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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Coming Attractions



June is bustin' out all over and with it comes another month of terrific new books, fascinating authors and plenty of fun here at The Romance Dish.  Check out our Coming Attractions for the month of June!









PJ is cleaning out her book shelves which means she will have lots of books to give away this month.  Be here Tuesday, June 3rd for her Beach Bag Bonanza when she'll be sharing quickie reviews of books she recommends for your summer reading bag and giving away packages (and a couple boxes) of books.











Friday, June 6th brings Andrea's list of New Releases.  I don't know about you but my bank account always takes a hit on the day Andrea posts her comprehensive list!











On Wednesday, June 11th we welcome debut contemporary romance author Patience Griffin.  TO SCOTLAND WITH LOVE, the first book in her Kilts and Quilts series, releases June 3rd. PJ says she laughed, cried, sighed and thoroughly enjoyed every word of this emotional story set in a small coastal village in Scotland.










Which July books are setting our reader hearts aflutter?  Stop by Thursday, June 12th when we make our reservations for our most anticipated July releases.  The book on the left will definitely be on PJ's list!












Monday, June 16th brings the Debbie Mason CHRISTMAS IN JULY blog tour to The Romance Dish.  This deeply emotional story, the second book in Mason's Christmas, Colorado series, will be released on June 24th.










Cathy Maxwell returns to blog with us on Tuesday, June 17th.  Cathy's newest book, THE BRIDE SAYS MAYBE features a heroine who has generated some lively discussion among readers. Cathy talked about it in her thought provoking post here on April 23rd.  Can't wait to see what topic she brings to the table this time!










PJ interviews paranormal author Molly Harper on Wednesday, June 18th.  Molly's newest book, BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS will be released June 24th. That title alone should give you a clue that this author has a terrific sense of humor!










Don't miss Anna Campbell's Second Helpings post on Tuesday, June 24th.  This month, Anna will be bringing us some "Regency Charmers."  Can't wait!









Contemporary romance author, Christi Barth joins us Wednesday, June 25th for a Q&A with PJ.  Christi's new book, UP TO ME, first in her Shore Secrets Trilogy, will be released on June 23rd, just in time for beach or pool-side reading!






Added to these special guests will be book reviews, giveaways and plenty of fun to kick off your summer in style.  Hope to see you here often in June!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Today's Special - - Laura Moore


Laura Moore is what one might call a modern Renaissance woman.  With a M.A. in art history, she has filled her resume with positions as a museum lecturer, instructor of art, art history, English and French as well as novelist.  Add to that a love of horses and the ocean. She's competed in horse shows, worked in stables, is an accomplished scuba diver and open water swimmer. I'm beginning to wonder if there's anything she can't do! You can read more about Laura and her books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.  

Welcome, Laura!





First Loves, Second Chances

First, good morning to everyone at The Romance Dish! Thank you so much for having me here!

So today I thought I’d talk about one of my favorite themes in romance: the fragile adolescent heart. I love writing about that first, perfect crush or that hopeless infatuation and how devastating it is when its shattered. One’s first heartbreak can be as difficult to forget as the first time one falls in love.

Did any of you fall in love during high school and have your heart trampled?

Well, that’s the dark cloud hanging over my hero and heroine in my new book, Once Tasted. Reid Knowles and Mia Bodell have known each practically all their lives. They don’t just live in the same town, they’re also next-door neighbors, and their families like each other. They even attended the same school. This makes it all the more striking that Mia and Reid do their utmost to pretend the other doesn’t exist.  The reason for the silent cold war they wage? A high school incident that mortified them both but shattered lonely Mia’s dream-filled heart.

I won’t go into too many details (I truly hate spoilers) of how things unfold between Mia and Reid on their road to a happy-ever-after but just know that an event several years later forces Mia and Reid to work as partners. Neither is happy at the prospect, but shirking their families’ expectations is out of the question. The forced proximity stirs up old feelings between Mia and Reid and sparks new ones. The challenge for both will be to put past hurts and insecurities aside and trust that the love growing between them is real.

Happy Reading!

~Laura

Thanks, Laura!  Second-chance love is one of my favorite romance tropes.  

Okay, readers, it's your turn. Do you also enjoy second-chance love stories?  Do you have a second-chance story of your own to share? Does your first love still hold a fond place in your heart or was he/she consigned to the "not going there" memory trash heap years ago?  Let's dish!

Laura has graciously offered a copy of Once Tasted to one randomly chosen person who leaves a comment on today's post.  


