Welcome! Kick off your shoes, get comfy and join in as we chat about books, romance and the ups and downs of everyday life.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Coming Attractions




School is out and summer is just around the corner.  It's time for sun, sand, great beach reads and an awesome array of guests here at The Romance Dish.  We hope you'll all join us for all the fun this June!  











Jodi Thomas joins us Wednesday, June 5th.  Can't Stop Believing, the latest addition to Thomas's Harmony series will be released June 4th. (read Janga's guest review here)












You don't want to miss Thursday, June 6th when Virginia Kantra blogs about her new contemporary romance, Carolina Girl, the second book in her emotion-packed Dare Island trilogy.   







Andrea is here on Friday, June 7th with her list of new releases for the month.  Don't go shopping without Andrea's list!  





Monday, June 10th brings Trish Milburn back for another helping of Teen Menu.  Trish also has two new books out: Her Perfect Cowboy from Harlequin American Romance and Firefly Run, part of In Harm's Way, a three-author romantic suspense collection.  









Make your reservations to join us Thursday, June 13th when we share the July books we're most anticipating.









Young Adult author Allie Burton makes her first visit on Tuesday, June 18th.  Allie's debut, Atlantis Riptide was released in May.  













Tracy Brogan is our special guest for a Q&A with PJ on Wednesday, June 19th.  Tracy's new contemporary romance, Hold On My Heart will be released June 25th.  









Suzanne Ferrell makes a return visit on Thursday, June 20th. Suzanne has a new book, Close to the Edge, the second book in her contemporary Weston series (March 2013) and another, Seized, third in her contemporary romantic suspense series coming out soon.  









Monday, June 24th brings Anna Campbell and her monthly Second Helping review.








PJ interviews Robyn DeHart on Tuesday, June 25th.  Robyn's June book, The Secrets of Mia Danvers kicks off her new historical romantic suspense series.











Maggie Robinson rounds out the month on Thursday, June 27th.  Maggie has two books coming out in July: In the Arms of the Heiress, first in her new Ladies Unlaced series on July 2nd and Lady Anne's Lover, third in her The London List series on July 30th.  




Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review - - Against the Wind

Against the Wind
Agents of the Crown - Book 2
By Regan Walker
Publisher:  Boroughs Publishing Group
Release Date:  March 29, 2013





Returning to London in 1817, Sir Martin Powell is ready to put a life of political intrigue behind him but the Prince has one more assignment before he can do that.  He's sending Sir Martin to the English Midlands to investigate rumors of an uprising against the Crown.  Before he leaves London, at the urging of a friend, Martin pays a visit to an exclusive brothel.  Still grieving the death of his beloved wife and unborn child on the streets of Paris during the war, he has no interest in a romantic entanglement but one night in the arms of a skilled courtesan will help him forget, if only for a few hours.  It should have been that simple, but when Martin confuses the brothel owner's directions and opens the wrong door, what he discovers is a woman who will challenge everything he thinks he wants...and does not want.

Life has not been easy for Katherine, Lady Edgerton.  The daughter of an earl, Kit is married off to a man old enough to be her grandfather who then dies shortly after their marriage, leaving her with very few resources.  She moves in with her ailing sister and brother-in-law to care for her sister but cannot help but be wary around her sister's cruel husband, the Earl of Rutledge.  Her sister has barely taken her final breath when the man tries to force himself on Kit, telling her she was the one he had wanted all along and now meant to have.  Escaping, Kit takes refuge with the only person she can trust, her former nanny, now the owner of an exclusive brothel.  When Martin accidentally enters her room, Kit is intrigued by the handsome man with the gentle manner.  Still shaken from her earlier encounter with the Earl, she's soothed and intrigued by this man who treats her with reverence and makes a decision that will change the course of her life.

Regan Walker once again seamlessly blends together real events and people with fictional characters and her own imagination in a book that flows beautifully from beginning to end.  Following the war with France, England enters a period of social unrest and economic change, a tumultuous time into which Walker's characters are plunged.  Danger surrounds them as Martin, who marries Kit to keep her safe, works to prevent a revolution while at the same time nurturing a relationship with his new wife while keeping her in the dark as to the reason they are really in the Midlands.  To the passion that flares between them from the beginning, they slowly forge a friendship that gradually deepens into love.  Danger, Martin's secret life and a nasty villain bent on revenge against Kit, combined with the peaks and valleys of a marriage of convenience that is evolving into something more, give us a story that's sure to keep readers, as it did me, flipping pages late into the night to find out what happens next.

Walker's books are impeccably researched, immersing the reader into the time and place in which they are set.  Her characters are well formed and believable.  Kit and Martin had me rooting for them from the beginning.  Martin, in particular, won my heart with the way he treated Kit.  Secondary characters add to the richness of the overall story with those from the first book in the series giving readers a peek into their post-HEA lives and introducing Martin's brother, the hero of the next book, an intriguing privateer I can't wait to visit again.

