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

Monday, June 30, 2014

Coming Attractions




The temperature outside is rising, so take a break, grab a cold drink, and join us at the Romance Dish! We have a lot of terrific guest authors lined up along with some wonderful reviews, regular monthly blogs, and as always, prizes galore!






PJ interviews Romance Bandit and contemporary author Anna Sugden tomorrow, Tuesday, July 1st. Anna’s upcoming book, A Perfect Trade, is the second book in her New Jersey Ice Cats series and hits shelves tomorrow!









On Wednesday, July 2nd, J Perry Stone brings us a Q&A with her friend and fantasy author Anna Steffl. Anna’s most recent release, Solace Shattered, is book 2 in her Solace trilogy and is garnering some rave reviews!






Grab a pen and paper to jot down your favorite July books from Andrea’s New Releases list on Friday, July 4th!






Be sure to drop by on Monday, July 7th, as PJ offers another round of Beach Bag Bonanza Reviews and packages of books to give away!









Aussie and contemporary romance author Amy Andrews is interviewed by PJ on Tuesday, July 8th. I’m sure they will dish about Amy’s upcoming romantic comedy, Risky Business!






Make Your Reservations on Thursday, July 10th, as we let you know which books we are most looking forward to in August.






Stop by on Monday, July 14th, and check out PJ’s Q&A with award-winning husband and wife duo V.K. Sykes! V.K’s upcoming book, Payoff Pitch, is the fifth book of their USA Today best-selling Philadelphia Patriots series.







We are thrilled to welcome historical author Kate Noble to the blog on Thursday, July 17th! Kate’s upcoming book, The Game and the Governess, is the first in a new series and releases July 22nd. And don’t forget to pick up her newest book (writing as Kate Rorick), The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, which is based on the Emmy award-winning YouTube series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries!






We will be on vacation here at the Dish from July 21st – July 27th because Romance Writers of America®’s 34th Annual Conference is at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter & Marriott Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX from Wednesday, July 23rd–Saturday, July 26th! PJ will be attending the conference this year and will be taking a lot of pictures and getting a ton of goodies to give away here at the Romance Dish. She plans to post updates from the conference on Twitter (https://twitter.com/TheRomanceDish) and our TRD Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/theromancedish). So if you haven’t already, be sure to follow and “like” us! If you live near San Antonio, please stop by the huge “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing on Wednesday, July 23rd from 5:30-7:30 pm in the 3rd floor ballroom. Over 500 authors will be signing books! Check here for a complete list of participating authors. The event is open to the public and proceeds from book sales go to literacy organizations.


We hope you'll join us! 



~Andrea

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review - - Until We Touch

Until We Touch
By Susan Mallery
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: June 24, 2014





Larissa Owens is happy with her life. She loves her job as personal assistant to Jack McGarry, former star quarterback of the L.A. Stallions and current partner in Score, a PR company recently relocated to Fool’s Gold.  She’s also private masseuse to Jack and his partners—Sam Ridge, Kenny Scott, and Taryn Crawford. Larissa had reservations about the move to Fool’s Gold, but she has quickly fallen in love with the warm, quirky town and the new friends she has made there. Magical Mayor Marsha even persuades her to adopt a Ragdoll cat, the beautiful and discriminating Dyna. All this and the freedom to satisfy her need to save the world—or at least a portion of it—with Jack’s checkbook makes life almost perfect. Larissa doesn’t think about the “almost” until her mother comes for a visit and changes everything.

For reasons he doesn’t allow himself to think about often, Jack McGarry lives life mostly on the surface. He prides himself on his tight control over his emotions. Charming, generous, and quick with a quip, he has a magnetic appeal, but he allows only a rare few into his inner world. He counts on those friendships. Sam, Kenny, Taryn, and Larissa are his family. He refuses to allow himself to need anyone else. His romantic escapades are strictly for the moment, with none of them lasting long enough to even deserve the term “relationship.” Known for his charitable works, he thinks of himself as supplying the funds while Larissa supplies the heart.

