Category Archives: Reader

Hazel Marie Rossini

So, it’s Wednesday. That’s code for “Work-in-progress Wednesday”, aka What I’m Working on Now…

Truth me told, not much. It’s like I’m still reeling from school, and I’ve no idea what’s going on or where I’m going.

I have a character, as the blog title would suggest. Born 21 February, 1897, she is the fictional depiction of my maternal grandmother , who was also born in 1897. Because I am from a 2nd marriage, my grandmother was almost 80 when I was born, and I didn’t know her too well. By the time I came around, she was old and frail – and she had just lost a husband and already buried her daughter. I don’t want to say she was bitter, but that’s what I remember.

And now that my father is gone, I feel as though there is no connection there any longer – there is no one with whom I can discuss my grandparents. (Which is not true as I have an older half-brother and half-sister who could totes fill me in, were we close.)

But this is still something that bothers me.

So what does any nominally sane person do? Why, they fictionalize their Grandmother, of course. So, there you have it.

Now, characters have backgrounds, and Hazel is still revealing herself, although she is totes going to settle down with an Alfred at some point. I do know she’s hiding something BIG when she comes to town because she calls herself Ellis Bell, but she has not yet revealed the specifics.

Have I mentioned yet where my series will take place? Here. Right here in Springfield, Illinois. I am going to have so much fun digging into the history of my hometown 🙂 Let me be frank  – I am not sure where/how to start researching so TIPS ARE APPRECIATED. But, I suppose the first thing to do is save up the $80 and invest in a library card… I get a half day at work every other Friday in June, July, and August. Guess that’s what I’ll be doing with my time until my husband is off work 🙂

So, that’s what I am working on. I don’t have anything to share about it, though. No words, at least.

What I can also share is that I am still digging my Bullet Journal. I’m 3 weeks and 3 layouts in, and I think I’ve been too fancy pancy about it. I create with words, not doodles and fancy lettering. So when I start August, I am going back to a more minimal approach. As I become more comfortable, I will share pics.

Have I told you what the Bullet Journal is? Well, let me just share these links instead. They give you the best rundown.

Here is the original site. This is Kara, and she might be a genius. Shh. I didn’t tell you that. There are a ton of other sites. Most of them are full of beautiful lettering and doodles and color and… all the things I am not. And it’s spawned a bit of bullet journal envy in me, which is immature and petty, and just so… beneath me. So, I sat my ass down today (I mean, I was at work, so…) and listed why I want the bullet journal:

  1. productivity *
  2. efficiency *
  3. timely assignment completion for school
  4. budget free time
  5. writing goals

* These are also my buzzwords for the year at work. I’m doing pretty good, I think. I hope. oh, now I’m concerned.

Anyway…

I then asked, what do I want to track?

  1. blog posts – when, what, etc… I mean, I am FAILING you guys, and I need to be more productive.
  2. writing goals – will I track chapters or words, though? Not sure yet.
  3. weight loss
  4. habit tracker (this is amazing and helfpul) – here is Kara again, this time guest posting on Bulletjournal.com.
  5. savings goals
  6. daily water consumption
  7. gratitude
  8. No Spend months (although this could just be part of the habit tracker, come to think of it…)
  9. goals – daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc…
  10. class assignments
  11. positive quotes (because I’m trying to be more positive and not such a Negative Nancy)
  12. Bills – I have them on a monthly calendar right now.

So, I’m in love with this because I get to customize it 100% to what I want. And it requires some inner reflection – what works, what doesn’t. What should I keep, what can I do differently.

And frankly, I highly recommend it.

Oh, and I’m now on Instagram. @LauraMichaela_Author. So far, it’s BulletJournal and nature photos. #sorrynotsorry

Also! I had this question – do we, as authors, owe it to ourselves to read the stuff that is getting totally slammed in reviews? Is that part of being a better writer – the reading of the bad to see what NOT to do? I would love your opinions…

No apologies…

This second half of the semester is going to be hard, and that means I’m super busy. And that means less time for writing. Which makes me sad. 😢😢

Just how busy? Let me show you my personal calendar.. 

  
And that’s just school. Don’t forget, I also have a 40 hour work week in there, too.

As you can see, I left Sunday’s blank in the hope they will become my Sacred Writing Day. So far, not so much. There’s just too much work. 

