SHHM Guest Priscilla Oliveras: “Nourishment for My Latino Soul”

*ETA from Priscilla: To all our family and friends in Puerto Rico, our hearts and prayers go out to you. For those interested in donating to help those devastated by hurricane Maria, please consider this organization:  https://hispanicfederation.org/donate

We are super excited to have author Priscilla Oliveras join us at ALBTALBS for Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month! Not only is Priscilla guest blogging, but her first novel debuts this month on September 26th. Congratulations, Priscilla!

Nourishment for My Latino Soul

The Latino culture is rich and vibrant. Full of color and essence. Of different flavors and sounds. Within our culture, you’ll find nuances unique to specific countries and areas. Evidence of this is readily apparent in the beautiful homage titled Latino Cultures in the US compiled by Google Arts & Culture.

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Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: Magic’s Promise by Sela Carsen

It’s Tuesday and we have an exclusive teaser just for you! Sela Carsen joins ALBTALBS for the first time with an exclusive expert from her newest book Magic’s Promise: A Nocturne Falls Universe Story! Which, I’m not going to lie, looks amazing! Enjoy reading!

Book Cover

Runaway bride Katya Dostoyevna escaped to Nocturne Falls ten years ago. She’s lived a quiet life since then, establishing a much-needed animal sanctuary. It’s good work for a shy witch who prefers to talk to animals, both supernatural and mundane.

Scorned groom Danil Leonov has finally tracked down the girl who fled from their arranged marriage. He doesn’t want to marry her any more now than he did then, but she left with something he desperately needs. The fate of the fae world depends on it.

But he’s not the only one after the microchip he developed. And after he and Katya connect, Danil starts to wonder if it’s the tech he really wants, or the woman he didn’t realize he loved.

 

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Teaser Thursday Exclusive Excerpt: Catch My Fall by Jessica Scott

I am so excited to have Jessica Scott with us today, sharing an excerpt from her upcoming book Catch My Fall, the fourth book in her Falling series! 

I’m so grateful to Lime for hosting an excerpt from my new book CATCH MY FALL. For people who aren’t familiar with the series, it follows a group of Army veterans adjusting to life around a prestigious southern college campus. In many ways, the series reflects some of my alienation that I felt while attending grad school and when I first started teaching at West Point.

My novels tend to deal with some of the more real aspects of coming home and deployment because for me, they reflect an opportunity to process everything – the good and the bad.

I decided to incorporate cadets into this book because I wanted to reflect some of the really difficult questions they ask and the ways that we as instructors and mentors struggle with providing them with answers.

And yeah, there’s a romance involved too. Because it wouldn’t be a true romance without smoldering looks between the two protagonists.

I hope you like this glimpse of Deacon and Kelsey’s classroom and some of the struggles they’re working through! And thanks again to Lime for hosting me!

Former Army Sergeant Deacon Hunter is trapped.

Trapped in the friend zone. Longing for the woman who captured his heart when they were deployed in Iraq.

Former Army Sergeant Kelsey Ryder has scars, the kind of scars she hopes that no one ever sees. Working around the guys at the Pint, she’s reminded of everything she lost when she left the Army behind.

But some scars refuse to stay hidden.

One fateful night changes everything and neither of them know if their relationship will ever be the same.

All Deacon knows is that he’ll be there to catch her when she finally falls.

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Babs’ RT17 Recap

Oh my goodness – this post has been ready since the middle of June, so the tardiness is my fault. Apologies to Babs!! Anyway, it’s still always fun to hear about peoples conference experiences, so enjoy!

Do you want to hang out with hundreds of fellow romance fans for up to 6 days and geek out over books? Do you want the opportunity to meet hundreds of romance authors all in one place? Check out RT! (Maybe–see notes below.)

If you’re not familiar, RT Booklovers Convention or RT is hosted by RT Book Reviews each year. It’s a traveling convention and occurs during a April-May timeframe. Reader events run Tuesday through Sunday. The focus is romance novels but you’ll see non-romance authors there from mystery, suspense/thriller, etc. RT17 was my fifth RT and was in Atlanta May 2-7. I attended RT in:

  • 2013 in Kansas City
  • 2014 in New Orleans (my fave so far)
  • 2015 in Dallas
  • 2016 in Las Vegas

Agenda. RT can be as busy and crowd filled as you want. I am pretty selective in the events I attend. Some readers go for the reader parties with all the goody bags and free books and have complex scheduling strategies. I know others spend a lot of time socializing in the hotel bar with friends they only see at RT. I’m somewhere in the middle now. A few reader events, some panels, maybe one evening party. I leave plenty of time for food, relaxing/hanging out, and a little sightseeing. Use the RT app or the paper agenda if you’re like me and need to HAVE A PLAN. I like variety in my panels and reader events and try to hit different sub genres.

Highlights. My con kicked off Tuesday night with Cinema Craptastique hosted by fab author Damon Suede. I highly recommend checking this out if you go to RT or Coastal Magic Con. Damon spends hours watching terrible movies, researching, and then delivers an incredible, snark-filled commentary for the year’s pick. Folks at home can follow along on Twitter. This year’s movie was Mariah Carey’s Glitter. I also enjoyed large amounts of junk food and there were tons of giveaways.

