of Mercy by Ariel Djanikian

Double Crossed by Carter, Ally  (Free!)

To Trust A Thief by Michelle McLean

The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman

Treacherous Temptations by Victoria Vane

 

Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) by Laurie Boyle Crompton

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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Excerpt: The Reluctant Wife by Bronwen Evans and Giveaway!

I have an excerpt from Bronwen Evans’ The Reluctant Wife to share.  After reading it, you can enter for a chance to win Bronwen’s 2012 Regency Invitation to Scandal!

Excerpt from The Reluctant Wife-

Abby had completely deceived him. He’d thought her naïveté would make her easy to manage. He’d quickly learned that Abby had more backbone than any woman he’d ever met. Her readiness to challenge him seemed to add to her allure. Now, again, here she was asserting her wishes, taking command…

Abby licked her lips. “I don’t owe you anything. And, as we’re divorcing, I’m the last woman you should have a child with. Besides, I don’t care what you do in your personal life.”

She lied. Her arms were folded across her stomach as if she were warding off a blow.

“You care. You know I could always read your body as well as a blind man reads braille.”

Abby shook her head, the emphatic movement flinging her thick blond hair over one shoulder. Her eyes narrowed. “Can you read what I’m thinking now?”

He searched Abby’s drawn face, recognizing the marks of strain in the bluish shadows beneath her eyes and the set of her delicate jaw. She had the strength of fine bone china, and the fragility.

“I know exactly what you’re thinking.” He tilted his head and tapped his chin with a finger. After a theatrical pause he spoke deliberately. “You wish you’d waited until the morning to meet with me. You’re angry with yourself for still wanting me, and you’re wondering whether one kiss from my lips can still make you come.”

He felt rather than saw her body tremble across the room, and heard her soft gasp.

“Of all the arrogant, conceited…”

“Most of all, you’re remembering the first night you were in this room, how you let me seduce you, how I made love to you into the small hours of the morning.”

The hazel of her eyes glittered almost golden as he watched her fight tears. He tried to keep his heart unresponsive, but the beauty of her pale face, the dark circles under her eyes, and above all her stricken look of profound loss assailed his protective barrier.

“You want a favor from me. I want a favor—or two—from you. I’d call it a mutually beneficial business proposition. I know you need money and I’m happy to help. For a price. You are my wife, this is where you belong.” A traitorous pulse flickered fast just below her collarbone, calling attention to the delicate skin of her throat. His body shuddered into life, with total recall of the addictive taste of her skin.

She quivered as his eyes roamed her small frame. Every detail screamed at him—the dark of her dilated pupils, the flush on her cheeks, the moist pink of her parted lips. She wanted him and though she shook with the effort, she couldn’t hide the giveaway signals. Cursing inwardly, he felt his body respond to the recalled pleasure of their days and nights of intimacy.

“But I’m not yours. Not anymore.”

“Legally you are still mine!”

“I am not a possession, Dante. As I said four years ago, I’m a flesh-and-blood woman with feelings and desires.”

“Come here.” He patted the couch beside him. “I’ll satisfy those feelings and desires.”

About the book:

Abby Taylor walked out on her irresistible husband three years ago. Now she has no choice but to return to Italy to ask him for a favor. To pay for her grandmother’s heart operation she needs his money, but it comes with strings attached.
Conte Dante Lombardi has it all—an Italian villa, a successful family business, and a noble title. But he needs a child to carry on his legacy and time is running out. He also hopes to satisfy the desire Abby rouses in him.
As Abby uncovers why he’s in such a hurry for a child, she falls in love with him again … just as she realizes it might be impossible to keep her end of the deal.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Thanks to Bronwen, I have a copy of Invitation to Scandal for one of you to win!  Entering is easy!  Just answer Bronwen’s question in the comments section below.

Giveaway: Now, tell me what you’d most want to do if you visit Italy and I’ll draw one lucky winner who’ll receive a copy of my May 2012 Regency historical, Invitation to Scandal, in book or eBook format.

