100 Followers Giveaway

WOW!  I checked my blog this morning and what a wonderful surprise, I reached 100 GFC followers!!   I now have:            
100  GFC Followers
193 Twitter followers, 
86  Goodread friends,
35 Facebook Page Likes
 29 in my Google + circle. 

That just tickles me to death!!  I have met so many new friends and I can't wait to meet new ones.

I am a huge fan of romance novels and I have an ongoing list of my fav authors. Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis, Kresley Cole, Sherrilyn Kenyon  and Julia Quinn, just to name a few, are on my automatic buy list. I developed a strong love for historical romance, thanks to my friend Nat at Reading Romances. From there, I went on  a Highlander kick for 6 months straight. My book shelves and Kindle have anything from contemporary, historical and paranormal romance, with an occasional erotica in the mix.

So you know a little about my reading likes, I want to hear who your favorite authors are.  Even though I have been reading for decades, there are many other excellent writers out there who I haven’t read. Maybe you’re even one of them.

As I promised, I want to thank each of you for your follow, no matter how you chose to follow me.      

Tell me what writers are on your automatic buy list. Help me discover new, exciting storytellers.
The giveaway will be open to followers of this blog only and you must use Rafflecopter widget to enter to win.

Leave a comment and tell me what writers you think everyone should read. Plug your favorite books or plug your own books.

I will be giving away one (1) $20 E-card gift certificate to either Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or for my international followers, you can spend up to $20.00 at the BookDepository.com but there is a catch you have to live in one of the countries they ship to for free. Click here for list of countries. (If you live in the US, you can also select this option if you prefer it). If I reach 125 followers while the contest is running. I'll give away another $20 gift certificate.  The giveaway will end March 1st, 2012.

Good luck to all! For those who just love to read the fine print, before you enter a giveaway please be aware of a few simple rules: Giveaway Policy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Author Manda Collins and Giveaway

I've had the pleasure of reviewing this debut author's first book, "How to Dance with a Duke" and I must say ~ Manda Collins is definitely one to look out for! You can find my review here. I am so thrilled to have Manda here today, she was kind enough to stop by and answer a few questions.
Welcome Manda!! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog to chat about your book. Congrats on the release tomorrow-of your debut historical romance novel, ‘How to Dance with a Duke'! (Ugly Ducklings #1- Book 1, St. Martin's Press) I am so happy to have you here!

FBL ♥: Can you tell me and the readers how it feels and what it means to you to have your debut novel hitting the shelves tomorrow?
Manda: It’s almost indescribable. I’ve been waiting for this day for a very long time. I only started writing seriously a few years ago, but I’ve been toying with the idea since I was in college many moons ago. And I’ve been reading romance since I was thirteen years old. So it’s pretty amazing to know that I’m finally going to see a book I’ve written on the library or the bookstore shelf.

FBL ♥: absolutely love the cover. It's GORGEOUS! I love the coloring and the dress is to die for. She looks peaceful and yet mischievous; makes me want to find out what she's thinking. What are your thoughts on the cover and what was it like when you first saw the finished product?
Manda: I adore this cover. I love how saucy but sweet Cecily looks on it. I love that it’s a cover my grandmother can look at without falling into a swoon. And I love how utterly naughty it is without being vulgar. Plus, the heroine’s gown is period appropriate which can be pretty rare on a Regency cover these days. I cannot tell a lie. When I came back from lunch and opened my email to find this image waiting for me, I cried a little. There are so many firsts that come with becoming an author, but seeing your cover for the first time has to be one of the most overwhelming.

FBL ♥: Give us five words to describe “How to Dance with a Duke”.
Manda: Mysterious. Playful. Romantic. Exciting. Healing.

