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Words to sign contracts by

As many of you know, I have been following the Ellora’s Cave v Dear Author thing closely–and quite likely will until it is resolved one way or another.

On the one hand, it is absolutely popcorn worthy entertainment. In a much smaller scale, it brings to mind Charles Carreon v The Oatmeal (beware, this is an utter time suck–don’t go too far down the rabbit hole unless you have a day or two to spare).

On the other hand, the resolution of this case will help set a precedent for book bloggers, reviewers, authors, editors, etc. We should not allow ourselves to be intimidated by threats of vexatious lawsuits by the bullies of the world.

I do pray rather fervently that the court forces EC to show its books and explain why they are sending checks through the mail in a way that violates USPS rules (undated metered mail–see this post)


On that note, isn’t romance a beautiful thing? The fundraising was made public in the morning on Friday October 3rd. Not even 12 hours later, the community had raised over $38,000.00. People, learn from TC/JB delusions and do not piss your target market off. They’ll band together and bitch-slap you. Hard.


But, back to the point of this post.


KarenS Capsule Review: You Own Me, by Shiloh walker

You own me

Sensuality Rating: TORRID: Sex is explicit, but it doesn’t take over the whole damn book. There may be some kinky stuff too, but not much.

This book was phenomenal y’all, but then Shiloh Walker rarely lets me down.

Check out the blurb from her website:

It had always been her…
Ten years had passed since the doors slammed shut behind Decker Calhoun, taking away his freedom, but more importantly, locking him away from Elizabeth Waters, the only woman he’d ever loved—the woman he’d given up everything for. The day he was sentenced, he’d looked at her and said, No regrets, Lizzie.
But he lied, because he did have one. Although he’s been out of jail for three years now, he was a year too late. Lizzie never knew how he felt and just months before he was released, she found somebody else and it’s too late.
Or maybe not. It seems that Lizzie’s boyfriend wants an open relationship and two can play at that game. Now all Decker has to do is convince Lizzie that he’s the better man…and has been all along.

This was such a different feeling book, it really was. I have to say, I kinda loved the fact that Decker, the hero, had been in jail, I’m not sure what that says about me, but of course, it’s a romance, so he had a damned good reason for what he did. This is one of those books you might pick up not quite knowing what to expect, but man it was worth reading. I started reading it, and I just couldn’t stop. It was bloody fantastic.

I loved the heroine, loved the plot, loved the relationship between Decker and Lizzie. Guys there was such great emotional depths to this book, and of course the sexual element was sizzling too, but the moments of truth between them, and the scenes where the intense longing between the two of them fairly leaped off the page, are what made this a fantastic read for me. Oh, and did I mention that it was a friends-to-lovers theme? You all know what a sucker I am for those, and nobody does it better than Ms Walker.

If you want to check out an excerpt, flip to Shiloh’s site here, and you can Kindle this at Amazon.com here. Trust me, you won’t be sorry that you did.

New Book Alert.... Wrecked, By Shiloh Walker...

oh I’m such a sucker for Friends-to-Lovers stories, and this Shiloh Walker book due out in April, sounds especially good…


In the nineties, Abigale Applegate and Zach Barnes were the most beloved sitcom child stars in the world. Then they grew up and left Hollywood behind…

Whatever happened to Abigale Applegate?

She’s been wondering the same thing.

With her Hollywood dreams long gone, Abigale now has a nice, neat, uncomplicated life—until the day her perfect fiancé needs to talk. Dumped, a little more than shattered, and totally confused, Abigale turns to Zach, her best friend since forever, to help her pick up the pieces. He does it with a gift—a copy of Wreck This Journal. She can vent her frustrations, and sketch out a new plan. Zach just hopes he’s part of it. Because he’s been in love with Abigale his entire life.

When the journal falls into Zach’s hands, he discovers Abigale wants a new man. And fast. Nothing more than a hot distraction. Zach has a strategy, too. He’s going to be that man. It’s his last chance. Abigale might be out to shake up her life, but Zach’s out to reinvent it. Now, all he has to do is convince Abigale that life can go as planned.

I think the blurb could definitely be improved upon, but I am all over the excerpt posted on Shiloh’s website:


Wine would have been a good idea, Abby thought.

Stretched out on her belly, she closed her eyes and tried to think about anything but the pain. Digging her nails into her palms, she tried to zone out.

“You okay?”

Zach’s hands on her weren’t helping her zone out, she decided. It was one hell of a distraction, but it wasn’t helping her zone out.