While this book stands on it's own, if you're like me, once you finish Kit and Martin's story you'll be off to pick up a copy of the first book in the series, RACING WITH THE WIND as well as counting down the months until the publication of the next one, WIND RAVEN.  In the meantime, why not pick up a copy of AGAINST THE WIND.  I highly recommend it.

~PJ

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Guest Review - - Love at First Sight

Love at First Sight
By Lori Wilde
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: May 28, 2013



Cupid, Texas is a town created by legends woven around the stalagmite in the shape of the arrow-shooting son of Venus discovered in a cavern near the town. During the post-Civil War era, a prayer to Cupid saved a charming rogue charged as a horse thief from hanging when one of the town’s spinsters married him; a letter left at the feet of the image gave Millie Greenwood, the heroine’s great-grandmother an HEA against all odds; and this Cupid’s powers even played a role in the abdication of Edward VIII. Later, the town placed a Cupid statue fountain in the botanical gardens with an official “Letters to Cupid” box, and visitors seeking help from Cupid made tourism the town’s major industry.

Part of the tradition involves the female descendants of Millie Greenwood writing answers to Cupid’s letters. As the eldest daughter of the eldest daughter of the eldest daughter in a direct line from Millie, Natalie McCleary bears a particular responsibility. That role added to the tragic loss of her parents that what she feels is a charge from them to care for her younger sister Zoey. As the owner of a B & B, she has obligations to her guests. Natalie is defined by the responsibilities she bears.

Her responsibilities and the injury she suffered in the plane crash that killed her parents have limited her life. At 29, she is less experienced than many women a decade younger. Although she has had a few boyfriends, she is essentially untouched physically and emotionally by passion. In fact, she is beginning to doubt her ability to answer Cupid’s letters, to give advice on love when she has never been in love. Although she is surrounded by extended family and friends who love her, Natalie is fundamentally lonely.

Dade Vega is a rough, tough former Navy SEAL who comes to Cupid after he receives a text from Red Daggett, his foster brother and closest friend, signaling him that he needs help. With a history of neglect and abuse and independence at an early age, Dade is wary of people. Red is the only person he trusts, and Red has disappeared. Dade knows that it’s possible that Red had a PTSD episode, neglected to take his medications, and is lying dead somewhere, but his instincts tell him there’s something rotten in wholesome Cupid. Dade plans to investigate until he finds some answers, and then he plans to leave town. He’s not cut out for community and relationships and the kind of connected life that is common in Cupid.

Everything changes when Natalie and Dade are struck by Cupid’s arrow, but they both fight the change. Natalie is frightened by the power of what she feels from her first glimpse of Dade:

Just one look and all the mysteries of the universe were answered. Every nerve ending in her body tingled to life as if she’d been asleep for a hundred years and was awakening for the very first time.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

It struck her like a fever, hot and rushed, an emotion so sudden and sweet that her brain fumbled and stupidly came up with the word “love.”

Dade is just as frightened because he knows how much he wants this, how different these feelings are from anything he has ever known, but he feels unworthy of love.

Honestly, he was half hoping that she was a hallucination because that would rightly explain the berserk push-pull between his head and his heart. He felt a rushing need to go after her, spill his guts, tell her who he was and how he felt. One look in her enigmatic sky blue eyes and he felt as if love beckoned him with open arms, while his soul had dug in its heels and jerked back, too guilty of damage and sin to believe anything so good could be true.

Both Natalie and Dade will have to replace fear with trust in themselves and in one another before they can accept the love they want, the union they need.

Love at First Sight is the first book in Lori Wilde’s third Texas series, following her Twilight Club books and her Jubilee cowboy novels. Readers who liked the Twilight, Texas stories will enjoy a visit to Cupid. There is the same focus on legend and the traditions that spring up around it, the same small-town ambience, the same tangled family connections and quirky characters.

Natalie and Dade are likeable, and they are surprisingly complex. It is easy to root for them to find their HEA together. Although their lives have been very different, they are both among the walking wounded, misfits who never quite belong to the groups that define them—her family and community for Natalie and the SEALs for Dade. A couple of scenes between them (the bar and the shoes scenes) are as poignant as they are steamy.

Despite all the things I liked about the book, there were a few things that kept it from being the book I felt it could have been. First, I would like to have seen less mental lusting and more real development of the relationship. These are two people with complicated histories, and I wanted to see more of their working out those complications. I have a low tolerance for repetitions of “He/She is so hot. I want him/her so much.”  The second problem is related to the first. I’m a tough sale when it comes to love at first sight. Attraction I can buy, and I know there was supposed to be something mystical and destined about Cupid’s strike in this town, but it took me to the end before I really believed that Natalie and Dade felt more than a strong sexual attraction. Finally, I really disliked Natalie’s sister. She impressed me as a spoiled, self-centered brat, and I thought she was mean to Natalie. Some of her actions seemed more the behavior of a sixteen-year-old than a twenty-two-year-old. I look for her to be the heroine of a later book, but it will be an uphill battle for me to see her as heroine material. In summary, I recommend this one, but with some reservations.

