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Fab Fantasy Fiction

Focuses on all things romance - contemporary, historical, paranormal, and romantic suspense. Reviews, interviews, guest posts, spotlights, giveaways. Fun weekly features!

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Review: Ava Miles' Dare River series offers a down-home country embrace

Country Heaven  - Ava Miles The Chocolate Garden (The Dare River Series Book 2) - Ava Miles
Ava Miles' Dare River series, a spinoff of her Dare Valley books, offers a slightly more down-home style of romance. Centered around country sensation and good ol' boy, Rye Crenshaw, who's best friends with Mac Maven and Rhett Butler Blaylock from the Dare Valley series, Dare River gives Miles a chance to add a Southern flair to her stories.

 

 

Southern is a good fit for Miles' feel-good romances. At the heart of her stories is the sense of family, faith, and forever - values that somehow seem to resonate a bit more loudly in our Southern states. It's interesting to switch between books of either series and go from a crisper diction in her Colorado-based stories to the more laid-back drawl of her Crenshaw family novels.

 

Beyond family ties, Miles has also used a small mystery to tie the series together with the subplot of searching for a tabloid leak. Miles has just published, The Chocolate Garden, book two in the Dare River series, and I'm already looking forward to reading the next story, where I'm guessing more will be known and explored about that leak - among other things.

 

If you've never read an Ava Miles book before and you love romances with a dash of Southern hospitality, then this is a good series to start with. Yes, you'll see references to characters from the Dare Valley series, but this can easily be a stand-alone series. But if you enjoy these books as much as I do, you should read Dare Valley too. (See my review.)

 

Foodies and gardeners will love these books too. Miles uses her experience as a chef for the story of Country Heaven. I'm certainly not the only gardening fan that will take great pleasure in reading about the planning of the Chocolate Garden. Plus for country music fans, there's enough Nashville backstories in both novels to hold your interest. When I start reading one of Ava Miles books, I know there will be a happily-ever-after. But beyond that, I know the journey to that place will be filled with interesting details and background, compelling characters, a bit of mystery or intrigue, and love. Yes, Ava Miles is on my must-read, auto-buy list and these two Dare River novels perfectly illustrate why.

 

Miles dishes up some irresistible country love!

Book 1 Country Heaven by Ava Miles

Ava Miles, Inc ⎜ 9781495443046 ⎜ $4.99 ⎜ Feb 8, 2014

When I began reading the first Dare River novel, I wasn't sure what to expect from the character of country music star, Rye Crenshaw. From his appearances in previous Miles' novels, I knew he was a good ol' boy who loved good food, but beyond that not much more. Without a doubt, I was curious and had a feeling that soon he'd be having his own story, but hadn't anticipated a spinoff series.

 

Quite cleverly, Miles had placed his Nashville home along the Dare River, so what could be a more effective brand tie-in than Dare Valley and Dare River. However, reading Country Heaven, I wasn't thinking of branding or cute names, but was enjoying the freedom that Miles was having in telling the story of Rye and Tory Simmons, the gem of a cook he found in a roadside diner.

 

Remember, I mentioned he loved to eat. Well, once initial prickliness was set aside and he experienced Tori's cooking, this graduate student soon had a job as his personal chef. Tori is a strong, salt-of-the-earth character who dispenses wisdom and love with every meal she prepares. Like her grandmother, whose recipes she wants to use to turn into a book, Tori's warmth and kindness is clearly evident. I love her take-no-prisoners attitude with Rye when she walks into him relaxing - along with a groupie - and when she refuses to wear the see-through apron that his former cook/mistress had left behind.

 

It was evident that there was romance to be dished up between Rye and Tori, but the journey to that point is what makes this book so fun to read - along with Tori's recipes that Miles includes. Before I even finished the book, I was planning what meals to recreate. (I guess I was not alone in this as Miles has published a stand-alone cookbook, see my review.)

 

In addition to the romance, Country Heaven also focuses on family - and what family really means.

 

Once again, I cried and laughed as I read Miles' story, but when I turned the last page a bit of happiness stayed with me. Yes, that's the true magic of reading an Ava Miles book, she shares her happiness with her readers and it's quite a wonderful gift to receive.

 

 

This garden grows with a little bit of magic, love, and faith

Book 2

The Chocolate Garden by Ava Miles

Ava Miles, Inc ⎜ 9781940565101 ⎜ $4.99 ⎜ Aug 12, 2014

One of the casualties of the last book was Rye Crenshaw's sister, Tammy and her two children. Remaking her life with him and Tori in Nashville is a bit scary, but quite exciting for this ever-so-proper Southern lady. Her evolution of inner freedom is a delight to read and the moment when her younger sister discusses cutting her hose to pieces, a revolutionary act like bra burning in the 70s, I was dissolving in laughter.

 

For me, the centerpiece of The Chocolate Garden was Tammy's inner transformation from down-trodden, stiff-upper-lip, country club wife to a woman of passion and confidence. Each step, from cutting her hair to choosing new clothes is lovingly depicted by Miles. Her ability to convey the societal strictures that had bound Tammy so tightly were most convincing - as was her portrait of Tammy's mother.

 

Tammy's children had captured my heart in Country Heaven and it was wonderful to see them spreading their little wings here.

 

But J.P. McGuiness (John Parker McGuiness) was the one who walked away with my heart. Oh my goodness, Ava Miles, you just keep writing the best book boyfriends any girl could wish for. Yes, this Nashville lawyer and college friend of Tammy's brother, is a guy any woman would want fighting on her side. It's clear from the opening pages of a wedding scene, that John Parker (as Tammy alone calls him) recognizes Tammy as his "one and only."

 

To me, that recognition is the mark of a brave and secure man. I love reading romances where the alpha hero fears love and commitment, but what really sends my book heart into a flutter is when the alpha hero is secure within himself. Yes, John Parker is that man and I had faith in him, from the beginning, that somehow this story would have a happily-ever-after.

 

There's plenty of conflict, between Tammy's desire to stand on her own, a crazy stalker, the search for the tabloid leak, and providing the children security when they feel their security ripped away. When Tammy and John Parker finally confront their desire for one another, oh my goodness, my eReader was sizzling!

 

Just as a bit of fairy magic is invoked to solve some of these conflicts and encourage romance, I think Miles sprinkled a bit virtually on the pages as this story just swept me away. With each plant that was chosen, I'd imagine the fragrance. The songs sung? Yes, I think I heard music too.

 

It's a real gifted writer who can achieve these magical leaps for a reader - and that's why with each book I add to my Ava Miles' bookshelf, I beam a bit inside. Yes, there's a shelf full of happiness in my eReader courtesy of Miles.

Source: http://www.fabfantasyfiction.com

Review: Ava Miles' The Dare Valley series is a heart-warming, inspiring, sexy romance must-read

Nora Roberts Land - Ava Miles French Roast (Dare Valley) - Ava Miles The Grand Opening (Dare Valley) - Ava Miles Holiday Serenade - Ava Miles The Town Square - Ava Miles The Park of Sunset Dreams - Ava Miles
When I look at my virtual bookshelf there are quite a few authors on my must-read favorite list. To list just a few: Jill Shalvis, Donna Kauffman, Beth Ciotta, Kristan Higgins, Laura Florand, Deborah Smith, Laura Kaye, Molly O'Keefe, Adrianne Lee, Pamela Claire, Jessica Scott, Rachel Grant, Lora Leigh, Lara Adrian, Laurann Dohner, Maya Banks, Mariah Stewart, Susan Mallery, the grand dame herself, Nora Roberts, and Ava Miles.

 

I’d never heard of Ava Miles before last year. Why? Because the first book she published was released on 2 July 2013.

 

Yes, just a little over a year ago. If you haven’t heard of Ava Miles yet, I’m going to tell you to go out and pick up one of her books. Yes, books. Since last July she’s published six books in her Dare Valley series and, as of Tuesday next week, two books in her spinoff Dare River series (I’m not counting the cookbook or songbook here). Yes, in just a little over a year, she has published eight titles that all should be on your must-read shelf.

 

In this review, I’m going to focus on her Dare Valley series, set in a small college town in Colorado. Miles has an open and easy style of writing that is truly inviting to readers. So inviting that the reader can just dive into her books and not want to leave. Ever.

 

In addition, her stories are imbued with an optimism, hopefulness, and faith - without being preachy. Reading them makes you happy. Yes, when you read an Ava Miles book your friends will know because you’ll probably be smiling and sharing the joy that the stores evoke with all of them.

 

That’s not to say that these romances aren’t sexy, passionate or complex. They’re HOT. However, these aren’t books that focus only on the bed chamber, but on all the dynamics that go into creating successful, long-term relationships.

 

Yes, these are romances that Ava Miles’ first book heroine would be able to read and find a hero to dream about, encouraging the belief that true love exists - just like in Nora Roberts titles.

 

THE DARE VALLEY SERIES, Books 1 - 6

Book 1 NORA ROBERTS LAND BY AVA MILES

CreateSpace 978149052751 $4.99 $0.00 2 July 2013
 

Last fall I fell in love with a book. It was by a new-to-me author, Ava Miles. I’ll admit this upfront, I picked the book up for the title. I mean, how could I resist reading a book called Nora Roberts Land. I dove into this book and from the acknowledgements and dedication section onward, I couldn’t put it down. Miles noted in the acknowledgements that she based a bit of the story on her sister’s own experiences. Knowing that, perhaps gave the story more depth, but truly it stands on its own.

 

Like its namesake’s books, Nora Roberts Land, is a sweeping story that will find a permanent home on romance lovers bookshelves. Why? Because of the land Miles introduces us to - Colorado’s Dare Valley; the protagonists - Meredith Hale, the newly-divorced heroine out to reclaim her identity and, Tanner McBride, a slightly burnt-out international journalist who might be Meredith’s second-chance at love or not, depending on his agenda; the inhabitants of Dare Valley including Meredith’s sister Jill and her grandfather Arthur, a Pulitzer-winning newspaper proprietor. Each of these elements engage us from the moment they’re introduced on the page.

 

Yes, Ava Miles breathes life into the characters so that when reading this book it is as though they are speaking directly to us. Ava Miles is a fabulous writer and Nora Roberts Land, her debut book, is just outstanding. In addition to the romance there is also quite a bit of intrigue. If you haven’t already read this bestselling title, you’re in luck. For a little while longer you may download it for free from many eRetailers, including Amazon.

