My Bookshelf: Deep Fried and Pickled

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Title: Deep Fried and Pickled

Series: The Rachael O’Brien Chronicles, Book #1

Author: Paisley Ray

Genre: Historical Fiction & Romance

Amazon Summary:
“It’s ’86, the era of Pop Rocks, Jelly shoes, and big hair bands. Rachael O’Brien’s freshman plan seems simple: Attend a southern college away from her hometown of Canton, Ohio, earn a degree, party, and meet cute guys—hopefully acing the latter two.

But being threatened by a jealous She-Devil, avoiding the advances of a thirty-something redneck, and discovering an art fraud scheme mess with her “to do” list. On top of her troubles at school, Rachael finds herself forging a new relationship with her emotionally shaken father after Mom abandons the family to pursue a psychic calling.

Bad decision-making, law-bending behavior, and surprise romances make freshman year challenging in Paisley Ray’s DEEP FRIED AND PICKLED quick-witted, south-of-the-Mason-Dixon romp.”

Cheers:

  • I really loved the characters, Macy especially.
  • It captured the feeling of going to college really well. I felt like I want to go back to college and live in the dorms (and considering I just graduated, the fresh horror of the dorms should have been enough to stop that feeling).
  • I liked that there was so much going on, what with her mom leaving and so much drama at school plus the art stuff.

Jeers:

  • I think that there should have been a little more focus on the crazy stalker thing at the end. I just personally thought it was amazing twist, but then it was over almost as soon as it started.
  • Personally, I wasn’t as invested in the art thief story line, but that’s just because I don’t really care about art. If I found out some big scandal like that had happened in my hometown I’d just shrug, so that’s kinda what I did in the story, but I did like the action and drama that went along with it.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! The author (who was really friendly, by the way) offered this book in exchange for an honest review and said that a lot of older women liked the story (as in, the women who had been young during the time this book is set in) but being 21 I think that this book is really good for anyone who is college-aged. Basically, if you’re worried about starting college, nothing is going to be as bad as Rachel’s first year.

Shelled and Shucked, book three in the series, is free right now on Amazon through the 27th, so snag it now while it’s hot!

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Fried-Pickled-Rachael-OBrien-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00AABHU70

Author’s blog: http://www.heypaisleyray.com/

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Wildflower Crown is now available for purchase!

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Wildflower Crown is available on Amazon in eBook and paperback! Until Amazon gets around to joining the pages, here is the eBook link and here is the paperback link.

I’m super excited to share this with the world. I really like the story and I think you guys will too!

For those of you without money who are interested, I’m looking for reviewers and will give a free PDF or MOBI of Wildflower Crown in exchange for an honest review to be posted on Amazon, Goodreads, and your blog. You can comment below or use the contact form on my “contact” page to ask about getting a copy.

My Bookshelf: Lola and the Boy Next Door

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Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.”

Jeers:

  • There was very little sympathy for Lola’s birth parents. People fall on hard times, it happens, and not everyone addicted to drugs is a terrible person.
  • I hated how long things dragged on with Max (the hot rocker boyfriend).
  • I think school is a much bigger deal in young people’s lives but she took away from that in order to force St. Clair and Anna in at the movie theater rather than just having standalone books.
  • The gift Cricket gives her at the end is like beyond what anyone could accomplish and is setting impossibly high standards (okay so I’m a little jealous but whatever).

Cheers:

  • I thought that the story was wonderfully 3D and I liked all the characters.
  • I loved Cricket, though I have no idea why he was actually into Lola.
  • It was a very sweet story and I enjoyed reading it.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. I’d say read Anna and the French Kiss first, since the setting of Paris is way cooler than San Francisco (in my opinion) but all three books can be read in whatever order and you won’t be that confused. It’s really sweet and really captures the confusion of youth.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Lola-Next-Door-Stephanie-Perkins/dp/0142422010/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

My Bookshelf: Along for the Ride

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Title: Along for the Ride

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Nights have always been Auden’s time, her chance to escape everything that’s going on around her.

Then she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, and he becomes her nocturnal tour guide.