About Invitation to Scandal:

Her secrets are coming undone…
Plagued by scandalous rumors, Rheda Kerrich will stop at nothing to restore her reputation and make an honest living for herself—and she’s determined to do it without a husband. But times are hard, and smuggling is a risky though profitable trade. So when a dashing agent for the English government catches her in the act, she desperately resists his charms and conceals her illicit profession. Until she realizes he may be the key to her ultimate freedom—and unbridled passion…
Rufus Knight, Viscount Strathmore, has never had trouble beguiling the ladies of Kent. When his search for “Dark Shadow,” a cunningly elusive smuggler, leads him to alluring and headstrong Rhe, her objections to his amorous advances merely incite a tantalizing game of cat and mouse. Soon, they’ll find the very secrets driving them apart could ensnare them in a love they can’t escape…

Cover Shot! Her Knight in Black Leather by J M Stewart

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I like the simplicity of this cover for Her Knight in Black Leather by J M Stewart.  I like it even more for the lack of man titty.   That jacket is sexy! 

In stores next week

 

 

Cat Edwards has spent her life playing the wallflower in an effort to escape the repressive weight of her mother’s tarnished name. Dragged to a bar by her best friend in an effort to forget a broken heart, the shy bookworm is determined to be someone else for the night, but quickly gets in over her head. She discovers chivalry isn’t dead after all when a mysterious stranger comes to her rescue. He’s wearing black leather and a mischievous smile that promises to be exactly what she needs.

When his terminally ill father suffers a setback, Michael Brant returns to the town he swore ten years ago he’d never return to. He’s come back this time determined to make peace with the past, but being home brings up memories he doesn’t want to remember anymore. His first night in town, he’s captured by a damsel in distress. Cat’s beauty is made all the more alluring when he realizes she has no idea who he is. He can’t resist spending a single night in her arms. With her, he’s only a man, disconnected from his family’s name and the past that haunts him here.

As the town erupts with the news of his return, Michael’s dark past comes back to haunt him, putting Cat in danger. Someone is threatening her life and the life of her family. Desperate to keep history from repeating itself, Michael offers her his family’s name in order to keep her safe. When the lie spirals beyond their control, can they stop their hearts from becoming entangled as well?

Interview with Elisabeth Staab, Author of Prince of Power and Giveaway!

Please welcome Elisabeth Staab to the virtual offices today.  Elisabeth is celebrating the release of her latest novel, Prince of Power.  Check out what she has to say about her new book, and after, enter for your chance to win a copy!

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

[Elisabeth Staab] Well, I started hunting zombies back in the early 18…no wait…that’s my secret bio. Let’s see…

Aside from writing and vampires I am obsessed with music, caffeine, and documentaries, and I can turn almost anything into a dirty joke. ;)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Prince of Power?

[Elisabeth Staab] Prince of Power is the sequel to my debut novel, King of Darkness. Anton is a wizard, an enemy of the vampires, who fell in love with the half-sister of the vampire king after he was sent to kidnap her. Tyra is a vampire-hybrid who spends her days helping the less fortunate and her nights killing Anton’s kind. From the start, it would seem like their relationship is doomed to fail. Their story is about whether or not their love can triumph and survive the war between their species.

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

[Elisabeth Staab] I liked the idea of an enemy/outsider falling in love with one of the good guys, the challenges that would bring, and also the hero/heroine role-reversal. A more beta hero, a badass heroine with a little bit of a death wish. However, from the very beginning, Anton has driven this story. I “met” Anton early on when I was writing King of Darkness. He was in a dark room waiting to be tortured for defying his father on a mission. He kind of “told” me as I wrote that his mission had been about Tyra, that he’d effed up on purpose, and why. I had seen Tyra already with a fighter named Siddoh, but I realized that their relationship was in the past. Anton made it clear that he was the one for Tyra. So almost from the start of King of Darkness I knew where Prince of Power would go. That it would be Anton and Tyra’s story. And an enemy coming in from the outside, falling in love with a vampire? Talk about conflict!

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

[Elisabeth Staab] Fierce. Determined. Loyal.

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

[Elisabeth Staab] Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” – There’s actually a really great scene near the end of Prince of Power where Anton and Tyra have a fight. A literal, physical fight while the snow is falling and she gets so mad at him that she tries to set him on fire. For me, the song fits both of them literally and symbolically. So it’s a little ballad-y for a hero, but for me this song was perfect for Anton and his overwhelm of emotion for Tyra. Not to mention her pyrokenisis. I made a whole playlist for Prince of Power, but this was “their” song.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Anton won’t leave the house without.

