Pick of the Month Reads, November 2011 & Giveaway!

November was the month I wanted to finish catching up on ALL my pending review requests and ARCS. But as usual, life happened every now and then and hindered with my grand plans for the reading world. Nevertheless, I would say November was a good month because I read a lot of good books with a bunch of fantastic books in between which I say is just as good as it can get. This month I have not two but THREE picks to giveaway and I hope you would find something that tickles your interest and you would enter the giveaway to try your luck. Don’t worry overly much because you can enter all for all 3 giveaways!

Pick #1: HOT TEXT by CARI QUINNhottext

Believe it or not, Cari and I have something in common. That is our fascination with heroes who sometimes maybe perceived as “jerks” or those heroes who are a bit rough around the edges that lovers of “traditional” romance novels may not fully fall in love with.

For me, Hot Text has a hero of that calibre. He is not a jerk, but he is that reclusive type that just has a rougher edge around him that just shook me to my very core!

And since I loved Hot Text so much, yes, it is one of my picks for the month of November 2011 and I had the wonderful Cari answer some questions regarding Hot Text and writing in general.

MBR: As I wrote in my review of Hot Text, you deal with a situation that some readers might find offensive. And I wholeheartedly approve of the fact that you continue to push the “boundaries” when it comes to writing romances. So what made you write Hot Text and pit the hero and heroine in that very situation they find themselves in?

Cari: Thank you for your kind words! Hot Text is actually a story I came up with in response to Ellora’s Cave’s request for technology-based books for a special anthology. As often happens, I started with the scenario of someone getting hold of another’s cell phone and played what if. I didn’t really do much pre-plotting when I started writing (I often don’t) and just followed the characters where they took me.

Honestly? It never occurred to me that anyone would find this situation offensive until I was probably halfway through writing it. Karyn and Jeff are both such ethical people despite the circumstances in which they meet. Neither of them proceeds lightly into the relationship though things go much faster than either planned. And of course, Karyn not only is separated legally from her husband, they’ve been living apart for months and she has already received the divorce papers that are just waiting for her signature. She’s really only married in name only at that point.

MBR: Jeffery Maddox; now there is a hero I could have spent reading and dreaming about for a long, long time. He is so not the type that would make heads turn at first, but the way you brought him to life, I have got to say that “average” is the new hot! Is Jeffery based on any real life character that you know of? If you were to cast him, who would you pick?

Cari: Jeff appreciates your praise! ;) Nope, I rarely base my characters on anyone I know, with a couple notable exceptions that haven’t yet made it into print yet. If I had to cast him…man, now there’s a tough one. I think I might cast country singer Gary Allan as Jeff actually. Gary’s a rough around the edges, straight talker – and he’s also the kind of guy that could steam the panties off you with a single look! Jeff doesn’t have Gary’s tattoos, but yeah, I think Gary would do a very decent rendition of him!

MBR: When you sit down to write a romance, do you have your characters already mapped out and their characteristics all jotted down somewhere in your brain? Or do you let them lead, make their own mistakes and let them find their own way to their happily ever afters?

Cari: Ha ha, my CP Taryn would enjoy this question since we have very different methods to approaching a story. I don’t do much mapping at all. Sometimes, like with my upcoming novel Virgin Territory, I didn’t even know one of the main character’s names when I sat down to write. I try to plot the series of events in my mind as I go but more often than not, what I think my characters will do turns out not to work. I try to let them lead the way because when I try to force things to match my conception it never works! It’s a fun – and sometimes stressful – journey to the HEA for both me and my characters.

MBR: You seriously have a talent for making unusual scenarios in romances work. I for the world still cannot stop thinking about Spencer from Provoke Me and I say that is because of a job well done in creating the hero just the way I love em’. So will you continue to push the boundaries when it comes to writing romances or would you bow down to popular demand and start writing more “traditional” romances in the future?

Cari: Aww, I really appreciate that. Since Spencer is my favorite hero I’ve ever written, your opinion of him makes me VERY happy! I’ll admit, I sometimes get a wild hair to try to write more mainstream. All writers – and people actually – want to be liked and I guess now and then I figure “well, if I wrote more mainstream stuff like so-and-so” more people would enjoy my work. But I doubt that will happen. Some of my books are a little more traditional in the sense that not every one of them involves tortured characters dealing with a ton of angst. In fact, most don’t. But I’ll still keep writing books I know may not go over well because I don’t want to get bored. If a book interests me, I always hope someone out there will find something of merit in it too.

