Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest - Tes Hilaire

Good morning all! We have a new visitor with us today...Tes Hilaire, who'll be talking about our favorite subject - heroes. But she's approaching them from a bit of a different angle.

Her publisher, Sourcebooks, is offering a giveaway of a copy of her latest book, Deliver Me From Darkness, to two of our Star-Crossed readers. You'll find my review here. See below to find out how you can enter the drawing.


Would you like some bad with that hero?

Why yes, yes I would. :-) Though, maybe that seems a bit odd since a hero is supposed to be this uber-courageous, uber-honorable, and uber-strong guy, right? Wrong. At least, I don’t believe so. I guess the question really comes down to this: Can you have an interesting hero (or heroine for that matter) without a little bit of “bad” mixed in? That little bit of wickedness, the human quirks and flaws that keep our protagonists from being virtual saints; isn’t it this that allows us to relate to them?

We find the flawed hero almost everywhere: movies, books, comics, heck even historical legends, though we won’t go into that here ;-) They can fall under all kinds of different categories.  Whether you subscribe to the Dungeon and Dragons nine alignments (lawful good, neutral good, lawful neutral, chaotic evil etc…) or another classification system—heroes/heroines have fallen pretty much everywhere on the sliding scale of good vs. bad since the beginning of time. Narrowing this down in terms of the classic superhero, on one end of the scale we have Superman and Wonder Woman, Captain America or, if you like your heroes a little less comic book we could mention The Lone Ranger.  At the other extreme you have characters like The Punisher, Catwoman, Hellboy, and Spawn. And then there is that grey middle ground. This is the place you’ll find people like Batman and Zoro, Ironman and Electra. *note I’m NOT an expert on comic book superheroes so please forgive if I’ve aligned your fav character too far one way or the other on the good/bad scale!

Are all of these characters really heroes? Debatable, I suppose. Guess it depends on your view of their moral compasses. More important to the romance writer’s point of view is the appeal of these heroes. Is there one more than any other that you, the reader, would want to take home at night? ;-)  I’m a Batman girl myself. There is something about that dark, sexy, vigilante that makes me want to bring him home and…unmask…him…and… Hey! Mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about getting to know him, i.e., unmasking the shadows of his soul and healing him with the power of my…ah, hmm…Okay. Yeah. Anyway…I guess it’s no wonder that my hero from Deliver Me from Darkness, Roland, has sort of a Batman feel about him. A Paladin at the core with the moral compass of his angel heritage, but his vampire nature slides him pretty far down on that good-bad scale. The only way that he’s been able to check his dark nature is by turning vigilante. Here is a little teaser of what I mean:

…the back door to a nearby club banged open. A man stepped out, half pulling a woman who’d slumped against his side. She was young, college age, obviously toasted, and wore the pink blush of innocence and youth. The man was linebacker broad with graying temples and a beer belly—and his core was dark, edged with violent red. Roland had seen demons with cleaner souls than his.
“I don’ feel s’ good,” the girl slurred, her head rolling on her neck as she tried to cast her gaze around her. “Where are we?”
“Outside. Thought some fresh air might help,” the man answered, throwing her a greasy smile.
“Oh.” The girl hiccupped. “Good…idea.”
“I’m just full of them. In fact…” The man twisted her up against the side of the building, smashing her body between him and the bricks. “I have another good one.”
Her eyes clouded with confusion. “Hey. Le’ go. I never said—ow!”
The man had wrapped a hand in her hair and was dragging her head back at an awkward angle, abrading the back of her skull against the rough surface.
“You didn’t have to say.” The man licked the girl’s exposed neck, from the tip of her collarbone up across her jaw to the base of her ear. Her pulse leapt in the slick wake.
Roland’s own pulse throbbed in response, his tongue swelling with the need to take his own taste. He clenched his fists, averting his gaze until he could tamp the urge back down.
Innocent. She was innocent. Her only mistake was the stupidity of youth.
“You’ve been flaunting that sweet ass at me all night,” the man continued. “And now I’m going to take it.”
Alcohol, or drugs, or whatever, made it take a moment for his words to sink in. Then the girl’s eyes widened, her mouth forming a shocked “Oh” as her body began to tremble.
“No, please!” she pleaded, showing her first signs of life. Her hands came up, pressing against the broad chest in front of her as tears leaked from her eyes.
The man laughed, spinning her around with a face plant into the brick as if she were some sort of rag doll and he the puppeteer. He twisted her right arm up behind her in a locking hold. At the same time his other hand dived under the hem of her short dress.
“My, my.” He smiled. “Thong. Aren’t we a bad girl?”
The heady mix of sweat, fear, and lust filled the alley below. Roland could barely think, so strong was the call of those scents. He hissed, his fangs slicing into his lips. His nails dug into the brick façade of the building. A slick pool of anticipation slid down the back of his throat. The muscles of his legs tightened.
The man would pay, and the girl? Well, a nice scare should put an end to her partying days.
Roland leapt….

