Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Kept Woman by Susan Donovan

I want to start by apologizing for the week long silence here at dee & Dee. May is a busy, busy month here (well, I assume every where). School is letting out, the weather is getting warmer (or stormier), and tons of things to get done to prepare for summer. Add to that dee is traveling cross country right now, and Chari-Dee is in the process of doing some home upgrades, and well, we're just flat having trouble finding two minutes to rub together. And since you've waited so long, without further ado...

THE KEPT WOMAN by Susan Donovan



Playing by the rules has left Samantha Monroe with an AWOL ex-husband, maxed-out credit cards, and the task of raising three children on a hairstylist's salary. It's time for a new game plan. When Sam learns that politician Jack Tolliver needs someone to play the part of his fiancee for six months in return for a generous paycheck, she's ready to sign up on the spot.


Jack needs Sam and her kids to help tone down his image from womanizing cad to dependable dad. But he was expecting Sam to be a frumpy single mom, no a wickedly smart, sexy redhead. Keeping nosey newshounds from discovering that his engagement is a charade is going to be a tough job, but one mind-blowing kiss from Sam and suddenly Jack is ready to put in all the overtime necessary...


Now, with scheming opponents itching to bring Jack down, Sam's ex returning to stir up trouble, one stubborn preschooler, two squabbling teenagers, a crazy dog, and some out-of-this-world sex, Jack and Sam are discovering that playing make-believe can be complicated - but not nearly as much as falling in love...

I actually like this BCC. But in the spirit of honesty, I didn't read it until just now when I typed it. I actually went to the bookstore looking for books by Donovan. I had read her book HE LOVES LUCY about a year ago, and just loved it, but kept forgetting to look for more by her. But when The Hubs bought me a book shelf and I was putting the books on there, I saw it and finally remembered there was an author out there I needed to read more of. And boy am I glad I did!

Three years ago, Samantha Monroe's husband decides he's gay and leaves her while she's paying homage to the porcelain goddess of morning sickness. Now Samantha is a busy hairstylist with three kids, one who will not be potty trained, one who stutters, and one who believes the more eyeliner the better. With her ex on the run and over $50k behind in child support, Samantha is maxed out on all of her credit cards, lives in a run-down house that her landlord refuses to fix, and at her wits end.

Then, one fateful night during D&D (Drinks & Depression Night) Sam has one too many margaritas and tells her girlfriends, "I never did understand what is so wrong with being a kept woman...If I could find a way to do it without damaging the kids, I'd gladly live in a penthouse with a chauffeur and a maid...I mean, where's the harm in that?" (Pieced together as I oft do).

Kara DeMarinis just happens to be at the D&D night and when she hears Sam say this, she immediately has a plan. As the longtime friend and campaign manager for Jack Tolliver, she sees the perfect way to guarantee Jack the senate and Sam the chance to change her and her children's fortunes for the best.

When Kara tells Jack her plan, he can hardly stop the laughter. Sure he's a playboy. And yeah, there was that unfortunate mishap with a school teacher, but still - hire some one to pretend to be his intended? OK, so he needs to look more mature. If he wants to win the election, Jack know he has to do something drastic, but this is insane. But Kara has done her research, and the more she talks, the more it sounds like a good idea.

When Sam is offered the chance to be the "kept woman" she mused about, she isn't so sure it's a great idea. But it's only for six months, the kids will have great college funds, she'll be able to buy them a house when it's all over, and possibly go back to working only part-time at the salon and paint the rest of the time. When a solid contract ensuring the best for both Sam and Jack is signed, the act is on.

But Jack isn't quite what Sam had imagined. An ex-football star who tore up his knee, a known playboy, who just happens to be the best looking man Sam has ever known. It doesn't hurt that every time they talk they end up laughing and it definitely doesn't hurt that the electricity they generate whenever they touch is amazing.

Sam isn't exactly what Jack imagined either. She's cute, and funny, and worse a redhead, he loves redheads. And soon it becomes clear that faking being with Sam isn't the hard part, the hard part will be not falling for the ruse himself.