FBL ♥: Tell us about the day of “The Call". Was there Dancing? Screaming? Champagne popping?
Manda: I got the call and missed it! I was brushing my teeth and I thought I heard my cell phone ring, but I thought it was just wishful thinking on my part. So I finished getting dressed and went off to work. Two things told me that I was about to get big news. One was an email from my agent with the subject line: CALL ME!!! And the other was the Twitter notification that my editor had started following me. I called my agent, she told me the good news, and there was much quiet squeeing. (I work as an academic librarian by day so I couldn’t give in to the urge to really shout out my joy until later in the car.)

FBL ♥: Your debut novel is such a wonderful blend of historical fiction, romance, and mystery. What inspired you to take on such a layered project?
Manda: I’ve always been a big fan of mysteries and romantic suspense, so when I started writing it was always with a mystery as well as a romance in mind. I was a huge fan of Nancy Drew when I was growing up, so I wondered what would happen if I created a trilogy around three cousins with a similar dynamic to Nancy’s with her friends Bess and George only set during the Regency era, and without all of the social cachet Nancy seemed to have. What you end up with is The Ugly Ducklings, three cousins who fall in love and solve mysteries over a three book arc.

FBL ♥: The book has a rather unique theme centered around Egyptology. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Manda: The Regency is well known for its Egyptian craze. During the Napoleonic wars there were competing expeditions between the English and the French in a race to see who would uncover the most antiquities and bring them back to Europe. When I was brainstorming about Cecily, I knew that she had to be a bluestocking, and since languages were a field that a lady could study without too much scandal befalling her, I made her a linguist. In turn, I needed a reason for Cecily and Lucas to need to work together. Having his brother serve as her father’s secretary on expeditions to Egypt was a useful way to do that. I also needed her to have a skill that Lucas would need to help him find his brother, so being able to translate her father’s journals would give her that. The rest, just fell into place.

FBL ♥: How do you develop your plot & characters? Do the characters come to you looking for their story to be told or do you get an idea and then find the right characters to tell it?
Manda: I started off thinking in terms of the entire trilogy first. Which meant I would need three very different heroines and three very different heroes. Cecily was the one who came to me first. I knew that I wanted to write a bluestocking. And I knew that she would need a hero who was, in the immortal words of Sheryl Crow “strong enough to be her man.” Who better to match wits with a woman who knows she’s smarter than most of the men she meets, than a former military hero? And the chemistry took off from there.

FBL ♥: While reading the book, you gave the readers a quick hint of something brewing between Lord Deveril and one of the Cecily’s cousins, “I have an interest in one of Miss Hurston’s cousins.” Can you give us a preview of what’s next in the Ugly Duckling series?
Manda: The next of the Ducklings to get her story is Juliet. Though I won’t say just yet who her hero is. You can figure it out if you check out my website;) Juliet has had a difficult time of it these past few years. Her mother is terrible. Her father doesn’t pay her very much attention. And though she’s a gifted musician she would rather fade into the background than shine in the spotlight. And she never, ever, likes to ask for help. But when her musical mentor goes missing, she’ll have to accept help from someone she never thought she’d talk to, much less join forces with.

FBL ♥: Get to Know You… Can you please tell us a little-known fact about yourself?
Manda: When I was in middle school, the TV show THE MONKEES was enjoying a renaissance. And I was one of it’s most adoring fans. Only problem was that they were all pretty old at that point, so I was totally crushing on the 1960s era Monkees and not their 1980s selves. My favorite? Davy Jones, because, natch he was British  ;)

If you want to learn more about Manda, she will be visiting The Romance DishThe Vauxhall Vixens and Romance Novel News later this week.

Manda Collins spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. An affinity for books led to a graduate degree in English, followed by another in Librarianship. By day, she works as an academic librarian at a small liberal arts college, where she teaches college students how to navigate the tangled world of academic research. A native of coastal Alabama, Manda lives in the house her mother grew up in with three cats, sometimes a dog, sometimes her sister, and always lots of books

Where you can find Manda Collins: Website | Facebook | Twitter

To celebrate the release of 'How to Dance with a Duke', Manda is giving away a copy of this wonderful book to one (1) lucky winner. Open to US and Canada only. You must use the Rafflecopter form to enter to win. 

