Author Archives: Limecello

[Day After] Release Day Guest Author: Amy Craig

Hi friends! Today we welcome Amy Craig who wrote a truly lovely post for ALBTALBS <3 Her book A Winter Rose just came out yesterday (July 28, 2021 – yes! A post in real time at ALBTALBS! Put this on your calendar! 😉) This is her first time guesting at A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet, so show her some love! 

On A Winter Rose

The first time someone “published” my writing was middle school. Everyone in my class wrote a poem, submitted their poem to an anthology, paid a fee, and received a paperback copy. When I received my copy, I read my friend’s poems, reread my poem, and knew we’d been had. The anthology was a total scam that preyed on doting parents and ambivalent kids. 

A few years later, my high school teacher asked me to write a piece for the National Council of Teachers of English. I flashed back to middle school, but I sat in the cold computer lab and pecked out a story using terms from my beginning ballet class, bad French, and a perseverance theme. I won recognition, but my teacher’s encouragement stayed with me through college and years of professional doubt.

When The Wild Rose Press accepted A Winter Rose, I dedicated the novel to my teacher. My grandma claimed the first indie publishing dedication, but my teacher roared into second place. Continue reading

Release Day Review: Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas

Devil in Disguise (Ravenels Book 7) by Lisa Kleypas
Historical romance released by Avon on July 27, 2021

Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas book coverNew York Times bestseller Lisa Kleypas returns with an enthralling and steaming romance between a Scot with a mysterious past and strong-willed lady looking for adventure—and love. 

“The devil never tries to make people do the wrong thing by scaring them. He does it by tempting them.”

Lady Merritt Sterling, a strong-willed young widow who’s running her late husband’s shipping company, knows London society is dying to catch her in a scandal. So far, she’s been too smart to provide them with one. But then she meets Keir MacRae, a rough-and-rugged Scottish whisky distiller, and all her sensible plans vanish like smoke. They couldn’t be more different, but their attraction is powerful, raw and irresistible.

From the moment Keir MacRae arrives in London, he has two goals. One: don’t fall in love with the dazzling Lady Merritt Sterling. Two: avoid being killed.

So far, neither of those is going well.

Keir doesn’t know why someone wants him dead until fate reveals the secret of his mysterious past. His world is thrown into upheaval, and the only one he trusts is Merritt.

Their passion blazes with an intensity Merritt has never known before, making her long for the one thing she can’t have from Keir MacRae: forever. As danger draws closer, she’ll do whatever it takes to save the man she loves . . . even knowing he might be the devil in disguise.

