Dreaming of Roses Series by Martha Rowe Sconnely

dreaming of roses

Hello my beautiful Romantics!

I hope you enjoyed last weeks interview with Danyelle Ferguson. There is still time to enter the rafflecopter contest that ends Wednesday, April 23rd!

So…I have a slightly different romantic find for you this week.  Normally, if there is a series I like I just review the first book to get you started.  This time around I have to review the whole series because this one doesn’t contain stand alone books.  Dreaming of Roses by Martha Rowe Sconnely is a three book serial where you need to read them in order to understand what’s happening in the story.

In the first story, Almost Perfect, We meet Kelli Patterson and her best friend Brenna.  Brenna is trying to talk Kelli into joining a new christian dating website.  Kelli has had her fill of online dating, (A feeling with which I can totally sympathize!) and tells her NO!

However, she will help Brenna post a profile for herself. While heading back to work Kelli is stuck riding down in a packed elevator by her secret work crush Chase Allen, a super hot IT guru, who so makes Kelli want to rethink her no dating co-workers rule.

Unfortunately, nothing happens on the ride down and Kelli goes back to work daydreaming about what could have happened.  A few days later, Kelli meets Steven Ross who happens to be the only son of her pastor. (How fortuitous!) I’ll save you some guessing. Yes, Steven asks her out and they date for a while but things don’t go exactly to a story book ending for these two.

In book two, Hardly Perfect, Kelli is in Florida due to her Grandmother being ill and needing help at her flower shop while she gets a hip replacement.  While there, a friend of her grandmother talks her into meeting her grandson, Todd, for a date.

Let’s just say a match made in heaven he is not, but he is a funny, quirky person and they part on friendly terms after their coffee date.

(Here comes the plot twist!)

Due to some short staff issues, Kelli ends going in last-minute to help with decorating a wedding.  She has pinned on all the boutonnieres for the groomsmen of the wedding party and has one left. When she asks the groom who it could possibly belongs to, he replies that it possibly should go to the bride’s brother who is giving her away. At that very moment who should enter but the bride, her maids and her brother, Chase Allen! (Be still my beating heart!!!!)

Chase is just as shocked to see Kelli as she is to see him. He also seems more than happy to see her at his sister’s wedding.

In the last book of the serial, More than Perfect, Chase and Kelli end up in a whirlwind courtship. Everything is going along nicely until Chase gets a job offer that will put him in California! They’ve only been dating about a month and Chase doesn’t want a long distance relationship so he asks Kelli to give him a little time to figure things out. (This happens about 2 weeks before Valentines Day! How UN-romantic!!!!)

Kelli agrees to give him some time and space. All the while she is praying that she doesn’t end up with another broken heart.

So…Will Kelli and Chase end up together after all? Did Brenna meet someone wonderful from the dating website?

You’ll have to read the series to find out!!!!

 

Dreaming of Roses: Box Set

Re-Readability Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

Overall this is a nice series. I could see coming back to it every once in a while but there are books I would probably go to before I go this one. Some of the storytelling is a tad repetitive but the story is still sweet and refreshing

Romance Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

Lots of sweet kisses and embraces between Kelli and her perspective beaus. I will say the ending did go exactly as I thought it would but it was enough to make this romantic sigh at the end.

Once Upon A Prince by Rachel Hauck

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Hello My Dear Romantics!

So back at work at my day job and back to work telling you about some of my fabulous finds!

So you already know I love Cinderella (Don’t groan I’m not doing another Cinderella remake book.) But I’m also a closet royal watcher.

(Gasp! What’s this you say!?!)

Yes, it’s true I have a slight fascination with royalty. I actually woke up around 5 am in the morning to watch Will and Kate get married. (Which is saying something. I don’t like getting up early for anything)

I also saw the famous double kiss on the balcony. The whole wedding took my breath away.

Now I’m sure you’re asking, “Why is she telling me all this?”

Because this week’s pick is about royalty!

Once Upon A Prince by Rachel Hauck

What girl doesn’t dream of the day when her long time (12 yrs long) boyfriend calls her out to the beach to talk to her? She’s expecting to finally be asked the question every single girl waits to hear. “Will you marry me?”

Unfortunately, for Susana Truitt she gets, “I found the right ring, but not the right girl.”

That’s right after 12 years of waiting for her Marine Captain boyfriend, Adam Peters, comes home from his last tour of duty to tell her that he doesn’t love her and can’t marry her.

Isn’t that a lovely way to end your day?

After that awful conversation Susana goes for a drive around her home town of St. Simons Island, GA to think and process her life choices. She drives to her favorite spot the Lovers Oak on Prince Avenue and ends up with a flat tire.