In 'How to Dance with a Duke', Cecily was not your typical lady of the "ton", she was well educated and independent; she was a strong heroine but real enough that she had her own flaws. To be believable to me, the heroine is someone who  she has faults, but must also have the strength to overcome the obstacles and ordeals they have experienced.

What do you guys think? Do you like stories with strong heroines? Why? I would love to hear from you!

Good luck to all! For those who just love to read the fine print, before you enter a giveaway please be aware of a few simple rules: Giveaway Policy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins

How to Dance with a Duke (Ugly Ducklings #1)
by Manda Collins
Published Date: January 31st 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN13: 9780312549244

What’s a wallflower to do when she’s suddenly in need of a husband? Use all the pluck and moxie she can muster to get what she wants…

Miss Cecily Hurston would much rather explore the antiquities of Egypt than the uncharted territory of marriage. But the rules of her father’s exclusive academic society forbid her entrance unless she weds one of its members. To clear her ailing father’s name of a scandalous rumor, Cecily needs to gain admission into the Egyptian Club—and is willing to marry any old dullard to do it.

Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson, is anything but dull. He’s a dashing and decorated war hero determined to help Cecily—even if that means looking the other way when she claims the dance card of Amelia Snow, this season’s most sought-after beauty. But Lucas has a reason for wanting Cecily to join the Egyptian Club: His brother went missing during one of Lord Hurston’s expeditions to Egypt. An alliance with the explorer’s bluestocking daughter could bring Lucas closer to the truth about what happened…or it could lead him to a more dangerous love than either he or Cecily could have imagined…
Review courtesy of netGalley

My Thoughts:
The story line intrigued me, it had a unique blend of historical fiction, romance and mystery. Manda Collins, is an amazing story teller, “How to Dance with a Duke” pulled me in from the very beginning and I was hooked all the way to the last page.

Her writing in some ways reminded me of Julia Quinn, more for her quick oneliners. I found myself chuckling out loud. I enjoyed the way her writing amused me all the way through, and the same time she was able to spin a mystery which kept me guessing . I thought I knew who was behind it and she proved me wrong. It was thrilling to see everything unfold and surprised me to find out who the “villain” was.

Secrets of an Accidental Duchess by Jennifer Haymore

Secrets of an Accidental Duchess (Donovan #2)
by Jennifer Haymore
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
ISBN: 0446573159 (ISBN13: 9780446573153)

Review courtesy of netGalley

       Amazon | Barnes & Noble

With her pale hair and slim figure, Olivia Donovan looks as fragile as fine china, and has been treated as such by her sisters ever since a childhood bout with malaria. But beneath her delicate facade, Olivia guards a bold, independent spirit and the kind of passionate desires proper young ladies must never confess...
It was a reckless wager, and one Max couldn't resist: seduce the alluring Olivia or forfeit part of his fortune. Yet the wild, soon-to-be Duke never imagined he'd fall in love with this innocent beauty. Nor could he have guessed that a dangerously unpredictable rival would set out to destroy them both. Now, Max must beat a Madman at his own twisted game-or forever lose the only woman to have ever won his heart.

My Thoughts:

The cover is the first thing that caught my eye, the coloring, the gown, all made me immediately think of romance. I received this books as an advance copy and I was not aware at the time that this was part of a series, A Donavan Novel. The author provided a background of what had transpired so I did not feel lost. I would have liked to see more on Serena (Meg) so I could understand her relationship with Langley, there I did feel like I was missing the "big picture". Suffice to say, I will be purchasing the first book, Confessions of an Improper Bride, in the series so I can come full circle with the series.

Seduction (The Spymaster's Men #1) by Brenda Joyce

Seduction (The Spymaster's Men #1)
by Brenda Joyce
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: January 31st 2012
ISBN 0373776551 (ISBN13: 978037377655)

Review courtesy of netGalley
 Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

The Spymasters Men: Danger. Deception. Desire.

