Cool Beans: A Maya Davis Novel by Erynn Mangum

Hello Romantics!

Do you know that sometimes it gets a little hard to write this blog? Why is that you may ask? Because there are times when I can’t decide which book I want to review over another!  Sometimes I can’t even make a decision until the day the review is due.

So today I decided to flip a coin (metaphorically speaking) and this novel was the winner!

This week’s pick is dedicated to my younger romantics. Pre-teens and teenagers.

For those of you who don’t know I work with kids in a couple of age ranges.  One of my favorites is a group of girls I have a monthly bible study with that are in middle and high school.

I love reading so much that I like to suggest good reads to them and see how they like them.  This particular book is one I would definitely suggest to them.

Cool Beans: A Maya Davis Novel, is the first book in a trilogy.  Maya Davis is a barista at a local coffee shop and has a roommate/best friend that has just started dating a wonderful new guy.  The kicker is that the new wonderful guy happens to be Maya’s first major boyfriend whom she thought she was going to marry a few years ago!

Maya is stuck in a quandary.  She is happy for her friend and she knows that Travis isn’t the one for her but she still is a little jealous and upset about the whole situation.

Of course, I’m sure you are wondering how does Travis not know what is going on during most of this book.  The sad part is he doesn’t even realize that the roommate of his girlfriend is his former girlfriend until almost halfway through the book.  It seems Maya used to dye her hair blond while they were dating and she now wears her hair her natural brunette color.  

But wait a minute this is a blog dedicated to romance stories! What is so romantic about this story line? Hmm…I guess I forgot to mention another important character by the name of Jack, Maya’s other best friend and co-worker.  

Now I’m gonna tell you if you are looking for a big sweeping romantic story this is not the book for you.  This story is more about Maya’s relationship with God and whether or not she will learn to trust Him with every aspect of her life.


So will Maya be able to keep to keep her friendship with her roommate, Jenny? Will she get over her jealousy? Will Jack be able to open Maya’s eyes as to how much he really loves her?

Hah!!! You know I’m not gonna tell you! You’ll have to read and see for yourself!

Cool Beans: A Maya Davis Novel by Erynn Mangum


Re-readability Rating:

2 out of 5 stars

While I liked the book, I actually have only read it once maybe twice since I got it last year. I just finished the second in the series and prefer re-reading it more.

Romance Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

This book isn’t a typical romance book. There isn’t any kissing scenes or anything like that. It’s a sweet story about a young lady figuring out her relationship with God and how she goes through life.  I think she is a good role model for any young lady.


A Hero’s Homecoming by Carlene Havel

Hello Romantics!

Today I have the honor of interviewing another freshly published author by the name of Carlene Havel. A while back Ms. Havel asked me to read her book A Hero’s Homecoming.  Well brilliant person that I am I “misplaced” her book in my library and unfortunately didn’t find it until early Monday morning of this week. (SMH)  I quickly opened the book and read it in one sitting!!!  

So after apologizing profusely in an email, I talked her into letting me interview her for today’s post.

So with all that being said, please welcome to the blog Ms. Carlene Havel!


Hi Carlene!  Thanks for joining us today. Since there are probably some newcomers to the blog and to your work, would you please tell us a little about yourself and how long have you been writing?

Hello Shineka, and everyone. Thank you for inviting me to be interviewed! I grew up in Texas and married a military officer.  It seems I was always packing or unpacking my household for the next few years, but the payoff was a chance to live in a great variety of interesting places. After settling down—back in Texas, of course—I worked in human resources for a while, and finally ended up designing and testing HR computer applications. I had no interest in writing until 2005, when I became a believer in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world.  Along with everything else that changed, I developed a passion for writing.

 Is A Hero’s Homecoming your first published book? And do you have any others that we should be on the look out for?

A Hero’s Homecoming was my debut novel.  “Daughter of the King”, which I wrote with co-author Sharon Faucheux is the love story of King David and Princess Michal, and was published in December 2012.  My next contemporary romance, “Here Today Gone Tomorrow” is scheduled to be released in September.

 What was your inspiration for this story? 

 I wanted to create a deep volume of theology, but knew I didn’t have the knowledge or skill.  So instead, I decided to write about a spiritual journey to demonstrate a remarkable effect.  The redemption story in A Hero’s Homecoming is intertwined with the hero’s falling in love with a believer.  Charlotte appears to be unattainable, but Rich Martino is a man who can’t resist a challenge.  Drawing on my long association with the military, I created the situation and the main characters.  Then Rich and Charlotte took over and told the story for me!

Who was your favorite character in this story and why?

