Friday, December 31, 2010

Readers Choice Award! (Results)

Well, Happy New Year!
(what? It's not time yet? Shoot!)
Okay, so according to like everyone on the planet, it won't be 2011 for a few more hours yet, but as we say goodbye to 2010, let's celebrate and acknowledge all the wonderful books that made their way into out shelves (and our hearts) this past year! Some of you may have checked out the post I did on my favorite reads from 2010, but try as I might, I couldn't read all the books all the time.
I picked some of the highest rates, most raved about reads this year, put them in a poll, and had you (The Readers) vote on the one you thought was the best. I was so thrilled to see all the results come in and should really take the time to point out that while there can only be one winning book, all the nominees were voted on and spoken of highly.
But what's life with out a top dog? Without further adieu, time to give you guys the results!

The race was tight, but with 32% of the overall votes, The Readers Choice Award for Best Book in 2010 (historical) goes to:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year, New You? (More CSNStores Pimpage)

So Christmas is over and you're looking at a New Year filled with the same old happeneings or the same drab furniture and decor you've had since 93'? Use 2011 as a year for change. Go hiking for the first time (once the snow has melted and the temperature goes back into the positives), enroll in culinary school and start making plans to start your own restaurant, write that manuscript you've had burning a hole in your psyche since forever, re-model your kitchen or turn that extra bedroom into your own personal domain.

Whatever you decide you need to do this year, make sure you go to the best of the best for the materials you'll need. CSNStores has hiking boots and backpacks to aid in your adventures, modern dining furniture to hold and display all the fancy dishes you learn how to make, writing supplies to stock your office desk with, and everything under the sun you would need to decorate and luxuriate.

Whatever you plan to do, have fun with it and stay committed. Small budget, or big, you'll find what you need at CSNStores. =)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rita's Best Reads in 2010!

It was hard trying to narrow down the field for the Best Book that I read all year. As you guys should know, I visit my library almost weekly and I've read so many books from the 90's and even the 80's. I try to stay up to date on the latest, but sometimes the oldies really are goodies. This year's crop had some real pleasers and it was so hard to choose just one as my fav. But I did, so without further adieu, My Pick for the Best Book in 2010:

'Till Dawn With the Devil' by Alexandra Hawkins
Click for: My Review

This book was just gold! The heroine wasn't some simpering miss or sassy blue stocking. She had a quiet grace to her and astounding dignity despite the fact that she was nearly blind and everyone around her treated her like some delicate cripple. It captivated our hero almost as much as it inspired me. And speaking of the hero, he was great to read about. Being a Lord Of Vice, you wouldn't expect to feel empathy for him, but you do. And combined with the fact that he brings the best out of an already amazing heroine, you can't help but love this pair!

Some other 'Best of the Best':

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Recommendation of the Week: 12/26/10 - 01/02/11

'Not Another New Year's'
by Christie Ridgway
book cover of 
Not Another New Year's 
 (Must have Mistletoe, book 2)
Christie Ridgway
"After all, this year brought Hannah Davis nothing but the memory of her wandering fiancé marrying someone else behind her back. Now, sitting alone at a bar in Coronado, California, on December 31, she decides to do something radical . . . and lets a brooding good-looker take her to bed. But when a hysterical woman bursts into their room much too early on New Year's Day, Hannah realizes this guy's more complicated than she thought . . .
Ex-Secret Service Agent Tanner Hart screwed up, big-time! Hoping to temporarily boot some of the ghosts from his life, he hooked up with this sexy stranger for a hot one-night stand—only to discover she's the woman he's agreed to protect . . . from men just like him!
But a new year is a time for fresh beginnings. Despite the danger, the hoopla, and the hangovers, if Hannah's brave enough to risk her heart again—and Tanner's wise enough to realize he deserves it—maybe this one will be different."Source
[Read an excerpt: here]

My Thoughts: I just couldn't resist! lol! Not Another Romance Blog, Not Another New Years.. well actually, this is the blog's first New Year's, but I can't wait to spend it with you guys! This book looks real interesting. It strays from my norm of historical romance, but something tells me theres enough heat to pacify me! Lonely girl (that's me) spies hottie at the bar (that's Sam Worrington) and the hook up on New Year's Eve? Yep, sounds like my yearly fantasy! Check this book out and when your done, share your opinions!

Read a Review of 'Not Another New Year's' at The Romance Reader: here

This is your Recommendation for the Week of December 26th, 2010 thur January 1st, 2010

Until Next Post (and Next Year) <3...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Giveaway Winners Round-Up! (And Have Yourself A Merry Christmas)

Just call me Mrs.Klaus ;) (not married to one of Penny Watson's Klaus Brothers; but i am working on it *points to Oscar!) What a wonderful few weeks this has been! I can't believe Christmas is here! I've got all my gifts set aside, dinner has been preped in the over, and there are some lucky winners to announce!:

The first few winners are from giveaways that started in Late November and carried over into this month. The rest are Christmas Blog Party giveaways. This being the thick of the holiday season, there may be a varying on times and/or delays with prize delivery. I will be contacting all winners via the email provided in their comment very shortly. All winners have until Wednesday, December 29th to claim their prize and/or send mailing info. If any winners do not meet the deadline, there will be a redrawing for a new winner.

