Author Archives: Limecello

Release Day Guest Review: The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier

Guest review of The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier
High fantasy released by Penguin on September 3, 2019

The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier book coverEighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and is a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. She and her brother train there to compete for places, and find themselves joining a mission while still candidates. Their unusual blend of skills makes them ideal for this particular job, which requires going undercover as traveling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.

Their mission: to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship, which has gone missing. If the instrument is not played at the upcoming coronation, the candidate will not be accepted and the kingdom will be thrown into disarray. Faced with plotting courtiers and tight-lipped druids, an insightful storyteller, and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realizes an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the kingdom. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision—and the consequences may break her heart.

Juliet Marillier is one of my insta-buy authors and this book just confirms why that’s the case. The Harp of Kings launches a new series, Warrior Bards. I’m not sure if it will follow the same format as the Blackthorn & Grim series (following the same set of characters; more mystery, slow burn romance) or the Sevenwaters series (a different couple in each book; very much historical fantasy romance), but I suspect it will be the former. This story also nicely intersects the two established series in this world (the aforementioned Sevenwaters and Blackthorn & Grim). If you’re new to Marillier, this book is a good place to start! Continue reading

[Adult] High Fantasy Romances: A Quest (+ Books I’ve Read in this Genre)

Hi friends! As you know, I’ve been on a big kick for adult high fantasy romances! I’m pretty sure I’ve explained “high fantasy” in previous posts … not sure about the other so … By adult I don’t mean “adult situations” I mean “the main characters are considered to have reached the age of majority in their world/culture.” (Although you know, adult situations are good too 😛 ) It seems this is still a genre dominated by YA but … you know. Also, one of my “quirks” is I hold off on reading a series until it’s finished. (Mostly because I’ll blow through an entire series in just a few days.) I do sometimes make an exception but … it’s rare. (And I also need to be assured each book can stand sufficiently alone/doesn’t end on a massive cliffhanger.)

Anyway, here’s my updated list! I would like to note… I’ve branched into YA. I mean – see above, right? I thought about trying to find some symbol to denote YA titles but … that seems too daunting. I periodically make these posts because I ask for recommendations on social media a lot, and a lot of people are always interested, so hopefully this helps us all out. 😀

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson book cover

Here’s what I’ve read: Continue reading

What I (Limecello) Read the First Half of 2019

Indicative of how things are going, for the year I first typed 2018, and then 2010 and … yeah. If you haven’t noticed we’ve mostly been on hiatus here at ALBTALBS, with only rockstar Babs being on point and writing all the reviews and such as expected. The Heritage Months … I so hate giving up but might be a bust. I joked about next year for APAHM and then Pride (being my birthday month) my “gift to myself” would be… totally taking both months off… BUT ANYWAY. You’re not here to listen to me whine. You’re here to see what I’ve been reading. And it didn’t seem like a lot but … I guess it has been! So whee! There have also been some gems in there that I really hope you’ll pick up!

The asterisk before means I’ve read the book in the past and re-read it this year. Or that I read it this year, and then have re-read it again since the first read. The asterisk after the author name means the book was new to me, but since reading it in 2019 I’ve re-read it. Close to one of those “I got to ‘the end’ and flipped the book around and started from page 1 and read it through all over again.” … Because yes some people do do that! … 😛 Generally not me but I’ve done something close! 😀 Continue reading

July 4th in America

Hi friends! So … I thought about doing something like I did four years ago, sharing the entire text of the Declaration of Independence. However, it’s easy enough to just click over.

Also, the state of the country is just … such a mess now that … well, it’s more important than ever to celebrate the ideas of democracy and to work for one. A lot of people are feeling burnout and such, and I can’t even articulate how I feel about this administration so … here’s this.

Enjoy the tongue in cheek “America Yay” – I hope if you’re stateside you have a lovely, safe, and fun holiday. (And hat tip to Manda Collins for bringing the video to my attention.)

SAPAHM Guest: Ekaterine Xia On the Portrayal of Mothers … and then Confucius!