 

Book 2 FRENCH ROAST BY AVA MILES

CreateSpace  9781492110156  $3.99  7 August 2013

I was really looking forward to reading the second book in the Dare Valley series, French Roast, but will admit to not being as engaged in this story as in Nora Roberts Land.

 

French Roast is the story of Meredith’s sister Jill, the proprietor of Dare Valley’s go-to coffee hangout, and her high school crush and boyfriend Brian McConnell. Brian, a chef, returns to Dare after making it big in Manhattan. His reasons are a bit sketchy (and you’ll find out why), but soon he and Jill are trying to reconnect as friends and plan a restaurant together.

 

As a foodie romance lover, you’d think this would be my favorite book of the series, but it’s not. Frankly, I think it’s because Ava Miles did just too good a job about creating the character of Brian. He has all the negative qualities of chefs I’ve worked with - arrogance, self-interest, slipping morality - and some of his actions, well I find them hard to understand. In contrast, Jill’s over-the-top enthusiasm is sometimes wearing.

 

By the conclusion of the book, both characters have evolved somewhat, but unlike Nora Roberts Land, I was able to put this book down several times.

 

That’s not to say you shouldn’t read it. You should.

 

Once again, Ava Miles’ beautiful and addictive prose overcame my angsty feeling with her protagonists. And as I could tell I was investing myself in the series, this book served as an introduction to characters and understanding of Dare that I knew would be helpful for understanding future books.

 

I’ll let you in on a secret. As the series has progressed, I’ve come to enjoy the characters of Jill and Brian as they mature. But this is very much a New Adult-themed romance, in contrast to the more evolved characters of Miles first book.

 

 

Book 3 THE GRAND OPENING BY AVA MILES

CreateSpace  9781492271017  $4.99  4 September 2013

The Grand Opening, the third book in Ava Miles’ Dare Valley series, was the first that I received to review (though I waited to read it until I finished books one and two) and is my absolute favorite of the series.

 

Yes, I wanted to know more about the new deputy sheriff in town, single mother and straight arrow, Peggy McBride. It was clear from their brief interactions in the previous stories that Mac Maven, whose plan to restore the old mountain hotel to its former glory includes top-level poker tournaments, and staunch anti-gambler Peggy have definite sparks flaring between them. So, I couldn’t wait to read “their” story.

 

Miles creates two wonderfully complicated and fascinating protagonists in Mac and Peggy. Long after I turned the last page and closed the book, I reflected on the challenges to their romance. The levels of trust and leaps of faith that each of them had to face. But most of all recalled the inspirational quality of their bond. This is the book, to me, that showcases Miles as a writer. If you were to read no other book by her, choose this one. (And I’ll guarantee you’ll read all the others too.)

 

After reading The Grand Opening, Ava Miles was added to my “must-buy” list and her books have a permanent home on my virtual shelf of treasured titles to reread. Yes, The Grand Opening resonated strongly for me. Not just for all the points I mentioned, but also for the tightness of the story, the added mystery and intrigue, and for creating the character of Mac Maven, who has to be one of my favorite book boyfriends.

 
 

Book 4 THE HOLIDAY SERENADE BY AVA MILES

Ava Miles, Inc.  9781940565026  $3.99  16 October 2013

The fourth Dare Valley book, The Holiday Serenade, is a novella focusing on Mac Maven’s best friend Rhett Butler Blaylock and Mac’s sister Abbie.

 

Professional gambler, Rhett, a larger-than-life character complete with poker babes, stole every scene when he appeared in The Grand Opening. Once again, Miles let us know that there would be a story to be told about Rhett and single mother, Abbie. So I was eagerly anticipating "their book."

 

Talk about book boyfriends, this Rhett would give Clark Gable a run for most charming gambler - ever! Abbie’s hesitance about trusting that charm is all too believable, but how could anyone not fall in love with him. (Yes, he’s Mac’s runner up in my book boyfriend list.)

 

I was totally involved in this story to the point that I turned the phone and wifi off, so I could just read it without any distractions.

 

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the need to keep a box of Kleenex on hand when you read Ava Miles’ stories. Along with her wit that effervesces off the page, Miles also channels the deep emotional hurdles her characters face in a way that takes you along - every step - with them. I’ll find tears streaming down my face at points when I’m reading her books. Tears, I’m unaware of until my cheeks are damp.

 

The Holiday Serenade is a book that traverses emotional highs and lows and does so with sensitivity and humor. I know that I gave this book to a few friends at the holidays to introduce them to Ava Miles' work as it truly encapsulates her style perfectly.

 

Book 5 THE TOWN SQUARE BY AVA MILES

Ava Miles, Inc.  9781940565033  $3.99  17 December 2013

Ava Miles channeled Doctor Who for a bit of time travel back to the 1960s for her fifth book, The Town Square, telling the story of Merry and Jill’s grandfather, Arthur, and his true love, Harriet.

 

I’m always a bit nervous when authors revisit characters in the past as sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t - at all. This was a time when the time travel worked - and worked wonderfully.

 

The back story of Arthur and Harriet is a must-read - and fits beautifully in the series where placed. Truly at the time when readers needed and wanted to know more about this grandfather of ethical journalism.

 

For Miles it’s a fairly short book (about 160 pages), but that’s because it’s so tightly written. There’s a bit of suspense and don’t forget those Kleenex’s as you’ll need them as well. If you love the era of Mad Men and Sean Connery as 007, you’ll definitely delight in the journey back in time to The Town Square.

 

Book 6 THE PARK OF SUNSET DREAMS BY AVA MILES

Ava Miles, Inc.  9781940565095  $4.99  20 May 2014

This spring, Miles released the sixth Dare Valley book, The Park of Sunset Dreams, that focuses on one of Rhett’s former poker babes cum dog walker, Jane Wilcox, and Merry and Jill’s cousin Matt Hale.

 

Matt, who recently moved back to Dare after becoming disillusioned with his work in a Denver law firm, calls on Jane to help him with a misbehaving dog he inherited from a client. He knows Jane can help him as he watches her each evening at the dog park where she walks Rhett’s attention-getting, dress-up, accessory dog as well as her own chocolate lab.

 

I love the fact that Jane, who considers her non-poker babe self to be a “plain jane,” is considered by Matt to resemble a young Audrey Hepburn.

 

Once again, Ava Miles creates characters that we can both relate too and enjoy a bit of a crush on. Yes, Matt is a good guy, a really good guy, and Jane, well she speaks for every woman she feels insecure about her looks and appeal.

 

If The Park of Sunset Dreams only consisted of their romance and scenes with the three dogs, this would be a fabulous book. But Miles throws in some additional twists and turns, including the deep secret of the poker babes’ identities, and this becomes a fabulously, fantastic book!

 

Yes, once again, Ava Miles has written a cannot-put-it-down page turner that grabs you by your heart and soul and won’t let go. When you get to the end of the book, you’ll understand the title - and all its layers of meanings.

 
Look for my review of Ava Miles' Dare River series and mark your calendar and travel back to Dare this fall, as Ava Miles will be releasing THE PERFECT INGREDIENT, the seventh Dare Valley book that tells the story of former poker babe Elizabeth and The Grand's new chef, Trent. 
 
In full disclosure, I received galleys of Nora Roberts Land and The Grand Opening from the publisher through NetGalley for use in the review. However, I also purchased each of these books to add to my permanent personal library.
 
Source: http://www.fabfantasyfiction.com

Tasty Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway: Robyn Neeley's BATTER UP, a foodie lover's magical romance

Batter Up - Robyn Neeley

One foodie romance that I fell in love with this summer is Robyn Neeley's BATTER UP  This fun and magical romance is just a delightful read and I highly recommend it to all of you.

What are some of the special ingredients in BATTER UP?

  • A small, lakeside town in Upstate New York filled with fun and fabulous characters
  • A bakery that dishes up a little extra to the bachelors of Buttermilk Falls every Monday night
  • A third-generation baker witch who creates a magical batter for those bachelors with every stir
  • A third-generation baker who can match everyone else up successfully, but lacks a certain someone in her own live
  • A cynical and disillusioned Florida journalist who's seeking to get the scoop on Buttermilk falls and reveal the fraudulent actions of that magical baker
  • A few BFFs to add a bit of spice along with a not-so-nice Buttermilk female on the make

 

Robyn Neeley stirs all of these ingredients together and comes up with a magical book that I could not put down. A story that easily switches from laugh-out-loud hilarity to moving with some Kleenex-ready moments. Spend a bit of your summer in Buttermilk Falls with Batter Up and you'll want to return again - real soon! Read my review

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READ AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM 
COURTESY OF ESCAPE PUBLISHING
 
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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

to win your own Batter Up eBook

Source: http://www.fabfantasyfiction.com

Tasty Tuesday Review: My Irish Table by Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorn

My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve - Cathal Armstrong, David Hagedorn

My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve by Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorn is a love letter to Chef Armstrong’s homeland and to his parents. The cover invites the foodie reader to open it up and savor the memories and flavors of Ireland with it’s bowl of mashed potatoes and copper pot of Irish Stew.

 

If you love Ireland - either through virtual or actual travel - you’ll truly appreciate Chef Armstrong’s homage to recipes of his homeland. To know that leg of lamb is traditionally served on St. Patrick’s Day made me smile. Discovering that Irish Soda Bread is a relatively recent (19th Century) staple, fascinating. But to cure my own corn beef? Highly doubtful.

 

At this point, I’d like to point out that this cookbook may be intimidating for the novice or hobby chef as many of the recipes are a bit complicated. Serious foodies and chefs won’t find them a problem, but when I consider curing my own meats for a recipe, I’m truly daunted at the prospect. That said, I realized that a novice could definitely create the dishes, but use their supermarket and gourmet food store handily. While the final product might not be quite the way Armstrong envisions, it probably is more realistic. And I’m sure the meals will be delicious.

 

To say that Chef Armstrong’s personal story is inspiring is an understatement. It’s clear that he was given a precious gift by his father, who was the household cook and gardener. As he noted, this was indeed unusual for an Irish household of the time, but his father was the chef and their Dublin garden produced the fresh produce that is the basis for all the dishes. As it was in Ireland, so it is in America, as Armstrong’s Restaurant Eve features its own garden in the Old Town Alexandria. Honored by the President for his initiatives, Armstrong is a passionate spokesperson for local sourcing. (And yes, vignettes about the President’s visit to Restaurant Eve are fun to read.)