Tortured hero? Check. Fallen hero? Check. And if you’re following the D&D alignments most definitely a chaotic good hero ;-) The point is that none of the heroes or heroines I write are all good, but even when the “bad” is calling them, they want to be.  And isn’t that really the point? Isn’t that decision to be good the true appeal of the hero with that little bit—or gaping chasm as Roland’s case may be—of bad in them?  To quote one of my all-time spunky heroines from my childhood, Anne Shirley, “…I think I'd like it if he COULD be wicked and WOULDN'T.”  Now isn’t that a sexy idea. :-)


A stranger in the night…
He had once been a warrior of the Light, once of the revered Paladin. A protector. But now he live sin darkness, and the shadows are his sanctuary. Every day is a struggle to overcome the bloodlust. Especially the day Karissa shows up on his doorstep.

Comes knocking on the door…
She is light and bright everything beautiful—despite her scratches and torn clothes. Every creature of the night is after her. So is every male Paladin. Because Karissa is the last female of their kind. But she is his. He may not have a soul, but he can’t deny his heart.


Daphne Award-winning author and former Tennessee native Tes Hilaire doesn’t remember how old she was when she wrote her first story, but she’s pretty sure it had something to do with a boy and a girl and a happily ever after.  Displaced at an early age to “the north country,” her stories turned darker as she started creating whole new worlds to escape the harsh, upstate NY winters. Now back in the South, her stories remain edgy, exciting, and bring a hint of dark fantasy to paranormal romance. Best of all, no one ever has to shovel snow. For more, visit her website at

-- Lynda Again,

    To enter the drawing for Deliver Me From Darkness, send an email to

1) Put Darkness in the Subject line
2) Put your name and address in the body

Send it to me by Thursday and I'll ask my alien kitten, Wookie, to pick the winner.

Good luck and have a Blessed Day!

Review - Deliver Me From Darkness by Tes Hilaire

Deliver Me From Darkness
Tes Hilaire
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
February 2012

Roland is a vampire who was once a Paladin (one of God's warriors.) His best friend is Logan, also a Paladin, was charged with killing Roland when Roland was turned. Logan believes there’s still good in Roland but when he brings a girl to Roland’s apartment for safekeeping, he’s just a little worried by Roland’s reaction to her. Roland doesn’t want the dirty, unkempt bundle in his place and certainly not in his pristine bed but that’s where Logan puts her. And after assuring himself that Roland won’t harm her, he leaves the girl in Roland’s safekeeping. Neither can understand why the denizens of the underworld are after this one girl.

When Karissa wakes and realizes she’s in an apartment with a vampire, she’s terrified. Nothing Roland says can assure her that she’s safe. And nothing he says can assure her she’s safe from him. Her first impulse is to fight for her life.  And when Roland asks her not to touch anything, she makes a point of running her hands over every surface in the ‘germaphobe’s’ apartment. But most surprising is when she tries to teleport away from Roland and he holds on. They pass through God’s area and Roland doesn’t die.

Roland quickly realizes that Karissa is his mate, but she's a Paladin and he's a vampire. He isn’t good enough for her. In his opinion, she deserves someone better, someone like Logan. Slowly Karissa comes to know Roland, seeing the goodness in him and the soul that he refuses to believe he still has. As they battle against their enemies of darkness, she accepts him as her mate. And he finally accepts her even though he hates the idea of her light being attached to someone as dark as he.

I love paranormal but I love it even more when it’s not the same-old, same-old. In Deliver Me From Darkness, we have a new mythology of Paladin warriors descended from angels. Yes, Roland from Deliver Me From Darkness is a vampire but he was once one of these Paladin and that puts a whole new shine on it for me.

There are some, to me, funny spots: the idea of a germaphobe vampire for one. However, that doesn’t mean this is a light paranormal. Not at all. This is a nice dark paranormal that will satisfy those who like their paranormal dark. I have to admit I was not enthralled with the ending. A fresh new book like Deliver Me From Darkness really needed a fresher ending but I won’t tell you any more than that.

Overall, this is the start of a new series that I will be following and enjoying.  I highly recommend it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Guest - Linda Andrews

Good morning all! Linda Andrews lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, three children and a menagerie of domesticated animals.  While she started writing a decade ago, she always used her stories to escape the redundancy of her day job as a scientist and never thought to actually combine her love of fiction and science. DOH! After that Homer Simpson moment, she allowed the two halves of her brain to talk to each other. The journeys she’s embarked on since then are dark, twisted and occasionally violent, but never predictable.