~Janga
http://justjanga.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Today's Special - - Lecia Cornwall


I'm delighted to welcome historical author Lecia Cornwall back to the Romance Dish!  Lecia won me over with her debut novel, Secrets of a Proper Countess and has continued to impress me with each subsequent novel that she has published.  Her newest, The Secret Life of Lady Julia, gives us an unconventional hero and heroine who leave England for the glittering and intrigue-filled city of Vienna during the post-Napoleon peace talks.  It's another winner that kept me reading way past my bedtime!  

You can read about Lecia and her books at her website and also find her online at Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.   



Welcome back, Lecia and congratulations on the upcoming release of THE SECRET LIFE OF LADY JULIA. Will you please tell your readers what to expect from this book?

Lady Julia Leighton was a minor character in How To Deceive A Duke. Engaged to a man she’s known all her life, someone more brother than lover, she takes a risk and flirts with a handsome, charming stranger at her betrothal ball. But flirtation leads to kissing, and kissing lead to disaster. Julia’s life changes completely. When her family disowns her, Julia is forced to take a job as a paid companion, and leave England, heading for the Congress of Vienna with her employer, a junior diplomat. Julia is a woman determined to make a new life for herself. In Vienna, when the British ambassador discovers Julia speaks several languages, he assigns her the task of listening to the conversations of other delegates, and reporting what she hears. Slowly, as her new life unfolds, there’s a new chance at love, if only she can forget Thomas Merritt, her seducer, at long last—but a man like that is impossible to forget! They meet again in very unexpected circumstances, and when Julia’s job as a listener leads her into danger, scandal, and betrayal, only Thomas, a man with a reputation even more tarnished than Julia’s own, can save the day. Julia must choose between the two men who love her. There’s lots of history, suspense, the beautiful backdrop of Vienna, and of course, romance.

Julia and Thomas are certainly not your typical historical hero and heroine. What would you like readers to understand about each of them?

I love tortured heroes with so much to overcome before they can find love! After I wrote How To Deceive A Duke, I wondered just what a ruined lady like Julia might do when her family disowned her, and society turned its back on her. She’d have to make a new life for herself within the limited opportunities open to ladies at the time. She’d need to be brave, resourceful, and careful. Passion, for her, would become a thing of the past, representing her momentary lapse in judgment. Or would it? Passion takes many forms for a woman like Julia, and she explores them all.

Thomas Merritt is one of my favorite heroes! He’s disreputable, he’s honorable, he’s a rogue, he’s a gentleman. He’s utterly, completely delicious! Doing the right thing sometimes clashes with the necessity of surviving, and he’s come up with ways of doing the wrong thing for the right reason in such a way that as few people as possible ever get hurt. Except himself, of course. He’s never forgotten Julia, and the one night they spent together—it’s true love, and guilt and desire. When he meets her again in Vienna, he feels the same old passion, but this time, it could get him shot, or hanged—or worse, he might have to find a way to live without her yet again. There’s a much better man, an honorable, noble military officer who’s proposed to Julia, and can offer her a future. He should walk away again, but can he?

Thomas is one of my favorites too.   

I was fascinated by the intrigue and jockeying for position taking place during the Vienna peace
talks. Did you base the scenes on historical fact, or is it primarily a product of your imagination?

This is one case where the real history was more fascinating than anything I could ever make up! Vienna in 1814 offered the perfect setting for intrigue and romance. The facts about the official events of the congress, including the spies, and the social events are real. So are characters like Talleyrand, Castlereagh and the wonderful Prince de Ligne and Anna Protasoff. Some of the details are subject to artistic license, and Julia and Thomas stepped in to fill fictional roles amid real events. For example, while there was gossip involving the Duke of Wellington and Pauline de Borghese, Julia’s part in that scandal came from my own imagination. If you’re interested in reading more about the events behind the congress, I recommend ‘Vienna 1814’, by David King. It really is an incredible story, filled with spies, lots of sex, parties, diplomatic tantrums, more sex, illicit affairs, princesses, kings, rogues, and some of the most scandalous, incredible personalities in any historical time period.

You sure know how to leave your readers wanting more. The epilogue has me hoping—okay, begging—to know what happens to a certain secondary character. Will there be another book?

Yes! Stephen Ives will get his own story. My daughter was crushed when Stephen lost the girl, and suffered the torments of a broken heart in The Secret Life of Lady Julia. Stephen deserves a happy ending. Never fear—he’ll meet another lady, someone he once spurned in London. Blinded in battle at Waterloo, and accused of some terrible crimes, he’ll need to depend on the heroine to nurse him back to health, and help him restore his honor. Imagine falling in love with someone using every other sense but sight. I am so looking forward to writing this story!

I am so looking forward to reading it!  

Let’s talk about you for a bit. Summer is just around the corner. Any fun plans?

It’s going to be a quiet summer. I had surgery a few weeks ago, and I’ve been strictly forbidden from having any fun for a while. Well, actually, I’m just forbidden from lifting anything heavier than ten pounds, and I never could travel light. Thankfully, once my kids reached the age of having summer jobs, and planning family holidays away became a challenge, we instituted “Summer Sundays”. We take turns planning day trips—to mountains, museums, new restaurants, shows, markets, etc. and enjoy the day together. Precious mom moments (and writerly inspiration)!

