Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jennifer Estep Winner!

The random winner of a copy of Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep is


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


I will forward your information to Jennifer and she will send your book to you. Thanks to everyone for stopping by an
d commenting!

Coming Attractions for May

April showers may bring May flowers but, around here, it will be bringing a garden filled with wonderful books and authors!  Here's a peek at our not-to-be-missed menu for the marvelous month of May!

We kick off the month with the fun and fabulous Jacquie D'Alessandro who will be here Monday, May 2nd to celebrate the upcoming release of her new contemporary romance, SUMMER AT SEASIDE COVE, a book that received 5 Stars from Buffie!  Click here to read Buffie's review.

The always delightful Deb Marlowe joins us Wednesday, May 4th.  Deb's latest book, HOW TO MARRY A RAKE, brings us the much-anticipated story of Stephen Manning and Mae Halford (from The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor), a story that PJ says is well worth the wait!

The fun continues on Thursday, May 5th when we're joined by the multi-talented and always enjoyable historical author, Vanessa Kelly.  Vanessa's May release, MY FAVORITE COUNTESS, is getting rave reviews!

Don't miss Andrea's New Releases for May on Friday, May 6th.  It's the must-have list for your romance shopping! 

Tuesday; May 10th brings Trish Milburn/Tricia Mills back to the Dish for all the latest and greatest in YA with her monthly Teen Menu

On Wednesday, May 11th, we welcome erotic romance author, Wynter Daniels.  Wynter's new romantic suspense novel, PROTECTIVE CUSTODY is scheduled to be released by Carina Press on May 9th.

Mark the date for Make Your Reservations on Thursday, May 12th when the Dishes unveil the June releases they're most looking forward to.  Are we the only ones who find it difficult to believe that June is just around the corner?

There's nothing unlucky about Andrea's interview with Kate Noble on Friday, May 13th.   Kate's newest book, FOLLOW MY LEAD, is garnering rave reviews, including 5 Stars from Andrea!  Click here to read Andrea's review. 

Temperatures are sure to rise on May 15th when Buffie returns with another HOT DISH.  I can't wait to see who she puts in the spotlight this month!

On Monday, May 16th we welcome debut historical author, Stefanie Sloane.  Stefanie's June release, THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE, kicks off a trilogy that will be published in consecutive months (we love those!) and is getting great advance buzz.  

Anna Campbell will be here Tuesday, May 24th with another Second Helping of romance.  Anna's reviews always result in new books being added to my overflowing tbr mountain! 

Be sure to stop by throughout the month for book reviews, guest authors, giveaways and more.  It's going to be a marvelous May here at The Romance Dish!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Anna Campbell Winner

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the blog yesterday.  What a fun time we had with Anna Campbell!  The winner of a signed copy of Anna's fabulous new book, 


Congratulations, Dtchycat!  To claim your prize, please send your full name and mailing address, with "Romance Dish Winner" in the subject line, to anna (AT) annacampbell (DOT) info.

Today's Special -- Jennifer Estep

We're pleased to have urban fantasy author extraordinaire Jennifer Estep back with us today. She is the author of the very popular Elemental Assassin series starring Gin Blanco. I've been lucky to have read and reviewed all of the books, most recently the fourth, Tangled Threads. Check out my review here.

Jennifer also writes a young adult series, the Mythos Academy. If that didn't keep her busy enough, Jennifer is also an award-winning features page designer for a daily newspaper. Please join me in giving a warm hello and Romance Dish welcome back to Jennifer.

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Gannon and the other folks here at The Romance Dish for having me back on the blog. Thanks so much, ladies!

So today, I thought I’d talk about, well, romance. LOL. Seriously, though, romance is something that I think a lot about, especially when it comes to my books. I write both adult and young urban fantasy, and I know there’s a lot of crossover when it comes to readership in urban fantasy books. But I always wonder if I’m putting enough romance in the story to satisfy romance readers.

My books are first-person, which means that I’m telling the story through the heroine’s point of view. My books are more about the heroine’s journey – how she uses her brains, magic, and inner strength to defeat the bad guys, stay alive, and save the world all at the same time. I have lots of magic, world building, and fight scenes in my books – but I also like having romance in there as well. After saving the world, it’s nice to have a sexy guy to come home to. ;-)

I know romance readers like seeing the hero’s point of view and thoughts (and I do too). That’s why third-person romances are so popular. But since my books are first-person, all we get to see of the hero are the heroine’s impressions of him and how she interacts with him.

So how do I add more romance to the story? Well, sometimes, I’ll have my heroine eavesdrop and overhear the hero talking about his feelings for her – whether they’re good or bad. Many times, my heroine will talk to other characters about the hero and her feelings for him – whether they’re good or bad. And of course, I have my heroine and hero interact and share their feelings with each other along with some quality time alone together – in between saving the day of course. ;-)

It’s a tough balancing act, but hopefully, I’m giving readers the romance and emotion that they want, along with an action-packed story that’s full of magic, danger, and some seriously nasty bad guys. Fingers crossed, anyway.

