Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review and Giveaway: A Wedding in Springtime

A Wedding in Springtime by Amanda Forester

Published: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 416
ISBN-13: 978-1402271786
ISBN-10: 1402271786

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Amanda Forester on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook

Excerpt from A Wedding in Springtime


Five minutes into Miss Eugenia Talbot's presentation at court, notorious rogue Mr. William Grant made her laugh, ruining her debut. 
To hush up the scandal, Eugenia's aunt hires a matchmaker to quickly find a suitor - anyone except the infamous William Grant - to help restore Eugenia's reputation.
 But amiable Eugenia shows a disturbing tendency to follow her heart, and is again caught in the company of notorious Grant. 
When a traitor creeps closer, threatening to ruin more than just Eugenia's reputation, her kindheartedness may be her ultimate undoing...


Amanda Forester brings readers the first in a new regency romance trilogy, A Wedding in Springtime. Stepping away from her previous Highland romances, Forester shows great versatility and a love for good historical romantic fiction in this book. Forester takes on the ton with relish and a good laugh, which is what triggers the ruin of main character Genie Talbot beginning the story with both the innocence of new love and the humor of Murphy's Law: what could go wrong, will go wrong!

There were two things that stood out in this book for me. The characters were both interesting and deep. Also, Forester's use of historical references and overall research into her subject was very well done. 

Eugenia Talbot hopes to redeem herself in the eyes of the ton, after her mother breaks and engagement and marries a wealthy farmer instead of a duke. But Genie doesn't have much luck when she cannot contain her mirth in the presence of the Queen. I liked Genie a lot. She was a young woman wants to make her family proud, yet she isn't willing to compromise her own ideals and beliefs. She is a strong female lead and will have readers cheering for her to find the man of her dreams in no time. William Grant, Genie's partner in crime, so to speak, is also a great character. The typical bad boy rake, who has no intentions of ever settling down, finally meets his match in a young woman, who is his equal in every way. Readers will love his genuine smug demeanor and his sharp wit. Secondary characters like the Duke of Marchford and Penelope Rose compliment the main story line well, with their own secondary plots.

I thought Forester did an excellent job of researching her subject. I have always enjoyed the way she portrays Highland characters and was once again captivated with her knowledge of Regency, England and the ins and outs of the haute ton. She uses some historical characters and events to give the reader a sense of time and place, but also excels at making her characters very much themselves. They interact well in the time period which gives an authenticity to Forester's writing. I am happy to see that this book is the beginning of a new trilogy. Readers will likely fall in love with the characters and want to read more about them and those connected to this story.

Forester hits a home run with her latest book, A Wedding in Springtime!

A Wedding in Springtime will be available May 7, 2013 from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Amanda Forester holds a Ph.D. in psychology and worked for many years in academia before discovering that writing historical romance novels was decidedly more fun. Whether in the Highland hills or a Regency ballroom, Forester's novels offer fast-paced adventures filled with wit, intrigue, and romance. She lives with her supportive husband and naturally brilliant children in the Pacific Northwest.


The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of A Wedding In Springtime by Amanda Forester.

~ You must be a GFC or Email subscriber to participate.
~ US and Canadian addresses only.
~ Deadline to enter this giveaway is Tuesday April 30th at Midnight EST.

1. Please leave comment describing the most memorable wedding you've ever been to, a celebrity wedding you wish you could have attended or something related to weddings.
2. Please fill out the FORM.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Review: The Vampire Queen's Servant

The Vampire Queen's Servant (Vampire Queen - Book 1) by Joey W. Hill

Published: July 2007
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Imprint: Berkley Heat
Genre: Paranormal Erotica
Pages: 384
ISBN 13: 978-0425215906
ISBN 10: 0425215903

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Joey W. Hill on the Web: Webpage, Blog, Twitter, Facebook

Excerpt from The Vampire Queen's Servant 

WARNING: This excerpt may not be appropriate for readers under 18 years of age.

Books in the series


Paranormal erotica from an award-winning author who stands out in a genre known for its out-of-the-ordinary love play." (Romance Studio)

Lady Elyssa Yamato Amaterasu Wentworth is a centuries-old vampire who's been given a new servant-Jacob, a total alpha male unaccustomed to submitting to any woman's wishes. What really binds Jacob to her are not her sensual midnight hungers, but something far more provocative. It stirs her blood, renews her life, and awakens her soul like only true love can. The passion between Elyssa and Jacob yields something else unexpected-a shared history that reaches back through the centuries and is fated to challenge their destiny like nothing ever will again.


The first book in the Vampire Queen series, by famed author Joey W. Hill is a feast for the senses. The Vampire Queen's Servant is an erotic romance that will tilt everything you thought you knew about vampire stories on it's ear. Hill creates an atmosphere that is charged with sexual energy as well as a healthy dose of fear. Her vampire characters are languid and sensual, yet powerful and unyielding. The humans that populate Hill's world are nothing short of intriguing. Their role in the vampire society is full of surprises and lessons in both submission and loyalty. This book is begins a long-lived series that shows no signs of ending, much to the delight of Hill's many fans.

