Author Archives: Limecello

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

10TH BLOGIVERSARY WINNERS!!

Hi friends! I am very sorry for not posting this sooner. There has been… well it’s a lot. And then the site ~broke. I’m literally communicating with tech support as I write this so … fingers crossed. I also checked spam to make sure no comments/entries were accidentally caught there.

ANYWAY! I know what you’re here for! The WINNERS!!! And here we go! (Shout out to randomizer too for picking the winners.)

We’ve Hit Double Digits! AKA ALBTALBS Turns 10! Winner(s): Ainsley! … and Shannon because she actually emailed me to tell me she’d like to enter too. So WHY NOT DO BOTH ENTRIES?!

Blogiversary Guest Jody Wallace: Cats Are As Perfect As Books Winner: M!

Blogiversary Guest Ainsley Wynter: Sliding Into 2021 and Leaving the Ghosts of 2020 Behind Winner(s): EVERYONE! Seriously! The very kind and generous Ainsley is willing to gift this book to everyone who commented so congratulations to dholcomb1, Aliquis, bn100, and Sandra! The four of you are to email [x] about claiming your prize!

Blogiversary Version Guest Author & A Giveaway: Christie Kelley Winner: flchen1

Blogiversary Version Guest Author & A Giveaway: Shannon McKenna Winner: dholcomb1 & bn100

Blogiversary Version Guest Author & A Giveaway: Nicole Flockton Winner: bn100

Blogiversary Guest Renee Dahlia on 10 Years and Reflection Winner: Sandra

Blogiversary Version Guest Author & A Giveaway: Jennifer Bernard Winner: Aliquis

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

A Blogiversary Version Guest Author & A Giveaway: Amanda McCabe Winner: dholcomb1

Blogiversary Guest: Kali Anthony On the Little Things – *this giveaway of a signed book is open through February 28th so go comment to win! <3

Blockbuster Blogiversary Giveaways from Sabrina Jeffries! Winners: Prize Pack I: Ashley Mason Prize Pack II: flchen1  Bonus Audiobook: Beth

Blogiversary Guest: Janice Maynard! Winner:  Elizabeth KW

To everyone else, how do you get your delightful prize?! Well, contact me via the form on this site, or leave a comment right here on this post telling me you’d like me to email you/figure things out. Your deadline is February 28th. So you have until the end of the month – email me in March and you’re cut off. 😜

Thanks again all for celebrating ten years with us. And especially to all the very generous authors who furnished these prizes and their time. Congratulations to the winners too!

When So For Real Was Too Real: On Reviewing, with a Shout Out (and Apology) to Rebekah Weatherspoon et al

So Sweet by Rebekah Weatherspoon book coverI’ve been thinking about writing this post since October 2016. Rebekah Weatherspoon sent me an ARC of So For Real on October 16, 2016. I read it shortly thereafter. I’d think everyone in the US remembers we were gearing up for a major election … and … welp. So there was a lot going on, and I remember reading So For Real – I had loved So Sweet. I believe I wrote a “First Look” (a review) of that book and for So Right at Heroes & Heartbreakers. (Remember that site?) I’m even blurbed in So Right because I loved it so much! But I remember reading So For Real and – it’s definitely real. Kayla Bradbury née Davis goes through a lot. From what I recall, she’s struggling with newly married life, with friends, with her new business, with life. I meant to review it, but was putting it off because I wanted to love it more than I did … and I just so strongly associate it with the election cycle. I haven’t gone back to re-read it for that very reason. (Unfortunately low key the whole series…) I’m definitely a “mood reader,” which is also why I comfort re-read recent favorites, and sometimes avoid “old favorites” because I’m scared they won’t stand the test of time. Or my bad mood.

