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Friday, October 24, 2014

Arabella Met a Black Sheep!

by Anna Campbell

As you can probably tell from the illustration, I've been digging into the Heyer back catalogue again. But before I get into the nitty-gritty of the review, I've got an announcement to make.

After five years doing Second Helping reviews here on the Romance Dish and working with the lovely PJ and Andrea, I'm hanging up my ballet slippers. At least in the medium term.

These days I find I'm not reading nearly as much romance as I used to and when I do, it's catching up with tried-and-true authors who I've already reviewed several times here. So in the interests of freshness, I'm taking a break.

Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to leave a comment or, even better, a recommendation. I've picked up some of my favorite authors through books mentioned on this blog and for that you'll always have my gratitude. I'd also like to thank PJ and Andrea for giving me such a wonderful forum for my opinions and a chance to talk about books I love with like-minded people. Always a buzz!

So this is my last actual review. Next month, I'm going to do a greatest hits piece about the books I've reviewed that you really, really have to read. And then my last spot in December will be a bit of a look back and a look forward for me personally.

It seems really appropriate to end my Second Helping column with a couple of lovely Georgette Heyers. As regulars know, I've been gradually re-reading GH's work and sharing my thoughts here. Another thing I'm eternally grateful to the Dishes for is that they got me involved on this project. I'd forgotten just how enchanting these books are! It's also given me a chance to revisit old favorites and find new ones. Both of the books today fall into the second category. I don't remember them as particularly outstanding, but I loved both revisiting them as a lady of a certain, ahem, age!

BLACK SHEEP (1966) is an absolute hoot with some of the best dialogue I've ever read. I think the neighbors were worried that I'd lost my mind, I laughed so loudly at this one. I'm absolutely shocked that it didn't make my top 10 last time I read the Heyers but it certainly would now.

The plot has a lot of GH's familiar tropes. The older, self-assured woman who falls in love despite herself. The harum-scarum niece and her amours. Annoying relatives. A complicated and improbable plot. And wit - LOTS of wit.

Abigail Wendover has settled into a comfortable if dull life in Bath with her hypochondriac/invalid sister Selina but life changes irrevocably when her niece Fanny falls into the hands of a fortune hunter. Even more disruptive to her calm routine, the fortune hunter's uncle arrives and turns out to be an attractive man who sets her heart beating much too fast, especially if she really is the dedicated spinster she claims.

Miles Calverleigh is the Black Sheep of the title. As a youth, his family exiled him to India when he kept getting into scrapes and now he's returned as a rich man with no respect for the occasional sillinesses of society. So we've got the good girl and the bad boy and fireworks ensue! Great fun.

My second Heyer today is ARABELLA (1949) which starts fairly slowly but picks up pace until it's galloping along like a Derby winner so my advice would be bear with the opening with its pack of characters and Regency cant. It's worth it in the end. ARABELLA is a wonderful romp and I promise you'll be laughing out loud when all the threads start tangling together to make a bright and hilarious tapestry (can tapestries be hilarious?).

Lovely Arabella Tallant embarks on her first season with only her spectacular looks to recommend her - until she takes umbrage at the arrogance of super-rich ton darling Robert Beaumaris and claims to be an heiress. False gossip about Arabella's huge fortune make her the target of every marriage-minded man in society. Mr. Beaumaris finds himself caught up in all the hijinks and, despite himself, enchanted by the headstrong and good-hearted vicar's daughter. Add in Arabella's reckless brother visiting London under a false identity and a cast of memorable and eccentric characters, and you have a recipe for a riproaring farce with a very nice romantic ending.

Both of these books are on the lighter end of the spectrum and are sure to brighten even the gloomiest day. Highly recommended.

So seeing these both fall firmly into the romantic comedy genre, do you have a favorite romantic comedy? Historal or contemporary? What's the last book that had you giggling out loud?   

