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So … This Is Awkward. I Need Help. (Please)

Hi friends! … So, a few things. I’ve been slightly more close mouthed and cagey about it this time. (I know, I know, you’re going “what? You? Quiet about anything?!”) … So there is that. But uh … I’m not even sure when this will be going live, or where I’ll be … (please Jesus God in Heaven let me be home by this time, not in the hospital or a rehab facility) … but I probably won’t be lucid. Anyway – I’m having major surgery. Major.

The last time I had to have this done, I was in the hospital almost nine days. I also almost literally died. … And then I “just” wanted to die. So yeah.

And … now we get to the even more awkward part. (God can it get even more awkward? … Sadly, yes.)

I need help. Monetary, mostly, to be honest. I’m going to be out of work for more than three months, and without pay. I guess the positive is I’ll still have my sad little job to go back to once I’m a bit more on my feet … but having no income while at the same time racking up major medical expenses is unfortunately putting me in a really difficult situation.

And … then there’s the other also awkward part. You might remember last time (and unfortunately I’m actually still recovering from it…) … there was also a GFM for me. That was done by Ashley March/Elise Rome. She wanted to help me out and suggested staring a campaign for me, and asking if I’d be ok with it. I was touched, and thanked her. Well … things didn’t go quite as expected and she kept most of the funds for over a year. She has started sending some more of the money as of this year, which I really appreciate.

I’m not actually trying to shame her – I really simply want to explain what happened last time – why I’m asking for “yet more money” and such. Although to be honest all of that was gone/already spent on medical things before it would’ve even ever gotten to me. If that makes sense. Everything is a muddle.

The point is, if you could find it in your hearts and wallets to donate to me … I can’t tell you how much it’d mean to me, or how much I need it. I’m embarrassed, mortified, sick with … shame and need, but there you have it. My needs are greater than my pride.

https://www.gofundme.com/help-limecello 

If you can’t afford to give, which I absolutely understand, I’d ask that you please share the campaign to reach greater numbers. 

Thank you all so much for your kindness and support. 

All my love.

[Limecello]

Team ALBTALBS TBR Challenge Review: Crashed Out by Tessa Bailey

Crashed Out (Made in Jersey #1) by Tessa Bailey
Contemporary romance published December 7, 2015, by Entangled: Brazen

Crashed Out by Tessa Bailey book coverJasmine Taveras is the reason Sarge Purcell grabbed his six-string and bailed the hell out of New Jersey four years ago. She’s the fuel for every song he’s ever written-each one laced with bitter, hard-edged, hungry lust. Now, with his hugely successful band on temporary hiatus, Sarge is determined to prove to Jasmine that he’s turned into every inch the man she’s always needed…

Men are slim pickings for a single factory girl in Hook, New Jersey…until tall, broad-shouldered hotness walks—or rather storms—into Jasmine’s life. Sarge’s return shouldn’t affect her this way. He’s her best friend’s much younger brother, and the kind of rough, gritty, sexiness Jasmine has no right to taste for herself. Even if he lets her.

But lust is a blinding, insatiable force. And when it crashes, it will take both Sarge and Jasmine down with it…

I read Crashed Out for the April TBR Challenge—Something Different. I hoped for a fun read based on the premise of this book. Older woman/younger man, best friend’s little brother, and a rock star romance?! Unfortunately I’m disappointed. Very sexy but I wanted more conversations between Jasmine and Sarge about who they were and what they saw in each other, not just dirty talk. The story seemed very superficial and I wasn’t in the mood to accept two or three days of fabulous sex and a couple “grand gestures” was enough for Jasmine to fall in love with Sarge. Continue reading

Review: Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole
Contemporary romance novellas released by Avon on January 8, 2019

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole book coverWhile her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy—so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.

When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.

This is a lovely novella in the world of the Reluctant Royals series. It’s a second chance romance between Likotsi and Fabiola. They find each other again unexpectedly when they both have a day off and end up spending the day together in New York City. The story alternates between present day (their day together in NYC) and when they were together before. It’s adorable and broke my heart a few times. Continue reading

10 Tenacious Questions with Lorelei James (In Which Lorelei Interviews Herself)

Hi friends! You know what? I can’t believe that Lorelei James has never been an official guest at ALBTALBS before! How is that even possible?! And you know what else is fun? She’s not the first author to have interviewed herself. (Yes there’s even a tag!) ANYWAY. 😀 Please let me welcome Lorelei and see what she has to say!