Author branding is a topic often mentioned but I sort of want to not have a label. “Cari Quinn writes stories about people who find their HEAs” is about as particular as I want to get. I don’t want to stick to one romantic pairing (or grouping, as the case may be) or one heat level or eventually even one genre. Because in the end it’s all about the stories, right?

MBR: Any hopes of reading a novel/novella featuring a HEA for Jeffery’s sister Daisy?

Cari: You know, I hadn’t considered it until you asked. Thanks for the idea! I definitely think she’s ripe for a HEA so…maybe. I tend to like writing about seemingly difficult to redeem characters (Diana from Provoke Me as an example, though her book is still ahead of me on my writing docket.)

MBR: Would you like to tell your fans about new releases we can expect in the near future? I am dying to read your answer to this one.

Cari: I’ve got a few things coming up actually. First up is Unwrapped, coming out 12/6 (my birthday!) from Loose Id. Unwrapped is a m/m/f menage, my first, and it’s also about best friends who live and work together. Caitlyn, Matt and Tristan gave me fits but I ended up being proud of their story. I loved doing three main points-of-view for the first time ever. And if you like them dirty…well, this is the one for you, LOL! But it’s also really emotional. I don’t think anyone who reads this story will doubt their love for each other…and I also hope that one day I can convince you, MBR, to give reading a m/m/f a try. *poke, poke*

Next after that is Virgin Territory, coming soon from Decadent Publishing. It’s also my first published story that doesn’t quite hit the erotic level. I’m looking forward to writing more sexy contemps and I hope readers like Vincent, my sexy erotic romance writing/IT geek! (Said with love, because geeks are hot!)

I also just received a contract for my next Ellora’s Cave short novel, Heart Signs, which should be out in time for Valentine’s Day. Lots of angst – and sexual tension – in this one!  

MBR: Looking forward to the angst and the sexual tension *winks* Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the questions Cari. You indeed are the best!

Up next is a book by an author that is famous for her ruthless heroes. She writes them without apology, gives us non-traditional romance lovers a taste of what it is like to truly revel in a hero in a league of their own making.

Pick #2: ON THIN ICE by ANNE STUARTonthinice

Alpha heroes are the type of heroes that we all love to talk about. But Anne Stuart writes heroes known as gamma heroes who not many take to. But for me, they are the best of the best the romance genre has to offer!

So it is no surprise that book 6 in the ICE series ended up being one of my picks for the month of November and I was lucky enough to get Ms. Stuart to answer a couple of questions regarding her ICE series and writing in general.

MBR: Thank you so much for agreeing to answer a couple of questions about the ICE series and writing in general. You must get this a LOT, but for the record I am a HUGE fan of the ICE series if my reviews are anything to judge my fascination for them by.

Anne: Thanks so much!  I love the series as well — it’s been wonderful to write.

MBR: My first question focuses on your heroes in general. They aren’t your usual run-of-the-mill variety heroes. What makes you write heroes of that calibre, heroes who are so ruthless that some people judge them not to have that “hero” quality?

Anne: You know, I don’t really feel they’re all that bad.For instance, I thought Killian was a pussycat, and in my historical series I didn’t think my heroes were all that dark.The thing is, I see their redemption.  

There are any number of reasons why I write such dark heroes — I had a very dark childhood and I’m working out my issues, I have a wonderful beta husband which enables me to work out my darkest alpha fantasies.  Maybe it’s as simple as being Taurus with Scorpio rising.  My heroes are mostly Scorpios.

I think if I have a hero go as dark as he can then the eventual redemption is all the sweeter.

MBR: Finn is a man who has been in captivity for 3 long years, enough time for any man to lose his sanity. But he is tougher than most and survives it against all odds. For a man of that calibre, the heroine has to be someone really special and Beth truly matched him in every way. How did you come up with her character? Who would you cast as Beth if On Thin Ice were ever to be made into a movie?