Wednesday was the welcome breakfast from RT. I attended a couple of reader events. The ladies of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books held their first Reader Recommendation party last year and it was one of the best events of my RT last year. The same this year–I was not missing this one! They share their recommendations and then the audience shares their recs plus giveaways! I attended a Historical panel–Welcome to Americana with wonderful authors Beverly Jenkins, Alyssa Cole, Kate McMurray, Piper Huguley, Joanna Shupe, and Kianna Alexander. I went to one of the evening events then wrapped up for the night.

Thursday started off…frustrating. My first event was the Harlequin party. I arrived 45 minutes early and there was already quite a line. I immediately got in line for Tiffany Reisz to make sure I got a signed copy of her book. I didn’t make it any further on my list (remember HAVE A PLAN from above?) because the other authors were running out of books. Not cool. Better events Thursday–Heroines: You Can Have It All panel with Alisha Rai, HelenKay Dimon, and Sonali Dev (watch the panel here); Romance, Bollywood Style with Sonali Dev, MK Schiller, Amalie Howard, Shaila Patel, Sienna Snow (Bollywood movie clips! Beautiful goodie bags! And I talked to a lady in line who loves Sonali Dev and was so cute when Sonali walked by–“Is that her? Oh my gosh!”); Kensington Peaches & Cream party (books from Jeffe Kennedy and Alyssa Cole and an ARC from Sonali Dev).

Friday was my busiest day. I did a Meet & Greet signing with Christina Lauren first thing (and thoroughly embarrassed myself by spilling my coffee right behind them but I’m trying to erase that from my memory 😳). Right before my first panel I caught the end of a publisher showcase (for booksellers and librarians) and they were offering up tons of free books! Score (for my mom and a friend mostly, but still)! Then my day really started and I went to the Steam vs. Scream panel with Jennifer Estep, Chloe Neill, Jeffe Kennedy, Julie Ann Walker, Amanda Bonilla, HD Smith (Grace Draven and Amanda Bouchet were also in the room and it was so hard to be chill about it!). I attended Geeks Who Drink: Author Edition trivia game which was fun. Next was a huge, must-attend reader event every year–the Friday Avon party. I planned my schedule so I would have plenty of time to get a good spot in line (hopefully), have 30 minutes in the event, then run to a live recording of SBTB podcast. Yeah, that didn’t happen. The doors opened over 30 minutes late! I ended up getting out of line 30 minutes after the scheduled start because I had no idea when the doors for Avon would open and I didn’t want to miss the podcast recording. This was the ONLY event Ilona Andrews was appearing at besides the awards ceremony and they had early copies of White Hot. I also missed getting a signed book from Alisha Rai! Ugh! Two months later and I’m still bitter. The SBTB podcast recording was great though so there’s that! My last event was the annual RT Awards Ceremony. I go mostly for the big bag of books you get at the end. It’s also fun to see fave authors win awards.

Saturday was the Giant Book Fair and my last scheduled event for RT17. Hundreds of authors with books for sale and to sign. I didn’t get in line early this year unlike previous years and it was nice. Attendees who pay full registration enter 30 minutes before everyone else (including the public). I think I was in and out in 30 minutes or so. Then sightseeing at the Georgia Aquarium!

I like RT because there are so many authors, usually quite a few of my favorites, all in one spot. I also have a friend I go to book conventions with and it’s fun hanging out with her. Everyone is usually pretty friendly and ok holding spots in line, etc. I also try to meet a couple people IRL that I interact with online.

There are many opportunities for free books like reader events, evening parties, pop-up signings, Goody room, and book swap table. I don’t bring every book available home with me but you could. This year I ended up with 30 books for myself (not including what’s on the Smashwords thumb drive) and then about 10 each for my mom and a friend.

Some notes:

  • there are lots of people. There are hundreds of readers and several hundred authors in attendance. I struggle with crowds sometimes so I try to pace myself, have flexibility in my schedule so that if I need to go to my room, I can.
  • you spend a lot of time in line. You can probably miss most of the lines if you’re not interested in getting ALL THE BOOKS/SWAG or going to highly attended reader events.
  • registration is not cheap. I pay for full registration for the whole week. You can buy day passes. Between hotel, registration, and airfare this is usually my most expensive vacation.
  • you may be disappointed. Authors cancel. Karen Marie Moning was at the top of my list for RT17. At some point she backed out and that bummed me out. Also goody bags or books may be gone before you get to that author or the front of the line.
  • the book fair is crazy. That is all.

Overall ok RT. Not my favorite. The hotel was nice with the meeting space right there (unlike Vegas). After next year in Reno, I’ll evaluate whether RT is an automatic, must-attend event for me. I’m trying out other cons and will need a big, favorite author or great location to get me back to RT. Last year I attended 3 new-to-me cons: Coastal Magic Con, WorldCon/MidAmeriCon II, and Nola StoryCon (its 1st year). This year I’m attending Nola StoryCon again and Sirens Conference for the first time. Next year I’m attending Apollycon for the first time, RT, and maybe WisCon.