What about you guys? Do you like romance in urban fantasy books? Do you think there’s enough romance in urban fantasy books?

Jennifer is giving away a copy of Tangled Threads to one lucky commenter today. (U.S. and Canadian residents only).

Jennifer writes the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin urban fan­tasy series for Pocket Books. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assas­sin code­named the Spi­der who can con­trol the ele­ments of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing peo­ple and right­ing wrongs, Gin runs a bar­be­cue restau­rant called the Pork Pit in the fic­tional South­ern metrop­o­lis of Ash­land. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vam­pires, and ele­men­tals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

Books in the series are Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, and Venom. Tan­gled Threads, the fourth book, was pub­lished on April 26, while Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book, will be released in Octo­ber.

Jennifer also writes the Mythos Acad­emy young adult urban fan­tasy series for Kens­ing­ton. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psy­chom­e­try, or the abil­ity to know an object’s his­tory just by touch­ing it. After a seri­ous freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Acad­emy, a school for the descen­dants of ancient war­riors like Spar­tans, Valkyries, Ama­zons, and more.

The first book, Touch of Frost, will be out in August, while the sec­ond book, Kiss of Frost, will hit shelves in Decem­ber. First Frost, a prequel e-short story to the series, will be out in July. Visit for excerpts and more.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blonds Have More Fun!

We're delighted to welcome today's special guest, and our dear friend, Anna Campbell back to The Romance Dish. Anna's newest book, Midnight's Wild Passion, was released two days ago and is gathering rave reviews across the romance community, including 5 Stars from Janga here at The Romance Dish. (Click here to read Janga's review.) When Anna enters a room, smiles and laughter are always her companions so sit back, relax and prepare to enjoy yourself as Anna joins us to celebrate Midnight's Wild Passion!

North American Cover

Hiya Dishes! I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be here, not with my reviewer hat on (although that's always fun!) but in my romance author persona! Thank you so much for inviting me here to talk about my new release from Avon (26th April North America, 1st May Australia and New Zealand) MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION.

Australia/New Zealand Cover

You can read an excerpt of MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION here:

Anyway, enough of the idle chatter, I thought I'd get into the really profound issues today and talk about...

Hero hair color!!!

Yep, we cover all the deep philosophical questions here on the Dishes. The meaning of life. Global warming. How to grow African violets. Just when billionaires replaced mere millionaires in Harlequin Presents!

Up until now, my heroes have all been the classic tall, dark and handsome. But when the hero of MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION prowled onto the page, he was (shock! horror!) blond. I told him he had to be dark and he just arched one rakish golden eyebrow at me and went on his merry way, fair in coloring if not in behavior, at least until he undergoes his redemption arc, anyway!

Nicholas Challoner, Marquess of Ranelaw, was very vivid to me both physically and emotionally as I wrote him. He was a man with those fallen angel looks that kinda make your heart beat faster! I had a couple of vague models for him. One was the sexy angel from Barbarella which I hadn't seen for years. But I remembered John Philip Law's olive skin and his golden hair - and a rather spectacular bod! Even closer to my concept of Ranelaw was a rather obscure British actor called Marcus Gilbert who played the hero in a couple of Barbara Cartland telemovies back in the 80s. Look at that bone structure! Doesn't he look like the perfect blond Regency rake? You can just see him casting a roguish eye upon our heroine and setting out to work his wiles to get her into the nearest bedroom.

When it came time to talk about covers, my editor and I had a bit of back and forth about Ranelaw's coloring. She definitely prefers them dark. You'd think a mere fact like changing hair color wouldn't matter much - but again, Ranelaw basically flipped me the finger. He was blond and he was staying blond. You'll notice that the gorgeous guy in the stepback is dark-haired! Not that the girl in the picture seems to be complaining.

I must say generally my preference too runs to dark hair in romances although I'm not averse to a great blond. Francis Crawford from Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Series is blond (mind you, he's another guy whose interior is as dark as his exterior is bright). The gorgeous Esmond in Loretta Chase's classic CAPTIVES OF THE NIGHT is blond and he's one of the most charismatic heroes I've ever read.

So do you have a preference? Do you think blonds have more fun? Do you have any favorite blond heroes? And most important of all, have you ever had any luck with African violets? Every time I've tried to grow them, they disintegrate into an 'orrible slimy mess. I've got a signed copy of MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION for one lucky commenter today! Good luck!

Anna, thank you for visiting with us today! Readers, to learn more about this award-winning author, visit her website and "like" her on facebook. Don't forget to also visit her at the multi-author blog, and one of our favorite sites, Romance Bandits!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kris Kennedy Winner

The winner of a copy of DEFIANT by Kris Kennedy is

Pam P

Congratulations, Pam!  Please send your full name and mailing address, with "Defiant Winner" in the subject line to theromancedish (AT) gmail (DOT) com.