 

However, what captured my attention were the recipes from his mam and those that highlighted holiday meals. I’ll admit to being totally overwhelmed by the breakfast section as I doubt I’ll ever be curing my own bacon, preparing my own sausage, or actually eating these on a regular basis. However, I will be making some of the orange marmalade as well as the cooked tomatoes.

 

With each of the 130 recipes, Chef Armstrong shares a story and in doing so invites us into his world. While I may not decide to recreate each of these dishes, I know that I’ll be using this book as a future reference. Perhaps I’ll go to it when reading a novel and needing to remember by white and black pudding are.

 

Recipes in My Irish Table also give away secrets. Traditional Irish Stew features lamb, not beef (see the recipe on Amazon). Corned Beef is a favorite dish of Halloween, a holiday that is widely celebrated in Ireland (another fact I didn’t know, but which makes sense with the Celtic pagan heritage). I can imagine authors using this book as a reference for when they write about Ireland as it provides far more than just recipes, but a real sense of this homeland for so many.

 

My Irish Table is also a bit of a love letter from Chef Armstrong to his wife Meshelle and their two children, Eve and Eamonn. Written with Washington Post food writer David Hagedorn, this cookbook is a delight to read. Truly for the stories as much as for the recipes themselves.

 

Once again I received an early version of this cookbook as an electronic galley from the publisher and just now received the hard cover. Which would I recommend to you? Without a doubt the hardcover. Although almost my entire library is now digital, I could not appreciate the scope of this book in the electronic format. While each transmits the same information, the joy of this book is in paging through it, being captured by one of the fabulous photos by Scott Suchman that so joyously illustrate many of the recipes.

 

I’ll definitely be returning to this book again and again and trying out some, but certainly not all of the recipes. However, I’ll read each one and hope to visit Restaurant Eve someday to taste Chef Armstrong’s dishes in situ.

If I were to pair this cookbook with some romances, some authors and books that come to mind are: Nora Roberts' many titles set in Ireland, including her Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy; Sophie Moss' Seal Island Trilogy; Carla Neggers' Sharpe & Donavan and her Irish series; Karen Marie Moning's Fever Series, among many, many others. (Yes, I love to read about Ireland. I. Do!)

 

If you love Ireland and its cuisine, My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve by Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorn is a must-read addition to your cookbook shelf.

From the Publisher

My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve  Written by Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorn

Ten Speed Press (Random House)

ISBN 9781607744306 Price $35.00

Publication Date March 11, 2014

The debut cookbook from Cathal Armstrong featuring 130 recipes showcasing modern Irish fare, along with stories about Armstrong's journey from Dublin to Washington, DC, and becoming an internationally recognized four-star chef, the owner of seven successful food and drink establishments, and a leader in the sustainable-food movement.      

 

With its moderate climate and amazing natural resources, Ireland is a modern-day Eden, boasting lush, bountiful produce, world-renowned dairy, plentiful seafood, and grass-fed meats. In My Irish Table, sustainable food movement leader and four-star chef Cathal Armstrong celebrates the food of his homeland and chronicles his culinary journey from Dublin to Washington DC, where he runs seven beloved and critically lauded restaurants.     

 

Featuring 130 delicious recipes—from Kerrygold Butter-Poached Lobster with Parsnips to Irish Stew, Shepherd’s Pie, and Mam’s Apple Pie—My Irish Table draws on Armstrong’s Irish upbringing as well as his professional experience and French culinary training. In his hands, Irish food is comforting yet elegant, rustic yet skillful, and My Irish Table invites you into his kitchen to explore the vibrant traditions and rich culinary landscape of the Emerald Isle.

I received this book from Blogging for Books and from NetGalley for this review.
 
 
Source: http://www.fabfantasyfiction.com

Mega-Summer Giveaway for 10 eBook collections

Summer is one of my favorite times to relax and read - by the pool, beach, in a hammock, or traveling to or from a destination. I know I'm not alone in that. So, here's your chance to scoop up TEN FABULOUS eBook collections in the Fab Fantasy Fiction Summer Bookish Vacation Destination Giveway.

 

What's that all about? Well, a few weeks ago I wrote a piece about a few of my favorite summer bookish vacation spots in the US. First of all, the places I chose were all fictional, so I tried to pair them up with possible real vacation spots to visit that might match some of the author's imagination.

 

Now, to enter this giveaway, I'd like you to visit that blog post, read it over, than add your favorite bookish vacation destination in the comments on that page. (Please share the book and author and location, please.) This can be a "real" or "based-upon" or "imagined" location. The main thing is to share where it's from and why you would like to spend a vacation there.

 

 
To enter, first add your comment by going to: 
 
Then come back here and submit your information in the entry form below. 
 
Happy bookish travels!
 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

One winner will receive an AmazonKindle Gift Certificate for these 10 eBook collections:
  • Summer Escape by Jane Porter, Sarah Mayberry, Megan Crane, Katherine Garbera, Joanne Walsh, Anne McAllister, Nancy Robards Thompson, Debra Salonen, Kim Boykin, Kaira Rouda, Carol Marinelli, Ally Blake
  • Three Southern Beaches: A Summer Beach Read Box Set by Kathleen Brooks, Christie Craig, Robyn Peterman
  • Hot Alpha SEALs: Military Romance Megaset by Sharon Hamilton, Anne Elizabeth, Cat Johnson , Cindy Dees, Cristin Harber, Delilah Devlin, Elle James, Gennita Low, J.M. Madden, Sabrina York , Teresa Reasor, P.T. Michelle
  • Second Chances Boxed Set: 7 Sweet & Sexy Romances in 1 Book by Tracey Alvarez, Diana Fraser, Janet Elizabeth Henderson, Joanne Hill, Kris Pearson, Shirley Wine, Serenity Woods
  • Modern Love by Alicia Hunter Pace, Elley Arden, Rachel Cross, Debra Kayn, Heather Thurmeier, Peggy Bird, Katie Kenyhercz, Jennifer DeCuir, Robyn Neeley, JM Stewart
  • The Naughty Nine: Where Danger and Passion Collide by Nina Bruhns, Taylor Lee, Julie Leto, Lorhainne Eckhart, Mary Leo, Patricia Mason, Dana Marton, Rita Herron, Karen Fenech, & Jill Sanders
  • Tempted by His Touch: A Limited Edition Boxed Set of Dukes, Rogues, & Alpha Heroes Historical Romance Novels by Darcy Burke, Gina Danna, Eva Devon, Lila DiPasqua, Bronwen Evans, Anthea Lawson, Emma Locke, Delilah Marvelle, Erica Monroe, & Erica Ridley
  • Must Love Pets: A Romance Box Set by Theresa Weir, Barbara Samuel, Dale Mayer, J.B. Lynn, Zoe Dawson, Edie Ramer, & Candace Carrabus
  • Ten Brides for Ten Heroes by Theresa Ragan, Donna Fasano, Patrice Wilton, Rebecca York, Helen Scott Taylor, Rita Herron, Mona Risk, Annie Jones, Alicia Street, & Mimi Barbour
  • Love is All Around (Box Set of Three Contemporary Romances) by Helen Scott Taylor
Source: http://www.fabfantasyfiction.com

Feeding Your eReader Friday with FREE & almost free books ($0.99 / $1.99)

 
Picks of FREE & almost free ($0.99 /$1.99) Kindle books for your eReader. 
These eBooks are carefully selected & I vouch for and highly recommend them. 
 
Yes, I've either read the title - and loved it - or am recommending the book because I know the author's other work.
 
Some of the offers may not last for long, so if you see a book you'd like - click on the  book's cover image and/or the underlined link to purchase it from Amazon.com. 
 
If you're accessing this via another site and would like to see the original post and the archives, go to: 
 
Remember to leave your feedback for the author and other readers, by posting a rating and/or review on the book's Amazon & Goodreads page. 
 
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If you haven't already take Amazon's new reader subscription service - KindleUnlimited - out for a test drive. DO! I can say after using it for two weeks that I'll probably be keeping my subscription after the FREE 30-day-trial, (yes, FREE trial) ends.  So take KU out for a month-long care free spin and borrow some great books! 
However, make sure to read whatever books you borrow. According to an article in Digital Book World, publishers only receive payment once the borrower starts to read, while indie authors only receive payment once you read 10% of the title. 
 
There are over 600,000 books and audiobooks in KU library (and more being added every day), so do give it a shot. 
 
I look forward to hearing from you about your experience there - pro or con.
 
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Before we get to the FREE books, I'd like to share a free apps and new websites that I've found helpful this week:
 
 

FACEBOOK PURITY OMG it's like a DVR for your FB newsfeed. Get rid of the sponsored posts and see your FRIENDS again :) To download and for more information, go to: http://www.fbpurity.com

BOOKLIKES I really love this new platform for authors, bloggers, and readers. It's almost like Facebook & Goodreads merged together. Don't worry you can import your Goodreads shelf and reviews, plus Booklikes will update your Goodreads shelf with any titles you add. (Just go to the import tab in settings and it's super easy to do.)  BookLikes is AWESOME and FREE. It's just starting out, so the more people who join and share the more fun it will be. If you sign up, find and friend me there (http://emsyvanwyck21.booklikes.com)I'll reciprocate.  To sign up for free, go to: http://booklikes.com

 

BOOKTROPOLOUS bills itself as "the city for readers and the home for writers." It Is a new social network for authors, publishers, book bloggers, and readers. It's still very new (only 5259 members right now), but if the membership grows it could be Facebook for Bookaholics. If you do try it out, find and friend me there (I'm Emsy Van Wyck). To sign up for free, go to: http://booktroupoussocial.com

 