10 Tenacious Questions with Lorelei James

That got your attention, didn’t it? When I was chatting with the lovely, sweet Limecello and she asked if I’d be interested in doing a blog post, I said sure…can I interview myself? Luckily she didn’t balk at my request, or think it was weird 😊

Why did I choose this type of format? Because honestly, I’ve been published for 14 years and I get the same questions over and over and over. And it really blows when I get a set of generic questions right before a new release and I know damn well the blogger/reviewer hasn’t read my book. I knew Lime hadn’t read this one yet, so I thought it’d be fun and less promote-y given the fact I do have a release this week–1st book in a new contemporary romance series, I Want You Back, buy it now!!—to do something different. Thanks to Lime and A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet for letting me have my dirty, wicked way with this post. Continue reading

Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: Engaging the Enemy by Reese Ryan

Hi friends! I’m very excited that Reese Ryan agreed to share an exclusive excerpt of Engaging the Enemy with us at ALBTALBS!! It’s new as of this month, and is the third book in The Bourbon Brothers series. 😀 I’ve got this series in my TBR and am very excited to dive in. And isn’t that cover gorgeous?! 😍

Engaging the Enemy by Reese Ryan book coverAn ambitious heir will do whatever it takes to be the next CEO, even play fake fiancé to his childhood nemesis.

“That’s the deal, Abbott. Take it…or leave it.”

How far will an ambitious heir go to secure his future?

Parker Abbott will do whatever it takes to be the next CEO of King’s Finest Distillery, even play fake fiancé to his childhood nemesis, Kayleigh Jemison. Yet as he and the fiery redhead get reacquainted, sparks fly and real passion emerges. But when her ex wants a second chance, who will Kayleigh choose?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Continue reading

Review: How to (Not) Train a Firecat by R. Cooper (Author), Erin Gamble (Illustrator)

How to (Not) Train a Firecat by R. Cooper (Author), Erin Gamble (Illustrator)
High fantasy M/M romance published by R. Cooper on December 26, 2018

How to (Not) Train a Firecat by R. Cooper book cover

The firecats of Dua are giant beasts with red-gold fur and lashing tails. They are also loving and loyal companions to the few they choose to serve. Every member of the royal House of Durii has a personal guard and a firecat to serve as a reminder of the greatness of their rule. After all, only the truly extraordinary would walk alongside a firecat. Only the truly extraordinary could.

Not River, obviously. River took the job of cleaning up after the noble beasts when he came to Dua years ago. He’s not any kind of soldier or guard, and he’s too mouthy to belong around royalty. All he wants to do is avoid some of the more resentful guard trainees, care for the very spoiled cats, and try not to get his heart broken by one maddeningly gentle apprentice wizard.

Apprentice Gavin is powerful, brilliant, and probably noble. He’s destined for greatness—and more than likely a guard and a firecat to protect him. He’s not meant for one insignificant little beastminder like River.

But firecats are not the only creatures who are fierce, loyal, and beautiful to behold. River is about to learn that the firecats and the guards who walk with them have more in common than he thought. And he will have to accept that he might be extraordinary as Gavin thinks he is.

I read this book because the cover is adorable, and also because I love a good “behind the scenes” book and a good magical creatures book, and this one combines both of those things.

River, who is the caretaker for the cats, is a scrappy fighter who’s not afraid to break a knee or two to defend himself. He’s very aware of being an outsider from a foreign culture and his low status and fully expects that Gavin, while currently his lover, will be expected to marry well and will eventually leave him. He’s also determined not to take any nonsense from any of the trainee cat wranglers / future guards of the nobility. River is also dealing with some culture shock, in the sense that he’s from a culture that doesn’t support same-sex relationships and still getting used to living in a society pairing off is required but the gender of one’s partner is not significant. Continue reading

Desperately Seeking: Smitten Heroes

Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas Book CoverHi friends! Back with a quiet feature of ALBTALBS – where I (and anyone else can!) look for recommendations from the community. It’s pretty self explanatory … but I am desperately seeking them! I’m in a Mood what with recovery and such, and … I just want books with a strong strong strong romance/pursuit from the start.

Merriam Webster defines smitten as: deeply affected with or struck by strong feelings of attraction, affection, or infatuation

Which … yeah. I want your favorite books where the hero is taken from the start. He’s head over heels for the his love interest, whether overtly or not – but he’s now pursuing her, courting her … or him! M/F or M/M … or other pairings are welcome. I just want a romance where one of the characters is gaga for the other(s) from go. If you have F/F recs I’d love to hear them too. F/F is definitely a genre I’m not very familiar with, but I’m very glad to see there are more stories being written in Romanceland/more visibility.

Off the top of my head … Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas would be one such book. In fact … I’ll list them, in no particular order. Continue reading

About Avon’s KissCon Weekend Affair!

Hi friends! So I know this is coming down to the wire (like a lot a lot) – it was meant to go live on March 5th, but timing didn’t align – but if you’re a procrastinator or were on the fence… hopefully this gives you information/the push you need! While this is the first ever KissCon Weekend Affair … I will say I’ve been to other Avon events, and a KissCon, and they were all great. Avon puts together fabulous events for readers – where you get actual time with authors, but not just that, there’s the swag, treats, everything is really well done. Anyway, without further ado, info from Kayleigh about the event! 

Avon Presents KissCon Weekend Affair

I’ve always thought there was something magical about cons. For one weekend, like minded individuals are brought together to celebrate something that they love so irrevocably, that it’s deeply rooted in their soul.

