Hello, November

We meet again.

This Time I Won’t Forget

Written by Johnny Kongos

Oh, I will try
But I tell you it ain’t easy using only words
And so I’ll begin
But I’ll start at the end, the day I said so long my friend

I still remember well
His smile that would not die
And the tears begin to swell
Tears I dare not fight

Cause now I’m alive
I’m taking my first breath
Oh I’m alive
And this time I won’t forget

Now as I look back
Wish I’d known that someday soon he’d long be gone
So, I will try
To remember the end, the day I said so long my friend

They go by many names
Mother, father, brother, son
And the tears begin to swell
Tears I dare not fight

Cause now I’m alive
I’m taking my first breath
Oh I’m alive
And this time I won’t forget

Oh I’m alive
And this time I won’t forget

source

SHHM is Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month

Hello darlings! The plan this year was to celebrate all the Smithsonian Heritage Months. We’re still in the process – and who knows, there might be a repeat. But! I just wanted to let you know what “SHHM” stands for because you’ll be seeing it in front of all the posts from September 15 – October 15. Which, actually, is when Hispanic Heritage “Month” is. (I don’t get it either.) Anyway … Yay Hispanic Heritage Month!!!

I also wanted to let you know that I’m basically coming out of a 4+ month hiatus, so fingers crossed things will finally look up and stop being so crazy!

Thanks so much for sticking with me – I miss you all! <3

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Happy weekend, my friends! I thought about doing a serious post – and one that probably would get me in trouble … but I’m just not up to it today. I hadn’t written it yet, and my brain is floating around and my thoughts are even more scattered than usual. I have, however, been wanting to write one of these posts for a while. I did them at TGTBTU, and it’s just something that’s fun.

So – here’s a list of ten of my current favorite things.

1. The Clarisonic Mia2. I got this as a present. (Maybe I shouldn’t analyze why because it might upset me.) But, I love it. It’s fabulous. As you see, I was gifted the acne one, which … is fine. For a while, I was having major problems. “My face exploded” might be one way to say it, and I hated it. I haven’t run out of the wash that comes with it, so I can’t tell you how much that matters or not… but I’ve been told you can use it with whatever face wash you prefer. I love it. I use it once a day, and have noticed a huge difference in the past few months.

2. Dr. Scholl’s For Her Hidden Arch Supports Oh. My. God. These things are amaaaaaaziiinnnnggg. I have no arches. It’s terrible. Equally terrible, I have to wear heels to work. (Well, not have to, but I honestly am too short for flats. And, actually, yes, I did have LS professors that told me I had to wear heels in court. So…) These save my feet. When teaching I have to walk around and stand for over an hour, and it’s fine. Shoes that used to have me hobbling by the end of work, are now fine. I love them. I wish I could buy them in bulk. I would.

3. Philips Bliss Epilator. So, this is the one I have. Obviously (and sadly!) It’s been discontinued, or something, But I love it! OH! I just found it at Sephora – and for so much cheaper! $70 bucks! Seriously – say goodbye to shaving! I even :X use it on my face. Too lazy to tweeze or thread those brows? Epilate! Warning: not for the pansies. It might take some getting used to. And a measured pain threshhold. I don’t think it hurts that much, but I know others who have been traumatized. Not so here. Underarms etc too. Great for summer. I’ve had mine for years. (Like five?) It’s rechargeable, and wonderful. I’m always happy to recommend it.

4. Pour La Victoire + MyHabit. Well, MyHabit is amazon’s flash sale site. It’s got free shipping, and free returns, and often up to 80% (if not more) on designer brands. J’adore. I’ve checked, and they also have super reasonable rates for international shipping. (At least, last I looked.) Almost all my PLVs have come from Amazon. I’m addicted. And? Most of my shoes have been free courtesy of Swagbucks. (Which, if you have any questions about that feel free to ask!) This sandal (the Shanna) is from PLV’s spring collection. I’m not in love with it, but we all have to admit it is a very sexy shoe. And, we should all know, I have a major weakness for snakeskin shoes. Which, for PLV, they actually are. (Many other brands are a lie.)

5. 39DollarGlasses.com No joke – you can get prescription glasses – lenses and frames for $39. You can’t really beat that. Their frames aren’t bad either. And they’re durable. I’ve :X stepped on my pair like 6 times – they’re still good. Note, my eyes are horrible, so I had to pay a little bit more (I think 40something) for my first pair. They also often have deals – like 15% off, or $15 off. And in fact, if you use this link, it should get you 20% off your first purchase. The entire purchase. They of course also have the fancier lenses and frames, and that’ll cost you a bit more. Still, cheaper than normal retail, I imagine.