BOOKTRACK A soundtrack for your books! OMG with Booktrack you'll not only be reading books, but hearing what the author and some very clever people have imagined the soundtrack to be. NO this is not an audiobook, but a whole new reading experience. You can access the Booktrack titles on your computer if you use Firefox, Chrome, or Opera browsers (compatibility with Safari coming soon) AND there are FREE apps for your iPhone/iPad and/or Android. Here's how Booktrack describes itself: "Booktrack is transforming reading the way sound transformed silent film...offers a new content creation and distribution platform that turns reading into an immersive movie-like experience. Booktrack’s patented technology lets anyone add a synchronized movie-style soundtrack to an e-book or other digital text content, with the audio paced to each individual’s reading speed." For you clever folks, you can also CREATE soundtracks. Check it out! To sign up for free, go to: http://www.booktrack.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've meant to read Rachael Herron's Cypress Hill Yarn series since I read her contribution to one of my favorite Christmas collections, Love on Main Street: A Snow Creek Christmas. Well, now I have no excuse. Two titles in this series are FREE right now. I'll be searching out the rest of the series to add to my library. You should too. You'll LOVE her! Cora's Heart: A Cypress Hollow Yarn (The Cypress Hollow Yarns Book 4) by Rachael Herron

From bestselling author, Rachael Herron, comes another funny and sexy romcom set in the sleepy Californian coastal town of Cypress Hollow. Cora has been hurt too many times, and by one man in particular . . .Abandoned by her mother and widowed in her mid-twenties, Cora Sylvan has learned the hard way that you should take nothing in life for granted. So everything is planned out to the last degree – from how to run her farm on a shoestring to how to survive a major earthquake. Unfortunately, there's nothing in those notes to cover the return of the infuriatingly handsome Mac Wildwood, her husband's cousin, the man she loved and lost. And Mac, it seems, has a secret plan of his own up his sleeve. Cora Sylvan safeguarded everything – but she didn't protect her heart . . . Fans of Debbie Macomber and Penny Reid will love this trip into Cypress Hollow, and into love.

Eliza's Home: A Cypress Hollow Novella by Rachael Herron

From bestselling author Rachael Herron comes at long last, Eliza Carpenter’s story. Home isn’t always a place… It's 1945, the war is over, the GIs are returning , and Eliza is on the run. At least, she would be if her truck hadn't broken down in the middle of nowhere and her money hadn't, quite literally, flown out the window. So when Joshua Carpenter, a cowboy with the most brilliant blue eyes she has ever seen, stops to offer her help, Eliza can't afford to say no… Joshua, it seems, is single-handedly building a home for himself on farmland just outside the town of Cypress Hollow. And as Eliza is about to discover, sometimes running away is the only way to come home...

 
 
 

Willow James aka Sara Humphreys is one of my fav authors, because her books are fabulously fun and sexy reads. As Willow she's writing even sexier books than her Amoveo Legend series. So if you're looking for a fun series in the erotic vein, check out her Stilettos and Seductions. Book one is FREE, so grab it now!

PUMPED (Stilettos and Seductions Book 1) by Willow James

Skylar Sole is focused on work, getting her degree, and dreams of the future. Men and relationships have never been at the top of her priority list. Besides, if a girl's got a good vibrator, then why risk a broken heart? The closest thing she has to a relationship is ogling the hottie from the office park who saunters by Stilettos lingerie shop every day on his way to the deli next door. Getting a glimpse of Mr. Wall Street had become the highlight of her work days and he had become the star of her fantasies. However, one Sunday afternoon, fantasy becomes reality when Mr. Wall Street shows up at Stilettos with that sexy, lopsided grin and a tantalizing proposition.

 
 

I've never read any of Kristin Miller's contemporary titles. (BAD on me!) BUT I love her paranormal series, the Seattle Wolf Pack (see $0.99 offer below). So, I'm going to check out her Blue Lake series with this title that sounds perfect for a summer day!

Crazy in Love (Contemporary Romance) (Blue Lake Series)

Historical inn owner Rachael McCoy has one simple rule: Don’t date guests. Ever. After having her heart broken by a string of sweet-talking visitors, Rachael has learned her lesson. But when dangerously sexy rock star Cole Turner rolls into town and rents every room in her hotel, she starts to rethink her rule. Cole’s a rumored playboy with a sordid past, yet his touch is sinfully sweet… Rock star and self-proclaimed sex god Cole Turner lives by a simple decree: There are no rules in love or rock and roll. One week after botching his performance in Houston, Cole needs a quiet place to regain focus. All he wants to do is lay low and nail his two-concert show outside of Blue Lake, though a hot and heavy fling with the seductive innkeeper wouldn’t hurt. But the stubborn little vixen denies his advances, and the more he gets to know her, the more he’s determined to make her his. As desire flames into something more intense, will the two unlikely lovers be able to bridge a gap to happy ever after?

 
 

Another great one-click title by the fabulous Virginia Kantra. I can't wait to read it!

The Passion of Patrick MacNeill (Sweet Home Carolina Book 2) by Virginia Kantra

Dedicated burn surgeon Kate Sinclair shields her tender heart behind a white coat and a coolly professional manner. But something about the little patient the nurses dub “Iron Man” and his vital flyboy father challenges her as a doctor and a woman. Since the car crash that killed his wife and almost took his son, pilot Patrick MacNeill’s life has revolved around his little boy. No one—no woman and certainly no interfering doctor—can intrude on their bond, forged in love and pain. When little Jack’s care brings these two together, it ignites a passion they can’t ignore. But their growing involvement threatens Patrick’s emotional barriers and Kate’s professional future. With so much at stake, will she trust her judgment...or her heart?

 
 

I don't usually feature the classics here, but couldn't resist adding Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I haven't read this in years and never added it to my digital library (my paperback is well-thumbed and dog-eared). So, if you're in the mood to reread Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy's story (I'll be visualizing Colin Firth, I can't help it). Join me in purchasing this classic today. You an add narration for Pride and Prejudice through WhisperSync for just $2.99! Listening to Pride and Prejudice on my daily walk, PRICELESS. :)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

In this historic romance, young Elizabeth Bennet strives for love, independence and honesty in the vapid high society of 19th century England.

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tule Publishing titles are on my must-buy list. Today Tule has released a new Summer Boxed set featuring all your favorite authors. On sale right now for just $0.99, the set is "dedicated to and proceeds go to a very special woman's family whose life was tragically cut short." So add a fabulous 12 book set by your fav authors to your eReader for less than a dollar and help support the family of someone very special. Summer Escape by Jane Porter, Sarah Mayberry, Megan Crane, Katharine Garbera, Carol Marinelli, Anne McAllister, Nancy Robards Thompson

Uncap the sun screen, spread out the beach towel and pour a glass of your favorite icy beverage as summer starts sizzling with 12 new "Fun in the Sun" reads from some of Tule's most loved and talented authors. There is romantic escape for everyone whether you are curled up in a chair on your deck or lounging pool or beach side. Embrace the promise of summer with a combination of sweet, sexy or steamy summer themed romances and let Tule authors' heroes sweep you away on your own romantic summer getaway.

 
 

I love second-chance romances and this is a great selection of titles by some fabulous New Zealand Indie authors. Here's your chance to add Tracey Alvarez's Koru Award finagling book, IN TOO DEEP (The Romance Writers of New Zealand 2014 Koru Award is a reader's choice award for excellence), as well as FIVE other titles by Kiwi writers.

Second Chances Boxed Set: 7 Sweet & Sexy Romances in 1 Book by Tracey Alvarez, Diana Fraser, Janet Elizabeth Henderson, Joanne Hill, Kris Pearson, Shirley Wine, Serenity Woods

There’s nothing sweeter than the promise of a second-chance romance that somehow fell apart the first time around. Join seven top New Zealand indie authors as they chart the course of rekindled romances after tender teenage infatuations, failed first-time marriages, friendships that never quite made it over the line, and partnerships previously forbidden. This collection of contemporary novels is a limited time special offer. Heat levels vary from sensual to downright sexy—there’s something for everyone. For more info check out our website at kiwiindies dot com.

In Too Deep — Tracey Alvarez To save her brother from financial ruin, police diver Piper Harland does the one thing she swore she’d never do—return to the tiny island hometown on Stewart Island where Ryan “West” Westlake crushed her heart. West lost Piper once, but now she’s back for an unexpected six week visit. Maybe he wants her a little bit, but can he fall in love with such a flight risk?

The Playboy’s Redemption — Diana Fraser James Mackenzie is tired of his shallow lifestyle and wants a family. But before he begins his new life he wants to secure the future of the woman he wronged ten years before. The last thing Susie Henderson needs is her ex lover buying the winery in which she works and threatening her independence. Because how can she trust someone who betrayed her, someone who doesn't even believe in himself?

Laura’s Big Break — Janet Elizabeth Henderson Laura needs to interview war hero Charlie to keep her job. She'd rather stick a fork in her eye. Charlie jokes that he won't say a word unless Laura comes along on his cycling holiday. Sport phobic Laura has no choice but to agree. It's two weeks of hell in Holland - and that's before Charlie discovers she can't ride a bike!

Dating Daisy — Joanne Hill When Daisy Miller discovers a new dating show in town, she auditions in the hope of getting promotion for her ailing bookshop. She figured she’d never win. She was wrong. Ancient History Professor Joel Benjamin—the loser boy Daisy once spent a memorable night with—chooses Daisy. But Joel's only on the show as a favour to his best mate and dating Daisy threatens his dream of becoming an Associate Professor.

The Wrong Sister — Kris Pearson From the 'Wicked in Wellington' series. Fiona Delaporte has an impossible assignment - to care for her newly widowed brother-in-law and his tiny daughter. (The newly widowed tall, dark and delicious brother-in-law she's secretly wanted for five long, frustrating years.) WARNING: Contains one hot man who always gets what he wants - in bed and out.

Return to Totara Park — Shirley Wine Winsome Grainger left Totara Park vowing never to return. A vow broken when she and her estranged husband, each inherit a half share in the estate. She has had time to regret not telling Jared why she walked out on him, and their marriage... Too late Winsome learns she’s a pawn in a dark and deadly game. A game whose rules she doesn’t know

His Christmas Present — Serenity Woods A romantic Christmas novella. Dion Wallace turns up in New Zealand hoping for a quiet break after the stress of his father's betrayal, and maybe also to reconnect with Megan Green, whom he hasn't seen since they met in Prague a year before. Megan has a Christmas present for him - but it's not quite what he was expecting...

 
 
 

Like millions of other readers I LOVE BELLA ANDRE's The Sullivans. I. Do. So, it's always wonderful to share one of these titles on sale. If you don't have it already on your bookshelf, add book four, Jake and Sophie's story for just $0.99. It's another great summer weekend read.

