Violet has always imagined ruling a kingdom with sharp claws and velvet paws, so when she is adopted and goes to live with two dogs, she immediately takes over with a Meowww! Hisssss! and Spat! Poor George and Zippity try to befriend Violet, but they get nowhere. One afternoon, while her new family is out fishing, Violet is awakened by some stray dogs who chase poor Violet into a corner. Luckily, George and Zippity arrive home just in time to help.
I love Ard Hoyt’s art, and I am now a rabid fan. Some Cat! revisits George and Zippity from Some Dog!, introducing Violet, a homeless cat, to the family. I love the humans in both of these books. They are patient and loving to their pets, willing to watch from the sidelines as their new family member tries to find a place for herself. The problem is, Violet isn’t easy to get along with, and she doesn’t make things easy for herself. She, like most cats, believes that she is royalty, and instead of trying to make friends with George and Zippity, she attempts to take charge – of everything. She bullies her new animal companions, stealing their toys, food, and favorite sleeping spots. She hisses at them, and she swats at them with her velvet paws, claws extended. She is so NOT nice! When a pack of dogs attack her, though, it is George and Yippity to the rescue. Will Violet finally learn to play well with others?
This is a delightful story, with wonderful prose and charming illustrations that perfectly capture the mood and action of the book. Some Cat! is sure to enchant animal lovers both young and old.
But when he’s in charge, can he keep the cats in line?
All one, two, three, four, five of them?
With slapstick silliness and utterly earnest charm, Dog will quickly wiggle his way into preschoolers’ hearts.
This is one of the best picture books that I have ever read! It is so cute!! It even had an unsuspected twist that brought a huge smile to my face. Poor Dog is left in charge when his people have to go out. He is left in charge of five naughty cats. The cats, while not devious, love to play, and Dog is having a hard time keeping tabs on all one, two, three, four, five of them. When the tensions run the highest, and the house couldn’t get any messier, Dog succumbs to a nap to refresh himself, allowing the cats to save the day. The cats all love Dog, which made me love them.
If you have young readers at home, this is a fun book with big, bold illustrations that is sure to please. Even if you don’t have young readers, sneak Dog in Charge home from the library for a quick, delightful read.
Instructional program for women unexpectedly facing the totally dishy guy from their past. Everyone welcome!
NHL coach Mark Diego’s plan to spend his off-season volunteering in his hometown goes awry when he learns that not only is he coaching teenage girls, but that the program is coordinated by energetic (and five feet two inches of trouble) coordinator Rainey Saunders, his childhood friend—and the woman he could never stand to see dating any other guy….
When their tempers flare, Mark and Rainey discover their fireworks don’t just burn angry—they burn very, very hot! But that’ll just sweeten the victory. Because Mark always plays to win. And with Rainey, he’s planning on playing very dirty, too…
I loved this book! Time Out is the first Harlequin Blaze that I’ve read, and the only reason I gave this one a try is because it’s written by Jill Shalvis. I enjoyed Animal Magnetism, and when I saw that Time Out is about an NHL coach, I was all excited to give it a test drive. I gobbled this up in record time, and didn’t want to put it down. The characters are fun, the dialog is snappy and clever, and it features one of my favorite romance tropes – the second chance. Or Hero was too stupid to see a good thing when it’s right in front of him. Ah, maybe that is a little wordy for a romance trope…
Rainey works at a rec program for disadvantaged teens, and when a nightmare from her past resurfaces in the form of Mark Diego, she finds herself on thin ice. She has been attracted to Mark forever, and the night she finally worked up the nerve to confess her feelings to him ended in disaster. She’s been trying to avoid him ever since, even though sparks still flare out of control whenever they are together. When her boss, a close friend from childhood – and Mark’s younger brother – informs her that Mark will be volunteering for the off-season, her world starts to spin out of control.
I loved the character interactions in Time Out. From the sizzle between Rainey and Mark, to Mark’s endearing attempts to whip his team of teenaged girls into shape for the softball season, there is a lot of humor and laughs packed into this book. It is brain-candy of the best sort, and I wanted to eat the entire book in one sitting. I was able to completely disconnect from my reality and get totally sucked into Rainey’s, and I didn’t want the fun to end.
If I had one quibble with the read, it’s the abusive parent that was worked into the plot. I just didn’t feel that this plot thread was developed as thoroughly as it could have been, and aspects of it came out of left field. This is the only story element that didn’t convince me to suspend my sense of belief, and it just didn’t work for me.