6. Lime La Croix. I love seltzer now. (Funny, because once when I tried it in elementary school, I spat it out. Of course, I was told it was like soda pop. So.) Now, I love it as a mixer. Almost all the La Croix flavors, but of course the lime, right? :D It really is the best one as a mixer. Also, however, I like drinking it straight. It often helps settle an upset stomach, and more generally, cut grease. You know, if you ate something like, pizza, or anything else bad for you. Chips, etc, a good follow up as a palate cleanser is seltzer. And it’s nice to have on hand.

7. Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. No pictures here – I have none, and I’m not about to steal it from Panera. But yes – the soup from Panera. I adore it. But one day, I got the bread bowl for take out, and felt totally cheater. I only got a cup of it! And a big sour dough bowl. So, boo. After that I decided to make it myself. There are a number of copycat recipes online, and I recommend you look for and find your favorite. I got the one from all recipes – and personally, would add some fresh mushrooms diced the next time. The recipe calls for mirepoix, which then you add a roux to. I then added chicken breast that I diced up (and here I’d add the cream – just a bit; I messed up the first time and added it after the stock had heated. Eek! I’m lucky it didn’t curdle.) Then, stock, and the wild + long grain rice. I bought zataran’s mix because it was cheapest at the store. :D And done! So freaking delicious. Oh, also, I doubled, if not tripled the mirepoix amount from all recipes. I like a healthier soup. I also didn’t use butter, instead using olive oil.

8. First, DUDE! Did you guys know that amazon now sells wine?! No idea how long it’s been up, but I just saw it. But anyway, what I want to do is talk about one in particular.  Yellowtail bubbles. It’s a very drinkable sparkling wine. Beyond that, the price is great. You can usually get it for ~$8. Which, is a great thing. Next, it’s got a really fun “reusable” cap. So, you know how usually you have to finish a bottle of champagne? Not so here! You can seal it up and stick it in the fridge. You can also actually keep the top and use it for other bottles. (You know, other cork savers etc usually suck out the air; which, for bubbly isn’t very helpful. And flat bubbly is baaad.) Then also, sparkling wine is gorgeous with these hibiscus flowers in syrup. Add a teaspoon or two of the syrup, and drop a flower into the bottom of the champagne flute. Awesome cocktail, gorgeous, and simple. Of course, after you finish the cocktail, you get the treat of eating the flower too. Very nice. And fancy.One of these days I hope to buy a 50 flower jar. :D

9. Tito’s Vodka. I actually first heard of it on the radio. (On the Elvis Duran on the Morning Show – my morning companions for many many years.) The host, Elvis was talking about this vodka – made in Austin! Austin being one of my favorite cities, and vodka also being a favorite, my ears perked. Awesome vodka? Made in the states? Yes please! No import cost! I finally went to the liquor store, and found a 1.75 liter bottle for a reasonable price … and I bought that bitch. Of course, this is after I asked twitter, and was told by some people after trying it, it’s the only vodka they’d drink. Good enough for me! I now have a new go-to vodka. Always a good thing.

10. Lime sugar. No pictures for this one either, because, well, it doesn’t photograph well. It’s prettier in real life, but more, it’s the amazing smell that really does it. What is it? Exactly what it sounds like. That, and it’s versatile. You can turn it into lime simple syrup. Use it in drinks. (Hello mojito?) And, I ran out of sugar while making a tres leches cake, and used a tiny bit of lime sugar. I have to say that I think it added and extra dimension and depth to the cake. (Of course I only used a little under a quarter cup, but still. Excellent.) Use it in pizzelles, as a garnish, really anything you like.

So! What would be on your current favorites list? Inquiring minds want to know! And if you have any questions about mine, please ask! I love dishing about stuff.

TBR Challenge Review: Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost

Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost
Paranormal romance released by Avon on March 26, 2013

Dating the Prince of Darkness has its challenges…

Leila’s psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn’t sure what the future holds. If that weren’t enough, her lover Vlad has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she’s also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won’t admit that he loves her . . .

Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity . . .

Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity . . .

I really enjoyed Once Burned, and I was really excited when I learned Twice Tempted would be out this year. I liked Vlad when he had cameo appearances in Ms. Frost’s other books. (I actually haven’t read the Cat and Bones books, but liked her spinoffs a lot.) Anyway despite not liking series (especially ones that don’t really stand alone), nor first person point of view, I was into this book. (What faint praise, eh?)

