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!

Teaser “Tuesday” Exclusive Excerpt: A Match for the Marquess by Lillian Marek

One of the perks of helping Lime out with formatting and scheduling posts is that I get to see everything before the rest of the world does. And it’s been quite the challenge sitting here waiting for everyone to be able to read this exclusive excerpt from Lillian Marek

A Match for the Marquess will be out August 7th, so go ahead and exercise your 1-click finger and pre-order it now!

Book CoverDecisions, decisions…

Should Lady Anne Milhaven marry the wealthy and handsome young marquess, or should she resign herself to living out her life in poverty and disgrace, exiled from the world she was born to?

Should Philip Tremaine, the new Marquess
of Penworth, redeem his honor and marry the proud and beautiful earl’s daughter whom he has unintentionally compromised, or should he prove himself as dissolute as his contemptible family?

They are not fools, but marriage is only the beginning. They have an estate to restore and reputations to repair. In addition, they must learn to work together if they are to thwart the vile plots of their scheming relatives.

A Match for the Marquess is the prequel to the Victorian Adventures series.

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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

Review: Counting on a Countess by Eva Leigh

Counting on a Countess by Eva Leigh (London Underground book 2)
Historical romance released by Avon on March 27, 2018

Book CoverFor a shameless libertine and a wily smuggler in the London Underground, marriage is more than convenience—it’s strategy . . .

Christopher “Kit” Ellingsworth, war veteran and newly minted Earl of Blakemere, buries his demons under every sort of pleasure and vice. His scandalous ways have all but emptied his coffers . . . until a wealthy mentor leaves him a sizeable fortune. The only stipulation? He must marry within one month to inherit the money. Kit needs a bride and the bold, mysterious Miss Tamsyn Pearce seems perfect.

Husband hunting isn’t Tamsyn’s top priority—she’s in London to sell her new shipment of illicit goods—but she’s desperate for funds to keep her smuggling operation afloat. When a handsome earl offers to wed her and send her back to Cornwall with a hefty allowance, Tamsyn agrees. After all, her secrets could land her in prison and an attentive, love-struck spouse could destroy everything.

But when an unexpected proviso in the will grants Tamsyn control of the inheritance, their arrangement becomes anything but convenient. Now, Kit’s counting on his countess to make his wildest dreams a reality and he plans to convince her, one pleasurable seduction at a time.

I’m a fan of strong historical heroines who aren’t afraid of stepping outside of gender norms and building either the lives they want or the lives they need to have due to circumstances. When I read the description of Counting on a Countess I was thrilled! The description hit many of my sweet spots. The heroine has a unique job. Check. The heroine plans to keep on doing what she does even after she marries. Check. Both the hero and heroine are looking for a marriage of convenience. Double check. I was less thrilled about the reasons for the trope, but was willing to roll with it.  Continue reading

SHM Pride Encore Guest: Sadie on Being Queer Enough

Hi friends! So, scheduling and craziness and look- things happen and it’s July but who wouldn’t want to revisit Pride? So that’s what we’re doing today with another delightful “guest” … only not, because Sadie is also a reviewer and formatter etc extraordinaire at ALBTALBS! <3 <3 But more seriously … I think so many of our Smithsonian Heritage Month posts are absolutely glorious, with so many people sharing such important parts of themselves, so I hope you take some time to read this post, and the others if you’ve missed them!

Sadie is a new reviewer on ALBTALBS and first time guest poster. Sadie is our final Pride guest for 2018! We hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s posts!

Being Queer Enough

When Rosa Diaz came out as bisexual on Brooklyn 99’s 100th episode, I felt this quiver deep in my belly. This glorious Latinix badass was one of us, and stood proud in her identity as a bisexual woman. I cried when I watched that episode. Cried even more when I learned that Stephanie Beatriz, the actress who plays Rosa, is bisexual. When I read her article in GQ I felt seen, acknowledged by someone who has never met me but who somehow knows my struggle just the same. Stephanie is so proud of her identity and so happy to be engaged to a heterosexual man who loves her deeply. She’s secure in her sexuality and in who she is. And she’s free to be out as queer. As bisexual. She embodies what so many people I know in the bisexual community want to feel – that they too are queer enough. Continue reading

Team ALBTALBS TBR Challenge Review: Natural Enemies by Roan Parrish

Natural Enemies by Roan Parrish
Contemporary romance released by Monster Press on April 17, 2018.