Everything changes when Larissa’s mother pays a visit to Jack’s office and asks him to fire Larissa. Nancy Owens wants her daughter back in Los Angeles where she can meet a nice guy, get married, and give Nancy more grandchildren. Most of all, she wants her away from Jack McGarry because Nancy believes Larissa is in love with Jack and headed for heartbreak. When Jack questions Larissa about her mother’s claim, Larissa insists that her mother is wrong. But once the words have been said, neither Jack nor Larissa can forget them. They are aware of each other in a different way, and a couple of heated kisses complicate the situation even more. Soon they are intimately involved with the understanding that the relationship comes with an expiration date, but old problems remain unresolved. When Jack detonates the explosion that destroys his world, the damage is heavy, but no one is more wounded by his viciousness than Jack himself. A fairy tale ending never looked more impossible.

Until We Touch is #15 in Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series, and the commitment-phobic hero (along with a few heroines who have their own problems with commitment) is standard fare in the series. But Jack may be the most complex and interesting in that long list. He does turn into a super jerk, as quite a number of Mallery’s heroes do, but his jerkdom has a self-destructive edge that sets him apart. There is also the matter of Larissa and Jack’s mutual enablement. Larissa has some baggage of her own, and it compels her into the savior role. Saving the world a bit at a time, whether it is a transplant patient, an owl, or butterflies, allows Larissa to avoid looking at her own life which is singularly lacking in long-term commitments. She has never even had a pet until Mayor Marsha maneuvers her into adopting Dyna. Jack’s money gives her the means to do good at little personal risk. However, Larissa gains self-awareness and works at tackling her problems well before Jack reaches that point—and she does so without inflicting harm on others.

Jack has spent his adult life keeping a vow he made at seventeen. If he keeps the world at a distance and invests nothing of himself, he can’t be devastated by loss. When he discovers that bit by bit his life has become entangled with others in ways that demand more than he ever wanted to risk, he panics—and he strikes out in ways that inflict deep wounds. It takes Jack to almost the end of the book to realize his actions have left him with a life barren of everything and everyone who gave it meaning.

I’m not sure I agree with the adage to understand all is to forgive all. I understand Jack’s behavior, but he is forgiven real meanness much too quickly for my liking. The resolution not only to the conflict between Jack and Larissa but also between Jack and Taryn and Jack and young Percy was much too quick for me to fully trust it. There is much I loved in this book: the recurring Fool’s Gold characters, Taryn preparing for her wedding, a homeless teenager who totally won my heart, and Dyna who made me forget I am not a cat person. But even all these things are not sufficient to make me forget that I was emotionally invested in these characters and I felt cheated by the abrupt conclusion.

Nevertheless, I remain a dedicated Fool’s Gold fan. Susan Mallery’s gift for characterization is superb, and I love the town she has created with its distinctive history and growing cast of characters whose happiness matters to me.  I started the series with the first book, and five years and fourteen stories later, I still eagerly anticipate the next one. In fact, I expect the novella “Yours for Christmas,” the story of big, gentle Kenny Scott and war widow and single mother Bailey Voss to be a favorite. Final word on Larissa and Jack’s story: it is an emotionally engaging tale with characters who etch themselves into the reader’s memory, but the hero’s off-the-charts jerkdom and the too rapid conclusion left me disappointed, although not sorry I read the book.

 ~Janga

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Miranda Neville Winner






The winner of a book from yesterday's Q&A with Miranda Neville is

Mary D.

Congratulations, Mary!  
Please send us your full name and mailing address and let us know if you want a copy of 
The Ruin of a Rogue or Lady Windermere's Lover.  

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Christi Barth Winner





The winner of an e-book copy of UP TO ME by Christi Barth is

LauraL

Congratulations, Laura!  
Please send us an email and let us know if you would like Kindle or Nook format.

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Dana Marton Winner





The winner of Dana Marton's giveaway is

deerdoe69

Congratulations!  
Please choose one of the titles listed below and email your choice to us at 

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Also, please send us your choice of format. (Kindle vs Nook or epub vs mobi)

Book choices:
Deathscape
Deathtrap
Deathblow



Friday, June 27, 2014

Today's Special - - Miranda Neville


PJ here.  I always get excited when one of my auto-buy authors visits TRD, especially when I get the chance to lob questions at her! :)  Our special guest today is historical romance author Miranda Neville whose new book, Lady Windermere's Lover was launched into the world this week.  (If it's not on your summer reading list, it should be!) Miranda grew up in England devouring the books of Georgette Heyer, Jean Plaidy and other historical authors of the day. She studied history at Oxford and worked for several years for Sotheby's auction house in London and New York City. Miranda now lives in rural Vermont where she enjoys cooking, gardening, cross-country skiing and writing the historical romance novels we love to read.  You can find more information about Miranda and her books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.  Please give her a warm Romance Dish welcome!