Have you been to RT? What was your experience? Is there another con or reader event I need to go to? Let me know!

Attention! Social Media for Social Good 2017 – Year Nine Kicks Off!

Hi friends! If you’ve been around social media for a while you’ll know I try to do a charity campaign each year. I call it Social Media for Social Good. I don’t think I came up with the phrase, but I can’t remember who did, so my apologies. The purpose of it is to use social media to raise awareness for a particular charity, and then also to make it a group effort.

Initially, I made it a “per comment” goal and fundraiser, and people got upset about it. (Of course people get upset about everything, but who needs that sort of negativity in their lives?) It was also super depressing, so in 2015 I tied Social Media to Social Good to Ohio State Football. I (perhaps optimistically) expect them to have a winning season, so that makes things easy.

Apparently in 2016 I did everything on Facebook or Twitter – but this year I’m going to use the blog. Time snuck up on me, so I don’t have all the details ironed out yet, but the purpose of this post is to see if anyone would like to join me in this years efforts.

I’m also taking suggestions as to what charity or effort(s) you think the focus should be this year. Does anyone have ideas? Would you like to join in? Let me know please!

Thank you! <3

Give Me Your Book Recommendations Please! Talking Adult High Fantasy Romances

Impossible ThingsHi friends! So I’m always looking for book recommendations, and this summer I’ve been on a massive adult high fantasy romance kick.

Do you know how difficult it is to find books in this particular subgenre?!!? [Very. Very, very very very very difficult.] There are a lot of YA fantasy stories… some are romance … but most “adult” high fantasy romances are more romantic elements than romances.

What is high fantasy? I took that definition from wikipedia.

High fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy, defined either by its setting or by the epic stature of its characters, themes, and plot. High fantasy is defined as fantasy set in an alternative, fictional (“secondary”) world, rather than “the real”, or “primary” world. The secondary world is usually internally consistent, but its rules differ from those of the primary world.

But yes – not set in the real world. It’s different from low fantasy, pararnormal, or magical elements. Although a lot of fantasy stories often have magical elements.

An example of high fantasy would be the A Song of Ice and Fire series, possibly better known as the Game of Thrones TV series. However, while it’s an adult high fantasy, it isn’t a romance.

I’ve read Grace Draven, Jeffe Kennedy, Elizabeth Hunter, Amanda Bouchet, C.L. Wilson, Elizabeth Vaughan, Maria V. Snyder, Kate Johnson, the ACOTAR trilogy by Sarah J. Maas, Lisa Blackwood, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Michelle Sagara West, Patricia Briggs, Robin McKinley, Anne Leonard, Tanith Lee, Amy Harmon, Jill Myles, and I’ve even gone so far as to read YA; Leigh Bardugo, Rae Carson, Robin LaFevers, as well as Erika Johansen – although this last was a mistake. I’ve linked each author to either the series I read or my favorite book/series by the author.

I’m currently reading Sharon Shinn, then I’m going to read book(s) by Melanie Rawn, and also have Sara Raasch on deck. There are a few more authors but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. Oh I’ve also read the Black Jewels books by Anne Bishop ages ago.

I’ve also read the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier – although I wouldn’t say those are high fantasy exactly, as the books are set in Ireland, although it’s an alternate reality “Erin with magical creatures” and more romantic elements stories than romance in my opinion. (I didn’t read book three.)

So! Does anyone have adult high fantasy romance recommendations for me? I’m willing to read series too but only if they’re complete. The way I read I blow through books and I not only hate waiting, I’ll forget things, so I need to be able to glom all at once. 😀 I do also love twisted fairy tales, so those I might make a special exception for – it’s what made me start the Sevenwaters books.

I know – I’m difficult. I’m not looking for paranormal romances, or time travels either.

However – if you’ve read a romance novel lately that is OH MY GOD SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS AMAZING … I’d like to hear that as well, because as of a month ago I’ve also started reading some other romance subgenres as well.

Thank youuuu!! (And if you’d like to discuss any of the books I’d mention I’d love to chat too!)

Review: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

Babs’ review of Silver Silence by Nalini Singh
Paranormal romance released by Berkley Books on June 13, 2017

Nalini Singh returns to her extraordinary Psy-Changeling world with a story of wild passion and darkest betrayal…

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence–her mind clear of all emotion–Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed…

I’m a huge Nalini Singh fan and loved this book. I was super excited when it was announced this would be Silver Mercant’s book and include bears! Things move quickly from the very beginning and don’t really slow down. Valentin, the alpha of StoneWater bear changelings, has bear stuff he’s dealing with. His crush on Silver is cute and his playful pursuit of her is the only time he gets away from Denhome. I love that through everything, he always believed Silver could do anything. Silver is changing careers, standing up a new organization under the Trinity Accord, and cementing her place in the Mercant family hierarchy. Basically being a badass. Both the Mercant family and the bears fascinated me. I hope we get more of both in this new arc, Psy-Changeling Trinity. Continue reading