Tag Archives: Random House

Random House Hockey Hop

My friends – I’m not even quite sure how all this happened. Guess what though? I’m part of yet another Random House blog hop. This time it’s a Hockey Hop! I guess it was the hockey? And it seemed timely since the Stanley Cup playoffs will be taking place soon. Here’s a list of all the participants.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Really, it’s just a chance to win stuff. And who doesn’t like that, huh?!?!!?

Don’t worry – I’ll be announcing winners from this blog soon. Ideally, today. So let’s all keep our fingers crossed. Because I finally have internet. And believe me – many f-bombs were slain in the making of the previous [months] posts! Cuz I more than dropped them, I fucking killed them.

J. Kenner: “Staycation, All I Ever Wanted” – The Joys of Lounging and Reading

Hello my darlings! I have internet! The sun is shining! I have soup! (These are very happy making and exciting things.) And today, we have J. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) visiting with us! I’m normally not all about blog tours, but Sue from Random House asked who was in, so of course I was! I hope you all enjoy – Julie has a great topic today. (Don’t know why but I also feel the urge to call her Julie J. :-P)

“Staycation, All I Ever Wanted” – The Joys of Lounging and Reading

Yes, I know that I’ve bastardized the lyrics of the Go-Go’s song, but the sentiment is true.  Because I don’t want an actual vacation (well, I always want a vacation … Paris, anyone?) but simply one weekend with no distractions and nothing to do.  Nothing, that is, but read.

I don’t know about you, but my TBR pile is spilling over.  Fortunately, I read most books digitally these days, which means that I don’t have to buy another house to store all of my bought-but-unread books.  But every night the pile calls to me, but work and life and kids interfere and I can’t just blow through them the way I want to (that way being by a pool with a drink, and maybe a massage thrown in as a break between chapters).

Recently, my husband and I were talking about our upcoming Disney World vacation and the fact that it was going to be so much fun – but exhausting at the same time.  I mentioned my fantasy of a reading-only vacation.  I was picturing the place we went in Mexico on our honeymoon—good food, lots of pools, a swim-up bar—but without the PITA factor of traveling.  Something close, something just for a weekend …

Not terribly surprisingly, he jumped all over the idea.  And a few hours later—since I am nothing if not Type A—I had reservations for us at Central Texas resort.  And, yes, there is a swim-up bar.  There is amazing food.  And there is a spa.

Soon—so temptingly soon—we’re checking out of real life for the weekend, charging up our Kindles, and heading off for our Staycation.

I. Can’t. Wait.

Have you ever done a Staycation?  Think it sounds tempting?  May I be so bold as to suggest that you relax with one of my books, maybe even my latest release, Claim Me by J. Kenner, the second book in the bestselling Stark Trilogy following Release Me!

And, hey, my TBR pile may already be full, but I always have room for more books.  So if you have the perfect book to add to my ever-growing list, give a shout-out.  After all, I can always book a second (and third and fourth …) staycation!

Bio: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. Kenner has written over 40 books under multiple names including Julie Kenner and J.K. Beck.  You can learn more about her at her website or connect with her on Twitter or on Facebook.

 We also have a lovely giveaway for all of you! “A copy of Claim Me to one lucky winner … a print copy if the winner is in the U.S. or a digital copy if the winner is outside of the U.S.” (And I don’t have the official word on it – but I’d think if you’re in the US and would like the digital copy, that would be ok too… but you know, don’t take that as gospel.)

The Final Parrot Shifter Saga, Courtesy of Megan Frampton

Hey y’all! So the wonderful Megan Frampton decided to let me convince her to step out of her comfort zone, and write about a parrot shifter. I really loved seeing all the different directions people took with their stories, and think it gives you a good idea (yet a different look) at each style. I hope you enjoy this!


I took the knife and made a sharp, careful incision into the orange. The peel came off in regular-sized chunks, dropping onto the cutting board.

My boyfriend Drake heaved a great sigh next to me. “Not pare it, Polly. Parrot. You know, like the bird?”

I stopped the movement of my hands and tilted my head to look at him. “Parrot? Are you sure it wasn’t pair it? Like the way cookies and cream, or bacon and eggs, or lamb and mint sauce—“

He grabbed my elbow and shook it in frustration. He was frustrated a lot; mostly because lately everything I said seemed to make him upset. He used to think it was cute when I repeated what he said, especially if I did it using the same inflection he did. But not anymore.