Welcome, Miranda!  After reading – and loving – The Ruin of a Rogue, I was excited to learn that Lady Windermere’s Lover would be the story of Lady Cynthia Windermere and her absent husband, Damian, Earl of Windermere.  Please tell readers what they can expect from this book.

Hi PJ. Thanks for your kind words about The ROAR. It’s always a pleasure to visit the Dish! Damian is a mystery to the readers of the series and he was to me, too. All I knew of him was that he’d made this terrible mistake on his twenty-first birthday and gambled away his estate. As a result he broke away from his wild friends and became a super respectable diplomat. He married Cynthia to regain his estate and almost immediately left for a year. When he returns he finds things have changed: Cynthia has bloomed into a beauty and she appears to be having an affair with his former best friend, the Duke of Denford.

Cynthia and Damian have more than his protracted absence to overcome if they wish to reach their happy ending.  What was it about these two characters that convinced you they were meant to be together?

I threw a lot of problems at the couple: a lousy honeymoon, Damian behaving like a bit of a prize ass, and a couple of issues that Cynthia isn’t talking about.  They don’t know each other well and what they know isn’t encouraging. When Damian turned respectable following his gambling disaster, he repressed the sensitive, artistic aspects of his personality. In trying to win back Cynthia, a fundamentally decent person, he has to rediscover that side of his character and learns they share they same interests. He is a gentler character than Denford, who would not be at all the right man for her.  She wants to love her husband but she’s no pushover and he has to work hard to win her back.

I loved that Cynthia had found her confidence in his absence and made Damien work his way back into her life. The marriage of convenience is one of my favorite romance tropes.  What is it about this type of story that appeals to you as a writer?  Do you also enjoy a marriage of convenience story as a reader?

Love, love, love the MoC! It’s a trope that never gets old. Tolstoy famously said that happy families are all alike, unhappy ones all unhappy in their own way. I feel the same way about MoC or estranged couples in romance. And in historicals there’s the added tension that they can’t just bail and get a divorce, at least not easily. They may well be miserable forever so the stakes are very high.

Do you have a book planned for Denford?  (I’m not above begging!)

Funny you should ask, but yes! Not only planned but written. The Duke of Dark Desires comes out on New Year’s Eve. I’m not saying much about it yet, but I’ll tell you that the sins of his youth are coming back to bite him in the form of a beautiful and vengeful governess.

Yay!  I do love those bad boys, especially when they finally meet the woman who's going to bring them to their knees.  ;-)

Summer is my favorite season for catching up on my reading.   There are so many delicious places (hammock, lounge chair, pool, beach) to relax with a good book.  What books are on your reading list this summer?

Loretta Chase’s Vixen in Velvet comes out the same day as Lady Windermere’s Lover. I suspect by the time this interview appears I shall have scarfed it up. I’m really looking forward to Katharine Ashe’s I Adored a Lord. And there’s a new Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Heroes Are My Weakness – on August 26, which happens to be my birthday. Happy birthday to me!

Oooh, that's my kind of birthday present!

Damian spent his time in the foreign office traveling to exotic locations.  What’s the most exotic location you’ve visited?  Where would you most like to visit?

I once spent two weeks in the mountains of southern Spain in a town called Ronda, staying in a medieval Moorish palace. The facilities were kind of medieval too! I had a great time researching the backstory of Damian’s visit to Persia, which was just opening up to the West. Right now, I probably wouldn’t put Iran on my list but one day, maybe. I would love to visit India.

Besides books, my other summer love is seasonal food.  Every week I load up on plenty of fresh fruits and veggies at the local Farmer’s Market and enjoy turning them into delicious summer dishes.  If your characters invited you to attend their annual summer picnic, what dish would you bring to share?

Great question! I visit the local farm stand almost daily in the summer. My current favorite food is quinoa (a South American high-protein grain for those who don’t know it). I have a delicious quinoa salad recipe, quite spicy with chipotle peppers, lime juice, and cilantro. Perfect for picnics or potlucks.

Mmmm.  That sounds delicious!  I haven't cooked with quinoa - yet - but I've had dishes made with it and they were very good.  

Will you be attending any conferences or book signings this summer where readers will have the opportunity to meet you?

