Friday, June 30, 2017

Just Between Us - - A Stardance Summer













One day about twelve years ago, Christina Dodd hosted a new-to-me author by the name of Geralyn Dawson at the multi-author Squawk Radio blog. I was intrigued by her humor and charm and set out in search of her books. It took only one story to have me glomming everything I could get my hands on. In 2006, Dawson moved from historical westerns to modern-day romantic suspense with the release of Give Him the Slip and the introduction of the Callahan brothers. She reeled me right in and held tight through the next two books as the stories of Luke, Matt, and Mark Callahan unfolded. Then she took a break from writing, leaving hordes of readers (including me) desperate to know what really happened to the missing fourth brother, John Gabriel “Gabe” Callahan. In 2011, Dawson returned to writing with a new pseudonym and launched Emily March’s beloved Eternity Springs series with Angel’s Rest, Gabe’s long-awaited story. The Callahan men and their wives have appeared periodically throughout the Eternity Springs series but now, with the publication of A Stardance Summer, the fourteenth book in the series, the spotlight once again shines upon their family. This time, the hero is Brick Callahan, son of Mark, and the first of the next generation to get his own story. I adored him. How about you, Janga?

Janga: So did I, PJ. Brick is a fascinating character in his own right, plus there is the Callahan connection. I confess that I am a big fan of second-generation tales, and I’ve been longing for this one since Brick first appeared in the series. Brick’s personal history gives the term “blended family” a new definition. All his names reveal pieces of who he is: Mark Christopher, the boy he was; Chris Callahan, which combines his two family identities; and, finally Brick Callahan, the stubborn, independent, honorable man he is. With all the larger-than-life Callahans in Brazos Bend, it made sense to me that Brick found his piece of paradise and his independence in Colorado. I love that Emily March gives us all these tiny vignettes that show what a loving relationship Brick has with all of his family. Especially memorable for me was that poignant moment when Brick thinks that his three mothers—his birth mother, his adopted mother, and his stepmother—have all been angels in his life. Another favorite is the scene where the Callahan brothers advise him on his love life. Then there’s Branch’s heart-attack threat to push Brick into giving him great-grandchildren. And having the Colorado Fourth of July Callahan family bash to balance the Texas Christmas tradition is perfect. I also think having Liliana know him as Mark Christopher, grow to know him as Brick Callahan, and fall in love with all the parts of who he is was a stroke of genius on March’s part. I don’t know about you, PJ, but I smiled every time Brick came up with another nickname for Liliana.

PJ: Oh, I did too! I think my favorite was Freckle-Sticks. Only someone who had grown up knowing Lili as his best friend’s pesky little sister could have gotten away with that. Lili really tugged at my heartstrings. While I thoroughly enjoyed her journey to love with Brick, for Lili, her summer in Eternity Springs is also one of growth and self-discovery - almost a coming of age even though thirty is looming on her horizon. For the past twenty years, she’s been diligent in her efforts to be logical, controlled, and never step out of line. My heart ached for her when, after doing everything right, it all fell apart with betrayal both at work and at home but I cheered when she finally took a stand and hit the road to discover just who Liliana Howe really was.  Destination: Stardance Ranch RV Park where her landlord and friend, Patsy, and the Tornado Alleycats were spending the summer. Did you love Patsy as much as I did, Janga? I want to be an Alleycat too!

Janga: I think we are Alleycats at heart, PJ, although I’ll leave the skinny dipping and the fire-engine red hair to Patsy and her cohorts. She really is a wonderful character. I love that she is in her seventies and still living life to the fullest despite the challenges life throws at her. Colorful older women characters are fairly common in romance fiction, but I can remember only a rare few who have been as vividly drawn as Patsy. From her past as an exotic dancer to her marriage to a man ten years her junior to her writing career, her hundreds of friends, her matchmaking plans, and her Sundays in church, she marches to her own drummer. Yet she seems so real I want to give her a hug. She is just the example Lili needs. And, in this novel that is about all kinds of families, I also think she and Lili are definitely “family” to one another, don’t you?