Review - - Gone With a Handsomer Man

Gone With a Handsomer Man (Hardback)
By Michael Lee West
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Release Date:  April 12, 2011

What’s a girl to do when she comes home early to discover her fiancé playing nude badminton with two gorgeous women? Well, in Teeny Templeton’s case, she climbs a tree and starts pelting the offenders with not-quite-ripe peaches which results in her being arrested for assault with deadly fruit (yes, there is definitely some humor in this book), kicked out of the house she and her fiancé shared and slapped with a restraining order. And, when her rich and well-connected fiancé turns up dead a few days later…well, we all know who the number one suspect is. Fortunately, for Teeny, she has a few staunch supporters on her side. There’s Miss Dora, step-mother to the not-so-dearly departed fiancé, who has always liked Teeny better than her step-son and Cooper O’Malley, Teeny’s teenage first love (and heartbreak) who unexpectedly re-enters her life just when she needs a really good attorney…which Coop just happens to be.

Ms. West has written an entertaining novel, rich in Southern sass and charm that is, by turns, suspenseful, poignant and just plain fun, due in large part to the endearing and complex character of Teeny. A small-town Georgia girl from a family of single women, Teeny pretty much exemplifies “what you see is what you get.” Well, except for those little lies she can’t quite seem to keep track of…or the family cookbook that’s filled with poisonous recipes, though the cookbook is strictly therapeutic. Just because she’s a talented baker doesn’t mean she’d actually make any of those designed-to-kill dishes that the women of her family create with particular people in mind. She’s simply carrying on a family tradition. Not that Coop – or the Charleston police – would be likely to understand that if the Templeton Family Recipes were to be found. I love Teeny's flaws, all her little quirks and especially her tendency to bake when the going gets tough – a trait I happen to share.

Teeny doesn’t need to look for trouble. Trouble finds her. The murder scene is staged to make Teeny look guilty. Bing (the dead fiance) leaves his estate to Teeny (more motive for murder in the eyes of the police) but Teeny knew nothing about it, plus she can’t even claim it because she’s the prime murder suspect and she can’t move back into their house because it’s the scene of the crime. She's being stalked by Bing’s crazy sister, who’s furious that Teeny stands to get her inheritance. Not to mention the nude badminton-playing girlfriend/realtor who’s trying to sell the house Teeny’s living in out from under her or Red Butler (gotta love that name), Coop’s investigator, who she can’t seem to win over no matter how hard she tries.

At least Coop believes in her and it isn’t long before old feelings come rushing back for both of them.  But, just as love begins to bloom, a major wrench is thrown into the works that could bring their relationship to a screeching halt. Then there’s the fact that whoever is trying to frame Teeny (and there are several suspects) ups the ante. Putting Teeny in jail isn’t good enough anymore. Now they want her dead, but help arrives from an unexpected quarter and gives Coop and Teeny a shot at their happy ending.

Based on the final sentence of this book (a shocker for sure!), I’m guessing (hoping) Gone with a Handsomer Man is the first book in a series with the continuing characters of Coop and Teeny. I’d like to see Ms. West delve more deeply into the character of Coop in the next book. While I liked him (how can I not like a man who declares his love with Red Velvet cakes?) I want to know more about what makes him tick. I’m also hoping to see more of Red Butler, I can’t wait to see what trouble Teeny attracts next time around and I'm definitely looking forward to more recipes - a delicious benefit of having a heroine who's a baker.  I haven't made any of the recipes in Gone with a Handsomer Man yet but Teeny's Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake is high on my list!

This book was my introduction to the writing of Michael Lee West.  Her writing style reminds me of one of my favorite Southern writers, Mary Kay Andrews.  If you're a fan of Andrews, or just in the mood for a smart, sassy, fast-paced story with likeable characters and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, I highly recommend Gone with a Handsomer Man. 


Barnes & Noble
Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review -- Tangled Threads

Tangled Threads
Elemental Assassin, Book 4
By Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: April 26, 2011

I’d rather face a dozen lethal assassins any night than deal with something as tricky, convoluted, and fragile as my feelings.

But here I am. Gin Blanco, the semi-retired assassin known as the Spider. Hovering outside sexy businessman Owen Grayson’s front door like a nervous teenage girl. One thing I like about Owen: he doesn’t shy away from my past—or my present. And right now I have a bull’s-eye on my forehead. Cold-blooded Fire elemental Mab Monroe has hired one of the smartest assassins in the business to trap me. Elektra LaFleur is skilled and efficient, with deadly electrical elemental magic as potent as my own Ice and Stone powers. Which means there’s a fifty-fifty chance one of us won’t survive this battle. I intend to kill LaFleur—or die trying—because Mab wants the assassin to take out my baby sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, too. The only problem is, Bria has no idea I’m her long-lost sibling . . . or that I’m the murderer she’s been chasing through Ashland for weeks. And what Bria doesn’t know just might get us both dead. . . .