[Elisabeth Staab] Actually, I think the great thing about Anton is he pretty much can leave home with nothing. He was raised without much so his material needs are few. Even as weapons go, he has a supernatural ability, the power to heat things from the inside-out, and the power to heal, so he’d be okay in a pinch. If there were anything he wouldn’t want to leave home without, I think it would be Tyra.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Tyra’s pockets?

[Elisabeth Staab] Never. Hmm. Makeup or accessories. Aside from something to pull her hair out of the way when she’s fighting, it’s not really her bag. Keys. She can teleport so she doesn’t need them. Food. She’s awful about remembering to eat.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Tyra’s greatest regret?

[Elisabeth Staab] Not knowing her mother. Not making peace with her father before his death. Those are difficult burdens.

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

[Elisabeth Staab] From reading alone, Suzanne Brockmann and JR Ward are the biggies. I discovered my love multi-POV multi-story arc novels thanks to them. Going all the way back to my teenager-hood though I read everything from Christopher Pike to Stephen King and I think you can see a tiny touch of those darker influences. I watch tons of comedy movies and stand-up, and even though I write dark I like to slide humor into my writing to breathe a little light into the darkness. Also, I’m incredibly lucky to have Damon Suede and Mary Calmes to trade beta reading with, and their suggestions have influenced my creative process heavily. I’m a far better writer thanks to them and I’m very grateful.

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

[Elisabeth Staab] These days, my laptop and reliable childcare are the two things I absolutely must have. Anyone who has tried to write a love scene while two toddlers are doing battle in the background will understand! Music and coffee are extremely helpful pluses, and I used to be pickier about my writing space, but lately so long as my kids are safe in their beds or with someone I trust enough that I can relax and let the words flow, I’m good.

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

[Elisabeth Staab] The last thing I read that really blew my mind was Broken by Megan Hart. I cried a good deal of the way through reading, and her books always leave me feeling conflicted. They’re intensely erotic and beautifully written, but emotionally they put me through the wringer.

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

[Elisabeth Staab] Sati, by Christopher Pike, I think I read it way back in middle school or high school or something. I think it was probably the first thing I read that wasn’t required by my literature class. The “adult” ideas that it presented (about a woman who claimed to be God) in a both funny and philosophical way were very eye-opening.

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

[Elisabeth Staab] Well I don’t get a whole lot of down time. What little I do have is spent with my kids, or reading, or watching a rare movie with my husband. When I can find a friend who’s game I actually like to go out and grab dinner, drinks, and dancing, but these days we’ve all got kids so that dicey, lol. Usually it’s reading. Which is fine, because then I can go anywhere.

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

[Elisabeth Staab] Web: http://elisabethstaab.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/lajoT

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElisabethStaabRomance

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElisabethStaab

Myspace: https://new.myspace.com/elisabethstaab/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ElisabethStaab

G+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/115495970841282334338/posts/

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Ready for your chance to win a copy of Prince of Power?  Just fill out the widget below.  Earn extra entries for following. US and Canadian addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Didn’t win? You can purchase Prince of Power from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below.

About the book:

This Fight Is Personal…

Wizards and vampires have been mortal enemies since the beginning. Now Anton, son of the Wizard Master, has one last chance to steal the unique powers of the vampire king’s beautiful sister, Tyra…and then kill her. But when he meets Tyra face-to-face, everything changes…

Tyra will stop at nothing to defeat the wizards, until Anton saves her life and she suddenly sees an opportunity she never could have imagined…

As the sparks ignite between them, together they could bring an end to the war that’s decimating their people, but only if they can find a way to trust each other…

Review: Strobe Edge Vol 1 by Io Sakisaka

 

Title:  Strobe Edge Vol 1

Author: Io Sakisaka

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Being in love can light up your life… A sweet love story that will warm your heart!


Review: 

When I first read the book blurb above, I thought it was pretty lame.  After reading Strobe Edge, though, I think it very accurately and very succinctly describes this high school romance.  Ninako is shy and reserved, and everyone thinks she and her childhood friend, Daiki will eventually get together.  Daiki makes no secret of his feelings, but he has never voiced them, leaving Ninako, who is kind of clueless, thinking that they are just friends.  After circumstances have her and school heartthrob Ren cross paths several times, Ninako discovers how kind and thoughtful he is, and she falls in love with him.