But Christy Schoen, a reporter that was spurned by Jack in a very public way, wants revenge. And she smells something very foul with the whole Jack and Sam engagement. Stopping at nothing to reveal the scheme, Christy hunts down Sam's ex Mitch, and hatches a plan to get the scoop. This is her shot at grand revenge and a Prime Time Slot with major networks. But somethings, Christy couldn't possibly have seen coming. Like a slippery Mitch, and Sam and Jack finding true love.

I haven't enjoyed a book so much in a long time. I read this book in the course of an entire day while Miss Beautiful was sick, and you couldn't have paid me to put it down. Donovan is a name to watch! With lovable characters, witty dialogue, real emotion, and sizzling scenes, you'll want to find everything the author has ever penned.

Donovan calls her books, "brain candy for smart women," and I couldn't agree more. Pick it up and see for yourself. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I could find no wrong with TKW.

Take Care

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there. Today, I thought I'd just give a quick nod to my favorite mother in a Romance novel and that would be none other than Gwen Goodnight from the Jennifer Crusie novel FAKING IT.

Gwen has raised a great group of daughters, of course, they're all bent, but great none-the-less. I love how Gwennie shows her aggressions through sharp white teeth in her paintings, quilts, and samplers. I love Gwen's saying - "If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a horrible warning." I love her sampler that says, "When Eve ate the apple Her knowledge increased But God liked dumb women So Paradise ceased."

I love how she was going to settle for a muffin in what she thought was the best move for her family, but how she finally comes to her senses and takes the possible doughnut. Most of all, I just love her entire family.

Who are some of your favorite literary moms? Why do you like them so much.

Happy Mother's Day! I'm off to spend it with the kiddos.

Take Care

Friday, May 11, 2007

Spirited Away by Cindy Miles

I'm back from the land of sick today! YAY! It's been a rough couple of days at my humble home. But I'm feeling much better today and am ready to get down to business. I mean, it was so bad that I haven't even had coffee all week, and you know the lengths I will go to for coffee. I still haven't heard from last months FAB winner, and remember I drew another name, so Alyssa Goodnight, please send your snail mail addy to deeanddeedish at so that I may get that to R.L. And now that the business is out of the way, on with the dish...

SPIRITED AWAY by Cindy Miles


When Tristan de Barre and his men were murdered in 1292, their souls were cursed to roam his estate for all eternity. It's been a long, dull, celibate ever after. But now Tristan's phantom heart is pounding again for the first time in more than seven hundred years because of the beautiful scientist who's digging up his castle's bailey. Can he make her notice him, or will she see straight through him?

The opportunity to excavate the remains at Dreadmoor Castle has forensic archaeologist Andi Monroe tingling with excitement. It's an incredible find and a chance to study the mysterious legend of Dragonhawk, a medieval knight who disappeared without a trace. Lately, though, rational Andi is having a hard time telling fact from fiction. She could just swear she met the vanished knight, and he's a fantasy come true. But until she finds a way to help Tristan lift the curse, their love doesn't stand a ghost of a chance...

I liked the BCC enough to buy this book. Now that I've read the book, I see a few flaws in it. Although, they aren't major enough for me to complain, I enjoyed the book, and really the facts were just skewed to make it sound more....I don't know. Anyway, not perfect, but not bad either.

At the age of eighteen, an adventurous Andrea Monroe was infatuated with the legend of Dragonhawk the original Lord Dreadmoor - a midevil knight who along with 14 of his knights disappeared without a trace. Taking a chance, she snuck onto Dreadmoor Keep, only to find herself in a deadly situation. Out of nowhere, a man with dazzling sapphire eyes, dressed in 13th century chainmail, came to her rescue. But as she reached for him, her hand passed right through, and as she was out of trouble he simply vanished. Unsure of whether or not she imagined the whole thing, the now 30 year old Dr. Andrea Monroe has been even more fascinated with the tale.

Now, a storm has taken out an old oak tree and uncovered a body of bones at Dreadmoor Keep and the current owner wants it excavated. Known as an incredible recluse and eccentric, he wants only one person working the site, and Kirk Grey, Andi's boss, has given her the opportunity. What's a girl to do? Of course Andi drops everything to explore her love of the legend.