Gin Blanco, aka the Spider, just can't get away from the assassination business. She spends her days running The Pork Pit the restaurant left to her by her foster father---and mentor---Fletcher Lane upon his death. While cooking up barbeque for the citizens of Ashland keeps Gin busy, she is still called upon to become her alter-ego, the Spider. After all, there's always some evil doer who needs to permanently disappear. But right now, Gin is the primary target. Mab Monroe, the fire elemental who practically runs and controls Ashland---and the one who murdered Gin's mother and sister---has been trying to have Gin killed for quite awhile, but all of the other assassins she sent to do the job have died. This time she brings Elektra LaFleur---one of the best in the business---to town to rid the world of the Spider once and for all. Elektra is the most powerful elemental Gin has ever seen, and if she's going to prevail Gin will need not only her own elemental powers, but the strength of those she loves.

Gin's current love interest, Owen Grayson accepts her fully for who she is, warts and all. But Gin still thinks that one day he'll wake up and realize he doesn't want a relationship with an assassin and he will leave her. She's been burned before by her previous lover, cop Donovan Caine, who couldn't handle the fact that Gin was an assassin. Owen is nothing like Donovan, however, and Gin eventually sees that he cares for her as deeply as she does for him.

"You used up all your magic to find me last night."

Owen shrugged as though it was nothing. But it wasn't nothing to me. Besides Finn and the Deveraux sisters, I couldn't even remember the last time someone had cared enough to come looking for me when I was in trouble. I was so used to being on my own for so long, always being the tough, strong, capable one, that I'd forgotten how nice it felt to have someone else look out for me.

To have someone else care about me.

And just like that, the fragile strings of my feelings for Owen joined together, all the tangled threads wrapping around and weaving their way through my heart. Scary and painful in some ways, but necessary in others too.

I have been caught up in this series from the very beginning, as thoroughly as the proverbial fly in the spider's web. Gin Blanco is a complex and utterly fascinating heroine. She give "kick butt" a whole new meaning, and her strength is most definitely part of what defines her. But deep down there is a vulnerability that touches your heart. Afraid to love Owen for fear that he will eventually reject her. And she feels the same way about her sister, Bria. Knowing that she will eventually have to tell her the truth about her identity, Gin's biggest fear is that Bria will never be able to accept her past and present identity. Only time will tell.

Jennifer Estep is a brilliant storyteller, and I revel in each book of her Elemental Assassin series. Lucky for me and the rest of her fans, there's another book coming: Spider's Revenge will be released September 27th. To get the most out of this action packed, never-a-dull-moment series, it really should be read in order: Spider's Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, and Tangled Threads. Start reading and let the addiction begin.

~ Gannon

Barnes and Noble
Book Depository (Free Shipping Worldwide)

Monday, April 25, 2011


Thanks to everyone who commented on my review of

SUMMER AT SEASIDE COVE by Jacquie D'Alessandro.

Random. org has picked our winner and it is ....


Congrats to you!!! Please send your full name and address

to theromancedishATgmailDOTcom with "JacquieD Winner" in the subject line.

~ Buffie

Review -- Follow My Lead

Follow My Lead
By Kate Noble
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: May 3, 2011

After years spent being irresponsible and reckless, Jason Cummings, the new Duke of Rayne, has decided that it’s time to marry, because it’s what comes next. Finding a bride should be easy, right? Not so much. He gets cornered, followed, and even locked in a storage room by all sorts of silly girls. And then on his way in to his man-only haven, the Historical Society, he gets jabbed in the nose by yet another female. But Miss Crane isn’t like the other females he’s dealt with.

Winnifred Crane is at the Historical Society to hopefully gain entrance and obtain membership, despite the fact that there are no women members. She has a letter of recommendation from her recently deceased father, who was an Oxford professor and a dear friend of the head of the society, Lord Forrester. While trying to elude her cousin, George, she bumps into the Duke of Rayne. Her papers go flying and her important letter lands in the fountain...and is ruined. George, who has wanted to marry Winn for years, is attempting to stop her from entering as he sees it as a disaster. Winn finds unexpected help in the form of the red-headed duke.

Jason takes up Winn’s cause and helps her inside because he feels responsible for ruining her letter and also because he senses an adventure (which he has missed since becoming the responsible duke). When Winn boldly announces that she is none other than C.W. Marks, a brilliant scholar who has published three thought-provoking articles, the men are stunned...and frankly, do not believe it. They think that her father was the author since the articles suddenly stopped after his death—when in fact, Winn needed time to grieve. So, Winn sets out to prove her claim by stating that a famous painting by Albrecht Dürer was actually painted by someone else and that she can confirm it through letters. The only problem is, to get the letters, she would have to travel to Basel, Switzerland...or so she tells George and the others.

Jason is charged with escorting Winn, George, and Winn’s aunt to Dover so they can board a ship to Calais. It isn’t until Jason is leaving that he notices Winn is on the wrong ship. When he goes on board to warn her, he finds himself on the way to Hamburg...and the adventure of a lifetime.

Follow My Lead is another winner from Kate Noble! With one book (The Summer of You), she became an auto-buy author for me. With this book, she has become one of my favorite historical authors. Her books contain everything I look for in a historical romance—sparkling wit, tender emotion, and characters that come alive on the pages.

Jason has matured since the previous book and has grown into quite the dependable man. Becoming the duke has helped him turn from selfish to selfless and it shows in his actions. Though he still longs for a bit of adventure and gets that and more while traveling with Winn.