I will be the first to say that this is not a book for the faint of heart. There are not many fight scenes or any kind of gore in this novel, but the erotic themes and graphic sexual content will not suit every reader. There is quite a bit of submission play and exhibitionism, some light bondage and other sexual activities played out in this novel, set against the back drop of a vampire society which thrives on the sexual aspects of it's inhabitants. There was nothing in the novel that scared me or made me feel uncomfortable as happens with some erotic romances. I thought that Hill used the sexual themes in a way that enhanced the story, but did not take away from it. The theme of the book was not sex. There was a definite story being told here. Sexuality being a part of it, but not the main focus. 

That being said I really enjoyed this book. Lady Lyssa the vampire queen was such an interesting character. She is an ancient vampire, the last of the royal line. She has endured much cruelty in her life as well as love. In this book we see both a soft and hard side to her. She is a creature of habit, used to life going according to her own plans, until she meets Jacob Green. Jacob defies all the rules. He is a human, who wants to be her servant, yet he does not exactly understand what all that entails. As Lyssa teaches him the ins and outs of being a servant, she is also dealing with the fact that though vampires are said to be immortal, that is not necessarily always the case. 

This book is full of romance as well as erotica. From Jacob's very sensual treatment of Lyssa, to the links he is willing to go to protect her. Lyssa is desperate to fight her feelings for Jacob. She is relentless in training him, but unable to control her growing attachment to him. Hill does a wonderful job of showing the torture that is going on inside of Jacob and Lyssa as they realize the depth of their feelings and what it means if Jacob continues in Lyssa's service. Hill provides the reader with a very strong back story for both characters but allows the reader to wonder about some things. She gives the reader a hint of something more that will keep them reading and leave them wanting more in the end. Setting up the series with a deft hand, Hill creates the kind of urgency needed to propel the series forward while containing the story to each book as well. Almost making the reader feel like this book is but a chapter in a bigger story.

I can't really find anything to pick on with this one. The descriptions were vivid and made the reader feel like they were with Lyssa and Jacob frolicking in the fountain, in the deeper regions of Lyssa's home while she slept, watching Jacob play with Bran and the other dogs. The reader could see in their minds eye, the glint off of Lyssa's lip gloss, smell the earth as Jacob lay in the forest. Feel the tension when Carnal approached them. It was truly a feast for the senses. A book that I won't soon forget.

If you are vampire fan, or an erotica fan or just a romance lover, this is a great book!

The Vampire Queen's Servant is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Joey W. Hill writes contemporary and paranormal erotic romance. Her characters include everything from vampires, mermaids, witches and angels, to boardroom executives, cops and simple housemaids. With four series and almost thirty titles available, she has been nominated three consecutive years for a Career Achievement award in Erotica by Romantic Times.

Free excerpts from all her works are available at www.storywitch.com, and additional vignettes, character interviews and graphics inspired by the work are at the fan forum site, www.jwhconnection.com. Subscribe to her newsletter from her home page and receive the latest info about appearances and releases. 

Though much of her work is BDSM, she has built her reputation on award-winning romances with absorbing characters who not only attract fans of the genre, but readers who would "never" read BDSM romance. "Whatever genre you're writing, if the characters are compelling and sympathetic, the readers are going to want to see what happens to them. It can be the coolest storyline ever, but if the reader could care less whether the hero or heroine survive (in fact, in some cases they may be rooting for their destruction just so they can be done with the darn thing), then it's not a story worth reading."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Title: Moon Called
Series: Mercy Thompson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Author: Patricia Briggs
Authors Website

Purchase Links:

Book Depository
Barnes and Noble

Books in the Series:

Moon Called
Blood Bound
Iron Kissed
Bone Crossed
Silver Borne
River Marked
Frost Burned

Brief Synopsis (from the authors website:

Moon Called is the beginning of the story of Mercedes Thompson a coyote shape-shifter who is also a pretty decent mechanic. Mercy's world looks a lot like ours except that the Otherworld is begining to be forced out of hiding by our modern technologies. Mercy shares her back fence with the local Alpha werewolf and works evenings on the vampire Stefan's VW bus. She's safe and content -- which doesn't make a very good story, does it? So, of course, matters begin to change on the first page. In this book Mercy faces trolls and gremlins, old boyfriends and older vampires.

Sample Chapter (from the authors website)


As most of you know, I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to books. I read everything from Paranormal Romance to Christian Fiction. And I have a special place in
my heart for Cozy Mysteries and Urban Fantasy. With this particular book, I was indulging my Urban Fantasy cravings. Patricia Briggs is an author that I was excited about reading. I had heard so many good things about this series and I most certainly was not disappointed. There were specific things that I really liked about this books. The characters and the world building. 