Swallowing the knot in her throat, she croaked out, “I’m as good as I think I can expect to be.”

“And how good is that?”


He laughed a little. “Why don’t you talk to me? We’re halfway done,” he said. “If you talk, you’ll get distracted and it will be done before you know it.”

“Okay.” She scrunched her eyes tightly closed and tried to think of something to say. Her mind was blank. “Shit. I don’t know what to talk about.”

“You always have something to talk about,” he teased, his voice low and easy and she knew even without looking at him that he was smiling.

“Not right now I don’t.” Well, she could think of a thing or two. But those things were really things she could say. Were they? No. She’d thought this through. She wasn’t going down that road with Zach.

“Okay. I’ll help. What is this new life plan you’ve got laid out? Besides the tattoo here?”

I plan on flipping my life upside down–

She bit her lip to keep from blurting that out. That would make him worry. She loved him dearly and she didn’t need him worrying about her right now. “It’s not a life plan exactly. It’s just a for-now plan,” she said slowly. “Some things to keep me distracted until I figure out what I’m going to do with myself. There’s the tattoo thing, which you’re obviously helping with. I’m going to try to stop worrying so much. One of them, though…I plan on calling up Roger and telling him off.”

He grunted. “Good plan.” Something soft brushed against her lower back and she hissed a little.

Damn it, that hurt. It felt like something was slicing right through her skin.

Distraction. Talk, damn it. About anything.

“I don’t get it,” she said softly, some of the confusion and pain breaking free. “I mean… I thought he loved me. How could he love me and walk away like that? Over the life I used to have? That’s what it’s all about. I used to be an actress. I’m not anymore—I haven’t been for years and I’m happy with that. How can he not see that? If he loved me, wouldn’t he be able to see that I don’t want to act anymore?”

Zach didn’t answer.

Turning her head, she peered over her shoulder at him.

He had his head bowed, the gold-streaked strands falling down and hiding his features from her.


He sighed. “Do you really want to hear what I have to say about this right now, sugar?”

“I always want to hear what you have to say.”

“Okay.” He used the cloth again on her back and then bent down, staring at her skin like there was nothing else in the world but her back and the design he was inking onto her flesh. “He never loved you.”

It was a strike, square to her heart.

She closed her eyes.

“If he loved you, he wouldn’t treat you the way he did. When you walked into a room, it would have showed on his face…if he really loved you. Either he’d been so busy staring at you because he just had to see you, or he would have been looking away so nobody could see it. Except he was going to marry you–you were his and he had every right to let the world see how he felt.” Zach dabbed at her back again, still focused on the work.

She was almost glad of the pain now, because it was easier to think about how much it hurt than to think about what he had to say.

“But when you walked into a room, that f’ing prick was too busy either messing with his damned gadgets or looking at everybody else to see what they thought about you. He was in love with the idea of having Kate the cutie on his arm. But he never loved you.”

He paused what he doing and for a brief second, the world fell away as he looked up and met her eyes. “He never loved you, and the son of a bitch sure as hell didn’t deserve you, sugar.”

Her heart slammed against her ribs as his blue gaze held hers.

And then, as it felt like all the oxygen in the room had dwindled away, he turned his attention back to the task at hand.

It felt like he was flaying the flesh from her bones. And she decided that was just fine, because now she needed that distraction.

Was he right, she wondered? Had Roger ever loved her at all?

And more importantly…had she loved him?

“Okay, here are the important things,” Zach said as he studied the design. It was cute, sexy as hell and if he found out another guy was the one who got to press his lips to that dragonfly as where it curved low over the flare of her left hip, he thought he just might go insane. “I’ll send you home with some instructions on how to care for it, but you need to make sure you keep it clean. No scrubbing at it or anything–you need to be gentle when you wash it, but keep it clean. I’ve got some ointment I’ll send home with you and I’ll go into detail about using that, too.”

She was still staring at it over her shoulder in the mirror. Worrying her lower lip with her teeth and eying the dragonfly like she expected it to take flight or something.

“I need to get the bandage on,” he said softly.

“What? Oh.”

She continued to stand there and he reached up, pressed his hand between her shoulder blades. “Lean forward a little.”

Hunger screamed, jerking on the leash inside him as he eased the waistband of her skirt just a little lower so he could get the bandage in place. Bent over the table like that, he could so easily imagine pulling the hem of the skirt up. Slipping his hand between her thighs. Would she sigh? Moan?