Here’s an excerpt from Once Tasted:

Oh, damn, he must be back.
Mia Bodell didn’t need to be a modern-day Sherlock Holmes to guess who’d put the dreamy expression on Tracy Crofta’s face at Spillin’ the Beans. The barista fairly floated over the wide-planked, unvarnished floors as she took Mia’s order, humming to the hissing of the steamer as she prepared her triple-shot latte.
There were other signs, too.
Tracy wasn’t the only blissed-out female in the coffee shop. Betty Shales, who was sixty if she was a day, wore a beatific smile. Stationed behind the cash register, she stopped patting her gray dreadlocks only long enough to take Mia’s money.
But in case Mia had suffered temporary blindness and missed the women’s joyous glow, she’d have had to be wearing earplugs to miss the trills of laughter and excited chatter when, latte in hand, she walked in to the post office—which also housed the local bank, general store, and luncheonette.
Not many towns could boast of having a post office where you could not only pick up your mail but also cash your checks, order a stack of buttermilk pancakes or a burger, pick up a loaf of bread and a bottle of Tide, and get your daily dose of the latest happenings in Acacia, too. The post office–general store–luncheonette wasn’t just Acacia’s hub. It was Gossip Central.
Mia wasn’t big on gossip. She’d been the butt of it too often. But as she inserted her key into the metal mail- box and retrieved the mail, dropping half of it into the recycling bin and tucking the rest of it—bills, bills, and more bills—under her arm, the air around her buzzed.
Reid Knowles’s name reverberated from all corners of the interior.
There was no escaping it.




About Once Tasted:
Everything has come easily to Reid Knowles, the middle son of a California ranching family. But his charmed life is suddenly complicated when his good friend and neighbor asks him to help run the winery next door. His neighbor’s niece, Mia Bodell, is in charge—and she has made it clear that she’d rather be roped to a steer than to Reid Knowles. Never one to back down from a challenge, Reid vows to win her trust.

            In a life marked by loss, Mia knows that nothing comes easily—love included. In high school, her heart was crushed by Reid, and even though years have passed, the hurt lingers. Mia is achingly aware that the teen heartthrob has matured into a devastatingly handsome playboy, and the budding winemaker refuses to let down her guard. But one taste of unbridled passion changes things. From Reid’s first intoxicating kiss to his unexpectedly tender seduction, Mia is swept into a passionate affair that could tear her heart to pieces . . . or give her everything she has ever wanted.





Buy links:

Amazon  




Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hellie's Hectic, Hurried Reviews


I finished reading these books but haven’t had a chance to commit a review to the page; however, I want to get my opinions out there because…gosh, everyone wants my opinion, right? Never mind. ;-)

Redemption of the Duke
By Gayle Callen
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: April 29, 2014


First up, Gayle Callen’s REDEMPTION OF THE DUKE, the third in the trilogy about redemption. I read SURRENDER TO THE EARL (the second in the series) and enjoyed it immensely; however, this story in and of itself was a bit “meh”. Two of the three reasons aren’t remotely the author’s fault—but more of the timing of when I read the book. 1.) So many dukes—it gets a little exhausting reading about them, but yes, I understand, they are popular; and 2.) the boss and servant/secretary trope is not my favorite, period, or possibly at all, mostly because of the power inequitably, especially considering a historical time period, so I have difficulties embracing a Happily Ever After for those kinds of couples. See? Neither of those things are remotely author-problematic. She cannot help that I read too much and have bad taste in tropes.

But the third reason I didn’t feel much above a “meh” for this story is that the hero was a sheep in wolf’s clothing, who basically donned the wolf clothing for a short time, and everyone keeps calling a wolf and treating like a leper with bad breath. Adam is quite, quite likable. He’s lovely. He’s heroic. He doesn’t even tell any of these people to knock it the hell off when they keep acting like he’s going to be a slut-puppy and ruin them all, as his brothers always said he would and as he seemed set out to do in the beginning, before he ever even entertained the thought of being a duke. And he totally could have told them to shut up—he was the duke, after all. Adam was never truly rakish to me; it was always something to put on to irritate his family but not because he actually enjoyed the role. Me, I like rakes who enjoy the role more and have to reform—their struggle is ever so much more interesting for me. A real redemption.  That part is a bit more personal preference again—but for me, it was a bit of character development and plot reveal that could have been amped up a little more. The good people were a bit too good; the bad people were a bit too bad (two-dimensional).

Three stars from me. It’s readable, it’s lovely, and the hero is very Chris Evans Captain America clean-cut sweet and tolerant, but the story took me longer to read because it was much easier for me to put down. If you read the others in the series, it does finish up the trilogy nicely; and if you like dukes or boss-employee tropes, this may be much more your thing.