PJ: I do agree, Janga. Whether family by blood, by marriage, or by choice, Emily March brings the characters in A Stardance Summer together with purpose and love, as she has done with each of the Eternity Springs books. It’s one of the components of this series that I most enjoy, along with the spiritual element that the beloved character of Celeste brings to each book. I admire March's ability to add depth to her stories through her characters' journeys of spiritual awakening without venturing into religion or inspirational territory.  

Humor, Heart, Family, Love: all integral components of an Emily March novel that solidify her place on our auto-buy lists and place her books on our keeper shelves. Just between us, if you have not yet read A Stardance Summer, you’re missing out on a wonderful story that will make you smile, laugh, possibly shed some tears, want to drop-kick a few characters off the nearest cliff, sigh with satisfaction, and ask how long you’ll have to wait until Emily March’s next visit to Eternity Springs. However long the wait, you can be sure we’ll be there, ready to reconnect with favorite Eternity Springs citizens, meet new ones, and join them on another heart-tugging journey to love.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do you enjoy romances with a family dynamic?

Are you reading Emily March's Eternity Springs series? Do you have a favorite book or couple in the series?

What do you think of second-generation romances? Do you enjoy seeing children from previous books all grown up and on the path to their own HEA?


One randomly chosen person leaving a comment on today's post before 11:00 p.m. ET, July 1, 2017 will receive a print copy of A Stardance Summer. (U.S. only)





A Stardance Summer
By Emily March
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: June 27,2017


Sometimes the end of one road
Brick Callahan enjoys every minute of chaos at his campground, Stardance Ranch, especially after the Tornado Alleycats arrive for an extended summer stay. The members of the all-female glamorous camping club are primarily seniors―active and adventurous, friendly and fun. But when he discovers Liliana Howe frolicking with the glamping grannies in a late night skinny-dipping session, he fears he's in for a summer of trouble. Because his best friend's kid sister has grown up to be drop-dead gorgeous.
. . .is the start of another
Betrayed by those she trusted, Lili decides she's put her career first for too long. She sells her practical sedan, buys a travel trailer, and heads to Eternity Springs for a summer of rest, relaxation, and reassessment as the newest member of the Alleycats. The last person she expects to find running an RV resort is her high school crush. Their undeniable mutual attraction is a reminder that life is full of surprises. But when the past comes calling, will their summer romance stand the test of time?

Emily March is the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a "master of delightful banter," and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Buy Links:

Social Links:
Twitter @emilymarchbooks


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review - - The Most Dangerous Duke in London


The Most Dangerous Duke in London
By Madeline Hunter
Publisher: Zebra
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Reviewed by Janga



Three schoolboys are drawn together by their status as heirs to dukedoms. The bonds forged then endure. Later, the three pledge their loyalty to one another as the members of an exclusive group, the Decadent Duke’s Society. The loyalty that unites Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton; Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford; and Eric Marshall, Duke of Brentworth survives maturity and separation. The Most Dangerous Duke in London is Stratton’s story.

The
Duke of Stratton, has recently returned to England to investigate the circumstances that led to his father’s suicide. He is skeptical but curious when the Countess of Marwood requests his presence at the country estate of her grandson, the new Earl of Marwood. Adam suspects that his reputation for duels and her concern for her grandson lie behind the countess’s maneuvers, but he is unprepared for her proposal that he marry her younger granddaughter to put an end to the decades of enmity between the Penrose and Cheswick families. Seventeen-year-old Emilia, despite her undeniable beauty and impressive dowry, is too young and too compliant to appeal to Adam, but he finds her elder half-sister intriguing.

Lady Clara Cheswick was her father’s favorite child. She enjoyed an unusually close relationship with him, and he encouraged her in an education and a freedom rarely allowed a female. At twenty-four, Lady Clara is still unmarried and content to remain so. Her father’s will provided for her generously enough to allow her to live independently of her brother and her paternal grandmother and to continue to reject marriage. Lady Clara is using part of her inheritance to implement more regular publication of Parnassus, a women’s journal that encompasses politics, literature, and fashion. Lady Clara serves as its publisher and benefactor. Loyal to her father, she is opposed to her grandmother’s plans and disinterested in Adam’s proposal to marry her rather than her sister, but she cannot control a reluctant attraction to him.