But, I have to stop and take a break, so I’ve actually joined a little reading group on Facebook. It’s hosted by author Colleen Gleason, whose book I recently gave away. Vampires, 19th century London. I’m sold. 

So, I look forward to sharing information about the book with you, and I’ve a few more reviews to post. Perhaps tomorrow!!

It’s time for a giveaway!

I know, I play fast and loose with grammar (specifically capitalization) on here. I apologize. I’m back on my laptop, but after a few months of not using it, I’m out of practice with the smaller keys, and let’s be honest – desktop keyboards are just better. Yes, only in my opinion. Whatever.

Anyway. It’s been two weeks, and it’s time for me to announce a winner of the book giveaway. Now then, I had two people comment on the post, and frankly, because it’s only two, I’ve decided to just gift them BOTH a copy of the book.

Anyway, I will be contact the winners privately and arranging to get the book to them (or, as it is more commonly known: figuring out how to do this).

Whether you participated or not, I appreciate everyone stopping by! I think I’m going to make it my weekend routine to visit blogs and catch up.

Now then, I’m going to devote some time to writing. I’ve ignored it lately, and that’s not good. 😦

I found too many plot holes in my last outline, so that’s the first thing I’m going to address.

Book Review – Gems of Vice and Greed (and a giveaway)

In an effort to expand readership – and participation – I am going to be dedicating more time to my blog, and yours. To kick this off, I’m going to start reviewing books more frequently, and occasionally, I will give away a copy of the book I’m reviewing.

First, a few things of note – yes, I received this as an Advanced Reading Copy in exchange for an honest review, but I also purchased a copy to give away, so. Also, yes, this is an Affiliate link, but I will only be using the Affiliate link for products I like. not just to make money. That’s not what this is about, after all…

On to the review…

I feel like I should preface this review today with – I do not like most contemporary romances. I like contemporary chick lit, but not much current romance. It’s all the Billionaire’s this or the Millionaire’s that… So, when I tell you to read this book, I suggest you listen.

First of all, The Gems of Vice and Greed is book three in the Contemporary Gothic Romance series by Colleen Gleason. I have not read the first two, but you absolutely do not need to. That’s a major factor in a series for me – can it stand alone?

So, Vice and Greed tells the story of Leslie and Declan. Leslie, having removed herself from the corporate rat race, has settled down in Michigan to restore a historic mansion so that she can open an inn. Declan, the local blacksmith (drooling already,  aren’t you?) has moved to the same small town to raise the daughter he never knew he had.

Throw in a ghost and rumors of long lost jewels, and you’ve a sexy, intriguing story full of charming characters, simmering sexual tension, and mystery.

This is a must read!

Gems of Vice and Greed, Colleen Gleason

Now then, I promised a giveaway, did I not? So… Comment to tell me you want a copy, and I will pick a random winner 2 weeks from today – and that person will receive a copy of the book. This giveaway is only available for Kindle, and is not affiliated with Colleen Gleason or Amazon or anyone else. And if you’ve one available, share a picture of the sexiest (could be an ironsmith) you can find.

When I picture Declan, I am totally picturing Jason Mamoa, especially as the new (and improved) Conan.

jason-momoa-conan-21-6-10-kc

Tempted By A Rogue

★•**•.★ Release Blitz & #Giveaway ★•**•.★
Tempted by a Rogue
by Lauren Smith
Genre: Historical/ Regency Romance
Cover Designer: Aleta Rafton
Release Date: September 21, 2015
Hosted by: Book Partners In Crime Promotions

Blurb:
The rogue’s temptation would be her undoing…

Gemma Haverford knows exactly who she will marry: James Randolph, the man she’s had a secret understanding with for the last eleven years. With every letter written between them while he’s been off at sea, their love has grown. Now they will be reunited with his return to England.

There’s just one problem. The man whose words she’d fallen in love with isn’t James at all…

Jasper Holland, a gentleman rogue of the first order, is trapped. Talked into a scheme by his best friend, he pretended to be James for eleven years as he wrote to Gemma, even though he’d promised James he’d break it off. But now with his return to England, his secret will come out—and he’ll lose the one woman he can’t live without.

What began as a game of words, now becomes a game of hearts, and Jasper will pay any price to call Gemma his.

Enter the Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7996b6c5216/?