As for fun, I recently enlisted my children (18 and 21) to help me make a book trailer for The Secret Life of Lady Julia. I wanted to give readers a look at how my books look visually like in my head. My daughter helped me find props, choose costumes at a local thrift store, and stood in for Lady Julia. My son took some wonderful original photographs, and put the whole thing together on iMovie. I wrote the script, chose the music, and the stock photos we used along with our own shots. You can check out our efforts on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEKAHBf7FSI


Will you be at any conferences this year where readers can meet you?

Alas, no—but I am planning on being in New Orleans for RT Magazine’s annual Readers’ convention next spring! My kids are clamoring to come with me. My daughter is a jazz musician and history buff, and my son is an intrepid world traveller and photographer. Until then, I would love to hear from readers—I answer all my e-mails and Facebook messages. You can reach me at leciacornwall@shaw.ca, or at  www.facebook.com/pages/Lecia-Cornwall

You’ve said that you sometimes feel like you were born in the wrong century. If you could time travel, what time and place would you like to visit most?

That is a very tough question! I have a lot of historic heroes! I’d love to meet Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Anne Boleyn. Jane Austen would be fascinating to spend an afternoon with. I’d take tea with Marie Antoinette, and I’d actually love to meet Eva Braun, if only to pick her brain about what made her notorious boyfriend, Adolph Hitler, tick. Winston Churchill would also make an interesting dinner companion.

How do you relax when you’re not busy writing a new book?

Usually by reading a new book! I also love to garden, cook, eat, take photographs, draw, and spend time with my kids as well. Tonight, my daughter and I are attending a lecture about the Secrets of The Sistine Chapel.

If you were conducting a self-interview, what one question would you ask yourself and how would you answer?

Well, the question I ask myself most often is why am I here? Not here on earth, but why did I come upstairs to the bedroom? I get lost in my stories at times, and with one foot in the fictional world, and one foot in the real world, things can get a little mixed up at times. A sweater? My glasses? Book notes? Who knows why I came, but climbing those stairs over and over sure helps work out story problems!

What’s next?

I am working on several new projects this summer. There’s a new Scottish series for Avon Impulse, which is a bit of a departure in location for me, but the stories are set in the same time period as the Regency. The first book takes place at midsummer, and is filled with magic, romance, and two ghosts who return from their unquiet graves to bring the hero and heroine together to break an ancient curse. Trouble is, there’s others who want them apart. I’m having a wonderful time doing the research into midsummer rituals, love spells, and the Scottish history of the time.

Do you have a question for our readers?

What do you like best about a good romance novel? Is it a good story, a sexy hero, hot sex, or the happy ever after moment—or something else entirely?


One randomly chosen person leaving a comment (U.S. addresses only) will win a signed copy of The Secret Life of Lady Julia.  





Guest Review - - Can't Stop Believing


Can’t Stop Believing
By Jodi Thomas
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 4, 2013


Cord McDowell spent six years in prison because the facts of the case were never revealed. Since his release, he has spent his time working as a mechanic for Tannon Parker’s trucking company, the only place in Harmony, Texas, willing to give an ex-con a chance, and on his farm, spending every minute he can spare and every dime he can save trying to save his land. Just when a bank loan falls due with Cord $5000 short, Nevada Britain, the only member of the wealthy Britain family left in Harmony, shows up with a proposition for Cord. If he will marry her and remain married to her for eight months, she will deed him three hundred acres of her ranch that border his farm, land their families have disputed for a century, and half profits from a year of running the farm and ranch together, a sum that should run from $250,000 to more than $500,000. As fascinating as Cord has always found Nevada, he’s not looking to become the next husband of Harmony’s spoiled oil princess, but this is a chance to save his land and give him a future. He can’t turn her down. He’s not prepared to find himself falling in love for the first time in his life.

Nevada, still in her twenties, already has three ex-husbands. She’s not interested in adding a fourth; her horses are the only creatures she allows herself to love. But marrying Cord may give her some protection from ex #3, who is proving harder to get rid of than Nevada expected, and helping Cord hold on to, even expand his land, will be expiation for an old wrong that still troubles her. How could she have foreseen that Cord’s presence in her bed and in her life would be larger and more irresistible than she could have imagined. The princess from old oil money who had everything except love is about to discover how different her life can be when shared with a man who has nothing to give her but his honor and his heart.

Cord and Nevada discover that together they can defeat any threat that comes against them from sociopathic former spouses to Harmony citizens who can’t let go of the past.  While Cord and Nevada’s story is primary, Thomas weaves in threads from the lives of other inhabitants of the small Texas town. Tyler Wright and his Kate are awaiting the birth of their child. First-time parents in their mid-40s, they are filled with joy and terror. Ronny Logan, whose life was transformed by Marty Winslow, the paraplegic who taught her to love and then left, is called upon to do the hardest thing that has ever been asked of her. In doing it, she will experience heartbreak and triumph. Much married B & B owner Martha Q. Patterson is continuing with her creative writing, but she’s adding private investigating to her repertoire and discovering a new gentleman friend who may just steal her heart.