When they had begun this together, when he had touched her hand in the breakfast room before they reached Dover, the electricity that passed between them was pleasantly shocking. Intriguing, too. After taking her hand in the coaching yard, he had consciously decided to try and touch her again, on the hand, on the back of the neck, wiping beer from the end of her nose, to see if that curious shock that spread through his nerves would still be there.

But now, mere days later, those little jolts, those little touches, they were like a drug to him. Something he needed to have in his system, daily. Something that kept his side warm, and the cool air from invading the space.

He just couldn’t stop doing it.

Jason is very protective of Winn and I enjoyed watching her flourish under his attention on their journey. She is incredibly smart, but has been sheltered for much of her life—spending most of her time either in a library or taking care of her father—so this is new territory for her. Their romance builds slowly as they get to know one another as friends before it develops into something more. This “on the road” romance has so many great scenes, but it’s the one at the very end that had me tearing up. It was absolutely perfect and endeared me to Jason for life.

If you long for beautifully written, top-notch historical romance, look no further than Kate Noble. She may only release one book a year, but believe me, with romance this good, they are certainly worth waiting for!


Barnes and Noble
Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Laura Lee Guhrke Is Da Biz!

by Anna Campbell

I was fairly late discovering how fantastic Laura Lee Guhrke is. Yeah, I know, I'm a slow developer!

In May 2007, I was conducting my first ever workshop for the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild and on the way to the gig, I fell over at the train station and sprained my ankle. So instead of exploring Melbourne's wonderful shopping and cultural highlights (I love Melbourne - it's the most European of Australia's cities), I sat in my hotel room and whinged and put ice on a very swollen and bruised ankle. And read - thank goodness I had a couple of good books with me.

One was AND THEN HE KISSED HER by Laura Lee Guhrke.

By the way, you can read about my visit to Melbourne here: Just scroll down to June 2007 for the whole sorry story.

AND THEN HE KISSED HER is the first of LLG's Girl Bachelor books, set in late 19th century England. This was originally a bit of a surprise to me - look at that cover, does that look like a Regency or what? But the setting is one of the fun parts of these stories. It's the era where women were finding employment in offices and shops. There are trains and telephones and electricity and early motor cars. Don't get me wrong, you know I adore the Regency. But it was interesting playing in a different sandpit for once.

Another fun element of these books is that most of the heroines aren't upper-crust damsels but girls who work for a living. But they're still restricted by Victorian mores. The delicious contrast between the almost modern and the almost Regency lends the Girl Bachelor stories a unique flavor that really appeals to me. The heroes tend to be aristocrats but they're aristocrats dealing with a new and sometimes uncongenial world. It's a world of American heiresses and smaller returns from land and the growth of commerce and women's rights.

Our hero in AND THEN HE KISSED HER is a viscount. A DIVORCED viscount, at that. Harry, Lord Marlowe, is a real charmer - you will definitely fall in love with him! He's a man who loves the modern world and has made a fortune as a newspaper proprietor and publisher. He's a bit of a rake and he's never met a woman he hasn't been able to wrap around his little finger. Because of this, while his intentions are generally benevolent, he can be careless of other people's feelings and he's inclined to think what's good for Harry is good for the world. Under his charming facade lurks emotional damage lingering from his unhappy marriage to a young American heiress who left him for the man she always loved.

Our heroine is one of my favorites - an Ugly Duckling who hides enormous potential under a repressed facade. Emmaline (Emma) Dove is Harry's humorless, ultra-efficient secretary. He pays her well but takes her for granted and hardly thinks of the capable Miss Dove as a woman at all. Emma dreams of being a writer - she has written several books on etiquette for the new working woman but Harry brushes her off each time and says there's no market for her work.

So we have a bit of a NINOTCHKA set-up with the charmer and the stern woman determined not to fall for what she sees as the hero's shallow attractions.

Emma sees the worst of Harry but knows, as a woman, she's very lucky to have this challenging job that by rights should belong to a man. She's willing to put up with his eccentricities (including his perpetual unpunctuality, yet another sign of his lack of consideration) until the day she discovers her handsome, charming, careless employer hasn't even done her the courtesy of reading a page of her work - and then he's lied about considering it and deciding it isn't commercial.

The worm turns and how!

Then the fun starts. Emma resigns and takes a post as etiquette expert on a rival newspaper. She becomes the toast of London and finally finds the courage to pursue her dreams.

Harry, on the other hand, is no longer king of all he surveys. Without Miss Dove's presence, his world collapses around him. Worse, the woman he's always dismissed as a complete antidote becomes increasingly fascinating. It seemed the dull female in the corner of his office possessed beauty and spirit and intelligence - and a will to match his own. And now he can't resist her. When she's the one woman in the world he can't dazzle with a mere smile.

Poor Harry is flabbergasted.

Don't you love it when the alpha male falls in love and finds himself completely at sea? It's a trope in a romance novel I can never get enough of.

