WELCOME to the Small Book Blog! I am a voracious reader. I love losing myself in books and cannot wait to read myself into my next adventure. It is because of this love for books that I created this blog. I want to share my passion of books with you! I hope you enjoy my recommendations and reviews. My goal is that they will lead you to a new book, series or author, that you can fall in love with and recommend to others as well.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Forged & Guest Visit with Author Becky Banks

The Small Book Blog wants to welcome author Becky Banks and introduce her newest novel Forged. Forged is scheduled for release on October 26, 2012, and is already #10 on Amazon’s Romantic Suspense list! Forged is a high octane romance complete with thrills, chills, love, dark pasts, lusciously sensual scenes and sexy mechanics. Without further ado here is an introduction to Forged, our Q&A with the fabulous author Becky Banks, and my review of Forged.

Introducing Forged:
Eva Lynn Rodgers, the daughter of a mechanic, grew up with a need for speed. So did her best friend, and later boyfriend, Nathaniel Vellanova. But when Eva left the drizzling rain of Portland, Oregon, for a high-powered career in New York, she left both Nathaniel and her past behind.

Now Eva's back, and her BMW—like her life in general—could use a little love. Her new mechanic is the right man for the job, but he's got some scores to settle with the girl who peeled out for the East Coast when he needed her most.

It's time for Eva and Nathaniel to confront their demons. Passionate and dangerous sparks ignite as Nathaniel's brutal youth rises up and pulls Eva Lynn back to him—forging a bond that, this time, won't be denied.

Q&A with Author Becky Banks:

Q: In a previous interview you mentioned that you listen to music when you write to set the mood. Did you continue this tradition with Forged? What music helped set the mood for this gritty tale of lost love?

Hello Annie and thanks for hosting me again! Yes! I did listen to music while writing Forged, and as you can imagine the playlist was quite different from The Legend of Lady MacLaoch - for those who don't know, The Legend of Lady MacLaoch is a Scottish romance - I listened to Black Keys (old and new stuff), True Blood Soundtrack, Cee Lo Green, The Cardigans, etc. Here’s a clip of the one song that played for the majority of the love scenes. ;0)

Note, the sound quality on the CD is fathoms better than the YouTube version, and at 100db on a rocking set of headphones, it’s luscious.

Q: There was a fantastic connection between Eve and Nate. Was there anything from you personally or from research that helped forge that bond? Did Eve and Nate just demand that we feel and “see” the connection to further enjoy their adventure?

Yes, Eve and Nate came to me like that. Before I got started writing Forged I got a bee in my bonnet from girlfriends talking to me about their first loves and wondering, where they are now? My husband and I are first loves (very rare I know...) and for the first few years of our relationship we separated at our college summer breaks. I went home to Maui and he stayed in Oregon. A lot of that pain and angst that they feel I channeled from my early years when we left each other. Regarding the chemistry between the two, they came with that all by themselves. But, I should mention, my family are highly passionate people, both vocally and in the bedroom (my cousin for example knocked up his wife who had been previously diagnosed as infertile). So that type of chemistry wasn't foreign to me. 

Q: Do you research, act out scenes to make sure they feel and sound right?

Are you spying on me? How’d you know that’s what I do?? :0)  
Aston Martin DB9 [via]
Yes, I do research, but in the most awesome way possible. For example when researching the Aston Martin DB9 - yes I did a touch of Wiki searching - my main source of info was from the brilliant BBC television show Top Gear. They drive the shit out of the cars they get and whilst driving them, hold a commentary about how it’s handling, feels, and overall vibe. This is something that cannot be got from Wikipedia data gathering. Though, in reality I would have loved to have climbed into the drivers seat of the DB9 and drove it like a bat outta hell through the coastal range like Nate and Eva do in the book. Instead, I combined my knowledge of cars in general with the DB9 and wove together what it would have been like. Note, I did drive a similar section of the coastal range like a bat out of hell (and been a passenger when the person I was with was using Nate’s rule: if you’re not slidin’ you’re not drivin’) in a stick, front wheel drive two door inline 4. I just made that last part up to make it sound fancy, but it was just a Ford Focus. The Focus though, shouldn't be mocked, as I've experienced, the the smaller the car the more you feel like you might die at lower speeds (read: more exhilarating). For example a Ford Focus doing 50mph through a tight turn can feel like death is eminent, where as in a luxury car (take a BMW 5-series for example) taken at twice the speed you might feel the same. So, small cars are safer and more exhilarating. Which, I might add is a large tangent from your original question. :0)

Q: Do you still consider yourself a romantic? Previously, with The Legend of Lady MacLoach you said you realized you were a romantic. Do you, expanding on your assessment that you like to “take unlikely people and make them fall in love”, feel that you did that with Nate and Eve?