I Only Have Eyes For You: The Sullivans, Book 4 by Bella Andre

In I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre, the only woman Jake McCann wants is the one he can never have. But even though he knows loving Sophie Sullivan isn’t the right thing to do...how can he possibly resist? Sophie Sullivan, a librarian in San Francisco, was five years old when she fell head over heels in love with Jake McCann. Twenty years later, she’s convinced the notorious bad boy still sees her as the “nice” Sullivan twin. That is, when he bothers to look at her at all. But when they both get caught up in the magic of the first Sullivan wedding, she knows it’s long past time to do whatever it takes to make him see her for who she truly is...the woman who will love him forever. Jake has always been a magnet for women, especially since his Irish pubs made him extremely wealthy. But the only woman he really wants is the one he can never have. Not only is Sophie his best friend’s off-limits younger sister...he can’t risk letting her get close enough to discover his deeply hidden secret. Only, when Sophie appears on his doorstep as Jake’s every fantasy come to life—smart, beautiful, and shockingly sexy—he doesn’t have a prayer of taking his eyes, or his hands, off her. And he can’t stop craving more of her sweet smiles and sinful kisses. Because even though Jake knows loving Sophie isn’t the right thing to do...how can he possibly resist?

 
 

I've really enjoyed the first two books in Kristin Miller's fun & sexy Seattle Wolf Pack series and am looking forward to reading book three, So I Married a Werewolf. I didn't even think twice and just one-clicked immediately to add this to my library. You should too if you love sexy alpha shifters and kick-ass heroines!

So I Married a Werewolf by Kristin Miller

Carter Griffin, enforcing officer for the Seattle Wolf Pack, has a problem. He's been offered the promotion of his dreams…if he can find a wife to prove he's over his playboy ways. But Carter's already walked the matrimonial road and bought the stinkin' T-shirt. Besides, a werewolf only gets one fated mate. Been there, done that. All werewolf dog trainer Faith Hamilton wants to do is earn enough green stuff to put her younger brother through college. Okay, okay, so she also totally wants Carter, her sexy next-door neighbor, to look at her as more than a friend. It's too bad size 12 and plain isn't his type. At all. The two friends strike a deal to help one another out. They must face a variety of challenges from a psycho ex-girlfriend to a Yorkie with a shoe fetish...and that pesky problem of only having one-fated mate in a lifetime. Will a relationship ruin their friendship…or spark a love neither anticipated?

 
 
 

If you LOVE historical romances, snap up this title - FAST. Not only won't the sale last for long, but the collection itself will disappear after September 21. So, grab your copy to read TEN full-length titles.

Tempted by His Touch: A Limited Edition Boxed Set of Dukes, Rogues, & Alpha Heroes Historical Romance Novels by Darcy Burke, Gina Danna, Eva Devon, Lila DiPasqua, Bronwen Evans, Anthea Lawson, Emma Locke, Delilah Marvelle, Erica Monroe, & Erica Ridley

A multi-author boxed set featuring ten sizzling full length historical romances from ten bestselling, award-winning authors. Fall in love with fabulous tales of intrigue, suspense, wit, and passion featuring dukes, rogues, alpha heroes...and the women who can't resist them.

Scoundrel Ever After by Darcy Burke Once upon a time there was a very bad boy who met a very nice girl....

Lady of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle (RT Award-winning author) Educating a man in the art of love takes time. Lots of it.

Sonata for a Scoundrel by Anthea Lawson (RITA nominated author) Passion and secrets simmer against the glittering backdrop of 19th century musical celebrity.

To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield by Bronwen Evans (USA Today Bestselling author) What's a lady to do when a notorious rake wins her estate in a game of cards?

Undone by Lila DiPasqua One steamy, emotionally charged retelling of Rapunzel...Rescuing this beauty from the 'tower' is only the beginning...

The Problem with Seduction by Emma Locke Elizabeth Spencer needs a man. She doesn't need to like him--because while she needs a man, she doesn't particularly want one.

A Dangerous Invitation by Erica Monroe Daniel O'Reilly returns to win back Kate Morgan's heart and prove he's innocent of murder.

Once Upon a Duke by Eva Devon A widow looking to get seduced. A duke more than willing to oblige.

Great & Unfortunate Desires by Gina Danna A marquis with a guilty past takes a bride in a world where love is fatal.

Dark Surrender By Erica Ridley Trapped in darkness.... Their passion burns bright!

WARNING: THESE ARE HOT, HOT, HOT!

If you like your romances HOT this is the collection for you! These authors ROCK the genre. Just a warning, though. If you're looking for more traditional romance, these stories include BDSM and menages. So prepare for your eReader to steam up. Enjoy!

Mastered: Ten Tales of Sensual Surrender by Opal Carew, Portia Da Costa, Madelynne Ellis, Marie Harte, Joey Hill, T.J. Michaels, Kate Pearce, Carrie Ann Ryan, Sasha White, Emily Ryan-Davis and Jennifer Leeland

Three Secrets by New York Times and USA Today bestseller Opal Carew Sharing secrets has never been so exhilarating... Nicole and Abel met in Paris and fell in love, but Nicole believes her secret lifestyle will drive Abel away. After the vacation ends, she decides to take a chance and share her secret, but little does she know he has a secret of his own.

His Secret by International and UK Sunday Times bestseller Portia Da Costa Quiet storm... Ben Chambers is the perfect handsome boyfriend. Sarah adores him, yet despite their delicious lovemaking and the fun they share, she senses he has a secret. But then, during a luxury weekend away, one casual pat to her bottom transforms everything, revealing Ben's thrilling hidden dominance, and a world of decadent pleasure and deeper love.

Remastered by Multi-Award-Winner Madelynne Ellis A bad experience with a former girlfriend caused Spook Mortensen to repress his sexual urges, but when sound engineer Allegra Hutton is called upon to remaster Black Halo's first album, there's only so much attitude and stubborn refusal to listen to the bands' wishes he can take before he's forced to break his self-imposed vow and take her in hand.

Working Out by USA Today bestseller Marie Harte When lust turns to love, who's really on top? An ex-Marine with a kink for dominance, Mac is Maggie's boss. But Maggie doesn't seem to realize he's in charge...until he shows her that Sir is more than a title. It's a lifestyle that could suit them both. That's if Maggie sticks around long enough to wear his collar.

The Scientific Method by bestseller Joey W. Hill Mastering her body was easy. Mastering her heart and soul will be an erotic science... In the vampire-servant relationship, the vampire holds all the power. Being Lord Brian's research assistant as well as his servant, Debra accepts that, but she craves her Master's heart. When Brian notices his servant's unhappiness, he uses methods they both understand to prove just what belonging to him fully means.

Juicy by bestseller T.J. Michaels Twilight Teahouse ~ Choose something decadent from our menu... Solie Shaw is a brilliant self-made woman. After managing a corporation by day, at night, all she wants is to not be in charge. The last man she'd gifted her heart to had smashed it to smithereens and then did the mambo on top of the pieces. Now, along comes the chance to get exactly what she needs. All Solie has to do...is choose.

No Limits by USA Today bestseller Kate Pearce All bets are off when there are no limits... Dr. Julia Reed deals with life or death situations at a California ER. When British businessman Alex Logan offers her a sexual bargain, she gets to share her darkest fantasies; he gets the power to carry them out. But who is the real winner in this high stakes game, and is Alex even playing fair?

Ink Reunited by USA Today bestseller Carrie Ann Ryan Only two men can give Sassy the happily ever after she craves. Rafe, Ian and Sassy loved each other...until it all blew apart. Now both men are back for the woman they love. It will take more than apologies for these three to overcome their history. But once they take that step, the streets of New Orleans will never be the same.

Unfettered: An Overwatch Story by Sasha White You never forget your first love Mechanic Ronnie Lang is tired of being "one of the guys". Chasing the fantasy of finding a dominant male to help her explore her sexuality she applies to Overwatch, a private BDSM club where her eyes are opened to a world that's more than she ever imagined, and the man she's never forgotten.

Bondage on 34th Street by Emily Ryan-Davis & Jennifer Leeland In knots over love After years of searching, Tasha Sears finally finds the Master of her heart ...on his knees in front of intimidatingly sexy bondage enthusiast Noah Dreyfuss. As sparks flare between the three, Noah's ropes will either bind them together or pull them apart.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love foodie romances? Love small-town romances? Well then, just one-click now to add Kimberly Kincaid's first Pine Mountain title to your library. Last fall, I fell in love with Pine Mountain in the absolutely wonderful collection, The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap by Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell, & Kimberly Kincaid and hoped for more about this rural mountain community. Well, here it is! A fun & sexy read from Ms. Kincaid at a bargain price. (I've had word that book two might go on sale soon too, but that means this offer won't last long.)

Turn Up the Heat (A Pine Mountain Novel Book 1) by Kimberly Kincaid

"It's not you." There are only so many times a girl can hear those words before she believes that it is, in fact, very much her. Unexpectedly jilted by her locally famous boyfriend and haunted by a boss who makes Attila the Hun look like a lap dog, Bellamy Blake does what any self-respecting girl in her shoes would do. She rounds up her two best girlfriends and makes plans to get the hell out of Dodge. . . But Bellamy's escape plan takes a nose dive on the side of rural route 164 when her transmission self-destructs, leaving her in the middle of a cell phone dead zone with nothing but her wits. Oh, and Shane Griffin, the hottest mechanic who's ever checked under her hood. Yet this small-town man isn't all he seems. Can Shane and Bellamy prove that sometimes the most unlikely ingredients make the most deliciously sexy mix?

Source: http://www.fabfantasyfiction.com

READ Molly O'Keefe! The Boys of Bishop are passionate, gritty, moving, and tender must-reads.

Never Been Kissed - Molly O'Keefe

So what happens with Brody and Ash, these two very interesting yet wounded souls? If you guess they make their way to Bishop, Arkansas, you’re right. Their journey, not measured in miles, but trust, faith, love, hope is one I’ll remember - and reread many times. If I hadn’t already added Molly O’Keefe to my must-read, auto-buy list before this, I would after reading Never Been Kissed

Source: http://www.fabfantasyfiction.com

READ Molly O'Keefe! The Boys of Bishop are passionate, gritty, moving, and tender must-reads.