      I realized as I started reading this book I couldn’t remember what the blurb said – but I was both too lazy to go looking for it, but also I didn’t want to go looking for it because I wanted a [relatively] blank slate. And … this book made me so happy, you guys. <3 I was a little apprehensive about Merritt’s story. I remember the blurb and thinking “I’m interested but … Lillian and Westcliff were never my favorites…” (and I wondered about this being another Ravenel book instead of a spinoff…) I don’t know that I can discuss a major factor without spoilers, so I’m going to try to dance around it. However, I really hope you read this book and come back so we can discuss it.
      I have a confession to make – Lillian is probably my least favorite wallflower. And when the blurb starts out with Lady Merritt Sterling is “strong willed” I was a bit apprehensive we might be getting a mini Lillian. However, that’s not the case. We get almost the best of Lillian – and Marcus – in Merritt. Lillian and Marcus (and Evie and Sebastian) do such a wonderful job raising their children – and it was (beyond all the loveliness) I’m sure helpful that all the children had each other, growing up. Anyway Kier calls her a “wee bully” and … it’s true. She’s so affable she tends to get her way – even outrageous things people would normally never agree to. And beyond that, those being “managed” are happy about it. Merritt is the oldest sibling and she’s been a peace keeper. Being widowed, she’s also a bit older, wiser, and less constrained than many other historical romance heroines we see. (That and the fact that she has a very supportive, very powerful family and circle.)
      For Keir MacRae – look. I love me a growly, smitten, romantic hero. Throw in the fact that he’s a whisky distiller? I mean – if not for the fact that he and Merritt are perfect for each other I’d be elbowing her out of the way. I’m laughing to myself as I think about why Keir keeps a beard. You just … have to read it. (I’m a little sad we never got to see him interacting with his friends. Honestly I would not have been mad if this book was so much longer. While it’s not rushed – but I did feel in part it did end a little ~abruptly.)
      Aside from the characters, what stood out to me about this book is how sexy it is. There are definitely explicit scenes – but it’s also sensuous. Devil in Disguise is hot, romantic, fun, and honestly – at times comical, which I loved. I threw “fun” in that list – but it’s true. Keir and Merritt have excellent sex but also laugh with and at each other during sex if or when it’s called for. I found myself laughing out loud at times. I think what (also) struck me is … how much I enjoyed this book “despite” it having a lot of tropes that I’d normally say “aren’t my cuppa.” First of all, the Scottish hero. Scottish brogue in books often is just too much for me – but it wasn’t an affect here – it’s entirely who Kier is, and his dialogue just flows. Some of his sayings and terms were just so charming – and my god the man has poetry in his soul. He claims he’s this rough, uneducated, loutish type … but he’s pure romance. Anyone should be so lucky as to be wooed by a Kier.
      I was also pleasantly surprised to be wrong about an issue – as soon as this blip happens I knew there was more to X (although I definitely didn’t guess the all of it) – and I was like “ugh oh no – please don’t tell me this 😒 thing will be a huge dark moment.” I was right in that it is brought up as a roadblock – however it isn’t drawn out – Kier reacts in the most perfect way – and reassures Merritt. (Then also I just knew this other thing would happen – a bit of an eyeroll but … I was okay with it too. And there’s a fun/cute/quippy line at the end Kleypas fans will enjoy.)
      Another point … I can’t/won’t discuss without spoilers – so … *clenches fists* I really want to spill the beans but I also don’t want to but I just need to say I’m so glad to see something like this finally happen and it was so lovely and it was perfect for the characters in question – in how they handle things, and that it isn’t all easy and nice but they roll with it with grace and love. Honestly I can’t wait to see more of these characters in the upcoming books.
      This is a romance with low angst, but a lot of entertainment value. The relationship develops fast. They fall in love in a week – and Merritt even basically has the historical romance equivalent discussion of “insta-love” (my god I hate that term…) with Phoebe … and it’s handled so well. And normally I’m a skeptic like Phoebe (or – she more says you can have instant attraction or lust, but it’s not love because you don’t know each other and can’t possibly know a person that deeply in a week. And she’s right – and it’s true. But there’s the connection and I definitely could see it and believe it between Keir and Merritt. (And I love that he nicknames her Merry!)
      Just thinking about this book put a smile on my face. I know I’m absolutely going to be re-reading this book, and it’s one of my favorite in the series. Honestly my biggest “complaint” is … I was desperate for Keir to meet Gabriel and am crushed it never happened. Maybe we’ll get to see that/their interaction in the next book(s) – and I really hope so because … I think it’d be glorious.
      I read this book in a few hours, and it makes me want to re-read Devil in Winter, Devil in Spring, Chasing Cassandra … and honestly maybe even all the other Wallflower books too. Devil in Disguise  is a really lovely, well written, feel good historical romance and it’s not to be missed. (Seriously, Kleypas takes all these tropes that normally I personally would be like “ennh … >.> pass” about – and of course she makes it work. She not only makes it work, she makes it delightful.) Seriously. I need you to read it and come back so we can talk about this book. And admittedly, Sebastian is one of my most favorite romance heroes ever – so that’s definitely part of it too.
Grade: A-
You can read an excerpt here, and buy a copy here.