How To Lose a Duke In Ten Days
By Laura Lee Guhrke
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: April 29, 2014


Second up, Laura Lee Guhrke’s HOW TO LOSE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS was just spectacular. I’d be willing to go back in time to read it again the first time it was so delicious. It was so lovely, I even hunted out the first book with Belinda (the matchmaker) just to get her story—and I loved that just as much! Just lovely and well done.

You’ll notice this one does include a duke, but I pushed that aside and was rewarded for my open-mindedness when the first chapter ended with the hero realizing someone was digging his grave. Seriously, how could you not continue reading after that? Then the duke comes home—the grave does turn out to be unnecessary—and there’s this lovely, sweet, delicately handled story between a man and wife, marriage of convenience, where the wife had been in a place of abuse (prior to marrying the husband). Edie’s challenge of overcoming her past and learning to trust Margrave is just heartbreaking and heart-healing. Oh, and the kid sister Joanna, is a complete story stealer. She steals every single scene she is in; and I would love to read a story with her as the heroine. Yes, dear Reader, I cried while reading this story, but it was worth every tear. Well done, Ms. Guhrke! Five stars!

~Hellie

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. You can find her at her blog, where she writes the occasional review...and shares updates on her never-ending projects.  Connect with Hellie on Facebook


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Today's Special - - Kat Martin


For New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin, a career in real estate led her down the road to romance.

Through real estate, Kat found her own perfect match--her husband, Western author Larry Jay Martin.

"We were on opposing sides of a transaction--I represented the seller and he represented the buyer," Kat recalls.

A short time after the two became acquainted, Larry asked her to read an unpublished manuscript of an historical western he'd written. Kat fell in love with both the book and the author!

"It was quite a romantic story," she admits. "I'd still like to see it get published." Then, after doing some editing for her future husband, she thought she'd try her own hand at writing.

Kat moved on to become the bestselling author of over fifty historical and contemporary romance novels. To date, 15 million copies of her books are in print, and she's been published around the globe, including Germany, Norway, Sweden, China, Korea, Bulgaria, Russia, England, Estonia, Lithuania, South Africa, Italy, Poland, Thailand, Portugal, Turkey, The Slovak Republic, Spain, Argentina, Estonia, Czech Republic and Greece.

When she's not writing, Kat also enjoys skiing and traveling, particularly to Europe. Currently, she's busy writing her next book.

We're happy to welcome Kat back to The Romance Dish!



Roughing it in Alaska

I can’t speak for other authors, but after sixty books, including AGAINST THE WILD, being released May 27th, I’m always trying to come up with new story concepts.  Which is the reason, when I get an opportunity to travel, I jump right in. 

Usually, however, I prefer a luxury hotel to the tiny quarters of a pick-up camper.  Still, when my husband--always up for an outdoor adventure--wanted to go for a month-long road trip to Alaska, I said yes.  (This year one of my resolutions is to say yes more often).

We took the entire month of August for our journey with two other camper-couples--Alaska is a really big North Country, the first of which resulted in the novel, MIDNIGHT SUN, a Romantic Suspense, first of the Sinclair sister’s trilogy.  I’ve been in love with Alaska ever since.
place.  And it was amazing, magnificent vistas that stretch for hundreds of miles, dangerous wild animals, rugged mountains and rushing streams.  It was the second trip for us into the far

Having just moved to Kensington Publishing, I began to think Alaska might make the perfect setting for the three books I’d been wanting to write about the Brodie brothers, rugged, outdoor hunks, and the women who win their hearts.
 
The idea first came to me as I wrote Ty Brodie’s story, AGAINST THE MARK.  When Ty’s cousin, Dylan, appeared straight out of the wilds of Alaska, I knew he had to have a story of his own. 

Dylan is the owner of a remote fishing lodge built in the thirties, a big, rambling structure along the Northwest Passage.  His dream is to remodel the old lodge and give guests a taste of Alaska, but he needs help with the interior.  Dylan knows exactly the lady he wants to hire.

Lane Bishop is a successful Beverly Hills interior designer, a woman Dylan met when he traveled to L.A. to buy a plane.  Lane has a secret yen to experience the wild beauty of Alaska, and Dylan’s offer is too tempting to resist.  Add to that, she wants to explore the attraction she felt for Dylan when she met him in L.A. 

Trouble begins when she arrives at Eagle Bay and discovers that as beautiful the old lodge is, there is something eerie about it.  Dylan isn’t happy when Lane turns up legends of murder and rumors of hauntings. 
Are ghosts real?  Or has trouble followed Lane all the way to Alaska?