Natural Enemies by Roan Parrish Book CoverWhen opposites attract, love blooms in unexpected places.

Buttoned-up botanist Stefan Albemarle has felt like an outsider his whole life. As a result, he mostly keeps to himself—makes it easier not to notice that no matter how he tries, people think he’s a know-it-all and a snob.

Freewheeling urban gardener Milo Rios has worked hard to get where he is, and he’s passionate about his job at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. He can get along with almost anyone, but no one has ever made him care enough to stick around.

When Stefan and Milo meet on Milo’s tour of the Botanic Garden, it’s hatred at first clash. But hatred quickly turns to lust as Milo shows Stefan how exquisite it can feel to lose the control he’s clung to for so long. As Stefan’s mask begins to slip, Milo sees a deep vulnerability in the prim academic. Once he’s experienced Milo’s world, Stefan can admit that he wants more from life than professional success. If they can work together, Stefan and Milo just might be able to cultivate the future they both yearn for.

I actually have several favourite tropes, but enemies to lovers moves from 1st to 2nd depending on my mood! Natural Enemies came to my attention because a friend read it, and said it was lovely. I had resisted read Roan Parrish’s work because one of her earlier books really did not work for me. But as second chances is also one of my favorite tropes it seemed churlish not to try again.

This book knocked me out, I haven’t read a romance in a while that made me feel so happy. 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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Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
Urban fantasy released by NYLA on June 26, 2018

Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews Book CoverNo day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she’s trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

Iron and Magic is an urban fantasy with elements of romance set in the same world as Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series. It is a story of redemption and a marriage of convenience with main characters who are not easy; I read this book 2 or 3 times before sitting down to write a review because I couldn’t get enough of it. For those who are not familiar with the Kate Daniels series, Hugh is a character who has done bad things in service to the big bad guy, but who has been exiled and now needs to figure out who he is and what his values are when he’s not serving the big bad guy. A lot of Kate Daniels fans do not like Hugh, but enough of them were interested in Hugh’s story that what started out as an April Fool’s joke turned into this marvelous novel, for which I am very grateful. Because of certain events in this book, it is not required that you read all of the Kate Daniels books, although it does help to know just why Hugh is despised by so many people. Before going any further, I must warn you all that this is a very violent, graphic book; there is a lot of blood and gore and while I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a steamy read, the sex is explicit. Both Hugh and Elara are intense characters, and Hugh has a lot to deal with, but Andrews manages to fit this in as well as move the book into the overarching plotline of the Kate Daniels world. Continue reading

Decades: A Journey of African American Romance Guest Author Keith Thomas Walker Shares a Taste of His Series Contribution

Welcome! If you’re following along with the Decades series, and I really hope you are, then you’re in for a treat! Today we welcome author Keith Thomas Walker and an exclusive excerpt from the eighth book in the series, bringing us into the 1970s. I’ve really been enjoying this series and have found not only some amazing stories that I treasure, but some new-to-me authors who I plan to follow for some time to come. I hope you’ve been just as taken by this series as well. 

Note: Election Day by Keith Thomas Walker is the eighth book in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series. This series consists of 12 books, each set in one of 12 decades between 1900 and 2010. Each story focuses on the romance between African American protagonists, but also embraces the African American experience within that decade. Join the journey on our Facebook page.

Election Day by Keith Thomas Walker

Election Day by Keith Thomas Walker book cover Despite legal efforts to integrate schools, black students continue to struggle with separate and unequal environments in 1970. Leo Davis, an ambitious mayoral candidate, seeks to close a dark chapter in Overbrook Meadows’ history, but the opposition is fierce. Falling for his campaign manager was never part of the plan. Leo and Carla must fight for their love, their safety, and the future of their beloved city.

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