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10 December 2011

Devil To Pay, Maria Zannini

A Short Novella - Great For A Quick, Steamy Romp - Short On Depth.

The Devil To Pay (Second Chances)Devil To Pay is the first novella in the Second chances series by author Maria Zannini. 

Shannon McKee is down on her luck.  Wiped out financially by a man she loved and facing bankruptcy with her antique shop because of the betrayal, Shannon prays for a way out.  Unfortunately for her, both heaven and hell determine to grant her hasty request, each sending a harvester angel to collect her soul.

When Shannon falls hard under their charms, sparks fly, and the rival angels, Liam and Michael, find themselves inexplicably unable to hand Shannon over to either realm, instead becoming fugitives and vying to win Shannon's heart.

Liam sacrifices himself, enabling Michael time to save Shannon, and both he and Shannon must make choices that will have eternal consequences.  For Shannon, the cost is dear.  To save Liam, whom she loves, she must bond her soul in eternal servitude to his rival - and brother - Michael.

Zannini writes a steamy, erotic world of seductive angels, sultry sprites, and a woman caught between two otherworldly lovers, earning a high heat rating from this Broad.  However, this is not a romance.  The sex is hot, but not emotional for the most part.  I would have liked to see more of why Shannon fell in love with Liam, and not simply the lust between them. 

I enjoyed the set up for Zannini's insertion of angles into the storyline, thinking her premise brilliant.  I was somewhat disappointed, though, that the author never fully explains why Shannon's desperate cry for help makes for such devastating consequences.  (In Zannini's defense, a second novella in the series, titled Chain of Souls, is now out and may answer my questions when I read it)

Devil To Pay is easily read in a few nights leisure reading before bed or over an afternoon cup of tea - or two, and any who enjoy a lusty romp between the pages should give this novella a read.  Not overly involved, Devil To Pay is great reading for an easily digested and quick escape.

Overall story - 3/5 stars
Characters - 3/5 stars
World Building - 4/5 stars
Romance Heat - 1/5 stars
Erotica heat - 4/5

* * * Moira * * *

01 November 2011

Brazen Books ~ Blood Eternal, Marie Treanor

Blood.  Sex.  Elizabeth.
'He looked as if he knew everything...and cared for nothing...'

Blood Eternal, the final in Marie Treanor's  Awakened By Blood series, may well be my favorite of the three.  Treanor first introduced us to her wonderful heroine, Elizabeth Silk, in her novel, Blood On Silk.  It was within those pages that we had our first taste of the sexiest vampire overlord this Broad has ever encountered - the last of the ancients, Saloman.  Treanor maintained danger, suspense, and questions throughout that novel, continued brilliantly in the second, Blood Sin, and now culminates in Blood Eternal - crafting an ending of epic proportions. 
The author added a healthy twinge of fear for our hero and heroine while staying true to that Mad, Bad, & Dangerous To Know character of whom I've grown so fond.  I fell in love with Saloman for a number of reasons.  At last, someone wrote a cool headed, confident vampire who knew with absolute certainty that he would achieve what he set out to do.  (Avoiding the spoiler is so, so, very difficult as I write this review...)  Saloman never wavered.  Never doubted.  Was never caught off guard.  

Elizabeth Silk is one of my favorite heroines in romance as well, leaving foolhardy trauma-drama in the dust in favor of a mature, intelligent woman's perspective as she confronts inexplicable events, supernatural beings, and falls into passionate, life-altering love with a powerful vampire.  In short, Dr. Silk is a Brazen Broad.  Treanor writes great depth of character in showing us her hopes, her fears, her wants, and her disappointments, enabling readers from various walks of life opportunities to connect with this character on a personal level.

Blood Eternal is the final act in Treanor's vision of colliding worlds.  Saloman is consolidating power virtually unopposed until our dear Senator awakens Luk, a maddened ancient - and Saloman's creator.  He is also the originator of the prophecy, which is woven throughout the series and dictates to a certain extent the maneuverings and orchestrations of all the players.  Saloman, Luk and Senator Dante, and the Hunters all strive to understand the role Elizabeth Silk is to play - ushering in the new vampire age or preventing it, none knowing for certain whether to encourage her onward or stop her from making a mistake that will end in catastrophic consequences.

Once again, Treanor delivers heart pounding passion between her vampire overlord and her bad-ass historian, delving into the romance more in Blood Eternal than in the first two novels in the series.  Lover, supporter, protector, or companion - Saloman encompasses it all, patiently awaiting Elizabeth's final surrender to her heart - and to his greatest desire.

Marie Treanor wows with Blood Eternal, earning a top pick recommendation from this Broad.  My only complaint -seriously, my only - is that the series is ended.   

Overall story - 5/5 stars
Plot - 5/5 stars
Saloman - 5/5 stars
Elizabeth - 5/5 stars
World building - 5/5 stars
Supporting Characters 5/5 stars
Romance heat - 5/5 stars

 ***Moira***


20 October 2011

A Broad in the Can....

Is worth two if she made you look!  (Sorry, I really couldn't help myself.)

I wasn't sure what exactly to call this post since it's not baking and yet isn't totally in the braised category either.   You see, my best girlfriend and I decided to make -and can- apple butter.  I know, right.  Now, for most people, this might be a fairly innocuous event.  Sadly, or should I say hilariously, we are not most people.  While I'll concede this was not, by far, one of our funniest adventures (i.e...we didn't laugh til we peed, and no one stopped breathing) you can always bet there will be humor.
 