Now, with an endless supply of summer nights between them, almost anything can happen. . . .”

Jeers:

  • If you’ve read a lot of Sarah Dessen’s books this is going to be exactly the same.
  • Auden’s dad was a huge asshole from start to finish and that wasn’t really taken care of or addressed properly.

Cheers:

  • It’s a nice light-hearted read.
  • The characters are unique and the detail in the story really brings things to life.
  • I’ve read this a bunch of times and I’m still not sick of it. I think Sarah Dessen does a really good job of writing books young girls can identify with.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes, if you like stories about teenage girls finding themselves. If you like one Sarah Dessen book you’ll probably like them all, but if you read too many you start to see how similar they all are. As long as you’re not looking for high-brow literature, you’ll be fine reading Along for the Ride.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Along-Ride-Sarah-Dessen/dp/0142415561

My Bookshelf: The Enterprise of Death

Title: The Enterprise of Death

Author: Jesse Bullington

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Amazon Summery:
“As the witch-pyres of the Spanish Inquisition blanket Renaissance Europe in a moral haze, a young African slave finds herself the unwilling apprentice of an ancient necromancer. Unfortunately, quitting his company proves even more hazardous than remaining his pupil when she is afflicted with a terrible curse. Yet salvation may lie in a mysterious tome her tutor has hidden somewhere on the war-torn continent.

She sets out on a seemingly impossible journey to find the book, never suspecting her fate is tied to three strangers: the artist Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, the alchemist Dr. Paracelsus, and a gun-slinging Dutch mercenary. As Manuel paints her macabre story on canvas, plank, and church wall, the young apprentice becomes increasingly aware that death might be the least of her concerns.”

Jeers:

  • The start was a bit slow and like all historical fiction I had trouble with all the names.

Cheers:

  • Everything about this book was brilliant.
  • The characters were wonderful.
  • The plot didn’t drag on even though it was a long book.
  • The magic was very well done.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes, to everyone! Disclaimer though, there are some weird bits people might have a problem with, like dead lesbian sex and murder and all that. However, I still loved it. It’s now one of my favorite books and I can’t wait to read the rest of the author’s novels.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Enterprise-Death-Jesse-Bullington/dp/0316087343

Excerpt from Wildflower Crown

Wildflower Crown

Wildflower Crown

© Charlotte Cyprus

Prologue

The woman kept to the shadows, avoiding the torches that lit the streets. A hood concealed her face and black cloth was thrown over the basket in her arms. Little whimpers came from the basket, but the woman shushed it, moving through the unfamiliar village slowly. She avoided the men walking home from the pub and went farther to the outskirts of town where there were smaller houses stuffed with squalling children.

Fog rose up from the ground in the cold night air. The streets were tracks of dirt that the recent rain had turned into mud, and it sucked at the woman’s boots as she struggled to keep herself unnoticed. A pitiful cry came from the basket in her arms. The woman paused to reach her hand in and stroke the baby’s cheek. She was rewarded with a happy gurgle.

The woman was caught off guard. She looked at the baby, so sweet and small and innocent. Had she gone far enough south? The king would be hunting her, she knew. It had been a foolish thing to take revenge on the king, but she hadn’t counted on getting pregnant. The baby’s father had no idea where they were, or that the baby existed, but it was for the best. The babe could live out an anonymous childhood away from the chaos of her own life.

A child’s cry rang out in the night, but it wasn’t her baby. The woman froze and listened hard to find where the noise was coming from. The child called out again, and the woman determined that it was the little house across the street. The roof was crumbling and the door was hanging at an angle. As the crying continued, a light was lit. The woman could see it through the shuttered window.