Life is not for sissies. It is a full contact sport complete with blood, bruises and broken bones. And in those dark moments, misery doesn't just love company it actively invites all your friends to a house warming party. You know what I mean. Those days when a pity party isn't just you and twenty-four pieces of chocolate covered almond clusters but everyone who calls you, makes eye contact or number among your social network.

Friends are the glue that keeps your life from unraveling.

I once watched a show on human grieving. It didn't cover the usual five stages of grief, it talked about how our web of friends, family and acquaintances effect our emotional stability in times of turbulence and in turn we effect them. Our grief will literally transmit through five layers of friends before disappearing. In other words, in a fit of anger, I share my feeling about Bob's thoughtless comments to friend A who shares it with her friend B (who probably knows me) who shares it with friend C (who doesn't know me) who then gossips about it with friend D and only friend E doesn't feel the residual anger on my behalf.

That means Bob has a whole lotta bad mojo heading his way from complete strangers. (Don't feel sorry for him, he deserved it!)

But it also means that happiness travels those same lines. Friend D will be buoyed by my happiness even though she's never even met me. It says a lot about our level of socialization as humans that different people on our web of friendship can impact our lives.

Which makes it very dangerous emotionally to keep our enemies close. Constantly surrounding ourselves with negativity can eventually drive away friends who buffer us against the meanies moving in our orbit.

And unlike family, we get to choose our friends. My friends are scattered about the country and I neglect some horribly, not contacting them for years at a time. The internet and social media have made it easier to connect, so I've been doing better lately. And when I do get in touch with them, it's like getting a smile from a complete stranger. You don't always know why you got it but it feels pretty good.

Just like friends.

Have you smiled at your friends lately?

So, if you're blessed like I am with a strong web of people around, the next time you talk to them share something good and wonderful. You'll lift the spirits of someone other than the person you're talking to.

The extraterrestrials have landed and they're human.
Rae Hemplewhite didn't believe in aliens until a close encounter with out-of-this-world technology drags her into the extraterrestrial security program. Helping alien refugees adjust to life on Earth is difficult enough, but her first clients have a price on their heads. Plus, her new partner seems torn between the urge to kiss her or kill her.
And that's the good news.
The bad news: Alliances are forming in deep space. If Rae doesn't keep her witnesses alive long enough to transfer their top secret information to the right faction of humanity, Earth will become a battlefield.

Blue Maneuver available now:

-- Lynda Again
    Our guest, Linda, has generously offered to make Wookie a very happy alien kitten by offering a free ebook to one lucky Star-Crossed Romance reader. How will you win? You must leave a comment by Friday, Feb 24 WITH your email addy so the ebook can be sent to you.

   Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Twin-Bred by Karen A, Wyle Free on Amazon

Heads Up Announcement! Karen visited our blog back in December with a great post using Twin-Bred as examples. It's an intriguing SF story with romance.

Karen A. Wyle’s science fiction novel Twin-Bred is now available for free borrowing by Amazon Prime members – and on Wednesday and Thursday, February 15th and 16th, it’ll be a free download for all comers.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Guest - Cheryl Brooks

Good morning all! Today's guest is the fabulous Cheryl Brooks whose  Zetithian Cat men are enough to make any female drool. Cheryl is giving us a glimpse into how her latest hero and heroine might celebrate Valentine's Day. Enjoy!

Oh, and the lovely Danielle of Sourcebooks is offering a copy of Stud to two Star-Crossed Romance readers. Check out the Lynda Again section to find out how to enter the drawing.


Hello, my name is Cheryl Brooks, and I’d like to thank you all for allowing me to visit with you here at Star-Crossed Romance!

Since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, I’ve been asked what Lucy and Tarq, the heroine and hero of my latest release, The Cat Star Chronicles: Stud would do for one another on Valentine’s Day. I could probably tell you in a few sentences, but since authors are always told to “show, don’t tell,” here goes…

Once upon a time during their happily ever after in their home in Nimbaza on the planet Terra Minor…

Lucy gazed into the glowing feline eyes of her tiny daughter, completely captivated. With the two boys already fast asleep in their crib, she could now focus her attention on her adorable Elaira. She’d often wished for a third arm so she could rock them all at once, but she did the best she could, getting the boys to sleep before focusing her attention on the girl baby. 

She glanced up as her husband walked in with a puzzled frown on his handsome face. “Did you know today is Valentine’s Day?”