I have a highly developed sense of guilt. Not only do I feel bad for not reviewing So For Real (and others) since 2016 … I still feel guilty for agreeing to review a book in like 2005 or 2006 and not getting around to it. (I think I started reviewing books online in ~02-03?) There was a lot of school … and life kicking my ass. Not just the election but a massive cycle of doctors (when I talk about “surgeon #12” sometimes it’s because I literally had to consult with more than 12 orthopedic surgeons across the country. I’m up to at least 14 now…) Then there were the major surgeries… I was thinking the other day that I was pretty much drugged and out of it for a good chunk of the dumpster administration. (Silver linings?) Anesthesia brain is very real too. Unfortunately, that’s also just part of it. Let’s not get into the rest though. Continue reading

Call for “Smithsonian [Heritage]” Month Guest Posts

Hi friends! i don’t know how many of you have stuck around with us since the beginning, but in 2012 or 2013 I got the idea to celebrate all the Smithsonian Heritage Months – and everything launched in 2014. A lot has changed since then, and the frequency of posts have as well. I have to say I cringe a bit at the word “heritage” now. Is that weird? Is that just me? :X However, that’s what they’re called so …

Anyway, what are the Smithsonian Heritage Months? (There used to be a calendar on the Smithsonian site that I can’t for the life of me find right now. I’m certain I’ve posted it in the past but this week I’ve noticed a lot of broken image links. 😐 Although poking around the Smithsonian site I’m seeing a lot of broken links and missing pages too, so that actually makes me feel better/less of a failure. Anyway.)

February: African American History Month aka Black History Month
March: Women’s History Month
May: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month aka APAHM
June: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month aka Pride Month
September 15-October 15: National Hispanic Heritage Month aka Latinx Heritage Month
November: American Indian Heritage Month aka Native American and First Nations Heritage Month

To explain the Smithsonian Heritage Month posts… At its inception, I only asked for people who fell under the umbrella of whatever month it was. (E.g. only someone who was APIA should write an APAHM post.) However, international friends asked about posting, and also to be honest, people weren’t volunteering and I didn’t want to keep asking the same people over and over. So I then opened it to ANYONE and EVERYONE.  You’re all welcome to write posts for ANY months. International friends, regardless of race/background. It just has to be relevant to the month (unless you fall under the umbrella month). So if you’re white I welcome you – and in fact challenge you – to step up to the place and research a person, an event, celebrate someone, whatever, and write a guest post for either Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Pride, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Latinx Heritage Month, or Native American/First Nations Heritage Month.

If you’re uncertain about writing a post, you could also volunteer to write a guest review of a book by an author who would fit in any of those months. An easy way to participate!

I’m hoping to line up more posts – but  also to maybe feature previous posts which you might have missed. Through the years if you’ve followed the Smithsonian Heritage Months you might’ve noticed really interesting and different tones to posts and months too. While some might’ve slipped through – tagging the same way years apart isn’t always the easiest – you can see a lot of the old(er) posts under the  Smithsonian Heritage Month tag. Seriously – there’s a lot of excellent content there. From some fun informative posts, some “I’m tired” posts … to ones where people are raw and honest and really bare their souls.

If you’re interested in writing a post or have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments, or contact me via the form on the site. Thanks <3

A “Crowdsourced” List of Black Romance Authors

Hi friends! It’s February, and I’m trying to bring back the Heritage Month posts … we’ll see how successful (or not) it is – but I wanted to start out with the basics (which I plan to put in a different post). This is more a “me” post than “the blog” post in a way, so I’m leaving it under my account rather than the administrator one. 

Anyway – there are apparently some people who think/say there are “no” romances out there by own voices/Black authors and … *stares.*
For myself, I wanted to make the commitment to not just read more diversely, but to read more Black romance authors. Especially after our Black Lives Matters post I wanted to put my money where my mouth was.

I’m just one person though, and I miss a lot – so I decided to crowd source on social media, and I wrote down every author suggested. The italicized names are ones I added to the list. There are of course many other lists compiled so I wanted to highlight them as well/will add them as I find them in the depths of my terrifying inbox. Continue reading

Team TBR Challenge Review: Crave by Evelyn Sola

Crave (Clark Family Book 1) by Evelyn Sola
Contemporary romance published by Evelyn Sola on March 2, 2020

Sandra
Before THAT night, the over the top party and the cake incident, I spent Saturday nights with girlfriends, lamenting my life over margaritas.
I wasn’t ready for Jacob Clark. He was sin and dark edges, wrapped in regret. He was my Kryptonite. His words oozed over me like warm honey. His dark eyes pricked my soul, and his touch….those fingers set my skin on fire.
Of course he was too good to be true. And before I could wipe the icing off my greedy lips, I was walking away.
So, why was he invading her dreams?