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Today's Special - Jill Shalvis

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

As Andrea noted in her recent review of One in a Million, she and readers the world over are mourning the end of Jill Shalvis's Lucky Harbor series. And they aren't alone. Jill, herself, is having a hard time saying goodbye to these beloved characters. In fact, she's having such a difficult time that she's embarked on a Lucky Harbor blog tour with a Rafflecopter giveaway of the full Lucky Harbor set of books and also has a special surprise for fans of the series.  (Be sure to read all the way to the end of this blog!) 

Guest Post - Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor Series Wrap Up

Lucky Harbor started with three estranged sisters inheriting a dilapidated inn on the Pacific Northwest coast. It was supposed to be all one book, in fact. But I never could manage to contain it in one story so I split it into three, one love story for each sister. My goodness that was fun. It was so much fun, I came up with another trilogy idea. Three strangers stuck alone in a storm in a diner with nothing readily available except a chocolate cake. Hello, chocoholics. I thought it would end there but I’ve never been so happy to be wrong. And so, unbelievably, here I am twelve books later, still as much in love with Lucky Harbor as I ever was. Oh the fun I had coming up with characters and figuring out how to torture them.:) Seriously, I have the best job on the planet.

To celebrate the end of the series, today I'm answering some fan questions about Lucky Harbor.

The free spirited Chloe and by-the-books Sawyer from Head Over Heels are quite the pair! Do you have a favorite scene with this couple?

Oh, most definitely the painting scene where the paint that should have been on Sawyer’s walls ended up on some body parts instead… and then they fall asleep like that and Ford and Jax find them in the morning and take pics.

What is your favorite spot in the town of Lucky Harbor?

The secret cove where more than a few of the couples of Lucky Harbor found their way to for some seriously sexy times. :)

Which book was the most difficult to write?

Luke and Ali’s story in It Had To Be You. I had to rewrite that story four times for my editor. It nearly killed me dead. I have no idea why either because I loved Luke.

Nicknames! Which nickname from the series do you like the best?

Officer Hottie! (Sawyer from Head Over Heels)

Saying goodbye to Lucky Harbor was far more difficult than I imagined. I mean I thought I was ready to leave but as I wrote this last trilogy, It's In His Kiss, He's So Fine, and One In A Million, it really hit me. It was over. I was so sad that I wrote a holiday novella. :) I couldn’t help myself! Merry Christmas, Baby (12/2) is my love letter to the Lucky Harbor readers (and a surprise revisit with one of my fave couples) who enjoyed the series and stuck with me for twelve books.  TWELVE books. I still can’t believe it. I’m not sure I’ll ever forget Jax, Ford, Sawyer, Ty, Matt, Josh, Luke, Jack, Ben, Sam, Cole, and Tanner…  Sob!  But I have plenty of new stories to tell, so no worries. I’m still writing the animal series and for those of you who read and loved Then Came You this past summer, Still The One comes out 4/15. And … drum roll please … I’ll have a brand new series coming out in 2015. The first book is written and I’m keeping it under my hat a little bit longer but let’s just say there’s some hot alpha brothers coming your way soon.


Title: Merry Christmas, Baby
Author: Jill Shalvis
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance


Wild child Chloe Thompson can't believe how much things have changed. She still can't get enough of her sexy husband Sawyer, but he seems to prefer working to thinking about impending fatherhood. So tonight, a very pregnant Chloe is escaping her troubles at the town Christmas party.

Sheriff Sawyer Thompson hopes surprising Chloe at the party will give him a chance to set things right. But as the snow begins to fall and the wind rages, he wonders whether he can make it back in time. While mother nature conspires to keep Sawyer and Chloe apart, an unexpected arrival will require them to kiss and make up . . . and ring in the happiest holiday Lucky Harbor has ever seen.

Goodreads Link

Readers, do you have trouble saying goodbye to beloved characters? 

When you finished a much loved series does it take a while before you can pick up a new book?

Do you have a favorite book or character in the Lucky Harbor series?

Do you revisit your favorites?

Are you as excited about the Merry Christmas, Baby short story as we are?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review - - Change of Heart

Change of Heart
By Jude Deveraux
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: October 21, 2014

I love Jude Deveraux’s Edilean series. Okay, I grant you there are few books of Ms. Deveraux’s that didn’t work for me, but generally speaking, if we have a Taggert, Montgomery, or a character from Edilean, I’ll read the book and pass it to all my friends to read. When the book has two or more of these qualities, even better. Change of Heart has this; and is also two stories in one lovely book.

