Author Archives: Limecello

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.)

SHM APAHM: Empresses in the Palace

This is my attempt to get you all to WATCH. THIS. SERIES!!!!!!!!! (Also for the Amazon/series image they decided to use … I kinda feel like someone there doesn’t like Betty Sun because that is like … the least flattering image I’ve ever seen of her ever. So. Empresses in the Palace. 後宮·甄嬛傳.

Empresses in the Palace PosterSet in 1722 during the Qing Dynasty, sweeping drama Empresses in the Palace is an epic tale of love, betrayal and scandal told from inside the Imperial Harem – the story of one emperor and his countless women. In a world filled with treachery and corruption, who will truly win the Emperor’s heart and reign supreme? In Mandarin with English subtitles.*

So. Empresses in the Palace. While not as big in the Western world (at least not in the states), this period drama exploded in Asia. It started out as what I’d say is original fanfic. (Remember that section of ff.net back in the day and the like?) It became a television series that first aired in November of 2011. I want to say it showed up on Amazon some time in 2016. There had been word that HBO bought the American rights and was going to distribute it in 2014, and was set to air in December of 2015. I have no idea what happened with studio drama but … here we are. You can either buy the episodes or “series” on Amazon, or watch it free if you have a Prime membership.

First of all, it’s an amazing series. The costuming, the acting, the set … it’s all gorgeous. As you can see.

SAPAHM: Into the Badlands & Ali Wong

Hi friends! SAPAHM! Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! What do Into the Badlands and Ali Wong have to do with each other? Very little!

But! They’re both popular right now, and they’re both Asian and/or Asian peripheral! Ali Wong is self explanatory. (OMFG somehow I accidentally typed “sexplanatory” which made me laugh and also maybe is accurate because she does talk about sex a lot in her specials?) So! I’ve seen both her Netflix specials! The first a few months ago, the newer one more recently.

I’m including trailers for both because hopefully they hit the highlights and you get the chance to watch – if you have your own NF account you definitely should watch them … and if you don’t, see if you can watch with a friend. I laughed until I wheezed.

But! Into the Badlands!

Continue reading

SHM APAHM!

Oh my lordt y’all – yes! L-O-R-D-T! It’s May! Which means it’s APAHM! And Lime, you might ask, WTAF are all those letters?! Well let me tell you! We all need periodic reminders. SHM stands for “Smithsonian Heritage Month” here at ALBTALBS. … Now you’re potentially going “WTF is ALBTALBS?!” … ALBTALBS = A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet. The name of the site. (No, it’s not “Tart Sweet” – that’s just the url because typing out the whole damn thing/using it as a url seemed … not smart.) … If you ask what “WTF” stands for I might cry. I mean, what the fuck, right? 😉

OK. APAHM. That’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! That’s just what it’s called! Some say APIA is more accurate … which would be Asian and Pacific Islander American.

We’re hobbling along with the Smithsonian Heritage Months and every year I think about hobbling it because why even bother, right?! I’ve been doing this for 4-5 years at least, and just what even. Romanceland is really trying (or so it says) to embrace diversity and be more diverse. And then you get the pushback of “tokenism” and “you only care during X months.” I’m speaking generally here…

Here’s the thing – ALBTALBS has an open door policy. Anyone is welcome to guest at any time. For the Smithsonian Heritage Months, I try to make the extra effort to especially highlight and celebrate our diverse members.

I sometimes think about giving up, but then will get a message that someone went through the SHM posts and bought the books of authors who wrote guest posts! Which is fantastic! And a the reason for keeping on.

So I hope everyone takes SHMs in the spirit in which they’re meant – in joy and lifting up. (Yes I realize I’m pretty much preaching to the choir here … especially since I’ve said time and again you all are much nicer than I am. Q.E.D.)

Anyway if people want to participate, they’re welcome to. You might have noticed in 2018 I opened up all the SMHs to anyone and everyone. I don’t care what color you are, your identity or background, you can write a guest post for any month. I hope you join us!

Retro HH Post: “He’s About to Kill Us…Let’s Shag.”

[aka Why I Didn’t and Don’t Read Much RS]

Hi friends! This was posted – gosh, February 23, 2011. It was my third post with H&H … and I’m sharing it for a few reasons. First of all, I plan on eventually reposting all my old HH stuff here. Secondly … this specifically ties into the guest post that will be going live next week. I’ve decided not to edit anything so it’s a copy and paste job. Enjoy. 😛

Standing in the Shadows by Shannon McKenna CoverI used to say that I simply didn’t read the subgenre of romantic suspense (RS), but that’s not really true. In fact, some of the authors I would’ve put on my favorites list write RS. And then a few of my “top ten reads of the year” have been RS as well . . . so, slowly and surely, RS has been making its insidious way into my reading repertoire.*

So why didn’t I read it at first? Perhaps because I find the romance loses out in RS, or at least is unsatisfying/insufficient to me. The necessity of plot development and the focus on the burgeoning relationship are at odds. Especially with the shorter novel lengths. Maybe it’d work in a saga (although those to me are more grandiose story lines about generations of a family).

Relationships are complicated. Writing a believable suspense plot is also difficult, and combining the genres takes talent. Then there is also the development of series, and books that end with a cliff-hanger rather than the conclusion of a story arc. And I hate that. For some reason I can take that in films, but not books. Continue reading

Requiescat In Pace, @c2s

I don’t … I mean it’s there, but I feel like I’m going to throw up, typing this. I think Romanceland should know, we lost one of our best this week. I don’t even want to type it out again so …

I’ve set up a St. Jude memorial fund in her honor. @c2s was incredibly kind, caring, wonderful, and had a wicked sense of humor. She was my online conscience, and I am bereft. She was one of my most favorite people on God’s green earth.

I chose St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for a few reasons. One of which is … it was her mother’s favorite charity, and where the family asked funds to be donated when her mother passed last year.

If you are so inclined, you can make a donation to the St. Jude memorial fund in honor of @c2s here. If the hyperlinks don’t work for you, you can copy and paste this: http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/GiftFunds/GiftFunds?px=5137051&pg=personal&fr_id=39300