For some, it’s comic books. For us? It’s romance novels.

Avon has been hosting regional KissCon events for years, bringing a panels of 6-8 authors to indie bookstores (and libraries!) around the US for a two-part ticketed event filled with cheeky games, Q&As, a signing, and for VIP ticket holders, a wine and cupcake mixer that allows for more intimate mingling with their favorite authors. Basically, these small one day affairs are four hours of pure romance bliss, where you’re definitely going to go home with an HEA moment (and a lot of really great swag).

After the continued success of the regional KissCons, we began to wonder: what would happen if a KissCon lasted the entire weekend? Could we take four hours and stretch it into a full weekend of romance and wonder? Being the overachievers that we at Team Avon, we could say only one thing: YES! Continue reading

Team ALBTALBS TBR Challenge Review: Second Chance with Her Billionaire by Therese Beharrie

Second Chance Her Billionaire by Therese Beharrie (Billionaires for Heiresses book 1)
Contemporary romance released by Harlequin on March 1, 2019

 Book cover for book by Therese BeharrieFrom “I don’t”…

To “I do”?

In this Billionaires for Heiresses story, Summer Bishop knew her parents’ anniversary party in stunning South Africa would be hard. Spending the week with her gorgeous ex-husband, Wyatt Montgomery, reminds Summer of their painful divorce but also—inconveniently—why she fell in love with him! Summer never told Wyatt why she left, and he’s determined to uncover her secrets. Will Summer reveal her heart for a second chance with her husband?

I was so thrilled to get the TBR Challenge for favorite trope. And then I struggled because I love so many tropes, how could I possibly pick just one? And then I  remembered pre-ordering Second Chance with Her Billionaire specifically because of the second chance at love trope. I love a good second chance at love story. My personal library is filled with stories that focus on a couple who had a relationship and for whatever reason, that relationship was doomed, except the love didn’t die and fate shoves a second chance in their way.  What made me want to read Therese’s latest novel wasn’t just the second chance plot, but also the fact the couple is forced together after two years of separation, and neither partner can say no. Continue reading

Guest Author: Beth Kery On Genre Bending

Hi friends! I’m so excited to welcome back Beth Kery! Her most recent release is Swim Deep, which I even reviewed (a rarity!) We also had an exclusive excerpt of the book which you can check out if you missed it earlier. I think this post really helps sum up how I felt about the book upon reading it. I really do hope you read it because I need to talk to someone about it. You guys!!! Anyway, without further ado…. Beth!

Genre Bender
By Beth Kery

For almost everyone who did an early read of my new novel, Swim Deep, I heard a similar theme: What would you call it in regard to genre? Was it a suspense? A thriller? A romance? Maybe a contemporary suspense/thriller with romantic and paranormal elements? That’s too much of a mouthful . . . plus it leaves way too many possibilities. When it comes to Swim Deep, I have a feeling that every reader will have a different idea of how to label this novel. No matter what the reader calls it, my hope is that it takes her on an entertaining, thrilling ride for a few hours.

I get the idea of wanting to pin down a genre before I read a book. It helps you to choose a book based on your mood. Do I feel curling up with a cozy mystery, or freaking myself out a little bit with a horror or a thriller? Usually, a writer starts out knowing before she ever places the first word on the page what it is she’s writing, be it a romance with a happily-ever-after, a suspense, or a paranormal tale. That knowledge guides the way the story begins, unfolds and ends, and tells her the expectations for the hero and heroine. When it came to Swim Deep, though, it was the story that came to me first. It was the plot and certain vivid scenes in my mind that guided me more than any rigid rules in regard to genre. Continue reading

WHM: Cynthia Sax on Trailblazing Women In Science Fiction Romance

Hi friends! We have Cynthia Sax back with us today, and I’m thrilled to have our first official Smithsonian Heritage post of 2019, for Women’s History Month, and such a great topic. I’m out of it so you’ll have to forgive me on timing and mistakes etc – especially when we’ve got such a wonderful guest and post!

Trailblazing Women In Science Fiction Romance By Cynthia Sax

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley book coverWhen Limecello suggested this topic, I immediately agreed to cover it, thinking it would be an easy post to write. I’d search on Google, read a couple of posts on the history of Science Fiction Romance, add my own experience in this wonderful subgenre and bam, my post would be done.

Except when I searched on this topic, very few posts were mentioned. Wikipedia’s coverage of Science Fiction Romance was sparse and mentioned only one book, a book I knew couldn’t have been the first Science Fiction Romance.

This can’t be right, I thought. There must be more articles. My mad Google skillz must be failing me. So I put out a call in a SciFi Romance group for reference articles. A couple more resources were mentioned (including Heather Massey’s A Brief History Of Science Fiction Romance) but it was clear much of the history of this female writer dominated subgenre hasn’t be recorded and, if it isn’t recorded soon, it might never be noted. It would be lost. Forever. Continue reading