Dominic Paget, the earl of Bedford, will do anything to resume spying upon Britain’s enemies. Badly wounded, he is put in the care of a beautiful gentlewoman, Julianne Greystone, only to discover that her sympathies lie with his enemies. Yet he can’t help but seduce the woman who saved his life—hoping she never learns of his betrayal.

Julianne is captivated by the wounded stranger she believes is a revolutionary hero. Until she discovers the truth…her “hero” is the privileged earl of Bedford. Devastated and determined to forget him, Julianne travels to London. But when she finds herself in danger, it is Bedford who comes to the rescue. Now Julianne must navigate the intrigues of a perilous city, the wild yearnings of her own heart and the explosion of their passion…
My Thoughts:

First, let me say what a beautiful cover!! I loved many aspects of this book, but there were many things that I didn't. The storyline was unique~ Two characters who fall deeply, passionately in love with each other despite the fact they were both fighting for different sides of the war.

I developed a love-hate relationship with the heroine, Julianne, she was a strong willed, opinionated young woman. Even when she finds herself on the wrong end of the law, Julianne maintains her independent spirit, growing stronger in her beliefs. With that said, I was disappointed that her character, who was "madly in love" would betray her lover. I get the whole woman scorned thing, but it made me think less of her character. She felt “ a tingling of dismay", followed by the slightest sense of shame” when she unmasked his true identity to those who could cause him harm. That's it!, that's all she felt for the man she loves a “ a tingling of dismay", I would be sick to my stomach, knowing that I may have just jeopardized his welfare and those around him.

Take My Breath Away #3

It really doesn't matter if it is historical, chick lit or paranormal romance, there are certain quotes that can make your heart skip a beat, they can even "Take Your Breath Away".

Here are my absoultely favorite romantic quotes from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series:

"I never knew softness," he breathed. "Not until the moment you touched me in your store. My life is violent and dangerous. It's dark and twisted and no place for someone like you. I have more people wanting me dead then I can count. They will stop at nothing, and you....." He ground his teeth before he spoke again. "You'll never want again for anything in your life. I swear it on what little bit of human soul I have left."
―  Night Play
“When you love someone, truly love them, you lay your heart open to them. You give them a part of yourself that you give to no one else, and you let them inside a part of you that only they can hurt-you literally hand them the razor with a map of where to cut deepest and most painfully on your heart and soul. And when they do strike, it’s crippling-like having your heart carved out.”  
“Simi? What was it you told me once about families? (Aimee)
We have three kinds of family. Those we are born to, those who are born to us, and those we let into our hearts.”
Bad Moon Rising
“I have found my star. She is beauty and grace. Elegance and goodness. My laughter in winter. She is courageous and strong. Bold and tempting. Unlike any other in all the universe, and I cannot touch her. I dare not even try." 
―  Dance with the Devil
"He gave himself to her and for the first time, he understood the difference. He understood what it meant to make love. To share his body with someone not out of obligation or fear, but because it made them closer. In this one heartbeat, he was hers and she was his."
―  Acheron

Work in Progress ..Blog Design Update

No, you didn't go to the wrong blog, I am just updating my new blog design that I won in a giveaway offered by parajunkeedesign.

So, please excuse any mess that you find when looking around. I am going from a light background to dark and some of my pages may not be updated yet.  If you spot something I didn't catch, leave me a comment. 

Love to hear your thoughts, let me know what you think.

The Summer Garden by Sherryl Woods

The Summer Garden
by Sherryl Woods
Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: January 31st 2012
ISBN:  0778313093 (ISBN13: 9780778313090)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Falling for "Maddening Moira" O'Malley was the unexpected highlight of Luke O'Brien's Dublin holiday. So when she pays a surprise visit to Chesapeake Shores, Luke is thrilled…at first. A fling with this wild Irish rose is one thing, but forever? Maybe someday, but not when he's totally focused on establishing a business that will prove his mettle to his overachieving family.