Harmony, Texas, may be the most unusual series in the ever-growing subgenre of small-town romance. Her heroes and heroines are not only the buff and beautiful but also ordinary people with warts and quirks and baggage and hearts that long for love. Cord is one of my favorites in a list of Harmony citizens who have captured my heart. He is a hero with real wounds who refuses to be defeated by life’s unfairness or to be defined by his neighbors’ judgment. Imprisoned unjustly at eighteen, he is released after the deaths of both parents to find their resources depleted and the land that has been in his family for a hundred years in jeopardy. His response is hard work and thrift, not qualities typically associated with a hero. But when circumstances demand it, Cord proves himself also possessed of the courage, protectiveness, and tenacity of “the true, the perfect gentle-knight.”

Even though Can’t Stop Believing is the sixth book in the Harmony series, a new reader can begin the series here without feeling lost. But don’t be surprised if you are so hooked on these characters that you want to glom the first five novels. I’m already anticipating return visits to Harmony. There are characters whose story threads I want to see play out, and I’m sure Jodi Thomas has some new characters to introduce to her readers.

~Janga
http://justjanga.blogspot.com

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day








On this U.S. Memorial Day, 

we remember those 

who have paid the ultimate price 

to give us a life of freedom

and give thanks 

for all who serve.   


Friday, May 24, 2013

Witches Are Wonderful!

by Anna Campbell

Don't you just love book recommendations? I do! I still think I pick up my best reading via word of mouth. I've come across some of my favorite current books via recommendations on this site - so please don't be shy about suggesting things! Just off the top of my head, I can think of writers like Julia Spencer-Fleming and Molly O'Keefe who are now autobuys for me, thanks to the wise comments of the Romance Dish fans.

For a long time, my friend, Rachel Bailey, who writes for Desire, has raved about the Nora Roberts Three Sisters Island Trilogy. Mind you, I've equally raved about the Chesapeake Quartet and I think she's yet to pay me any attention, so until now we've both missed out on some great books!

I imagine most of you have read these books so I'm speaking to the converted, but wow, they're great. I hadn't read Nora in a little while and I'd forgotten just how masterly she is at romantic tension and characterization and setting. You really feel like you're on this beautiful windswept island off the Massachusetts coast, smelling the sea and squeaking your way over the sand (hopefully to the cave - good things happen in the cave, LOL!). There's such beautiful texture in this writing. Not to mention the story features a great bookshop which I want in my hometown!

I read all of these within the space of 36 hours. Recommendation enough!

During the 17th century Salem Witch Hunts, three sisters, all witches and all representing an element, air, earth and fire, unite to create an island sanctuary off the coast. That's Three Sisters Island.

As you read the books, you discover that all three sisters come to a sad end, ends reflected in their modern-day descendants who are the heroines of this series. The last surviving 17th century sister creates a spell that will keep the island safe from the forces of darkness for 300 years. At the start of the Three Sisters Island trilogy, that 300 years is coming to an end and each heroine must face and defeat her fears if she is to save the island from sinking into the sea. So high stakes right from the get-go!

Book 1 in the series, DANCE UPON THE AIR, features battered wife on the run Nell Channing/Helen Remington. Nell, who represents the air element, has no idea that she's a witch so it's fun watching her come to terms with the woo-woo stuff that invades her life once she arrives on Three Sisters Island. Once there, she starts to heal. She finds a home and a place where she can exercise her talents as a cook (the meals in this will make you hungry, be warned!) and she also encounters gentle but strong local sheriff, Zack Todd. But can Nell accept love after all she's been through? And what happens when her violent husband discovers that she faked her death and she's still very much alive on the other side of America?

This is a great introduction to the series. We meet most of the major characters - even if only by description. We fall in love with the gorgeous island setting. Watching Nell and Zack come together is touching and emotional and you'll cheer as Nell discovers her new powers (both personal and witchy!) and searches for the courage to stand up to the man who nearly destroyed her.

Book 2, HEAVEN AND EARTH, is actually my favorite of the three, partly because I can't resist a really good geek hero. Although MacAllister Booke is more like Indiana Jones than Brains from THUNDERBIRDS. Mac is a paranormal researcher who comes to the island and falls in love with prickly Ripley, Zack's sister and deputy sheriff. Ripley represents earth - not that she wants to, she's got good reason to fear the strength of her powers and so she's deep in denial when the book starts. Her denial doesn't just include repressing her abilities as a witch, but also her once-close friendship with the heroine of the third book, Mia Devlin, who represents fire. One of the really lovely things about this book is seeing calm, centered Mac cope with Ripley's volatility. I laughed out loud at a few of these scenes. They really are beautifully done. 