Aside from that one plot device, Time Out is an engaging, funny read, and I am looking forward to discovering more Blaze gems like this one.
Cari Quinn is the author of several romances, including the recently released Entangled Publishing title No Dress Required. I asked Cari to drop by the virtual offices for a chat. She graciously agreed, and she even brought a surprise – after the interview, you can enter for a chance to win a digital copy of No Dress Required!
[Cari Quinn] Thank you so much for having me at Manga Maniac Café today!
[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you for making the time to stop by! Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Cari Quinn] I’m a snarky, tenacious, coffee-drinking, college-basketball-watching, book-reading writeaholic!
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about No Dress Required?
[Cari Quinn] Sure thing! No Dress Required is a fun, sexy story about Noelle, a determined woman who sets out to seduce her long-time crush. He just happens to be her best friend’s older brother, Jake. Too bad the night of seduction she has planned doesn’t exactly go the way she’d envisioned!
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Cari Quinn] Like all writers, I think, I’m not entirely sure how I came up with the concept for the story. Some of Jake, the hero’s backstory came about from listening to the Delilah radio show. I also knew Noelle had a thing for “tacky” sweaters. Plus I love the trope of a woman crushing on her best friend’s older brother and adore holiday stories (No Dress Required is set on New Year’s Eve.) Noelle and Jake’s novella was born from there.
[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?
[Cari Quinn] Definitely telling a complete story in a shorter length without sacrificing any of the emotional details. But it was a lot of fun to do! I love Entangled Publishing’s new lines of shorter romances called Flirts and Ever Afters. You get a lot of story in fewer words. My awesomesauce CP, Taryn Elliott, has an amazing Ever After called Ashes and Wine coming out in a couple months as well!
[Manga Maniac Café] Name three things Noelle would never have in her purse.
[Cari Quinn] Oooh, great question! Hmm, I would say her wallet, her sentimental photographs and probably some fruity lip gloss, to try to distract Jake from the bunnies on her shirt.
Although by the middle of No Dress Required, Noelle wished she still had her purse itself…and the condoms inside.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Cari Quinn] Music and reading the work of other authors. Often times when I’m in a creative slump, I realize it’s because I haven’t been listening to enough music. Sometimes I’ve been skimping on my reading time. Rectifying one or both of those things usually helps the creative vein to open up once again.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Cari Quinn] I need to turn on my music, get some coffee and shut down the internet. Without doing those things, my muse flees to parts unknown!
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Cari Quinn] Wow, another great question. I’d say The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I read that book in elementary school and I absolutely loved the idea of stepping into a wardrobe and discovering a magical world. I used to pretend my mom’s closet had a secret passageway to other rooms, I loved the idea so much! If I ever become rich, I think I might be tempted to put in a “secret” room behind a wall of books in the library (because I’d have to have a library!)
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Cari Quinn] This time of year, I love to watch men’s college basketball. My team, the Syracuse Orange, are ranked in the top 5 nationally, plus it’s coming up on March Madness time. Basketball all day long is my idea of heaven!
The rest of the year, I like to sneak in as much reading as possible. I would also like to get back to painting ceramics. Some of my hobbies have fallen by the wayside as my time has become more dedicated to writing, but I’m hoping to strike a good balance.
After years of ho-hum dating, Noelle Gregory is tired of fooling around. There’s only ever been one guy for her—Jake Conroy, her best friend’s older brother. Now that Jake’s back in town, she’s headed to his sister’s New Year’s Eve party to make her move. Purse full of condoms? Check. Sparkly dress guaranteed to show Jake the sexy woman she’s become? Check. Carjacker that makes off with both two hours before the party? Check. When Jake finds Noelle stranded on the side of the road—looking sexier than ever in her striped socks and silly holiday shirt, damn it—he’s glad for the snowstorm that cancels his sister’s party. His and Noelle’s friendship has tormented him for years, and now, Jake wonders if he should dare to sample what he’s always wanted…and if he’ll be able to walk away when it’s over.
You can purchase a copy of No Dress Required from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below:
Ready for the giveaway? I have one digital copy of No Dress Required to give to one of you, thanks to Cari and Entangled Publishing! Enter by filling out the widget below, and earn extra entries by following.
Shari Jones needs to get a life. Preferably someone else’s.