The Winners of: 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Christmas at an English Country House": X-mas Guest Post and Giveaway with Nicola Cornick

Christmas at an English Country House
Thank you very much for inviting me to visit the blog and join in the Christmas celebrations here!
This year I’m celebrating Christmas at an English Country House. Not my country house (though I’m working on that!) but the one where I work when I’m not writing. Ashdown House is a seventeenth century hunting lodge in the most romantic setting imaginable, an ancient forest. In the deep midwinter it looks like a fairytale castle.
How do we dress a historic house for Christmas?

Author Preview: Nicola Cornick

Nicola Cornick
"Nicola Cornick was born in Yorkshire, England, within a stone's throw of the moors that had inspired the Bronte sisters to write Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. One of her grandfathers was a poet. With such a background it was impossible for Nicola not to become a writer.

Nicola studied history at London University and has done a variety of jobs, from sticking price tags on shoes in a factory to serving refreshments on a steam railway. She lived for seven years in a cottage haunted by the ghost of a cavalier. It was here that she wrote her first historical romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon. Since then she has written 15 books and 2 novellas for Harlequin, and been nominated for a number of awards including the RNA Romance Prize, a RWA RITA, and a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice award!"

Find Nicola Cornick on the web: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Some of Nicola Cornick's works: (click image for info page)

Nicola's Latest Release:
'Mistress By Midnight' (December 2010)
"A wicked duke’s bed is no place for a lady…
Lady Merryn Fenner is on a mission to ruin the Duke of Farne. A beautiful bluestocking with a penchant for justice, Merryn has waited twelve years to satisfy her revenge against Garrick Farne. Her family name had been tarnished at his hands, her life destroyed.
For twelve years Garrick, Duke of Farne has kept the secret of what really happened on the night that he killed his best friend, Stephen Fenner, in a duel. Now Stephen’s sister is intent on discovering the truth and putting at risk all those secrets Garrick has protected.
When a disaster traps Merryn and Garrick together, white-hot desire stirs between the two sworn enemies. Merryn's reputation is utterly compromised and she is forced to do the one thing she cannot bear; accept the scandalous marriage proposal of the man she has vowed to ruin.
Beware of scandalous women..."
What To Expect in 2011:

The 4th title in the Scandalous Women of the Ton series will hit the shelves in August 2011. Notorious is the story of the outrageous Susanna Burney, who makes her living as a heartbreaker! Book 5, Desired, the story of Tess Darent, Joanna and Merryn's much married sister, will follow in December. Covers, blurbs and lots more will on the website in the New Year.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"Christmas and Passion": X-mas Guest Post and Giveaway with Cathy Maxwell

Christmas and Passion 
      I want to talk to those of you who don’t have anyone to love. The reasons are many:  you haven’t met “the one” yet, you broke up with someone who could have been “the one,” you divorced “the--used to be--one,” or like myself you’ve lost someone dear to you. 
      Christmas can be a tough time when you are alone.  And don’t get me started on St. Valentine’s Day or as I call it, “Singles Awareness Day.”  The holidays often emphasize what we feel we are lacking.
      I have the antidote:  PASSION.
      Yup, passion.  

Author Preview: Cathy Maxwell

Cathy Maxwell
"CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the mystery of life and the secret to happiness.
She lives in beautiful Virginia with her children, horses, dogs, and cats."

Read more about Cathy Maxwell: here

Find Cathy Maxwell on the web: Website | BlogFacebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Some of Cathy Maxwell's works: (click image for info page)

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Christmas In England": X-mas Guest Post and Giveaway with Miranda Neville

Christmas in England
Hi Rita. Thanks for inviting me to join your Christmas celebration. I live in the US, but I grew up in England. The typical British Christmas has much in common with the American one, but of course there are differences, and not every family celebrates the holiday in the same way.  

The first thing that always strikes me about the British Christmas is how long it lasts. There are always two full days off work, Christmas Day itself and December 26th, known as Boxing Day. Most people take extra time to link the two weekends and New Years (some businesses close altogether) and in a good year you can string together ten days. During that time everyone eats, drinks and watches a lot of telly.  