Oh absolutely. Nate and Eve are complete opposites, and the bond that cements them together is the love they share for each other. I’m absolutely infatuated with opposites attracting, it’s what gets me giddy inside. We’ll see more of that from my future writings, no doubt.

Q: This novel takes place in Portland, Oregon. The setting for many famous books, movies and television (Grimm is currently shot in the Portland area for fans of that show) shows. If the city were ever to create a tour of famous and popular novel scenes and television/movie scenes that have taken place in Portland and the surrounding areas, do you think you would be able to have parts of Forged on the tour? Are there real places in Portland you wrote about or was it more the feel of a city you were familiar with?

Speaking of Grimm, I actually got to watch the making of one of the episodes. They were filming in a girlfriend of mine’s neighborhood and I cruised by at lunch for a peek! See pic below.

The car of main character in Grimm and a 'prop' police car!
As far as Forged goes, yes, nearly all the scenes were set in real places. Though of course the construction on the bridge that the end scene happens on is fictionalized. It was the Broadway that was getting major reconstruction, which gave me the idea to set it on the Fremont (one of the taller bridges in Portland). Also, Nate’s auto shop is based loosely on Pro Tek Automotive off of Sandy where I take my BMW and the locations of where Nate and Eva live are real places.

Q: What’s next for you? Are you already writing another novel?

Yes! I am writing another novel! After much demand (read: death threats) this winter I’ll be writing the sequel to The Legend of Lady MacLaoch, we head back to Scotland for round two of the adventure. In this new book I'll introduce to readers new characters such as Minory relatives that Cole uncovers, a little old woman who reads tea leaves, a handsome undergraduate researcher and a woman from London that Rowan should not have forgotten about...

Thanks again Annie for having me! 


Becky Banks is the award-winning author of The Legend of Lady MacLaoch. Her newest novel, Forged releases October 26th. Get it FREE all week on the Kindle, October 22nd - 26th.

Available through Amazon Oct. 26.

or visit www.beckybanksonline.com

The Small Book Blog Review of Forged:
While author Becky Banks has remained a believer in the power of love, her upcoming novel Forged is a dark, sexy and gritty tale when compared to her debut novel The Legend of Lady MacLaoch. I was privileged to read the early unedited version of Forged and was blown away at how different it is in style from The Legend of Lady MacLaoch, how once again Banks creates characters and situations that are believable with descriptions that throw you into the scenes, and Eva (our heroine) is a kick ass woman of our time, she is someone we all wish we could be at one point or another throughout our life. I am not going to get into too much of the story and plot, Banks still has work to do before Forged is released later this year, but I will say that it is about Nate and Eva, two characters who we meet separately only to learn that we have been dropped into their story years after it happened. They grew up together, dated and their love just was not enough. Forged occurs after all bridges are burned between these two, however, what lies ahead (for them and us dear readers) is the story of Nate and Eva’s reunion and if what they had and what they will experience will be enough to forge their friendship into a love that will last lifetime or if they will remain people with a shared past seen over the remains of their burned bridge.
Banks paints very visceral scenes with amazing descriptions that, while reading it, are like watching a play in my head. Forged is going to be one of those great novels that you find yourself invested in and do not want to put down. However, for our time management, I appreciated that Banks puts breaks with the ends of the chapters by switching to other characters perspectives or scenes. Trust me, this was essential for me while reading so I could get dinner on the table and sleep at night. I also found that Banks has created a real energy with the main characters, Nate and Eva, and their relationships and interactions with their friends and co-workers. It flowed seamlessly and had me feeling like one of the pals, talking trash, feeling concerned, giggling at their inside jokes, and I appreciated this because I find it helps a novel when the “B” characters have personality.
Overall Forged is going to be a steamy, sexy, high octane adventure (in and out of the bedroom) with some suspense and grittiness thrown in, of the strength of love and forging the path to see if it is worth the heat of making it stronger or if it will remain a burned out lie. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jamie McGuire's Providence, Requiem and Eden Trilogy

I read Jamie McGuire’s Providence trilogy as one long novel. I loved McGuire’s novel Beautiful Disaster and decided to try out her backlist. While this trilogy was not anywhere near as endearing and captivating as Beautiful Disaster, it was a fun trilogy. There was intrigue, romance, thrill, chills, and battles to be won (essentially to save the world).  In today’s day and age of all things were or vampire Providence, Requiem and Eden gives us a paranormal world in the now where people actually have guardian angels and God keeps a checks and balances attitude with angels, demons and people. I think many paranormal readers will get “that feeling” that this series is very much like Twilight, Beautiful Disaster or other popular literature these days. It was reminiscent of…something…while I was reading it. Beyond that, I would recommend this for YA readers, paranormal junkies, and paranormal romance readers looking for something while waiting on their next favorite authors novel to come out. I am not saying they are bad or not worth the read, they just were a little disappointing after falling in love with McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster.