Harry and Emma bumble their way through to a happy ending with a lot of humor, a touch of heartbreak, much wit, and a great deal of mayhem. This is the sort of book that leaves you smiling at the end, sighing with satisfaction and reaching for the next Girl Bachelor story.

Oh, and just for your information, the other books in the series are THE WICKED WAYS OF A DUKE, SECRET DESIRES OF A GENTLEMAN and WITH SEDUCTION IN MIND. LLG's latest two are also loosely connected to the other four - WEDDING OF THE SEASON and SCANDAL OF THE YEAR. They're all wonderful although I think AND THEN HE KISSED HER is my favorite along with SCANDAL OF THE YEAR which is a wonderfully sexy romp.

So have you read the Girl Bachelors? Are you as crazy about them as I am? Do you enjoy books that play away from the familiar setting of the Regency? Do you have a favorite book that uses a setting other than the Regency?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Diane Whiteside Winner

The random winner of a copy of The Shadow Guard by Diane Whiteside is....
Congratulations! Please send your full name and mailing address to us at theromancedishATgmailDOTcom Please put "Diane Whiteside Winner" in the subject line. I will forward your information to her and she will send your book to you soon.

Review -- Summer At Seaside Cove

Summer at Seaside Cove
by Jacquie D’Alessandro
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 3, 2011

“Nick dashed into the waves, jumping over several before making a shallow dive beneath the third. Several seconds later he stood and Jamie nearly swallowed her tongue at the sight of him, rising from the foamy waves like a modern-day Adonis, sun glinting off his glistening skin, his board shorts clinging to him in a way that totally proved the big-feet premise, and totally disproved the whole cold water shrinkage supposition.”

Jamie Newnan has had it! The stress of running the family’s Manhattan restaurant after her father died a few years ago and dealing with a very dependent family would be enough to send any sane woman running for the state line. But when you add the disappointment, hurt and humiliation over the betrayal of her sister with her boyfriend, well heck any warm-blooded woman would want to put a few hundred miles between herself and her problems. And that’s exactly what Jamie Newman did. Deciding to take a couple months off during the summer to rediscover herself and her life dreams, Jamie travels to the small North Carolina coastal town of Seaside Cove. Jamie’s first night in her rented beach bungalow, named Paradise Lost, is a disaster. First, the so-called “cheerful, cozy, inviting” beach bungalow is in a state of dilapidated ruin. Once inside, the image is not any better with sparse furniture and appliances from the 1950s, especially when the stench of dead clams permeates the entire house. After removing the offending clams from the house, a coastal storm arrives and the roof begins to leak. Definitely not a great start to a vacation. Determined to make her stay in Seaside Cove as pleasurable as possible, Jamie arrives at the doorstep of the owner of her little bungalow early the next morning. Luckily the owner, Nick Trent, lives right next door.

Nick Trent has only lived in the small town of Seaside Cove for a few months. The small community has embraced their newest resident as a nice young man with a winning smile who is always ready and willing to help out around the town doing home repairs and handy man jobs. The town folk do wonder why Nick leaves town for days at a time. Rumor has it he goes on alcoholic benders. No one here knows about Nick’s past and he would prefer to keep it that way. After returning from one of his many trips, Nick is awaken at the God-awful hour of 7:25 a.m. to the pounding on his door and the simultaneous ringing of his door bell along with the barking of his sweet-loving chocolate lab, Godiva. With a growl of impatience, Nick quickly opens the door and finds a woman he has never met before.

“It’s about time you answered the door,” she said.

His scowl deepened. He didn’t know who she was or what she was selling, but all that banging and now her attitude had definitely gotten him up on the wrong side of the bed. “I was asleep.”
Her gaze skimmed over him and he could almost hear her cataloging as she went: bad case of bed head, bleary eyes, three-day stubble, no shirt, wrinkled jeans, missing shoes. He did notice that she lingered for several seconds on his unbuttoned Levi’s. When her gaze again met his, pink stained her cheeks. “Wow, you really were on a bender?”

What the hell? “Really? Well, you don’t look so hot, either, whoever you are.” Actually, that wasn’t precisely true. In fact, she looked pretty damn good. Sure her honey-colored hair sported a finger-in-the-light-socket look, and her white tank top and tan pants that hit her midcalf looked as if she’d slept in them — something he could hardly throw stones at – but her eyes were gorgeous. They reminded him of caramel sprinkled with dark chocolate. Probably they’d be even prettier if they weren’t filled with an expression that made it clear she’d like to thump him upside the head.

What a first meeting!!! Unforgettable first meetings seem to blossom into unforgettable relationships and this is definitely the case with Jamie and Nick. After some much needed repairs and improvements are made to Paradise Lost, Jamie and Nick fall into a fun, flirty relationship. They genuinely enjoy each other’s company, whether walking on the beach, playing in the ocean, or eating a fabulous meal cooked by Jamie. Soon, the stress of family and business seem to be lifted from Jamie and she can just breathe again. That is until her mother arrives on the doorstep with news she is pregnant. Before long Jamie’s young niece arrives and then Jamie’s back-stabbing sister appears. Instead of running from her problems it seems as Jamie’s problems have just followed her to North Carolina. Will all this family drama prove to be too much for Nick? Can Nick help Jamie through the drama or will his past add more?