Between the Sheets - Molly O'Keefe

I’ll admit to tears. Again. And yes, this story was emotionally draining AND at the same time uplifting. Between the Sheets did what great books should do and let me live beside these people of Bishop and come to care about them. A Lot. I think tears and Molly O’Keefe books are like weeping eyes when peeling onions, with both layers and layers are revealed and tears are expected … with each turn of the page or stroke of the knife.

 

Source: http://www.fabfantasyfiction.com

READ Molly O'Keefe! The Boys of Bishop are passionate, gritty, moving, and tender must-reads.

Some months you know are going to be great. This July ROCKED, not just because it's summer, but because readers were able to catch up with the Molly O’Keefe’s Boys of Bishop in not one, but TWO books!

 

First of all, if you haven’t yet read the first book in the series, Wild Child, you should grab it now. No, it’s not necessary to read this series in order as these are stand-alone titles, but you should. You. Really. Should. I loved Wild Child when I read it last fall (see my review) and have been counting first the months, then weeks, then days till these two titles were published.

 

In Wild Child, I’ll admit I fell in love with Bishop, Arkansas and Molly’s writing (I’d never read any of her books before). Coming from a town that also saw its economy devastated when its only major employer pulled out, I emphasized with the citizens of Bishop who seemed like they’d try anything to get a new employer in town. I worried about them. Really. I. Did. So I’m so glad to be able to catch up with what’s been happening in book two, Never Been Kissed, and book three, Between the Sheets.

 

When I opened Never Been Kissed, I thought perhaps I had the wrong book as the setting wasn’t Bishop, but Cook’s Bay, Moorea, in the Polynesian Islands. (I actually double checked the title to make sure.) But of course it was correct and in this first chapter we learn a bit more about the rather enigmatic Brody Baxter. Remember him?In Wild Child  he had popped in to Bishop in order to help his brother Luke prepare Pour, the family bar Pour, for service.

 

Brody is an ex-Marine, invalided out, and now guarding a corrupt politician and his mistress at a vacation hideaway. His discontent with his life emanates from the page and captured my attention and concern.

 

“The world issued an open invitation to humanity to fail itself. To be selfish and small. Mean, even evil at times. And most people, in Brody’s experience, found it impossible to turn down that invitation.” (page 8)

 

Oh my. My heart cracked when I read this. With three sentences Molly O’Keefe encapsulated the isolation and emptiness of Brody and made me just want to comfort him. Yes, in many ways he’s an alpha hero, but he’s one that I have a feeling will do the unexpected as we journey with him in this story. Soon he’s off to rescue the sister of another politician from Somali pirates. It’s clear from Brody’s reaction to the news that Harrison, her brother brings, that Ashley Montgomery is someone with whom Brody had a past. But what that past involved isn’t clear - except it didn't seem good.

 

When Brody rescues Ashley, it’s not a guns-blazing scenario. But the scene shows not only the depravity of the kidnappers, but also the desperation of the marginalized people who shelter them. O’Keefe doesn’t excuse them for their actions. To the contrary. But one of the many reasons I love reading her books is her ability to convey the story not just in black in white, but in all the many shades in between.

 

She also writes some of the most vivid and passionate love scenes - again in a way that “takes you there.” Yes, from the moment of Ash’s rescue, it’s clear that whatever transpired between Brody and Ash in the past was also very alive in the present. Their chemistry sizzles off the page.

 

Ash is someone I’d love to know. While it’s clear that she’s been constricted by pressures from her family and, indeed, herself, she’s one of the amazingly kind, trusting, and faithful people I've read about. Really, you’d want her as your best friend. Plus she’s fun! Even when battered and fearful from her ordeal as a hostage, she remains positive and hopeful.

 

My heart bled for her though when she arrived at her grandmother’s (now her own) luxurious Manhattan apartment and found her picture-perfect mother there. The quintessential politician’s wife, it’s clear that Patty (don't call her Mom) doesn’t see who Ashley is. When her mother offers her soup (a standard mother thing to do), Ashley’s reaction made me cry.

 

“And weakened as Ashley was, she had a vision, lovely and strange, of Patty actually heating up the soup. Standing over a stove, stirring a pot. Magically, Patty would be wearing an apron. For her. If her mother would actually do that … so much would be forgiven. That’s how little pride Ashley had left.” (p 40-41)

 

Of course, Patty doesn’t make the soup, but delegates Brody to the kitchen to do so as though he were her servant. (As he probably is in her eyes.) Yet, from this brief passage, O’Keefe clearly lets us know the demons that Ash has faced all her life.

 

In addition to Brody and Ash, Luke and Bishop cafe owner Cora’s prickly friendship is equally engaging. I adored Luke, who like a puppy dog, seemed to have boundless enthusiasm and optimism as he struggles to make Pour a going concern. (Such a contrast to his adopted brother, Brody.) He can’t cook? Well he’ll still have a chili night, even if the chili is inedible. And he’ll smile - a lot. Cora is a street savvy kitchen magician, whose cafe is constantly filled. Their spiky interactions, then mutually accepted ceasefire is so much fun to read.

 

Luke and Brody’s father just made me smile with his exterior gruffness that camouflages a tender heart. There’s humor threaded throughout this story and it’s added in at just the right time for the reader to chuckle a bit and relax. Molly O’Keefe has perfect timing with this - as she does with the more serious scenes.

 

So what happens with Brody and Ash, these two very interesting yet wounded souls? If you guess they make their way to Bishop, Arkansas, you’re right. Their journey, not measured in miles, but trust, faith, love, hope is one I’ll remember - and reread many times. If I hadn’t already added Molly O’Keefe to my must-read, auto-buy list before this, I would after reading Never Been Kissed.

 

I admit to crying when I was reading Wild Child  especially during the oh-so-public meltdown of art teacher and Bishop saint Shelby Monroe. In Between the Sheets we get to see what has happened to Shelby a year after her cracker fling turned ugly.

 

Now dealing with the day-in, day-out ever constant and debilitating life with a parent, her mother, slipping further into the shadow world of dementia, Shelby is an island in Bishop. It’s clear that she doesn’t ask for help, really I wonder if she even knows how.

 

But the same woman who had that fling rears her head early on when reacting to the late night noise emanating from her new neighbors garage. I had wondered if Wyatt or Ty, a tall, good looking, biker-dude briefly seen in Never Been Kissed as Brody’s new assistant, would have a role in a future book. (I sure hoped he would. And he does!) Yes, Tye is the hero of Between the Sheets and he and his newly discovered son just ran away with my heart.

 

I’ll admit to suffering and sympathizing with Shelby with each devolving encounter she had with her mother, with each time her chin raised as she outstared someone who thought of the words broadcast about her on national TV, and with each time she crawled back into her shell after trying her wings. I understood Shelby all too well.

 

"And she couldn't help it - she just gave up holding onto who she was. She just dropped every jagged edge she'd been clinging to and she let her world fall away. All of her pretenses." (page 99)

 

Once again, Molly O’Keefe explodes the traditional trope and creates characters that breathe. Ty is no typical bad boy, even if he rode into town on a bike, and Shelby is not a downtrodden heroine in need of rescue. Their passion-filled matings are flat-out steamy, but oh-so-revealing about what is said and what is silent.

 

"Volatile energy poured off her and he was surprised the light bulbs overhead didn't shatter as she walked under them. As she got closer, her energy, like a virus, spread to him and he felt the hot coil of need in his belly." (page 101)

 

I’ll admit to tears. Again. And yes, this story was emotionally draining AND at the same time uplifting. Between the Sheets did what great books should do and let me live beside these people of Bishop and come to care about them. A Lot. I think tears and Molly O’Keefe books are like weeping eyes when peeling onions, with both layers and layers are revealed and tears are expected … with each turn of the page or stroke of the knife.

 

The only thing I'll complain about is that the book ended. I wanted to keep reading about Ty and Shelby, Luke and Cora, Brody and Ash, Monica and Jackson. So, I'll be looking forward to reading Molly O’Keefe’s next Boys of Bishop title, Indecent Proposal (pub date 30 Sep 2014), that will focus on Ashley’s rising politician brother, Harrison Montgomery, and his mysterious and unexpected marriage to Ryan.

 

So if you’ve been searching for an author who captures your imagination and your heart with characters and stories that resonate with the real choices and situations we all face, add Molly O’Keefe to your must-buy list too. Really. Do. Her stories stand-out. Her storytelling voice is exceptional. Her love scenes are passionate, gritty, moving, and tender. In reality she’s become one of my favorite authors whose stories will be on my bookshelf for as long as I’ll be reading.

From the Publisher The Boys of Bishop, Book 2

Never Been Kissed (The Boys of Bishop) by Molly O'Keefe

Bantam Dell (Random House Publishing Group) ⎜ ISBN (ISBN13: 9780345549013 ⎜ Price $7.99 ⎜ Pub Date Jul 1 2014

As the daughter of a wealthy politician, Ashley Montgomery has had enough of her parents’ expectations for her future and is going her own way, volunteering to work at a refugee camp in Africa. But her act of charity turns dangerous when she takes a boat trip and is abducted by Somali pirates. Enter Brody Baxter, who was a bodyguard for the Montgomery family ten years ago and doesn’t think twice about coming to Ashley’s rescue. Handsome and tough, Brody has always done what needed to be done. So he swoops in, saves Ashley, and brings her to a place where she can rest and recuperate without the glare of the press and her demanding family: Brody’s small hometown of Bishop, Arkansas. But Ashley soon realizes that she’s not the only one in need of healing. Holed up with Ashley in a tiny apartment over his brother’s bar in Bishop, Brody is tempted and torn in ways he never anticipated. Beautiful Ashley, vibrant despite her ordeal, fearless enough to love him beyond his wall of self-punishment, is now determined to save him. But with a little faith and a lot of love, they just may find happiness in each others’ arms.