The first part of the book (story 1 as I refer to it) has classic Jude Deveraux casting: Frank Taggert and Miranda Harcourt. Frank is the brother of Mike, the hot hunky hero from Sweet Liar, whom I adored in his Happily Ever After. Frank is rather the opposite of his brother—he’s unapproachable, anti-social, and a bit of a workaholic. He is basically your standard Romantic Hero Asshat; and he’s such an arrogant little toe rag. Miranda Harcourt is sweet, innocent and entirely too likely to help a con artist with her last dollar than allow said con artist to starve. It practically says “doormat” across her forehead. Her son, Eli, despairs of leaving her to her own devices when he gets a chance to go to Princeton (at age 12, think Sheldon Cooper.) He takes care of his mother; he can’t leave her to pursue his dreams. He’s darling, even if he is a bit off-putting.

Stage: Frank is alone in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with a broken arm. Miranda is sent to be his nurse for two weeks, to give them time to fall in love. Eli is precocious…and come to think of it, so is Mike who thinks doing this to his brother is hilarious. As you might imagine, some misunderstandings occur, like Frank thinks Miranda is a hired prostitute; and Miranda thinks he’s a completely heartless, moral-less ass clown. Fortunately this is cleared up pretty quickly; and with some delightful arguments and passionate make ups, Miranda and Frank get their happily ever after.

The second part of the book is about Eli Harcourt, all grown up, and his romantic love interest in none-other than his childhood, partner-in-crime, Chelsea Hamilton. Chelsea is the beautiful daughter of an uber-rich, successful businessman; and while Eli’s issues revolve around him being a workaholic with all the social ability of his step-dad Frank, Chelsea’s issues involve being too rich and too pretty—because that’s about all she’s good for. I must applaud Ms. Deveraux for making me care about rich people and their problems—but I really liked Chelsea and hoped she’d pull herself together to see that Eli was the right guy for her.

This story seemed very fringe-related to Edilean, but if that doesn’t bother you, I think you’ll enjoy the stories just the same. At the very least, I think you’ll enjoy the blast from the past Sweet Liar characters and the rough-and-rumble behavior of the Taggert brood. I want to dig out my keepers from the shelves and fall in love with the Taggerts all over again.


Hellie Sinclair (a.k.a. Fran) was one of the founding members of the Romance Writer's Revenge, where she frequently got to satisfy her love of good books and her need to expound by writing reviews. Hellie loves to craft on projects she rarely finishes, watch British dramas as a sort of Olympic marathon event, and do most anything that fits the description "indolent and pleasurable." Fortunately reading falls into that category. Connect with Hellie on Facebook

PJ here! I've been waiting for a story for Eli and Chelsea since first meeting them as children in Deveraux's short story, "Change of Heart" in the 2005 anthology, A HOLIDAY OF LOVE. What fictional children or secondary characters are you still hoping will get their own happy ending? 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review - - Christmas at Seashell Cottage

Christmas at Seashell Cottage
By Donna Alward
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Release Date: October 7, 2014
(Digital release only)

Dr. Charlene “Charlie” Yang and former SEAL and current dock worker Dave Ricker may both be newcomers to Jewell Cove, Maine, but they appear to have little else in common—if one doesn’t count the fact that glimpsing Dave from afar has been enough for Charlie to give him the starring role in her fantasies. The two meet when they both volunteer to work on preparing the local nativity scene for display. Charlie, whose bow-tying skills are less than satisfactory, is sent outside to place straw and the doll that represents the infant Christ Child in a manger built by Dave. Dave is charmed by Charlie’s petite beauty and interested in the contrast between the doctor he has heard described as “Dr. Pit Bull” and the woman he overhears talking to the Baby Jesus.