Adam persists in the face of Clara’s repeated rejections. His ducal friends, Langford and Brentworth question his motives, but even Adam himself is not sure how much is his real fascination with Clara and how much is the hope that she possesses information he needs about her father’s role in his father’s death. A friendship of sorts develops between Adam and Clara. She has the intelligence and spirit he needs in a woman, and she is seduced as much by his recognition of her as an equal as she is by his undeniable physical attributes. The friends become lovers, but their feelings are tested as the twisted story of choices that harmed his family and fostered the flourishing of hers unravels. Will love prove more powerful than the need for revenge?

Madeline Hunter introduces her Decadent Dukes trilogy with a complex story featuring compelling protagonists engaged in a relationship that captivates the reader from beginning to end. This is a novel in which the conflicts, internal and external, are organic rather than contrived. Clara’s reasons for avoiding marriage are valid in a culture that denies a married woman any rights to her own property and to a separate legal identity. Adam’s anger and anguish over his father’s death and his mother’s ostracism is legitimate. The false rumors that pushed Adam’s father to take his own life are real. Both Clara and Adam are pulled between desire and reason, and their caution in declaring their feelings is understandable.

Too often I have been disappointed by an active heroine’s independence melding into passivity by the story’s end. That is not the case here. Clara remains an active participant in the resolution. I found the ending of both the romance and the suspense thread totally satisfactory. Hunter gives her readers enough of a look at Langford and Brentworth to establish them as interesting characters who deserve their own stories without permitting them to weaken the focus on Adam and Clara. All of these qualities helped to make this a superb read.

If you like intelligent romance fiction with dimensional, mature characters, I highly recommend this novel. I eagerly await the next book in the trilogy, the story of Langford, a charming rogue who has already won my heart. This series promises to be as good as Hunter’s Wicked trilogy—and it provided some of my favorite romance novels of 2015-2016.


Review - - The Highland Commander


The Highland Commander
By Amy Jarecki
Publisher: Forever - Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Reviewed by Hellie



The Highland Commander is the second in the Lords of the Highlands series, set in 1709, just prior to the first Jacobite rebellion. While Queen Anne rules Great Britain, there are those in Scotland who want the true king, Prince James Stuart (the Old Pretender) to assume the throne.

Of course, our hero has other things on his mind than getting the rightful king back on the throne. As Aiden Murray, second son of the Duke of Atholl, makes his way up the Navy ladder, he is determined to be his own man--and in the most immediate future to “become a man”. He’s been a little busy with books and working his way through the ranks to pursue the fairer sex. Ever. But he’s determined to lose his virginity as soon as possible--and the slightly scandalous Hogmanay ball with all those beautiful women in masquerade masks should help relieve him of his inexperience.

He attends the Earl Marischal of Scotland’s masquerade party and meets the beautiful and innocent, Lady Magdalen Keith. While he is enchanted by the fair maiden, his goal is decidedly different than wooing a maiden who would be more suited for marriage than the bedroom, even if she has the most beautiful eyes he’s ever seen and kisses like a dream. A Navy lieutenant on 24 hour shore leave. A masquerade ball on Hogmanay. The illegitimate daughter of an earl with beautiful blue eyes and a kiss to die for. What’s not to love in this set up?

Three months later, when he is given a two-week shoreleave, Aiden travels to London to live in his father’s rooms at Whitehall, and from there, find a suitable widow for his education. Who should he find on his way to Whitehall, in distress and in need of help? Yes, the most innocent fair Lady Magdalen! What does he do when he realizes she has nowhere to sleep because her father’s rooms have been seized due to his treasonous actions? Why he brings her to his rooms in Whitehall of course. That isn’t going to put a cramp in his The Hangover: Jacobite style at all. Oh, wait. It totally does.

When Aiden returns to the ship and has a talk with the captain, his mentor and near father figure, about Magdalen and the dilemma and his virginity, the good captain takes some pity on Aiden and hands him a pamphlet full of the most useful drawings any young man would want. By now, he’s so enthralled with Lady Magdalen, he persuades her to try out some of the less pregnancy-likely options on the page. Lady Magdalen is already half in love with Aiden and has been since the ball. While Aiden assists Magdalen during the day in her quest to have her father released (and not executed), at night they pursue passion in each other’s arms.