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Add the book to your Goodreads Shelf: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25815401-tempted-by-a-rogue

Buy the book:
*Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1Pal5zQ
*Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1FT5Ndl
*Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1FT5O0S
*Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/1FT5P4X
*Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1FT5T4Q
*Kobo: http://bit.ly/1FT5WxE

Meet the author:
Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. Lauren loves hearing from readers and can be reached through her website http://www.laurensmithbooks.com.

Social Links:
-Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenDianaSmith
-Facebook Friend Page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=17113571
-Twitter: https://twitter.com/LSmithAuthor
-Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/111597093120774957030/posts
-Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lauren-Smith/e/B009L54KTC
-Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6553241.Lauren_Smith
-Website: http://www.laurensmithbooks.com/
-Blog: http://theleagueofrogues.blogspot.com/
-Email: ldsmith1818@gmail.com
-Newsletter Sign-up: http://www.laurensmithbooks.com/
-Join Lauren’s Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/400377546765661/

Excerpt –

Turn around James, I want to see you, she silently begged. Let me put a face to the dreams I’ve had for years. Let me see the lips that brought forth such passion last night.

Lady Greenley’s screech jerked Gemma out of her thoughts.

“You, Haverford! Come here at once!” Lady Edith Greenley’s bonneted head bobbed up and down when she waved at Gemma and demanded she come to her like a general in His Majesty’s army. The ancient yet formidable Lady Greenley stood near the two men, who both turned at Lady Greenley’s shout, in order to see Gemma.

Her heart stopped and she sucked air into her burning lungs after what seemed like ages of being frozen in time. Funny, she’d never had this happen before in her life, but seeing the faces of James Randolph and Jasper Holland after eleven years… Her world spun on its axis, as though she were a celestial planet shifting in its orbit, thrown into a spin by seeing these men. Side by side, they stood, almost an equal height, proud and strong in looks and demeanor. And both of them stared directly at her, equally curious to see her as she was to see them.

The resemblance of the two men to each other was startling. Only her childhood memories dared to find differences between the manly faces turned toward her. James had a fuller mouth, quicker to smile, but Jasper, quiet, calm, Jasper had eyes like liquid caramel that smoldered so powerfully when he stared at her that her mind simply blanked of all thought.

A rapid play of inscrutable emotions danced across his eyes, touched lightly upon his mouth as though he nearly smiled, but caught himself. Why on earth would Jasper smile at her? When he’d been a boy he’d always avoided her and had shouted rudely at her more than once that she was a nuisance and ought to go home and practice her needlepoint and sketching rather than gallivant off into the wooded glens after him and James.

Not that I ever listened to him. She almost smiled back at Jasper. She had the strangest urge to needle him, challenge him for daring to smile at her.

“Now Haverford! I could keel over and die waiting for you to grace me with your presence,” Lady Greenley snapped, prodding the ground with the tip of her closed parasol. Gemma excused herself from Lily and Arabella and walked quickly toward Lady Greenley. She tried not to stare at the men when she reached them.

“What can I do for you, Lady Greenley?” Gemma asked.

“Can I depend upon you to rescue me from these unruly young bucks? Take them about the garden, and see that they don’t scandalize my party, won’t you?” Lady Greenley demanded of Gemma, a wicked glint in the older lady’s gray eyes. With her crafty mannerisms and being rather boisterous for her age, no one dared to cross her.

“Of course, Lady Greenley,” Gemma answered politely.

Both men grinned at her. The direct attention from both James and Jasper heated her skin with an embarrassing blush. There was nothing decent in either of their gazes. She could understand a look like that from James, after what they had shared, but Jasper? He should not be eyeing her form with such a bold look of appreciation like he did at that exact moment.

Lady Greenley watched this odd triangle of looks with an arched brow of interest, and Gemma thought she saw the old woman hide the beginnings of a smile beneath her ridiculously foppish bonnet. Where James’s gaze seemed to outline every curve of her body with speculation, Jasper’s gaze had the deep sensual sweep of such force that she almost felt his hands stroking her rather than his eyes…it was a knowing gaze, like he knew just how the flesh of her breasts would tighten, her legs tremble and her breath quicken beneath his touch…

“Why, is that really you, Miss Haverford?” James exclaimed with a broad smile and a deep bow. It did little to dispel the ensnaring enchantment of Jasper’s heated gaze which distracted her from James.

