Friday, April 29, 2011

Wills and Kate..... A True Love Story

I have been obsessed with the royal wedding for a week or so now. This is so unlike me, for I have never really taken an interest in the British Monarchy before. But I have watched every video, every hi-light, every interview that has graced the screen in the last week. I have asked myself why and I have realized that it is the love story. For me, Kate and Wills' story is just like a wonderful historical romance novel. The hero, a royal, a member of the aristocracy, a man so many women swoon over. The heroine, a commoner, a stunning beauty with an innate sense of goodwill and quiet charm. How can such a regal member of society marry such an every-day girl? Well, it seems to me that the answer is love. Like many of the heroes I read about, William does not care about Kate's humble beginnings. He loves her for who she is, not her pedigree. He sees beyond propriety and gleans the truth in Kate....that she will stand by him through thick and thin. He has succeeded in breaking all of the rules to win and secure this love match, just like many of our romantic heroes in novels written by the likes of Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn. From "living in sin" to organizing many of the details for his own wedding, Wills has broken tradition to ensure he gets what he wants, which seems to be a "normal" life with Kate Middleton. I love a hero who fights for his love...who has a quiet but firm sense of self and an enduring love for his woman. William seems to have this. I see it in his quick glances at Kate. I see it in his support for her in her debut interview with the press. I see it in his gentle touches whenever they are out and about. And I saw it Kate approached the alter and stood beside him, our hero whispered "You look beautiful", drawing a perfect smile from his partner for life. Swoon....I can't help it....I love a good romance!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review for "A Little Bit of Passion" by Beate Boeker

"It's funny how an expression in the eyes of the person opposite you can make you glow and make you think you're beautiful and witty. It's scary too." I can totally relate, can't you? You're on a date, and the way he looks at you makes your insides flutter and your heartbeat resound in your ears. You feel flushed whenever his glance encompasses are the most beautiful girl in the room. This is how Karen Larsen feels when she's out with John Bernett, a feeling that is so wonderful, yet so alarming.

Karen has a wonderfully happy life. In the winter, she is a ski instructor in Wyoming and in the summer she works at the bookstore she co-owns on Long Island, New York. She is content to live in a small trailer in the summer and in a tiny attic room in the winter. These small spaces make her feel safe and secure. Karen loves the outdoors, her face glowing at the sight of a sunset and her heart content with the breath-taking view from the mountains. Then along comes John and Karen's world is shaken. There is a definite mutual attraction between the two that scares her. How can her life stay the same if she lets this man into her world? How could she possibly maintain her carefree lifestyle with a man whose world is so different than hers? But soon, Karen realizes "how empty a place can be when just one person is missing".

Although this was a very short read, it was a good one. It is a story told entirely through a set of emails written between Karen and her best friend Leslie. These emails not only reveal the story, but they are the means by which Karen muddles through her emotions and tries to make sense of her feelings for John. At first, I thought this style would distract me, but I quickly got used to the format and began to sink into the storyline. Some of the emails written by Leslie were quite short, leaving me wanting to know more about her character and her relationship with Karen. I also wanted more of John and Karen together. Karen's feelings for John are revealed in her correspondences but I wanted to hear more from John himself, and simply not what Karen relayed through her emails. The author does a great job of relaying some vivid descriptions of the landscape, making me feel that I was right there on the mountaintop, feeling the wind in my face or the sunshine on my skin. I wanted Karen to take a chance on love, and was happy to see her taking some risks midway through the book. But at times, I was frustrated with her when she retreated back into that space within her self. Yet, I was touched when she revealed her mistakes to Ben, the young boy who visited her often at the bookstore. I think what touched me even more was his innocent, yet so enlightening reply:
He wrinkled his freckled and spotted nose like some benighted guru and said, "You know how I know? You look like Granny when my granddad died."
Lovely comparison.
"It's because I was stupid," I explained. "I love somebody very much, but I didn't believe in it, and that's why I destroyed it. And it's all my own fault."
He nodded. "Like when I washed my crocodile, and all the stuffing came out, and Mom said I shouldn't have done it, only I thought it would be all right because a crocodile lives in the water, doesn't it?" That was when I smiled. "Yeah. Just like that," I said. "I washed the stuffing out of John."
"A Little Bit of Passion" is about characters who are passionate about life and who learn how to make room in their lives for the oldest of all passions....that which we call love.
I was asked by the author to review this book. I was not compensated for my opinions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Author Guest Post Featuring Beate Boeker