Jacob
She was the remedy to everything. Until my family, my past, provoked me.
I made one little scene, and Sandra walked away without a word, despite our mind-blowing connection.
When I finally barged in on her life again, she told me she didn’t want me. I told her in her pretty face she did. She more than wanted me.
Remember the ache? When I’m with her, it goes away.
If she wants a chase, I’ll give her one.
Who knows? When I catch her, I might never let go.

[So … late is better than never, right? 😅] The way I think about this book is: what if you met your perfect match on the worst night of their life? While it wasn’t the worst night of Jace’s life … he’s reacting to it still. I actually listened to the audiobook – it’s narrated by Mari and Troy Duran. I’ve listened to other books Mari narrated before, but Troy was new to me, and *fans self* his voice, y’all. Anyway. This book! I’m glad I stuck with it because at first glance, the hero is not very “hero material.” … But we quickly find out why – and it’s such a great, sexy contemporary. I’m also a major sucker for a smitten hero. Another bonus is – the dogs! Zeus (a bull mastiff!) and Lady (a poodle). Low key the detail and attention to the dogs is what kept me initially reading/listening when I might’ve DNF’d otherwise. So many authors write a dog into their books and just never mention them again. Not the case here. And also, once we got into the actual story with Jake and Sandy, I was hooked. Continue reading

Blockbuster Blogiversary Giveaways from Sabrina Jeffries!

Hi friends! I’m really excited to tell you about the wonderful prizes you can win from Sabrina Jeffries!

But first! Some “house keeping.” I kept saying all the giveaways would run through the end of the month. Then realized/remembered … “self, some of these giveaways won’t be posted until the end of the month.” So … let’s say everything is open through February 6th unless the author states otherwise in their post comments. (I’d always defer to the person actually furnishing the prize!) I expect – other than again for the authors picking their own winners, I’ll be using randomizer a lot and posting winners the second week of February. Let’s be honest here and all admit/realize there’s no chance in hell I’ll be organized enough to contact each person. So that’s that.

So! What is the wonderful and fantabulous Sabrina giving away?  TWO PRIZE PACKS!

Prize Pack One: the Royal Brotherhood Series and the candle in a teacup

Bound together by the royal father who denied them, they’ve formed a pact to help each other achieve their every desire…including the women of their dreams.
Miss Katherine Merivale is desperate to make a respectable match — if only her childhood sweetheart would propose! Until he does, she can’t touch the fortune she’s inherited. So the last thing she needs is notorious rogue Alec Black putting her proposed marriage at risk with his distracting, smoldering gaze and moonlit kisses.
Alec, the Earl of Iversley — and one of three bastard sons of the Prince of Wales — is secretly searching for an heiress bride to pay his debts. Fiery Katherine seems the answer to his prayers, and her passionate response to his practiced seduction soon assures him that she is his. But Alec knows Katherine is looking for a love-match, and he wonders…what will happen when she discovers his deception?

Beautiful Lady Regina Tremaine has turned down so many suitors that she’s called La Belle Dame Sans Merci. The truth: she won’t marry because she carries a dark secret. She sees no good reason, however, why her brother shouldn’t court the lovely Louisa North — even if the girl’s brother, the notorious “Dragon Viscount,” objects.
Marcus North, Viscount Draker — bastard son of the Prince of Wales — is rumored to be a monster who holds women captive in his dark castle to have his way with them. He has been exiled from polite society for years. But when Lady Regina makes a plea on her brother’s behalf, Marcus proposes an outrageous deal: her brother can court Louisa so long as Marcus can court Regina. Can the beauty and the beast survive a proper courtship when the devastatingly improper passion between them threatens to cause the scandal of the century?

Proper Lady Christabel, the Marchioness of Haversham, is desperate to regain some letters that could destroy her—so desperate that she pretends to be the mistress of notorious gaming-club owner Gavin Byrne to accompany him to a scandalous house party where she can reclaim them. But when she agreed to let Byrne coach her on how a true mistress behaves, she never suspected how very . . . persuasive his wicked lessons would be.

Gavin is secretly determined to find the letters himself and use them for revenge against the noble sire who abandoned him to grow up in London’s worst slums. He’s also delighted at how very successful his “mistress lessons” are: it won’t be long before the luscious young widow is in his bed. But when Christabel catches Gavin in his own seductive net, he faces a difficult choice: to wreak the vengeance he’s planned all his life, or to protect the woman he may—to his own astonishment—need more than revenge.