The interest is enough for Dave to show up for the community tree lighting the next evening even though he has a strong preference for an open fire and a shot of whiskey over the Maine wind chill and free hot chocolate. The spark that struck at their initial meeting flares with greater intensity as Charlie and Dave share body heat and a songbook. Charlie is almost relieved when they run into her fellow physician and boss Josh Collins, who invites them to join a group of friends for dinner. But on their way to meet Josh and company, they find a living infant has joined the plastic baby in the manger. Charlie ends up caring for the baby temporarily, and the emotional investment they both have in the baby they call Daniel becomes another bond between them.

But Charlie, with her emotionally distant, perfectionist parents who never felt a sense of belonging, wants to sink roots in Jewell Cove, and she wants all the warmth and security and messiness of life with a husband and children. Dave wants to focus on his relationship with his daughter who lives with his ex-wife and her new husband, and he sees his time in Jewell Cove as temporary.  Can two people with such disparate goals find their HEA even with true love and Christmas in the mix?

Donna Alward’s Christmas novella is sweet without being saccharine, genuinely sentimental without falling into sentimentality, and filled with Christmas trappings and meaning without being cheesy. I really liked the first Jewell Cove book (House on Blackberry Hill), and the novella has the same sense of a real place inhabited by real people with baggage and vulnerabilities and humor and hearts longing for love—even if it sometimes takes them a while to admit it. This ranks in my top five Christmas reads for 2014. Now I’m even more eager for Treasure on Lilac Lane, an October 28 release that is the story of Rick Sullivan and Jess Collins, a story I have wanted since I finished the first book. (And Josh’s story, Summer on Lovers' Island will be out in May).


Monday, October 20, 2014

Today's Special - - Tracy Solheim

Tracy Solheim is the international bestselling author of the Out of Bound Series for Penguin.  Her books feature members of the fictitious Baltimore Blaze football team and the women who love them.  In a previous life, Tracy wrote best sellers for Congress and was a freelance journalist for regional and national magazines.  She’s a military brat who now makes her home in Johns Creek, Georgia, with her husband, their two children, a pesky Labrador retriever puppy and a horse named after her first novel.  See what she’s up to at www.tracysolheim.com.  Like her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TracySolheimBooks

PJ here. I've said it before but it bears mentioning again; overcoming one's natural shyness and speaking to fellow elevator riders can bring the nicest people into our lives. I'm so happy for the spontaneous conversation in an elevator at the 2013 RWA national conference that introduced me to Tracy Solheim. She's a delightful woman who just happens to write terrific contemporary romances. Please give her a warm welcome as she returns to TRD to tell us about her new novella for Tule Publishing, Holiday at Magnolia Bay

I have a confession to make and a tiny apology. My latest release, Holiday at Magnolia Bay, may be a little misleading to readers expecting the novella to be laden with Christmas references.  In fact, most of the story takes place well before the holiday season—but you’ll find a very satisfying ending that takes place at Christmas time!  Since it’s not “technically” the Christmas season yet, I hope you’ll forgive me.  I had a good reason. 
You see, my story’s heroine, Jenna Huntley, is a marine biologist with a passion for sea turtles.  She meets Drew Lanham, a battle weary Navy SEAL, while trying to protect a nest of loggerhead sea turtle eggs.  Those big sea creatures only nest during the summer, so you can see my dilemma, right?  The novella—and the relationship between Jenna and Drew—had to start at the end of summer when the turtles hatch.  Of course, there’s still plenty of Christmas cheer during Drew and Jenna’s happily ever after moment, you’ll see.
So why did I write the book this way?  Because I’ve always been fascinated with sea turtles and I couldn’t imagine a book taking place in coastal Carolina without mentioning them.  Like Jenna, growing up my family gravitated to one beach on the North Carolina coast for years—and I’ve continued the tradition with my own children.  We’ve been fortunate enough to see these great turtles in “the wild” and also stranded on the beach.  Turtle nests along the shore are as much a part of our vacation spot as sunburn and seagulls.  I’ve been lucky to be able to watch under a late summer moon as a nest of loggerhead turtles bubbled up from the sand and sprinted into the ocean.  It was awesome!
A few years ago, my family and I took a trip to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll
Island, Georgia.  The day-long backstage tour was the basis for my description of the fictional Magnolia Bay Turtle Center.  If I made any errors, it’s totally my fault for not taking proper notes.  (In my defense, other books were drowning this one out in my head at the time!)  The tour was fascinating.  We watched the giant beauties swimming in large salt water pools.  My son even got to feed some.  They allowed us into the incubation room, the operating room and a smaller “triage” suite where one of the biologists was fixing the flipper of a young loggerhead.  It was a trip I’ll never forget.  If you’d like to learn more about the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, here’s the link: http://www.jekyllisland.com/jekyll-island-foundation/conservation-programs/georgia-sea-turtle-center/   It’s worth the visit.