Today I would like to welcome guest blogger Beate Boeker, author of several books, including "Take My Place", "Wings to Fly", and her most current release, "A Little Bit of Passion". I love the message that Beate is sending through her post today...a simple one....a hopeful one. She makes me want to put pen to paper immediately and follow my own dream.

What if the man of your life lives in one of the muddiest, rainiest towns of the US (and you don't want to live there)? What if he isn't even the man of your life but just . . . an infatuation? A quick spiral of hormones, whipped up by dimples, gray eyes and an irresistible way of looking at you? What if you fall in love so much that going back (in one piece) isn't an option? Is he worth giving up the job you love? Do you dare to leave your home town, your friends, your life for someone you barely know?

Karen's well-organized life is thrown into disorder when she gets to know John and realizes that she has to make some choices, changing her life for ever. If only she wasn't so happy with her life as a skiing teacher in winter and a book-store owner in summer; if only she hadn't learned the hard way that for her, independence equals happiness. She pours out her heart to her best friend Leslie in long e-mails. They take you straight to the core of Karen's soul - without restraint, ironic and illogical, furious and funny, sensitive and sad - just like her.

I hope that this novel will grip you as it gripped me when I wrote it. It's my third contemporary romance, published by Avalon Books New York. I'm so pleased that they accepted this novel with its unusual format (it is entirely written in the form of e-mails). But then, Avalon Books already proved with my very first novel that they are willing to take some chances - after all, it's more than a bit unusual to accept a manuscript from a German, who isn't even a native speaker.

„But why don't you write in German?“ you'll ask yourselves (and trust me, my mother asks me that very same question every week). The answer is simple – I didn't find any support as a beginning writer in Germany. The Germans have a very clear approach when it comes to jobs: Study it in depth, then work in that line of business until you die (or retire, whatever comes first). When I searched the Internet, however, I realized that things are different at the other side of the big pond. Here, they say: „If you want it, you can do it. Never mind that you're a gardener, a nurse, a lawyer – you can become a writer, and we'll teach you all you need to learn.“

So I decided to write in English, feeling a bit like a desert mouse that has decided it wants to learn skiing. But as the months went by, I found friends like Margaret Elam, who taught me how to make words sing; I found online writing courses; I found the Romance Writers of America; I found writers magazines, and I found the „book doctor“ Elizabeth Lyon . . . so that bit by bit, my know-how increased; I learned the tools of the trade, and finally, my first manuscript became a published novel.

So if there's a message to my blog today, it is this: Whatever the odds – fight for your dreams – dare to do what you love to do and where your heart takes you– and you will succeed eventually.
Brief Bio:
Beate Boeker is a product manager by day and a writer by night. She's also married and the mother of an energetic kid who loves snow as much as she does. If you mix Latin and German, Beate Boeker literally translates as Happy Books . . . and with a name like that, what else could she do but write romances? Beate would love to hear from you. You can get in touch via her website,
A Little Bit of Passion is Beate Boeker's third book for Avalon. Wings to Fly and Take My Place are also available.