Leila is an incredibly strong heroine. We’d already seen this in Once Burned, but here I liked that Ms. Frost took it to the max. Leila is the heroine everyone wants to read about, and wants to be. She has the strength to make difficult decisions, and not to settle. But, beyond having self worth and a clear idea as to her own importance and identity, she’s considerate. Leila is willing to admit when she’s wrong, and make concessions. Leila isn’t a wilting female, but she isn’t stupid about it either. (She might risk herself, but it isn’t necessarily reckless, or thoughtless.) I say this because her powers take a massive toll on her throughout this book.

Vlad is, well… Dracula – although nobody can call him that – of course. I felt, however, that he wasn’t as developed in this book. So much of what happens between him and Leila is implied, or hidden. While I love heroine centric books, it seems that Vlad almost faded from notice at times. His deeply possessive nature is entertaining, and a bit thrilling, but I just felt I would have liked to see a bit more from and about him. Vlad made huge sweeping romantic gestures, but they simply didn’t have the massive impact or thrill I might have expected.

I don’t know what it is about this book. There were emotional moments. Some when I almost got a bit teary, a few when I chuckled out loud. Leila is so real. And her inner (evil) voice of self doubt is something I think we can all relate to. And yet, something about it just felt… off to me. I know a lot of people loved it – but also that to some people, Vlad’s spinoff has been disappointing.

I’m in the camp that likes it, and will probably re-read it (although I will say I liked Once Burned a lot more…) but I really want this all to be done with by book three. Enough. Even though I really do like Vlad and Leila. So this is me crossing my fingers and hoping. I’d love to see them visit future books, with more than cameos, but these two need resolution. I think also because the “villain” in this case was minor. I know Leila and Vlad’s relationship needed a lot of developing, but it almost seemed secondary.

Twice Tempted is definitely a book I enjoyed reading. It’s a good book, and I happily recommend it to people who like Jeaniene Frosts’ paranormals. Even for people who like paranormal romances in general. (Although in this case I think reading the first book in the series is crucial. Even all the other spinoffs would be helpful, especially Mencheres’s story, Eternal Kiss of Darkness. However, personally, if Vlad and Leila’s doesn’t end with a third book, I might be tapping out. We’ll see. (Or, at the least, I’ll be waiting until the series ends to read all the books at once.)

Grade: C+

You can read an excerpt here or buy a copy here.

TBR Challenge Review/Thoughts: Rush by Maya Banks

This isn’t so much a review strictly as my thoughts on the book. I couldn’t not add them, and you’ll see why.

Rush by Maya Banks
Erotic romance released by Berkley on February 5, 2013

Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking…

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

I love friends to lovers stories. And who doesn’t enjoy a good erotic romance? I admit I’m behind on Maya Banks’s books, but a few of the newer ones I had read were more miss than hit for me, but I knew I wanted to give this new one a try. I’m glad I did. After all, I’m a huge sucker for best friend’s little sister romances. That whole forbidden thing.

Mia is an excellent character, and I were there were more like her out there in romance-world. She has a strong sense of self, and a great network set up. Beyond the family/parental support from her brother, she has friends who she can count on. Real friends who aren’t afraid to smack some sense into her. I liked that she was willing to take a stand and knew her own worth. For all that she’s young and a bit wishy washy in the “real world” sense, she’s allowed to be. She’s only twenty four, and has the good fortune of not having to worry about finances or security. I think this aspect actually allowed Ms. Banks to focus even more on the relationship.

Gabe is a guy any girl would have a hard time turning down. He’s damaged, but otherwise is unusual as your “bad boy billionaire hero” because he has great friends and family. Sure, not everything is coming up roses, but that’s just reality. He’s almost a regular guy in that in business he knows what he wants and more importantly, he gets it. But with interpersonal relationships, especially with Mia, he has to work for it. I liked the human quality to him. And that he knew when he was wrong and acted to make it right.

I’m not really into BDSM, and beyond that, with the sheer volume of such books, I’m over it. But, I enjoyed it here not on principle, but because it fit. That’s who Gabe and Mia are, and it’s how their relationship works. I think that was the biggest part for me. It wasn’t about how sexy or kinky the story could be, it was exploring their physical relationship.