Mercy is of course the main character. She is a strong female lead who knows who she is and how to get what she wants. I liked her Native American heritage and the fact that Briggs chose to make her a coyote shifter instead of the normal vampire or werewolf characters that Urban Fanasty is known for. Mercy has more than one love interest, in the book, all three of which are very interesting characters themselves. There is the old boyfriend, Sam, who broke her heart. The neighbor, Adam, who is the Alpha werewolf of the local pack and a vampire client, Stefan, who may or may not win Mercy's heart. The secondary characters are just as interesting, from Mercy's ex-boss who is fae, her former pack leader, who controls all the werewolves in North America and her friend, a gay werewolf seeking acceptance in his new pack. Each one of these characters is well developed and has a great back story. I can't wait to read more about them.

The world building was awesome. Briggs creates a world where the old rules and ways of doing things is slowly going by wayside. Technology and advances in forensics and DNA are making hiding the truth about the preternatural world nearly impossible. Faced with the fact that people will soon know that Vampires, Werewolves and other paranormal characters exist, Briggs chooses to set her story right on the cusp of great change. It gives a sense of urgency to the plot and gives the reader a glimpse into what is going to
happen in future books. As the first book in the series, it sets everything up nicely. It gives just enough to whet the appetite and keep the reader coming back for more.


Usually, I can tell if I am going to like a book within the first few pages. Sometimes the
writing just draws you in and doesn't let go. With this one, I was little slower to warm up. I wanted to like it, but I wasn't sure for the first chapter or two. There were some parts that dragged a little bit or seemed slightly unnecessary at the time, but as I continued to read, I realized where Briggs was going and her mode for getting there.

Sometimes it's all about figuring out the writers style and then determining if that style is for you. 


~ You like the Urban Fantasy Genre
~ You like strong female lead characters
~ You enjoy a great back story and potential for future books in the series. 


I loved it!

Five out of 5 apples!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Photo-Day-Challenge

So, I told you things were going to be a little different with my blog. I wanted to add some personal touches. I also told you that I had gotten interested in several different kinds of blogs in my absence as well.

I found this really cool challenge to get involved in and it's something I think you might be interested in as well. Amy over at The Idea Room has a challenge that she does every month. It is ideally for  Instagram, but there are a lot of different ways you can participate. It's very simple. Amy gives a specific prompt for every day of the month and you have to include a photo that has to do with the prompt.

Here is the list of prompts for April:

Remember to make your photos family friendly! Since it's possible that a lot of you like me are instagram illiterate, feel free to post your photos anywhere and link back to back here or on Amy's April post.

Yesterday was April 1st and the prompt was FUN! I am posting my pics on Pininterest and on my blog. You'll get to learn a little bit about how we do things around here in a unique way. Here is our FUN photo for April 1st:

My daughters Miranda and Allison having FUN with Sparklers, on a cold April day. Allison is on the left. She is 13 and Miranda is on the right. She is 15.

April 2nd's prompt is JUMP! I posted this pic on my pinterest board called "Photo-A-Day Challenge."

This is how we jump... Allison (13), Miranda (15), cousin Parker (7) and our 65-year-old Granny!!! LOL

Have a great day!

Monday, April 1, 2013

I'm Back!!!

I'm very happy to announce that I will be back to blogging on a limited basis. I needed to take a much needed vacation for health reasons and because sometimes the blog can take over. I went through a period where my schedule was just getting the best of me. 

But when it's all said and done. I love reading and I love blogging and I truly enjoy offering you a guide to choosing books you will enjoy, as well as, some great sponsor offered giveaways. 

I do however want to take a different approach as I move forward. I will be updating some of the things on my side bar. I know that Google Friend Connect is going away and I want to make sure there are other options for you to follow my blog. I have also decided to only review books for a few specific publishers. I don't want to take on reviews for books that I don't really want to read. Rest assured there will still be all of the genres you have grown to love from Debbie's Book Bag. I still love reading an eclectic mix of good books. I will still offer giveaways, author interviews and guest posts. But, I also want you to get to know me. And I want to get to know you as well. 

I used to think that this was a book blog and that it did not need to contain information about my personal life or who I am because that would take away from the focus I was trying to create. But during my time away from my blog, I was still looking at your blogs and how you do things. I also took on a new passion of looking at food blogs and farm blogs, craft blogs and other kinds of blogs and I have taken a lot from that experience. There are some really great things going on around the blog-sphere and I really want to share some of that with you. 

I have decided that a blog needs to have a little bit of personality to it. A little bit more of myself. I have found that the blogs I enjoy most are not completely one kind or the other. They have a mix of personal things vs. blog content and that's what I am going for. So, not every post will be completely a review or a giveaway. There are going to be some other kinds of things that I think you will like. I am taking a lot of inspiration from Shelia over at Book Journey as well as many other bloggers, who are adept at making their blogs informative yet "homey". They exude personality and let the reader get a glimpse of what makes the blogger who he/she is and what makes them tick... 

I think this is going to be fun!