After having to return to her house to get her forgotten jars, BF and happy puppy arrived at my house.  We got happy puppy settled in with grumpy dog, who frankly, wasn't happy to see happy puppy at all.  I believe he used the term "whippersnapper" and reminded us of his age and his bad leg.  He's an 8 year old rat terrier and his leg was broken about 4 years ago.  It healed a bit gimpy mainly because he wouldn't quit trying to use it whilst it was broken and then didn't want to use it after it was healed.  He uses it when, and how, it suits his purpose.  Like jumping fences.  But will hold it up feebly and give you sad eyes that say "how could you, I have a bad weg."  Yes, he says weg to elicit extra sad brownie points.  It's pathetic really. 

Anyway, we started by coring and cutting up the apples, which were very juicy, according to my glasses.  We used Macintosh apples, my favorite for baking.  You don't peel and throw away the apple skin as it contains a lot of the flavor and pectin.  Next time we might peel the apples first and put the skins into a jelly bag or some cheese cloth, that way we can just take the bag of skins out and toss it to make the mashing of the apples a bit faster and easier.

We added water to the pot of apples and put it on the stove to cook.  It is now lunchtime.  BF volunteers to go get chinese food and I stay behind with HP and GD.  Happy puppy pees on the floor while barking at grumpy dog.  So, I clean up the puddle, stir the apples and take HP and GD outside.  We bark, poo, and chase chickens.  BF arrives with home with the food and comments on the fact that we are shoveling food in at an alarming rate.  The apples cook on.

Finally we arrive at the food milling portion of our program.  After one turn each we decide this is for the damn birds. All our secret fantasies of going back into whatever time to meet whatever hero, is the result of some type of brain injury.  We like plumbing, and grocery stores and personal feminine hygiene products that don't involve sheep.

Soon however, after much guffawing, we settled into a groove and decided, perhaps, we were being a bit hasty and it wasn't so bad after all.  The trick is not to put too much into the food mill at one time.   After we got all the apples milled, (and another HP/GD potty break) we measured our mash to make sure we got the right amounts of cider vinegar, sugar and cinnamon added.  Then, back on the stove it went.  We were feeling pretty good at this point and leafing through my Ball brand canning book, and decided we needed to make more stuff to can - Except meat and pickled fruit.  And maybe chutney.  Such eager little beavers are we. 

I had to dart down to the school to take dear daughter the camera, and when I returned BF informed me grumpy dog had had enough.  He put a smack down on happy puppy.  She was much more calm.  She also decided to stop barking at GD's butt, it apparently wasn't worth it.  Still, the apples cooked on.

The apples were beginning to get darker and thicken up, but it still had a more apple sauce type texture.  My sons came home from school, we had another potty break, more apple stirring, and dreams of canning greatness.  At this point HP is calm and somewhat sleepy.  GD decides she might not be too bad after all and does the 'smell my butt I'll be your friend' dance.  HP gives him the 'you're a loony' look.  After about 2 hours of boiling, we decided we were ready to can.

Canning really isn't that hard.  Just don't burn your arm with apple butter - or boiling water. Make sure your jars are hot, the lids are hot, and you clean the rims before you put the lids on and you are good to go!  Carefully put the filled jars into the boiling water and boil for the recommended amount of time.  For this, it was 10 minutes.  Remove the jars from the water and let them sit.  Some will seal right away and some may take a while.  Voila!


At first, the tasting consensus said it was cinnamon applesauce because of the texture.  The longer you let it cook, the smoother and darker it gets.  It's really quite good, and I have to say I'm glad we made it.  We used a recipe BF got from her aunt's old canning book.  I've looked online and you can find quite a few recipes for apple butter.  A lot of people seem to like to make it in the crock pot.   You can adjust the seasonings as you like, too.  We added more cinnamon than the recipe called for, you could add clove or nutmeg also.

Overall we had a nice canning experience - meaning nothing caught fire, required emergency medical care or like pants, let's say, needed changed.  Happy puppy went home happy and BF went home with 14 half-pint jars of apple butter and a dozen fresh eggs.  Life is sweet.

Interested in canning?  Check out these titles...

Product Details   Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry by Liana Krissoff and Rinne Allen

Product Details  Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine

~Mina

16 October 2011

Checking-In And More

ROW80 Check-In Is Here Again!

How did you fare this week on your goals?  We Broads did great!  We've nearly visited enough blogs to meet our combined weekly goal, so it looks as if we'll surpass it.

Here are a list of the blog posts we'd like to feature.  It is a list in progress, keep in mind.  
*Coffee-Talk ~ which will feature author interviews.  We don't want all the same questions that other interviewers ask.  Nope!  We'll be trying to entice those 'authorly' secrets to be spilled as only a coffee klatch can do.
*Brazen Books ~ offering our one of a kind reviews.
*Braised Broads ~ which will feature a food recipe and our thoughts on ease of preparation, taste of dish, cost or availability of ingredients, and cooking times.
*Broads on the Bake ~ which will feature a baking recipe with the same additions as above.
*Dinner and a Movie ~ which will feature a movie review of the Brazen Variety.
*What's A Broad Got To Say ~ open discussion on life!


Below, we've added our first new topic post! 



The Baking Broads!

Confession time.  I'm addicted to cooking ~ and to cooking shows!  As I'm in and out of the living room throughout the day, the Food Network is playing in the background, and I've always got one ear trained to listen for a recipe that whets my appetite. 

Sandra LeeThis week, I caught an episode of Money Saving Meals with Sandra Lee, entitled Tail-Gate Favorites.  In it, Sandra featured New York Cheesecake Cookies.  I adore cheesecake, so I had to try it out. 

This recipe was fairly easy, and doesn't use many ingredients - 10 in all.  They are also things you either have on hand, or can easily pick up at the grocery.  That's always a bonus - because for one thing, I'm operating on a budget.  Secondly, I don't have time to be hunting down rare (which also often means expensive) or hard to find items.