Continue reading

My Bookshelf: The Wolf’s Captive

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Title: The Wolf’s Captive

Author: Chloe Cox

Genre: Erotica/Romance/Fantasy

Amazon Summary:
“It’s the raunchy, decadent holiday of Bacchanal, and Lucia Lyselle is just hoping to make it through intact. But then her father is arrested, and Lucia is held captive by Lord Cesare Lupin, heir to the ducal seat and her secret protector. She’ll have to submit to Lord Cesare’s sexual domination for the duration of the Bacchanal if she hopes to win her father’s freedom. But she doesn’t expect to fall in love – and she doesn’t expect that she’ll have to choose between her family and Lord Cesare…

Lord Cesare Lupin has come back from war afflicted with an ancient curse. If he can’t find his mate, he’ll turn into a mad, blood-thirsty beast, and the city that is his responsibility will suffer. Just his luck that his mate turns out to be the daughter of a man accused of treason…”

Jeers (possible spoilers):

  • Yes, yes, we get it. Lupin means wolf. Rowling named Professor Lupin that because he was a werewolf and now all other authors need to stop doing the same thing.
  • I didn’t like how they were just suddenly in love with each other.
  • The entire treason plot was SO overly complicated and then it boiled down to basically nothing.
  • I think the story lacked a bit. It just wasn’t all it set out to be. It could have been better.
  • This is marketed as “BDSM” but it was pretty tame. I think doing stuff in public was the most risqué they got.

Cheers:

  • I guess I did enjoy the absurdity of it. (The whole thing takes place during a week of orgies, basically).
  • It kept me reading. I was fully interested in the story until the end.
  • I did think that the characters were fairly well-rounded.

Would I recommend it?:
If you like sex-centered stories that also manage to carry a descent plot, yes. If you want to read a book with a plot that just happens to have sex in it, no. The characters didn’t have any real romance together other than the magical pull of whatever it was, but overall I still enjoyed the read and would read another book set in the same world if the author produced one.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Wolfs-Captive-Erotic-Romance-Bacchanal-ebook/dp/B009518Q6A

Wildflower Crown Cover Reveal!

Wildflower Crown

Wild has been running her whole life from a power she never asked for. Determined to fill her life with excitement and fun, she’s done everything she could to push her dark secret from her mind. When outlaws come to her with a proposition to infiltrate the castle and switch places with the princess, she immediately accepts the job. What could be more fun than being a princess?

Daivat’s life has always been structured and orderly. He wakes every day at dawn and practices tirelessly at his knife work. His dream is to be a member of the king’s personal guard, but first he must prove himself by keeping an eye on the imposter princess while she fools visiting nobles into thinking she’s real royalty.

As the queen struggles to keep the kingdom from war and the real princess fights to survive the outlaws, Wild and Daivat must endure each other as their personalities collide. Can Daivat bring order to Wild’s life, or will Wild turn Daivat’s life upside down?


Now, this might not be that exciting as I’ve had variations of this cover posted around the site when I thought there would be an earlier publishing date, but here is the official cover! (Alright, so the font might change, but that’s it, I swear!)

Wildflower Crown will be coming out in the beginning of June, the 1st or 2nd depending on how Amazon handles things. All that’s left to do is proofreading and deciding if I’m going to stick with the alternative ending I just came up with two days ago! I’m really excited about this book, so I hope you all like it and don’t get sick of me talking about it constantly for the next few months 🙂

-Charlotte Cyprus

Crafting the Perfect Kiss

Pucker up!

Pucker up!

I write romance. I read romance. I watch romance. I live romance. One of the biggest deals in romance is the first kiss, yet for the life of me I am not satisfied with the quality of the kissing scene in Wildflower Crown. I want them to be better than my previous novel, to set the stage for the rest of my books. I want to make women swoon! And men too, I guess, but I’m pretty sure they don’t swoon all that often.

Bro, stop breaking the forth wall as she cleans your teeth.

Oh yeah baby clean those teeth.

My problem is that my scenes appear too mechanical. I struggle with balancing describing what is actually happening and not having it read as “insert Tab A into slot B.” Maybe I’m the only one who will notice it, in the end, but if I get it smooth enough that when the person who crafted (which would be me) it is absorbed into the scene then I know I will have done a good job.

"I'm so wet right now." "So am I."

“I’m so wet right now.” “So am I.”

However, when I try to veer away from the mechanical and go towards the metaphorical, I end up making it sound ridiculous. Maybe this would be a little more forgivable in modern romance, where at least you can say “Electricity shot through her,” but I find myself stuck on this one scene thinking, “What the hell do I write now?”