Tristan de Barre, the original Lord Dreadmoor and Dragonhawk himself, did not believe in witchcraft. That is, he didn't believe in it until his foster father, Erik de Sabre killed him and his knights and cursed them to live in ghost form for eternity. Waking two hundred years after his death, Tristan has the help of the Jameson family in running Dreadmoor. Able to appear human, Tristan runs Dreadmoor, knowing the ones he has come to have feelings for will die, as mortals do, and his undead heart will break. So, he and his fourteen knights, live in Dreadmoor, hoping that one day, they will discover a way to break the curse. So when the centuries old oak tree is toppled in a storm and reveals bones, he wants to know who's they are, sure that the answer to undoing the curse lies within those bones.

When Andi arrives at Dreadmoor, she's amazed to see that the same man she imagined had saved her twelve years earlier is Tristan, though he denies it. Eventually though, Tristan and the knights' secret is revealed to Andi, and much to her and Tristan's dismay, they find themselves falling in love. Talk about a dead end relationship (pun intended). After all, how can a mortal and a ghost ever make a life together. But as time goes by, the mystery deepens, as a ghost that no one but Andi can hear, begins to give her hints about a way to save the knights.

Can Andi solve the mystery and break a seven hundred year curse? Especially since as a scientist it is hard for her to suspend her belief and believe in curses. Will there be any Tristan left if she can solve the mystery and break curse?

I have to say, I absolutely adore this book. Miles has an incredible voice, and the way she had me believing in ghosts and actually cheering that the ghost would get the girl, well, even I couldn't believe have believable it all was.

And to tell the truth, I loved the ghost aspect of this paranormal because it was so fresh. Tristan and his knights being from the 13th century had great dialogue. And Andi's reaction to and her interactions with the knights was both heartwarming and funny. The knights themselves were great supporting characters, and the mystery was fun to try and solve.

The only complaint I could possibly have is a few moments of head hopping, but not so many that I was distracted. Other than that, Tristan and Andi were a great couple, the knights , Jameson, and the other characters made for an entertaining supporting cast. Spirited Away, is definitely a must read. I can't wait to read the next Miles book.

Take Care

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Dancing Shoes and Honky-Tonk Blues by LuAnne McLane

When I'm feeling low - I read. OK, I read anyway, but when I'm in a funk I read a LOT. Hopefully, the book I pick from my TBR pile will do the trick to trigger a happy state and the book I'm getting ready to dish today did the trick. I am in a funk right now, so get ready for semi-regular posts for a while. Also, I haven't heard from last months FAB winner, so I drew another name, so Alyssa Goodnight, if you could e-mail me your snail mail addy to deeanddeedish at, I'll get that right over to R.L. And now, without further ado...



Waitress Abilene Harper has always been a bit on the shy and clumsy side. So when the reality TV spoof Dancing With the Rednecks comes to Misty Creek, Kentucky, nothing could make Abby agree to participate...nothing except a fifty-thousand-dollar grand prize! While she doesn't relish being laughed at, it sure would be danged sweet to buy a truck with all the trimmings, fix up the diner for her hardworkin' mama, and send her brother to the fancy college he deserves.


Abby's tall, dark, and smokin'-hot dance instructor, Rio Martin, is mighty ticked when he finds out the ballroom-dancing competition he signed on for is actually a joke. But Abby's spunk and determination soon have him setting his sights on winning. He whips Abby into shape, and she begins to cha-cha and rumba her way into the hearts of the TV audience, while the chemistry between the unlikely couple sizzles. Rio tries to remain all business, but Abby has her eyes on the prize - and it isn't just the money.

I actually like this BCC too. I didn't read it when I picked up the book, I just saw the cover and liked the title (the quote from Lori Foster didn't hurt either). But it does a really fine job of describing the book within, and that's always a pleaser.