I have to say, I read this book when it came out, and I’ve thought about it a lot. There were some major parts to it that bothered me, but then I argued with myself as to whether they are major or not. Mia and Gabe’s relationship begins with a contract. For employment, and for Mia to be Gabe’s lover. His actions and thrusting the contract upon her is where the journey begins. In the sense that it’s the start, that’s minor. The fact that it’s the basis of the relationship …

Gabe is supposed to be this major player in the business world. The fact that he uses a sex contract as legally binding makes part of my brain melt. And then his lawyer checks it? (Let’s not even talk about professional responsibility and disciplinary actions…) Hint: I’m not talking about a sex contract being scandalous. I’m talking about such a character assuming it’s legally binding. Or even to have that clause in Mia’s employment contract that she is to be constantly sexually available to him. Employment contract.

So you see, things like that really bothered me. But if I ignored it, the romance, writing, characterizations, were all great. I then thought – should I have to ignore such things to enjoy a romance?

And there you see my dilemma. If I stop getting into “those details” (which really should get hashed out in its own blog post), it’s great. The characters are well developed and genuine. I even liked Mia’s roommate Caroline enough to hope that she gets her own little HEA. (I’m starting to hate series so that’s a major concession from me.)

Of course there are great sex scenes, and what I liked was how realistic the progression of the relationship is depicted. While, of course, almost all the sex was amazing and the best ever, there were some situations that were uncomfortable. There’s a time when Gabe pushes Mia and it doesn’t turn out well. That’s something that is unusual for many erotic romances, and even detours from Ms. Banks’s other works. I believed it, and not having everything be sparkles pollyanna only made the story better.

One last thing – Gabe screws up. Hard. (What romance hero doesn’t?) Before I read this book I saw a lot of clamor about the awesome groveling Gabe does. (I admit, that was a part of why I picked up Rush as well. I adore a good grovel.) Maybe I’m too much of a hardass, but I wasn’t that impressed with it. Alas.

I’ve read the excerpt for the next book, Jace’s, and I’m already anticipating it. A lot. For those of you who like hot reads, I definitely recommend you read Rush. (And then I’d be curious to hear if you even notice those things that bothered me.) Because, as I said, if I take out those issues, I really liked it.

Grade: B

You can read an excerpt here or buy a copy here.

Limecello and the Terrible Twos (It’s My Blogiversary!)

Hello my lovelies! Can you believe it’s my second year out on my own? I’ve actually been blogging on and off since 1996. Yes! Since blogging was even a term! But I’ve been blogging continuously since 2002. Crazy, right?

I had something set up with the Plotmonkeys (Janelle Denison, Leslie Kelly, Julie Leto, and Carly Phillips) in June, but life and their deadlines and other issues have led to a slight delay. I’m hoping we can do it up in style on the 31st, but know either way, they’re with us in spirit!

In fact, they were all kind enough to write something last minute around the theme “Two.” Carly and Leslie are on super deadline, and Janelle is very sick – and Julie I’m sure is about to stab me in the face. Heh. So, wish Carly and Leslie luck, Janelle well, and that Julie likes me again at some point in the near future!

I’m weird about numbers…I like even numbers.  And since two is the first even number, it’s special.  When I think about the TWO or second, I think immediately about second chances.  Like right now, for instance, I’m writing again in a series of books that I thought died in 2006 when the publisher decided they didn’t want anymore of the series after only TWO books.  And since no other publisher wanted to take a series that another publisher abandoned, my Dirty series, starring a kick-ass, Latina ex-bounty hunter, was dead in the water.  Until it wasn’t.  In 2012, I finally won the rights back from Pocket (blows my mind how they’d give me such a hard time about getting the rights back to a series they willfully no longer wanted to publish!) and re-released them digitally.  The reader response was so strong, I published a third book in the series (a short novel called DIRTY LITTLE CHRISTMAS) and now I’m working on what will be the first full-length book in the series that I’ll publish in the spring.  Here it is seven years later and my beloved series and characters are getting a second chance.  Best.  Thing.  Ever.

So the word “second” doesn’t have a negative connotation for me!  It’s about getting another go at something…just like Lime (and her readers!) get another chance to enjoy her blog, read her reviews and feel charitable when we help her donate toward clean water resources.  It’s win-win for all of us!

Congratulations on your second anniversary, LIME!!!
~ Julie

And now Leslie who took the time to write this note (my apologies to her readers for taking her away from you for a period!)