No. This was Abby and she’d freak the hell out and then she’d run away and he’d lose her–

A soft, shaky sigh caught his attention as he smoothed the bandage down. Keeping his head bowed, he checked the mirror from under his lashes and his knees almost buckled.

Abby was staring at their reflection and her face was flushed.

What. The. Hell.

Abruptly, he stepped back and moved away. If he didn’t move away immediately, he was going to grab her and do things he never should do to his best friend. The woman he loved. That was the problem. He’d loved her for too long and he was misreading the signals and–

“Do you really think all that’s true? About Roger?”

Hearing that shithead’s name on her lips snapped his temper. He turned around and glared at her. “If I didn’t think that was the case, Abs, I wouldn’t have said it. He’s an egotistical, arrogant piece of work and he never loved you. You deserved a hell of a lot better and I knew it all along. But he was what you wanted so who in the hell was I to say any different?”

“You’re my best friend,” she said quietly.

“Shit.” He went to pass a hand over his face and stopped. He still had his gloves on. Stripping them off, he tossed them into the red trash can near the door and headed over start cleaning up. “Yes. I am. You asked me what I thought and I told you. But I can’t tell you what is in that fucker’s head. You can always ask him when you call him to tell him off, although I doubt he’ll tell you the truth. He doesn’t even see the truth anyway.”

“Have you ever been in love?”

In the middle of gathering up his supplies, he paused. Zach closed his eyes and started to mouth every single foul, nasty curse he could think of. He had four brothers. He could think of a lot of cuss words. Half way through one that involved anatomical improbabilities and a goat, a hand touched his shoulder.


Damn it, he couldn’t do this. Moving away, he started grabbing shit at random. Dumping trash, slamming the tools here, there. Being careless with them, but he couldn’t look at her yet. If he did, she might see–

He went to dump the trash and turned around.

Abby was right there, dark brown eyes locked on his face, her shirt still knotted just under her breasts, leaving her belly bare.

“What is this?” she teased. “You make me play twenty questions all the time.”

Edging around her, he focused on cleaning up. “I’m thirty-two years old, Abby. Yeah. I’ve been in love,” he said, keeping his voice flat and his eyes on the task at hand. “It didn’t work out.”

“Why not?”

“She never seemed to notice that I was staring at her when she walked into the room.”

Yeah, she had me with that last line…

You can check out Shiloh Walker’s other books here, pre-order your copy from Amazon here, from Barnes & Noble here, and from The Book Depository, here.

Go fill your boots!

Through the Veil, by Shiloh Walker

Where to start? Hmmm… Well, for starters, this book is an amazing mix of urban fantasy and paranormal elements with romance. The world building is really top notch—complex yet flexible, the way life actually is.

Here’s the blurb:

Found wandering in a field as a child, Lee Ross was given a name by the state and placed in a foster home–without anyone realizing she wasn’t entirely human. All her life, she’s tried to dismiss the odd dreams that have plagued her, dreams of monsters creeping through the night and a man, fighting demons by her side. But the bruises she wakes up with are all too real to ignore.

Then the man from her dreams appears in the flesh. His name is Kalen and he insists that her destiny lies in his world, the world of her dreams. To save their people, he must convince Lee to give up everything she knows, follow her heart and cross into the Under Realm, even though once she does, she’ll never be able to return.

For once the blurb hits its mark—yay! Chalk one up for authors!

In this universe, some individuals have the power and the talent to see between dimensions through the Veil, and there are ways to cross from one to another by opening the Gates between worlds—but doing so has consequences, often unforeseen, other times callously ignored. Two of these worlds have been at war for generations.

As wars often do, this conflict has changed over time. From a first strike prompted by the need of a world to survive, the incursions have become almost a sport for the aggressors. The world that is the target of these ever more frequent raids is now on the brink of implosion, torn by invasion, violence, pollution and despair. Eventually something must give.

Ms Walker gives insight into the politics of each world; the evolution of a society where power is the only thing of value, contrasted with the disintegration of the social, political, and economic infrastructures in a world under siege.

Did I say the world building is good? Well, then, the characterization? Oh man, so good, particularly the two main characters, but also several of the secondary characters who play important roles in the story—Morne, Dais, Eira, Arnon, Char.