When I first started to read DS-HTB I was a little surprised to see it written in First. Not many Romances are written in that POV and as you know, it's not one I generally prefer to read. However, it didn't take long for me to forget all about the POV and fall into the story.

Abilene (Abby) Harper is a small town girl. She works full-time and then some at her mama's diner and she loves her family fiercely. When her younger brother Jesse tells her that Comedy Corner is going to be putting on a reality TV show called Dancing with the Rednecks, she's more than a little appalled at the idea of the nation making fun of her neighbors and friends. But as her brother explains that he is the one that gave network the idea, and that not only did he give them the idea he suggested her to the producers as a possible contestant, and the winner of the competition would win $50,000, well, she agrees to go along. After all, her brother is uber smart and should have the opportunity to go to a great college, and her mama's diner needs some upgrades. And if there was enough for her to get a shiny new pick-up, well that would be great too. Only thing is, Abby is one clumsy gal. Tall and gangly her whole life with two left feet, Abby's dance instructor is gonna have a heck of a time getting her into shape.

Rio Martin, sexy Latin hunk, award winning dancer, and now Abby's dance instructor is less than thrilled with the way he was duped into doing the show. When he arrives and discovers the whole thing is meant as a spoof he's beyond mad. But, after working with Abby and discovering some series sexual tension, Rio is determined to secure Abby the win. And whoo-boy do spark fly with these two. Plus, Rio is always perplexed by Abby's Redneck slang, and he perplexes Abby with some of his Spanish - great laugh out loud moments on some of these!

I have to say, I loved this book. It was just the thing to lift my spirits. Abby is truly a gem. Polite beyond reason (as most of us Rednecks are), "I say weakly. 'Sorry for bein' so crude.'...'Sayin' pee and barf and everything. I'm just not thinkin' straight. I've been raised better than that.", she loves her family and she loves her hometown. She's beautiful and doesn't realize it, after all, she never had dates in high school, never went to prom and hasn't had the occasion to date as an adult.

The sexual tension with Rio makes for some great moments, and tell the truth, I was surprised how real it all felt being written in First (and manoman were the sex scenes fabulous). The cast of characters were amazing, I felt like I knew the other contestants, and Abby's family, and I genuinely cared about them.

I enjoyed watching Abby knock the chip off her shoulder she was carrying around about high school, and make "new" old friends. If you're from a small town you'll be able to relate to how important those high school years seem to us, especially since we see the same people we crushed on or hated everyday. Most of all, I loved how the book could have been an over the top farce on Rednecks and could have depicted us as morons - but it wasn't and it didn't. It felt like I was reading about people I know, people I see everyday, people like me, and that's something that will keep McLane on my radar, and Dancing Shoes on my keeper, re-read shelf.

But trust me, you don't have to be a Redneck to relate to - and love - the book, anyone who's ever had dreams and any one that just wants to read a good Romance, well, this books for you!

Take Care

Monday, May 7, 2007

Matters of the Blood by Maria Lima

WOW! I apologize for being silent the last couple of days. The weather here has been absolutely NUTS! Tornado's, flooding, and tons of lightning. Needless to say, the computers in my house have been silent most of the week-end. We're in for more, which is just oh so much fun! Hopefully, the river will hold and not flood out our town. Though The Hubs said it was banking this afternoon. YIKES! Anyway, if I don't here from the winner of last months FAB contest by tomorrow at noon, I will be drawing a new winner from the entries, so Ali, please contact me at deeanddeedish at so that I can get your snail mail addy to R.L.. Otherwise, stay tuned for a new name tomorrow. Also, don't forget to do your part and enter this mini contest. And now that all that's out of the way...


Keira Kelly, half-breed descendant of a powerful supernatural family, has to live apart from her clan and among humans in the Texas Hill Country. When she experiences a prophetic vision that foretells the vicious murder of her human cousin Marty, she vows to determine the truth. Soon, Keira begins to uncover long-concealed secrets, and risks alienating everyone she knows - from her former lover, Sheriff Carlton Larson, to the enigmatic Adam Walker, who's become so much more than just an acquaintance...