I shall be at RWA in San Antonio in July.  If you are there, please come and say hello, either at the giant Literacy Book Fair (open to the public) or at the Avon Open House (for conference registrants).

I'll look forward to seeing you in San Antonio!

What’s next from Miranda Neville?

As well as The Duke of Dark Desires, I have a couple of novellas in the works. I’m planning my next historical series and enjoying not being under deadline.

Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Miranda.  Would you like to ask our readers a question?

As I write this, I am looking out of my Vermont window at blue skies, fluffy clouds, and sunshine on the New Hampshire mountains. I love to travel but home is pretty good too! What are you enjoying about your home this summer?

One randomly chosen person who leaves a comment on today's post will receive a copy of The Ruin of a Rogue or Lady Windermere's Lover (winner's choice - open to all countries serviced by bookdepository.com).  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review - - Vixen in Velvet

Vixen in Velvet
By Loretta Chase
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: June 24,, 2014




Let’s start by clearing up that the serious-minded business entrepreneur of this book is the heroine, Leonie Noirot. She’s not fooling around. She has a business to run and a whole herd of young women to support with jobs. She is here to sell dresses. Gorgeous, gorgeous dresses. (Admittedly, just reading the book, I wanted to go to this shop and be outfitted so I could be as swan-like as the hilarious secondary character, Lady Gladys, turns out to be.)

Meanwhile, Simon Blair, the marquess of Lisburne is more underfoot than a cat. They met as Leonie was admiring a Botticelli painting, Venus and Mars, which happens to be Lisburne’s painting. So some witty banter is exchanged—which is only a taste of the witty banter that carries throughout the book—and now they have made a bet. Leonie says she can make Lisburne’s cousin, Lady Gladys, who is not remotely Diamond of the First Water, into London’s most sought after in a fortnight. Lisburne, once he stops snorting at this ridiculous image, agrees and believes it’s the easiest bet he’ll ever win. If she wins, she gets the Botticelli. If he wins, he gets her exclusive attention for two weeks where she is not running off to do business or ignoring him altogether.

Of course, just because he’s going to win this bet doesn’t mean he wants to leave her alone for the two weeks it takes to win it. As I said, he’s more underfoot than a cat. Which is actually delightful because we are treated to Chase’s legendary wit and banter; and as I laughed at one perfectly timed comedic episode after another, I fell just a bit more in love with Leonie and Lisburne as a couple. Leonie is hardworking, perfectionistic, the epitome of the fantasy sexy accountant. Lisburne is a bit more devil may care and not good with the ledgers, or all that boring stuff. He’s just the man to muss Leonie’s curls and make sure she doesn’t work her entire life away. I had more than one moment where I was reading that I felt like I was in a Victorian screwball comedy a la Hepburn and Grant. I loved it.

Lady Gladys, much to Lisburne’s chagrin, turns from snapping turtle to swan, endangering his painting and his best-laid plans of spending time with Leonie. Her metamorphosis in the book is my favorite part, along with the clear suggestion that Lady Gladys is due to have the man of her dreams, one of the last men Lisburne would have matched her with. Nope, nope, Lady Gladys is the perfect match for her man; and it is adorable to watch the whole thing unfold. (This subplot gives hope to all us snapping turtles out there!)


I’m one of the few readers who haven’t read every Loretta Chase book as soon as it comes out, so I have the delight of going back and reading the first two in the Dressmaker Series. I can’t wait to do so. 

~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.  Connect with Hellie on Facebook

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Today's Special - - Christi Barth

Amy Jones Photography

I'm pleased to welcome contemporary author Christi Barth back to TRD today.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Christi, she write "sassy, sexy and smart romances" for Carina Press. Prior to kicking off her writing career, Christi earned a Masters degree in vocal performance, performed on the stage and was a wedding planner.  Her newest book, UP TO ME kicks off her new Shore Secrets series set among the lovely Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.  UP TO ME is the perfect book to kick off your summer vacation reading.  I laughed, sighed, sniffled, sighed a bit more and immediately started counting the days until book #2! You can find more information about Christi at her website and connect with her online on Facebook and Twitter.    



Welcome to the Romance Dish, Christi and congratulations on the release of UP TO ME.  Please tell our readers what they can expect from this book. 