Continue reading

~All the Books Limecello Read in 2020

… Yeah that’s not a typo. I’m seriously behind. (I mean … the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 was just … not great. And then things got a little better, but … not that much… and this is just big picture stuff. For myself … my life is one constant migraine and I’ve said this ~summary before – “Why Am I Bleeding and Where Is This Blood Coming From?: The Limecello Story.” So anyway, I had wanted to do all these things in June but part of me also gave myself permission to just … “celebrate by not.” I did want to at least do this though – so … here we go. My list of every(?) book I finished reading in 2020. The symbols are pretty self explanatory I think. As always, the asterisk means I’m certain it was a re-read. the “x#” is how many times I re-read it that time. I am big on comfort re-reading. And the past months have IMO called for a lot of it, so yes in fact there were some book(s) I read or listened to literally five times in a row. Of course the note “♪” means it was an audiobook. Bad devices etc and being held hostage by them really led me to audiobooks since it was the only thing that could run in the background – and also some temporary loss of vision. (Scary!!)

It’s likely not exact exact – near the end of 2020 I got especially bad at logging books or ~reviewing them and rating them, so that’s why a bunch of books aren’t “graded.” As usual if you want to know more of my thoughts on the books I try to put them in GR. (Which is where I get my list from, so it’s tricky. It’s also not great at slotting in re-reads chronologically…) I do also want to say I’m a definite mood reader – so how I’m feeling can to a degree affect what I think of a book. And you can really see when things were getting rough cuz I went back to books I’d just read and listened to them over and over (and over) again.

I pointed out books I noticed are on sale – N.B. this is at the time of my grabbing the link so make sure you double check. Also those are mostly for kindle formats I believe. In case you didn’t know, Amazon changes prices on a whim – or publishers, or authors, so sometimes sales are just for 24 hours. Sometimes they’re there for a few days. YMMV. Usual disclaimers apply – the links are to Amazon because we’re an associate so if you’d be willing to kick us a few pennies, please click and buy! Thanks! Continue reading

A List of API[A] Romance Authors

Hi friends! So I did this for Black History Month – created a list of Black Romance Authors which I hope you found helpful. So I wanted to do it for APAHM too.
With SAPAHM months I’ve had some international guests, so the lists might be slightly off – so apologizes if they are, please let me know what to change. (If I couldn’t find a webpage I linked to their Amazon profile page.) And … some of these authors write YA but YA romance, so I added you know – “(YA)” after their names.

Bella Andre
Grace Callaway
Jax Cassidy
S.A. Chakraborty
Gloria Chao (YA)
Mary H.K. Choi (YA)
Sylvia Day
Sara Desai
Sonali Dev
Piper J. Drake
Pintip Dunn (YA)
Vicki Essex
Hafsah Faizal (YA)
Eilis Flynn
Jen Frederick
Jeanette Grey
Jenny Han (YA)
Karen Harbaugh
Farah Heron
Helen Hoang
Mia Hopkins
Amalie Howard
Uzma Jalaluddin
Julie Kagawa (YA)
Soniah Kamal
Coleen Kwan
Thien-Kim Lam
Ruby Lang
Jackie Lau
Loan Le (YA)
Jade Lee aka Kathy Lyons
Jayci Lee
Hudson Lin
Jeannie Lin
Marjorie Liu
Gennita Low
Tif Marcelo
Sandhya Menon (YA)

Courtney Milan
Tara Pammi
Suzanne Park
Sajni Patel
Cindy Pon
Tara Quan
Alisha Rai
Amara Royce
Sophia Singh Sasson
Nisha Sharma
Royaline Sing
Suleikha Snyder
Jesse Q. Sutanto
Cecilia Tan
Sherry Thomas
Melanie Ting
Julie Tieu
Gita Trelease
Jen Trinh
Lillie Vale (YA)
[Grace Wen]
Ekaterine Xia
Cathy Yardley
Jennifer Yen (YA)

International Asian Pacific Islander Authors
H. Bentham
Halina Cabrera
Catherine Dellosa
Carla de Guzman
Six de los Reyes
Mina V. Esguerra
Elizabeth Galit
Georgette Gonzales
Agay Llanera
Arlene Manocot
Chris Mariano
Nicola Marsh
Bianca Mori
Farrah F. Polestico
Kate Sebastian
Nalini Singh
Camilla Sisco
Marian Tee
Jay E. Tria
Celestine Trinidad
Ines Bautista-Yao

Have you read these authors before? I know there are names I’ve missed – so do you have anyone I should add? (And thank you!)
And as always – if you want to be removed, please let me know.

