Release Day Blogiversary Edition Exclusive Excerpt: The Golden Gryphon and the Bear Prince by Jeffe Kennedy

Hi friends! It’s release day for the fabulous Jeffe Kennedy! She’s written in a number of [sub]genres, and high fantasy romance is one where she shines. She very generously offered to be part of the blogiversary and have a giveaway, so I figured her release day was the perfect timing! (Timing being 😅 something that I struggle with when it comes to blog posts.) ANYWAY! The Golden Gryphon and the Bear Prince is out today, and we’ve got an exclusive excerpt of it to share with our A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet readers! <3 I hope you enjoy!

The Golden Gryphon and the Bear Prince by Jeffe Kennedy book coverA Legacy of Honor

Crown Prince Astar has only ever wanted to do the right thing: be a credit to his late father’s legacy, live up to his duties as heir to the high throne of the Thirteen Kingdoms, and cleave to the principles of honor and integrity that give his life structure—and that contain the ferocious grizzly bear inside. Nowhere in those guiding principles is there room for the fierce-hearted, wildly free-spirited, and dizzyingly beautiful shapeshifter, Zephyr. Still, even though they’ve been friends most of their lives, Astar is able to keep Zephyr safely at arm’s length. He’s already received a list of potential princess brides who will make a suitable queen, and Zephyr is not on it.

A Longtime Obsession

Zeph has wanted the gorgeous, charming, and too-good-for-his-own-good Astar for as long as she can remember. Not that her longing for him—and his perfectly sculpted and muscular body—has stopped her from enjoying any number of lovers. Astar might be honorably (and foolishly) intent on remaining chaste until marriage, but Zeph is Tala and they have no such rules. Still, she loves Astar—as a friend—and she wants him to at least taste life before he chains himself to a wife he didn’t choose. There’s no harm in him having a bit of fun with her. But the man remains stubbornly elusive, staving off all of her advances with infuriatingly noble refusals.

A Quest to Save the World

But things change when a new terror threatens the Thirteen Kingdoms. Following prophecy, Astar and Zeph—along with a mismatched group of shapeshifter, warrior, and sorceress friends—go on a quest to stop a magic rift before it grows beyond anyone’s ability to stop. Thrust together with Zephyr, Astar finds himself increasingly unable to resist her seductive invitations. And in the face of life-and-death battles with lethal monsters, he begins to lose sight of why having her, just once, is such a terrible idea…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Zeph beelined to the fire, standing as close as she could without igniting her fancy skirts. “I like Castle Elderhorst. Suddenly I’m a lady!” Continue reading

Blogiversary Version Guest Author & A Giveaway: Jennifer Bernard

Hi friends! I’m very excited to welcome back Jennifer Bernard as a guest to A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet! When I put out a call for people to participate she responded immediately <3 As a[nother] personal thing, I realized when copying and pasting I did an oops in the questions I sent authors and none of them have called me out on it. 😅 So a general shout out for not embarrassing me I guess. 😜 (Thanks!) Anyway, Jennifer chose to do an “interview” so I hope you enjoy!

Mine Until Moonrise by Jennifer Bernard book coverWhat was your favorite book as a child? (Why?) And what is your favorite book now?
I’ve been an obsessive bookworm practically since birth, so it’s honestly really hard to pick out one favorite. Maybe A Wrinkle in Time. Little Women was up there, and the Narnia series. The Witch of Blackbird Pond was one of my all-time favorites. Lisa, Bright and Dark had a huge impact on me. Obviously I love the books that I grew up with, but I also think I would have devoured the young adult books coming out today. Right now I’m reading Legendborn, which I would have just inhaled back then – okay, I admit I’m doing that now as an adult.

If you could create any movie mash up – which films would you combine?
This isn’t a movie, but I’m currently binging on Insecure (so so good!) so I’d mash that up with… hm, maybe Crazy Rich Asians, so Issa Dee could have a happy ending?

What inanimate object would you eat if it was safe to do?
The moon, so I could glow on demand.