Author Preview: Miranda Neville

Miranda Neville
"I grew up in Wiltshire in southwest England. During my misspent youth I devoured the works of Georgette Heyer, Jean Plaidy and any other historical novels I could lay hands on. As a result I attended the University of Oxford to study history, ignoring all hints that economics might be a more practical subject. I spent several years writing catalogues of rare books a nd original letters and manuscripts for Sotheby's auction house in London and New York. Much of my time in this job was spent reading the personal correspondence of the famous. This confirmed my suspicion that the most interesting thing about history is people. I'm also a sucker for a happy ending: I howled in the back of geography class when I was supposed to be learning about German coalfields because I hated --HATED -- the end of Gone With The Wind. I still haven't forgiven Margaret Mitchell.
A few years ago I decided to write an historical romance. How hard could it be? Wrong. Several manuscripts under-the-bed (or deep in the hard drive) later, HarperCollins bought NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION, published in 2009 by Avon Books.
I now live in beautiful rural Vermont with my daughter Becca, a college student and confirmed drama queen. I am always happy to be distracted from gainful employment by cooking (3o minute recipes only), gardening (don't look at the weeds), cross-country skiing, arguing about unimportant topics, and general procrastinating. "
Check out my past interview with Miranda: here

Find Miranda Neville on the web: Website | Blog/News Page | Facebook | Twitter

Some of Miranda Neville's works: (click image for info)

Miranda's Latest Release:
'The Dangerous Viscount' (September 2010) 
"She is determined to find a husband ... now!

Diana Fanshawe's impeccable bloodline doesn't stop society from laughing at the antics of her eccentric family. She knows the right marriage is her one chance to make her way in the world--which is precisely why she will marry Lord Blakeney. But then she's kissed by the brilliant and unconventional Sebastian Iverley, and her well-laid plans tumble into disarray.

Sebastian wants absolutely nothing to do with love or marriage. He likes his books, his male friends in the Burgundy Club, and he avoids women. But when he arrives at his hated cousin Blakeney's house party, he's smitten by the tantalizing Diana.
Should the lady follow her heart and try to win Iverley's, though it seems hardened against her - or should she sacrifice love for respectability?"

Read My Review of 'The Dangerous Viscount': here

What To Expect in 2011:
Miranda Neville will be adding a new edition to the Burgundy Club in the new year, which means: YIPPIE! The official title of the book will be 'The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton', and it will be release July 26th, 2011!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Fa-La-La-La-Love": X-mas Guest Post and Giveaway with Tessa Dare

One of the things I love best about the Christmas season is music.  I love Christmas carols, of course, but also just music in general.  I first met Mr. Dare at Christmastime, while I was working overseas and experiencing my first hot, humid Christmas in a tropical country.  When you’re far away from home, familiar holiday traditions take on a whole new level of importance.  An American friend of mine conjured up a box of Stove-Top stuffing, and it was like a Christmas miracle.

Author Preview: Tessa Dare

Tessa Dare
"Tessa Dare is a part-time librarian1, full-time mommy2 and swing-shift writer3 living in Southern California.
Tessa lived a rather nomadic childhood in the Midwest. As a girl, she discovered that no matter how many times she moved, two kinds of friends traveled with her: the friends in books, and the friends in her head. She still converses with both sets daily.
Tessa writes fresh and flirty historical romance, a blog, and the stray magazine article. To the chagrin of her family, Tessa does not write grocery lists, Christmas cards, or timely checks to utility companies4. She shares a tiny bungalow with her husband, their two children, a dog, and dust bunnies.5
Tessa enjoys a good book, a good laugh, a good long walk in the woods, a good movie, a good meal, a glass of good wine, and the company of good people.
Tessa is represented by Helen Breitwieser of Cornerstone Literary Agency.
Tessa did not expect to enjoy writing about herself in third person, but what do you know? Tessa does.6
Oh, and Tessa would love to hear from you!"

Subscript Detail:
1 Currently, more like part-part-part-time.
2 However, the darelings are now in school or preschool.
3 And I do a lot of my writing during their school.
4 I actually did send a few cards last year.
5 Some lovely ladies come to corral them every other week.
6 Why so many footnotes? Because I’mTessa is oddly superstitiouslazy about changing this, the very first bio she ever wrote. A more official-sounding bio and press kit are in the works.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"A Midwest Girl’s Christmas in Africa":X-mas Guest Post and Giveaway with Margaret Mallory

A Midwest Girl’s Christmas in Africa 
When I was eleven years old, my parents sat us three kids down and announced that we were going to live in Africa for two years. I cried for three days, believing I could make them change their minds. When I made no headway with that—I’m very stubborn—I arranged for my best friend’s family to take me in while my own family was gone. To my astonishment, my parents did not find this acceptable. Like any good heroine, I recognized when it was time to negotiate. I agreed to go if we could take our twelve-year-old beagle.

There were no good schools near where my family was posted, so my sister and I had to go to boarding school a twelve-hour drive away from them. School was starting, so my parents left us there three days after our plane landed.

7th Grade

8th Grade
Would you send this child to boarding school?