When I think of the word ‘two’ I can’t help thinking of a loving relationship between two people. Like the one I have with my husband. Yes, I adore my children, and my family unit–five if you include them, dozens if you extend it to all my siblings, parents, nieces, nephews, etc. But the foundation upon which I build everything else in my life resides in Bruce. Together, we two are the island on which everything else rests.
~ Leslie

And we’re all wishing Janelle a swift recovery from her bug. And congratulations on such a lovely milestone!

The number “2″ reminds me of the day I met my husband – - July 2nd.  It was a very good day, and we’ve been together for over 30 years!
~ Janelle

And last but not least Carly who is also on an OMG deadline.

When I think of the number two, I think of a couple.  A perfect pair.  Two people meant to be together forever.  Can’t you tell I write and read romance? That’s what makes two a very special number!
~ Carly

Now… at first I was going to say – guess I’ve planned as a gift for all of you? … The gift of me!

But then I thought about it, and was like – well, frankly if I were you, I wouldn’t think that was a great prize. So I sent out a desperate plea. Even from a while ago, the lovely and kind @Monikarw has been wanting to give something away on my blog. And at 2 AM I sent out a plea – and got a wonderful response from generous readers, which made me sniffly, so touched was I with their generosity. So, no glib statement from me. ;)

First up, from Monika, the winner has a choice of two things – either any book up to $15 from Book Depository, or a $15 gift card to Amazon! Monika is an avid reader, and brightens up everyone’s day with her unflagging positive and upbeat attitude. I don’t know why, but she thinks I’m great. We exchange bitchy sister stories, and ranty emails. :D Monika’s rules for her giveaway are that you have to say something nice about me. (Isn’t that a riot? And I can’t make this shit up.) <3 She’s a darling. [For sure she likes me better than I like me :P ]

Next, we have a giveaway from *Priscilla Shay and Vicky Dreiling! Patricia is offering a signed copy of How to Ravish a Rake and some author swag. And Vicky, catching the discussion has generously offered another signed copy as well as some promo items! Two signed copies! Whee!

Who is Patricia? Bio: She is fascinated with all things historical and the only way she can explain it is by claiming she was – clearly – born in the wrong century. (Although, she has been dabbling in the Paranormal and Young Adult.) She holds a B.A. in English: Creative Writing, Honors (with a minor in History) and currently lives in New York pursing a M.A. in History. She is also a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America). When not writing she can be found in a corner crafting, drawing, or baking. August 2012 she signed a contract with Boroughs Publishing Group for a short story. Details coming soon!

THEN fabulous prizes from Lorelie Brown and Katie Porter! <3 Lorelie is giving away both Wayward One and An Indiscreet Debutante. From Katie Porter, Lead and Follow.

(You can click on any of the book titles for more information.)

I’m hoping to add more – and there’s a chance the Plotmonkeys (and others!) might be joining in to chat, so please. Tell me – how would you like to celebrate a blogiversary? I think I’ll keep everything open for all of this month. :)

Oh! And! Keep your eyes peeled! This post might be getting edited and I’m hoping to debut a new look!

Now let’s all celebrate! \o/

Review: A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
Historical romance released by Avon on March 27, 2012

When a devilish lord and a bluestocking set off on the road to ruin…
Time is not on their side.

Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove’s confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland.
Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be… anywhere but Spindle Cove.

These unlikely partners have one week
to fake an elopement
to convince family and friends they’re in “love”
to outrun armed robbers
to survive their worst nightmares
to travel four hundred miles without killing each other
All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.

What they don’t have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls.

Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble.
And maybe…just maybe…love.

I really liked this book. A lot. Lot. I generally enjoy Tessa Dare’s writing, although I’m behind on her books. I didn’t feel lost at all, however. I love that each of Ms. Dare’s books stand alone. I think that’s really important in books, especially in series, but even in ones that are “spinoffs” or loosely connected.

Minerva is a lovely and fantastic heroine. In fact, she’s not “traditionally lovely.” She doesn’t turn heads or make people walk into things – but that’s inconsequential. Miranda is a complex character that you like from the start. She’s plucky, loyal, unconventional, and determined. How can you not like a woman with those characteristics? Not to mention smart. And she stands up for herself. Minerva calls Colin on all his bullshit. She doesn’t harp on him – when space is needed she gives it to him, but when it’s important to work through an issue, she presses. Minerva is the type of girl you want to be friends with, and simply want to be.