Just a few ingredients in the bowl make up the cookie part
 
It mixes up quickly, but is a bit dry and crumbly.  I had to shape it with my hands to make the indents for the cheesecake filling. 

The filling was super easy and delish!


 
Here are the little cheesecakes, ready to bake. 

These cookies came out fantastic!  My family loved them, and I've added this to my favorites.  I modified the recipe by omitting the lemon zest and adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to the filling (I was too lazy to stand there zesting with my little hand held grater)  I also added two minutes to the bake time for my oven. 

Here's how New York Cheesecake Cookies stack up: 

5/5 STARS

Common ingredients which are easy to find and inexpensive.

Delicious.

Not a cookie you can whip up in a hurry.  Shaping the cookies and filling take a bit of time.  Not difficult, but more involved than dropping a spoonful of dough on a tray and baking.



Do you have a favorite cheesecake recipe?

12 October 2011

A Round Of Words In 80 Days...We're Game!

Here's A Group For Writers Of All Varieties...
Click the link to find out what creator Kait Nolan has to say about her wildly popular and growing writing challenge that knows you have a life!

What Is ROW80?


In short, it's a place to set flexible writing related goals in which you can glean encouragement from fellow writers/bloggers/reviewers and benefit from accountability.  (Complete instructions/rules/guidelines below)

Here's what Mina and I would like to accomplish during Round 4:

*  We will check in at least once a week, offering a post that deals with some aspect of writing.  It may be a writer we'd like to showcase, a poem we've found or written ourselves, or our own quirky commentary on some shiny bauble/idea/thought/fashion/recipe/book/author that's caught our eye or attention. 

*  Both Moira and Mina will visit around and visit at least 5 blogs per week - that's 10 in all.  We may complete this for each check-in...but we like to maintain a bit of mystery!

*  Mina and I would like to develop some posting categories (I reference my sister's idea of a food related post-topic we'll call 'Braised Broads'...is that not the greatest?!) to organize our blog and add interest.  Eventually, we may incorporate a loose posting schedule.

*  Both Broads will post at least one book review per month.

*  The Brazen Broads would like to feature one author per month.  We're considering calling this 'Coffee-Talk' and hosting authors with new releases (both traditional and indie), spreading book love across the web!  Contact the Broads - Moira & Mina Naveen

That about sums up what we're working on!   Get the welcome wagon ready; the Broads are joining in the fun...



11 October 2011

Random thoughts and New ideas

Did you ever start to do something and then get distracted by something else?  I just had one of those moments.  I had an idea of how I wanted to start this post when I looked down and realized my keyboard is quite. . .um. . .icky? 

Anyhoo, We're doing some tweaking here at the broads, as you've probably noticed.  A little diddling with the background and fonts and such.  Any feed back would be wildly appreciated by the way.  You know, colors and setup, ease of use, and is the font easy to read.  That sort of thing.

We are also going to be tweaking our postings a bit.  Adding some new things and whatnot.  Don't worry, we're still all about the book reviews!  We have thought of adding a recipe post, which should be yummy.  Possibly called "Braised Broads"? 
Get it?  Ha!  Seeing as I really only use most recipes(excluding baking) as a loose guideline, well, let's say my posts should be informative, funny and slightly confusing.  But fearest thou not!  I have not lost a kitchen yet!

We might also throw in some posts about movies and what's on the boob tube.  We'll need a name for it, maybe "Things I've seen".  I'm sure we can come up with something much more witty sounding.  It'll basically be Moira and I sounding off about, well, things we seen.  Movies, both old and new, that we may or may not have enjoyed.  T.V. shows will get thrown in too.  I must warn you I have a penchant for B movies and nerd shows. 

As always, we love when you stop by and want you to be glad you came.  If you have any suggestions to throw our way feel free, we usually do.  For now, I'm off to clean the icky from my keyboard!

 ~Mina

28 September 2011

Blow Me Down, Katie MacAlister

Pirates and prosthetics...what's not to love?

This high seas adventure stars, Amy Stewart, a financial analyst with a repressed sense of fun and an overdeveloped sense of organization. So to save her from imminent death by work and boredom, and as only a teen can do, her daughter cajoles and guilts her into trying a virtual reality game called Buckling Swashes. (Which, I might add, is a great name for a pirate game.) The game isn't quite finished yet and teen Tara has an advance copy to try before she interviews the game developer, P.C. Monroe.

With the promise to make officer before she quits and gives up on the game, Amy signs on as Earless Erika (you need a piratical name, right?), dons her VR glasses and gets ready to sail the seven seas.
Once in the game, which was made to be as real as possible, from clothes to food, sights and smells, she begins to meet the various and sundry characters that make up this new world.

She's soon grabbed from behind and hauled into an inn by a very large man who wants to keep her seeing as she's such a "toothsome wench". This idea is shot down by Black Corbin, his captain, who then states she is probably a tart with french pox. Not one to take the insult lying down, as it were, Amy proceeds to threaten said captain with a wooden leg and then beat him in a duel with his own rapier. Nice. As her winnings, she claims one of his ships called the
Saucy Wench. (Which, I might add, is a great name for a pirate ship.)

It doesn't take long for Amy to realize something is amiss when she can't find the glasses on her face to log out of the game. A crying jag in the brothel and game of bondage Q and A later, lead her to understand that Black Corbin is actually the Corbin, the guy who invented the game. Now he is stuck in the game world as well as his friend and developer, Holder McReady. (Which, I might add, is a great name for a pirate.)