Author Preview: Margaret Mallory

Margaret Mallory
"Margaret Mallory started out as a Midwest girl. Except for two years in Africa, she grew up in small towns in northern Michigan, where her dad was a county extension agent. She received degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan Law School, and then headed to Washington, DC to save the world. When that failed, she packed up and moved to the Pacific Northwest for no reason except that it was beautiful and far from her last jobs and boyfriends. She admits to having a vague notion of finding herself a park ranger with a dog. The man she met was not a park ranger, but he was willing to get the dog. Marriage and children soon followed.
Margaret spent many rewarding—but rather wearing—years in jobs devoted to improving services for abused children and care for the elderly. Not long ago, she surprised (shocked?) her friends and family by abandoning her legal career—and steady job—to write novels. She is thrilled to spend her days writing stories of love and adventure, instead of going to endless meetings. After all, she has always loved romantic tales, heroic deeds, and happy endings. And, at long last, she can satisfy her passion for justice by punishing the bad and rewarding the worthy—in the pages of her novels.
With her two children off to college, Margaret spends most of her time working on her next books. She loves to hear from readers. "

Find Margaret Mallory on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Some of Margaret Mallory's Works:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"What Makes Christmas Special at the DiPasqua's": X-mas Guest Post and Giveaway with Lila DiPasqua

The things that make Christmas Special …at the DiPasqua’s! 
   It’s no secret that the books in my Fiery Tales series are based on fairy tales. Classic fairy tales with my own sensual twists, to be precise. Oh, but that’s not all! I’ve even set them in the very time and place when the genre of fairy tales was born! Yup, during the time period when the creator of THE TALES OF MOTHER GOOSE—17th century French lawyer/writer Charles Perrault first brought the world Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, to name a few.
He lived during a time that was as elegant and refined as Regency England—in the reign of the Sun King. Now that was one flashy monarch! He did everything on a grand scale. Don’t believe me? Check out the home he had constructed for himself—the opulent Palace of Versailles!
Christmas during the 17th century was strictly a religious holiday. The King and the royal family spent most of the day at mass. Gifts were exchanged in January, on the 12th night. Oh, and there was no Christmas tree. Christmas trees were a German tradition.
As much as I love this time period—and I do so adore it!—I just couldn’t imagine Christmas without a tree. Or five. *winks*

Here is a list of the *must-haves* every Christmas at our home:
    Funky Red Tree Mr.DiPasqua Got
  1. Christmas trees! (If you don’t count the funky red ones my husband bought, we have 3).  The two smaller trees are about five feet tall.  The larges one stands near the fireplace—10 feet high—with a foot-tall angel adorning the top.  It isn’t easy getting her placed safely each year.  The kids and I stand around the tree, arms out, ready to catch the angel in case she topples while hubby stands on a chair and tries to place her on top.

Author Preview: Lila DiPasqua

Lila DiPasqua
"Lila DiPasqua writes wicked & witty historical
romance for Penguin/Berkley. She lives with her real-life hero husband
and three children and is a firm believer in the happily-ever-after.
She loves history and enjoys traveling. She has been to four
continents so far. Her novels, AWAKENED BY A KISS, and THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED are featured in Doubleday as well as Rhapsody Book Clubs.
To learn more about Lila and her books, visit"

Check out some of my past interviews with Lila!

Find Lila DiPasqua on the web::Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

 Some of Lila DiPasqua's works:

Read My Review: here
Read My Review: here

Lila's Latest Release:
'The Princess In His Bed' (November 2010)
"The Marquis’ New Clothes: To save her cousin, Aimee de Miran must retrieve a jeweled ring from the most sinfully seductive man at court, the Marquis de Nattes. But to search his considerable wardrobe she’ll have to get very close to the notorious rake…and soon she finds herself very close to him indeed, with his clothes—and hers—utterly forgotten…
The Lovely Duckling: Reputed for his carnal skills, Joseph d’Alumbert prefers amorous encounters without emotional entanglement—until a quick-witted lady stirs tender feelings and hot desire. Emilie de Sarron suffered burns to her body as an infant, and keeps her scars—and her heart—well hidden. But Joseph is determined to peel away her inhibitions, one slow steamy kiss at a time, to reveal the beautiful swan inside…
The Princess and the Diamonds: Princess Gabrielle can’t sleep at night. There is something hard in her bed. No, not just the stolen diamonds tucked under her mattress, but the handsome Marquis on it….whose carnal talents she can’t resist. But he threatens her secret mission, and worse, she stands to lose far more than the diamonds---her heart is at stake…."
What to look out for in 2011:
In 2011, we can expect Lila's third (and first full length) novel in August!
On August 2nd, 2010, A MIDNIGHT DANCE will hit a bookstore (and a few doorsteps) near you!
Read the blurb and check regularly for updates on the books info page on Lila's website: here

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Christmas Glitter": X-mas Guest Post and Giveaway with Patricia Rice

Patricia Rice here--

Thank you for inviting me to visit your delightful blog!