I’ll think about revising my review after time passes and I think on it more. LOL! As you can tell I was a little disappointed.

Andrea Cremer's Nightshade

Nightshade was a huge surprise to me. I was wandering in the airport one day, wasting time between flights and checking out the bookstore. I was caught by the book cover (a teenage girls head with a wolf layered together) and looked up Nightshade on Goodreads. I was amazed at the 4.06 rating it was getting out of so many reviews. I bought it and read it for one of my Halloween reads. I was absolutely not disappointed with my purchase.

Nightshade is a YA book that gave so much more to its characters, chemistry and plot than most YA novels I have read the last few years. It was well written, thought out for a series and had great character development. I just wanted more by the time I got to the end of the novel. I also should point out, especially for adult readers out there, that while most YA novels are disappointing on the romance (aka sexual) scale, Nightshade was sexy, lusciously sensual (as it could be) and yet still appropriate for the YA audience. I think it was the chemistry that enhanced the scenes and gave it that extra spark.

Nightshade is a thrilling paranormal romance about alpha wolf Calla, who is to be mated out of high school to ladies’ man and alpha wolf Ren. They are supposed to keep traditions alive and begin a new pack designed to guard a sacred site for the Keepers. (The history and detail of the world Andrea Cremer has created are explained as you read.) Calla soon finds herself questioning everything she grew up believing and risking her life to save those she loves most as her world is challenged and turned upside down. As the book cover so eloquently puts it, “She can control her pack, but not her heart.” Nightshade is riddled with love, longing, desire, action packed adventure, a touch of mayhem and the fear of the unknown. I recommend this novel for YA readers, paranormal romance lovers, and someone looking for a new author.



Johanna Lindsey's Captive of My Desires

Johanna Lindsey’s Captive of My Desires was recommended by a friend. Captive of my Desires was a swashbuckling and adventurous historical novel with a winsome plot, sensual men, and feisty women. While this was the eighth book in the Malory Family series, it was fine on its own.  Our heroine is a cheeky- take charge heroine- and yes, she does take prisoners. I also enjoyed and what captivated my attention as different from many historical romance novels that take place in England, is that Captive of my Desires showed more than just the usual socially ruled lives of regent England characters. It was neither your Jane Austen romance nor the misunderstood yet awesome wallflower that gets the best man of the season.  Rather, Captive of my Desires has us on the high seas meeting pirates, visiting the Caribbean, and falling prey (scandalously) to outspoken Americans, while also being subjected to stogy English society.

Captive of my Desires was a spunky historical romance that left me with warm fuzzies when it was over. It was deliciously sensual, wickedly entertaining and a thrilling adventure.  I am excited to try more of Johanna Lindsey’s novels and I do recommend her to readers of historical romance or those in need of a spirited love story.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

FORGED IS HERE- October 26, 2012!

Award winning author Becky Banks will be joining us on October 25, 2012, to talk about her upcoming novel Forged!
Forged is a novel of first loves, dark pasts, and fast cars that collide in a high-octane adventure (in and out of the bedroom).

For more information about Becky, her novels, to order her book and of course to follow her blog tour, visit Author Becky Banks blog..

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Reveal It!

Fall is here! I love it! The autumn season is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. The weather changes so I can dress in layers, the trees transform their colors and shed their leaves, the pumpkins come out to fulfill their destiny, the subtle scraping of leaves blowing along the streets follows you while walking to your car, there’s football, gatherings with loved ones, street faires, and sooooo much more! Now, I am wracking my brain trying to figure out what my holiday themed reading should be. I generally try to read holiday themed books for the Halloween and Christmas seasons. I also love watching the various holiday movies from October through the New Year. Movies are so much easier to find it seems.
Thinking of fall, and the upcoming Harvest Faire I am attending this weekend, had me looking at my calendar. Halloween is right around the corner! We are already in the double digits of October for crying out loud! So, with that in mind, is anyone reading a book or books for this trick-o-treat period of October? I have decided to look through my to-read book shelves at home and come up with a book or two that is spooky and frightful. If I get really lucky the book may even be written for this season! Last year I read Dracula and then the new sequel Dracula the Un-Dead. Right now I think Gone Girl will be my first frightening read.
Let me know if anyone has reading suggestions or other reading traditions they want to share! Have a frightfully fabulous day!