Later, after Aiden returns back to his ship, Magdalen is invited to stay at Whitehall with Queen Anne and be her harpist. Her (newly released) father uses this opportunity to have Magdalen spy for the cause. Magdalen would love nothing more than return to her home in Stonehaven, to do her good work at the women’s hospital; however, her duty is to her father and his requests to keep him informed of anything the queen and her consorts say. When Magdalen is accused of trying to kill the queen, she is rescued by Aiden who flees with her to Edinburgh. They escape a number of times, each time fraught with peril, until they are finally safe on Aiden’s family ancestral land in a remote cabin.

Now I’m not a fan of virgin heroes, but Lord Aiden is definitely the exception to this rule for me. He’s like a deliciously Scottish Commodore Norrington (i.e. Pirates of the Caribbean) in demeanor and fighting skills. The escape scene on the ship--oh, that’s worth the read alone--I was laughing and gasping in distress, afraid they wouldn’t succeed, but in addition to being brilliant with a sword, he’s an excellent swimmer too. I loved how vividly Jarecki was able to paint the scene and the other escape scenes that followed. While the escape sequences grew a little long (not unlike that action sequence in the third Pirates movie, you know the one I’m talking about), they were well executed and intense.

Both Aiden and Magdalen are new to lovemaking, but the sex scenes were sexy and sensual. I’m usually a fan of rogues, myself, but Aiden was such a quick study, watching Aiden and Magdalen discover passion together was lovely.


This book hit all the right notes for me: swoon-worthy hero (oh, so, swoon-worthy); a sympathetic and capable heroine; intrigue and action scenes (fast paced); witty dialogue and banter; and sensual love scenes that grow the relationship. An excellent read.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Winner - - RWA Disney Post







The randomly chosen winner of a 
package of books and swag is:

Kayla B

Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Blog Tour Review - - Primrose Lane




Primrose Lane
By Debbie Mason
Harmony Harbor - Book 3
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Reviewed by PJ







Olivia Davenport has finally gotten her life back together. She's left her painful past behind, started over in a new town, and become Harmony Harbor's most sought-after event planner. But her past catches up to her when Olivia learns that she's now guardian of her ex's young daughter. With her world spinning, Olivia must reconcile her old life with her new one. And she doesn't have time for her new next door neighbor, no matter how handsome he is.

Olivia may act like she's got everything under control, but Dr. Finn Gallagher knows a person in over her head when he sees one. He'd really like to be the shoulder she leans on, but Olivia makes it clear she doesn't want his help. Since he's returned to town, his waiting room has been full of single women feigning illness. Yet the one woman he's interested in is avoiding him. But with a little help from some matchmaking widows and a precocious little girl, Finn might just win Olivia over.


Olivia Davenport (known as Dana Templeton in the first two books of this series) is a character I won't soon forget. What she went through before coming to Harmony  Harbor and what she goes through on her journey to happiness in Primrose Lane had me reaching for tissues more than once. She's working hard to make Greystone Manor the venue of choice in Harmony Harbor while struggling to deal with painful anniversaries of betrayal and grief. She may think she has everything under control but, in truth, she's barely holding her head above water. 

Finn Gallagher knows a bit about running from your past. Unable to deal with the deaths of his mother and sister, Finn has spent the past several years working with Doctors Without Borders in Africa while closing himself off from emotional attachments. Now, forced to return home to heal after being seriously injured, he's working with the local doc while keeping an eye on the lovely Olivia, a woman he doesn't trust, suspects of being on drugs, and paints with the tainted brush of past relationships. 

I enjoy a good enemies to lovers trope and while Olivia and Finn aren't exactly enemies they certainly are at odds from their first meeting. The air fairly sizzles with both animosity and unwanted attraction. Gradually, as they begin to open their eyes to who the other really is rather than viewing them through the biases of previous relationships, they begin to become friends with Finn helping Olivia begin to deal with the emotional wounds of her past. But then, just as things seem to be going well, Olivia's world is turned topsy turvy by an unimaginable turn of events (I'd tell you more but I really want this twist to unfold organically as you read the book) which causes Finn to become an even more vital part of her life and which, in turn, has an unexpected effect on his own. It's a rocky road ahead for both of them, with emotional peaks and valleys, heartwarming romance, life-threatening danger, meddling relatives, and a pint-sized whirlwind at the center of it all.  