This book is a treasure! It had me at the very first sentence. “The decapitated, plastic flamingo, standing ass-feathers deep in what looked like poison ivy was Jamie Newman’s first clue that doom had followed her from New York.” Something about a decapitated flamingo had me giggling. Maybe because I could hear Jacquie’s voice in my head speaking this sentence as if she is beginning to tell me a story. And what a story it is!

Jamie and Nick is one fabulous couple. Both are ready for a once-in-lifetime relationship and seem to put everything on the line to pursue it. Each of them is a kind, loving individual with a huge heart. The sexual tension between Jamie and Nick is so charged that a single glance between the two can start a 4-alarm fire!! There are not many authors that write sexual tension as well as Jacquie D’Alessandro.

But this book is about more than just the relationship between Jamie and Nick. It is about following one’s desire and passion for life. It is about stepping outside the box and taking chances. It is about loving and forgiving. It is about family and how to love them without letting them rule your life.

The cast of secondary characters from Jamie’s family to the lovable pets to the eccentric residents of Seaside Cove adds so much flavor to this story. Each character is unique and lovable, yet in no way overshadows the focus of the story.

I believe this book is the best book Jacquie D’Alessandro has ever written. The flow of the story is just flawless. Flawless, I tell you. There are no lulls in the story. Not once did my mind wonder from the story. In fact, every word captivates and draws the reader deeper into the story of new found love and the drama of families. Jacquie is known for her sexy, witty romances and this is Jacquie at her absolute best!

I loved this book so much that I am giving away a copy to one random commenter.

~ Buffie

Barnes and Noble
Book Depository

Friday, April 22, 2011

Review - - Defiant

By Kris Kennedy
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: April 26, 2011

1215 England

During the tumultuous reign of King John, when civil unrest brewed and loyalties were constantly called into question, a hard, powerful knight and a beautiful young woman stalk the same quarry…for very different reasons.

Jamie Lost, chief lieutenant of King John is sent to capture a priest who has returned to England after fleeing ten years earlier when he witnessed events that, should he talk, could mean the end of King John’s reign. Eva also fled the country ten years ago and has spent that time hiding in France, protecting the young boy she rescued and spirited out of England following the murder of his father by King John. She is after the same priest as well but her purpose is to rescue her dear friend, the man who saved her life all those years ago.

Jamie is a hard man; tested by battle, betrayal and years of living on the streets of London as a child. He has no family, only his friend, Ry who travels with him, and banned love and affection from his heart long ago. Worst of all, to Eva’s mind, he is loyal to King John, a man to be avoided at all costs...but must he be so appealing?

Even a feared, ruthless mercenary, a Brabançon, identified himself with someone. Usually the English king. By the look in this one’s eye, ‘twas a simple enough matter to place him there.

But somehow, she couldn’t believe something so…beautiful could be so awful. And he was beautiful indeed, to a hard line, a masculine magnificence, all long, lean contours of hard heat and piercing eyes. A beast in his prime.

A natural-born caretaker, fighting fiercely to protect the people she loves - Father Peter and 15-year-old Roger, the child she rescued all those years ago – the child that is the missing heir to a powerful English title, information that will put his life at risk should it come to the attention of King John or his chief lieutenant, it’s a given that Eva and Jamie would be natural adversaries. Jamie, of course, is a trained warrior but Eva is a warrior at heart, a fact you would never guess by looking at her and one that causes Jamie no small amount of frustration. Totally unexpected, however, is the instant attraction between the two, not that either has the inclination to act upon it…at first. When the barriers are finally lowered though, and a tentative trust begins to develop, will the man who thinks he has no room for love in his heart and the woman whose fondest dream is a cottage by a river and a family to care for discover a love for the ages? Or, will secrets, betrayals and an unstable king slash their hopes and dreams to shreds?

Kris Kennedy has once again written an unique and emotional love story, filled with passion and adventure and rich in historical detail. She has a way of writing that draws me into the story so that, rather than reading about characters and events, I feel as if I’ve been transported back in time and am experiencing their adventures alongside them, such as in this passage when Eva rides through the English countryside for the first time in ten years.

Eva felt as if she were riding through the middle of one of Father Peter's sketches.  The trees all wore billowing green caps and stood proudly in their dark brown tunics as they marched up and down the hills of England. 

Less showy, but more sweet, tiny pricking flowers hurried to the edge of the track.  The hedgerows hosted a profusion of flowering vines and exhuberant birds, flitting their wings and chirping.  Whenever the land opened up, herds of red poppies raced down the hills like ponies, all exhuberance and flicking tails. 

Jamie and Eva are complex, multi-layered characters who Kennedy very skillfully reveals to us, one layer at a time, throughout the book. It's the layers, the flaws and conflicts, not only between them but within each of them, that infuses them with the realism that makes them such fascinating characters. There’s an equally interesting secondary cast (primarily Roger, Ry and Angus, the one-eyed Scotsman) whose contributions to the story move the plot along, inject humorous moments and provide insights into the hearts and minds of our hero and heroine. I have hopes that we might see some of them in a future book, perhaps one with young Roger as the hero. I so want to read the rest of his story!