The only explanation to their predicament isn't a good one. It seems, for some reason they aren't certain of, his ex-partner Paul Samuels has created some virus that traps the players in the game. They need to either find and kill Paul (in the game) and/or play the game out to whatever end scenario he has written the virus to. Easier said than done, as Paul will try to blend in with the other computer characters in the game.

High seas drama, wacky characters and hijinks ensue! Including, but not limited to, 401k plans for brothel workers, death and disease obsessed cabin boys, fun with food (a personal fave...wink, wink), drooling loonies and full scale naval battles.

Though I have only had the pleasure to read a few so far, I can't say enough about Katie MacAlister's books. Her characters are always engaging and the stories, entertaining. The peoples in her worlds are more real than most, and her humor is laugh-out-loud infectious. You care about Amy and Corbin, Holder and Bas, the working girls...and even Bran. Let us just mention that her romance writing skills inspired this Broad to have a sudden yen for pudding. Mysterious.


So, on my avid recommendation, avast me hearties to the nearest booking-type establishment and procure a copy to peruse. It will shiver your timbers in more ways than one!

~Mina

The Binder's Daughter, Matt Hofferth



Fantasy Writing, Vampires, And A Dash Of Romance...




The title of this book is somewhat deceiving as the story is told from Michael Allen's perspective. Beginning with his normal young adult life in Chicago and taking the reader through his brutal transition to vampire, this novel continues into the present day where our hero leads a solitary life. Haunted and tortured by the memories surrounding the night he was bitten, Michael maintains a lonely existence, fighting against 'The Beast' and hating the very nature of what he is.

When Michael begins hearing a strange voice and finds himself inexplicably drawn to Kiara, a local young woman with a life almost as strange as his own, a longing takes root deep inside him - a longing that could end in disaster. What Michael doesn't know is that Kiara has secrets of her own, some she doesn't even know she keeps. Together, Michael and Kiara discover the peace of self-acceptance through their unconditional acceptance of one another and find that the very powers that kept them separated and distant from others now bind them together.

Hofferth's vampire, Michael, gives readers a vampire's experience through a unique lens, and this Broad envisions the potential for numerous sequels from The Binder's Daughter. A far reaching vampire hierarchy and structure are alluded to, in addition to shape shifters, spirit binders, hunters, and powerful spirit beings which seek human form. The author did an excellent job in crafting the world in which his characters exist. Hofferth also built tremendous tension between not only the hero and heroine, but amidst the secondary characters as well. Yeah - that's what I said! Book ten doesn't sound far fetched after reading that last paragraph, right?

Michael was definitely a tortured character, much different than the vampires normally found in novels. Private, thoughtful, and NOT a seducer, Hofferth's vampire is not going to appeal to most paranormal romance readers. The Binder's Daughter does showcase a romance, but it is the a romance of the heart and mind, not a steamy-between-the-sheets-magic-vampire-schtooping-bonanza that will wow you! I was impressed, however, with the intimate scenes Hofferth did write. One in particular left this Broad weak in the knees, eliciting strong emotion through the written word. Call me biased, but I wasn't expecting that kind of pizazz from a male writer.

Kiara was Michael's love interest, but honestly, I never became invested in her character as much as the others. Blessedly absent of 'in-your-face-angry-drama', Kiara was likable, but the author left her background mysterious enough that I wasn't able to connect with his character. I was left wanting to know much more. Perhaps that was intentional, as I believe that the author has already planned a trilogy of books on this storyline. I'm guessing he'll end up with more than a trilogy...but that's for another day.

On a fun note, Michael's foil, Matthias was my favorite secondary character. I'm hoping to learn that Hofferth will write Matthias his own story. He was such a 'German Cutie Nerd'! I vanted to haff him kiss me... on the lips!
Perfectly delicious.
This vampire has no issues with who or what he is. He comes across as extremely intelligent and somewhat of a risk taker all while keeping it real with his inner nerd. Sold. I'll take one.

To keep it real here at the Broads, I have to say that I was disappointed with the final battle scene. Hofferth did not let readers fully in on Kiara's significance as a spirit binder, nor did he unharness Michael to let him embrace his power fully and hand out a little 'kick-ass'. Oh, there's action! But...it's more of a team effort thing, and it is Kiara's guardian and mentor, Keisuke, in the end, who brings the house down. I was cheering for Michael to grab up his existence with both hands and free fall, uninhibited, to gloriously defeat the evil that threatened his woman!

Okay. I'm done with that.

Despite my complaint, I most assuredly look forward to reading another of Matt Hofferth's books. This was a great storyline that hinted at a much more involved world than was revealed in the first book in the series.

The Binder's Daughter receives 4/5 stars overall. (Meaning that I mostly liked the story)
Plot strength - 4/5 stars
World building - 5/5 stars
Supporting characters - 4/5 stars
Michael - 4/5 stars
Kiara - 3/5 stars
Romance heat - 2/5 stars
~ Moira Naveen ~

15 September 2011

Pemberley Manor, Kathryn L. Nelson



The Pride & Prejudice Marathon Goes On!

...Darcy & Elizabeth, for better or for worse...


Pemberley Manor, by Kathryn L. Nelson is the first completed sequel in my P & P marathon.

I have mixed feelings.

Elizabeth was very well written, and Nelson kept close to the original character in her portrayal. The author wrote great emotion and dialogue into her scenes, providing sharp wit and smart interactions not only between Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam, but within each of our heroine's relationships.

Darcy is another story. While I agree with the author's interpretation of Darcy's discomfort and difficulty in openly expressing himself when it comes to feelings, Nelson added a tortured haunt to Fitzwilliam that, while not an unbelievable theme, crossed the line on more than one occasion into emasculation. This did not sit well with this Broad! Darcy's brooding and prideful nature was usually tempered by his love for Elizabeth, and her effect on his moods and emotions matched the character's personality in the original. But Nelson's addition of dramatic scenes of unchecked temper and drastic mood swings into Darcy's bearing when he faced any great difficulty did not align with the slow and steady, logical, self-controlled Mr. Darcy of the original.