The Boys of Bishop, Book 3

Between the Sheets by Molly O'Keefe

Bantam Dell (Random House Publishing Group) ⎜ ISBN 9780345549037 ⎜ Price $7.99 ⎜ Pub Date Jul 29 2014

After years of running, Wyatt Svenson has now parked himself in Bishop, Arkansas, trying to do the right thing and parent a son he didn’t even know he had until recently. Over six feet tall and packed with muscles and power, Ty likes to get his hands dirty, fixing his motorcycle at night and keeping his mind away from the mistakes he’s made. Then his pretty neighbor shows up on his driveway, doesn’t bother to introduce herself, and complains about the noise. First impression? She should loosen up. Funny that she turns out to be his son’s elementary school art teacher—and the only one willing to help his troubled boy. Ty needs her. In more ways than one. Though Shelby Monroe is safe in her structured life, she is drawn to Ty’s bad-boy edge and rugged sexuality. What if she just lets it all go: her worries about her mother, her fear of heartbreak, and her tight self control? What if she grabs Ty and takes a ride on the wild side? “What if” becomes reality—intense, exhilarating . . . and addictive. But Ty wants more than a secret affair. He wants it all with Shelby. But will she take a chance and open her heart? Ty is determined to convince Shelby to take the biggest risk of her life: on him.

 
Source: http://www.fabfantasyfiction.com

Wicked Wednesday Quiz: Which type of historical heroine are you? (Great giveaway too!)

 
Are you ROYAL, an OPERATIVE, or member of a RETINUE? 
Take this fun quiz and find out what type of historical romance heroine you might be. 
Make sure to add these fun and fabulous titles by Grace Burrowes, Katie MacAlister, and Shana Galen to your bookshelf to find out how your historical heroine fares.
 

Quiz: Which Type of Historical Romance Heroine Are You?

 

#1 What word best describes you?

a) effervescent

b) nonconfrontational (mostly)

c) stealthy

 

#2 My favorite hobby is ...

a) comparative study of the male form

b) looking after my darling baron

c) target practice

 

#3 What is the perfect late night snack?

a) bread, cheese, meats, lemon tarts … whatever can be liberated from the kitchen

b) the baron's kisses

c) ratafia, shaken not stirred

 

 

#4 My ideal man must have ...

a) a sublime derriere

b) an aptitude for growing hardy, contrary flowers

c) brains

 

 

#5 What accessory do you never leave home without?

a) my corset (large bosoms are such a trial)

b) my composure

c) my pistol

 
***  

If you choose mostly As ... then you are as sparkling and resourceful as Her Serene Royal Highness Dagmar from The Truth About Leo by Katie MacAlister. Dagmar may have been raised in a strictly formal manner, but she’s never let that stop her from pursuing anything that catches her interest. She’s a bit quirky, marches to her own drummer, and has a fine, fine appreciation of the manly form.

If you choose mostly Bs … then you are clearly the stuff a baroness is made of, much like Millicent, from The Traitor by Grace Burrowes. Milly is sweet, fierce, determined, and brave but slow to trust. Sebastian, Baron St. Clair, is ALSO sweet, fierce, determined and brave, and relentless when it comes to protecting those he cares for. Alas for both Sebastian and Milly, an enemy stalks them who is not sweet. By the time Milly is done with Sebastian's enemies, they are not very brave either. So if you chose mostly B's, the bad guys better steer mighty clear of you!

 

If you choose mostly Cs then you are equipped to be a master spy like Jane Bonde from Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen. Jane is smart, cunning, and loyal, but she has her weaknesses too. Her latest weakness goes by the name Dominic Griffyn. Planning a wedding and defeating a villain intent upon the destruction of England is tricky, but if you're the sort who multitasks easily, then you too have Jane's unique skills and panache.

 

 

***
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
***
ABOUT THE TITLES
 

PREORDER FROM AMAZON

THE TRAITOR (Captive Hearts #2) by Grace Burrowes

Sourcebooks Casablanca | ISBN 9781402294990 | $7.99 | Pub Date: Aug 5, 2014

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes delivers a passionate, danger-filled Regency romance...

The past will overtake him... Abandoned in France since boyhood, despite being heir to an English barony, Sebastian St. Clair makes impossible choices to survive a tour of duty in the French Army. He returns to England hoping for the peaceful life of a country gentleman, though old enemies insist on challenging him on the field of honor, one after another.

But this time, he will not fight alone... Millicent Danforth desperately needs her position as companion to the Traitor Baron's aunt, but grieves to learn that Sebastian must continually fight a war long over. As Sebastian and Milly explore their growing passion, they uncover a plot that will cost Sebastian his life and his honor, unless he does battle once more-this time in the name of love.

 

PREORDER FROM AMAZON

LOVE AND LET SPY (Lord and Lady Spy Book #3) by Shana Galen

Sourcebooks Casablanca | ISBN 9781402291739 | $7.99 | Pub Date: Aug 5, 2014

Her name is Bonde, Jane Bonde... A beautiful and eligible member of the ton, Jane has more than a few secrets: she's one of the Crown's most elite agents. She may be deadly, but she doesn't know a thing about fashion, flirtation, or love...until Dominic Griffyn shakes up her carefully stirred world and asks her to be his bride. He's exactly the kind of man she's not looking for. And he's dangerous, because falling into his arms is so much more satisfying than saving England from her enemies.

He's an improper gentleman who needs a wife... Tall, dark, and tortured, Dominic Griffyn is haunted by demons from his past. When his stepfather insists that he marry, Dominic allows himself to hope that the beautiful but mysterious Miss Bonde might help him forget his troubles. As they grow closer, it's clear that there's more to Jane than danger. She might be just what his neglected heart needs. Praise for Lord and Lady Spy: "Lively, utterly delightful adventure romance." -RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

PREORDER FROM AMAZON

THE TRUTH ABOUT LEO (Noble series #4) by Katie MacAlister

Sourcebooks Casablanca | ISBN 9781402294457 | $7.99 | Pub Date: Aug 5, 2014

The much-anticipated, brand-new Regency romance from New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister.

Can Dagmar flee Denmark Dagmar Marie Sophie is a poverty-stricken Danish princess whose annoying royal cousin is about to have her stuffed away in a convent. When she finds a wounded man unconscious in her garden, she sees a way out of her desperate situation.

By Lying to Leo? Leopold Ernst George Mortimer, seventh earl of March, and spy in the service of the king, finds himself on the wrong end of a saber and left for dead. He wakes up not remembering what happened...in the care of a beautiful woman who says she is his wife. Back in London, Leo-with the help of his old friends the eccentric Britton family-sets out to unravel what he's forgotten... Is Dagmar truly the wonderful, irrepressible woman who makes his heart sing, or is she a dangerous enigma bent on his destruction?

Source: http://www.fabfantasyfiction.com

Lisa Fain shares happiness with each tantalizing recipe. GLORIOUS, a must-read cookbook

The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours - Lisa Fain

There are certain places that to me are heart homes - Paris, North Wales, the Deep South, and Texas.

 

When I first arrived in Paris, as a rather naive graduate student, I was accompanied by my mother. We began walking the arrondissements and at a certain moment she looked at me and said, “You haven’t looked at the map once. You know where you’re going. How are you doing this?” Well, I couldn’t really answer her as my feet and heart just knew the rues as though they’d always walked them. Yes, Paris is my heart home.

 

I have that same reaction when I read books about the Deep South - Savannah, Charleston, the Blue Ridge Mountain area. And although I’ve never visited there, I know that when I do, my feet and heart will already know their appropriate paths.

Texas is another place that I feel kindred to. I’m not sure whether it’s because of my father’s tales of when he lived in West Texas or the number of books I’ve read since childhood that feature stories about Texas and Texans, but there is something about that state that calls to me.

 

When I was perusing books to review, Lisa Fain’s new cookbook The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours called out to me - and I answered that summons immediately.

 

From the moment I began reading, Lisa Fain’s welcoming introduction connected with my heart. This isn’t just a cookbook to follow, but a love letter to the generations of Texans before her who have passed along their treasured recipes.

 

“There’s this recurring dream that I have. I’m in a field - my great-grandma’s Texas cornfield to be exact. A long table loaded with dishes, bowls, and platters full of good food stretches through the green stalks, and surrounding the table is most everyone I’ve ever known, both family and friends. My great-grandmother is there, and she waves me over. ‘Mighty fine food and mighty fine people to eat it!” she says as I take a seat. I then begin to eat a most memorable meal.” - from Lisa Fain’s preface to The Homesick Texan's Family Table

 

By sharing these recipes - and her wisdom - Fain is creating a way for us to create our “most memorable meals” and transmit some Texas generosity and love to our friends and family. With each page I turned and recipe I read, I had to hold myself back from running into the kitchen to create some of this down home love.

 

May I say that this is one of the most beautifully and lyrically illustrated cookbooks I’ve read in quite a while. Personally I’d love some of the photos to frame and hang, not only in my kitchen, but throughout my home. They are that beautiful. It’s not surprising how well they integrate with Fain’s stories and recipes as she’s taken each one.

 

As I continue to read her introductions to each section I fall a bit more in love with this homesick Texan’s way of expressing herself. I’d advise you to pick up your own copy of this cookbook, not just for the recipes, but for Fain’s stories, like the one she that she relates introducing her tweak on Uncle Austin’s Blueberry Granola.

 

“When I was working on my first book, Austin told me the most important thing was to have fun while I was writing it. If you are having fun, he said, then those who cook from it will have fun, too.” - from Lisa Fain’s preface to The Homesick Texan's Family Table

 

Her uncle taught her well, as each recipe that Fain has shared bubbles with happiness and, yes, fun. These are dishes that you’ll make time and again, and I relish her kitchen advice about kitchen equipment must-haves. She too uses her heritage cast-iron skillet for “just about everything - from deep-frying to sautéing to even baking.” This is my favorite kitchen item as well and knowing that she creates many of these recipes, using just that, made my day.

 

In fact, Fain takes a lot of the fear and mystery out of food preparation when she shares that her kitchen is so small that:

 

“If I stand in the middle of it, I can spread my arms and reach the outer boundaries on each side. There is one counter, a stove, and a narrow, shallow sink. There is no dishwasher, there is no walk-in pantry, and while there is a refrigerator, it doesn’t fit in the space allotted and instead is halfway in the kitchen and halfway in the living area, straddling the border of both.” - from Lisa Fain’s About the Recipes section in The Homesick Texan's Family Table

 

Reading that excerpt, don’t you feel reassured as a breath of relief and inner confidence imbue you? Why if she can cook these recipes in a tiny kitchen, not a restaurant-ready Top Chef kitchen, well, perhaps they can be re-created at home by you and me. And they can.