Hi friends! I’m glad to welcome back Ekaterine Xia to ALBTALBS! She’s going to be out APAHM hero this year, and has written other really thoughtful posts before, which  I hope you’ll check out of you missed them. (Lime, WTF are all those letters and what do they mean? SAPAHM = Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!) So without further ado… another incredible post by Ekaterine!

On the Portrayal of Mothers … and Confucius!

I have mommy issues.

Specifically, I have issues with how mothers are portrayed in fiction, particularly science fiction and fantasy.

Even within Romancelandia, SFFR has a lot of mommy issues. Contemporary does much better, and I have to ask if it’s because contemporary wasn’t influenced by men and their favorite tropes in the same way science fiction and fantasy romance was.

It took me a long time to put that niggling unease into concrete examples, but once you start the list, things start to look pretty bad really quickly. Continue reading

“Desperately” Seeking: [Privately] Pierced Heroes

Hi friends! So … usually these posts are OMG I WANT/NEED THEM NOW! But … this one happened because of twitter. If you follow me you might know periodically I tweet [kindle] freebies and books on sale. It’s ~scary out there in bookworld now (so much to eventually talk about…) but anyway – so these lists are more and more curtailed – but! This was one I’d read before and enjoyed:

Rock Me by Cherrie Lynn book coverAt the time, Rock Me by Cherrie Lynn was free for kindle. Anyway, this was the tweet that set it off – and people began listing other books, but I’m in recovery and this didn’t happen as quickly as I’d like so… whatever. Good news, Maneuver by Chelle Bliss (I haven’t read/finished this one yet) also has a pierced hero.

I want to say this was a “trend” that was pretty popular in the late 00s/early 10s but it seems to be less common now. I know there are more but these are the books off the top of my head I remember… and some crowdsourced from conversations where people gave me permission to use their replies. 🙂 Continue reading

10 Tenacious Questions with Lorelei James (In Which Lorelei Interviews Herself)

Hi friends! You know what? I can’t believe that Lorelei James has never been an official guest at ALBTALBS before! How is that even possible?! And you know what else is fun? She’s not the first author to have interviewed herself. (Yes there’s even a tag!) ANYWAY. 😀 Please let me welcome Lorelei and see what she has to say!

10 Tenacious Questions with Lorelei James

That got your attention, didn’t it? When I was chatting with the lovely, sweet Limecello and she asked if I’d be interested in doing a blog post, I said sure…can I interview myself? Luckily she didn’t balk at my request, or think it was weird 😊

Why did I choose this type of format? Because honestly, I’ve been published for 14 years and I get the same questions over and over and over. And it really blows when I get a set of generic questions right before a new release and I know damn well the blogger/reviewer hasn’t read my book. I knew Lime hadn’t read this one yet, so I thought it’d be fun and less promote-y given the fact I do have a release this week–1st book in a new contemporary romance series, I Want You Back, buy it now!!—to do something different. Thanks to Lime and A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet for letting me have my dirty, wicked way with this post. Continue reading

Desperately Seeking: Smitten Heroes

Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas Book CoverHi friends! Back with a quiet feature of ALBTALBS – where I (and anyone else can!) look for recommendations from the community. It’s pretty self explanatory … but I am desperately seeking them! I’m in a Mood what with recovery and such, and … I just want books with a strong strong strong romance/pursuit from the start.

Merriam Webster defines smitten as: deeply affected with or struck by strong feelings of attraction, affection, or infatuation

Which … yeah. I want your favorite books where the hero is taken from the start. He’s head over heels for the his love interest, whether overtly or not – but he’s now pursuing her, courting her … or him! M/F or M/M … or other pairings are welcome. I just want a romance where one of the characters is gaga for the other(s) from go. If you have F/F recs I’d love to hear them too. F/F is definitely a genre I’m not very familiar with, but I’m very glad to see there are more stories being written in Romanceland/more visibility.

Off the top of my head … Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas would be one such book. In fact … I’ll list them, in no particular order. Continue reading

So … This Is Awkward. I Need Help. (Please)

Hi friends! … So, a few things. I’ve been slightly more close mouthed and cagey about it this time. (I know, I know, you’re going “what? You? Quiet about anything?!”) … So there is that. But uh … I’m not even sure when this will be going live, or where I’ll be … (please Jesus God in Heaven let me be home by this time, not in the hospital or a rehab facility) … but I probably won’t be lucid. Anyway – I’m having major surgery. Major.

