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Better Than Chocolate!

Today I have a little treat for you–a guest review from my sister, Sandy Smith! This is her first so, please be kind.

New York Times  bestselling author Sheila Roberts’s upcoming book BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE  goes on sale on October 1st!

Few women know romance, and chocolate, like Sheila and with BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE, she’s concocted a story (sprinkled with a few chocolate recipes!) that have you dreaming of  everything from milk to dark.

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they’re about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank—and that would be a disaster, not only for the family but for the town of  Icicle Falls, Washington. Samantha, the oldest daughter and new head of the company, is determined to save it and comes up with the idea to  host a chocolate festival! But fate seems to be conspiring  against Samantha, and her mother’s attempts to help aren’t helping. To make matters worse, the future of the company is in the hands of her  archenemy, bank manager Blake Preston. Samantha is pretty sure Blake couldn’t care less about Sweet Dreams, but he’s determined to prove to  her that there’s something even better  than chocolate.

Sandy’s Thoughts:

I fell in love with Icicle Falls.  It is a place I would love to visit, mostly for the townspeople who know how to stick together.  Growing up in small town Arkansas, it’s something I can relate to.  The main character had many admirable qualities, especially her never-quit attitude.  The multiple dreams in the story were a little different. Overall, I would describe it as a sweet story, played out much like a Lifetime movie.

 

For more On Sheila, check out her PAGES HERE

Better Than Chocolate is now available from

Amazon | B&N | Kindle | Nook |

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Real Reader Review of Robyn Carr’s Hidden Summit

Happy Wednesday and welcome to a little something I call Real Reader Reviews. I totally made that up myself, but I love the idea of seeking out real readers to do reviews. When this one came across ENALR’s virtual desk, our regular (professional) reviewers were chock-full of commitments, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try out a real reader review. My gineau pig was my sister-in-law Tafta Rogers, a busy mother, teacher and avid romance fan. I quickly contacted her and begged for her to be our first real reader reviewer. We had originally intended to have the review ready in January, the release month, but being that we’re also dealing with real life, it didn’t quite work out. BUT here we are today with the review, and I’m really happy to welcome Tafta and thank her for doing the honors.

You know, we writers wonder all the time what readers really think about our stories. That’s why we close one eye and with a anxious heart cast our eye upon Amazon or Goodreads for a check on how our babies are faring. Many writers swear that reading your reviews is something you should NEVER, EVER do. Others see it as an opportunity to gauge whether their writing is resounding with readers. I’ll admit to taking a peek every now and then. Sometimes it’s an ouchy. Other times a warm fuzzy, but either way, once you release your book into the wild world of readers, it never belongs to you again….even if it does have your name on it.

So, here’s Tafta’s thoughts on the arc of Hidden Summit. The blurb for the book follows the review.

Conner Danson (alias for Danson Conner) has temporarily relocated to the everybody-knows-everybody town of Virgin River because he is the sole witness in a high profile murder. Conner is restless because his sister and nephews have been sent to another town for their protection. He is used to being with them and providing for them after his brother-in-law died in war, so being apart from his family (especially with a potential revenge kill hanging over his head) is extremely difficult for him. Even so, Connor gets a job with Haggerty Construction and begins to relax in the homespun town.

 Leslie Pertruso transfers to Virgin River after her husband’s affair and subsequentiol devastating divorce. Because she been a loyal competent employee for the Haggerty family for some time and they all think her ex is a real pompous jerk, they were happy to help Leslie discover a new life in Virgin River.

Neither Conner nor Leslie is looking for love or even a serious relationship. Mostly they are both emotionally fragile, if not raw. It was fun to watch Robyn Carr allow their relationship blossom from acquaintances misjudging each other to friends to lovers. Both characters grow and discover truths about their self and their past that shows the reader that their future together will be a very sweet happy ever after.

I thought this book would be just another small town romance, but I was in for a pleasant surprise. The depth of Carr’s characters and her intriguing story line make it so much more. The emotions are real and the conflicts sound…and I must say her description of Conner isn’t bad either 😉 In short, I would love to read more Virgin River stories and much more by Robyn Carr. 