At the rate she's going, the books in Mason's Harmony Harbor series will have their own keeper shelf in my home library. Wow, do these books bring the feels. Deep emotion, heart-tugging romance, and a touch of suspense make them hard to put down while the humor sprinkled throughout keeps the emotional intensity balanced with comic relief. And the families! The Gallaghers and DiRossis may squabble among themselves, and with each other, but when the chips are down I want these people on my side. I want to be friends with the women and drool over the men (discreetly, of course, since they love those women I like and admire). They've become more than characters in a book to me and I can't wait to see where Debbie Mason takes them next. I already have my calendar marked for book #4, Sugarplum Way, due to be released October 31. 

While each of the Harmony Harbor books stands on its own, there are key characters who appear in all of the books and relationships that continue to evolve. For maximum enjoyment, I recommend reading them in the following order: Mistletoe Cottage, Starlight Bridge, and Primrose Lane

Are you reading Debbie Mason's Harmony Harbor books?

Do you have a favorite Mason couple or book?

Do you enjoy emotional twists and turns in the romances you read?



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THE HARMONY HARBOR SERIES
MISTLETOE COTTAGE, #1
CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL, #1.5
STARLIGHT BRIDGE, #2
PRIMROSE LANE, #3


Debbie Mason is the USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series. Her books have been praised for their "likable characters, clever dialogue, and juicy plots" (RT Book Reviews).  When she isn't writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their four wonderful children, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review - - The Day of the Duchess


The Day of the Duchess
By Sarah MacLean
Scandal & Scoundrel, Book III
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Reviewed by PJ







After reading The Rogue Not Taken, my feelings for the Duke of Haven were solid. He was an ass, pure and simple. Like the Talbot sisters, my loathing of him knew no bounds. I was ready for Sera to move on and find happiness with someone else. It was obvious Haven did not deserve her. Sarah MacLean, the creator of these characters, had other plans. Of course she did. You see, she already knew the rest of the story, those parts that had yet to be revealed to those of us reading the books. She knew that relationships are not black and white, that there are many shades of grey in between. She knew mistakes had been made by both parties, knew the mitigating factors, the heartbreak suffered, the grief that pushed a woman to run, and the prideful arrogance of a man who had not yet outgrown the prejudices formed at the altar of his parents' mistakes.

Sometimes love is not enough to make a marriage thrive. Sometimes, a strong relationship needs to be forged in heartache, grief, distance, and second chances. For the past three and a half years, Malcolm, Duke of Haven has searched for his missing wife, knowing full well that it was his actions that caused her to run and praying she will give him a second chance. For that same amount of time, Sera, Duchess of Haven, has been growing stronger, bolder, and creating a new life that brings her joy and purpose - a life that cannot co-exist with the title of duchess. When she finally returns to London, it's not the reconciliation for which Mal yearns on her agenda but a very public request for a divorce. Older, wiser, and determined to fight for a second chance, Mal offers a ridiculous condition: choose his next wife and Sera can have her divorce. Of course, he has no intention of marrying anyone else and plans to use the time to woo Sera but she has a few tricks up her sleeve as well. Will Mal win back her love? Will Sera win her freedom? Or, will they both learn lessons that are much more important, bringing them all they desire...together?

The Day of the Duchess is one of my favorite books of 2017. I laughed, cried, cheered, sighed, and could not put this book down as I traveled this journey with Sera, Mal, the prospective brides, an American newcomer, and, of course, Sera's irrepressible sisters. Sera and Mal are flawed, complex characters who won my heart and I assure you that after reading MacLean's The Rogue Not Taken, I was absolutely certain "won my heart" and "Duke of Haven" would never co-exist in the same sentence! The vivid secondary cast adds a richness to the story, moving the plot forward while generating excitement for future books without detracting from the main couple in this one. 