What is the first thing you learned how to cook? Do you have a go-to dish? And/or a signature dish? (What makes it so?)
Popcorn! With lots of butter and salt. And we didn’t have a popcorn maker so I learned with a frying pan (and a few burns.) My signature dish is something we eat all the time because I live in Alaska with a freezer full of salmon. You chop up pine nuts and herbs and salt and pepper, clump it onto the salmon and saute it in olive oil. Continue reading

Blogiversary Guest Renee Dahlia on 10 Years and Reflection

Hi friends! I’d like you to welcome back Renee Dahlia, who very generously offered to help us celebrate 10 years of blogging – and offer a giveaway! She took the time to write us this post, so I hope you enjoy!

Happy 10 years to A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet
Renee Dahlia

Sometime in the middle of 2020, I was driving my car and people were calling in with stories of their worst cars. Someone rang up and talked about how they had a car where the CD got stuck in the player and they were forced to listen to the same CD over and over.

When I offered to write something for the tenth anniversary of this blog, it made complete sense to talk about Craving His Spotlight. This story is about having another go at life, about looking back at the past, and thinking about how to use those old experiences for good. The thing about anniversaries is they tend to make people think about the past and how far they’ve come in that time.

Craving His Spotlight opens with a voice and a memory.

Vince would know that voice anywhere. The rich dulcet smoky voice with sultry notes. Truly, it was the only good thing about the bloody pop beat of those songs. For two long years, he’d listened to it on endless repeat, because there was no other option. Hearing that voice meant only one thing—the lead singer of So You Think was here in the office of Vince’s advertising company, Kapow. It must be over a decade since the boy band was huge. He shuddered. That fucking car with the So You Think CD stuck in the dash represented some of the worst years of his life. Nah, not the absolute worst. They were the end of the worst and the beginning of now. Continue reading

Blogiversary Version Guest Author & A Giveaway: Nicole Flockton

Hi friends! So we’ve had a lot going on in the world, but we’re trying to truck along! Therefore, I’ve got another post for you to celebrate Blogiversary, and would everyone to welcome back Nicole Flockton! It’s also release day for her! Shelter for Cerise is out today so everyone also wish Nicole a very happy release day! 

What was your favorite book as a child? 
Hmm my favourite book. I’m not sure I had one but I had a favourite author. I read a ton of Enid Blyton books. I love the concept of toys coming to life and living independently. And what is your favorite book now? Hmm that’s a toughie. There was one book I used to read every year it’s a book called Fortunes by Vera Cowie. I need to get it out and read it again. It’s been a while since I’ve read it. It’s about an auction house and an ugly duckling heroine getting it all in the end.

If you could create any movie mash up – which films would you combine? (Why?)
Oh you ask the tough questions! Okay let me see. Let’s go with National Treasure and The Mummy. I’d love to see Nic Cage take on some mummies while hunting down the mother lode of treasures.

What inanimate object would you eat if it was safe to do? Why?
Ohh I know a football. I mean it was made out of pigskin so it could taste like bacon. 😉

What is the first thing you learned how to cook? Do you have a go-to dish? And/or a signature dish? (What makes it so?)
My first memories of cooking were helping my mum make a cake so I guess that was the first think I learned. My go to dish is what I call Sausage Pasta. Basically it’s smoked sausage, pasta, broccoli and parmesan cheese. It’s simple and quick and my kids really like it. I guess this is my signature dish. Continue reading

Blogiversary Version Guest Author & A Giveaway: Shannon McKenna

Hi friends! I’m very excited to welcome back Shannon McKenna. She’s written some of my favorite romantic suspense books (I know! It’s not even a genre I generally read but her McCloud books – man. Davy 😻. Anyway) Please give her a warm welcome! Shannon very generously offered to be participate, and chose to do a “Guest Author & A Giveaway” post, so here are her Blogiversary questions and answers! 