I know everyone loves heartwarming notes about Christmas past, and I could write one about choosing our baby’s first Christmas tree with less than five dollars in our pockets, or another from years later when the babies were teenagers and insisted on twenty-foot trees covered in a few miles of blinking lights, but I’m going to be crass instead and say I love glitter. And Christmas is the season of glitter.

Author Preview: Patricia Rice

Patricia Rice
"With several million books in print and New York Times and USA Today's bestseller lists under her belt, former CPA Patricia Rice is one of romance's hottest authors. In her forty-seventh book, she begins a new regency series entitled Rebellious Sons. In the first book, THE WICKED WICKERLY,(Signet Eclipse, July 2010) John Fitzhugh Wyckerly inherits a bankrupt earldom and acquires a hoydenish six-year-old daughter. At his wits’, end, he does what any self-respecting gambler would do—he hunts for a wealthy wife. Unfortunately, the woman he wants is Abigail Merriweather, an adorably proper spinster (with four young half-siblings), who needs far more help than he can offer. How can even a mathematical genius solve a problem of a heart so overwhelmingly large, especially when it appears he may not live long enough to puzzle it out?
Patricia Rice's emotionally-charged contemporary and historical romances have won numerous awards, including the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice and Career Achievement Awards. Her forty-sixth book, MYSTIC WARRIOR, is currently nominated for 2009 Historical Romance of the Year by RT Book Reviews.
In addition to receiving the Bookrak Bestselling Paperback award, her books have also been honored as Romance Writers of America RITA® finalists in the historical, regency and contemporary categories.
A firm believer in happily-ever-after, Patricia Rice is married to her high school sweetheart and has two children. A native of Kentucky and New York, a past resident of North Carolina, she currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri, and now does accounting only for herself. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Authors Guild, and Novelists, Inc."

Find Patricia Rice on the web: Website | BlogWord Wenches | Facebook | Twitter
Some of Patricia's works (click image for more info):

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas in Australia: X-mas Guest Post and Giveaway with Anna Campbell

Christmas Upside Down! 
Actually, who’s to say that you guys aren’t upside down and we Aussie are the right way up?

Hi Rita! All the best of the season to you and yours! I love the idea of doing a series of pieces on special Christmas memories here on Not Another Romance Blog.

I’ve only experienced one Northern Hemisphere Christmas – way back in the Dark Ages, aka 1985, when I lived in London. It was exactly like the Christmases that still feature on our Christmas cards here. You know, snow and church bells and robins in frosty landscapes and people rugged up against the bitter cold.

And it didn’t feel like Christmas to me at all!

All we girls in our apartment tried to make it a real Christmas, we really did. A couple of us went to the midnight service at St Paul’s cathedral (sadly so crowded you couldn’t see anything although you could hear the heavenly music from the choir), we cooked a turkey (and nearly came to blows over how to do it!) and heated up a Marks and Spencer plum pudding, we even crowded into the downstairs neighbor’s place to watch the Queen’s Christmas message.

But it just wasn’t…right.

Author Preview: Anna Campbell

Anna Campbell
"Anna Campbell, always a voracious reader, decided as a child that she wanted to be a writer. Once she discovered the wonderful world of romance novels, she knew exactly what she wanted to write. Her first historical romance for Avon was the multi-award winning CLAIMING THE COURTESAN. CLAIMING THE COURTESAN was followed by another multi-award winning Regency noir, UNTOUCHED. Her third book for Avon, TEMPT THE DEVIL, debuted in January 2009 and her fourth, CAPTIVE OF SIN, was a November 2009 release. CAPTIVE OF SIN was chosen among Publishers Weekly's Top 100 books of 2009. Her next release, in June 2010, is MY RECKLESS SURRENDER, the story of a dangerous seduction in late Regency London. Anna's books have been translated in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Japan, Turkey, Thailand, Indonesia, Russia and Norway. When she's not writing passionate, intense stories featuring gorgeous Regency heroes and the women who are their destiny, Anna loves to travel, especially in the United Kingdom, and listen to all kinds of music. You can find out more about Anna and her books at her website:"Source

Find Anna Campbell on the web: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Some of Anna's works (click image for more info):

Anna's Latest Release:
'My Reckless Surrender' (June 2010) 
"Headlong into sin . . .
A well-practiced rake, weary of easy conquests and empty pleasures, Tarquin Vale, Earl of Ashcroft, knows women - and his every instinct warns him to beware of this one. Diana Carrick's brazen overtures have thrown the haunted, sinfully handsome lord completely off his guard. Why, the exquisite temptress stated outright that she wishes to be his lover. But it is neither Diana's boldness nor her beauty that intrigues him so - it is the innocence he senses behind her worldly mask.

Intent upon the seduction that will finally free her, Diana has set her sights on the notorious Ashcroft - never dreaming that there is much more to the enigmatic rogue than sin and deviltry. His kiss is bewitching, his caress intoxicating - and even the dangerous secret Diana must protect cannot shield her from Ashcroft's dark allure.