 Okay, there you have it. Real reader thoughts about the book. She seemed to like it pretty well, so good for Robyn Carr for bringing a tale that surprised and delighted 🙂 Here’s the blurb for Hidden Summit:

Sick of running into her cheery ex-husband and his new wife, Leslie Petruso accepts a job at the Virgin River branch of Haggerty Construction and takes the high road right out of town. Now she’s got Paul Haggerty’s business running like a well-oiled machine. In fact, things are so busy Paul jumps at the chance to hire an extra set of hands.

Just like Leslie, Conner Danson has been burned by love. But if Leslie was disappointed by her relationship going bad, Conner was decimated. He’s got no time for women…although he spends an awful lot of time pretending not to notice Leslie. And she’s pretty busy “ignoring” the chemistry between them.

According to Conner and Leslie, they have only one thing in common—they’re done with love. But everyone in Virgin River can see that things are heating up at Haggerty Construction. And as far as Paul Haggerty can tell, the best thing he can do is hang on to his hard hat and watch the sparks fly!

“Return to Love” by Betsy St. Amant

“I’m not the man I used to be!”

 Okay, she hooked me with this line alone. 

If only Gracie Broussard could believe that!” 

So many questions went through my head reading these two simple lines on the back cover of Betsy St. Amant’s debut novel, “Return to Love.”  What did this guy do?  Why is he back?  What does he want?  Why can’t she forgive him?

 I’m a sucker for a great love story and the more conflict the better. 

I had the opportunity to meet Betsy at the Nola Stars conference in Shreveport, Louisiana back in March.  What a sweetheart!  She not only let me pal around with her, but our editor and agent appointments were back to back.  Talking with her before I went in calmed my nerves and I have to say it was the best pitching experience I’ve had so far.  Thanks a million, Betsy!  “Return to Love” is a wonderful sweet romance about the ups and downs life throws at us and how faith and forgiveness can mend all wounds. 

Years ago, Carter Alexander broke Gracie’s heart when he left without explanation.  It was the worst kind of betrayal because he was her best friend.  She trusted him, believed in him, and secretly loved him.  Now he has returned just when she needs him most asking her to believe he’s changed.  How many times are we given a second chance in life?  I don’t know about you, but boy are there are a few things I’d like to go back and do over.  🙂

But now all Gracie remembers about the handsome rock star is the arrogant jerk with a guitar, lead singer of the band Cajun Friday and his dozens of girlfriends.  He was too big for his britches then so why should anything be different now.  And besides, she’s busy fighting to raise money for a new addition that will save her beloved African penguins at the Aquarium of the Americas where she works as their keeper and can’t risk trusting him again.  This time her heart won’t be the only thing in danger of being crushed.

Carter isn’t the rebel he once was.  He’s hid the real reason he left all these years because he knows, Gracie will never believe it.  It’s a horrible secret about his now deceased father and their past.  One that will destroy Gracie’s memory of the only father-like figure she’s ever known. 

As fate intervenes, Gracie finds herself and the future of her penguins in the hands of the man she’s sure she wants nothing to do with.  At least that’s the lie she plans to keep telling herself.  What she learns is a great lesson for us all.  Things aren’t always as they seem and being too quick to judge is never the right decision.  I couldn’t put the book down.  Great characters you can relate to and a storyline that keeps you wondering how these two will actually get together with all that’s stacked against them.  But it’s a romance after all and the sweet ending will have you wanting more.   

Lots of interesting facts about penguins here as well as a believable story full of hope and promise that in the end, good really does conquer all.

 Be sure to check out Betsy’s newest release on sale now, “Rodeo Sweetheart” as well as her second book, “A Valentine’s Wish.”  And check back on May 31 when Betsy joins us here on the blog for your chance to win one of these perfect summertime reads!  Rumor has it she has a contract for another new book .  Congratulations, Betsy!  You are on a roll and I can’t wait to read more!

 If you had a second chance to do something over again, what would it be?

 For me, I would have stayed in school and finished my college degree instead of getting a job fresh out of high school and taking night classes.  I always thought I would have plenty of time to go back later.  Not gonna happen now. LOL

Review: Thrill Me To Death by Roxanne St. Claire

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I love books that keep you guessing.  Books that you find yourself lost in and can’t put down.  Roxanne St. Claire’s “Thrill Me to Death” kept me turning the pages and trying to figure out who the killer was till the very end.  Just when I thought I knew who it was, she’d prove me wrong.  The twists in this book along with the danger and action are exceptionally done.  It’s a must have on your shelf. 