What was your favorite book as a child? And what is your favorite book now?
I was an Anne Of Green Gables freak. I just adored that book and all the rest of the Anne series as well. I related to her so completely. Not only how imaginative and lost in her head that she was, but how hungry she was for love and acceptance. But there is Jane Eyre, too, which I was introduced to as a Classics Illustrated comic way back in the long-ago time when I thought that the whole Mr. Rochester story was dumb and boring and the only interesting part was Jane’s time at the awful Lowell School with Helen Burns and the evil Mr. Brocklehurst. That book is the breeding ground of a million incredibly compelling romance tropes that still have me in their vise-grip today. The lure of the trash-talking bad boy, My Love Will Save Him, etc, etc. But the great thing about Jane Eyre is, she knows how to say ‘no.’ Even when it tears her to pieces, she maintains her own integrity as a person, over and over again. And then, thank God, the story rewards her for it with a happy ending. WHICH IS AS IT FREAKING SHOULD BE. ALWAYS. Oh dear now I’m getting worked up about random things that have nothing to do with anything. I will stop now.

Favorite book now…I am in a terrible state of not having enough time to read, and having not had it for such a long time that I have gotten out of the habit of reading. Awful, for a writer. The last book I read was the Jack Reacher thriller Blue Moon, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I have lots of thoughts and strong opinions about Jack Reacher and his issues, (I wish he would get therapy, how fun would that be? Don’t you want to read that chapter?) but enough about that. I would say, the last book I had time to read that absolutely blew my mind was All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Incandescently beautiful writing. Just huge. And the latest romance I had time to read was Robin Covington’s latest, Taking On The Billionaire, a Harlequin Desire, which was heart-felt, red-hot, crackling fun that I would recommend to everyone. Continue reading

Blogiversary Version Guest Author & A Giveaway: Christie Kelley

Hi friends! I’m very excited to welcome Christie Kelley to ALBTALBS. I believe she’s a first time guest, so I hope you all give her a warm welcome! I do also want to note that this post was initially supposed to go live on January 9th, but … well. Anyway! What’s important right now is that A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet turned 10, and Christie Kelley is kind and generous and offering you a prize! Remember those ~zany interviews I used to do as part of the monthly “Guest Author & A Giveaway” series? Christie opted to do one of those, so here are her questions and answers!

Ten Ways to Ruin by Christie Kelley book coverWhat was your favorite book as a child? And what is your favorite book now?
When I was a child, I devoured the Little House on the Prairie books. I think I’ve always felt like this was not my time period, which is probably why I write historical romance.

Learning about my family as I was growing up, my mother always talked about her how her relatives had crossed the Appalachians by the early 1800s, and finally settled in Missouri and Kansas so I felt an affinity toward Laura Ingalls.

I’m not sure I have a favorite book now. I love Pride and Prejudice but my favorites change depending on my mood and what is happening in my life. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of cozy mysteries.

If you could create any movie mash up – which films would you combine? (Why?)
I have to be honest here, this is not something I think much about. So I did a little Googling and saw a movie post for The Bounty Hunter staring Jennifer Anniston and Boba Fett (from the Star Wars franchise). Admittedly, as a Star Wars fan (not fanatic like my sons), I thought the idea of Boba Fett finding out his ex-wife is his next bounty was great. I don’t think he’d be as easy to get away from as Gerard Butler.

What inanimate object would you eat if it was safe to do? Why?
Hmm, well as I write this, I’m staring at my Christmas tree, which fills me with happiness. So why not munch on a Christmas tree. Maybe not full size, though. I’m assuming the ornaments would be little candies that could be pulled from the main tree, which would be cookie or cake. And now I’m hungry. Continue reading

Blogiversary Guest Ainsley Wynter: Sliding Into 2021 and Leaving the Ghosts of 2020 Behind

Hi friends! I’m very pleased to welcome [back] Ainsley Wynter to our blogiversary celebration! (Especially since 😬😅 I still owe her a review… reviews?) And seriously – I think we’re all in on this topic, yeah? [I think … it might be important to note that she sent it to me on January 4th…]  So without further ado, Ainsley!