Given Luke's reaction, Moira has some soul-searching of her own to do. Scarred by her father's abandonment, she wonders if Luke, with his playboy past, is truly the family man she longs for. Adding to her dilemma, she's offered an amazing chance at a dream career of her own.

Deep down, though, Moira knows home is the real prize, and that love can be every bit as enchanted as a summer garden.
Review courtesy of netGalley
My Thoughts:

This is the final book in the Chesapeake Shore series. Sherryl brought us out in style, this book had marriages, babies and as always ~ Happy Ever After(s).

Guest Review ~ Sins of the Highlander by Connie Mason

I am over at Reading Romances today with my latest review, I am so excited to tell you about Sins of the Highlander by Connie Mason.

There was kidnapping, revenge, even the servants got into the act of deceit and lies when accusing Elspeth of being a witch. Without giving too much of the story away, you will be taken an a rollercoaster ride, which when it stops you have to catch your breathe and sigh when Elspeth and Rob finally find their Happy Ever After.

“I’ll love ye, Elspeth Stewart, with my whole heart till I’m dust. Longer, if such things be.”

I highly recommend this book be added to your keep shelf.

What is it about Highlanders that you just love?

80 and counting..

and counting...…

I am getting close to reaching 100 GFC followers. Can you believe it ? So much has happened since. I've had this blog since March 2011, but it wasn't until October that I became serious about blogging my reviews. I met so many amazing people in that short time, everyone has been kind and helpful. I must be doing something right , the fact that people stop by and take time to make a comment on my posts, still surprises and humbles me.  I want to do something that says a big “THANK YOU”, so what better way than to have a giveaway!!!

In the Spotlight ~ "Musings of a Bookworm"

This is the first installment of my new feature, 
"In the Spotlight." I will be interviewing our very own book bloggers, learning a bit about them. 

Who would have known that one of our fellow bloggers use to read tarot cards? Well it is none other than Kerry from 
"Musings of a Bookworm". I asked her to join me here today and I am excited to ask her a few questions and learn more about her and her love of books!!

Q.When and how did you decide to become a book blogger?
A. I started in august of last year, I had been reviewing on goodreads.com for a while and was moderator of a group that had lots of blogger in it and it was one of the people there who suggested it. I tried it and loved it.

Lucky Day

I just received another surprising email, congratulating me on winning a $10 Amazon gift card. I entered to win for the launch of Inkspell Publishing!

Winner of the Reba Template Giveaway ~ ME

I entered a giveaway over at Parajunkie Design for a chance to win a design template. There was a slew of entries and I never thought I had a chance…  but guess what, I received an email today from Rachel at Parajunkee Design saying they picked a winner and the winner is … ME!!!!

                                   Congrats Kat C -- foreverbklover

New Feature ~ In The Spotlight

I wanted a fun way to learn more about our fellow book bloggers and find some new friends and sites along the way.  Why not "Spotlight" a blogger, find out a little more about them?

So I want to introduce a new feature:

Every other Wednesday I am going to have a fellow blogger in the  "Spotlight" where I ask a bunch of questions so I get to know them and their love of blogging. What could be better than meeting new friends and sites along the way.  

Want to Join in?  

~ Pick a fellow blogger and put them "In the Spotlight" 
~ Link the post up in the linky
~ Visit the other blogs!

 This new feature will run semi-monthly on Wednesday's, but you can pick any day that works well for your blog. 

All Things Books...........

When it comes to books, it is not just the magic under the covers that draws me, it is All Things Books that I love. This month's I spotlight those beautiful, exquisite buildings which preserves the books we love. Every row, every shelf holds it's own magic, where imagination, dreams and happy ending do exist.

I hope you fall in love with these buildings as I have, and I can only hope that we continue to keep the library’s rich history going so that we may enjoy it for many centuries to come.

Which one is your favorite?

