Author Archives: Limecello

Ask Me Anything 2.0

Hi friends! Today’s post is on a whim. Yes, the topic is right and true. You can ask me anything. It’s inspired by a conversation I had at RWA. Jamie Beck told me I did something nice – and to be honest I’m still not entirely convinced she meant me – and that she isn’t confusing me with someone else … but it was really nice to hear, so <3.

ANYWAY ideally, this is a time for you to ask anything book related. Blogging, guest posting, reviews, so on. I promise to answer any question you might have about it. “The industry.” Of course, we all understand the answers are all just from my experience/my opinion. I also invite anyone else to chime in with their own answers too! 🙂

You can feel free to ask me a question about anything else as well … but I reserve the right to not answer that.

You can also check out previous instances of “AMA ALBTALBS Style.”

Happy weekend, and start firing off those questions!

With Apologies, etc.

Hi friends! So … you might’ve noticed lately I’ve been not as great with posting things. I don’t even know for how long, but for a while now we’ve had the lovely and wonderful Sadie helping out with formatting and scheduling, which has been wonderful. (Side note, is there such a thing as green/purple color blindness?)

I’m something of a >.> control freak though, so I do the actual scheduling. And have had some oops.

I’ve tried really hard I think the past year+ but … just to address the all encompassing *waves hand vaguely* but also that we might be on hiatus, and/or I’ll be back dating posts (like this one!), which is the “apologies” part – to the wonderful review crew, and guest authors.

It’s also a bit of a “sorry not sorry.” In that … I really am truly sorry when posts don’t go up as scheduled. I really do try with A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet, and I want to keep trucking on. Especially considering the hundreds of dollars (literally) I’ve sunk into this site.

… The “not sorry” part is though … there have been times I couldn’t (or can’t) walk, or times when I’ve literally lost my words. So … sorry (not sorry!) to the authors etc who can’t understand me not being able to talk or have words to me personally, outweighs the importance of their post or edits going up in a “timely manner.”

And sure, some people don’t know about all that shit I’m dealing with behind the scenes. And they don’t have to. But things are what they are. And I just wanted to explain to all of you … there’s just all this shit going on.

So – as it says – my apologies. Thank you for sticking with me. <3 Hopefully this too shall pass with good resolutions and such … and as before and always, I’ll keep on keeping on to the best of my ability. [And also sorry I’m just too tired etc to even find a picture to pretty this post up.]

Much love to you all. <3

Review: Second Time Around by Nancy Herkness

Second Time Around by Nancy Herkness
Contemporary romance released by Montlake Romance on July 24, 2018

Second Time Around by Nancy Herkness Book CoverKyra Dixon, a blue-collar girl from the boondocks, is dedicated to her job at a community center that matches underprivileged kids with rescue dogs. When she runs into Will Chase—Connecticut blue blood, billionaire CEO, and her old college crush—she’s surprised that he asks a favor from her: to be his date for his uptight family’s dreaded annual garden party. If his parents don’t approve, all the better.

Kyra’s not about to say no. It’ll give her a chance to be oh-so-close to her unrequited love. What begins as a little fling turns so mad hot, so fast, that Kyra finds herself falling all over again for a fantasy that won’t come true. How can it? She doesn’t belong in Will’s world. She doesn’t want to. But Will does want to belong in hers.

All he has to do now is prove it. Will is prepared to give up whatever is necessary to get what his heart most desires.

I’ve really enjoyed a number of Nancy Herkness’s romances, especially the Wager of Hearts series. I also liked the novella Second to None, the first story in the Second Glances series. Second chance romances are my jam, so a combination of these things piqued my interest. And of course even with all the annoyances of ugh billionaires … I still do like the ones that make sense, and Second Time Around handles the wealth aspect really well. I have to admit that I read the book more than two weeks ago, so the details are a bit fuzzy. I liked the book, but I didn’t love it. It’s definitely a solid read, but not my favorite from Nancy Herkness. I am excited about the rest of the series though, and see what character(s) get their stories next. (Hopefully not the ex-fiancée though, because ugh.) But that being said, I really liked Kyra and Will. Continue reading