About the Book:
Karen calls herself a modern gypsy because she has split her life into two perfect halves: In winter, she's a skiing teacher in the Teton Mountain Range, and in summer, she works at her book store on Long Island. But one Easter holiday, John and his son Gerry join her skiing group, and her perfect universe is shaken. Can she overcome her need for independence and find a compromise between her free life and the man who might be the love of her life?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Blogger Hop for April 15th to 18th

Book Blogger Hop
I am currently reading a book called "A Little Bit of Passion". It is about a young woman named Karen who is truly a carefree spirit. She followed her dream and became a ski instructor. But that is only in the winter. In the summer months, she is part-owner of a wonderful bookstore in Long Island, with her best friend Leslie. What a life, and she knows it. Karen doesn't have many belongings, and tends to live in small, little places, like the attic at the ski lodge and a tiny trailer on Long Island. She would rather be why would she want a huge house? The small space makes her feel secure. Then along comes John and his fourteen year old son Gerry. Karen begins to feel things she hasn't let herself feel in a long time. Her failed marriage has pushed her further into her independent lifestyle. But John is driving her to question what she truly wants out of life. I can't wait to finish this story. I will be posting my full review at the end of the month.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Review for "Scandal in Spring" by Lisa Kleypas

He loves her and has loved her for years. But Daisy Bowman would never know it and Matthew Swift is determined to keep it that way. He harbors a hidden desire he must keep to himself in order to protect her from his past. What is he hiding? What is so unforgivable that he cannot profess his need for this woman, even when she beckons him with her innocent desires?

As with the previous books in the series, I thoroughly enjoyed this tale, the last in Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower series. I got lost in her easy, free-flowing style and her witty sense of humour had me chuckling throughout the story. The banter between the hero and heroine was so enjoyable and hilarious that I was laughing out loud, especially during the heated "lawn bowling" game. Of course, neither character would admit defeat, something I can totally relate to. There is hope for we five foot lasses in this tale. I, only being an inch (or 2????) over five feet, could easily connect to the petite Daisy. She was a different kind of beauty, not the striking, regal vision of refinement. She was an every-day beauty....romantic and fiesty, my kind of gal. I loved how Daisy fell for Matthew, someone she never fathomed could possess all of the qualities she had sought for so long. In Matthew Swift she found someone whose presence she reveled in, even more than her precious books, someone who made her senses come alive with the brush of a fingertip, someone who accepted her for who she was, quirks and all.
Daisy rushed at him and whacked his chest with the book. She hated it that she felt so alive with him. She hated the way her senses drank in his presence like dry earth absorbing rain. She hated his handsome face and virile body, and the mouth that was more tempting than any man's mouth had a right to be.
Matthew was a wonderful hero, a man with a duality of character that even women today seek. He could be a cold-hearted, aggressive businessman, very smart with a strong work ethic and a tenacious and unyielding drive to succeed. As we learn Matthew's secrets, we learn why this tenacity exists within him. Yet Matthew also possessed a gentle and playful side, easily apparent in the "goose" incident as well as his many debates with Daisy about her romantic notions of men. What I adored the most was his devotion to Daisy. He loved her for so long, secretly keeping his feelings to himself as he reveled in every glimpse of her face, every movement of her hands, every breath that she took. When a man keeps a lock of your hair in his pocket for years, knowing he could never possibly have you, I call that love and devotion. Thus, when Matthew finds himself alone with Daisy and she innocently proclaims her desire for him, he couldn't help but question this unfathomable reality.
"Do you know what I want from you?" she heard him ask hoarsely. "Do you understand what's going to happen if we don't stop?"
Matthew lifted his head and gave her a doubtful glance. "I'm not as innocent as you might think," Daisy said earnestly. "I'm very well read."
He turned his face away, and she had the impression he was fighting a smile. Then he looked back at her with piercing tenderness. "Daisy Bowman," he said unevenly, "I'd spend eternity in hell for one hour with you."
Wow! Eternity! Sigh.....I would spend an eternity with Matthew Swift myself. And you can spend a few hours with him as well if you read this historical romance, another success by the very talented Lisa Kleypas.
"Scandal in Spring" is book #11 in the 2011 Historical Romance Challenge.
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