Laughter. A few spots that’ll make you put your hand to your heart and sigh/gasp. A few spots that’ll make you fan yourself. But to be specific, here’s the blurb:
Ella Mayhew’s always appreciated the beautiful view of Seneca Lake from the spa window of her family’s hotel. But the view improves dramatically when a hot stranger runs across the grounds—shirtless. He’s the first man to kickstart her hormones in the three years since she lost her parents, and she doesn’t even know his name.
Graydon Locke’s on his umpteenth undercover assignment. The routine’s always the same: assess a business, recommend it for closure, then roll out before anyone discovers his decisions impact hundreds of lives. He’s always believed nothing good comes out of small towns. Why would this one be different? Then he makes two classic rookie mistakes—falling for the sweet, sexy girl who owns the very business he’s on the verge of axing. And letting the town’s residents get involved in both his life, and his relationship with Ella.
Ella’s the best thing to ever happen to Gray, but he’s lied to her from the start. If he pulls the plug on Mayhew Manor, the entire town may crumble. Ella couldn’t save her parents, but it’s up to her to save their hotel. Even if that means turning her back on true love.

Gray and Ella both face potentially life altering personal decisions as well as a major obstacle to their happy ending.  What do you want readers to understand about these two characters? 

The title really says it all. Ella has to realize that she needs to stop taking advice and make her own decisions. Gray ends up taking responsibility for his actions, for once. But as much as they have to take individual stands, the book is about how they bring out the best in each other, and becoming a stronger unit together. Oh, and that Gray is really hot & charming, and Ella’s sweet & sassy.

Would you like to share a short excerpt from the book?

“You look stressed.”

“Well, we’re not exactly talking baseball stats here.”

His humor and resiliency amazed her. Gray was a man she could fall hard for—and if she had to be honest with herself, had already started that tumble. Not that it mattered. He’d be gone in just over a week. But Ella could pack a lot of fun into the days they had left together. Over the last six months she’d bounced all the way back to normal. Embracing this time with Gray would seal her leap back into embracing life fully, the way she used to.

“Nevertheless, it’s my job as manager of the spa to make sure my guests leave looking happier and more relaxed than when they arrived. You’re going to be walking bad press. Come do yoga with me tomorrow.”

“I’m a guy. We’re all about being hard and stiff, not soft and bendy.”

Ella blinked rapidly to clear the images of a naked, hard-muscled Gray that popped into her mind. And hardness…other places. “Don’t be so close-minded. Didn’t you end up enjoying the massage I gave you?”

“Yes.” He sounded adorably sulky at being forced to acknowledge it. Why was it that men found it so hard to admit when they were wrong? Definitely a topic of discussion for her next margarita night with the girls.


I love the closeness of the Seneca Lake community and the role they play in Ella and Gray’s relationship.  What are your plans for Ella’s circle of friends? 

True love, of course! If somebody has more than a paragraph of dialogue in this book (oops – aside from the bad guy), it is a safe bet that they are going to get paired up and have a romantically happy ending by the end of book 3. That’s just how I roll.

Speaking for myself and all the other readers who will love UP TO ME, I'm so happy to hear that!

Your descriptions of Seneca Lake and the people living there have me wanting to pack my bag and board the next plane to New York.  What’s your ideal summer vacation spot? 

The beach. Hands down. Something about sitting in a chair with sand beneath my feet watching the ocean refills my soul and makes me unbelievably happy. Or maybe it is just all the books I read and the salty snacks I eat while at the beach that puts a grin on my face. But I adore vacationing in the Finger Lakes (there are sixty wineries around Seneca Lake – it is impossible not to have a great weekend up there!) and do encourage everyone to visit.

UP TO ME is the perfect story to add to readers’ summer reading lists.  What books are on your reading radar this summer?

I’ve been saving The Collector by Nora Roberts to read when we hit the beach in August. I can’t wait to read the start to Christie Ridgway’s new series, Take My Breath Away. Ooh, and Laura Kaye’s Hard To Hold On To in August!

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

In high school, I sent away to get an application to the FBI because I was convinced I wanted to be a special agent. But when I saw the requirements of college majors – all things that bored the heck out me – I abandoned that particular pipe dream.

Will you be attending any conferences or booksignings this summer where readers will have the opportunity to meet you? 

Well, I just finished a fun but exhausting three conferences in four weeks: RT in New Orleans, BEA in New York, and RAGT in Cincinnati. So I’m afraid that wraps up my traveling for the summer. But I will be hanging out at the Baltimore Book Festival in September, so come on by!