Single, homeless and jobless, Indo-American Shari agrees to her best friend’s whacky scheme: travel to Mumbai, pose as Amrita, and ditch the fiancé her traditional Indian parents have chosen. Simple. Until she’s mistaken for a famous Bollywood actress, stalked by a Lone Ranger wannabe, courted by an English lord, and busted by the blackmailing fiancé. Life is less complicated in New York.
Or so she thinks, until the entourage of crazies follows her to the Big Apple and that’s when the fun really begins. Shari deals with a blossoming romance, an addiction to Indian food and her first movie role, while secretly craving another trip to the mystical land responsible for sparking her new lease on life. Returning to her Indian birthplace, she has an epiphany. Maybe the happily-ever-after of her dreams isn’t so far away?
When I was given the opportunity to review Busted in Bollywood, I jumped at the chance. First, I am interested in Entangled Publishing, and I wasn’t very familiar with their titles, so I thought this would be a good way to see what they have to offer (I’ve read several of their titles now, and overall, I have enjoyed all of them). Second, I love Indian food and Bollywood videos, so when I learned that the heroine goes to Mumbai, I was eager to dive into the story. It was an additional bonus when I also discovered that I have snapped up several of Nicola Marsh’s Harlequin titles at the Borders close-out sale, so I was interested to start reading her books. I am glad that I don’t have to backtrack too far now, because I was able to add much of her backlist to my TBR already!
Shari has allowed herself to be talked into a hare-brained scheme to help her BFF Rita get out of the marriage her traditional Indian parents have arranged for her. Being a traditional Indian when it comes to her parents’ demands, Rita doesn’t want to shame them by breaking off the engagement herself. Instead, she sweet-talks Shari into going to India in her place, meeting her undoubtedly boring intended, and painlessly turning him down. Since Shari’s life is on the skids and she is wandering aimlessly from day to day after the breakup with her boyfriend, a change of scenery sounds wonderfully adventurous to her. After some initial reservations, she allows herself to be packed up and put on an airplane without much resistance.
When we are first introduced to Shari, her life really is a mess. She is homeless and jobless, thanks to her lying snake of a boss, and she’s having a hard time getting over him. Even though he was cheating on his wife and their relationship was pretty much at his convenience. Shari was so sure he was going to leave his wife, so it came as a blow to her to learn that the wife was pregnant. So much for the promised divorce so that they could stop sneaking around behind everyone’s back. To learn that he was just playing her all along is a bitter pill for Shari. Losing the apartment he owned and her job at his law firm were just the icing on the cake. In the blink of an eye, her entire world came tumbling down around her.
While I didn’t feel a whole lot of sympathy for Shari’s situation, I did warm up to her right away. She realizes that she’s made a major misjudgment in character, and after months of moping around, she is eager to put the unpleasant incident behind her. How better to refresh yourself than an all-expenses paid trip to India? What a perfect way to explore her mother’s birthplace. Who cares that the food is full of fatty goodness? Or that she has to pretend to be her best friend and crush a guy’s hopes? Ah, that’s a small price to pay to eat all of that wonderful food!
I loved the first part of this story when Shari was be-bopping around India with Rita’s Auntie Anjali. This was a fun, glutton filled romp about the tourist sites and food stalls as Shari tries to prep herself for the big brush off. I couldn’t help but laugh when Rita’s intended, Rakesh, abruptly turns the tables on her – if she doesn’t play along with his plans, he is going to blow her cover. When Rakesh’s best buddy Drew enters the picture, sparks fly instantly. Too bad he thinks she’s a gold-digger and that she’s only after Rakesh’s sizeable bank account. Despite being a complete jerk, he is totally hot. After sharing some not so playful banter, Shari just can’t get him out of her head. No wonder she keeps having guy troubles! She gravitates toward pompous buttheads.
This is a fun read, though I felt that the ending started to get a bit bogged down as Shari kept finding reasons to not confess her feelings to Drew. She wasn’t good enough for him, she wasn’t independent enough for him, having a long-distance relationship would just be too hard, he wasn’t totally open and honest about his background, and now she can’t trust him. Her excuses were too feeble for me, considering how much she did care for him, and her reservations just added an artificial distance between them. I wanted her to stop taking the easy way out, to stop running from her problems, and to stand up for herself and for what she wanted. It was gratifying when she finally did.
Busted in Bollywood is a light read with engaging characters and exotic locales. There’s nothing groundbreaking, but it is a enjoyable journey of self-discovery, the value of fat grams, and love.