If you enjoy historical romance rich with humor, deep emotion, complex characters, and hard-earned happy endings, I highly recommend Sarah MacLean's The Day of the Duchess


Release Day Blitz Review - - Comeback Cowboy





Comeback Cowboy
By Sara Richardson
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Reviewed by Maria Lokken
 


In “Comeback Cowboy,” author, Sara Richardson has written a rich second chance love story giving the reader a satisfying look at what it means to forgive and move forward. Set in the picturesque town of Topaz Falls, this is the second book in the Rocky Mountain Riders series.

Lucas Cortez and Naomi Sullivan’s high school romance was more than a first love, it was a forever love. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. His incarceration, and subsequent release left hurt and doubt.  In virtually every scene Ms. Richardson advances the theme of second chances between the central characters and with the family and friends that surround them.   From a father who yearns to reconnect with a child he’s abandoned, to a town who cannot lay down their suspicions.

“Comeback Cowboy” is about one man’s search for happiness against prejudice and fixed ideas, and his honor and integrity to win back the woman he should have always had. It’s about a woman who knows how to take care of herself and doesn’t surrender independence even as she gives her heart to the man she’s always loved.  It also highlights what it means to be a family, whether related by blood, or choice. All these elements bring this story to life, giving it a pulse that will keep you turning the pages. 

This book gives you characters to root for and creates friendships you would count yourself lucky to have. Ultimately, it’s a romance where all things end happily ever after – but for this reader, it’s about how you get there that counts. And this journey is one that gives you just enough ups and downs to make it an exciting read all the way to the last page.

Why do second chance love stories capture our hearts?  Maybe it’s because you get a ‘do-over’ - and I find that very appealing. What’s your do-over wish?




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Credit:Jenn Honeycutt Photography
Sara Richardson grew up chasing adventure in Colorado's rugged mountains. She's climbed to the top of a 14,000 foot peak at midnight, swum through Class IV rapids, completed her wilderness first-aid certification, and spent seven days at a time tromping through the wilderness with a thirty-pound backpack strapped to her shoulders.

Eventually Sara did the responsible thing and got an education in writing and journalism. After a brief stint in the corporate writing world, she stopped ignoring the voices in her head and started writing fiction. Now she uses her experience as a mountain adventure guide to write stories that incorporate adventure with romance. Still indulging her adventurous spirit, Sara lives and plays in Colorado with her saint of a husband and two young sons.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Review - - On the Plus Side


On the Plus Side
Alison Bliss
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing / Forever
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Reviewed by Hellie
  





ON THE PLUS SIDE has several things I enjoy in a contemporary romance: a feisty heroine, an alpha hero, funny situations and witty banter. On the plus side (see what I did there?), the heroine, Valerie, is a plus-sized heroine, which aren’t featured too often in romances; the relationship conflict revolves around that Logan (the hero) is the best friend of her brother--and her brother will kill them both if they date (so a sort of “forbidden” friends to lovers trope); and fun and likeable secondary characters.

Valerie Carmichael has been in love with her brother’s best friend, Logan, since she was a teenager. Logan has returned to their hometown and he is once more in her orbit, and this time she is determined to make him notice her. Logan has never had a problem noticing Valerie, though he sincerely wishes he wouldn’t. He would never betray his best friend, and Valerie deserves so much better than Logan.

Logan needs to hastily raise $10,000 to save his mama’s house from foreclosure, and the brisk business at his new bar is likely to raise the money just in time, but Logan finds himself in a bind when his head bartender quits. Valerie volunteers to replace him, but Logan doesn’t want Valerie anywhere around him. Valerie refuses to let the opportunity go, and while Logan is trying to fix one problem, Valerie gets behind the bar to fix his bartender problem. When he returns, and Valerie is whipping up cocktails like a Tom Cruise movie, he realizes he doesn’t have a choice. At least for now.

Meanwhile Valerie talks with her friend Leah about the fact Logan won’t look twice at her--and as the topic progresses (and perhaps tangents), Leah encourages her to create a list of all the sex stuff Valerie would never do. Valerie makes a list, then throws it away. But guess who finds the list? Yes, yes, Logan does. Logan’s #1 rule about Valerie takes a nosedive, as he believes this list is her Sex Wish List and he goes about fulfilling it.

Valerie loves working at the bar--even though she told a “little lie” to make Logan give her the job--but that won’t be a problem will it? Of course it is. And things can’t get worse for Logan, can they? Of course they can.