What’s next?

Love on the Boardwalk, the sequel to Love at High Tide, comes out in September. It is a madcap romantic caper set in Atlantic City. And for those who enjoy Up To Me (which is everyone, I hope!), book 2 of the trilogy, All For You, releases in February.

I'll be looking forward to all three!  Thanks for visiting with us today, Christi.  Hope you have a wonderful summer filled with lots of great books!



Readers, Christi has graciously offered an e-book copy of UP TO ME for one randomly chosen person who leaves a comment on today's post.  So tell us, where is your ideal summer vacation spot?  






Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Regency Charmers!

by Anna Campbell

Today I'm going to talk about some wonderfully charming trad Regencies by British writer M.C. Beaton. M.C. Beaton these days is mainly famous for her Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin cozy mysteries. I haven't read either series, although I loved the BBC version of Hamish Macbeth that was on TV some years ago now and featured a young and very charismatic Robert Carlyle in the title role.

It turns out that M.C. Beaton also had a long and illustrious career as Regency romance writer Marion Chesney. I know this because when I mention these books to diehard fans of the genre, they all start gushing. Anyway, as a result of M.C. Beaton's crime novel success, the Regencies are now freshly available to a whole new audience.

I like how I discovered these books. In April, my U.K. publisher Mills and Boon had a special on SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE'S BED and as a result, my book hit the top of a couple of Amazon lists (yay!). A book I'd never heard of called EMILY GOES TO EXETER (also on special) knocked me off my number one perch on the Regency list.

Out of curiosity, I ordered Emily. And found myself immediately enchanted. Honestly, if a book had to knock me down a peg or two, I don't mind if it's as good as this one.

EMILY GOES TO EXETER introduces the ongoing characters from the Traveling Matchmaker series. The main character is Miss 
Hannah Pym, the Traveling Matchmaker of the title. Hannah has been a servant all her life until her morose, reclusive employer unexpectedly leaves her a legacy of £5,000. Hannah has always longed for adventure (I think of the start of "I Have Confidence" from the SOUND OF MUSIC when I read these books, about the longing for adventure, but the fear that comes when adventure finally turns up!). So she decides to head off on the stagecoach to Exeter in Devon. 

On the journey, she encounters interesting people including a disgraced heiress (the Emily of the title) and her rejected suitor, Lord Ranger Harley. Who ends up not being rejected at all, thanks to Hannah's machinations. It's fun, it's charming, there's some lovely sexual tension, although true to the trad Regency genre, anything that happens in the bedroom happens behind a closed door.

I can see why Beaton ended up writing successful cozy mysteries. The structure of these Regencies isn't that different to the classic country house murder story. On each journey, Hannah meets a distinct group of people who all get involved in each other's lives through happenstance - a highwayman's hold-up, a carriage accident, bad weather. Events conspire to keep them together in a distinct location long enough for the plot threads to twine together. In the end, we have a lovely happy ending where instead of the bad guy being caught, generally it's some eligible lord or other!


Hannah so enjoys her trip to Exeter, that she embarks on another five journeys, all of which give her the chance to exercise her knowledge of human nature, honed through years as a housekeeper, and her matchmaking skills. There's also danger and suspense and mystery along the way to keep the stories bubbling along like a nice rich beef stew. Hannah's adventures continue in BELINDA GOES TO BATH, PENELOPE GOES TO PORTSMOUTH, DEBORAH GOES TO DOVER, BEATRICE GOES TO BRIGHTON, and YVONNE GOES TO YORK. 


There's also an overarching plot about Hannah's seemingly impossible love for Sir George Clarence, her late employer's dashing brother, who takes an interest in this unusual woman who has such zest for life. This strand of the series has a lovely sigh-worthy ending that's well worth waiting for. 

I discovered these books when I was deep into deadline mode. They're just perfect for those moments when you want to escape bumps in the road of life. They're funny - I laughed at loud at least once in every single one and I lost count of the smiles. 

They're also a great length if you're stuck for time. I'm not quite sure how M.C. Beaton manages it, but she packs an awful lot of character and plot and romance and adventure into something as long as a category romance. They're quick reads in the best sense - like a small holiday when you need one and you can't get away to Portsmouth or Bath or Exeter!

So if you want something fresh and funny and romantic to read, I'd highly recommend the Traveling Matchmaker series by M.C. Beaton. 