The romance of Nelson's imagination was nicely done, and she conveyed the Darcy's passion through well placed innuendo and 'fade-to-black' scene breaks. Also well done was Nelson's litany of supporting characters. Charles & Jane Bingley remained sweet and adorable, and Nelson managed to maintain the closeness of the sisters without having the relationship intrude on her main story. Caroline Bingley got far better than she deserved by the end of the story, but it was well played. Trevor Handley was newly introduced to the story, and I greatly enjoyed his side-story - until the end. While noble of the author to feature a touchy subject with class, the truth is that the time period would have prevented any thought of such an admission, and I suspect that acceptance is not the reaction our poor Mr. Handley would have encountered.

Here's how my first sequel rates - ( I will use a five star rating scale.)

1-star = I did not like it at all.
2-star= Not really my preference. It was okay.
3-star= Average. There were things I liked and things I didn't like.
4-star= I mostly liked this.
5-star= I loved this.

Overall story - 3/5 stars
Elizabeth Darcy - 4/5 stars
Fitzwilliam Darcy - 2/5 stars
Supporting Characters - 4/5 stars
Romance Heat - 3/5 stars

I'll be moving on to another book in the next few days. I can't wait to see another author's perspective on the lives of Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy.
*****Moira*****

10 September 2011

Claiming The Prize by Nadja Notariani


MMA and romance, definitely claims the prize....

This is the debut book by author Nadja Notariani, and it is worth the read. It is well written with intelligent dialog, realistic events and well rounded characters. It is especially comforting to have a hero who isn't turned into a simpering "yes, dear" by the end of the book. The personalities of our cast stay true to form throughout. Which, for those who have suffered through "sybil" books, is very refreshing.

The blending of romance with the sport of MMA is also a new twist in the genre. For those who are not familiar, MMA is mixed martial arts. It combines the boxing, wrestling and different martial arts disciplines. Ladies, trust me, it is an eye candy store I love to get lost in! Notariani also reaches a nice middle ground with her descriptive elements. I was not left wanting more, nor was I skipping past pages droning on about furniture, flowers and inane character musings.
It is helpful to remember that this story takes place over a fairly long period of time, with the gaps in between fights of usually 4 to 6 months. Just so you aren't wondering why things seem to be happening fairly quickly.

The story follows Drago Zadrovec, an MMA fighter, who comes to America (from Slovakia) to train with team Anto-Engage for an upcoming bout on his way to a title shot. The team and gym is run by Guy Antolini and his daughter, Grace. They meet and fall in love, marry and have the child they both want. All while dealing with the intense training and preparation the sport demands.

The love story between Grace and Drago is very nicely done and doesn't sway to the melodramatic. We get to know Drago as a strong and loving man. Private and protective of Grace without being domineering and abrasive. Grace has a quiet strength, and her love for Drago is clear and unwavering.
Don't worry if you have no knowledge of the sport; the fight scenes are brief, well written and are easily followed.

Some of the secondary cast are quite something in their own right. Carson Khaler is a lovely mess, Yves simply for being called the Friar and St. Clair's charm have me wanting more. Hopefully our author will branch off and give some of these men their own stories. (Fingers crossed!)


I have to say, being an MMA fan had me already in it's corner, but this was a really nicely done story. I hope that we hear more from this author in the near future.
~Mina





30 August 2011

The Broads' Cheers & Jeers




Here we are again! This week, we (Mina & Moira) have scrounged up two more covers to inspect. We'll dive right in with what our Google search produced. Do you have a favorite cover you'd love for the Broads to showcase? Have you come across a wretched cover that makes you wonder how it ever got selected to grace a book? We want to know!






The Broads Are Dishing Up A New Batch Of Cover Cheers & Jeers ...







What do you say? Love it? Or Hate it?




Give us a shout out with your cover love!


First, let's take a look at this interesting specimen that we pulled from the internet.....




















Mina ~
This just in! Half naked mer-fellow with festering head wound rescues maiden from slight snow storm and takes her to his enchanted garden inhabited by creepy faery children. What...it could happen.

The title of this book is flirting dangerously with being an oxymoron. But I love the hair ornament, though. No, really. The sea shell- snake rattle- fleur de lis combo really works for you. (How is that sticking there anyway?) But seriously, you look totally manly. Look, I'm swooning. Can you use a sword effectively under water? Maybe you should cut that thing off your head before it sucks out all your brains. Not just the part that controls your choice in women. It's just an idea.

You're lady love seems to need some help deciding on which season she should dress for. A sleeveless feather cape, that's what you want to go with huh? I suppose it must be a bit chilly on her half of the cover. That explains the garden only existing on his side. I do like the Eye of Sauron necklace, however. Nice touch.



Moira ~ Heh, heh...Does he have a starfish on his head? Is that an octopus? It's not a good look for him, whatever it is. Seriously, even with my glasses, I'd swear this guy has a sea creature hanging out on the side of his head!?


"Jumpin' Jolly Roger! I seem to have a crustacean on me head! Well, Davy Jones' Locker, Woman! Don't just stand there staring at me! I can't possibly get married with a squid on me brow! Let me get me land legs back first, ya lusty wench!"


"But Beaureguard, I'm wearin' my fur-trimmed hood! It simply has to be a special occasion for me to be wearin' my fur trimmed hood!"