Lucy nodded, a smile touching her lips. “Yeah, I knew.” Obviously, Tarq had forgotten, but whether he’d bought her a gift or not didn’t matter. He and their children were more than enough to satisfy her. Love itself was enough. In all her life, she’d never dreamed that fate could’ve had such happiness in store for her.

It wasn’t always like that. Many a Valentine’s Day had come and gone without notice—except for her own wistful sigh whenever she spotted it on the calendar.

He hesitated, capturing his sensuous lip with a fang. “I should have gotten you something.”

“Oh, and what could you possibly give me that I don’t already have?” Her tall, blond husband was still the hottest thing she’d ever seen, not to mention the sweetest. But then, she tended to be somewhat prejudiced in his favor. Since she’d met and married Tarq, she could honestly say that life had taken a definite turn for the better—despite a few hair-raising adventures along the way.

The corners of his mouth turned up slightly. “Diamonds, rubies, pearls…”

Lucy snickered. “Yeah, right. What would I do with those?”

He shrugged. “Wear them?”

She shook her head. “Not my style. I’m much more practical than that.”

“Then you’ll probably like what I made for you.”

Her eyes narrowed in suspicion, but she couldn’t suppress her smile. “You’ve been pulling my leg, haven’t you?”

“Only a little,” he said with a wink.

“Uh-huh. Guess you were just fishing to see if I’d gotten anything for you.”

“No, it was just a question.”

He looked so innocent, Lucy wanted to pinch him. This wasn’t the first time he’d teased her. “Yeah, right. I know you better than that. And yes, I have a present for you too. Come on, ’fess up. What infinitely practical thing have you made for me?”

Although Tarq had once believed that his only worth was to sire sons to increase the numbers of his nearly extinct species, he never ceased to astonish her with his talents. Whatever he’d made for her was sure to be special.

“Well, you know how you’re always saying you’d like to be able to rock all three babies at once?”


“Well, now you can.” He left the room for a moment, returning with a rocking chair that had a cradle built into the armrest on either side. “You can hold one and still rock the other two.”

Lucy was speechless. She got up from her chair and sat down in the rocker. “Feels like it was made for me.”

Tarq chuckled. “That’s because it was made for you.” Leaning down, his lips brushed her cheek. “I love you so much, Lucy. I’ll do anything I possibly can to make your life easier, better, and happier.”

She knew he wasn’t simply feeding her a line. Her life was no longer one of drudgery and longing for things she could never have. Thanks to him, she had everything her heart desired, and then some. But most of all, she had Tarq.

Purring as his lips made their way across her cheek, he began to melt her with his kiss. Desire flooded her and her eyes fluttered shut, making her long to wrap her arms around his neck and pull him down—but there was a baby in her arms.

“Guess I’d better put Elaira down before I drop her.” She settled the child into one of the cradles. “Don’t you want to see your present?”

“So you didn’t forget what day it is.”

“Of course I didn’t. And if you’ll check in the stasis unit, you’ll find a chocolate pie in there with your name on it.”

His eyes lit up. “A whole pie? Just for me?” If Tarq had a weakness, it was for Lucy’s chocolate pie. After the first taste of it in her father’s restaurant, he’d asked her to marry him. He’d been kidding, of course, but that proposal marked the beginning of their journey toward finding love.

“Just for you.”

“Ah, Lucy. You spoil me.”

Tarq was perhaps the most unspoiled man she’d ever encountered. “Can’t be done.” Sighing, she pulled him down for another kiss. “But I keep trying.”

That’s what Lucy and Tarq would’ve done for each other on Valentine’s Day. Now it’s your turn. How would you and your sweetie celebrate the day?


They’re galaxies apart…
Even for a Zetithian, Tarq Zulveidinoe's sexual prowess is legendary. Believing it's all he's good for, Tarq sets out to perpetuate his threatened species by offering his services to women across the galaxy...

But one force can bring them together…
Lucinda Force is the sensitive dark horse in a self-absorbed family, repeatedly told that no man will ever want such a plain woman. Lucy longs for romance, but is resigned to her loveless lot in life—until Tarq walks through the door of her father's restaurant on Talus Five...

Cheryl Brooks is a critical care nurse by night and a romance writer by day. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America. She is the author of The Cat Star Chronicles series and lives with her husband, two sons, five cats, five horses and one dog in Indiana. For more information, please visit or follower her on Twitter: @CherylCatMaster.

-- Lynda Again

  Wasn't that a fabulous story? It's always nice to see our loving heroes and heroines in their Happy Ever After. Especially when it gives me the idea for how to enter the drawing, lol! Here's what you do...