I brought back a keepsake from that trip that hangs on my Christmas tree every year—see, I got us back to Christmas!  It’s one of my very favorite ornaments.  And, in the spirit of the holidays, I’m giving a sea turtle ornament away to one lucky person who comments on this post along with a Tule gift bag.

Tell me about one of your favorite holiday decorations or mementos. Does it have a story behind it?   It can be any holiday throughout the year, too!

After a mission goes terribly wrong, ending in the death of a teammate, Navy Seal, Drew Lanham, is forced to take a leave from active-duty. Retreating to his godmother’s beach house in coastal Magnolia Bay, Drew plans to spend the three weeks R&R licking his wounds and catching some rays while the nightmares from his failed op fade. The last thing he wants to do is mingle with the locals. What he doesn’t count on is an early morning encounter with a goddess rising from the sea. His interest is piqued and his body put on alert when he finds out that same woman may or may not be after his godmother’s money. 

Marine biologist, Jenna Huntley, has been searching her whole life for a place to call home and Magnolia Bay is that place. Unfortunately, she’s underutilizing her education giving tours at the town’s turtle rescue center. With the help of an octogenarian patroness, she maps out a proposal to develop a turtle hatchery on-site. Everything is going as planned until the older woman’s godson arrives. Suddenly, nothing is as it seems and Jenna’s future is hanging in the balance, with a sexy warrior pulling all the strings. Her natural tendency is to help the damaged hero, but she’s sworn off letting military men in her life ever again.

Will Drew and Jenna be able to put their pasts behind them and learn to trust their hearts long enough to enjoy their Holiday at Magnolia Bay? 

Buy it here:
-Holiday in Magnolia Bay http://amzn.to/ZvVHRv

Southern Born Christmas series
Book 1: Holiday in Magnolia Bay by Tracy Solheim - October 20th
Book 2: Just in Time for Christmas by Kim Boykin - October 27th
Book 3: A Very Married Christmas by Erika Marks - November 3rd
Book 4: The Trouble with Christmas by Kaira Rouda - November 10th

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jeanne Adams Winner

The winner of the prize package from Jeanne Adams is


Congratulations, Erin! 
Please send your full name and mailing address to us at

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Moonlight and Magnolias Winner

The winner of a signed copy of 
All You Need is Love by Marie Force
from PJ's Moonlight and Magnolias blog is:

Donna Ariola

Congratulations, Donna!
Please send your full name and mailing address to us at

theromancedish (at) gmail(dot) com

Friday, October 17, 2014

Review - - Darling Beast

Darling Beast
By Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: October 14, 2014

I adore the Maiden Lane series. I’ve adored it since I inhaled Wicked Intentions; and every book thereafter has become my favorite. Typically, series go for 3-6 books tops; however, Darling Beast makes #7 in the series. According to the dedication page, we have Hoyt’s agent, Robin Rue, to thank for that, so be sure to put your Thank You cards in the mail when you finish reading this book at 3 a.m. and wonder what the next book in the series will be.

Granted, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne, is perhaps even more heroic, different, alluring than the other heroes in the series have been, which if you’re keeping count is saying something since we’ve got a gin-maker, a pirate, a preacher-by-day/Marvel-Avenger-in-harlequin-garb-by-night, and a duke or two who are nothing to sneeze at. So to up the stakes, Apollo spends time in Bedlam, convicted of a murder he never committed. Of course, that’s what everyone says. Right now, he’s managed to escape and is working as a gardener, rebuilding the gardens to the completely totaled and burned up theater where all of his (Apollo’s) money is tied up into. If he has any hope of getting any money, he needs the theater working again.