Defiant has joined Ms. Kennedy's other two medieval romances on my keeper shelf where it will no doubt be revisited from time to time.  Writing as good as this never goes out of style. 


Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Today's Special -- Interview With Diane Whiteside

We are so happy to welcome Diane Whiteside to The Romance Dish today. She writes historical and paranormal romance and many times the two combine. Her latest book, The Shadow Guard, is a paranormal contemporary that combines action, magic and of course, plenty of heat.

In addition to being a busy author, Diane is a government contractor---she's been doing this for over 20 years. Writing romance is a great escape from the day job. When she's not working and writing, Diane enjoys spending time with her family, gardening and reading.

Please join me in welcoming Diane to The Romance Dish.

Gannon: Hi, Diane. Thank you so much for being with us today.

Diane: Hi there, Gannon! It's a privilege to be here at The Romance Dish.

Gannon: You mention on your website that you are the third generation of your family to get paid for your writing. Have you always wanted to write? What made you choose romance?

Diane: Everyone else in my family writes non-fiction and that's where I started out, too. Then a true story smacked me in the face while I was visiting Tombstone, Arizona, and I wanted it to be re-told as a romance. The only way for that to happen was to do it myself---and that story became The Irish Devil.

Gannon: What a great story! I also read that you were born on Sunset Strip in Hollywood---such a glamorous address. *g* Were your parents in the entertainment industry?

Diane: Both of my parents were working in the theater when they met. My mother was an actress and my father was a stagehand---and ex-combat photographer. But I was born on the Sunset Strip because that's where the Kaiser Hospital was located. It's still there and other authors love to tell me stories about how it's still going strong.

Gannon: Pretty exciting place to start your life. *g* You write historicals and Texas vampires (love that!) and now you've turned to paranormal with your newest book, The Shadow Guard. Which one is your favorite to write?

Diane: I like to write about strange worlds you won't discover at your neighborhood coffee shop. Historicals fit that description---and so do paranormals. Both genres are fun to write and I'll stretch my wings in any direction that sounds interesting.

Gannon: I guess I never thought about historicals and paranormals having that in common, but you're right. Maybe that's why I enjoy them both. Can you tell us a bit more about The Shadow

Diane: The Shadow Guard is about Jake Hammond, a homicide cop, who finds a corpse but has absolutely no clues as to who killed the lady. His only hope of finding the murderer is to team up with his online gaming buddy---a government sorceress, who's hiding more secrets than the dead woman.

Gannon: That sounds really intriguing. If you could pick anyone to play your latest hero and heroine, Jake and Astrid, who would you choose?

Diane: My choice for Astrid would be Ashley Greene (as a blond). Jake is trickier, since he looks like a very tough professional athlete, not an actor. Perhaps a pro football player, who can rough it up but still move fast enough across the field not to get injured too often. I'm open to suggestions!

Gannon: I'll put on my thinking cap. There are quite a few sexy football players out there. *vbg* I know you get asked this question quite a bit, but where do you get your ideas, particularly for The Shadow Guard?

Diane: I've wanted to write The Shadow Guard for years! It was inspired by the old blue-collar towns across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. and the movies about 1930's like The Maltese Falcon and Sin City. Fog creeping across a nighttime city where the rich get richer while the working guys never get any credit, the river whispering in the background, the tough guy detective, the untrustworthy dame with an agenda, the brutal killer on the loose, and magic which makes everything and nothing look exactly what it seems...

Gannon: Wow! You really set the scene---I can see it all now. What's up next for you?

Diane: "Talbot's Ace" appears in Improper Gentlemen in July 2011. It's about a western gunfighter who's forced to choose between his only friend and that most appalling of all females---a Northern aristocrat.

Gannon: Sounds like fun---plenty of tension, I'm sure. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Diane: I'm very fond of Elizabeth Lowell, Lora Leigh, Angela Knight, Georgette Heyer, and more. (How much time do you have to listen to me rave about my adored ones?)

Gannon: It is so hard to narrow our favorites down to just a few, isn't it?! When you're not working and writing what do you like to do to relax and recharge?

Diane: I enjoy reading, gardening and spending time with family and my dog, Honey who's a rescue German Shepherd. She's always ready to go for a walk or eat another garlic chicken cookie. She's convinced that my true job is to stay at home and help her chase squirrels.

Gannon: Ah, the life of a dog. I often envy my two dogs. Thank you again, Diane, for spending time with us. It's been such a pleasure.

Diane: Thanks for inviting me to join you! If you'd like to learn more about The Shadow Guard or any of my other books, please check out my website at where you can find excerpts from every book, sign up for my newsletter---with exclusive excerpts---and more.

I've also been known to blog and tweet.

Happy Reading!

Well, readers, it's your turn to ask Diane some questions. One lucky commenter will win a copy of The Shadow Guard.