Traditional Regencies seem to be making a bit of a comeback, partly due to the digital revolution. Do you enjoy this genre? Do you have any favorites? Any recommendations of books for me to try once I get to the end of M.C. Beaton's LONG backlist?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Spotlight on Dana Marton and Broslin Bride (Gone and Done it)


Have you been reading Dana Marton's Broslin Creek romantic suspense series?  It only took one book to hook me on this small Pennsylvania town and it's fascinating inhabitants.  The newest addition to the series is Broslin Bride (Gone and Done it), 195 pages of humor, heart, suspense, romance and more twists and turns than a mountain road.  It's the fifth book in the Broslin Creek series but stands well on its own.  

Fyi...the Broslin Bride epilogue contains a spoiler for Deathwatch, the first book in the series. You can download Deathwatch FREE at most sites. You can also read my review of Deathwatch here.  

Looking for an entertaining story for a summer afternoon? Give Broslin Bride - or any of the Broslin Creek books - a try!  ~PJ




The worst time to be charged with murder is:

a.  When you have no alibi for the night in question.
b.  When you have no memory of the night in question.
c.  When you told people you hated the victim.
d.  When the detective is the first guy you ever slept with--which didn't end well.

Check all the above for Luanne Mayfair.  If it wasn't for bad luck, she wouldn't have any luck at all.  Okay, maybe a little luck.  As it turns out, Detective Chase Merritt doesn't hold grudges.

He still looks at Luanne just as he did in high school, except he's grown some serious 'hot cop' muscles -- very distracting when Luanne is trying to avoid the very law Chase represents.

Is she the killer?  Is she being framed?  Is she the next victim?  As Chase and Luanne race to find some answers, danger and heat ratchet up in this fast-paced, romantic mystery that will stop your heart one second, then steal it in the next.



Broslin Bride Excerpt:


Luanne Mayfair might have killed her boss a little. Fine, a lot. Pretty much all the way. God, that sounded bad. But he was a sleazebag. Honest. The maids at the Mushroom Mile Motel that Earl Cosgrove managed often prayed for lightning to strike the lecherous bastard. Alas, God had seen fit to send Luanne instead.
Now you’ve gone and done it, she thought the morning after as she stood on the sidewalk in front of the fifties ranch home she rented in her hometown of Broslin, PA. She squinted against the early summer sun. Her red 1989 Mustang sitting by the curb had come from the used-car lot with its share of nicks and dents. But the damage to the front was new.
Gone and done it.
She’d done a horrible, terrible, despicable thing. Guilt and regret made her knees wobble. Whatever the punishment was, she deserved it.
Except, she couldn’t go to prison. She had her four-year-old twin sisters to take care of. She was Mia and Daisy’s sole guardian.
Luanne drew air in big, gulping breaths to wrestle down the shock and nausea. Get moving. One foot in front of the other. She couldn’t stand there and stare all morning. She had to find a way to get away with murder.



Readers, do you enjoy humor in your romances?

Do you like short books that you can read in one day?

Are you a fan of multi-book series?

Luanne is guardian of her four-year-old twin sisters.  How do you feel about children in the romances you read?

Dana is offering one randomly chosen person their choice of one of the following Broslin Creek e-books: Deathscape, Deathtrap or Deathblow.  To be entered, either like Dana's Facebook page or sign up for her newsletter and let us know in the comments which you have done.     



New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Dana Marton has thrilled and entertained millions of readers around the globe with her fast-paced stories about strong women and honorable men who fight side by side for justice and survival.

Kirkus Reviews calls her writing “compelling and honest.” RT Book Review Magazine said, “Marton knows what makes a hero…her characters are sure to become reader favorites.” Her writing has been acclaimed by critics, called, “gripping,” “intense and chilling,” “full of action,” “a thrilling adventure,” and wholeheartedly recommended to readers. Dana is the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, the Readers’ Choice Award, and Best Intrigue, among other awards. Her book, TALL, DARK, AND LETHAL was nominated for the prestigious Rita Award. DEATHSCAPE reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Romantic Suspense Bestseller list.

Dana has a Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction, and is continuously studying the art and craft of writing, attending several workshops, seminars and conferences each year. Her number one goal is to bring the best books she possibly can to her readers.

Keeping in touch with readers is Dana’s favorite part of being an author. Please connect with her via her web site (www.danamarton.com) or her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/danamarton).