Living in the burned-out wreck of a theater is Lily Stump, stage-known as Robin Goodfellow, the Meryl Streep of her age and part of the reason why the theater is burned down. Her current employer, Asa Makepeace, lured her away with the promise of twice the salary, and her old boss was so mad, he burned down the joint and then promised her she’d never work for anyone else. So far, he’s made good on the threat; and Lily is trying to keep everything together until the theater is up and running again. In the meantime, she writes plays that she sells under her brother’s name and gets a cut.

Lily has a son named Indio, a curious little creature that is only a few bits brighter than his faithful companion, Daffodil the Italian greyhound who steals every scene she’s in. Indio is how the two star-crossed lovers meet; and of course, there is a long and varied list why they can’t hook up, and once hooked up, why they can’t be together, and once together, why they can’t make anything permanent ever. Thankfully, Ms. Hoyt is able to prove everyone wrong and these two lovable, world-worn characters get the happily ever after they deserve.

Ms. Hoyt’s books have been described as “crack”—and this one is just as much crack as its predecessors. You’ll be going back to your dealer for your next high within 48 hours and will be dismayed you have at least 6 months or so to wait. Fortunately Ms. Hoyt always makes it worth waiting for.


Hellie Sinclair (a.k.a. Fran) was one of the founding members of the Romance Writer's Revenge, where she frequently got to satisfy her love of good books and her need to expound by writing reviews. Hellie loves to craft on projects she rarely finishes, watch British dramas as a sort of Olympic marathon event, and do most anything that fits the description "indolent and pleasurable." Fortunately reading falls into that category.  Connect with Hellie on Facebook

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review -- One in a Million

One in a Million
Lucky Harbor—Book 12
By Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: October 14, 2014

Reviewing this book is bittersweet for me. It was just over four years ago when I reviewed Simply Irresistible here at The Romance Dish and first fell in love with the small coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington, where you can leave your front door unlocked and no one would ever touch your stuff, but you can’t keep a secret. I have since reviewed several of the other books in Shalvis’s popular Lucky Harbor series. Simply Irresistible is the first book of the series, so it has come full circle as One in a Million is the last. As with any series, some books stand out to readers more than others. One in a Million is one of those stand-out books for me.

Tanner Riggs and his two best friends own and run Lucky Harbor Charters. As a team, they offer boat tours, scuba diving lessons, take people deep-sea fishing, etc. These activities are tame compared to what Tanner did in the past: going into the military right after high school and becoming a Navy SEAL and later being in charge of setting explosives on an oil rig. When his teenage son, Troy, comes to live with him, Tanner is thrown for a loop but is definitely up for the challenge.

Callie Sharpe grew up in Lucky Harbor but moved away after her fiancé left her standing at the altar. So it’s a bit ironic that she now runs an Internet wedding site promoting happily-ever-afters. She may have a cynical viewpoint of what happens in the years following the wedding, but she sure is good at preparing for one. She returns to Lucky Harbor to check on her grandmother, who Callie’s parents believe is losing her mind. (Obviously they don’t know Lucille as well as readers do! Ha!) Callie wasn’t prepared for her reaction when she lays eyes on her high school crush, Tanner Riggs. How do you bring together two people who have given up on the idea of true love? With doughnuts, coffee, a hot-headed teenager, and a matchmaking grandmother, of course!

I. Love. This. Book. I do, I love this book. I love Tanner. I love Callie. I love their hilarious meet-cute in the bakery. I love Tanner’s son and Callie’s grandmother, and I love Tanner’s and Callie’s sweet romance. Tanner was a bit of an adrenaline-junkie in the past, but an explosion on the oil rig changed him both physically (his leg was badly injured) and mentally (his good friend died). This causes Tanner to appreciate what he has and I love this about him. He was so real to me. And the scenes between him and his son were heartfelt and completely genuine. I have a teenage son, and while mine isn’t as wild and obstinate as Troy, I connected with Troy. Ms. Shalvis did a great job with his character.