Unwittingly yet most willingly, they are playing with fire. Now the fuse has been lit and there is no escape . . . except surrender. "

*Read My Review of 'My Reckless Surrender': here

What to look for in 2011: 
* On April 26th, 2011, we can expect another radiant release from Ms Campbell. 
Be on the look-out for 'Midnight's Wild Passion'!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas With The Novelist: December 12th-18th

 It's almost time!
The big event is only a day away! Prepare yourself for an overdose on Christmas Cheer as some of your favorite authors stop by to share some Christmas Stories, Traditions and the like. The X-mas guest posts will be preceded by Author Previews where you can read a bit about each author (their bio, ect) and become acquainted or reacquainted with some of their works. I'll also feature some of their cool projects we can look forward to and expect in the new year!
Plus, their will be lots of giveaways to go on top of all the other giveaways going on this month (hence the "Giveaways Galore" text in the graphic, LOL). Did I mention the part about this lasting ALL WEEK! From This Sunday to Next Sunday you can stop by and read a different and unique X-mas guest post from authors like Anna Campbell, Patricia Rice, Margaret Mallory, Nicola Cornick...just to name a few ;)

*Stay tuned because tomorrow, the week starts off with a special look at Christmas in Australia with Australian author Anna Campbell!

Last-Minuet Gift Ideas Under $10 and $20

In exactly two weeks from today it will be Christmas.
Yeah, I am outfitting my bunker as we speak. One of the most daunting challenges we face this season is buying gifts that show how much we care and that don't break the bank. I've joked that all I want for Christmas is 8 hours of continuous, not-so-restless sleep and some Tylenol; and while I am sure many of my relatives would enjoy that as well, it doesn't exactly come in tangible, pretty packages
which can fit under the tree. 
If traversing the crowded stores doesn't appeal to you, you could always shopping.
The only time I shop online is for books, but I decided that a little online window-shopping was called for to help prepare me for the long list of gifts I've got to buy! I've mainly searched on, but there are SO many online retailers out there that you shouldn't limit your search to just there. You can try,,, ...The list goes on. (And they have tons of online promotions going on that can help you save for the holidays)
Tips on What to Get:

Holiday Recipe #10: Pepperoni Lasagna

As you can tell by the barrage of sugary goodness featured this week
I have something of a sweet tooth ;). But I didn't want to put any of you guys in a sugar coma, so for this events last recipe, I am gonna showcase something hearty and savory.
If Turkey is the official food of Thanksgiving, then in my house, Lasagna is the official food of Christmas (along with collard greens, and rum-glazed ham, of course). This recipe is one that just had to share because as I am typing, the image is staring daggers at me and making my mouth water! It is so good. I LOVE the addition of pepperoni and Italian sausage to a family favorite dish. The tomatoes are so yummy when they are infused with all the seasoning and juices, and did I forget to mention how the cheeses just oozes everywhere. 
Yep, you are SO hungry right now! lol. Enjoy this fab dish!
Blazy's Pepperoni Studded Lasagna
  • 2 pounds lasagna sheets
  • 2 cups hand cut 1/8-inch slices pepperoni
  • 4 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows
  • 1 pound ricotta
  • 16 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 2 pounds bulk Italian sausage, cooked
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan   

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rita's Favorite Holiday Reads

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
It only figures that I would have some most wonderful favorite holiday reads to share with you guys this season. The below books are all one that I've read in the past and absolutely adore. I know that once December rolls around, these books get dusted off and devoured in the name of all things jolly and bright!
What type of "Rita's" list would this be without a pick from the beloved works of Lisa Kleypas!? If you know Kleypas novels, you know The Wallflowers. Chances are, your favorite is one of the Bowman sisters! (Mine is Lilith, of course) and this book features Rafe, one of their devil-may-care brothers from America! This is the story where all of our heroines make an appearance as they play matchmaker to an honorary Wallflower!
An impossible love gets some help from fate, and Christmas becomes a most magical time, indeed. I love this book so much! Perfect to start the holidays with!

'A Wallflower Christmas' by Lisa Kleypas
"It's Christmastime in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady in waiting and, if it weren't for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts."

This next Christmas-themed favorite of mine was actually the first book by this author that I ever read. Jo Beverley has tons of amazing historicals, I've read plenty, but this particular one will always be special to me and a favorite to crack open this time of year. I loved Judith as a heroine and as far as reluctant historical alpha males go, Leander is pretty cool, too! LOL. And I loved the kids and how they added so much MORE "ummhp" to the story!

'Christmas Angel' by Jo Beverley
"Leander, Lord Charrington has a problem. Raised to be a charming diplomat, women fall in love with him. He, however, seems unable to fall in love with them. For wife, therefore, he wants a woman he can live with on honest terms, and an impoverished widow seems ideal. Judith Rossiter thanks heaven for this escape from disaster. But can she keep to the terms of their agreement and not fall in love with her charming husband?"