Having lived around the world, Dana currently creates her compelling stories in a small and lovely little town in Pennsylvania. The fictional town of her bestselling Broslin Creek series is based on her real life home where she fights her addictions to reading, garage sales, coffee and chocolate. If you know a good twelve-step program to help her with any of that, she’d be interested in hearing about it! 

Author Links:

Website:  https://danamarton.com/   sign up for her newsletter and get a FREE novella!
Twitter:   @DanaMarton




Saturday, June 21, 2014

Molly Harper Winner






The randomly selected winner of a signed copy of
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper is

Chrissy Burns

Congratulations, Chrissy!  Please send your full name and mailing address to

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com




Friday, June 20, 2014

Review - - The Promise

The Promise
By Robyn Carr
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Release Date: June 24, 2014



Widower Dr. Scott Grant may be a relative newcomer to Thunder Point, Oregon, but he has been in the town long enough to know that it is the place he wants to build a new life and rear his two children. Thunder Point has embraced Scott and his children. The citizens keep him busy caring for their medical needs, and they have made him a welcome and integral part of the community. Scott was still grieving over the loss of his young wife when he arrived in town, but time has brought healing and the realization that he is ready to be more than daddy to Will and Jenny, doctor to his community, and good buddy to half the town. Enter Peyton Lacoumette.

Peyton never intends to become a permanent resident of Thunder Point, Curiosity brought her there after seeing an ad for a physician’s assistant while she was vacationing in the area. Peyton is looking for a new job because her boss, a charismatic Portland cardiologist, was also her lover. When their three-year relationship ended because Peyton could no longer tolerate his ineffective parenting of his three “rude, insensitive, lazy and obnoxious” kids, she needed a new home and a new job. She’s fairly sure that she will end up in a city and with a significantly higher salary than the one Scott Grant can offer, but Thunder Point and its people charm her. It has the added advantage of being only a few hours from her family’s farm. It may be just the place for her to spend a few months and get her head together.

Scott and Peyton’s relationship develops slowly. They have to work their way through some misunderstandings first, and even then Scott is ever aware that Peyton plans to leave. For her part, Peyton has sworn off men with kids, until she falls in love with Will and Jenny—and their father. Just when it seems than an HEA is within sight, a family crisis has Peyton involved in her ex’s life and Scott’s insecurities threatening the love he and Peyton are just beginning to discover.

I can almost guarantee that Carr fans will love her fifth Thunder point novel. Scott, as those who have read the earlier Thunder Point books will remember, is a genuinely nice guy, one of those beta heroes who manages to be steady and sweet without becoming bland and boring that Carr does so well. He’s also the kind of doctor we see too rarely in RL, one more concerned with his patients than his payment. And he is a devoted father. There are some endearing scenes between him and his children.

Peyton is a strong heroine who is remarkably clear-sighted about herself and others. Readers see her personal code at work when she goes to considerable trouble to help a young woman who worked at making Peyton’s life hell for the time Peyton and the girl’s father were together. Despite her compassion, Peyton can take a tough stand when she needs to so. I particularly appreciated that she responds to problems with action rather than passive acceptance.

A big part of Carr’s appeal is the verisimilitude of her settings. Thunder Point and its citizens capture readers’ hearts and imaginations, and each new book in a series allows them to return to a beloved place and revisit familiar friends. The Promise is no exception. Readers get not only a satisfying love story, but they also get to attend Devon and Spencer’s wedding, meet Sarah and Cooper’s new born, and see Al being a caring father to his foster sons. This time there is the added benefit of meeting Peyton’s large and lively Basque family. I hope to see more of them.

If you are a Robyn Carr fan, all I need to say is that this is another of the winners we expect from that extraordinarily consistent author. If you are a fan of small-town romances and haven’t read Carr, you are shortchanging yourself. She is the author whose Virgin River books were a major force in building small-town romance into a subgenre. If you like characters that you want to hug and share a cup of coffee—or a glass of wine—with, this book is for you. I’ve already read Thunder Point #6, The Homecoming, my 43rd Carr novel (plus five novellas), and it too is a keeper. I wonder what 2015 has in store for Thunder Point and for Robyn Carr readers.

~Janga

Editor's Note:  If you haven't started reading Robyn Carr's Thunder Point series yet you can download the first book in the series, THE WANDERER for only $1.99 today for Kindle or Nook.