There's a lot going on here... I'm pretty sure I see butterflies, too. And does anyone else find it odd that she seems to be dressed for weather that may or may not include snow, yet he seems to be attired for ...insert place here _____ that does not require clothing.




Now let's look at something much nicer...






Mina ~
Now this is much better! The cream colors used give this a warm, intimate feeling. The author's name is a bit bold and red. I suppose we can overlook that for now. The open position our heroine has put herself in, is quite tantalizing. She knows she is about to ravished and is eagerly awaiting ruination! And our hero, with his shirt half open, and his boots still on he paints a dashing figure. This broad would love to say "Sir, you have the advantage of me!" and let him have it!



Moira ~ Now this is a much more romantic cover! Our heroine is in a very vulnerable position - I love the arc of her neckline - while our hero is in a dominant one. (Ummmm, yeah, that's nice ladies, isn't it?) I like the sweetness of this cover, too. The abundance of white gives an innocence to the couple, even though this hero looks 'less-than-innocent' - if you know what I mean. This cover is nicely done. Nothing too dramatic, but it clearly portrays romance. I do think that the author's name kind of imposes on the rest of the cover, though. It's a bit 'over-stated'. Other than that, this cover gets a Cheers! from this Broad.



24 August 2011

Pride And Prejudice, Jane Austen



A Timeless Classic...

For anyone who has never read Pride And Prejudice, this Broad would urge you to crack the cover! If you enjoy a smart romance, sharp wit, and the humor of peering into the character flaws of those about you, you won't be disappointed. Austen wrote my favorite heroine of all time within the pages of this novel. Elizabeth Bennet absolutely steals the show!


The Bennet sisters, under the hand of an often dramatic and obnoxiously silly mother and a father, who abounds with dry humor but mostly abdicates his role, face life, society, and courtship in the English countryside. This is no easy task, for the young women have no considerable wealth or lofty position to aid them in a time when that was quite important.


Pride And Prejudice chronicles the romantic fiascoes of the Bennet girls. Jane, the eldest sister, wins the love of the young and well-to-do Mr. Bingley, although certainly not without trial and tribulation. But jealousy and interference leave her happiness in serious doubt. Lydia, the middle child, selfish and flighty, refuses to comply with propriety, and her actions threaten the chances of all the sisters. The two youngest, Mary and Kitty, while affected by the goings-on, don't figure as prominently in the story. This leaves Elizabeth, the novel's main female character, to entertain with her bold wit and keen observations during her own adventures in life and love.


When Elizabeth Bennet first encounters Mr. Darcy, she at once understands him to be prideful and ill-mannered, founding her long lasting prejudice. Adding to her less than friendly impressions are the accusations against Mr. Darcy by the family's newest acquaintance, Mr. Wickham. Circumstances, however, continue to throw the two together, and the time spent coming to know Elizabeth begins to alter Mr. Darcy's opinions. His change in behavior leaves much to be desired, and it isn't until after Elizabeth's scathing face-to-face assessment of Mr. Darcy's character flaws that he confronts his pride whole-heartedly, and Elizabeth faces her prejudice.


Strength of character, probing dialogue, and honest reflection turn their opinions of one another into something altogether different as Elizabeth and Darcy, each in their own way, dare to break with convention and hope in love.


After reading Austen's original again, I am more than eager to dive into the first sequel on my list! Reading the varied takes on what the Darcy's love affair may have looked like once they married intrigues me to no end.


~Moira










17 August 2011

Nobody panic! They know I'm loose...

Panic Room...Welcome Mina Naveen!


Okay, truthfully, it took me forever to try and think up a good beginning for my first post. I wanted to say something really pithy and fascinating, drawing you to me like that piper guy with the rats. Except I wouldn't want you to be rats, because that's gross and really unsanitary in large groups. But butterflies, or cookies, would be nice.

Anywho, once I had your attention I'd hit you with the one-two punch of my sarcastic and rapier like wit, leaving you stunned and totally under my spell. Fortunately for you, that isn't what happened. SIGH. Apparently I shall have to woo you to minion-hood. So be it.

The real reason I'm here is, in what was a completely sane (if somewhat dubious) decision on her part, my sister Moira has asked me to join the broads! I know, right! I seriously don't know what she was thinking.

My name is Mina Naveen, and I'll be the comedic and slightly not grown up one. I try to avoid books, movies and other activities that are tedious, boring and warranting of a notepad and slide rule to keep everything straight. I like things that are funny, that explode, are hot (accents and uniforms are bonus points!), and permanent press. I don't iron. I drink more coffee than the surgeon general recommends, and when I grow up I want to rule the world. I'm pretty sure it was my job in a past life. Oh, and I sing. Constantly.

Moira and I have a lot of the same tastes in books (and life goals). I have to say, however, that I do not plan on picking up Tolstoy anytime soon. I have nothing against it; I just want to be entertained. I have also never read Pride and Prejudice. Yes, thank you very much, I did just hear your gasp of womanly horror. I like to sit down with an uncomplicated book that makes me forget that the floor needs mopped and the kids are trying to bludgeon each other. Just a note for all of you with young, squabbling children - it doesn't get better. At 15, 13 and 12, I still have to hide the sharp objects and carry a whip and chair. But I digress.

My aim is to post some reviews and such soon. Hopefully, they they won't take as long as this to write! Type to you soon!

~Mina~

11 August 2011

A New Brazen Chapter......



Some Fun Changes And Maybe Some New Broads.......


Hi all! Hope everyone's having a great week!


I've got some fun ideas for the blog, and I hope to be posting them soon. Of course, it's sad to say goodbye to Alexandria, but life has a way of changing on us, sometimes unexpectedly. We live our lives in chapters, and for Alexandria, a busy chapter is upon her. Best wishes.