I hope you all get a chance to go on an adventure like mine in the ruggedly beautiful Alaska.  And that you’ll watch for Dylan Brodie in AGAINST THE WILD, followed by his brothers’ stories, Nick, in AGAINST THE SKY, and Rafe, in AGAINST THE TIDE.  Till then, all best wishes and happy reading.  

~Kat



AGAINST THE WILD
TITLE: Against the Wild
AUTHOR: Kat Martin
RELEASE DATE: May 27, 2014
GENRE: Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 978-1-4201-3382-0
ISBN 10: 1-4201-3382-9

Back Cover Copy
ALASKA
Where the men are as bold and untamed as America’s last wilderness

It’s been three years since Lane Bishop tragically lost her fiancé, and she’s finally ready to risk her heart on someone else. The hot look in Dylan Brodie’s eyes says he’s going to be that man.

But when Lane flies to the remote 1930’s fishing lodge to help him renovate, she discovers a little girl who won’t speak, eerie legends and strange sounds in the night. And when she investigates the history of the lodge, she uncovers a legacy of injustice and murder.

As danger stalks his daughter and the woman he is coming to love, Dylan must risk everything to uncover the shocking truth. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Review - - Dreamweaver Trail

Dreamweaver Trail
By Emily March
Publisher: Ballantine
Release Date: May 27, 2014

  


In the eighth book in her Eternity Springs series, Emily March takes her heroine far away from the mountains of Colorado to find passion and then brings her hero three thousand miles to Eternity Springs to find peace.

Gabi Romano is at loose ends. She longs for something that gives her life passion and purpose, but she has no idea what she is looking for. She has discovered that law enforcement is not for her, and neither is working with her mother at the bed and breakfast. But knowing what she doesn’t want provides little direction for her life. When she receives an offer to spend the winter puppy sitting a four-month-old Newfoundland on a Caribbean island playground of the rich and famous, it sounds like the perfect opportunity to get away and give serious thought to what she wants to do next. She finds her charge, Bismarck a bundle of love and mischief and as much trouble as a toddler. When Bismarck runs away to the estate next door, Gabi meets her neighbor’s sexy pool boy. All of a sudden, adding a fling to her island experience sounds like a great idea.

Flynn Brogan is no pool boy. A brilliant and wealthy man, he bought the island estate as a refuge from the media who have hounded him since he was acquitted of a murder by the legal system but found guilty in public opinion, including the opinions of his father and his closest friends. Flynn’s entire life has been shattered by events beyond his control. He lost his family, his work, even his name. He has become a suspicious man who trusts only his lawyer and his lawyer’s wife, and his first thought when he meets Gabi is that she must be a reporter who has infiltrated his careful security. Even when he believes Gabi is who she says she is, he is reluctant to tell her his story and see the change he fears the truth will bring.

Gabi is happier than she has ever been. The island is beautiful, and it has brought her dual passions: her love for Flynn, who is more than she ever dreamed a man could be, and her art, glassblowing, for which Gabi comes to believe she was created. The time she spends with Flynn and the time she spends in the studio with Cicero, the internationally acclaimed artist who is teaching her, fill her with almost more joy and excitement than she can contain. Just when things seem perfect, terror strikes. Gabi and Flynn are forced to kill in order to save their own lives, and in the aftermath of that trauma, Flynn tells Gabi who he is. Flynn sees that she is appalled, and he retreats physically and emotionally. Gabi returns to Eternity Springs and eventually goes to Italy where Cicero has arranged for her to be taught by his mentor.

Life has not finished mangling Flynn. He undergoes yet another horrific experience, one that leaves him more damaged in body, heart, and soul. In his darkness, he remembers what Gabi said about the healing that Eternity Springs offers. He holes up in an isolated mountain cabin outside Eternity Springs, unable to articulate even to himself the hope that has brought him there. He plans to leave before Gabi returns, and when she flies home unexpectedly to spend Christmas with her family, he does all he can to avoid her. But Bismarck, the magic of Eternity Springs, and a love that was meant to be all do their part to see that two wounded hearts find their HEA.

This is the darkest book in the series. Gabi is big-hearted and confident with a real zest for life, but she is also scarred by a double betrayal that ended a previous love affair, by revelations of her father’s chronic infidelities, and by the events that forced her to kill in order to save her brother’s life. Flynn’s wounds are even deeper, and he has never had the level of love and support of family and friends on which Gabi can depend.  I loved both these characters and wanted to see them happy, and while I understand the necessity of conflict, I still found it almost intolerable to read the pages detailing the events that nearly destroyed Flynn. Things are more conventionally Eternity Springs in the second half of the book which returns to the Colorado setting. But I was haunted by the island horror and did not find my usual enjoyment in the town and its citizens. There’s a reason I avoid romantic suspense that is shudderingly dark.