Colin is charming, to put it simply. He’s a jerk… but not an asshole. You know the guy that all the girls like, and he’s kinda blase about it, and not quite aware of the implications of his actions, but he isn’t malicious. Colin is actually a tiny bit clueless. Simply because he doesn’t have to be – or hasn’t had to be. In a way Colin is a bit hapless. He’s just existing, but without a purpose. He’s also displeased with how his life is, but doesn’t know how to go about changing it and more, at the moment the book begins, doesn’t quite care to. He’s a flawed hero, but definitely not irredeemable. He’s also got a subtle sense of humor. As long as he’s amused, his purpose is achieved.

I think a major part that I appreciated was that the characters talked to each other! I cannot express how much I appreciated that, and how grateful I am to Ms. Dare for the utter lack of head banging moments. I didn’t miss being frustrated at all. I didn’t think that Ms. Dare relied on any sort of crutches or stereotypes, or blatant (easily solvable) misunderstandings to further the plot. She actually had plot. It was fantastic.Then there’s the witty writing and dialogue. I don’t normally do this, but it seems trite to just talk about how refreshing and enjoyable Ms. Dare’s writing is – so I’m giving you examples.

[Colin] watched, incredulous, as the stark raving mad girl sank into the water. Knee-deep. Then waist-deep. Then all the way to her neck.

“Come out of there,” he said, sounding distressingly like a nursemaid, even to his own ears. “This instant.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s April. And freezing.” And because I’m suddenly curious to see you wit, without the mud. I didn’t even have a chance to appreciate the view the other night. Her shoulders lifted in a shrug. “It’s not so bad, once you grow used to it.”

For God’s sake, look at the girl. Teeth chattering, lips turning blue. Beneath that horrid garment, her nipples probably freezing to little icicles. And she seriously expected him to join her? Him, and all his precious, highly-susceptible-to-extreme-temperature bits?

“Listen, Madeline. There’s been some misunderstanding. I’m not here for a swim. We need to talk.”

“And I need to show you an inlet, around those rocks. There’s no other way to get there but to swim. We’ll talk when we arrive.” She cocked her head. “You’re not frightened, are you?”

Frightened. Ha. What was that he heard, splashing into the water? Must have been a gauntlet.

And then this.

“Jesus,” he finally managed, pushing water off his face.

“Jesus Christ and John the Baptist. For that matter, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.” Still not enough. He needed to reach back to the Old Testament for this. “Obidiah. Nebuchadnezzar. Methuselah and Job.”

“Be calm,” she said, taking him by the shoulders. “Be calm. And there are women in the Bible, you know.”

And because it fits with a tie in – and shows the great writing as well…

And just like that, his control was gone. He reached for her, gripping her by the thighs. Holding her close and tight as she plundered his mouth with bold, innocent abandon. With her kiss, his whole body came alive. Not just his body. Something stirred in the region of his heart, as well.

Jesus. Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Delilah, Jezebel, Salome, Judith, Eve. Trouble, every last one. Add Minerva Highwood to the list.

I think what really works with this romance is that Colin and Minerva are forced to spend so much time with each other in close quarters. It really makes the romance believable, even though they’re only together for less than a fortnight – you know it’ll work. Not just that, but how Colin took the time to think up all sorts of other “M” names to tease Minerva with. It shows that even though nobody realized it, she registered on his radar long ago.

It’s good because this isn’t just the journey of Colin and Minerva’s relationship developing, but Minerva’s self discovery. She learns there’s so much more to her beyond her learning, and that she’s been pigeonholed by her mother and family – however right or wrong, intentionally, or not. It was also fun to see the mad cap journey and things Minerva and Colin do. There are of course darker moments too, that are emotional and just kill you.  It’s the full package.

My only complaint would be two minor things. First the format. Maybe it was that I was reading an ARC and the formatting was a tiny bit distracting at times. I really really tried to not hold it against the book, so maybe I shouldn’t even have mentioned it. Ah well. Next… the tie in for the next book. It wasn’t necessary to the story, and the book would not have suffered for it had the entire scene been cut. It was patently obvious to me it was written for the next book. I did love the blurb for it though, so I’m more inclined to forgive that. If you like historical romances, you definitely need to read this book. If you like quality writing with reasonable, yet interesting characters, A Week to be Wicked should make it to your TBR. I also have started re-reading the book again, and I might even be liking it more the second time.So… instead of a B+ I’m going with…

Grade: A-

You can also read an excerpt here, and buy the book here.

*ETA: Tessa Dare is running a contest for A Week to Be Wicked! See?
Colin Kept Me Up All Night badge