On Reviewer Guilt

This is both off the cuff, and something I’ve been thinking about for literally years now. I want to be very clear from the get go that this isn’t guilt about writing “bad” reviews… by which I mean negative. I think readers and reviewers should be able to write whatever their thoughts on a book/movie etc that they want, as long as it isn’t malicious. (I mean obviously generally personal attacks are off the table, but if the author is say, a Nazi … fair game.) As you can see there are many reasons I’ve put off writing this post. And I’m trying to not get into too many pitfalls and cans of worms and such. Anyway – if I hated a book, I can rant about it to my heart’s content. As could you. Anyone could and more importantly should be allowed to. If they don’t want to, fine. If they do want to, fine. And fuck the person who tries to police or shame anyone into writing “negative” reviews. I’m also going to focus on book reviews here. A review should be the readers thoughts on the book. What they liked, or didn’t like about it. Some people like posting book summaries as reviews. People have different styles.

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Duology Review: Reign of Shadows & Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan

Reign of Shadows & Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan
Young adult high fantasy romance released by HarperCollins on February 9, 2016 and February 7, 2017

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan Book CoverDestiny and darkness collide in this romantic, sweeping new fantasy series from New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan.

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

And

Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan Book CoverLuna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever.

Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the King discovers both Fowler and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne.

Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler but the power she was destined to inherit.

The world is a fucking garbage fire, and it’s only gotten worse … which is why I’ve mostly been reading adult high fantasy romances. In fact it’s something I started more than a year ago, and the situation has only gotten more dire (in every sense). There is a lot more YA high fantasy romance than adult, and I think that’s a shame. In my opinion adult high fantasy romance is a huge untapped market I wish more authors would jump into. Anyway – I’ll read YA high fantasy romance when the characters are close to adult or act as if they are adults in their world. I’d say a 17 year old and a 19 year old traveling across a continent alone facing incredible danger counts. (Especially when they’re considered marriageable age and many others in that world their age already have children, etc.) I also figured, knowing Sophie Jordan wrote (writes?) romance, there would be something in there for me. And I was right.

I have a tendency to glom fantasy romance series – even more than other romance subgenres, so as soon as I finish one book I jump into the second, and oftentimes forgot where one ends and the other starts. (Which I don’t consider a real problem since so many are series …) I read both books in one day. I found the world building really interesting, and actually hope there will be some sort of novella, or vignette offering a follow up because I so want to know what else happens.
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Debut Author Eve Pendle Dishes British Inside Jokes

Hi friends! Today we have Eve Pendle guesting with us, and her debut book Six Weeks with a Lord was released on June 25th! Congratulations, Eve, and thank you for visiting us!

Five jokes in Six Weeks with a Lord that only British readers will get

I love historical details, but I also like to make little puns and jokes in my stories that refer to modern things, to delight the diligent reader. When you read Six Weeks with a Lord, you’ll easily catch the jokes about how many Dukes there are in London and the endless puns on Grace’s name. But there are more!

British readers will see in six weeks with a Lord some little jokes that they’ll wonder whether they’re deliberate. The reference will be just a little bit obscure. So I’m going to tell you about some here and hopefully American and other non-UK readers will be able to share the joke. Though bearing in mind that if you have to explain a joke, it’s not that funny. Please expect very mild spoilers. Continue reading

Guest Release Day Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Laura’s Review of Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean
Historical romance released by Avon on June 19, 2018

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean Book CoverWhen Wicked Comes Calling . . .
When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain . . .
Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion . . .
But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos and he must choose between everything he’s ever wanted . . . and the only thing he’s ever desired.

Sarah MacLean has wrecked me. This book. THIS BOOK.

I wanted to read this book because Sarah MacLean has never let me down. One of my favorite books of all time is Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, and with that book, MacLean hooked me. Add that to the fact that I’m a sucker for a wallflower/bad boy romance, and I’m hooked. With this book, she showed me once more what love really is, or what I want it to be. In Wicked and the Wallflower we see the heroine embarrassingly announce to a room full of the ton’s biggest gossips that she has landed the reclusive Duke of Marwick. (spoiler alert: she hasn’t. In fact they’ve never met). And the man who offers to help her land him in truth becomes the man she actually wants. I LOVE this trope! Continue reading

Team ALBTALBS TBR Challenge Review: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

Ocean Light (Psy-Changeling Trinity Book 2) by Nalini Singh
Paranormal romance released by Berkley on June 12, 2018