1) Send me an email at
2) Put STUD in the subject line
3) Answer the question: What is the name of Tarq and Lucy's daughter?
4) Give me your name and address (the drawing is only open to the USA and Canada readers, Sorry!)
5) Send the email to me by Friday, Feb 17
6) Leave a comment for Cheryl to let her know how much you enjoyed her Valentine's Day story or her books.

When I get all the entries together, I'll have my alien kitten, Wookie, pick the winner. She so loves playing with the bits of paper with the names on it so I hope a lot of you enter the drawing ;-)

But wait! Would you like an extra chance to win? Send a second email to me, just like the first(Steps 1-6), but in this email answer the question  What does Tarq have for dessert when he meets Lucy the first time?  (Hint: You'll find the answer in my review of Stud here)

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review - Stud by Cheryl Brooks

Cheryl Brooks
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
February 2012

Tarq Zulveidinoe, cruising the galaxy in a quest procreate his species and to find his one true mate, meets Lucy at a restaurant. He doesn’t think of himself as very intelligent because he can’t read but he doesn’t like to let anyone know. So he asks her to make a recommendation. After his meal, Tarq ends up with Lucy's chocolate pie for dessert. When she’s near he catches her scent and it does remarkable things to him. All the parts of him. That’s how Zetithian males know their mates – by their scent. But Tarq knows he isn’t too bright which is why he’d become one of the galaxies best male prostitutes. Not having any special skills, he fell back on the one thing he knew he could do well…give a woman pleasure like she’s never known.

Lucy is the overworked, over protected and somewhat plain daughter of the restaurant’s owner. She’s always wanted a family of her own but her father has successfully kept all the boys away from her. Now, the available men are somewhat brutish and she isn’t interested in any of them. In Tarq, she sees a means to an end. Zetithian men always  give a woman three babies at a time. With Tarq, she can have the family she’s always wanted and an escape from the drudgery in her father’s restaurant and home. She takes him up on his offer for sex.

But when she thinks she’s pregnant, she has to set in motion the second part of her plan –to leave home and go to another city to  find a job and raise her children. When she packs her things and sets off on foot, Tarq is dismayed. He immediately sets out to find her, hoping to convince her to ‘settle for a dummy’ like him. Therein starts their journey of discovery.

I loved this story, as I usually do, although I tend find the lack of confidence in both Tarq and Lucy a bit tedious. Yes, both had problems but they made the best of their situation and actually did quite well. But no matter how well they did, neither felt successful or confident in the results. Aside from that, this book was a fast and entertaining read.

The characters were adorable…well, except for the bad guys who got their comeuppance as happens to bad guys. Ms Brooks always does a superb job creating new planets with new life forms and Stud is no different. It’s not any different in the erotic sex scenes either which work to provide insights into the characters as well as to advance the story.

All in all, I would definitely recommend Stud for any SF loving, romance loving reader. It’s wildly imaginative, highly entertaining and sure to become a classic in its genre.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Guest - Kathryne Kennedy & Dewhame

Good morning all! We're participating with Kathryne Kennedy and Sourcebook's Elven Realm Blog hop today. Don't forget my reviews of these fabulous books!

Enjoy and look for special offers/prizes! Make sure you leave your answer and your email addy to enter the contest for a small desktop fountain and copies of these great books!



In the realm of Dewhame, the elven lord Breden rules with his blue scepter of sea and sky. The palace is all rounded edges, with water running down the walls and statues spraying fountains of it within the courtyard. Within the palace, there are ponds with fantastical plants surrounding them, and you might occasionally see a naiad swimming about. The court dresses in gowns of silk and satin and gauze, light fabrics that aren’t weighed down by the humidity. A waterfall shimmers behind the elven lord’s throne, and wisps of vapor swirl through the throngs of courtiers: half-breed elven with pale hair and jewel-like eyes.

Excerpts featuring Dewhame, from the Elven Lords Series by Kathryne Kennedy:

The Land:
The elven lord of Dewhame had changed the land with his magic: springs spouted from meadow and wood, ponds softened any lowland, rivers and streams flowed in a wild profusion across the landscape.


The path they rode upon curved away from the ocean again, but they had been steadily climbing and so this time the poplar trees did not block their view, and they had a fine prospect of the land of Dewhame. A wild moor spread out below them, heather blooming in a lavender blanket that rippled in the breeze and made a sort of shushing sound. A river sparkled on the far horizon, small streams flowing from it to weave through the heather like some giant spider web. Fountains of water erupted from several of the streams, glittering in the sunshine and overlaying the land with a sheen of mist.