“He leaned in and kissed her. Their lips came together gently, like two pillows smashing together. Her lips were soft as if he was rubbing his face against one of the aforementioned pillows. Heat spread through him like someone had dropped boiling fondue on his chest then washed it off with very warm water.”

Om nom nom give me that wittle tongue.

Om nom nom give me that wittle tongue.

Needless to say, the scene above will not be in the final draft, but I’ll be damned if you don’t read Wildflower Crown and think, “Oh well that was a nice kiss.” I’ve decided that to accomplish this, I won’t actually use the word “kiss” during the action. It was one of the many tips I found while Googling about, the best of which can be found here.

My Bookshelf: Love, Remember Me

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Title: Love, Remember Me

Author: Bertrice Small

Genre: Erotica/ Historical Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Lovely Nyssa Wyndham, as fair and proud as her mother Blaze, is lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII’s fourth wife.

Scandalizing all of England, Henry has his marriage annulled, for the queen cannot meet the bawdy desires of the insatiable king. Henry seeks a spirited, lusty new wife—and eyes the beautiful Nyssa. But in a land rife with conspiracy and rebellion, there are those in secret power determined to thwart Henry’s intentions. A drugged Nyssa awakens in the arms of the notorious rake Varian de Winter. With her virtue destroyed, the outraged king orders them to wed.

Handsome—and soon smitten—Varian de Winter dares to conquer his spitfire bride. But the intrigues and dark side of the court intrude upon their brief happiness as Nyssa is trapped in a devious plot and witness to the deadly wrath of Henry Tudor. Suddenly, jealousy and revenge grow bloodthirsty, and all that Nyssa holds dear is in dire jeopardy.”

Jeers:

  • Alright, so the summary is a bit misleading. It says “Varian dares to conquer his spitfire bride” but he does absolutely no conquering. He wins her over with little things and any good husband would do to make his wife happy, so the plot isn’t really how I’d imagined it.
  • It focused way more on the nonsense of the court than the actual romance between Nyssa and Varian. It sort of glosses over that. One second she hates him, the next she is giggling and blushing at him, and then you skip a few months and they’re remodeling their old house and getting along quite well, then skip ahead a few more months and “oh, I guess I love him.”
  • You know how in some romance books when the main characters get together you can’t help but smile and cheer them on? Nothing in this book evoked my emotions like that.
  • At times, the descriptions were a bit much, but I think the genre is known for that. No, I didn’t need to read two pages of “we went to Hamfordshire, then Lampshadeshire, then Hobbitland, and then onwards to York!” but I got through it alright.

Cheers:

  • It was very well written.
  • If you like historical romances, this is probably the book for you. Very historical. Lots of names, lots of guessing who the hell they were actually talking about.
  • It was interesting, if not in the way I suspected. It was a little more scheming Game of Thrones-esq plotting (with less murder) and a little less flat-out romance.
  • Varian is clever but I honestly couldn’t tell you if I actually liked him or if I just really liked his name.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes, but only if you are fully aware that this isn’t just a romance. Had I wanted something to read on the beach that would make me smile and daydream about handsome knights, this would not be the book to read. However, it was still enjoyable, and despite feeling misled I’ll be checking out more of Small’s books (mostly because I already bought them for $0.01 off of Amazon).

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Remember-Me-Bertrice-Small-ebook/dp/B0086741FE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428273889&sr=8-1&keywords=love+remember+me

Additional note of less importance:
So I bought some of Small’s books because she died, actually. A blogger I follow recommended her books when posting about her death, so I thought I’d check them out. The blogger mentioned that Small wrote risqué sex scenes years ago of the same caliber of 50 Shades of Grey (that is now being applauded for being the first mainstream BDSM book when it clearly wasn’t). I do admit to buying the books and being interested in whatever historical fiction kink Small would come up with, but this book was very vanilla. They call a penis “manroot” and spanking is mentioned only once but only as a joke. So we’ll see if her next book lives up to this reputation.