Ahh, gotta love the short BCC. I'm telling you, I much prefer the short and sweet stuff. No room to mislead. Just enough info to either hook me or not. In this case, it was definitely just right to get me curious enough to read on. That and this incredible first line, "I know the dead and the dead know me."

Keira Kelly does indeed come from a powerful supernatural family, "the clan" is made up of were's, necromancers, seers, and so much more. Each member goes through "The Change" in which they come into their power. No one is sure exactly what supernatural talent they may eventually end up with, but while it is happening they can experience many changes.

"Meet Keira Kelly: not-so-a-child prodigy...Likes: old movies, good books, and great wine. Trained as: "escort," temporarily on leave. Talents: clairvoyance, farseeing, necromancy - a lovely smorgasbord of supernatural powers and things that go bump in the night. I left off shapeshifting, since that would overkill to state the obvious."

Keira is Changing, and with her clan in Canada, where she likes them just fine, she is a bit worried that no one will be there to guide her, she's also a bit relieved that no one will be there to guide her. But when her (freak of nature) cousin, the totally human Marty, turns up dead, while she's supposed to be babysitting him, and she's had visions of it happening things are about to really get interesting in Keira's life.

In MATTERS , the cast of characters is vast. There is Bea, her best friend since childhood. Carlton Larson, ex-boyfriend and now sheriff. Adam Walker, a man - scratch that - vampire, that she had flirtations with during a few years spent living in England. Adam is now the owner of the newly re-opened Wild Moon ranch. When two deer end up dead in a most unsettling way, and Marty following, Keira can't say she's exactly upset when her brother Tucker shows up.
With all of the above, townspeople acting strange, and vampires out the Wild Moon trying to abstain from hunting, Keira has her hands full trying to find out who killed her cousin on her watch.

I'll admit, there was so much going on at first that I was a little lost. But Lima's writing is solid and enjoyable, and soon all the new characters and facets of Keira's life became clear and made the book almost impossible for me to put down. There were many twists and turns throughout the book, and just when I thought I had the whole thing figured out - WHAM! - Lima surprised me and proved me completely wrong.

Matters is a rather dark book, but Lima has a great sense of humor and was able to balance the two very well. If your looking for paranormal that has a great mystery element added in, MATTERS OF THE BLOOD is for you. There were several small copy editing mistakes, nothing dramatic, but enough to definitely be noticed, and if it weren't for those, I would have been asking Lima to be a FAB pick, I enjoyed the book that much. I can only hope that eventually, Lima will continue Keira Kelly's tale, this is one book I'd love to see made the first of a series.

Take Care

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Scent of Shadows and The Taste of Night - Double Dish

I'm going to do a double review today, sort of like I did with the Sweet Magnolia books. There are two reasons for this: I am behind on my dishes and want to catch up and also because once you've heard all about the first you are going to want to rush out the get them, so I may as well do a double whammy right now. Also, be sure to scroll down or click here to see the winners of this months FAB contests. And click here to support a great author and enter a contest. So, without further ado...

THE SCENT OF SHADOWS: The First Sign of the Zodiac by Vicki Pettersson

When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert. By rights, she should be dead.

Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset - a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow - seeking answers to whom or what she really is...and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.

But the nightmare is just beginning - for the demons are hunting Joanna, and the powerful shadows want her for their own...



Equal parts Light and Shadow, Joanna Archer must fulfill a destiny she never wanted. Once a photographer and heiress to a casino fortune, she is now dedicated to the cause of good...but susceptible to the seductions of evil.

A deadly virus is descending on Las Vegas - a terrifying plague unleashed by the powerful overlord of the Zodiac's dark side: Joanna's father. Chaos and panic grip Sin City as agents of Light fall prey to the terrifying epidemic. Death reigns supreme - and Joanna stands at dead center of an epic and terrible war long foretold, the last hope of a damned world.

But first she must somehow conquer the malevolence that grows all around her...and within.

These BCC's are actually pretty good. These books are so jammed packed (in a totally good way) with twists and turns, that I most certainly have to give my props to the writers of these two BCC's.