I love the internal conflicts that Kalen and Lee go through, and I truly can’t say which of them I like more, or with whom I sympathize more. (more…)

Once again, Karen has graciously offered to host a review from me. This time, I’ve chosen a book that I was planning on getting because of Karen’s review (how’s that for karma?), but that I got as a prize at the wonderful Shiloh Walker’s blog.

I have already read a couple of Ms Walker’s Hunters books (I really like Hunter’s Salvation, by the way), but this is a completely different animal for me.

Beautiful Girl, by Shiloh Walker.

This is an adult contemporary romance published in ebook format by Samhain Publishing, with the following warning: This title contains the following: explicit sex, graphic language and violence.

The blurb:

Sometimes getting to heaven requires a trip through hell.

Twelve years ago, it looked like Del Prescott had it all. The wealthy family, the car, the looks and charm, and the perfect boyfriend. Then, mysteriously, she disappeared to “study abroad.” Now she’s back, and it’s not merely to attend a high school reunion. She’s here to face her demons—and Blake, the man she has never stopped loving.

Blake Mitchell is a changed man, thanks to surviving twelve long years of difficulties that began after Del dropped out of his life. Now she’s back, and she’s nothing like the polished, stylish world traveler he imagined she’d be. There’s a darkness about her, and a grim expression in her eyes that says she’s prepared for fight or flight.

Blake’s concern for her breaks down the walls Del has built around her heart and she finally begins to heal from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her own family. But the betrayal goes deeper than either of them ever imagined—and it’s about to come back to haunt them.

Where to begin? With a caveat. For this reader, longer tends to be better in terms of character and plot development. At some 150 pages, this book is more a long novella than a full length single title novel, and that tends to weigh against the story in my eyes. So please keep that in mind as you read on.

The first couple of paragraphs set the story up beautifully:

Coming home was both heaven and hell. Delilah Prescott pulled her beat up Corolla off the two lane highway, right in front of the welcome sign. Welcome to Prescott, Tennessee—Small Town, Big Heart. Located in the mostly rural county of Pike near the Tennessee/Kentucky border, the town’s main claim to fame was that Daniel Boone had spent some time in the general area.

It was a nice little town, though. Just about everybody knew each other and even strangers were made to feel welcome. Lots of strangers, especially on weekends and in the summer. Just south of Lake Cumberland, Prescott was a stopping point, watering hole and overnight lodging for all the families that flocked to the lake that didn’t want to say at the campground but didn’t have the money for the rental cabins.

The lake was a popular vacation spot during the hot months of July and August. Over the past twenty years or so, Prescott had become something of an antique mecca. The result was tourism coming through the small town on a regular basis. Small shops lined Main Street and from what she could tell, some of the retail prosperity had spread out past the immediate area of downtown.

She saw what looked like a for real steakhouse. Not just the diner or Lula’s Café. A real restaurant, complete with neon sign. She wondered what else had changed in the past twelve years.

Besides her, of course.

The character development in this story is actually very, very good, and more so given the total length of the book. The two main characters are well drawn, with enough weaknesses to make them likable, and enough virtues to make them believable as hero and heroine in their own story.

Blake has survived an aggressive and advanced cancer, and in surviving has grown up enough to let go of his adolescent resentment over Delilah’s vanishing act. This alone separates this story from so many other romances where adolescent tantrums tend to stand as shorthand for “tortured hero dealing with emotional wounds from a past love.” As an adult, Blake is able to separate his memories of Delilah, and his expectations of her, from the person she is when they meet again.

Delilah (“I go by Del now”), on the other hand, is still working to overcome the chain of events that completely derailed her life (the abuse mentioned in the blurb). Her reactions to facing both her family (as antagonists), and Blake and her friends (as emotional support), read very real to me.

There are also two secondary characters that are deftly brought to life, even though each has barely two scenes and ten lines of dialogue throughout the story.

The problems in the story come from the villains—Del’s mother and stepfather—who come across rather two dimensional (the mother is sooooo evil she makes Cruella DeVil look cuddly) and from a final confrontation that feels too rushed, and more than a bit contrived. It feels to me as if the author had a longer book mapped out, and suddenly ran out of pages, therefore having to cram too many different plot twists in the last fourth of the book.

In most cases, a rushed or unbelievable ending will make me scratch my head and forget the book. In this case, I can’t. More, I don’t want to. I want to think that both Blake and Del will indeed succeed in forging a strong and long lasting relationship. I’m rooting for them. Further, I’m looking forward to more and better from this writer.

On a scale of one to ten, Beautiful Girl gets a 7.5 from me.