*ETA: and unlike the other list, the italicized names are ones from crowdsourcing. So I switched it up. Just keeping y’all on your toes. 😉
*ETA² – Clarification after getting numerous comments – mostly on Twitter – Jackie Lau is not the only Asian Canadian author on the list. I included Canada in the “American” list because it’s in N. America, and is closer/much more similar than say someone who lives in Malaysia and has only ever lived in Malaysia. We’ll see how things change next year.

Happy APAHM + An Ending

Hi friends! It’s May 1, which means APAHM has rolled around again! What is APAHM you might ask? It’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Sometimes you might see AAPI – especially more recently in articles, or being said, and that’s Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

It seems fitting for me to say this during APAHM – I have slightly mixed feelings about it – I’m not happy about it but … I’m pulling the plugs on Smithsonian Heritage Month (SHM) posts in 2022. If people want to guest post they’d be more than welcome to. In fact, I hope they do. But I’m not going to keep trying for nothing. Putting out calls, seeing all the people who see it and just don’t care.

The attitude “oh Lime is just doing this to pander and we aren’t welcome any other time” which is patently untruePretty much anyone is welcome to guest at ALBTALBS at any time – it’s just for the SHMs we really tried to find highlight and celebrate people who fit under the umbrella of that particular month. It’s become more of a burden than a recognition – depressing and discouraging, and that’s … just not good. So I’m calling it quits on that. We’ll see where and how  everything else goes.

So uh – on that downer, especially looking at all the hate Asian Americans have gotten for the past year+ … whoo?

😐

Kindle Book Promo + Deals

Hi friends! If you follow me on social media you might’ve seen me share a bunch of deals before. I asked if anyone might be interested in a blog post listing them and people responded positively, so here we are! Enjoy!

First of all, Amazon is currently running another promotion where if you spend $25 on ebooks, you’ll get a $6 credit. Click here: amzn.to/3aKlw7a  – make sure it tells you the deal is activated first before you start buying! It ends tomorrow, April 28, 2021.

Now, all the deals are priced as listed at the time of this post so I’d encourage you to double check because if you read/buy kindle books you’ll know pricing can change very quickly.
N.B. I haven’t read all of these books. Some I’m sharing because it’s a good deal, some I’m sharing because the deal but also I know others liked them. Or, I think people might enjoy the book. For ones I really liked I’ll sometimes comment or highlight it.

