Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Uncommon Criminals

Uncommon Criminals is the second book in Ally Carter’s wonderful Heist Society series. From the inside cover.~

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long-and in Kat’s world, history always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is…the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend-the gorgeous Hale-and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

I’m a huge fan of Ally Carter’s YA books. I love both her Gallagher Girl series and her Heist Society series. Her readers are given another winner with Uncommon Criminals. I was lucky enough to have a friend pick me up a copy of Uncommon Criminals at BEA at the end of May, so I got to read it a couple of weeks early (thanks katibabs).

I loved Uncommon Criminals. We get to spend time with some of my favorite characters (Kat, Hale, Gabrielle, Simon, and of course Uncle Eddie). As Uncommon Criminals starts out, Kat has distanced herself from her crew. They all get back together once she is asked to steal the Cleopatra emerald. Everything is very fast paced from the moment the Cleopatra emerald enters the picture. Kat and her crew must pull out all the stops to right the latest wrong. We get to see Kat at both her best and her worst while the team works to figure out their next move. Only with Kat’s entire team working together, can they pull off the greatest heist in history. We also get some pretty awesome flirting between Kat and Hale (yes I feel a bit like a cougar for the crush I have on Hale…don’t judge me, he is super cute), and Kat even makes a pretty big move.

The official release date for Uncommon Criminals is June 21, 2011. I love that I was able to read Uncommon Criminals early. Of course, that means I have a longer wait for my next Ally Carter book. Luckily, the next book in her Gallagher Girl series will be released on March 20, 2012, so I have less than a year to wait for my next fix.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dragon Bound

Dragon Bound is the first book in Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series. From the back cover.~

Half human and half Wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the Wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their Dark Fae enemies. But after being black-mailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful-and passionate-of the Elder Races.

As the most feared and respected of the Wyrkind, Dragos Cuelebre cannot believe someone had the audacity to steal from him, much less succeed. And when he catches the thief, Dragos spares her life, claiming her as his own to further explore the desire they’ve ignited in each other.

Pia knows she must repay Dragos for her trespass, but refuses to become his slave-although she cannot deny wanting him, body and soul…

I had heard and seen lots of people talking about Dragon Bound on twitter and finally ordered it for my kindle. I trust all my twitter friends who were talking about it, so I started reading it as soon as I had it downloaded. All I can say is thank you to all my twitter friends!

I’ve never really been a big fan of dragons, but all that changed when Dragos first appeared on the page. Dragos is very Alpha and I loved everything about him. Pia was totally kick-ass and I loved how she worked so hard to protect herself, and even Dragos once she admitted her feelings for him. Both Pia and Dragos are such strong individuals. Dragos has to learn to accept Pia has her own opinions, and won’t just do whatever Dragos tells her to do when he tells her to do it. Pia has to learn to accept that Dragos really does just want to keep her safe.

Love so many of the secondary characters from this book too, and can’t wait to get each of their stories. With Storm’s Heart, we will get Tricks’ book in August, and we will get Rune’s book, Serpent’s Kiss in October. Thea Harrison’s Elders Race series has some of the best characters I’ve read about in a long time. Most books I read have one or two characters I like, might even love. With Dragon Bound, I found a book where I loved the two main characters and most of the secondary characters. Absolutely loved this book and am counting down the days until I can read the next books in the series.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My First CMA Festival

I’ve lived in Nashville since late 1995, and last week was the first time I attended CMA Festival (formally known as Fan Fair). Let me just say it is a known fact in Nashville CMA Fest weekend will be the hottest weekend to date for Nashville. However, my friend Paula and I made plans to go a while back, so I stocked up on SPF 50 sunscreen and decided to give it a try.

The whole weekend was hotter than 18 hells. No other description comes to mind for me. In fact, at one point I saw a temperature reading of 101* on the church sign next to the Bridgestone Arena. There were all sorts of fun things to do throughout the day. Lots of free concerts by new artist and even some well known artist were happening all over the downtown area. You could go to the convention center and hopefully get in line for pictures and autographs from artist. Tickets for the signings were given out when the doors to the convention center opened at 10:00 am each morning. Picture Black Friday and the mall opening, and you have a pretty good picture of trying to get in line for tickets each morning. I did manage to get in some hopeful lines and was able to meet Craig Morgan, Joe Nichols, and a couple of other artist. The highlight for me was meeting Kristin Chenoweth at the Wildhorse Salon on Saturday. I’ve been a huge fan of hers since I heard the Wicked soundtrack for the first time, and she is one of my favorite guest stars to appear on Glee (hope she is back again next season). She has a country album coming out in September, and I’ll buy it on release day. She sang a few songs for us and I loved them all (she really makes me think of Dolly Parton).

The shows each night were amazing! Thursday night’s line-up included Zac Brown Band (Alan Jackson and Randy Travis came out and sang at different times), Easton Corbin, Sara Evans, Jason Aldean (Kelly Clarkson came out for one song), and Brad Paisley, with special guest Alabama. Friday night’s line-up included Ashton Shepherd, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Keith Urban, and Reba. Saturday night’s line-up included Chris Young, Little Big Town, Josh Turner, with special guest AI winner Scotty McCreery for one song, Trace Adkins, Martina McBride, who had AI runner-up Lauren Alaina join her for one song, and Rascal Flatts, who were joined by Little Big Town for one song. Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson even came out for a surprise performance. Sunday night’s line-up included The Janedear Girls, The Band Perry, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton (Trace Adkins came back for a little Hillbilly Bone), Miranda Lambert, and Taylor Swift.

While I enjoyed every single performance, I have to say Martina McBride blew me away! She got a 5 minute standing ovation following her performance of Broken Wing. I now have several concerts on my wish list for the future. I would love to see a full concert by Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley, Lady A, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Sugarland (again).