Of course, I'll still be reading and writing reviews. It's what this Broad does. But I'm hoping to add a few new Broads - the brazen sort - to the line-up. In the meantime, I'm planning a little project! One of my favorite books is Pride And Prejudice, by Jane Austen, and I've read it countless times. It's a favorite for many, the proof of which is evident in the many sequels this classic has inspired. In honor of that, I'm going on a Pride & Prejudice marathon...............






I'll read the original - again - and post a review. Then, I'll begin reading and posting on the spin-off novels. There are so many, there's no end to the possibilities!


What's your favorite Pride and Prejudice spin-off novel? Let me know by commenting! I'll add it to the queue.


Happy Reading! ~ Moira Naveen































08 August 2011

Farewell

Alexandria here--this is my last post at the Brazen Broads.  Life outside the blog has become just too hectic for me to continue, as much as I wish I could.  A little over a year ago, Moira and I began this blog because we love books and love talking about them.  However, in the past few months, life has just gotten too busy for me to continue, and I think the blog deserves better than I can give right now. 

Moira will be continuing with the blog, so keep checking back for more great reviews of books she's read, and when she brings another broad on board, I know readers will be as great to her as they have been to me.

So goodbye to those of you who have visited us in the past year.  It was great sharing my ideas about books with you.

-Alexandria

29 July 2011

Broads Undercover #2

It's Time Once Again For...Broads Undercover!

 
The Brazen Broads are dishing up two new covers in our 'Cheers & Jeers' adventurers this week, and my, oh my, have we got a few things to say about these selections.  Weigh in with your thoughts if you'd like, but only after taking at look at these.......




















Moira: 
Where do I begin?  Oh, the agony!  The shame!  I must start off by saying that I have a problem with the type of art used on this cover for an obviously sexual situation.  It reminds me of drawings one might find on a children's book, and therefore it goes without saying (even though I'm saying it!)....No Good.  That troubling issue being dealt with, I can get on with my assessment.  The couple appears to be quite young, another problematic issue when considering that A HAND JOB is going on!  The blond - seriously has he reached puberty yet? - has a weird King Julian vibe to his posture and expression.  "Lookie what I am handling here....I am reaching for it.....reaching for it.....Why are you looking at me?  Can you not see that I am being very busy.  Look away!  Or I will curse you!  I seem to have lost my ipod, perhaps I will be finding it in your pants my tall, girlish, man/boy ...my reluctant companion.  Pay no attention to my groping of your semi-flacid staff....My, my it does lay nicely to the right....Oh!.I hope my highlights are gleaming in just the right light as I fondle my indifferent friend while striking this gorgeous pose...."  The poor dark haired fellow stands there, not actively participating in this debacle, but not fleeing either.  He looks perfectly blase about the entire experience.  His shoulders are slightly slumped as he peers off into the nothingness of adolescent boredom.  "I hope my mom bought coco-puffs when she went to the store today.  Damn, she never buys the cereal I want!  It's always what my brother wants.  Mr. Football Star.  Fuck!  This weird kid is grabbing my schlong ...again.  I hope he finds his i-pod soon.  I'm sooooo done with this scene.  He said we could play PlayStation after he finds his shit."

And, I think that about sums it up for me.  Dreadful.

Alexandria: WTF?  How old are these two?  I'm good for the mano y mano action, but with kids?  This is an adult book, right?  Why are they drawn like this?  I keep asking questions because I can't come up with any answers. Why would a publisher create a book cover like this?  This is an ebook, and covers are so important in that type of book.  A cover like this will be passed over in favor of something else.  There are ways to show the eroticism of M/M relationships, but this isn't it. 

 
Moira:  I love the body line of the woman on this cover.  She's got a very sensual, but slight arch to her back - inviting, yet not tawdry - as she reaches back for her lover.  The dress, in an innocent baby-blue hue while fitted to accentuate womanly charms, stands out against the more neutral colors on the rest of the cover, drawing attention to her.  This man knows that a well placed hand can mean so much!  There's not much shown of him, and I think it's nicely done.  This fellow is totally absorbed in her, and he's going right for the neck -Ohh-la-la!    I also like the lighting effects in the photograph used for this cover.  There's a glow about the couple that suggests candlelight, and that's sexy.  From the cover, we can tell that this is a vampire novel, and I think this is portrayed subtly in the images.  I also like the foggy, hazy veil over the city backdrop.  As Shadows Fade earns a thumbs up!

Alexandria:  What a beautiful dress and pose with these two! This is a beautiful cover showing two people in love. There's no unseemly groping down the front of her dress, and no reach-around to cop a feel on his junk. This cover is also drawn, and notice how well done it is.  Classy is how I would call this.  And this wouldn't make my Kindle shut down in fear. 

15 July 2011

Author Gabrielle Bisset Guest Post

Thank you to the Brazen Broads for having me here at the Bash today.  I just love the name of the blog, and I guess in some ways my post is about something a bit brazen, or at least somewhat unorthodox.  My new novel is called Stolen Destiny.  A romance novel, it's about a race of people called Aeveren and three of these people in particular:  Varek, Callia, and Amon.  Here's the blurb: 

Released from prison to find a murderer, a prison-hardened Varek Leale is convinced no woman deserves the man he’s become, but his Aeveren destiny makes him succumb to sweet and sexy Callia Reynolds. To catch a murderer, he and Callia must find an Aeveren with the power to control time. But Amon Kalins isn’t a man to trifle with, and when he wants something, he’ll use his powers, devastating charm, and good looks to get it.