I really vacillated about the number of stars for this one. It is not a book I will reread, and most four and five-star books are keepers for me, which means I expect to reread them some day. Also, at times the contrast between shades of light and dark gave me a feeling that things were disjointed. But I love Eternity Springs, I cared about these characters, and I wanted to hug Bismarck. For these reasons, I went with four stars. If romantic suspense is one of your favorite subgenres, you may not be bothered by the things I found disturbing. If you are an Eternity Springs fan or a fan of small-town romance generally, the characters are worth the read regardless. As for return trips, Cicero is the next hero, and I’m already in love. I shall return.

~Janga


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Something Sweet


by Anna Campbell

As everyone who frequents this lovely blog is very sweet - I sure know I am (snerk!) - I thought today I'd talk about some sweet category romances that I've recently enjoyed.

I've got nothing against a bit of passion. I've got even less against a LOT of passion.

But now and again, I seem to want something a little gentler than rampant desire and wild rapture. Some of my favorite romances are sweet, often they don't even include a love scene, but still they manage to pack a huge emotional punch and they sizzle with sexual tension.

When I think of top-notch sweet romances, I think of wonderful stories like Eva Ibbotson's A COUNTESS BELOW STAIRS or Liz Fielding's A WEDDING AT LEOPARD TREE LODGE. Both unforgettable stories for all that kisses are about as hot and heavy as these characters get.

By the way, while these books aren't current releases, they're all available as e-reads (and some still in print). And I've read other books by the authors so even if you check out another story by one of these writers, you won't be disappointed.

LAST-MINUTE PROPOSAL (2008) by Jessica Hart is a real charmer. When cuddly wedding cake designer Tilly is paired with hard-jawed, hard-eyed, hard-bodied tycoon Campbell in a reality show to raise money for charity, they're both convinced that they have nothing in common. And they'd both be wrong!

I love stories of opposites attracting and finding rich depths in their own characters as a result. Definitely worth picking up.

THE LONER'S GUARDED HEART (2008) by Michelle Douglas is another charmer. Oh, no, I think that particular version of the 'c' word might be getting a workout in this review. It's another opposites attract story and features another hard-jawed, hard-eyed, hard-bodied hero in 'loner' Kent. When winsome Josie moves into a cabin on Kent's remote property in Australia's Hunter Valley, his days as a loner are numbered! It's a case of when an irresistible force meets an old immovable object, and something's gotta give! This one just gets better and better as you read it and the ending brought a happy tear to my eye. Again, well worth a look. 

THE CORPORATE BRIDEGROOM (2002) by Liz Fielding is the oldest book I'm reviewing today but it's still available digitally and it's a great read, with one of the most perfect, heartbreaking ends to a love scene EVER.

The plot is a staple of category romance - the hero's hostile takeover of the heroine's family business. But once Liz Fielding focuses her wit, wisdom and warmth on these wonderful characters, she turns this into an unforgettable story. The Claibournes and the Farradays have feuded for years over control of London's most glamorous department store Claibourne and Farraday. So Niall Farraday Macaulay definitely counts as the enemy for Romana Claibourne, the store's public relations whizz. But sometimes it can be fun sleeping with the enemy! Love enemy into lovers stories and this one is a great one.

My last in this roundup of excellent sweeter romances only came out in February this year so it's still very much available. THE SUMMER THEY NEVER FORGOT by Kandy Shepherd is an absolutely lovely story about reunited childhood sweethearts, Ben and Sandy. But will they be able to make a go of it as adults dealing with tragedy, the demands of career, and the years apart? It has a beautiful ending which will leave you misty eyed and smiling. This book also offers the added bonus of lovingly observed descriptions of the gorgeous seaside setting of Dolphin Bay on the New South Wales South Coast in Australia. I was all keen to move to Dolphin Bay, and then realized it was fiction. Sob! Great disappointments in modern fiction! LOL!

So do you like sweet romances or it is steamy all the way for you? Do you have any favorite authors who write on the sweeter side? Have you read any of these authors? What did you think?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Review - - The Scoundrel's Seduction


The  Scoundrel's Seduction
House of Trent:  Book 3
By Jennifer Haymore
Publisher:  Forever
Release Date:  May 27, 2014





I’m a reader.  Always have been.   I’m the sort who sneaks out to lunch without telling my friends so I can read instead of chat.   I’m the one who lets the phone ring till I finish a sentence.   I’m the one who ignores the “Mo-om!” from downstairs so I can finish the chapter.   But whenever any task, even one you adore, becomes obligatory, much of the joy is sucked right out.