 

That’s the magic about this cookbook, as it contains recipes that have been around for generations, but are now updated and slightly tweaked by Fain for the way we live today. She seeks out fresh ingredients (I see myself haunting the Farmers' Market on Saturday morning) and even includes a recipe for home made chili powder that I can’t wait to try.

I love the fact that she shares some of the places beyond family and friends that she’s found recipes, like her Creamy Macaroni and Cheese that is based upon a trick she found in a Texas Junior League cookbook. I've found a heart soul sister, as one of the things I most love to do is to haunt library sales and second hand bookstores in search of those quirky fundraising community recipe collections that feature favorites from church ladies, Junior Leagues, granges, and other community organizations.

 

Speaking of which, I have both a digital copy of The Homesick Texan's Family Table as well as a hardcover edition. As you know, I’m all about eBooks here, but I’m going to be absolutely honest. I would advise you to buy the hardcover. It’s just that beautiful. I’ll use my eBook, Kindle version for everyday cooking, while the hardcover will reside on my kitchen’s cookbook shelf to be brought out, time and again, when I seek a bit of inspiration, comfort, or just want a little of that happiness that Fain shares with her readers (and not get smudged with cooking detritus).

 

Were I to pair Fain’s recipe collection with some novels, a few authors spring to mind. Diana Palmer and her Texas biscuit-loving Hart brothers for one. (I love the fact that Lisa Fain cuts her biscuits with the metal closure from a Mason jar. Just brilliant and illustrated so beautifully in a photograph.) Having just read Melissa Cutler’s Catcher Creek series, I immediately thought of chef Amy Sorentino from The Trouble With Cowboys (Catcher Creek Book 1).

 

So if you love not only to cook, but to read about the wonders and joy of sharing food with family and friends, then Lisa Fain’s The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours is a must-read. If you are drawn to Texans, ranchers, and cowboys, add it to your TBR shelf. (Yes, Fain recreates a Cowboy Chili that sounds truly authentic and perfect for a cold winter night - or while out on the range during a roundup.)

 

In addition, I’ll be following Lisa Fain’s Homesick Texan blog, http://www.homesicktexan.com, because just like I know when I’ve found a heart home, in Fain I’ve found a cooking heart sister.

 

“And that’s what The Homesick Texan's Family Table is all about-making memories at the table with those whom we love. No matter if they are memories of sitting together for a simple weeknight dinner or jostling for space during a large holiday gathering, some of my fondest moments have occurred a the family table.” - from Lisa Fain’s introduction to The Homesick Texan's Family Table

 

Thank you Lisa Fain for sharing your wisdom and recipes so I can create treasured memories here, in my own home!

Source: http://www.fabfantasyfiction.com

Jill Shalvis ROCKS! Then Came You and her Animal Magnetism series are must-reads for any season.

Then Came You - Jill Shalvis

It’s always a happy day in my house when there is a new Jill Shalvis book to be read, but it’s a huge celebration when there is a new series to be enjoyed. Really. It. Is.

Earlier this month I saw that Jill had a new title, Then Came You.

 

I snapped it up! Yes, she’s one of my must-buy authors and after my mini-celebration, I settled back to begin reading. But then I realized that this was book five in her Animal Magnetism series and I hadn’t read the previous four titles. Oh my, now I was celebrating big-time.

 

I know that Then Came You could be a stand-alone title, but why wouldn’t I want to read the four preceding stories and get the scoop on all the characters from Sunshine, Idaho. It’s Jill Shalvis. Small town romance. Humor to keep you laughing-out-loud for hours. Stories that center around animals, hunky vets, their family and friends. The question is not why would I read the four earlier titles, but why hadn’t I before! That situation was quickly remedied in one weekend.

 

I flew through books one to four. Fell in love with a pet duck (Animal Magnetism). Emphasized with Jade, while rooting for Dell (Animal Attraction). Cried a bit with Holly and Adam (Rescue My Heart). And totally lost my heart to Tommy, Kate’s younger brother, in Rumor Has It.

 

I felt like I had moved to Sunshine, Idaho, by the time I began reading book five, Then Came You. I think my golden retriever and four cats would like to visit Drs. Dell and Wyatt. Yes. I. Do. (And I wouldn’t mind seeing them myself!)

 

Then Came You sets up that perfect oops moment when two people who never thought they’d see one another again wind up working together for a year.

 

Yes, what happened in Reno didn’t stay in Reno. (Perhaps the vet conference should have been held in Las Vegas.) Veterinarian intern Emily arrives in Sunshine, Idaho, already out-of-sorts and literally counting the days till her year internship is finished. She had hoped for the more glamorous slot in LA, where she’d be tending star's teacup dogs, instead of getting down-in-the-dirt with livestock at a ranch.

 

Her year only became harder when she realized Wyatt, her new boss, was her hook-up from Reno. They hadn’t exchanged last names. They didn’t intend seeing one another again. But it seems neither one could forget the other.

 

I really enjoyed this story and thought Wyatt was almost perfect. Why? His two sisters had already trained him in most things woman related. Their interactions were wonderful as was Emily’s with her sister. As with Rumor Has It, the families were as central to this story as the main protagonists.

 

Once again I found myself laughing-out-loud with situational humor that Shalvis writes so well. The pages also scorched my Kindle a bit as Emily and Wyatt’s relationship progressed. The Kleenex box came out at the end of the story, as it does quite often with Shalvis. She’s an author who knows how to give her readers an all-encompassing emotional ride, and have them line up eagerly for the next.

 

I highly recommend the Jill Shalvis’ Animal Magnetism series and Then Came You. Jill Shalvis ROCKS!

Source: http://www.fabfantasyfiction.com

Forgotten Sins

Forgotten Sins - Rebecca Zanetti A super HOT military romance with a paranormal edge

Rebecca Zanetti had me from the moment I read the description of Forgotten Sins, the first book in her Sins Brothers series. 

Who could resist these Sins brothers, who may never have known a family as they were raised under harsh conditions in a laboratory/military setting, always desired the hearth and home they saw on television sitcoms that they watched illicitly as children. 

When Shane Dean married Josie she thought all her dreams had come true - then he disappeared. Heartbroken she moved away and was totally thrown when she was called as next-of-kin to the hospital where Shane is being treated. What secrets has he been keeping? Will she ever trust him again and let him back in her life? 

Once his secrets begin to unravel and the enemies he and his brothers face come after them, I could barely breath, let alone set down the book. 

Yes, this is a super HOT military romance with a paranormal edge that grips the reader and won’t let go. If you enjoy reading military suspense titles by Lora Leigh and Maya Banks, you’ll want to add Rebecca Zanetti to your must-read list too!

(I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley for use in this review.)

Goddess with a Blade

Goddess with a Blade - Lauren Dane If you’re in the mood for a take-no-prisoner’s heroine, who just happens to share her body with a goddess, then pick up Lauren Dane’s Rowan Summerwaite series.

I first read Goddess With a Blade, the first book in the series, a few years ago. And I could not wait, really could not, for the next book in the series to be published.

I love feisty, brilliant, sassy, confident, and kick-ass heroines. Don’t you?

Rowan is all that, but she has to be as the living vessel for the Celtic Goddess Brigid. As the representative of the Hunter Corporation, charged with keeping the peace, she’s the one who keeps the vampires in line.

After she had to retire the last Vampire Scion of Las Vegas do to his misbehavior, it’s only natural that the vampires are a bit nervous around her. All but the new Scion, who sees Rowan as a bit more than a tasty treat. Yep, Clive Stewart thinks that kick-ass vibe is uber-sexy - and he should know.

When Clive and Rowan team up, albeit somewhat reluctantly, to investigate a series of vampire murders, you know that attraction is going to flare to live - and it does.

I couldn’t put this book down, but then I tend to say that about all Lauren Dane’s paranormal series. She creates fascinating alternative worlds that are just believable enough to make you check out friends and foes to see if they might be sporting some prominent eye teeth, or large swords.

A perfect read for hot summer day, just make sure your Kindle doesn’t overheat while you flip those pages!

Four-and-a-half stars
(I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley for use in this review.)

Blade to the Keep

Blade to the Keep - Lauren Dane Dane delivers an excellent sequel to Goddess with a Blade

Blade to the Keep by Lauren Dane, the second Rowan Summerwaite book, picks up after the crisis in Las Vegas is over. 

Rowan and Clive have moved on - together for now - and are working on a treaty between the Vampire Nation and the Hunter Corporation. With vampire representatives from around the world, they’re gathering for a summit at the fortress-like home of Rowan’s guardian, The First. He’s one of the oldest vampires in existence (hence his title) and leads the Vampire Nation. 

There’s conflict, deception, and traitors to root out, but the real question is will Clive and Rowan survive? If they do, will they stay together? 

I really enjoyed Blade to the Keep as I was so curious about The First, who made a few interesting appearances in the first book. This story explains why Rowan is so tough. What her early life was like. Why she has such mixed feelings about The First. It ROCKS! Plus, Clive just keeps getting more interesting. 

If you love urban fantasy/paranormal romances and haven’t already read the Rowan Summerwaite series, DO! It’s excellent. Plus this summer is the perfect time to catch up (or reread these stories) as the the third book, Blade on the Hunt, will be released in mid-November.

Four-and-a-half stars

(I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley for use in this review.)

Born in Blood

Born in Blood - Alexandra Ivy A fascinating new urban fantasy realm to explore!

Alexandra Ivy’s Born in Blood is a book that grabbed me from the first page. The gritty urban fantasy landscape that Ive created - where the paranormal realm coexists alongside the mundane mortal world - is fascinating. 

Mixing police procedural and a psychic CSI-type vibe, the characters are compelling. What at first seems to be a slightly baffling crime, soon becomes much more, as Police Sergeant Duncan O’Conner consults with Callie Brown, who can channel the dead, discovering a murderer who seemingly knows no limits. 

There are plot twists and turns that I never anticipated - and kept me flipping the pages like mad. I was fascinated by Callie and found Duncan to be one of those heroes you just have to crush on. So, if you’re looking for a fascinating new urban fantasy realm to explore, pick up Alexandra Ivy’s Born in Blood.

Four-and-a-half stars

(I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley for use in this review.)