This is the second book in the Bullet Catcher series.  The first book, “Kill Me Twice” hooked me and I fell in love with her characters, especially the hunky Bullet Catcher Alex Romero.  I can’t wait to read her two new releases “Hunt Her Down” out August 25 and Make Her Pay” due out September 29.  Each book leaves me wanting more. 

Now on to the review of “Thrill Me to Death”.  (Even her titles are cool!”) 

Cori Peyton, a widowed billionaires, suspects her husband was murdered.  Especially since his last words to her were “This wasn’t meant for me.”  Could she have been the intended target?  When she hires a bodyguard for protection, never in her wildest dreams does she expect her former love to waltz into the picture.  He’s the one she blames for her deepest sorrow and the man capable of melting her every defense.  The attraction between these two sizzles on the page.  

Max Roper spent years in the DEA before becoming a Bullet Catcher in Lucy Sharp’s top-notch force of bodyguards and security specialists.  Every Bullet Catcher is tested once in his career, and Cori Peyton will be the ultimate evaluation of Max’s legendary self- control.  She’s the one who cost him his job and his heart.  Now he must discover his ex’s deep dark secret and protect her at the same time from a killer who hides in plain view.  All this while keeping his emotions and the passion swirling between them restrained.   It’s this dangerous attraction that almost costs them everything. 

Be sure to check back later this month when Roxanne joins us as our guest!

Review: Lord of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle

lordofpleasure

*Contest for free book closes on Monday Midnight!*

It’s funny! It’s serious. You’ll be grinning! You’ll be aww’ing. Yes, you’ll be doing all these things as you read Delilah Marvelle’s Lord of Pleasure

There once was a man named Alexander. Alexander was also known as Lord of Pleasure, a fitting title for his rakish days. But Alexander is known by another name, too—Earl of Hawskford. Hawskford is supposed to be responsible. Hawskford is supposed to be setting a good example. Hawskford is supposed to be in charge of his many younger sisters. To be Hawskford, Alexander will have to leave Lord of Pleasure and Alexander behind. Not so big of a deal, he thinks, he does need to grow up, after all. But the shoes he picks out to wear as Hawskford just doesn’t quite fit him or his family, no matter how hard he tries, a part of him will always be fun-loving Alexander and wicked Lord of Pleasure.

His first task to leave his past behind and become the head of his family? Give up women until all his sisters are married off. That’s working out for him all right, until he’s walking along and beautiful woman sticks her head out the window and asks him how much he’d give for her. He turns away, but he can’t completely. The gentleman in him, the romantic that’s buried calls out for the hackney and takes this virgin home.

Try as she did to tell him, Charlotte is no virgin. She just has the terrible guidance of her fooled heart to have married an ass and then have him die on her, leaving her destitute while her funds are tied up in courts. With no money and bill collectors after her, she resorts to putting herself on the market, only to be mistaken for a virgin and humiliated by Hawskford as he tried to school her on proper behavior.

Throw in a school made for teaching men to please and women, lots of sibling rivalry and wicked ancestors on both the hero and heroine’s tree lines and what we’ve got our hands on is a whole lot of fun wrapped up in one sexy red book cover.

I was unsure about Alexander at first. He was introduced in Mistress of Pleasure and while he was likeable, I wasn’t sure I’d find him as hero material. He quickly showed me the error of my ways. He’s charming ladyofpleasurewithout being annoying. Smart without being bothersome. In charge, but not overtaking the story. Charlotte is fascinating in that she’s at her ends, but strong. She knows her mind, but isn’t overly proud. Spunky without being spunky. This is not a girl who wrings her wrists and worries over what could have happened—she knows thinking if only is only a waste of time.    

This was such an enjoyable read and oh—LOOK! What is that over there on my desk? Could it be…why yes, yes it is a copy of the out-of-print and sold-out, can-only-find-it used Mistress of Pleasure. Drop me a comment and somebody is taking this baby home.

Alexander does a lot of things through Lord of Pleasure to nab Charlotte’s attention. What lengths have you gone through before to get noticed? Or, I supposed, if you’re too ashamed to admit it, you can just tell me you want the darn book!

Review: My Favorite Phantom by Karen Kelley

myfavoritephantomI am very picky about choosing favorite authors, but this one really grabbed my attention.  I love Karen Kelley’s writing style.  She adds much humor to her stories as well as mysterious encounters with ghosts.  The characters in both of her books,  My Favorite Phantom and Double Dating with the Dead are both enemies in the beginning.   There are many secrets to be revealed in each book about the ghosts, the hero, and the heroine.  She pulls you into the story, teasing you with the hidden secrets and the question of whether or not the hero and the heroine will resolve their differences.  That’s what I love about her books, and the ghost just makes it that much more interesting.