The city and palace:
His men narrowed their eyes against the glare of the sun’s rays as they rode through the cobbled streets. It always appeared brighter in Bath, indeed, in the entire sovereignty of Dewhame, due to the reflection of the light bouncing off so much water. Small fountains of flowing urns and spouting creatures decorated every doorstep. Larger fountains stood within every square, their spray a loud hiss in the quiet morning, a cold spatter against Dominic’s face. The buildings lining the streets had been painted in muted tones of blues and greens, and they all lacked a single straight line, the walls and roofs rounded like the swell of a wave.

But they could not compare to Dewhame Palace, the home of Imperial Lord Breden. As Dominic and his men approached the looming structure, he marveled again that something so seemingly soft could be so impregnable. The walls surrounding the palace had been crafted to resemble ocean waves, one rolling atop the other to create one large barrier. Elven magic made the waves appear to actually flow, but the palace walls themselves really did move with water. It erupted from the top turrets of the palace to cascade down the ridged walls, a translucent shimmer of color in the morning sunlight.

A flood of water drenched Dominic as they passed through the open gate, and he didn’t get any drier when he reached the waterfall-surrounded courtyard. Water rained down from the palace walls and splattered from the waterfalls and swirled about his horse’s hooves. The general’s wool coat stuck to his shoulders and back and made him itch. He scowled. Wet wool stank.

The dragons:
She had heard the dragons of the six other sovereignties had different powers associated with their elven lords: the black dragon of Firehame could breathe fire; the blue dragon of Dewhame, lightning; the green dragon of Verdanthame could breathe a mist that grew tangled briars and enormous trees. The silver dragon of Bladehame spat molten metal, the brown dragon of Terrahame emitted a roar that cracked the earth, and the violet dragon of Stonehame could turn anything to stone with his breath.

Question for readers to answer to enter the contest:  
If you could be a bird or a fish, which would you be (or—do you prefer land or air)?

 Follow the Tour
Elven Realm Blogger Hop Schedule
Featuring the Elven Lords Series by Kathryne Kennedy

2/6 “Dewhame”—hosted by Star-Crossed Romance
Grand Prize: Small Desktop Fountain + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/7 “Firehame”—hosted by Books Like Breathing
Grand Prize: Red Candles (battery operated) + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/8 “Dreamhame”—hosted by SOS Aloha
Grand Prize: Pretty Sparkly Make Up + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/9 “Stonehame”—hosted by Book Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf
Grand Prize: Purple Jewelry + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/10 “Bladehame”—hosted by The Royal Reviews
Grand Prize: Sword Letter Opener + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/11 “Terrahame”—hosted by Debbie’s Book Bag
Grand Prize: Terra Cotta Wind Chimes + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/12 “Verdanthame”—hosted by Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Grand Prize: Fairy Garden Orament + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/13 Elven Realm Blogger Hop Grand Prize Announcement—hosted by the Sourcebooks Buzz Blog
Anyone who comments on the other blogs throughout the blogger hop will be eligible for this overall grand prize, too-
Grand Prize: $100 B&N Gift Card + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series
-- Lynda Again
    Okay, who wants a desk top fountain and a set of these fabulous books? Leave a comment answering the question and make sure you include your email addy so I can contact you. On Friday, I'll have my alien kitten, Wookie, pick the winner and runner up. We'll announce it here so check back. Oh, sorry, this contest is only available to US and Canada residents.

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Review - The Lord of Illusion

The Lord of Illusion
Kathryne Kennedy
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
February 2012

He dreams of her, a woman with amazing multi-colored eyes and pale hair. He’s dreamed of her for years. And loved her for just as long. Lord Drystan Hawkes has yearned to be a hero like the heroes in the books he’s loved all his life. He would be the hero to save the day, to rescue his people from their enemies and his lovely vision of a woman with multi-colored eyes…well, she would love him as much as he loves her. But the strange affliction he’s had since the arrival of the elven scepters has kept him alone and bound to the magical items brought from ensorcelled England to the dungeons of the castle in Wales. He searches the records for any sign of her but all he finds is her name and the fact that she’s the child of a white witch and may have the key that will return the elves to Elfhame. Only Sir Giles and Lady Cecily (The Lady of the Storm) know of his dreams and even they don’t know all of them.

When Lord North, the Prime Minister arrives, to tell them of the Rebellion and how Roden, the Lord of Dreamhame plans to retaliate against the half-breed who usurped the sovereignty of Verdanthame, Drystan knows his time has come. He must be the one to go to Dreamhame and rescue Camille Ashton, the child of the white witch, the woman with the multi-colored eyes.