Not so, if one “has to” read Jennifer Haymore’s THE SCOUNDREL’S SEDUCTION for a review site, for example.   ;)

Nobody in Sam Hawkins’ family knows what he does for a living, but they know it’s dangerous.  And vitally important to England.  So when the order comes from the higher-ups asking Sam to assassinate a traitor, he doesn’t hesitate.  Because he’s that devoted to his job and is that good at it.  Except this time, when he shoots the traitor right through the heart, he fails to realize he’s done so while the traitor’s stunning wife watches from under a table.   Unsure of what to do, because killing an innocent witness isn’t part of Sam’s job description, he takes her prisoner.  But with more time spent in her company, Sam isn’t quite sure who has trapped whom for he finds leaving her presence, even for a moment, becomes unbearable to him--to HIM: a man who’s set his life up in such a way as to not attach to anyone.

Now that Élise, Lady Dunthorpe, is finally free of her terrible husband, she can’t abide becoming imprisoned by yet another man so soon after--and by one who ruthlessly shot her husband, no less.  Surely, she should hate her powerful jailer.  Surely, she shouldn’t feel so alive under his intense scrutiny and, most surely, she shouldn’t enjoy his touch.  That would be the moral response, wouldn’t it?   But while Élise wars with what she shouldn't, yet does, feel, danger from her former husband’s associates forces Sam and her to run, perhaps closer into each other’s arms.   Shoulds be damned. 
Confession: THE SCOUNDREL’S SEDUCTION was my first Haymore read.  As a writer, I found her to weave quite a complex relationship between her main characters, far more weighty than the average historical.   But I think what put this book into the 5 star category for me is the chemistry Haymore is able to create.   Sometimes I feel chemistry between the hero/heroine is a fluke for writers, just as it is in life.  It’s there or it isn’t, even in the hands of the very best writers.

It was certainly there between Sam and Élise and the jailer/prisoner plot helped.  But Haymore does something different with it: while her heroine, Élise, craves her freedom, Haymore writes her without a hint of shrewishness, though she is still independent and worthy of a reader’s respect.   And while her hero, Sam, is powerful and is forced to imprison Élise, Haymore writes him without a hint of pushy chauvinism… though he is still incredibly male and virile AND sensitive.   They are all fine lines for a writer to traverse and Haymore does so expertly.

I heartily recommend THE SCOUNDREL’S SEDUCTION.  And while I feel the title is a misnomer of sorts—the title and premise set up different expectations than what a reader actually gets with this book (Élise doesn’t actively seduce Sam out of his wits as she is just as seduced by him)—the book FAR exceeded my enjoyment expectations… especially my “have to read it” enjoyment expectation.

Go forth and read THE SCOUNDREL’S SEDUCTION while I download all of Haymore's other House of Trent novels.  Because I have to.

~J Perry Stone

J Perry Stone is an aspiring Historical Romance writer who is a giant proponent of books and of love... romance being the place where the two live happily ever after.  She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and two children. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Better As A Memory Winners






The winners of a download of Better As A Memory by Marilyn Baxter are:

Gannon

and

librarypat


Please send us an email and let us know if you want a kindle or nook copy of
Better As A Memory.


Theresa Romain Winner







The winner of a copy of To Charm a Naughty Countess by Theresa Romain is:

Ada

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

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New Releases winner!



The winner of a random book from my prize stash is:

tiffky doofky

Congrats, tiffky doofky! Please send your full name and address to theromancedish AT gmail DOT com with "Andrea's winner" as the subject and I'll get your book in the mail. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

Review -- It Happened One Wedding

It Happened One Wedding
FBI/US Attorney—Book 5
By Julie James
Publisher: Jove
Release Date: May 6, 2014





It’s that time of year again! Spring, you ask? Well, yes, but that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s the time of year when Julie James fans rejoice because she has a new book out! It Happened One Wedding may not be my favorite of Ms. James’s books—Nick McCall absolutely refuses to give up his top spot—but it is terrific and well worth the wait.

FBI Special Agent Vaughn Roberts is intrigued when he witnesses a blind date gone bad while killing some time in a coffee shop. He narrates a play-by-play of their conversation in his head and is pretty much spot-on. After the woman’s “date” leaves, Vaughn walks over because it would be a shame to let a woman like that end her Friday night on such a sour note. What he doesn’t expect is the woman’s reaction when he pours on the charm—or what he believes is charm. I don’t want to spoil it, but her response is classic for a Julie James heroine. Vaughn leaves and heads over to the restaurant where he is meeting his brother, Simon, and Simon’s girlfriend for dinner.