Strobe Edge captures all of the awkwardness and exhilaration of falling in love for the first time.  Ninako falls head over heels for Ren, and who can blame her? He’s gorgeous, and better yet, he is nice.  What a combo!  As her feelings for Ren grow, so does her guilt over them.  She has finally picked up on Daiki’s feelings, and she feels awful about her lack of feelings for him.  She blames herself for leading him on, and though she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings, she knows that she has to level with him.  So along with the giddy rush she experiences whenever she sees Ren,  she realizes that her feelings are going to hurt one of her closest friends.

I don’t want to spoil any other plot points, so instead I’ll urge you to give Strobe Edge a try if you enjoy series like High School Debut and Kimi ni Todoke.  This introductory volume will leave you smiling as Ninako slowly begins to blossom, shedding her reservations and allowing herself to come out of her shell.  She knows that her heart will more than likely get broken, but for the time being, she is enjoying how she feels about Ren.  Because she is so sweet, and because she is taking this huge risk, you can’t help but cheer her on.  Will things work out between her and Ren, or is Ninako doomed to heartbreak?  I don’t know, but I can hardly wait to find out!

Grade:  wavering between a B+ and an A-

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Crash by Lisa McMann

 

Title:  Crash

Author: Lisa McMann

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

If what you see is what you get, Jules is in serious trouble. The suspenseful first of four books from the New York Times bestselling author of the Wake trilogy.

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode…and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

In this riveting start to a gripping series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann, Jules has to act—and act fast—to keep her vision from becoming reality.


Review:

Crash arrived in my mailbox as an unsolicited review copy, and after reading it, I’m glad that I received it as  I never would have picked it up on my own.  Protagonist Jules Demarco keeps having the same horrifying vision.  She sees a snow plow smashing into a building, the building explode, and then seven body bags in the snow.  The crash stalks her relentlessly.  Every time she looks at billboards, the TV, or computer screens, it’s there, playing out in all of it’s fiery glory.  It’s almost like it’s taunting her.  She can’t even close her eyes because all she sees is the unrelenting vision of the crash.  When she sees one of the faces in one of the body bags, she is shocked.  It’s the face of the boy she’s loved since grade school.  On the outs with him because of a feud between their families, she’s determined to somehow stop the accident from happening, all the while doubting her own sanity.  Who would believe her, anyway, when mental illness runs in her family?

Jules’ is a junior in high school, and her life revolves around the family restaurant.  She works there after school and on the weekend, and since she doesn’t have any friends, that’s fine by her.  She and her brother are bullied at school because of the family feud between the Demarcos and the Angottis, a rival restaurant family.  Their families have been feuding for generations, and her grandfather  fell into a depression after the Angottis became more successful and killed himself.  Her father isn’t exactly stable either.  He’s a hoarder, and Jules hates being in their messy apartment.  There are days when her father can’t even find the energy to get out of bed in the morning, so when she starts seeing the visions, she thinks she’s succumbed to mental illness as well.

Wow.  I don’t think I would have coped as well as Jules if I started seeing scary visions of some weird accident that may or may not happen.  The visions terrify her, but she has no one to confide in.  She can’t tell her parents; her mother gets through each day through sheer force of will and a fake positive attitude, and her father can’t be depended on.  She doesn’t want to tell her older brother or her younger sister because she is afraid that they will think she’s nuts.  She is beginning to think she is nuts!  The only thing that keeps her from totally losing it is the urgency she feels about stopping the accident from happening.  She needs to save those seven lives, including the life of the boy she still hopelessly loves. 

I loved the relationships between the younger characters in this book.  Jules and her siblings have each other’s backs, and nothing is going to come between them.  They may bicker occasionally, but they are all in this weird restaurant rivalry thing together.  All of their former friends picked the Angottis when it was time to choose sides, and now the Demarcos are outcasts.  Jules concentrated on keeping her head down and making it through each day unnoticed.  The vision compels her to make a difference, to make waves, and she resists at first.  She is already mocked enough.  But when she finally embraces that there is something that she can do to change the future, she finds it empowering.  She finally confronts her feelings for Sawyer in an emotionally charged rant, and she finally stands up for herself. I loved the scene in the library where she finally fights back against the girls who have made her life miserable.  Jules is a fiercely intelligent young woman, and she shouldn’t have to take any crap from anyone. 