I also connected with Callie. She is a total introvert, who is clumsy and a bit socially awkward at times. I can so relate! I really enjoyed her reactions to the things Tanner would say when they shared coffee and doughnuts. Because she was left at the altar, I can totally understand her hesitation at her and Tanner’s friendship becoming something more serious. She doesn’t want to take the chance on having her heart broken again. Thank goodness for her grandma’s sage advice! Callie’s unconditional love for Lucille and their interactions was something that really grabbed me. Lucille is one of those truly unforgettable characters. I will miss her and her crazy antics! I could go on and on and on, but I want you to enjoy this book. I’m telling you, I loved it.

As I said at the beginning, I’m sad that this is the last Lucky Harbor book. But, then again, if Ms. Shalvis wrote too many more books in the series, it wouldn’t be a “small town” anymore! So if you’re looking for a great contemporary series/romance, I heartily recommend the entire series, and, especially, One in a Million!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Today's Special - - Jeanne Adams

I'm delighted to welcome Jeanne Adams back to The Romance Dish today. A former marketing executive, Jeanne has also worked in interior design and landscape design as well as the funeral and cemetery business. Now a full-time writer and consultant, Jeanne lives in the D.C. area with her husband, children and dogs. She loves working in the garden, running with her dogs, hanging out with her family and Halloween.  She really loves Halloween! 

Jeanne joins us today to talk about her newest book, a Sci-Fi romantic suspense novel titled The Tentacle Affaire. I can't wait to dive into this one!

Learn more about Jeanne and her books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter

Little green men.  UFOs.  Men in Black.

What do you think about all that stuff? 

When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of Sci Fi Saturday! Which was a program on my local television station.  It was rotated with Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and other Saturday night scary stories we watched during slumber parties and sleepovers.  All those movies gave my active imagination a real ramp up for telling stories about what might happen “out there.”  I also adored reading books by the legendary Andre Norton, and brilliant storytellers like Anne McCaffrey and Ursula LeGuin.  Elizabeth Moon, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Wrede, and Jana Oliver (just to name a few) have continued that tradition.  I truly mourn the loss of Anne and Andre, as well as Ray Bradbury and Issac Asimov.  I recently re-read Rendezvous with Rama.  It’s as fresh and current a storyline today as it was revolutionary for its time.  All of that, combined with growing up as the Apollo missions began and ended, and the Space Shuttle missions started up, gave me a thirst to know about what’s out there in the deepest reaches of space. 

Star Wars.  Star Trek.  Deep Space Nine.  I’ve watched them all.  I think books and programs like those teach us to dream, to reach deeper and farther, and, like old fashioned fairy tales, remind us that sometimes the fairest face may hide the foulest heart.

My newest adventure in writing, The Tentacle Affaire, came to me as an idea about 10 years ago.  At the time, I hadn’t sold commercially yet, and I was toying with the idea of technology vs. magic.  It morphed into aliens vs. magicians.  When I sold my romantic suspense novels to Kensington Publishing/Zebra and my first suspense novel came out in 2008, I put the paranormal/alien/magic story aside and concentrated on blowing things up.  Grins.  While I love that (my short romantic suspense novella, Deadly Delivery is coming out before Halloween), the story that became Tentacle Affaire lurked in the back of my mind, calling to me.  It needed to be told.  Those characters had gained life, then I’d put them in the equivalent of Cold Sleep for ten years! Bad Writer!  Well, finally, I made time, dusted them off and pulled the story out to see if it still had something to say. 

It did. 

In Tentacle Affaire, the first Slip Traveler Novel, Cait Brennan, retired marine, supposedly dead in the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center, is back on Earth to retrieve a pet.  An ugly, interstellar pet.  Not the most taxing task, so she’s excited to get some down-to-earth time, maybe check out some of her favorite DC nightspots.  That’s all going well until her next door neighbor, a philandering senator, is killed.  The killing is brutal and messy and Cait’s across the hall neighbor is immediately suspicious of Cait, something she can ill afford.  Little does Cait know that her neighbor Aiden Bayliss is a magical protector – an Adept – charged with protecting DC.  When she does find out, she has to reconcile the fact that magic DOES exist on her planet, a planet she’d thought so mundane.  Aiden, for his part, has to accept that there really ARE aliens out there, and Cait, though human, works for them.