Camille has been a slave since childhood but she’s never been enslaved. With her indomitable will she has managed, twice, to rise above herself to work with the aristocracy, first as a nursemaid, then as a lady’s maid. But when Roden, Lord of Dreamhame kills the elderly woman who Camille served, she finds herself back in the slave quarters. Back to a life of degradation, of beatings and rape. She is lashed until her back bleeds and barely manages to crawl back into the closet she used to share with Molly, her friend and fellow slave. Molly dresses her back but when Camille realizes the soldiers will soon come looking for entertainment, she flees to the stables. Unfortunately, she’s caught by two soldiers before she can hide. Desperation makes her fight back. She grabs a pistol from one of the guards and shoots him. For a slave to touch a weapon is a killing offense. Camille doesn’t care. She can’t bear being raped and beaten anymore. She’s finally had enough. There’s no more fight in her; she wants to die.

Then Drystan arrives and stops the guards. He carries her to his apartments inside Dewhame castle and summons a healer to tend to her damaged back. He recognizes her under her dirt and stench but realizes she doesn’t know him. He also realizes he’ll have to take it easy with her since she can’t bear a man’s touch.  When she recuperates she discovers, he’s fought the slave master her lashed her and was injured in the process. As she tends him back to health, she worries about finding him so attractive. As she spends more time with him, he begins to win her trust and that worries her. A slave can’t afford to rely on someone else for their safety. She begins planning an escape because she knows that she can’t return to the slave quarters again.

This third book in the Elven Lord series by Kathryne Kennedy is another MUST READ. Kathryne has created a world of imagination so vibrant that it screams into life on the pages and takes the reader by the heart. I could barely put this book down once I started reading it. Drystan is a wonderful hero with self-deprecating, subtle humor. Even more, he has the heart of a dauntless hero, honorable and true. Yes, all good heroes have those qualities but, in Drystan, they’re intrinsically part of him. Camille, too, is a wonderful character. The reader can feel her pain, her misery and fear. Yet, there’s a core of steel inside this woman that keeps her going even when she’s ready to give up. That’s admirable above all things.

The plot is another marvel of twisty, turny, thorny problems that create all good quests. Ms Kennedy has mastered the art of creating a good, old-fashioned quest plot filled with derring-do and romance and angst and fantastical creatures. I highly recommend this book (and the first two) to any reader who loves fantasy romance. It won’t disappoint.

Get Ready! The Elven Lords Blog Tour Starts Here Tomorrow

We're the start off for Kathryne Kennedy and Sourcebook's fabulous Elven Lord Blog Hop starting tomorrow. We'll be hosting Dewhame, a fabulous land of sky and water. And ......

Sourcebooks is offering a grand prize to one lucky Star-Crossed reader

Desktop Fountain (See it here)
   plus Signed copies of the Elven Lord series

And for our runner up winner, Sourcebooks is offering
Copies of the Elven Lord series

Sorry, the contest is only open to US and Canada readers. Enter by answering the question in the Dewhame blog post AND leave your email addy (or send it to me at if you prefer)

You can enter the contests at all the blog stops along the way for more opportunities to win. Tell your friends and family. This is going to be great!

Have Fun and Good luck!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Special Message from Sourcebooks!

Good morning all! I'm passing this message along for one of our favorite publishers. And you'll notice that Star-Crossed Romance is the first stop on this blog tour. Make sure you stop by on Monday, Feb 6.


Good Morning!

I’m pleased to announce a celebration of all things Elven! In honor of the release of The Lord of Illusion by Kathryne Kennedy this month, the third book in her Elven Lords Series, we have an exciting book blogger hop in which 7 bloggers will take you on a journey to the mythical version of England Kathryne Kennedy has created in her magical romance series.

Ruled by seven dangerously powerful Elven Lords, who use the Kind as a pawn in their wars and games, the rebellion of humans and half-breeds (half elven, half human) have joined forces and risked their lives to try to defeat the treacherous rule the Elven Lords have over their homes. In each book in this series—The Fire Lord’s Lover, The Lady of the Storm and The Lord of Illusion—brave men and women sacrifice almost everything for the rebellion… but they also fall in love along the way!

The blogger hop begins on Monday and will last until the following Monday, February 13th. Each day you will learn about a different realm, read excerpts from the books handpicked by Kathryne, and have a chance to win fun prizes on each stop. On the very last date, Sourcebooks’ will announce the grand prize of a $100 B&N Gift Card. If you comment on the other blogs, those comments will also count in the big grand prize drawing!

You can find out more information about Kathryne at the following places:

©       Website:
©       Twitter:!/KathryneKennedy

We hope to see you along the way as we celebrate the magical world and breathtaking love stores Kathryne has created for the Elven Lords Series.