Taking His Shot (Hot Jocks Book 7) by Kendall Ryan is on sale for $0.99  (kindle)
Marry in Haste (Marriage of Convenience Book 1) by Anne Gracie is on sale for $1.99
Sorcerer to the Crown (A Sorcerer to the Crown Novel Book 1) by Zen Cho is on sale for $1.99
Problem Child (A Jane Doe Thriller) by Victoria Helen Stone is on sale for $0.99
Jane Doe: A Novel (A Jane Doe Thriller) by Victoria Helen Stone is on sale for $1.99
The Last One Home by Victoria Helen Stone is on sale for $3.99
The Vanishing (Fogg Lake Book 1) by Jayne Ann Krentz is on sale for $2.99
A Lie for a Lie (All In Book 1) by Helena Hunting is on sale for $1.99
Unbreak My Heart by Lauren Blakely is on sale for $1.99
Rookie Move (A Brooklyn Bruisers Novel Book 1) by Sarina Bowen is on sale for $2.99 
His Immortal Embrace by Hannah Howell, Lynsay Sands, Sara Blayne, and Kate Huntington is on sale for $1.99
A Heart of Blood and Ashes (A Gathering of Dragons Book 1) by Milla Vane is still on sale for $1.99
Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 8) by J.R. Ward is on sale for $1.99
Not the lowest price, but A Court of Thorns and Roses is on sale for $6.65  (kindle) – and you might want to snag it now because it seems the other books in the trilogy are now $10.
Someone to Watch over Me (Bow Street Series Book 1) is on sale for $1.99
Dreaming of You (Gamblers Book 2) by Lisa Kleypas is still on sale for $2.99 – And if you’ve never read it and don’t understand the “DEREK!!! SARA!!!” tweets and the “debates” … well here’s your chance to get it at a bargain 😉
Romancing the Duke: Castles Ever After by Tessa Dare is on sale for $2.99
Say Yes to the Marquess: Castles Ever After by Tessa Dare is on sale for $3.99
Catch Me If You Can by Christina C Jones is on sale for $0.99
Finding Forever (Friends and Lovers Book 1) by Christina C Jones is on sale for $0.99
Only For A Night (The Lick Series Book 1) by Naima Simone is on sale for $0.99
Only For Your Touch (The Lick Series Book 2) by Naima Simone is on sale for $0.99
Only For You (The Lick Series Book 3) by Naima Simone is on sale for $0.99 
(There are even more Naima Simone books on sale for $0.99-$1.99 so enjoy! You can check them out here.)
A number of Tessa Bailey books are on sale from $0.99 to $2.99 here.
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love by Numbers Book 1) by Sarah MacLean is on sale for $3.49
A number of Grace Burrowes books are on sale for $1.99 here (kindle)
Duchess in Love (Duchess Quartet Book 1) by Eloisa James is on sale for $1.99
Much Ado About You (Essex Sisters Series Book 1) by Eloisa James is on sale for $1.99
Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James is on sale for $1.99
The Bachelor (Duke Dynasty Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries is on sale for $0.99
Mistress By Mistake (Courtesan Court) by Maggie Robinson is on sale for $1.99
Badger to the Bone (The Honey Badger Chronicles Book 3) by Shelly Laurenston is on sale for $0.99
The Unleashing (Call Of Crows Book 1) by Shelly Laurenston is on sale for $1.99
Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles Book 1) by Ilona Andrews is on sale for $1.99
Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1) by Ilona Andrews is on sale for $2.99
Heiress for Hire (A Duke’s Heiress Romance Book 1) by Madeline Hunter is on sale for $0.99
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen is on sale for $2.99
A number of books by Beverly Jenkins are on sale from $1.99-$2.99 (here) and if nothing else you should really get Destiny’s Embrace which is $1.99 right now.
Crossing The Line (Wilde Ways Book 7) by Cynthia Eden is on sale for $0.99

So! Did you find this helpful? Would you be interested in me noting if the books are in KU too or no? Please let me know!
And 😅 finding all these deals etc does take time so if you’re so inclined … buy me a cup of coffee? *angelface*
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Spoof Review: Dreams of the Past by Laura Hunsaker

Dreams of the Past by Laura Hunsaker
Contemporary romance published by Laura Hunsaker on January 12, 2021

She needs rest, he needs relaxation…

Jenny Travers wants a fresh start. Leaving the nightmares of her past behind her, she heads to Last Chance Beach. Renting the Sea Glass Cottage sounds peaceful and relaxing, which is exactly what she needs.

What she doesn’t need is a man.

Lieutenant Commander Scott Gordon was injured by an IED on his last mission, and while his leg has healed, it’ll never be strong enough to stay on his SEAL team. Renting the Sea Glass Cottage sounds like the perfect place to figure out how he’s going to handle his new normal.

He never expected to find a woman in his bed.

A mix-up at the rental agency means Jenny and Scott are both renting the small cottage. Sharing a space with a stranger should be hard, yet they both feel more at peace than they have in months.

Will their summer romance last, or is the magic of Sea Glass Cottage all they’ll have…

I mean OMG there’s only one bed. ONE BED!

In Dreams of the Past, we have your typical forced proximity story of two strangers and one bed. Now we all know that either stranger could walk out of the building at any time. I mean they aren’t snowed in, they’re stubborn. Continue reading

Women’s History Month Guest Post: Morgan Elektra on The Mysterious Mrs. Radcliffe

Hi friends! We’re back with a WHM post! As you know I welcome any and everyone fro Smithsonian [Heritage] Month posts, and Morgan was someone who stepped up. Thank you, Morgan! I have to say – I didn’t know much about Mrs. Radcliffe. Of course I knew she was a very popular author. It seemed for a while you couldn’t read a historical romance that didn’t snark about her in some way – so I appreciated Morgan providing her take and more information. I also desperately need to know more about ~what happened to her … but that seems like something we’ll never know. Anyway – read on!