Have you ever in your life read a comic book and wondered if it was real? Or perhaps you watch one of the movies made from a comic book and wish it was real. If that's the case, these books are for you. Joanna Archer, casino heiress, and daughter to one of the nastiest (and most successful) casino owners in Las Vegas is the polar opposite of her sister Olivia. When Joanna was sixteen, she was brutally attacked while trying to save her sister and left for dead. In what can only be described as every woman's nightmare, Joanna miraculously survives. However, she is never the same again.

Spending her nights photographing the rarely seen Las Vegas back alley's, Joanna hugs the shadows and hopes to one day find the monster that attacked her and exact some revenge of her own. But just twenty four hours before her twenty-fifth birthday Joanna has a blind date with a madman, is rescued by her first love that she hasn't seen since her attack, and hits a crazy homeless man. After yet another assassination attempt on her life, that ends with her sister being slain, Joanna learns that she is no ordinary human and is the daughter of the most powerful being in the Shadow organization and her mother was an agent for the Light.

In Pettersson's new Zodiac series, Joanna finds herself half Light and half Shadow. There has been a prophecy foretold that she will be the one to balance the Zodiac, but both sides want her for their own, and with her the demons from her past haunting her, Joanna just isn't sure she can control the Shadow in her well enough to be on the side of Light like she wants. Reverting to the "manuals" which are found in a comic book store, Joanna must learn of her past if she is to see a future. She must leave behind her old life in order to survive and protect humanity, but revenge is a hard thing to put down, and Joanna has carried her hatred and lust for revenge for so long that those that want her help the most can't even fully trust her.

With so many twists and turns, Pettersson kept me up way past bedtime just so I could finish these books. I gulped them up, and am almost sad of that, since it will be awhile I'm sure before the next one is released. Joanna Archer is an amazing character, one you genuinely feel for. Pettersson has made Joanna and her comic book world so real, so touching, and so action packed that you won't want to miss a page.

Sci-Fi lovers will LOVE these books. Paranormal fans that want something just a little different will LOVE these books. In fact, there is a little something for every genre reader packed inside these wonderfully written books. Dig in and let me know what you thought of them. I know I'm hooked and hope that there are many more to come.

Take Care

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Tour For Elaine Viets

On my Home Page for dee & Dee I subscribe to a Word of the Day type thing, I love this because I love words and am always looking for a new one to whip out and impress those around me. Today's word was "procrastinate." I had to laugh. I think it was trying to tell me something, because under synonyms it said "Chari-Dee". No lie. Anyway, I realize I'm behind on posting new dishes, and I have a ton to do, but I've been re-reading the entire Sookie Stackhouse series just to refresh my memory so that I can dive into the newest one All Together Dead tonight. I am so excited. I do so love Sookie Stackhouse!

dee and I love doing this book blog, it has given us the chance to "meet" some incredible people. Readers and authors alike. We are always astonished at the giving nature of authors, and we love to spread the word of their books. So when I heard that authors and fans were banning together to help Elaine Viets as she recovers from her stroke, I knew I had to get involved too. I've been reading Helen's adventures for quite a while now, and it's because of these books that I discovered other series to enjoy. I've found many hours of enjoyment from these books and am honored to help.

Here's the deal. Elaine has suffered a stroke, and while she is recovering remarkably, she will be unable to tour for her May 1 release MURDER WITH RESERVATIONS: A Dead-End Job Mystery. Many authors are stepping up and doing a "Tour" for her. You can find event places and times here, as well as much more information.

To do my part, I'm going to offer one of our readers a copy of TWO of Elaine's books. All you need to do is go here and copy the code for the book and tell a little about what's going on. Make sure you link to us and leave a comment so I know it's been done. OR, if you have already bought, or will be buying Elaine's new book, take a picture of you with it or scan in a copy of the receipt and you will be entered as well!

Let's all ban together for such a wonderful cause and GREAT books.

By Elaine Viets
NAL Hardcover. $21.95
ISBN: 0-451-22111-7
On sale May 1, 2007
(preorders accepted any time by your favorite bookstores)

Take Care