*and don’t forget the candle in the teacup!

Prize Pack Two: trade paperback editions of the first three books of the new Duke Dynasty series and a Bachelor shot glass

From New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries comes a sparkling new series about an oft-widowed mother’s grown children, who blaze through society in their quest for the truth about their fathers . . . and in the process find that love just might conquer all . . .

A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . .

Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . .

Lady Gwyn Drake has long protected her family’s reputation by hiding an imprudent affair from her youth. But when her former suitor appears at Armitage Hall, manhandling the heiress and threatening to go public with her secrets, it’s Gwyn who needs protecting. Her twin brother, Thorn, hires Joshua Wolfe, the estate’s gamekeeper, to keep her safe in London during her debut. As a war hero, Joshua feels obligated to fulfill the assignment he has accepted. But as a man, it’s torment to be so very close to the beauty he’s fought to ignore . . .

With handsome Joshua monitoring her every move, Gwyn would prefer to forget both the past and the parade of money-seeking bachelors at her coming out. But Joshua is unmoved by her attempts at flirtation, and the threat of blackmail still hangs over her. With danger closing in, Gwyn must decide which is the greater risk: deflecting a scoundrel’s attempts to sabotage her—or revealing her whole heart to the rugged bodyguard she can’t resist . . .

A past kiss with adorably bookish Miss Olivia Norley should be barely a memory for Marlowe Drake, the Duke of Thornstock. After all, there are countless debutantes for a handsome rakehell to charm beyond a young lady whose singular passion is chemistry—of the laboratory type. But Thorn has not forgotten—or forgiven—the shocking blackmail scheme sparked by that single kiss, or the damage caused to both their names. Now Thorn’s half-brother, Grey, has hired the brilliant Miss Norley for her scientific expertise in solving a troubling family mystery. And the once-burned Thorn, suspicious of her true motives, vows to follow her every move . . .

For Olivia, determining whether arsenic poisoning killed Grey’s father is the pioneering experiment that could make her career—and Thorn’s constant presence is merely a distraction. But someone has explosive plans to derail her search. Soon the most unexpected discovery is the caring nature of the reputed scoundrel beside her—and the electricity it ignites between them . . .

Annnnnd this book is not part of the prize pack, but we did want to highlight it because it’s Sabrina’s upcoming book, and next in the series! (Release date is May 25, 2021.)

Along with his stepsiblings, Sheridan Wolfe, Duke of Armitage, is determined to finally solve the mysteries behind the suspicious deaths of their mother’s three husbands. Tasked with investigating a possible suspect, Sheridan finds himself in dangerous proximity to her captivating daughter, Vanessa Pryde. But still haunted by a tragically lost love, the duke is resolved to resist the attraction—and avoid any “scheming” husband-hunters. Besides, lovely Miss Pryde seems utterly smitten with a roguish London playwright . . .

Vanessa thinks a little scheming may be in order—for it’s Sheridan she truly has her sights, and her heart, set on. Her theatrical flirtation is intended only to break through his business-like demeanor and guarded emotions. And as Sheridan’s jealousy becomes aroused, the two soon find themselves propelled into a scheme of an altogether different kind, involving a pretend engagement, a secret inquiry—and a perhaps not-so-secret leap into true love . . .

How do you enter to win? Tell me  – what do you think of audiobooks? Do you love them? Hate them? Avoid them? Are you mad for them? If you listen to them, who are your favorite audiobook narrators? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW. [You can also say which prize pack you have a strong preference for – we’ll take it into consideration but it won’t be determinative unless I’m really on top of things that day.]

*whispers* I’m also asking because … if we get an overwhelming response, there might be a bonus prize: Beware A Scot’s Revenge in audio.

Lady Venetia Campbell’s visit to her childhood home in Scotland takes a dramatic turn when she’s kidnapped at pistol point by her father’s sworn enemy. Sir Lachlan Ross is widely feared in his guise as The Scottish Scourge, but Venetia remembers her former neighbor as a handsome youth whose attentions she craved. Now a wickedly sexy man, Lachlan’s appeal is even more intoxicating…and much more dangerous. Though Lachlan tries to treat her as his foe, his scorching kisses tell another story. And despite his plan to use her as a weapon against her father, Venetia is determined that Lachlan’s lust for revenge will be trumped by an even more powerful desire….

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