This Christmas anthology/omnibus (whatever term you want to use) was wonderful to read. I really liked it. It did have romance on "speed" syndrome (points to the story of pregnant divorcee who gets trapped in a cabin, miracle doctor rolls along and helps her deliver, then he falls in loves and marries her) But I STILL enjoy this book. Woot to anthologies!

'Under The Mistletoe' by Linda Howard and Stephanie Bond
"BLUEBIRD WINTER by Linda Howard
Kathleen Fields had to reach the clinic, but a Christmas blizzard left her stranded, ready to give birth. Then Derek Taliferro arrived with his doctor's skill and caring heart. Together they brought Kathleen's child into the world and discovered love, the greatest gift of all.

NAUGHTY OR NICE? by Stephanie Bond
Eric Quinn Stanton has never let pleasure interfere with business - until now. His practice is to arrive early and incognito at a job, to see firsthand what's working. and what's not. But he can't seem to see past Cindy's beautiful green eyes or her other generous assets. And he can't stop himself from testing the general manager's skills - on the job and in the bedroom. But what will she think when she learns his true identity?"

Okay, so I maybe, kind, DIDN'T read this yet....But it's right here. In the good ole TBR pile (and has been here for weeks, GAH!). I can't give much commentary, but I love Victoria Alexander, her lovely Effington series, and it DOES have a Rake's favorite Christmas tradition in it. Read it right with me and let's add it to our list of go-backs for the holidays!

'Let It Be Love' by Victoria Alexander
book cover of 
Let It Be Love 
 (Effington Family, book 11)
Victoria Alexander"Dashing Jonathon Effington, the Marquess of Helmsley, has had more than one lady willingly fall into his arms. But he's so delicious none has ever complained at their inevitable parting. And while Jonathon's no stranger to passion of the flesh, his heart has remained untouched. Until now ..
At each Christmas Ball, Jonathon selects a delectable lady to share the pleasures of the evening -- after all, it's a holiday tradition! But he is shocked to discover that his choice is replaced by an enchanting stranger who surprises him with a proposal of marriage. Beautiful Fiona Fairchild is desperate -- only a wedding will save her sisters and her inheritance. But Jonathon has no interest in marriage, and what starts as a shocking proposal turns into a scandalous proposition that might ruin them both ..."
And of course I have to include my God Mama of Romance, Johanna Lindsey! I am featuring the omnibus which includes both the wonderful reunion-/mystery/time-travel-ish Christmas story with the beloved Mallory/Anderson family in 'The Present', and a lovely Christmas novel that I really read a year from today and fell in love with; 'Home For The Holidays'. If you love the Mallory's, you'll flip for this little revisit which has a diary plot line in which we learn of the unlikely love of their mysterious gypsy ancestor. And 'Home For The Holidays' is such a sweet book where a girl believe her father abandoned her and her little brother in mounds of debt and when the owner of her childhood home comes around, she's at her wits end. The new owner is a quintessential ass-and-hole, stick up the butt, responsibility-minded scrooge who slowly allows his heart to melt for the harpy who's held up in his newly acquired piece of property.

'The Holiday Present' by Johanna Lindsey
book cover of 
The Holiday Present 
Present / Home for the Holidays 
Johanna Lindsey"In The Present, she gathers together her most popular creations, the Malorys, for a memorable family Christmas and the surprising discovery of a long-ago love affair between the first Malory and a wild gypsy.

In Home for the Holidays, two rival hearts are united by a Christmas miracle that would do Charles Dickens proud.
Enjoy these treasured gifts from the pen of one of the world's most beloved storytellers, a Holiday Present of tenderness, devotion, love, and ecstasy unbound!"

Those are my favorites and I hope a few of them become yours (or already are)! Share your personal favs with me!!

Happy Holidays!

Holiday Recipe #9: Paula's (Monogram!) Sugar Cookies

Nothing says Christmas quite like Sugar Cookies!
I have this one aunt who makes ALL of her Christmas gifts (and she can get away with it because she actually has talent in the medium of her gifts- Not saying you shouldn't make all your gifts, but in the spirit of the holiday, if you can't cook, don't bake cookies that can kill =] ). One year she made me a wonderful nightgown and matching "floppsie" hat (kind of like the Santa Klaus' hat) and I loved it. But for the most part, she sticks with giving away tins of homemade cookies, and I always peck around my relatives bags, scourging for the sugar cookies! 
I am taking a the lead from her and thinking about doing this myself this year. But to spice it up, 
I am going to take a page from my beloved Paula Deen's cook book and MONOGRAM the cookies. How smart is that! Will really give a personalized touch to the gift and be delicious all at the same time!
Paula's Monogram Sugar Cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Royal Icing, recipe follows