When Amon manipulates time and seduces her away, Varek must turn to the people who set him free for help to get her back. But the Council doesn’t do anything without requiring something in return, and what they want is Amon Kalins, one of the most powerful Aeveren ever. Varek will do what he must to capture Amon and find Callia. If he doesn’t, she’ll be lost to him for untold lifetimes.

Writing Stolen Destiny was a labor of love for me.  I fell in love with the characters the minute they came to life on the page.  However, I quickly found that because my Aeveren lived many lives through reincarnation and remembered their past lifetimes, the typical POV structure for romance novels was insufficient and would have resulted in a 500 page book.  The necessity to keep each scene only one point of view while trying to relay a relatively large story just wouldn't work.  After editing as much as possible, I was still left with scenes that fell flat because they were only from the hero's or heroine's POV. 

At that point, I decided that the POV style popular with romance novels had to go.  I needed something more.  Cue Nora Roberts.  If you've ever read Nora Roberts' books, you know that she doesn't use the typical romance POV style either.  One read of a Nora book and I found the solution to my POV problem.  Many people who prefer the romance style POV insultingly call what Nora and many others do "head hopping."  To them, this is confusing to read.  I beg to differ.  Read the classics, adventure stories, mysteries, and crime stories and you'll find this is the style used.  In fact, it's only really in romance and erotica that the far simpler style of POV is used. 

Now don't get me wrong.  I have nothing against that style, and I use it in my novellas as it works particularly well for shorter stories.  But for me, it just didn't work for my novel length book. 

Some people have told me that the style I used in Stolen Destiny, with sometimes three points of view in a scene, is refreshing.  I love hearing that because I find the style very dynamic.  It allows the reader to experience the story through more than just the heroine and hero, and with characters who have many lifetimes behind them, it creates a fuller story, overall.  Some people have said they weren't crazy about it, and I respect their opinions.  For them, the romance style POV is what they like. 

The great thing about writing in these new times of indie publishing and ebooks is that walls that were once so high only a few could scale them are coming down.  I look forward to a time when the idea of "right" and "wrong" when it comes to POV is a thing of the past, a relic of a time when minds weren't open.  For me, the more dynamic POV style is what I enjoy writing for my Aeveren. 

Does this mean all my novels will be in this style?  I don't know.  The beauty of writing is that I never know what's going to come out of my imagination.  My novellas are in the typical romance POV and cover subjects such as vampires and BDSM, while Stolen Destiny is about a new breed of paranormal characters, as will be the sequel, Destiny Redeemed.  I've recently begun a new novel that's about one of the characters in my novella, Vampire Dreams, and that novel will be written in the typical romance style POV.  For me, having the choice of how I want to write a story is one of the best parts of being an author. 

In the end, I think the most important thing about writing is to tell a good story.  Readers will relate to characters and plot no matter what POV a story's in.  Thanks again to the Broads for letting me chat about this.  To learn more about my books, visit my blog at http://gbisset.blogspot.com/


To buy Stolen Destiny, visit http://www.bookstrand.com/stolen-destiny

13 July 2011

Stolen Destiny, Gabrielle Bisset

Stolen DestinyTime can be a friend, or an enemy........

  Sentenced to spend three lifetimes in Nil, the hellish prison of the Aeveren race, Varek Leale accepts his punishment, reliving the night he murdered his first destined one in a crime of passion after finding her in bed with another man, knowing he deserves the torturous existence he now lives.  But destiny has other plans for him. 
Summoned by the Council, Varek learns that he is to be released, for a price.  He must track down a serial killer who is murdering innocent Aeveren families. 

With little more than the clothes on his back, he is transported to the town of New Hope, the scene of the latest murders.  Drawing on his past law enforcement background, Varek trails the killer, and the case leads him to the New Hope Orphanage, a home for Aeveren children.  As soon as he meets Callia Reynolds, his Aeveren biology reveals the impossible and unwanted.  She is now his destined one.  

Certain that his crime and his years in Nil have left him unworthy and unable to love, Varek attempts to deny the truth.  But destiny refuses to be ignored.  As time runs out, and as his heart learns to love again, Varek realizes that he needs help if he is to earn his freedom and claim the love he dares to want.  To accomplish his task, he seeks out the ancient and powerful tempuster, Amon Kalins.  The rogue Aeveren agrees to aid the couple, but he's got his own hidden agenda.  He desires Callia for himself.  And once the killer is disposed of, Amon travels back in time to woo and win Callia's heart before she ever lays eyes on Varek. 

Desperate to find Callia and embrace life anew with the woman destined for him, Varek agrees to the impossible demands of the Council -  Find and capture Amon Kalins.  As Varek travels through time to right the wrong done, he must face his inner demons, for Amon has claimed Callia's unknowing heart. 

Stolen Destiny, by Gabrielle Bisset is a fresh idea in paranormal romance.  The Aeveren species she writes into her novel is well explained, and while Bisset employs the popular and time tested use of the pull of destined mates, she also gives her characters something lacking in many paranormal novels - free will.  The characters come together not merely because of predetermination, but because they choose to learn to love. 

Callia, the heroine, is a new favorite.  She's smart, confident, and not afraid to go after what she wants.  Even more delightful was the fact that Bisset crafted a female character brazenly willing to use the feminine wiles in her arsenal to encourage her intended to the acceptance of his heart's desire.  That being said, the character I fell in love with in Bisset's novel is the 'oh so naughty' Amon.  I have a bit of a thing for bad boys, and Amon is certainly that.  Unrepentant and unabashedly manipulative, Amon is a smooth operator, and even though I cheered Varek on in his quest to regain the love of his life, I can't deny that a small (okay, maybe more than a small) part of me wanted to see Amon come out on top.  

Smart and sexy, Stolen Destiny.....steals a great rating!

 

~Moira

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