My Favorite Phantom begins with Kaci Melton going to exterminate a history professor’s ghost he has in his old Victorian home.  Her father is the ghost exterminator, but while he is running away from a madman he owes money, Kaci is the only one to do the job.    She doesn’t expect the young professor, Peyton Cache, to be as stunningly handsome and charming as he is.  He also suspects she isn’t the right one for the job since she is so afraid of noises and the dark. 

The ghost seems cruel as he carries panties from one end of the house to the other, and sprays ectoplasm on people when they make him mad.  Kaci does a little research on the house.  She tries not to get sexually involved with Peyton and tries not to let him discover why she takes the job instead of her father.  It is difficult when the madman, who is after her father, runs into her and Peyton while they go out to spend quality time together. 

If Peyton discovers the reason she took the job, it could only mean danger to all three of them.  The ghost makes more frequent hauntings, and it gets more difficult for Kaci to zap him.  Peyton gets frustrated with Kaci while it takes her so long to get rid of the ghost.  He needs to have the ghost out of there by a certain time or his reputation will be ruined.  The ghost wants her to join him in death, and that is out of the question.  The ghost puts her life in more danger, and she and Peyton are discovering that their love is very strong for each other. 

Has  you ever been in danger?  What experience have you had that makes your life flash before your eyes?  I have been in a terrible car wreck where I have thought that was it.  What about you?

Joanne Rock is Always Ready

alwayscover_307x486Did you know “Aways Ready” is the motto for the US Coast Guard? Well, three time Rita Award nominee Joanne Rock found out when she penned her latest release for Harlequin Blaze one of the books being given away later in June for our “Two for One” theme month.

So when it came time for choosing a theme for a week in June, I immediately thought about June containing the sign for Gemini – you know, the twins. So then I thought about my career (or pursuit thereof) and thought about how I write in two different genres. So that led to “Double the Fun” (cue the Doublemint commercial song) When I thought about choosing a “must have book”, one person popped into my mind – Joanne Rock.  Because I know her. She’s terrific. And she’s pubbed in two different genres.

So, of course, that means TWO different books.

First  up for me to reveiw – that steamy, blazey book that’s just perfect for the beginning of a searing summer.

Always Ready was the perfect choice because the heroine is (gasp) a twin. Lacey Sutherland, the owner of an online matchmaking service, has serious issue with her loss of hits on her site – seems her twin sister has stolen her business with her own matchmaking service. The two sisters set up a month long contest to see who gets the most hits. The difference between their sites – Lacey relys on complex formulas to predict compatibility for long term relationships; her sister just pairs people up for a good time.

Thinking that she’s finally got a winner of a program when her service matches her up with a 96% compatibility rating, Lacey uses her sister’s free airline miles to travel to meet this Mr. Right. It lands her in sensual Puerto Rico and in the arms of a happy-handed jerk who won’t take “no” for an answer.

Enter the undeniably sexy knight in shining armor – Damon Craig. He’s had Lacey’s “perfect match” under surveillance for months – the man’s a known drug runner. He rescues Lacey, but loses himself in her killer smile and body. He can’t resist her, and she does a pretty bad job of resisting herself. Damon knows no computer program could predict the passion that ignites when he and Lacey are together.

Lacey and Craig sear the sheets as they outwit the drug runner who becomes obssessed with possessing Lacey. Their adventure takes them to some pretty interesting places like sex clubs (Joanne did visit Puerto Rico for research purposes. Hmmm….I wonder 🙂 ) and deals with some serious issues like date rape drugs.

That’s all I’m going to give you…you’ve got to pick up a copy if you want to know if Lacey is brave enough to chuck her notions of compatibility out the window and go for passion with the hot Coast Guard lieutenant. And if you like this one, your summer won’t be complete without her newest Blaze coming out in July (seriously, check her site for the cover – it’s way hot!)

And stay tuned for the next review, where I’ll switch genres and review one of her medieval romances (I can hardly wait). Plus, Joanne will be guest blogging about her dual career later this month. Can’t wait to have her drop by and chat. Check her out at  www.JoanneRock.com

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