I’m not sure what “genre” this truly falls under, but it reads a bit like a erotica-lite. Logan thinks and speaks in very rough language, so if you happen to be someone who reaches for their smelling salts when someone expresses a desire to be “balls deep” with his “dick” in you, you might skip this one. If you prefer sex scenes that take place in bedrooms, or basically nowhere public, you may want to skip this one. If you prefer heroes (and characters in general) who don’t throw fists and ask questions later, assume the worse of the heroine when she’s in a compromising position (rather than making sure she’s okay), or blame her entirely why his life has gone to hell? This book may not be for you. I will grant you the sex was hot in this book, but it got to a point where I started skipping because I was tired of reading about them doing it. That doesn’t happen. Also, in the first sex scene when he “forgets” to put on the condom and then apologizes later--and she says, “It’s all fine. I’m on the pill.” Yeah, no, that is not a pass. These just happen to be a few of my personal reader rules.  

Granted, I can say both characters felt believable in their behavior and actions on the whole, but I just didn’t care about their happy ending because I didn’t care about them. I wanted to get him into some anger management classes; and her in some healthy relationship classes. Mostly, I thought, these characters feel very young (far younger than they are portrayed) in their actions and dialogue and it made me feel old reading it. Very, very old. And puritan at times.

Well-developed characters, fast-paced plot, sexual tension and hot scenes, witty and funny scenes--it checks the marks, but for me, wasn’t my cup of tea.




Sunday, June 25, 2017

RWA Does Disney: A Look Back...And Ahead



With Susan Elizabeth Phillips at the Dolphin Resort - 2010

As we gear up for next month's RWA national conference at the Swan and Dolphin Resort in Disney World, I thought I'd take a look back at the first Disney conference and ahead to this year's which is only four weeks away. 

The 2010 RWA National Conference was supposed to be held in Nashville, Tennessee. I was excited about exploring a city I'd only driven through before but torrential rains that led to catastrophic flooding had the folks at RWA scrambling to make a last minute change (the conference hotel was under water). They came through like champs and soon readers and authors were heading south to Orlando, Florida and the home of Mickey Mouse and his many friends. 



Tessa Dare: Literacy Autographing 2010

After rapidly selling all copies of her debut book, Goddess of the Hunt at her first Literacy Autographing in 2009, Tessa Dare turned that "sold out" frown upside down with a RITA® nomination in 2010. 










Several RITA nominations, and wins, later, Dare kicks off her fifth series August 22 with the publication of The Duchess Deal and she's once again a RITA finalist, this time for Do You Want to Start a Scandal, one of my favorite books of 2016. (read my Top Dish review)












Eloisa James:Literacy Autographing 2010

Eloisa James sure looks excited and with good reason. Those are two awesome EJ books she's holding! Have you read her newest, Seven Minutes in Heaven? Janga and I chatted about it in our February 2017 Just Between Us feature. Eloisa has a new series beginning this fall with the October 31 release of Wilde in Love, which features one of my all-time favorite covers and step-backs!



Step-back (inside cover) of Wilde in Love





Catching up with the lovely Emily March/Geralyn Dawson at the Harlequin party...which was fabulous! Are you reading Emily's Eternity Springs series? Stop by June 30 when Janga and I chat about the newest Eternity Springs novel, A Stardance Summer in a Just Between Us feature. 












Chatting with one of my favorite authors, Monica McCarty. She's been an autobuy for me since the publication of her debut book. 










I've loved McCarty's highlander heroes but I'm looking forward to meeting her Navy SEALs in her upcoming (present day) Lost Platoon series. It all begins with the September 5 publication of book one: Going Dark













The Avon party was held at the Living Seas Aquarium in Epcot. What a beautiful venue! Enjoying the party are Jeanne Adams, Terri Garey and Sarah MacLean. 









Are you as excited for The Day of the Duchess, the third book in MacLean's Scandal and Scoundrel series as I am? It publishes in two days! 

















Here I am with my favorite Brit, Anna Sugden. 










Have you checked out Anna's hockey hunks yet? A Perfect Strategy was released in February. 















You may think Anna Campbell and I spend a lot of time hugging and laughing at conferences. You'd be right! I'll miss her at next month's conference but she's back in Australia after three months jaunting around England, Scotland, and Belgium. Check out her gorgeous photos at her Facebook page.