Monastery Library at San Francisco Monastery and Church in Lima, Peru

Scrumptious by Amanda Usen

by Amanda Usen
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication: January 1st, 2012
ISBN: 1402259824 (ISBN13: 9781402259821)

Sparks between love 'em and leave 'em pastry chef and poker sharp Marlene Bennet and traveling chef-for-hire Joe Rafferty when the two culinary perfectionists are forced to share a kitchen. But several suspicious accidents at the restaurant convince Marlene and Joe to work together to uncover the saboteur. Maybe a little intrigue and high-stakes poker will be the perfect ingredients for these commitment-phobic foodies to whip up a happily ever after.

Review courtesy of netGalley

My Thoughts:
This book combines two of my favorite things: cooking and romance. My mouth was watering reading about all the delicious dishes that were being cooked, I would have loved to see some of the recipes either included in the back or maybe even at the beginning of each the chapters. I would have liked to try my hand at some of them.

Although, I am savvy enough around the kitchen, I am not up on much of the lingo used in the "kitchen". I was confused on some of the wording used, which I can only ascertain are found in many diners and restaurants. Unless the reader has ever worked in those environments or watches Gordon Ramsay some of the slang used was hard to decipher. Fortunately with my kindle I was able to search for "Diner Lingo" to help me along. The term "in the weeds" was used more than once, until I looked up the meaning, I thought the characters were indulging in marijuana to keep their appetites stimulated. Silly me.!!

Giveaway Winner ~ The Price of Temptation by Lecia Cornwall

Thanks to all that have entered a chance to win a copy of Lecia Cornwall's Price of Temptation giveaway, and thanks to all the new followers!!  Stay tuned for many more in the future.

Now on to the winner...….

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Pam, I sent you an email, you have 48 hours to reply or I'll have to pick a new winner. You just need to let me know what format you want to receive Price of Tempation (kindle, nook, pdf etc) and a mailing address, if applicable.

For everyone that didn’t win this time around, thank you for taking part and remember you can still buy the book at:

Happy New Year - 2012

2011 was a great year for both me and my blog. It was my first year blogging and I am so grateful to everyone out there who follows and reads this blog. In just this short time, I reached 3700 page views.

2012 is going to be even better! I look forward to another great year of blogging!
I will be adding some extra features to this blog in the next few weeks, I am thrilled to say that I will begin hosting blog tours here on Forever Book Lover. I have my first one scheduled on February 13th. I would love to have you all stop by during these tours and check out the tour schedules, there will be some great blogs participating. Not only will there be reviews but I will have guest post, interviews, and giveaways.

I also will continue to have interviews and guest posts from amazing authors. So for you authors out there, I would love the opportunity to review your book and have you here at Forever Book Lover. If you're interested, please contact me.

I have a lot of reading to do in 2012, I put a dent in my TBR pile but at the same time I added 20 new  books to it.  :)  Off to the right hand side, you will notice I updated my goodreads Reading Challenge for 2012, I hope to read 200 books.  Have you set you your reading goal yet? If you have, add me as a friend on goodreads and we can help motivate each other.

I also joined the 2012 Reading Challenge my friend Nat is having over at her blog, Reading Romances. Have you joined it yet?  She has the best monthly challenges!! If you haven't heard of it or haven't joined yet, pop on over and get signed up, you don't even need to have a blog to join.

The choice is always yours on how you want to follow Forever Book Lover, directly to the left of this post, you’ll see your options for following: Email, RSS, Facebook and Twitter, there is even a link to friend me at goodreads. I have recently added another option, Google+, there is a widget off to the left so you can join me. I just recently began to use it. (I still need to learn how!)I had some requests about adding a newsletter, this would be another way of sharing the site. Thanks Jazz, for the wonderful suggestion. I am going to look into that.!!

If you want to see anything different here at Forever Book Lover, I would love to hear your comments. 

Thanks for the continued support !! You all are the best!