I wondered if it was because of the crowd he’d started running with—they called themselves the Pirates, and they’d adopted Drake as a sort of mascot. I couldn’t tell many of them apart, since they all sported long beards and spoke in slang I didn’t understand, and Drake wouldn’t explain to me—I mean, “hornswaggle? Shiver me timbers?” What the what?

“It’s not pair it, or pare it, or—“

“Pear it!” I shouted, waving the knife way too close to his face. “Like when you drink Poire Williams, and you need something to go with. In which case, wouldn’t it be clearer to say ‘cheese it?’ Although then someone might think you meant something else entirely.”

He rolled his eyes and removed the knife from my hand.

“I do mean something else entirely. I’m trying to tell you…”

“Trying to tell me?” I echoed back.

He sighed again, an exhalation that blew my feather earrings back into my hair. “You’re a shifter, Polly, but not just any shifter.”

“A shifter? Are you saying I’m shifty?”

His Mohawk, dyed a multitude of colors, waggled in the air as he gave a vehement shake of his head. “No. Not shifty. Geez, where do you learn these things?”

I knew it would make him squawk if I said it was from him.

“So. A shifter. What about a shifter?” Saying the word made me want to move around, so I did, shifting back from him in my usual duck-footed fashion.

“You’re a shifter. A parrot shifter,” he said.

I stared at him, too hen-witted to parse what he was saying.

And then it hit me.

And I pecked at him the only way I knew how. “Parrot shifter, huh? That’s for the birds, Drake.”

Also? Random House has set up a blog hop for Megan Frampton that I’m part of – there’s a giveaway they’re hosting too. It officially starts on Sunday, so please remember to come back and enter! (NB: Megan’s new book Hero of my Heart is out April 8th!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to hit up all the other blogs for more chances to win!

Now, what I want to know is – what did you guys think of all these little stories Laura Hunsaker, Sorcha Mowbray, Heather Lire, and Megan Frampton wrote for us? Have you read all of them? Would you like to read more creative contributions for ALBTALBS dares? 😀

Review: How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox

Julia’s Review

How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox
Contemporary romance novella released by Loveswept on January 28, 2013

What woman can resist a hot man in a hard hat? Beloved author Ruthie Knox kicks off her new Camelot series with this deliciously sexy original novella, in which a good girl learns how to misbehave . . . with all her heart.

As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?

Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own—unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?

Amber is good girl. She’s just out of a religious college, where she even did a mission trip to an impoverished area. She just moved out of her parents’ home, but she’s only across the way from them and she talks to her mother very often.

Tony is a construction worker, a high school/college# dropout. He’s the far side of thirty. He has a history. He has the kind of reputation that would scare any parent.

This setup is a well-loved romance trope. An older more experienced man is loved by an innocent young girl.

But in Knox’s hands this story takes twists and turns that are as surprising as they are satisfying. Amber is a squeaky clean good girl, but she’s no virgin waiting to be seduced. Amber just, in her own words, “got used to being good.” She actively, if hesitantly, pursues Tony. She’s neither uninterested nor afraid.

Her mother Janet isn’t an evil, oppressive character. She’s hovering and maybe a little controlling, but Amber pushes back good naturedly and they have a very real and wonderful and flawed relationship. The subtlety and complexity of their relationship was one of the real joys of this book.

Tony is the one who has fears, demons chasing him. He tries to be responsible and tells Amber he’s protecting her since he’s not looking for anything permanent. Amber’s reply?

Her expression hardened as he spoke, her mouth flattening out. “That’s so insulting.”

His conflict is heart wrenching, not something easily solved in 30K words or in the compressed timeline of this story. But again Knox’s storytelling instincts are sharp. The story doesn’t resolve the conflict so much as present us with the knowledge that these two wonderful people are better off together.  Tony looks down at a smiling Amber just before their first kiss.

Nobody looked at him like that, with such open, boundless optimism.

At 30,000 How to Misbehave is a super quick read which worried me a little when I started it. As a rule, I don’t like novellas because they’re, well, short. But I love Ruthie’s stories, so I dove in. I’m so glad I did. The story is short but in no way did I feel the conflict or the character arcs were short changed. This is a full story that had me checking how much was left in the book as I was on the edge of my seat desperate that things work out for Tony and Amber.

If you’ve never read Ruthie Knox before, this is little bite of a story is a great way to check her out. The good news? The novella is the first in a new series. The next two full length novels star Amber’s siblings Caleb and Katie.

Grade: B+

You can read an excerpt here or buy a copy here.