Gemma forced a soft laugh, letting James take her hand and kiss it, but the tingling rush of contact she expected did not come. His voice did not seem quite the same as the night before, perhaps because it was disguised by his whispering tone…

“Mr. Randolph, Mr. Holland, I’m so glad to see you both returned to Midhurst in good health.” Her gaze was strangely drawn back to Jasper, who watched her in deep concentration and she didn’t know what to make of his scrutiny. She nibbled her bottom lip, studying Jasper intensely. His shoulders were wide…a little wider than James’s now that she compared them so diligently.

James dropped her hand and glanced between her and Jasper, one brow raised.

“Er…we’re quite glad to be home, Miss Haverford,” James added, trying to draw her attention again. “I see Midhurst has treated you well over the years, Gemma.” His voice deepened, but still Gemma didn’t tear her gaze away from Jasper.

Was it possible to have a battle between a man and woman based on eye contact alone? She did feel as though she were battling this man, what she couldn’t understand was why. His lips twitched, her eyes narrowed and her heart gave a strange little flip in her chest when his gaze lowered, inch by inch to focus on her lips.

We’re strangers, after all these years. I should not be fascinated by him.

When he spoke to her, however, her body responded with a terrifying thrill of recognition.

“You are looking well, Gemma.” The way he caressed her name…she went suddenly pale. That voice! Jasper’s voice was the voice in the garden, the voice that belonged to the body which had…

No, no! He could not be the man I… Gemma wavered on her feet when a cloud seemed to cover her mind and she couldn’t quite control her legs enough to stay standing.

A Review, The Duplicitous Debutante

Title:   The Duplicitous Debutante

By: Becky Lower

Publisher: Crimson Romance

Published: 1 September, 2014

Reviewer: Laura Michaela Banse

Date: 21 August, 2015

Timeperiod:   Historical (Prior to 1950 or Primitive Setting)

Genre: Romance

Content: Use this section only for Erotic Romances – Keep all that apply:  M/F

Length: Novel – 228 pages

Heat Level: Spicy (Typical sex scenes in detail, but not explicit)

Rating: 2 Hearts – Not quite my cup of tea.  Others may enjoy it, but it was not for me

REVIEW:

The Duplicitous Debutante by Becky Lower is the sixth installment in the Cotillion Ball series.

This particular installment features Rosemary Fitzpatrick, author of the Harry Hawk dime novels and the new owner of her publishing company, Henry Cooper. Being 1859, Rosemary writes under the pen name of F. P. Elliott, and it is generally assumed she is actually he.  

Henry starts the conflict off by letting his current stable of authors know he expects to meet them in person prior to renewing their contracts. I honestly believe the contracts referenced here are more akin to the author contracts of today than the three styles available in the 1850’s, but I readily admit I could be wrong. And with this one action, the Big Lie starts with Rosemary trying to conceal her true identity while still getting that contract renewed.  

I have to be honest here. I had a hard time finishing this novel because Rosemary is not likable at all. Not to me, at least – and I fully understand that I might be in the minority here. It isn’t just that she tries so hard to keep her identity secret – that could be brushed aside considering the background of 1859 New York City, but something deeper that just really irked me.  

As an aspiring author myself, I desperately tried to relate to Rosemary, to find even a smidge of redemption worthy behavior in her. I could not. I feel like the author could have done better research when it comes to several terms used, although it appears she did some research into the world of Dime Novels. I will add that I am one of those annoying people who has a thing for etymology and word usage.  

Let me state that the sparks between these two was good – believable, even. It was, in fact, the one redeeming feature of an otherwise dragging read. I think this could be a lighthearted read for many, many other people. Just not me.

A Book to Review

I have a ton of books. Really. I’ll bet almost every single person who bothers to read this particular blog does, too. Well, I started this blog with the intention of reading and reviewing one book per week. I’ve reviewed exactly one. What?? So, what’s a girl to do when she breaks her promise to herself?

Renew her commitment to said reviews, of course. It might not be one every week, but you will get at least two per month.

I have to start somewhere, though. And of all the books I’ve been given or bought, where do I start? Well, I have to start with the ones I was given with the specific intent of gaining a review. So, back to reading The Devil In Duke’s Clothes. To temper this, I am also going to read The Troublesome Apprentice by Liza O’Connor.

What are you reading right now?