I didn’t get too techie.  I know I don’t like that in my reading that much.  I love Tom Clancy, but I find that I skim over the “…the lever that pulled up all the charts of the ocean’s depths was to the left of the button that could send them all to hell…” kinds of descriptions. 

I kept The Tentacle Affaire fast and active, and really, really sexy.  (Okay, disclaimer, I can’t write Sylvia Day sexy, but suffice to say, it’s hot enough!)  Tentacle Affaire is Men and Black merged with a dash of Game of Thrones and a big dollop of Harry Dresden-esque magic-in-modern-society.

Cait and Aiden will be back in another adventure, continuing their blossoming romance.  In the meantime, it sure was fun to write Tentacle Affaire and I hope it's fun for you to read it! 

So, what do you think?  Are we alone in the Universe?  Do you think we’ll “make contact” in this lifetime?  Or are we too backward still to be contacted?  Or will WE be the ones doing the contacting?

I’m picking the setting for the second Slip Traveler Novel.  Which do you prefer?  Edinburgh, Scotland? Savannah, GA? Or Boston, MA?

If you could have a walk on role in any sci-fi or fantasy type story, like Once Upon a Time, Supernatural, or Star Trek (or any of the other wonderful ones we’ve seen), which one would you pick?

One commenter today will win an autographed paper copy of The Tentacle Affaire, a Washington, DC Starbucks mug and a coffee gift card from Starbucks, along with some alien green jelly beans.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Moonlight and Magnolias!

PJ here. I've just returned home from Atlanta, Georgia and another terrific Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight and Magnolias Conference. This regional conference brings writers a splendid mix of educational workshops, inspirational speakers, and networking opportunities galore..not to mention the prestigious Maggie Awards plus a Literacy Book Signing open to the public. Whether you're a writing newbie, a seasoned published professional, or a reader looking for a chance to meet a favorite author, Moonlight and Magnolias has something for you. 

Here's a look at some of my highlights of the 2014 Moonlight and Magnolias Conference!


Let's kick things off with my fifth annual "Sister" photo with former GRW President, multiple Maggie award winner and Golden Heart Finalist Nicki Salcedo. I adore this woman!

Romance Bandits Nancy Northcott and Caren Crane. Many thanks to Caren for inviting me to join her group for a delicious Mexican dinner at Zapata. If you're in the Norcross, Georgia area, I highly recommend this restaurant!

Good friends, Wendy Wax and Jennifer St. Giles.Wendy was the GRW featured speaker at this year's conference.

Elizabeth Michels always rocks the best footwear!

Boots were very popular at this year's M&M!

This year's keynote speaker, New York Times Bestselling author, Marie Force. Marie also signed at the Literacy Autographing and hosted a gathering for local readers afterwards. She's awesome!

Jennifer McQuiston is not only a New York Times Bestselling historical romance author but also a brilliant scientist and infectious disease researcher with the CDC. She's putting her writing aside for the next six weeks to join the battle against Ebola on the front lines in West Africa. Please keep her in your thoughts and, if you're so inclined, your prayers.

It's the Maggie's...time for fancy dresses, sparkly shoes, cover models and the year's top awards.

Regan Black with friends Kim and Tracy.

Jennifer Jakes, Sergey Volkov and Kim Killion.  The Killion Group employs the nicest, most gorgeous guys. Watch for Sergey on a romance cover near you!

Former GRW President and Fantasy Romance author Anna Steffl.

Heather McGovern and Elizabeth Michels. They really bring the sparkle!

Conference co-chair, Noelle Pierce. Fabulous dress, fabulous shoes and fabulous conference!

How do you bring the sparkle, readers?  
Do you don a fancy dress? Glittering tiara? Sky-high shoes? Brilliant smile?

One randomly chosen person will receive a signed copy of
All You Need is Love by Marie Force, the
first book in her best-selling Green Mountain series.
U.S. addresses only