SLIDING INTO 2021 AND LEAVING THE GHOSTS OF 2020 BEHIND
By Ainsley Wynter

Kissed at Midnight by Ainsley Wynter book coverAs the door closed on 2020, I was one of the people who slid out without saying much of a goodbye. At midnight on New Years Eve I sat on the couch with my kids and husband and watched the ball drop—twice, since I live in the Midwest—and then went to bed. I did that heroine thing of holding a breath that I didn’t know I was holding. Some time later on the morning of January 1st, I carefully blew it out. Maybe 2021 wouldn’t be a total shitshow. Maybe we could leave some of the awful in the past year behind. Continue reading

Release Day Review: Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews
Urban fantasy published by NYLA on January 12, 2021

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews book coverFrom award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an all-new novel set in the New York Times #1 bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring Julie Lennart-Olsen, Kate and Curran’s ward.

Atlanta was always a dangerous city. Now, as waves of magic and technology compete for supremacy, it’s a place caught in a slow apocalypse, where monsters spawn among the crumbling skyscrapers and supernatural factions struggle for power and survival.

Eight years ago, Julie Lennart left Atlanta to find out who she was. Now she’s back with a new face, a new magic, and a new name—Aurelia Ryder—drawn by the urgent need to protect the family she left behind. An ancient power is stalking her adopted mother, Kate Daniels, an enemy unlike any other, and a string of horrifying murders is its opening gambit.

If Aurelia’s true identity is discovered, those closest to her will die. So her plan is simple: get in, solve the murders, prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled, and get out without being recognized. She expected danger, but she never anticipated that the only man she’d ever loved could threaten everything.

One small misstep could lead to disaster. But for Aurelia, facing disaster is easy; it’s relationships that are hard.

I was super excited to read this book and it was awesome! I found myself sitting up on the edge of my seat on the couch several times as I was reading this and it was hard to stop to do normal, boring adult stuff like stand when my Apple Watch buzzed me every hour. I was sucked into the story immediately. I got to the last 15% or so and held off reading the big battle until the next morning so I could savor it. So good; a great first read of the new year! Continue reading

Release Day Review: Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire

Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children Book 6) by Seanan McGuire
Fantasy released by Tor on January 21, 2021

Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire book coverA young girl discovers a portal to a land filled with centaurs and unicorns in Seanan McGuire’s Across the Green Grass Fields, a standalone tale in the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Wayward Children series.

“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines—a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…

This is a poignant coming of age story, that depicts the realistic setting and the fantastical with equal, aching clarity. It is part of a series, but can be read alone, since characters from the other books in the series don’t make an appearance in this book, just a form of magic that is common to all the books and which is fairly easily explained. The cover copy describes Regan’s friendship situation as “complicated,” which I think is a bit of an understatement. Also, I felt worried for Regan at the end of the book, because I wasn’t sure how she would fit into a world that had not been easy for her before she went through the door into the Hooflands, and probably won’t be any easier for her on her return to this world. Mcguire handles topics like being intersexed, different forms of relationships, and making hard choices with aplomb. Continue reading

A Pause for Unfortunate Reality

Look. It’s our 10th Blogiversary. I had posts with giveaways scheduled for every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday of the month. I was all set to go. I didn’t have things scheduled out early – I didn’t get posts early (although a few are in now) … and then Wednesday, January 6th happened.

Insurrection at the Capitol. While Congress was trying to essentially (and until now) basically ceremonially certify the electoral votes. A lot of information is still yet to come, and there are many other better, smarter people who have spoken about it.

So I’ll share Michelle Obama’s here.

I really meant to post Friday … Saturday … Sunday … but still. (And also other life things took over …
And if I’m being honest it’s sunday night and I’m distracted by sportsball, and I’ll be distracted Monday too.) But while part of us will be keeping an eye on this … I hope to also get blog posts going again too. Thanks for your patience and understanding.