The Mysterious Mrs. Radcliffe
by Morgan Elektra

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe book coverMost of you don’t know the name Ann Radcliffe, despite the fact that, in her heyday (1789-1797), she was the most popular novelist in perhaps all of Europe. However, this sad oversight is hardly your fault. Unlike names like Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and the Brontë sisters, Radcliffe’s name is hardly ever uttered in a classroom setting. Prior to college and any specialization classes taken at that time, there is very little attention paid to the Gothic novel at all, despite how those authors, like Radcliffe, helped shape the world of both horror and romance.

So, who is Ann Radcliffe and why should you know her name? Born Ann Ward in Holborn, London on July 9, 1764, she moved with her mother and father to Bath as a small girl, where her father managed a china shop for the Wedgewoods. She married William Radcliffe, a lawyer who would go on to edit The English Chronicle newspaper. The two lived in seclusion in London and had no children. Little more is known of her life, aside from a few quotes about her shyness.  Continue reading

Women’s History Month 2021 + Fun New Projects

Hi friends! Happy March! We’ve ideally got some posts planned – and maybe highlighting some older posts too. 🙂

Anyway! As always, I’m hoping to find people to write guest posts for the [Smithsonian] Heritage Months, for this year and future years. So if you’d like to write something for Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (which is also Jewish Heritage Month), Pride Month, Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month (this one is more who you go by/the ~government titles can be a bit archaic), or Native America/First Nations Heritage Months, we’d love to have you. 

You don’t have to be Black/APIA/LGBTQ+/Latinx/Native to write a guest post – if you are, you’re free to write about anything. We just want to celebrate you. If you DO NOT have to fall under the umbrella of one of those months, then we ask you write something relevant – discuss a holiday, cultural event, food, historical or important figure, etc.

As for the new project(s) … well, what’s life without trying to take on too much?

These are some things I’ve been considering for more than a decade … one will ideally take place annually, and one will happen as it happens. >.> I don’t want to spoil the surprise until it happens though… but in order for it to happen, we do need people!

AND SO! If you’re a romance writer or reader and have a sense of humor … we’d love for you to join us! One thing is really simple and open to everyone … the other … more for authors – a chance to have some fun with their writing and also highlight books of their choice. If you’re interested in either, please leave a comment for me to contact you – or reach out via the handy dandy contact form.

Thanks all!

 

[Belated] Team TBR Challenge Review: I Think I Might Love You by Christina C. Jones

I Think I Might Love You (Love Sisters Book 1) by Christina C. Jones
Contemporary romance released by Christina C. Jones on April 25, 2019

Jaclyn Love is a magnet for trouble – it seems to follow her wherever she goes.

Unfortunately for Kadan Davenport, she also seems to be a magnet for him – even after a disastrous first impression that leaves him – literally – black and blue.

Jaclyn is busy trying to find some sort of balance, and Kadan is just trying not to get swept up in the chaos.

In a small city like Blakewood, it’s hard to avoid each other… especially when each additional encounter makes them wonder if they really want to.

Let’s start out on a personal and a positive note! This will be the last belated review – no more late TBR Challenge reviews from Limecello in 2021 after this! … >.> Which also I think this is supposed to be my last scheduled one for the year? Never mind that though. 🙃 Now! This book! I’m so glad I read it! I’ve already recommended it on social media. I own the ebook – but I actually just listened to the audiobook, and it’s fabulous! (The story is too of course – the narration is great too and there’s … one scene that I think really made it for me – but we’ll get there.) I fudged a little bit because Christina C Jones isn’t entirely new to me. I discovered her last year and have blown through a lot of her backlist. And listened to some of her books over and over [and over and over and over and over] already. Continue reading