Sidney Sinclair is back in her hometown of Chicago after spending eight years in New York City. Six months earlier, she caught her fiancé cheating on her right before the wedding, thus ending the engagement. Sidney now has a plan in regards to dating. She has a list of thirty-four things to help her spot when a man is not ready for commitment. The list helps her when she is approached by a gorgeous, but arrogant man in a coffee shop. Sidney quickly puts him in his place and leaves to meet her sister, Isabelle, and Isabelle’s boyfriend for dinner. Sidney is horrified to see the man from the coffee shop there and learns that he is the brother of Isabelle’s boyfriend. Awkward!  But that’s not all. Isabelle and Simon announce they are getting married…and they want Sidney and Vaughn to be the maid of honor and best man. So, Sidney and Vaughn will have to work together to help pull this wedding off. But can they do it without driving each other mad??

This book is so full of win. Sexy, confident FBI Special Agent? Check. Smart, successful, quick-witted heroine? Check. Witty banter and sexual tension? Check and check. See? Full of win. It Happened One Wedding is, in short, a marvelous book. Of course, I expect nothing less from a Julie James book.

Fans know how well-rounded Ms. James’s heroines are, but she has a special knack for depicting the male point of view when writing her heroes. They are total guys. Readers met Vaughn in the previous book (Love Irresistibly) as the charming, self-assured best friend of Cade Morgan. When he meets Sidney, he is brought down a notch. This is new to him as he isn’t used to being brushed off. Typically, he does the brushing off. It’s not that Sidney isn’t attracted to him—just the opposite. But after what happened with her ex-fiancé, she is not going to settle for just any guy. She isn’t afraid of entering another long-term commitment, which is nice because a lot of heroines I read about who go through a similar situation “swear off” men completely. Sidney wants the whole kit and caboodle…she just wants it on her terms. When she and Vaughn get past that initial awkwardness of having to work together, they form a friendship of sorts and he even helps her on her quest for finding Mr. Right. He explains to her what it means when guys say or do certain things and several of those exchanges had me laughing out loud. One in particular (at the beginning of chapter nineteen) had me rolling!! Good stuff. Another thing I love about Ms. James’s books is the fact that it is evident that she does extensive research, whether it is talking with FBI agents, or a wine store owner, or other lawyers. It shows in her writing. Ms. James, please know that your readers appreciate your hard work!

Folks, if you haven’t read Ms. James’s books, this is the perfect one to start with. It is the fifth book in the series, but all of Ms. James’s books are written as stand-alone books so it doesn’t matter where you start…just start! You won’t be disappointed. Those who have read all her previous books will be thrilled with a tie-in from her second book, Practice Makes Perfect. It certainly has me wondering who her next hero will be. So, if you love smart, fast-paced, well-written contemporaries, this is one that I highly recommend! Enjoy!


~Andrea

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Today's Special - - Marilyn Baxter


I'm delighted to welcome Marilyn Baxter to The Romance Dish today. I first met Marilyn at the 2008 Romance Writers of America national conference.  It's been a pleasure to follow her writing journey over the past six years. She's published more than 40 stories in romance magazines and confessions as well as teaching classes in how to write effectively in the genre. Her newest story, Better as a Memory is a novella with the heart and depth of a full-length novel.  Published by Boroughs Publishing Group, it's available from both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  

You can find more information about Marilyn at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter




Hi Marilyn!  Welcome to the Romance Dish.  It’s a pleasure to host you today.  Let’s kick things off by introducing your new novella, Better as a Memory.  Please tell our readers what they can expect from this story.

There’s love, laughter, some emotional twists and turns, a dose of Southern hospitality and a happily ever after ending. 


Second chance love is one of my favorite romance themes.  What was it about Victoria and Max that convinced you they could make a go of it the second time around?

Despite his “wilderness man” attitude and behavior, Max was a caring person at heart.  He just didn’t always do or say the right thing.  And I put him in a position where he thought he would lose his dream if he did the right thing.  And Victoria… well for all her I-can-handle-my-own-life-just-fine-thank-you-very-much manner, she really wants happily ever after.  These two characters had a history, they had secrets and they are both people who help others.  My dilemma when plotting this was to figure out a way to make them see that a happy ending was in their future.  And you’ll just have to read it to see how they make the journey to HEA.  ;-)


I enjoy stories with intriguing secondary characters and Max’s sister, Kate captured my attention.  Any chance that she’ll have a story to tell?