Book 3, FACE THE FIRE, brings the final confrontation with the evil that has stalked the witches since at least the 17th century. The heroine Mia knows that, as the direct descendant of the witch who conjured the protective spell in the first place, she's the island's last defense. But she needs to learn some lessons before she can defeat the darkness. One of these is that she's not a lone agent and she needs to work with the people who love her to have a hope of winning. Another is that she needs to come to terms with Sam Logan, the man she loved and lost in her late teens.

This is basically a reunion story and I always enjoy a good one of those. Sam left Three Sisters as a young man and now he's back to reclaim Mia, the woman he's always loved. Needless to say, after ten years, this doesn't go smoothly! And the bad stuff encroaching on the island doesn't help. But Sam is an intrinsic part of the island and an intrinsic part of the cosmic plan to defeat the forces ranged against the witches. He's the water part of the equation so when he's reunited with Mia, all the elements join to save Three Sisters Island. But will they be strong enough?

So have you read these books? Do you have a favorite? Are you a fan of the geeky hero? What's your favorite Nora Roberts book? I have to say, much as I loved these, I still think the Chesapeake Quartet just edged the Three Sisters Island books out as my absolute top.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Terri Osburn Winner




The winner of a copy of MEANT TO BE by Terri Osburn is:


Sharlene (another Sharlene!)


Congratulations!  Please email us at theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com to let us know if you would like a print or e-copy of the book.  If choosing print, please send your full name and mailing address.




Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Today's Special - - Terri Osburn


I can't put into words how excited I am to welcome debut author, Terri Osburn to The Romance Dish today.  I met Terri online more than seven years ago and have since had the opportunity to meet her in person at various conferences.  She's a gifted writer and those of us who have watched her travel this journey have known that it was only a matter of time before she published her first book.  I am so happy to say that day is finally here.  Meant to Be is a wonderful story; funny, heartwarming and worthy of your time.  I hope you'll give it a try.  (read my review here)  

Born in the Ohio Valley, Terri relocated below the Mason Dixon line in the early 1990s after experiencing three blizzards in eighteen months. Seeking warmer climes, she landed in Nashville, did a stint in Arkansas, and eventually moved to the East Coast, where she settled near the ocean. Reading has always been a passion in her life, with Romance her chosen genre, but it wasn’t until 2007 she endeavored to write her own. Five years and many pages later, in 2012, she was named a finalist in the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest. An agent and contract soon followed. Terri resides in Virginia with a teenager, a Yorkipoo, and two fat and happy tabbies. To learn more about this author and her work, visit her website at www.terriosburn.com.


A Tour of Anchor Island

My name is Terri Osburn and I'll be your tour guide for today. Please make sure your seat belt is fastened and keep all hands, toes, and noses in the blog at all time. Today we're taking in the sights of Anchor Island, North Carolina. A remote island at the base of the Outer Banks, Anchor is known for its pirate lore, impressive lighthouse, and diminutive size.



As I mentioned, the island is remote, so we'll take the ferry across, then Highway 12 down to the village. On your left is the ocean, with the sound on your right. This stretch of roadway is more like a landing strip, but it makes for beautiful scenery in every direction. Oh, how could I forget the wild horses? Not as wild as they used to be, penned in for their own safety, but still beautiful beasts.







Now we drift into the village, passing Blackbeard's Museum on your right. The feared pirate spent the last months of his life in this area. Did you know Mr. Teach (Blackbeard's given name) was a pirate for only two years? Fascinating when you think of the legend he created.




And now we're in Anchor Village proper. First up is Dempsey's Bar & Grill.  I know some of you are on this tour thanks to a little book called MEANT TO BE by, well, moi. In that case, you know that by venturing inside you might find a cranky charter boat captain and a spunky lawyer-type sending off sparks in the dining room. Yes, Joe Dempsey and Beth Chandler are quite a pair. And we mustn't forget Joe's dog, Dozer. Such a scene stealer, that one.

But we must keep the blog going, so no stops just yet. As we cruise along Back Road, there's the Hava Java ahead. Lovely little spot to get your caffeine fix. One could say the best espresso in town, but in a village this small, one mile across and two miles long, it's the only espresso in town.





Now we see the quaint little arts and crafts store run by Lola LeBlanc where Beth spends much of her time, and learns to once again enjoy making jewelry. This is the beautiful bracelet she made using blue beads that reminded her of Joe's eyes. Don't worry about the swooners among you. We get that all the time. There's just something about a man with intense blue eyes. Have I mentioned the dimple? Oh, there goes another one. I'd better not mention the abs.





A quick left brings us around the harbor. We can't possibly take the blog out to Joe's boat, but know it's docked right out there on your right. Ah, and now we've reached the pinnacle of the tour. Anchor Lighthouse. Built in the 1820s, it's guided many a sailor through these unpredictable seas. And maybe it helped Beth find her way as well.

There's more to see, of course, but this is the condensed tour today. But to give you an idea of how the sightseeing went when Joe took Beth on a similar tour, here's a little snippet from the book.

As soon as he killed the engine, Beth’s feet were on the ground. At the back of the vehicle she turned to Joe, still sit­ting behind the wheel.

“Are you coming?”

“I’ll stay here with Doze. You go on over.”