Anne: Oh, I know the answer to that one!  I’d put … damn, what’s her name.  Elizabeth Mitchell, who played Juliet on Lost.  She had the calm but powerful demeanor.  I loved Beth — she was strong, a perfect match for Finn, and she doesn’t fall apart easily.  I liked that she could stand up for herself, and even when certain things got to her she pulled herself together quickly.

MBR: Wow! Elizabeth Mitchell perfectly fits the role! I just love the way you manage to bring countries that you situate your novels in truly alive for the reader. Take for instance Fire and Ice, the 5th book in the ICE series. I ended the book wanting to book a flight to Japan ASAP. Which country would you say is your favorite to base a novel on or for that matter to travel to?

Anne: Well, I keep hitting Venice over and over again during my career, so that probably wins, but Japan and Paris come close. It was a taxi ride during a one-day trip to Paris that started the ICE series. The driver had the radio on and a song with the lyrics “ella a les yeux revolver” which means she has eyes like a gun. That lingered in my subconscious for a couple of months until BLACK ICE  suddenly appeared. I had 70 pages of a different book written and I was hating it. I ditched it and started BLACK ICE and it took off.

MBR: Would you like to share with your fans any news about your upcoming releases?

Anne: I’ve got a couple of Kristina Douglas paranormals coming out in the new year. And we’re in the midst of reissuing my classic historicals, like TO LOVE A DARK LORD, THE DEMON COUNT, and A ROSE AT MIDNIGHT, which will be a treat.

At this point no new Anne Stuart books, but that will change in the next couple of months.  Stay tuned to my web site, www.anne-stuart.com for updates.

MBR: A huge thank you for taking the time.

Anne: Happy to do it.  Thanks so very much for your kind words about the ICE series and ON THIN ICE.  I love the books so much that it means a great deal to hear that other people do as well.

Pick #3: HEAD OVER HEELS by JILL SHALVISheadoverheels

That brings me to my 3rd pick which happened right about the time I was going to finalize this post for publication. Yep, that’s right; Jill Shalvis totally did me in with Sawyer Thompson from the 3rd book in the Lucky Harbor series and my Picks of the month for November wouldn’t have been complete without Sawyer in the mix!

MBR: Hi Jill. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a couple of questions about Head Over Heels and your writing world. First of all, I just want to say I love Lucky Harbor. Is there any way you could fit me in and give me a big, brawny hero like Sawyer? LOL! Not that you have to answer that question but I have read from one of your blog posts that the three sisters and the Lucky Harbor series came into existence after seeing your girls argue at the dinner table. Are there bits and pieces of your girls in the  3 sisters or have they COMPLETELY materialized from your imagination alone?

Jill: I really try to go from imagination alone.  Real life is never as fascinating as fiction, and plus, real people have a tendency to get annoyed when you write them on the page.  :)

MBR: If you have come across my review for Head Over Heels, you would know that I am completely head over feet in love with Sawyer. And to think I haven’t still gotten over my fascination with Jax Cullen and his toolbelt. *sigh* But, you have such a way with writing them sexy and endearing that I just love them. What’s your secret to writing heroes that just makes one blush all over while reading?

Jill: I guess I have a really good fantasy life, lol!  

MBR: If you missed out on the fact, I just loved Chloe. She was such a contradictory mix of wildness and everything in between that I fell in love with her from book 1 itself. If given the chance, who would you cast as Chloe Traeger?

Jill: This is difficult.  I don’t really have a picture of any star in mind, she’s truly a product of my imagination.  But it should be someone who has ‘tude yet great depth of heart.

MBR: And since I asked about Chloe, how about Sawyer? I am still picturing that guy you posted on Facebook, the one waiting on the stairs? *swoon*sawyer

Jill: That’s the one, that’s Sawyer.  I have no idea how to find him either. Maybe put out an ad.  Hey Hot Guy in those torn jeans, call me!  

MBR: So, what’s next for the Lucky Harbor series? There is this mysterious cute guy that a lil birdie told me is a Navy SEAL? And what about Matt Bowers? Looks like he is also going to get a happily ever after if I am not mistaken?

Jill: Mysterious Hot Guy is next in Lucky In Love, and he is indeed an ex SEAL.  Then will come Matt the sexy forest ranger.  And last but definitely not least will be Dr. Josh Scott, the ER doctor …

MBR: Thank you so much for taking the time Jill. Very much appreciated. And cannot wait for the next book in the Lucky Harbor Series!