Don't forget to also check out Anna's newest Dashing Widows novella, Catching Captain Nash. It releases June 30! 
















Besides being one of my all-time favorite authors, Lisa Kleypas is also one of the sweetest, most genuine people I have ever met. And gorgeous. The woman is gorgeous.  











Are you reading Lisa's new Ravenels historical romance series? The third book, Devil in Spring released in February and the hero is the son of fan-favorite hero, Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Kleypas' Wallflowers series. You can read my review here. 










Debbie Mazzuca captured my attention with her debut book, Lord of the Isles, a paranormal historical romance. After meeting her in person, I was even more captivated by the sweet, genuine person she is. 











Now writing as Debbie Mason, she's become one of my go-to authors for heartwarming contemporary romance featuring humor and emotion. Her next book, Primrose Lane releases June 27 and it's another winner in her Harmony Harbor series. 








2010

Anytime I get to see Julie Anne Long in person is a cause for celebration. I adored Long's historical Pennyroyal Green series and am head over heels for her new Hellcat Canyon contemporary romances. She won the RITA last year for the tenth book in her Pennyroyal Green series,
It Started with a Scandal. (Top Dish review) She's a RITA finalist again this year for her first Hellcat Canyon book, Hot in Hellcat Canyon. (Top Dish review)  









Book three in Long's Hellcat Canyon series, Dirty Dancing at Devil's Leap, will be out August 29. I've had it on pre-order since January 11. Yes, I love her writing that much. :) 











Roxanne St. Claire 2010


I'm a long-time fan of Roxanne St. Claire's books. I discovered her during her romantic suspense, Bullet Catchers years then followed her into her Barefoot Bay contemporaries, including her Timeless (Barefoot Bay) spinoff trilogy featuring sexy silver fox heroes, and her romantic suspense Barefoot Bay Undercover quartet where we finally got the long-anticipated story of fan favorite, Gabriel Rossi. One of St. Claire's sexy silver foxes brought her a RITA nomination this year for Barefoot at Midnight. We'll have to wait until Thursday, July 27 to see if she brings home another pretty gold statue. 









While I've loved all of her books, for me, it's St. Claire's current Dogfather series, centered around a large, boisterous, loving, Irish-American family in North Carolina and the dogs they rescue and train, that has wrapped up my reader's heart with a great big bow. And, for St. Claire, a dog lover and animal rescue proponent herself, these stories and the fact that she's donating a portion of book sales to a no-kill rescue organization in her home state show what a warm, loving, and huge heart this woman has. Start with Sit...Stay...Beg, then move on to New Leash on Life and the soon to be released, Bad to the Bone








Kristan Higgins 2010

Kristan Higgins was a recent discovery for me when I first met her in 2010. I adored her book, Too Good to Be True which was a RITA finalist that year. Kristan won the RITA and kept her promise to celebrate (fully clothed) in the center lobby pool at the Dolphin (see photo of fountain at top of this post), much to the delight of all who witnessed the event. Except, perhaps, the hotel staff? (grin) 








In the years since, I've come to know Kristan better and am happy to report that in addition to being an incredibly talented author, she's also one of the kindest, strongest, funniest, and most genuine women I've had the honor of meeting. Her next book, Now That You Mention It, will be out in December of this year.  








If you're in the Orlando area, you too can meet some of your favorite authors this summer. RWA will sponsor the "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing on Saturday, July 29 from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. ET.  Admission is free and all proceeds of book sales will benefit literacy organizations. As recently reported, in 2016, RWA reached $1 Million dollars in donations to benefit literacy organizations. For a complete list of the authors who will be signing, click here







Have you ever visited Disney World? What was your favorite attraction?

Are you a hugger? You've probably guessed from the photos that I am so be prepared if we ever meet in person. ;-)

Will you be attending next month's RWA conference or the Literacy Autographing? If so, I'd love the opportunity to meet you! 

What author(s) would you most like to meet and what would you ask them?  

I have a package of books and swag looking for a home. One randomly chosen person who leaves a comment before 11:00 p.m. ET, June 26 will win! (U.S. only)