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Recipe #8: Ina's Red Berry Trifle

Fresh fruit, yummy whipped creme, pound cake and a splash of Cognac.
Stack it up in an attractive fashion and BOOM, you've got something fab. Well, maybe you'd like a more detailed recipe? LOL. Saw this recipe by the wonderful Barefoot Contessa and immediately had to share. Trifles are amazing, and I love all the possibilities they hold. I mean, HELLO: Cognac cream? Whipped Creme...and one of my guiltiest pleasures: Strawberries? Merry Christmas to ME. This one is getting stashed away underneath the bed before Santa and his hungry elves can come find it! ;)
Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten)'s Red Berry Trifle

  • 1 Plain Pound Cake, recipe follows
  • 1 cup good raspberry jam
  • Framboise
  • 2 half-pints fresh raspberries
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • Cognac Cream, recipe follows
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Party Interview and Giveaway with author Penny Watson

"PENNY WATSON is a native Pittsburgher whose love of romance started at the age of twelve when she discovered Gone With The Wind in the middle school library. This resulted in numerous attempts at a first novel about a young lady with windswept hair who lived in a treehouse. A biologist by training, Penny has worked at various times as a dolphin trainer, science teacher, florist, and turfgrass researcher (don't ask). Through it all she was a compulsive reader and collector of romance novels. After taking time off to raise her two spirited children, she decided to rekindle her passion for storytelling with the support of a wonderful writer's group, The Quirky Ladies. Now she gets to incorporate her wide array of interests, including gardening, cooking and travel into her light paranormal stories. Penny lives outside of Boston with one fly-fishing crazed husband, two lively Filipino kids, and a wiener dog."Source

Find Penny Watson on the Web: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog

Penny's Latest Release:
'Sweet Inspiration'
(available now in ebook format)
"What if the legend of Santa Claus is in fact, true?  What if Santa has five big strapping sons who help him run his empire?  Five single, sexy sons looking for romance...
Nicholas Klaus is a master pastry chef, a strict disciplinarian, and the eldest son of the legendary Santa Claus. One look at café owner Lucy Brewster sends him into an unexpected tailspin of lusty desires. When Lucy is injured, Nicholas makes a decision that catapults both of their lives into turmoil ....
Lucy Brewster, the free-spirited proprietor of Sweet Inspiration, has a flair for concocting sugary confections but no time for adventure.  She gets more than she bargained for when she awakens in the North Pole...rambunctious elves, a fitness-obsessed Santa, and the man of her dreams.  Does she have what it takes to become the next Mrs. Klaus?"
[Read an excerpt: here]
Get Your Copy Today:
RJ: Hey Penny! Thanks so much for stopping by for a little chat and participating in the blog's first Christmas party! Firstly, congratulations on your latest book, 'Sweet Inspiration', available for purchase in ebook format! And of course: Happy Holidays to you and yours!
PW: Rita, thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog. Merry Christmas!

Holiday Recipe #7: St.Nicks Gingerbread Men

Penny Watson: Hi Rita! Thanks so much for inviting Nicholas and Lucy Klaus to your blog today.  They're the hero and heroine of my holiday story SWEET INSPIRATION.  Nicholas Klaus is a highly disciplined pastry chef and the eldest son of Santa Claus. Lucy owns a café and has a approach to cooking. :)  The two of them butt heads in the kitchen since Lucy has a tendency to fling all the ingredients into the bowl, and Nicholas measures every item with scientific precision.  Here's a quick blurb about the story, and then Nicholas and Lucy will conduct a gingerbread cooking lesson for your readers. Happy Holidays!

What if the legend of Santa Claus is in fact, true?  What if Santa has five big strapping sons who help him run his empire?  Five single, sexy sons looking for romance...
Nicholas Klaus is a master pastry chef, a strict disciplinarian, and the eldest son of the legendary Santa Claus. One look at café owner Lucy Brewster sends him into an unexpected tailspin of lusty desires. When Lucy is injured, Nicholas makes a decision that catapults both of their lives into turmoil ....
Lucy Brewster, the free-spirited proprietor of Sweet Inspiration, has a flair for concocting sugary confections but no time for adventure.  She gets more than she bargained for when she awakens in the North Pole...rambunctious elves, a fitness-obsessed Santa, and the man of her dreams.  Does she have what it takes to become the next Mrs. Klaus?
Nicholas Klaus: Thank you, Rita, for inviting us to your blog today. I'm looking forward to sharing my gingerbread cookie recipe with your readers. As you may know, I run a bakery in the North Pole called Klaus Küche. Our specialty is Christmas cookies, of course.
Lucy Brewster Klaus: Hi Rita! Not only does Nicholas have a fabulous bakery in Glasdorf (the village in the North Pole where the Klaus family resides), but there is also an entire room filled with a gingerbread city, called the Pfefferkuchen room. Elfin magik makes the whole room come alive! It is so cool....

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