Elven Realm Blogger Hop Schedule
Featuring the Elven Lords Series by Kathryne Kennedy
(Prizes open to US and Canada Only)

2/6 “Dewhame”—hosted by Star-Crossed Romance
Grand Prize: Small Desktop Fountain + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/7 “Firehame”—hosted by Books Like Breathing
Grand Prize: Red Candles (battery operated) + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/8 “Dreamhame”—hosted by SOS Aloha
Grand Prize: Pretty Sparkly Make Up + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/9 “Stonehame”—hosted by Book Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf
Grand Prize: Purple Jewelry + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/10 “Bladehame”—hosted by The Royal Reviews
Grand Prize: Sword Letter Opener + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/11 “Terrahame”—hosted by Debbie’s Book Bag
Grand Prize: Terra Cotta Wind Chimes + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/12 “Verdanthame”—hosted by Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Grand Prize: Fairy Garden Orament + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

2/13 Elven Realm Blogger Hop Grand Prize Announcement—hosted by the Sourcebooks Buzz Blog
-Anyone who comments on the other blogs throughout the blogger hop will be eligible for this overall grand prize, too-
Grand Prize: $100 B&N Gift Card + signed copies of all three books in The Elven Lords Series
Runner-up Prize: All three books in The Elven Lords Series

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Review - Acquainted With The Night

Acquainted With The Night
Piper Maitland
Berkley Publishing
December 2011

A crank call wakes Caroline ‘Caro’ Clifford from a restless sleep populated by nightmarish figures. But when the phone rings a second time, she’s devastated to learn that her uncle, the man who’d raised her from a small child, had been murdered at an archeological site in Bulgaria. She hastily dresses and packs so she can meet a government car coming to take her to the airport. Before she leaves, she packs a small, ancient icon in her bag. Her uncle had always instructed her to take it with her, no matter where she went.

When she arrives at the airport, a handsome man with a pony-tail asks to speak to her. But she really doesn’t have time. She desperately wants to catch her flight. Getting to Bulgaria and her deceased uncle is all she can think of. But the stranger catches her attention when he tells her his name, Jude Barrett, and that he’d planned on having tea with her and her uncle. She isn’t sure what to make of that but the man insists that he still wants to talk to her. In fact, he follows her to Bulgaria.

Once there, Jude has some crazy ideas about vampires, that they’re real and constitute a threat to humanity and Caro is at first skeptical. But then she recalls some of the strange things that have happened to her in the past few days…including being attacked by a man wearing thick layers of sunscreen. The man had tried to steal her bag but Caro managed to keep it from him. When the same man and another man wearing sunscreen show up at her Bulgarian hotel, she begins to fear Jude is right.  

Caro receives some of her uncle’s belongings from the embassy, among them her uncle’s passport. Inside, odd anagrams provide clues which lead her and Jude on an adventure to a cliff-top monastery. There Caro learns about the icon she carries with her. The icon is connected to an ancient text on immortality and a prophecy that might be somehow connected to her. Caro learns about Jude’s run in with vampires, how they destroyed his life as a research scientist and almost took his life in the bargain. Jude understandably hates vampires. He wants to destroy them all.

But vampires aren’t the only ones threatening Caro and Jude. The vampires are actually following the orders of a man who wants Caro and the icon. He needs them both in a search for his own immortality.

Ms Maitland has combined her vampires with science and history and I found that truly fascinating. I also found the plot with all its intricate twists and turns equally fascinating. Had the world and characters been less well developed, this might have resulted in confusion but, in reality, it was a lengthy but easy to follow read with a good deal of suspense.

The relationship between Caro and Jude at first seemed to be incredibly rushed. Not that I am really complaining though, as they sure made for an incredibly steamy couple. That said, I thought the relationship between Caro and Jude was rushed. Even though their love scenes were hot, the couple never struck me as one that would stay together. It was no surprise then that, when a shocking reveal is made, Jude retreats from a relationship with Caro. I wanted to slap him, then turn around and slap her for practically begging for his attention.  

For the most part, Acquainted With the Night read very quickly with only a few sagging spots. However, I was disappointed at the ending. While it seemed inevitable, it also seemed somewhat clichéd. I enjoyed the book but when I can tell almost exactly how the book will end 50 pages before I get there, that’s a problem. It might be that I've read too many vampire/love stories and perhaps I'm jaded. Other readers may not have this problem. Also the ending was very open-ended indicating that there would be a sequel and from the feel of it, more than one. Nothing wrong with that. I usually enjoy sequels.

Readers of urban fantasy will enjoy Acquainted With The Night. Readers of vampire stories will love the new mythology Ms Maitland has created as much as I did.