Not sure I’ll do CMA Fest again next year. I love the nightly concerts, but the daytime heat was really too much for me. I'm not a big fan of temps so high, I feel sick most of the day. I did have a fun time overall, and can say I'm glad I went this year.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

KT Grant Winner

So sorry for the delay in posting the winner. I was at the Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together over the weekend and was still recovering yesterday. I used Random.org and the winner is emilystarr373!

I'm sending out an email right now to get your contact information.

Thanks for everyone who stopped by and enjoy the sexy pictures of katiebabs' celebrity obsession!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

KT Grant Contest

As soon as I found out two of KT Grant’s e-books, For the Love of Mollie and The Claiming of Suzy, were being published together in a print book called Sweet & Sinful, I knew I wanted to host a giveaway on my blog. Below are the synopsis for each story from the author’s website.

Synopsis: Mollie McGree is on a mission to seduce her best friend, the sexy masseuse Juan-Carlos. But she wants to lose a few extra pounds first. She joins a gym run by self-made millionaire and personal trainer, Conner Bean. Conner thinks Mollie doesn't need to lose any weight, and is perfect just the way she is. He plans to seduce the curvy Mollie by giving her his own special training sessions in passion and desire.

Soon Mollie is enjoying a no-holds-barred love affair with the vibrant and skilled Conner. But self-esteem issues on her part, as well as her unresolved feelings for Juan-Carlos, cause her to second guess Conner's motives. Conner will stop at nothing until he claims Mollie's heart for his own.

Synopsis: Suzy Bean is a woman who lives in the moment and doesn't mind her overabundant curves. The man she secretly loves, JC Mosino, is the only one who can make her untamed sexual fantasies a reality. After having a bit too much to drink at a party, JC drives her home, where their passions ignite. Suzy thinks that this is night where she and JC will go from being friends to lovers. Unfortunately it doesn't happen quite like that and Suzy ends up throwing JC out because of something he says in the heat of the moment that she takes the wrong way.

Now Suzy's whole world has been turned upside down because she's given up smoking and is sexually frustrated. When she meets a handsome, flirty stranger, who makes her body respond, she becomes even more frustrated. This chance meeting is one she'll never forget, for Mr. Hunk is her new boss, Xavier Marks. Suzy feels guilty because her attraction to Xavier is growing while she still pines for JC.

JC's craving for Suzy is out of control where he wants nothing more than to work things out and become her lover. He has a plan in doing so, but has to work fast as Xavier tries to seduce Suzy. JC is having no part of that, and will do whatever he can to claim this brassy, buxom beauty for his own.

I’ve read almost everything that has been released by KT Grant and I’m a huge fan! I want to share the love with those of you who visit my blog. I contacted KT Grant (known by most as Katiebabs of Babbling About Books, and More in the blog world) and had her answer some questions.

When did you start writing?

KB: I would say I began writing when I was around fourteen. I started writing poems then moved onto short stories and kept increasing my words amount which grew into more full length type novels.

Who is your biggest supporter of you writing?

KB: My mother and many of my friends in the writing community.

How did you celebrate your first published book?

KB: I held back a scream of happiness and began writing my next project. I live an exciting life as you can see.

Who is your favorite author/writer (you can name more than one if you can’t pick just one)?

KB: Stephen King is my idol. I would get down on my hands and knees and thank him for his books.

Name 5 books you have absolutely loved that you have read since the first of the year.


The Naked King by Sally Mackenzie

Deadline by Mira Grant

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

A Lot Like Love by Julie James

Pleasure Me by Monica Burns

Describe your typical day.

KB: I get up very early, between 5:30-6:00am and will either go the gym or check emails and blogs. I’ll also try to get at least an hour of writing done. Then it’s off to the day job. I come home and will end up writing until I go to bed. This is my typical weekday schedule. The weekends vary, but I’m usually in front of my computer starting at 10am and don’t move until 8pm or until my eyes have gone blind from staring at the computer monitor for so long.

You write straight contemporary romances as well as F/F & M/M romances. Tell me a little bit about the writing process for each type of story.

KB: Before I start a new story, I come up with my main characters, their names and personalities. I also try to outline as much as I can and use that as support as I write. Writing for the different genres from straight contemporary romance to F/F and M/M has a different mindset, but it all comes down to the characters I create and how they act and react to the world around them. I hope my stories are believable and authentic where readers will enjoy what I’ve written.

When will your next book be published?

KB: I have a M/M contemporary romance called Burning For You releasing from Phaze Books this summer, along with a short M/M contemporary romance called A Bid For Love that is part of the 1 Night Stand series from Decadent Romance and then the third book in me Sweet And Sinful series called Xavier’s Loving Arms that will be released in October from Decadent Publishing.

What stories are you currently working on?

KB: I’m working on edits for Xavier’s Loving Arms and a Historical Lesbian Romance set to be released for September from Ravenous Romance. It’s going to be a very busy summer for me. *G*

I’m giving away 1copy of Sweet & Sinful (US only). To enter, all you have to do is post the name of at least one book you’ve read this year that you absolutely loved. I’d love it if you want to start following my blog too, but know I’m not always great about posting updates (I’m doing much better so far this year). Also, please leave your email address in your comment if not listed in your profile. Winner will be drawn using random.org on Monday, June 6. I’ll email the winner on Monday and the winner will have until Friday to contact me or I’ll draw a new winner.

Bonus Trivia Question

Who is Katiebabs major celebrity obsession? (here is a picture clue to help you out)

I’ll post a better picture of her obsession along with the winner’s name on Monday.