Friday, March 24, 2017

Book Signing This Sunday

Six Gainesville, Florida area romance authors are gathering for an afternoon of fun, prizes, light bites, and, of course, books. There will even be a cash bar! Join us at Fresco Pizza and Pasta in the Haile Village Center from 2-4 p.m. and stock up on your summer beach reading.

I'll be there with signed, award-winning historical romances, and I'd love to meet more readers. The weather forecast says "awesome", and it's a great opportunity to have some springtime fun. You can even take care of your Mother's Day shopping!

Review--Jewish Stories of Love and Marriage: Folktales, Legends, and Letters

Jewish Stories of Love and Marriage: Folktales, Legends, and LettersJewish Stories of Love and Marriage: Folktales, Legends, and Letters by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A delightful treat (it would make a perfect Tu B'Av gift [http://bit.ly/2bCQSNe]) about love and marriage, highlighted by letters between lovers, and lovely people sharing tales of their courtships. It starts, of course, with the first couple matched by G-d, Adam and Eve, and follows Jewish tales of love and marriage down through the Bible, the Rabbinic Period, folktales and more up to modern times. There are stories from the Shoah and stories from Israel, stories of rabbis who marry one another, and stories of soldiers who don't come home. The book is inclusive, with stories of love that cross gender lines.

The People of the Book are also the People of Romance, sometimes with a little nudge from a friend, a mother, or even with heavenly intervention. After all, when Rabbi Yosi was asked what God has been doing since the six days of Creation, the answer was, "Matching couples."


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Review--Courting Carrie in Wonderland

Courting Carrie in WonderlandCourting Carrie in Wonderland by Carla Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Authors always hear "Write what you know" (Disclaimer--I have never been a pirate...but the day's not yet over.) and Carla Kelly is an excellent example of this dictum. I enjoy her Regency era stories, but I really like her tales set in the American West. They have a feeling of authenticity that too few authors can bring to their work, and her background with the U.S. Park Service comes through.

In Courting Carrie in Wonderland we get a history of the beginnings of Yellowstone Park, the crown jewel of the park service. We also get an absolutely charming love story, about a girl with too few opportunities striving to make something of herself, and an Army Noncom dealing with PTSD and, well, Army life. These two loners find each other at "Wonderland", an early name for the camping areas where city slickers could get a taste of the great outdoors in the summer.

Ms. Kelly is an autobuy for me, but I'm always happiest when it's one of her Western tales, and I hope to see more in the future.


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Monday, March 20, 2017

Review--Hot Head (Head #1)

Hot Head (Head #1)Hot Head by Damon Suede
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew! It suddenly got hotter and steamier on my Kindle! This M/M romance will have you falling for firefighters all over again, as two BFFs navigate their way into a much deeper and burning commitment.

Beautiful and touching, and it shows how family is sometimes what you create, not just where you're born.


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Review--Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied Hospital

Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied HospitalBellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied Hospital by David M. Oshinsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was fabulous, and is really a history of three centuries of American medicine. I couldn't put it down, and as a non-New Yorker it was a revelation to learn of all that city has done over time to ensure that it's poorest people had access to quality health care. There's a lesson for all of us regarding the need to have health care available to underserved populations. It was far from perfect, but at times it was glorious.


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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Review--Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3)

Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3)Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When you're matching two people as different as Gabriel and Pandora you have to bring your "A" game, and to my great pleasure, Ms. Kleypas does just that. I admit, I was skeptical at first because I was with Pandora--everything she said about why she and Gabriel would be a disastrous marriage had me nodding my head in agreement. It takes a true master of the craft to make it work, to have us believe that the (male) catch of the season would fall for a klutz who makes convincing arguments for spinsterhood.

It's also a delight to see the older characters from the earlier books return, though really, no one got out of shape or had a receding hairline over the last 30 years? Ah well, that's why it's fiction, and why we keep closing the books on a happy sigh.


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Thursday, March 02, 2017

Review--Hold Me (Cyclone Book 2)

Hold Me (Cyclone Book 2)Hold Me by Courtney Milan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the sheer, unabashed geekery of this couple and their story. They're not mismatched because one's a nerd and one's "normal", they're inhabiting a world of STEM and academia where they're comfortable dealing with Deep Thoughts on a minute-to-minute basis.

I also loved how the gender fluidity of the couple wasn't the main story, but part of the story. Jay being bi and Maria doesn't define every minute of their day--their conflicts were much more connected to Jay's sexist behavior and Maria's professional choices.

Ms. Milan is a star in the world of historical romance, but it's clear she's equally adroit when it comes to truly contemporary romance. I highly recommend the Cyclone series and can't wait for the next installment.


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Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Lodgers

I like to put my two hanging ferns outside when it's going to rain. They're normally on my screen porch, and a good bath and soaking perks them up.

This fern was only out for about 28 hours, but when I went to bring it back today I found it occupied. Apparently a pair of house wrens saw it as a cozy fixer-upper and built a nest in it. So instead of putting it back on the porch, I put it on a hook outside. Sure enough, I saw some birds checking it out a few minutes later.

The fern/nest is hanging on the hook where I keep my basket of mint, now temporarily relocated to the porch. I figure the birds need it right now more than I do. More on this as it develops.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Review--The Star in the Meadow (The Spanish Brand Book 4)

The Star in the Meadow (The Spanish Brand Book 4)The Star in the Meadow by Carla Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This feels like it could be the finale of the Spanish Brand series, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's been a long journey with Marco and Paloma in Spanish New Mexico, but a satisfying one. Both protagonists have grown into their new lives and the responsibilities they bear, but eventually all stories come to a conclusion.

Since Marco and Paloma's love story was handled in the first novel we have a secondary love story in this book, between a woman who's been beaten down by life and a man whom no one expected to become a responsible adult. As always with Kelly's books, her protagonists are ordinary people who show what could be extraordinary courage and grace under pressure.

I think that's what I enjoy most about these stories. Some find them too goody-goody, I find them full of characters we'd like to know. If we're fortunate as we go through life, we meet good people, people whose word is their bond, people you can count on when the chips are down. Those are Kelly's characters.

I recommend the Spanish Brand series for romance and historical readers who like out of the ordinary settings, heart-warming stories about good people doing the right thing, and a HEA you can believe in.


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Thursday, February 16, 2017

“By my life, Morgan, that is a toothsome woman!”
Morgan could only stare. He’d never seen a person who looked so much like dessert. She reminded him of every cream cake he’d ever craved as a ragged urchin on the wrong side of the bakery glass. He leaned close and sniffed. Almonds. She even smelled like cakes. He reached down for the quilt and pulled it up, covering her. When he turned his head, his friend was staring at him, completely serious for a change.
“This is trouble, Captain.”
He ran his fingers through his beard and looked down at the lady. Idly, he wondered what color her eyes were. He picked up one of the golden curls fallen to the pillow and without thinking about his actions, slipped it into his pocket.
“There is trouble, Mr. Lopez, and there is trouble. We shall see how much trouble our guest is when she awakens.”

--Captain Sinister's Lady

It's #NationalAlmondDay, and I'm celebrating! I have almond cookies, and a handful of almonds for my dessert, and when I fly to Boston I'll have individual packs of almonds in my carry-on because they're a great pick-me-up when I'm flying.

I love almonds so much I wrote them into Captain Sinister's Lady. If you'd like to know more about my hero Morgan's love of all things almond, check out the EPIC award winning ebook, available again from the usual vendors.