“Oh. All right then.”

Joe took a seat on the back gate of the Jeep and barely noticed Dozer panting in his ear. Beth’s white skirt, what there was of it, swung from side to side, then tightened across her ass as she climbed onto the plat­form. So much for thinking distance would put his body back in check.

“She’s hiding something all right. But she’s not hiding it in that skirt.”

Dozer barked.

“Right. Eyes off the skirt. Got it.”

As I said, that Dozer is a total scene stealer. Now it's your turn to wander around on your own. Feel free to ask questions if you like, or just make small talk, as one lucky commenter will win a copy of MEANT TO BE (digital or print, winner's choice, US and Canada only.)

PS: If you're interested in visiting the real thing, Anchor Island is inspired by (read: copied directly from) Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. Looking to get away from the world this summer? I highly recommend checking it out.






Sometimes the next best thing is what you’ve been looking for all along…

Beth Chandler has spent her whole life pleasing others. She went to law school to make her grandparents happy. She agreed to marry her workaholic boyfriend, Lucas, to make him happy. And, despite her fear of boats, she took a ferry to see Lucas’s parents just to make them happy.

While suffering through a panic attack on the ferry, Beth meets a tall, sexy stranger who talks her down from her fear—and makes her heart flutter in the process. Soon, she has a new reason to panic: her gorgeous, blue-eyed rescuer is Lucas’s brother, Joe.

But could she ever leave her fiancé for his own brother…even if Lucas is more focused on making partner than on making their relationship work…and even if Joe turns out to be everything she never knew she wanted?

Buy Links:
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Today's Special - - Kate Meader


As you know, we love introducing our readers to debut authors here at The Romance Dish.  Today, it's my pleasure to welcome Kate Meader.  Kate writes contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, to-die-for heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she cut her romance reader teeth on Catherine Cookson and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boons thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, and she’s there. She has a bachelor’s in law (useless), a master’s in history (not as useless), and another master’s in library and information science (yay, using). When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library. Her stories are set in her adopted home town of Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter – and where she met her own sexy hero. For news, excerpts, and recipes, check out her website at http://www.katemeader.com.







The Caregiving Alpha Hero: Who Better than a Chef?
Feel the Heat by Kate Meader


Thanks to the Dishes for letting me talk about Feel the Heat, the first in my Chicago-set Hot in the Kitchen series about an Italian restaurant owning family and the sexy, sizzling chefs who love them. As readers, we often say we want our heroines to be relatable, but a book lives and dies by its hero. If the hero isn’t making the grade, then Houston, we have a problem! The current trend toward brooding, tortured alpha billionaires is probably going to last a while but there’s room for other types of take-charge hero. How about the protective, caregiving alpha? And who better to encapsulate that than a man who cooks for a living?



In Jack Kilroy, my celebrity chef hero of Feel the Heat, we have a man who’s alpha without being broody, who’s protective without being overbearing, who sees what he wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. And he wants Lili DeLuca, a woman who typically plays the role of caregiver and family rock—and isn’t used to someone wanting to look out for her.  He wants to cook for her, take care of her, and defend her from the haters who don’t approve of a regular girl like Lili getting close to celebrity royalty like Jack. He’s willing to put his reputation and career on the line to keep her safe from his rabid fans. Jack sure has his work cut out for him—and that’s when the fun begins.








A question for Romance Dish readers: do you like a protective alpha hero? Who are some of your favorites?

***

FEEL THE HEAT by Kate Meader
Hot in the Kitchen, Book 1

IF YOU CAN'T STAND THE HEAT . . .

Photographer Lili DeLuca spends all her time managing her family's Italian restaurant, instead of following her dream of getting an MFA. When famous British chef Jack Kilroy unexpectedly challenges her father to a cook-off, Lili decides she's tired of playing it safe and vows to seduce the tempting Brit. But once a video of her and Jack kissing goes viral and her luscious butt starts trending on Twitter, Lili fears she's cooked up a recipe for disaster.

. . . GET INTO THE BEDROOM

Jack Kilroy's celebrity has left him feeling used and used up. While Lili's oh-so-sexy moans when she tastes his delicious creations turn him on, he's even more aroused by how unimpressed this beautiful, funny woman is with his fame. He knows they could be amazing together, if she could only see past his bitch fork-wielding fan base. Now, as he's about to start a new prime time TV cooking show, can Jack convince Lili to realize her own ambitions - and turn up the heat in his kitchen?

Read an excerpt:  

Purchase links:

Links
Contact: kate.meader@gmail.com
Twitter: @kittymeader



***

Giveaway Details:

I will be doing a Rafflecopter giveaway during the Feel the Heat release tour. One grand prize winner will get a Feel the Heat Swag Bag containing a Supper Hero-Wonder Woman apron, a Feel the Heat tote bag, a Vespa-shaped pizza cutter, a “Grate Love” cheese grater, heart-shaped measuring spoons, a Feel the Heat fridge magnet, heart-shaped pasta, delicious cookies, and a recipe card for goat cheese caramel gelato. I’ll also be giving away smaller swag bags of assorted kitchen utensils and more!