I’m going to call this a tie between Jerry McClain and Lottie Browne.  Lottie captured my heart by making me laugh. Jerry? Because he tries, but fails, to disguise his teddy-bear heart with a crusty exterior.

I love that Homecoming has a salvation message in it.  Was there any other messages/plot points that you wanted your readers to take away from the book?

Busted!  You’re exactly right – I really wanted to tell the story of Rich’s spiritual transformation.  In addition, I wanted to affirm there’s hope of true romance, even for those of us who aren’t young, model-thin, and magazine-cover beautiful.

So I’m an army brat (and proud of it!) and I love that your hero in the book is a retiring Army Colonel. Do you have military members in your family? Have you had a chance to travel and where all have you been?

My husband spent his military career in the US Air Force.  Each time we settled into a new place to live, I would start looking for a job.  I’ve worked as a civilian for the Army, Air Force, and the Department of Defense Headquarters.

So I have to ask at least one personality question.  When you were a little girl what did you want to be when you grew up and why?

I desperately wanted to be a grownup; however, I never had any career aspirations.  I was endlessly jealous of women who were old enough to drive, vote, wear makeup and choose their own clothes.  This shallow short-sightedness may account for the wide variety of jobs I’ve held! Software tester, compensation manager, and banana biller, just to name a few.

Carlene, It’s been great talking to you today.  Before you leave us, Is there any words of advice or wisdom you’d like to give to any aspiring writers?

Aspiring authors, never give up!  Pursue your dreams relentlessly.

Thank you again, Shineka.  It’s been such a pleasure talking with you.


A Hero’s Welcome is the story of Rich Martino and Charlotte Phillips.

Colonel Richard Martino has just retired from the military and has been through an endless amount of plane delays, trying to make it home to San Antonio from the Philippines only to find that his house been sold, his wife has disappeared with all of his money, and his father is in the hospital in a coma. Oh and the greatest fact of all that he has been mistakenly declared dead!

Charlotte Phillips, is a psychologist who had been counseling Dick Martino (Richard’s father), and because of their friendship has been made the executor/guardian for his funds in case he becomes incapacitated.

Sparks fly when these two meet! First is anger then something more.

Will Richard be able to find real love in this world? Will Charlotte be able to let down her guard and let someone new into her heart?

Hmm…I guess you’ll have to read the book to find the answers to these questions and so many more!

A Hero’s Homecoming by Carlene Havel

Re-readability Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

I read this in one sitting and have been back a few times to read certain parts.

Romance Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Love the banter between Charlotte and Rich and I would so love to be kissed like he kissed her at the end!

Kissing Adrien by Siri L. Mitchell

Hello Romantics!

I hope you all have had a good week!

I’m back again with a very sweet read called Kissing Adrien.

This is actually from one of my early reads collection. I had forgotten it was on my kindle until I scrolled through my library (which holds over 2,000 books, cookbooks, and short stories by the way.) and came across this little jewel.

Kissing Adrien is the story of  Claire Le Noyer and Adrien Delaportes. Claire is a half French half American girl who majored in Accounting instead History, lives in Seattle instead of Paris, and has a Pastor boyfriend who treats her like a pet dog rather than a beautiful desirable woman.

As Claire is on her way to help take care of her dadin Florida, her parents receive word that they have inherited some property from an unknown relative in Paris, France.  Since her father is recovering from a serious back injury they send Claire in his place to claim the inheritance.

Adrien is a childhood friend whom Claire has had a crush on for years. He’s highly intelligent, highly opinionated, and in Claire’s mind perfectly perfect. He picks Claire up at the airport and serves as her guide, chauffeur, and very willing helper throughout the story.

Also involved in this book is the mystery of the deceased relative. Who was she? What was her life like? The answer may shock you.

I think my personal favorite scene in the book is when Adrien throws away Claire’s clothes. Yes Romantics, you heard me right. Adrien didn’t like Claire’s clothes, which consisted of mostly polos, t-shirts, jeans, and shorts. So while Claire was in the bathroom one morning he threw away her clothes (underwear included), borrowed a dress, and (after she finally calmed down) took her shopping for a new wardrobe.

Another thing I liked about this story is that it brought into the forefront many religious attitudes about drinking, politics, and a few other topics.

While there isn’t a lot of physical displays of affection in this book Ms. Mitchell really knows how to do a huge build up to the kiss at the end!

So who was the mysterious relative? Will Claire break free of her boring life? Only reading the book will answer those questions!


Kissing Adrien by Siri Mitchell

Re-readability Rating:
3 out 5 stars
I have re-read parts a few times. I like the overall story and love to read some of Claire’s naivete.

Romance Rating:
3 out of 5 stars
The kiss at the end is so worth it!