The last time I had to have this done, I was in the hospital almost nine days. I also almost literally died. … And then I “just” wanted to die. So yeah.

And … now we get to the even more awkward part. (God can it get even more awkward? … Sadly, yes.)

I need help. Monetary, mostly, to be honest. I’m going to be out of work for more than three months, and without pay. I guess the positive is I’ll still have my sad little job to go back to once I’m a bit more on my feet … but having no income while at the same time racking up major medical expenses is unfortunately putting me in a really difficult situation.

And … then there’s the other also awkward part. You might remember last time (and unfortunately I’m actually still recovering from it…) … there was also a GFM for me. That was done by Ashley March/Elise Rome. She wanted to help me out and suggested staring a campaign for me, and asking if I’d be ok with it. I was touched, and thanked her. Well … things didn’t go quite as expected and she kept most of the funds for over a year. She has started sending some more of the money as of this year, which I really appreciate.

I’m not actually trying to shame her – I really simply want to explain what happened last time – why I’m asking for “yet more money” and such. Although to be honest all of that was gone/already spent on medical things before it would’ve even ever gotten to me. If that makes sense. Everything is a muddle.

The point is, if you could find it in your hearts and wallets to donate to me … I can’t tell you how much it’d mean to me, or how much I need it. I’m embarrassed, mortified, sick with … shame and need, but there you have it. My needs are greater than my pride.

https://www.gofundme.com/help-limecello 

If you can’t afford to give, which I absolutely understand, I’d ask that you please share the campaign to reach greater numbers. 

Thank you all so much for your kindness and support. 

All my love.

[Limecello]

Author Interview with Avery Flynn!

Hi friends! I’m reviving an old ALBTALBS feature today, with the fabulous Avery Flynn! She just had a new book come out on Tuesday – Tomboy which I really enjoyed (I’m even going to review it! I know!!! Gasp you should!!!) But first, we’re here for some fun, wherein we do 0 book talk (yeah I don’t know how that happened either) – but I asked Avery a bunch of off the wall questions and challenged her to answer them. The crazier the better right?!

But first, I mean, we can’t >.> have no book talk… so you know. Info! Tomboy is the third Hartigan book. (Although I still really consider The Charmer to be the “first” Hartigan book … >.> I mean Felicia Hartigan is the heroine … and that book might be my favorite by Ms. Flynn … so far… *whispers* so hybrid series Harbor City/Hartigans and all thus Tomboy is Hartigan 4…) BUT ANYWAY!) N.B. while each book can stand alone I think it’d be helpful to read the Haritgans books in order. You definitely don’t have to though. … But you should read Harbor City book 2. The Charmer. I really liked it – can you tell? :P) The other two preceding Hartigan book are Butterface, and Muffin Top (which I reviewed.)

Tomboy by Avery Flynn book coverHow exactly has one good deed landed me in the penalty box?

Ice Knights defenseman Zach Blackburn has come down with the flu, and my BFF—his PR manager—begs me to put my nursing degree to use and get him back to health. Of course she would call in a favor for the most hated man in Harbor City.

But when he’s finally on the mend and I’m sneaking out of his place, everything goes sideways. Paparazzi spot me and pictures, plus accusations that I slept with him, fly faster than a hockey puck.

At first, all of Harbor City wants my blood—or to give me a girlie-girl makeover. But then…the team finally wins a game. And now this fickle town wants me with the big jerk twenty-four seven.

Argh. I never slept with him the first time! But no one will listen. Then the grumpy bastard goes and promises to break his no-fan-appearances rule to help raise money for a free health clinic—but only if I’m rink-side at every game. That’s not a deal I can turn down.

But when the team keeps winning, and I realize there’s more to him than his bad reputation, suddenly remembering to keep my real hands off my fake date gets harder and harder to do.

If you could be any one character in any book or series, who would you be? 
You know, I wanna be Kinsey from Kate Meader’s Flirting With Fire because Luke should be all mine. Seriously. That man. *faints*
Continue reading