Follow this link to enter the contest or enter at Kate's website.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

It Had to Be You Winner





The randomly chosen winner of a copy of 
IT HAD TO BE YOU 
by Jill Shalvis is:

kayjax51

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

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Caren Crane "Kick Start" Winners




Thanks to everyone who stopped by to welcome debut author Caren Crane to The Romance Dish last week.  The two randomly chosen winners of a digital copy of Caren's book, KICK START are:

Marcy Shuler

Kathleen O

Congratulations, ladies!  To claim your book, please send an email to

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Read Humane Winner





Thanks to everyone who left comments and shared their rescue stories on our Jill Shalvis Read Humane® blog.  The randomly chosen winner of a copy of RESCUE MY HEART is:

Ada

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

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Review - - Meant to Be

Meant to Be
Anchor Island - Book 1
By Terri Osburn
Publisher:  Montlake Romance
Release Date:  May 21, 2013





What happens when you finally meet the love of your life and he turns out to be your fiancé's older brother?

Elizabeth Chandler has spent her life pleasing other people and living other people's dreams.  She's a lawyer because that's the respectable career path the grandparents who raised her wanted for her.  Her workaholic fiancé has no idea what she likes or dislikes because he makes all the decisions in their relationship right down to the type of wine she drinks and music she listens to and because it makes him happy, she lets him.   She's suppressed every ounce of young Beth Chandler's creativity and zest for life in an effort to be what everyone expects her to be.  But that's all about to change.

Only for Lucas Dempsey would Elizabeth Chandler, a woman deathly afraid of the water, be on a ferry to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to meet her new fiancé's family.  Lucas was supposed to be with her but, once again, the law office where they both work has taken priority and left Elizabeth to make the crossing on her own.  She's in the midst of a full-blown panic attack when an over-sized dog and his gorgeous owner come to her rescue.  Charmed in spite of herself, by both this man and his dog, she introduces herself as Beth and allows herself to secretly indulge in the instant attraction she feels to this calm, sexy man with the adorable dimple.  Then she discovers he's her future brother-in-law.

Joe Dempsey has a mental image of the woman his younger step-brother is bringing home and it sure isn't a sweet, sexy young woman who makes his own pulse race.  They get off on the wrong foot and the instant attraction that sparks between them doesn't help matters but gradually, as they get to know one another, their feelings begin to shift and then deepen though they both fight it.  Joe loves his brother, even if he doesn't understand him or approve of the way he puts Beth last on his list of priorities.  He's not about to poach on his territory.  As wrong as he may feel Beth is for Lucas, and as right as he feels she is for him, he has too much honor to come between them, no matter how much he grows to care for her.  And Beth, no matter how much she comes to care for Joe, is not about to do anything to harm the members of the Dempsey family who have come to mean so much to her.  With the odds stacked against them, does this couple have any chance of a happy ending?

First of all, let me say that love triangles are one of my least favorite romance tropes but this story is written in such a way that I'm okay with the situation.  Once Elizabeth arrives on the island and begins to re-discover, as Beth, the person she is truly meant to be, it's obvious that she and workaholic Lucas would be a terrible match.  It also helps that the author keeps Lucas in Richmond and contact between them to a minimum, placing the focus of the story on Beth's journey of self-discovery and the developing relationship between her and Joe.  I also appreciated the fact that, in spite of their growing feelings for one another, both Joe and Beth have too much honor to betray Lucas.  And while I don't feel Lucas is the right brother for Beth, Osburn doesn't make him a jerk, just a man with some misplaced priorities.  It's my understanding that he will find his happy ending in the next Anchor Island book and that makes me very happy.

This is a debut book but you'd never guess it.  Terri Osburn writes with the skill of a seasoned veteran, drawing the reader into the heart of her characters and the small island they inhabit and making us care about them.  While there is plenty of humor and lighthearted banter, both Beth and Joe are complex characters with a depth of emotion that is slowly and skillfully revealed throughout the course of the book.  A rich cast of secondary characters add to that depth.  Particular favorites are Miss Lola, a spritely senior citizen with important lessons to impart, Dozer, a floppy-tongued dog that stole my heart - and Beth's - and Sid, a smart-mouthed but gorgeous woman, slowly learning to embrace her femininity, who ( I hope) is destined to lead Lucas a merry chase in the next Anchor Island story.  I can't wait!

I've known Terri Osburn for a number of years and watched her grow as a writer over that time.  Even though she's a friend, the process I followed in reviewing this book is the same as that for every book I read and I was fair and honest in my comments.

I'm delighted to say that I highly recommend this book.  It's sitting on my keeper shelf where I'm sure it will be re-visited.  Do yourself a favor and take a trip to Anchor Island through the pages of Meant to Be.

~PJ

Have you discovered any good debut authors lately?

What books will you be taking to the beach, pool or backyard this summer?  

Do you have a favorite place to read in the summer?  Is it different from where you read the rest of the year?

One randomly chosen person who leaves a comment will receive a Kindle version of Meant to Be