My biggest quibble with the book is the pacing.  Since Jules doesn’t have a life, the vision is everything.  It is everywhere.  It is constantly dissected and picked apart, and frankly, after 200+ pages of that, I grew weary of the vision.  That impatience with the crash being played out again and again and again diminished some of the suspense.  My other complaint? The entire time I was reading, I was craving a pizza.  And I don’t even like pizza!

Grade: B/B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Catherine Hemmerling, Author of Taming Her Forbidden Earl and Giveaway!

Catherine Hemmerling is visiting the virtual offices today to chat about her book, Taming Her Forbidden Earl.  Please give her a warm welcome!

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

[Catherine Hemmerling] I am a tall blond woman with a wicked sense of humor and a love of telling stories.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Taming Her Forbidden Earl?

[Catherine Hemmerling] Taming Her Forbidden Earl is a sweet love story wrapped around an intriguing case of smuggling and blackmail. You will meet fun and intelligent characters and one detestable villain. There is danger and conflict; flirting and sexual tension; sarcasm and witty rejoinders … and a couple of meddling mothers. If you are looking for a book that will keep you interested until the very end, this is the one for you!

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

[Catherine Hemmerling] The concept is basically Charlie’s Angels meets Jan Austen. I loved the idea of strong intelligent women being the heroes in a time period where most women were seen and not heard. The idea to use an actual historic event as the catalyst for the story was just a way to keep me honest to the time period. No flights of fancy with creative revisionist history, for me. Besides, the best stories always start with a grain of truth, don’t you think?

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

[Catherine Hemmerling] Smart, pretty, stubborn.

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

[Catherine Hemmerling] Wow, great question! “One is the Loneliest Number” springs to mind immediately. He is so afraid of getting close to people he pushes them away. Eventually (with the help of Hannah) he realizes that life is better with friends, family, and love.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Hannah won’t leave the house without.

[Catherine Hemmerling] A book. Much like me!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in William’s pockets?

[Catherine Hemmerling] Lint (there is no way William’s valet would allow such a thing!), a lost wager note (William would never bet if he didn’t intend to win), his hands (William would never need to keep himself from fidgeting by sticking his hands in his pockets; more likely he would have his arms crossed and eyebrow raised).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is William’s greatest regret?

[Catherine Hemmerling] His estranged relationship with his brother.

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

[Catherine Hemmerling] Interpersonal relationships. I love to observe those around me. What makes people laugh, cry, empathize, or vilify? Learning these things and building my characters from real emotions and reactions allows me (and hopefully you readers) to identify with what my characters say and do. I am also inspired by history, nature, great literature, and the laughter of children.

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

[Catherine Hemmerling] Diet Dr. Pepper, silence, something to write with (pen/paper, computer, typewriter, etc.)

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

[Catherine Hemmerling] I was pleasantly surprised by the Hunger Games trilogy. I was hooked from the beginning and couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.

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

[Catherine Hemmerling] The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

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

[Catherine Hemmerling] I have recently begun dating again and am really enjoying it. I also like to design jewelry, paint, knit, and play Words with Friends (a game you might think I would excel at … you would be sadly mistaken, but I keep trying!).

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

[Catherine Hemmerling] The easiest way to connect with me is through my website, www.catherinehemmerling.com or by email, ch@catherinehemmerling.com. I love hearing from my readers and will happily respond to any question or comment.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Thank you!

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About the book:

Everyone knows William Bredon, the earl of Pembroke, has a reputation as a captivating rogue, determined to never marry until his duty to produce an heir requires it. So when he invites Lady Hannah Rochester to dance, Hannah vows to keep her distance. But the undeniably gorgeous William, with his dark humor and seductive gaze, draws her in nonetheless.

Of course, Lady Hannah is not completely what she seems, either. A member of the dowager Lady Lancaster’s Garden Society, she secretly spends her days solving mysteries and uncovering intrigues, and when she brings William into the fold, a sinister plot develops that brings the two closer together. William’s protective nature ensures he remains by Hannah’s side, but he will not surrender his anti-marriage stance.
Can intrigue, passion, and maybe even a little bit of scandal reform the most notorious of rakes?