Ocean Light by Nalini SinghNew York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh dives beneath the surface of her Psy-Changeling world into a story of passionate devotion and selfless love…

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there’s a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment–taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he’s at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling…

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won’t hide the facts of Bo’s condition from him or herself. She’s suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine…

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back–even if it means striking a devil’s bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy…

I always know I want to read Nalini Singh’s books, but when I learned Ocean Light was Bowen Knight’s book … I kicked it into high gear to get my greedy little hands on a copy. I have no shame in telling you I shed a few tears when I thought we lost Bowen (in a previous book). Then also there’s the fact that Nalini Singh’s writing is so beautiful. It’s emotional, warm, evocative, the flow and cadence … it’s like a hug from an old friend. You feel comforted and cared for and know you’re in for a good time. I’ve been reading the Psy-Changeling series from the start, I’m on board for this spin off “trinity” series, and I will read every vignette. … Especially if it has Kaleb, Hawke, or Bowen. Ideally, all three. (Can we please make this happen?!?!) Continue reading

Guest Author: Vanessa Riley on Gatekeepers and Who Gets to Decide

Hi friends! Please welcome Vanessa Riley to ALBTALBS!! I first began emailing with her back in early January. We were hoping for February, but she was swamped with deadlines, she sent me the post in May (APAHM!) so … here we are now! Yay!

Who Gets to Decide?

The Bittersweet Bride by Vanessa Riley Book CoverI’ve been a romance reader all my life. It’s been my refuge, my happy place. When I wanted to try my hand at putting the stories running rampant in my head on paper, I went to a Romance Writers of America conference. I saw Kristan Higgins up on stage. I was close enough to see the tremor in her cheek on the big screen when she described her readers, the love affair she has with them and how they tell her how one of her books touched their lives. The woman made me cry, right atop my half-eaten salad and rubbery chicken. I remember thinking I want to do that, write romances that matter. I’m one of those lives, one of those women who has needed romance novels to make it through the night.

You see, to keep my sanity, I’ve read romance between calculus finals. To block out the sounds of my parent’s marriage disintegrating, I read Beverly Jenkin’s stories of people, people like me, finding love, building towns and fighting to keep their unions strong. While dear hubby was deployed, I read tales of peace. When good old Dr. Fine told me to sit down and do nothing, for your health and that of your babe, I poured myself into women’s journeys who were active and kept moving, like Heyer’s who fell out of windows or dozens of others wonderful author’s like Eakes, Milan, MacLean, and Klassen who kept me swirling in ballgowns. Even in a hospice room listening to a clock tick away, my eyes drifted to my kindle app to escape. Continue reading

SHM: Pride!

Hello my darlings! You might have questions. Lime! WTF are these letters? And abbreviations? I hope to always have new visitors to A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet (ALBTALBS) – and of course old ones. [I SEE YOU, THE FEW LOVELY AMAZING PEOPLE WHO HAVE STUCK WITH ME, IN THIS DYING WORLD OF BLOGGING <3] … That’s literally a whole other topic though that I’m not trying to use to take over this subject.

OK! So! SHM = Smithsonian Heritage Month. Which as I addressed last year isn’t technically a Smithsonian or whatever month but, you know. When it’s important, it’s important.

It’s kind of crazy a little over a decade ago there were arguments in Romanceland whether or not M/M romances (and other LGBTQI+ stories) were romances or not. (Or whether or not erotic romance was romance … which I’m including to more show “yes it’s ridiculous people even tried to make these arguments.”)

ANYWAY! I know there is a very large and very active M/M romance community. One point I see a lot is “why say it’s LGBTQI+ romance if the only ones being discussed are M/M?” and I think that’s extremely valid, so this year I tried to focus on F/F romances, while of course also opening all of SHM to everybody. (As is how we operate.) … Am I even making sense?

I hope you also check out posts from last year, with a number of authors who not only are own voices, but also write a variety of LGBTQI+ romances.

I’m always interested in knowing also – do you have an LGBTQI+ romance authors to recommend? Have a favorite book? Is there an author I should try to have guest?

Thank you for joining us this month, and I hope you discover a number of wonderful new authors to read! <3 (As well as subjects to consider. I know so many of these SHM posts have hit me, and often made me shed a tear.)