I sure hope so!  I just haven’t figured her out yet.  She’s a savvy businesswoman and I have to figure out who’s the worst hero I can pair her with and the worst circumstance I can put them in.  I went to a Leanne Banks workshop once where she said to put your characters up a tree and shoot at them.  I gotta find that tree and decide what caliber bullets to use.


Let’s talk about you a bit.  You’re a newly published romance author.  Will you please share your journey to publication with us? 

In high school and college I wrote horrible poetry and thank goodness it never survived multiple moves.  Then in the late 90’s I got hooked on a TV show and started reading fanfiction based around it.  After a while, I decided to try my hand and wrote a few stories about Lois Lane, Clark Kent and Superman.  I discovered romance novels when someone plagiarized a Harlequin romance on our fanfiction site.  I offered to track down the original book and read it to make sure we weren’t accusing someone falsely.  And I loved the book!  Where had these been all my life???  I started reading more of them and realized I’d been writing romance fanfiction.  So why not write about my own characters and see if I could get the stories published?  I looked up romance websites and eventually found my way to RWA and my local chapter.  My first published works were actually in 2006 when I sold a story to True Confessions.  “Death & Taxes” didn’t have my name on it, but I knew I’d written it.  After dickering around with an idea for a novel for too many years, I finally wrote it for NaNoWriMo in 2008.  Several months later I entered it in an online pitch contest for Harlequin Special Edition and finaled in the contest.  I got a request and a rejection, but I knew then I could write a novel.  My journey got interrupted, however, by a divorce and writer’s block (it’s pretty hard to write about happily ever after when yours comes to an end), but after some time to grieve, I began writing again.  Last year, the Editor in Chief of Boroughs Publishing Group visited my RWA chapter and promoted their novella contest.  I entered.  I finaled.  And BETTER AS A MEMORY is the result.  Earlier this year, I had a short story, TEA FOR TWO, released in their Lunchbox Romance line.

What is something readers would be surprised to learn about you?

I enjoy things that are a little absurd, weird and wonderful.  Several years ago two girlfriends and I attended the RC & Moon Pie Festival in Bell Buckle, Tennessee.  They had Moon Pies in all varieties including deep-fried ones (and no, I didn’t try one), and the day included entertainment in the form of Synchronized Wading (think synchronized swimming but in ankle deep water in a kiddle pool).  It was a hoot!

I’ve also seen pyramids on two continents.  I rode a camel to see the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the Sphnix (by the way, camels are mean, nasty creatures).  I’ve also seen the El Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.  They’re all amazing and completely baffling.  How on earth DID they build them?


You’re quite the world traveler.  Of all the countries you’ve visited, which is your favorite and why? Which country that you haven’t yet visited tops your bucket list?

I haven’t visited a country yet I didn’t enjoy.  But I’m still basking in the afterglow of Ireland.  Parts of the country are very much like the southeastern U.S. and I can understand why so many Irish people settled here.  The Emerald Isle really is green.  And the people are so friendly.  You have to love a country where all the men hold open doors for you and call you “dear” in a completely genuine manner.


What are you working on now?

I have a couple ideas whirling around in my head – all set in Ireland.  One involves a woman who inherits a house in Ireland she doesn’t want and another begins with a pregnant woman showing up at a bar in Dublin asking for the man she had a fling with in Boston.  And there’s an unfinished NaNoWriMo project I want to finish.  I’m re-thinking what I write, though, and that’s why I’m still in the idea mode.  After reading several books by NY Times bestsellers that focused more on the emotional than the physical aspect of the romance, I’m realizing I want to do this too – to dig deeper into the characters, put them higher up that tree I referred to earlier and use really big guns to shoot at them.


Thank you for visiting with us today, Marilyn!  Would you like to ask our readers a question?

Would you like a chance to win an Amazon gift card for reading BETTER AS A MEMORY? 

Everyone who leaves an honest review of it between today and midnight Central Time next Monday will be in the running.  Email me a link to your review at readmarilynbaxter at gmail dot com.  Review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads or your blog to increase your chances.  I’ll draw a week from today and post the winner on Facebook and email them directly.  You can friend me at https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.baxter.372.


PJ here.  Your turn, readers.  Tell us something we'd be surprised to learn about you! To introduce you to Marilyn's writing, I'm giving away a download of BETTER AS A MEMORY (Kindle or Nook) to two randomly chosen people who leave a comment on today's blog before 10:00 pm EST May 21, 2014.