So guys, this month I have 4 books in total to give away! 1 e-copy of On Thin Ice by Anne Stuart, 1 e-copy of Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis and 2 e-copies of Hot Text by Cari Quinn, one copy of which is provided by the wonderful Cari herself! So read the giveaway rules below and enter to win a copy of any or ALL the books in the giveaway this time!

Giveaway rules:

  1. Open a page of the current book that you are reading. (If you are not reading a book at the moment, open a page of the book that’s nearest to you.) And give me 3 sentences from the page you open up. Please do not forget to mention the book title and author as well. And tell me whether you like what you have read so far!
  2. Mention the book in the giveaway you want to win. If you want to enter for ALL three, just state so!
  3. Leave a valid e-mail address for a way to contact you in case you are the winner!
  4. Help spread the word about the giveaway! Tweet and earn 5 extra entries (use the hashtag #MBRPickofTheMonthGiveaway), recommend this post on Facebook & earn 5 extra entries. And don’t forget to mention in your comment whether you have tweeted or recommended the post on Facebook to get your extra entries.
  5. Like my page on Facebook to gain 5 extra more entries. If you are already a member of my page, just state so and you would gain your 5 extra entries.
  6. Giveaway begins at 00:00 hours December 1, 2011 and will end at 00:00 hours Maldivian time on the December 3, 2011. Winners will be contacted soon after and announced here on my blog!

As always, thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment and enter the giveaway!


  1. In a quick movement, he gripped her biceps, hooked the back of her knees with a sweep of his leg, and took her down to the towel.
    She landed half on top of him, and she didn’t hesitate for a second.
    She kissed him hard, and he met her aggression tongue for tongue, nibble for nibble, lick for lick.
    Whoo Whee Im highly enjoying this book, I love all Larissa’s books!
    Larissa Ione “Immortal Rider”
    I would love to win Jill Shalvis “Head Over Heels”

    I liked your fb page and did a recommendation on my fb page to come here!!


  2. No more clothing was removed, but what she did next would change Brian’s life forever. Natalie stood perfectly still, took a deep breath, and slowly and gracefully lifted one of her legs until it was pointed straight at the ceiling while the other remained firmly planted on the floor but up on the ball of her foot. She held her leg there with one hand, almost effortlessly, as Brian looked her up and down.
    Innapropriate Thoughts by Ian Dalton
    Yes I lovc this series!

    I would like to enter for all 3 please.

    I retweeted giveaway info, I recommended on FB & liked your page, oh and started following on Twitter cuz I actually saw this as retweet from friend :)

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

    cinful1121 on Twitter just fyi


  3. “I wanted you,” he said, his voice soft and singed, “the first time I saw you. Did I tell you that?”
    “No, you didn’t.”
    “It was raining. You were crossing the street. You took longer than everyone else, because…because you were picking your way around all the little…puddles. I wanted you.”

    ~Love, Come To Me by Lisa Kleypas (One of my favorites authors and excerpts!)

    Recommended and liked your page, tweeted as well. Thank you so much for the reviews and giveaway!

    I would be grateful to have Head Over Heels as I have the other two in this awesome series so far, and I can’t WAIT to read Sawyer and Chloe’s story! But! I loved “getting to know” Quinn and Stuart, both of whom I’ve never read before, so either of their books would be fantastic as well! Thanks again!


  4. Even though they’re my brothers, you’re still my best friend, and I’ll help any way I can. I better go so you can take a shower and put some hot water on that calf.” Jaycee watched Shelly get up and slip out of the room.
    Escaped (Running in Fear series) by Trinity Blacio

    I would love to win all three :D

    I just ‘liked’ you FB page.

    Awesome giveaways you have!


  5. Twelve hours into the return journey from Admiralty House, Captain Oliver Worthy felt the familiar but unwelcome scratchiness in his throat and ache in his ears. “Oh, damm,” he whispered. This was no time to be afflicted with the deep water sailor’s commonest complaint–putrid ear and throat.
    After a contemporary binge I went on last month I was in the mood for a historical again. So, I’m reading Carla Kelly’s Marrying the Captain at the moment.

    I’d love to win either Cari Quinn’s or Jill Shalvis’ book, please. Thank you!

    I tweeted about your giveaway.


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