There on the island for a vacation/official visit is the Crowned Prince of Briton (fictitious country) at the cusp of taking on the throne from his ill and dying father. Nathaniel is about to become king during a time of great upheaval in his country and he’s not sure if he is up to the task. So he goes for a drive to find a fair damsel in distress trying to ward off a vagrant and change her flat tire.

Nathaniel of course stops and pays off the man to leave her alone and then proceeds to help her with her tire. because e doesn’t want her to know he is royalty just yet he introduces himself as Nate Kenneth.

For Nate though meeting  Susanna is love at first sight! (I know only in fairy tales and books but it just makes me want to sigh anyway)

Susanna leaves and has some curiosity about the foreign stranger but is sure she will never see him again. Then to her surprise she literally runs into him again a few days later at a huge hospital benefit/fundraiser, While trying to find her boss so that she can get him to take her to the hospital to see her father who has just had a heart attack.

I can’t tell you anymore because I will have told you the whole book right here! What fun would that be?

Will Nate ever tell Susanna who he really is? Will Susanna fall in love with Nathaniel? Will Nathaniel be able to make the right choices for his country during its time of political upheaval?

You’ll have to read the book to find out!!!!!

Once Upon a Prince (Royal Wedding Series)

Re-readability Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

I read this so many times over my vacation I couldn’t put it down!

Romance Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Very cute dialog between the characters and the kiss at the end was so worth waiting for!

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Fixed in the Tempest by Charmain Brackett

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Happy early Thanksgiving my Dear Romantics!!!

I believe that everyday we should stop and count all of our blessings big and small! However on Thanksgiving Day as we are gathering around the table with friends and family I hope we are doubly reminded of just how wonderful our lives truly are.

Today, I have the honor of reviewing/introducing to you a new release from my friend, Charmain Brackett. The name of her newest masterpiece is called Fixed in the Tempest. You may have seen some of her other work in the Dystopian genre, a 3 book series called the Key of Elyon. This book is her first foray into Contemporary Literature.

Fixed in the Tempest is different from most of my picks in that this story highlights a couple who is already married.

Lisa and Tom have had over 20 years of what Lisa thinks is a blissful marriage. Lisa has been primarily a stay at home mom while working for the local newspaper on a part-time basis. Tom has been a wonderful provider, loving husband, and great father to their two children.  But not all is well in their little world.

As the story opens Lisa and Tom are taking their youngest to college. Lisa is now facing an empty nest and her job at the newspaper has come to an end. Tom seems to be spending more and more time at the office and she isn’t sure what to think anymore.

A few months before taking Lisa to college Tom was in a terrible accident with a teenage driver.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything he could do to help save the driver, a young girl about the same age as their daughter, Brittany. To deal with the pain and stress Tom turns to alcohol. Which opens up some very painful memories.

Instead of talking to Lisa and trying to get some help for himself, Tom ends up having an affair with a younger woman.

Will Lisa be able to forgive Tom for his infidelity? Will Tom be able to get his life back together? Can Lisa get back in touch with her first love?

You’ll have to read the book to find out!!!

Fixed in the Tempest releases November 30th at the Book Tavern located in downtown Augusta, GA for any local fans and the e-book version will be live December 1st!

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Make sure to follow Charmain on Facebook @ Author Page, on her blog @Charmain’s Blog, and on Twitter @CZBrackett

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Re-readability Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

Will put on my short list of books I like to read several times over.

Romance Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

Some nice kiss scenes. A great story of redemption.

An Interview with Rachael Anderson

Hello My Dear Romantics!!
So, today I’m relaunching my blog and I wanted to start off by interviewing a lovely author by the name of Rachael Anderson.
I read her book The Reluctant Bachelorette about a month ago and fell in love with the story! This book is Romantic Comedy at its best.  I had to go to Ms. Anderson’s web page as soon as I finished it to tell her how much I enjoyed her work.
I was so blessed to have her answer me and agree to an interview.  So without further ado (I’ve always liked that phrase), Welcome to the blog Ms. Rachael Anderson!
Hello Rachael!  Welcome to Cause Everyone Needs Romance.  For my romantics who aren’t familiar with you and your work please tell us a little about yourself.
Hey Shineka! Let me start with saying that I completely agree that everyone needs romance. Your blog name fits me to a T. I grew up loving to read, but I found that the more I read, the more picky I became. I liked fun, fast-paced stories. I liked snappy dialogue. I liked it when authors kept it clean (no language or sex scenes). I liked books that left me feeling good. And I found that happy endings were a MUST. Since those kind of titles are few and far between, I decided to start writing them myself. Fast forward a decade or so, and here I am–an author of fast-paced, upbeat romances with snappy dialogue and a whole lot of good, clean chemistry. 🙂
Who are your literary hero’s?
Hmm . . . that’s a tough one. I have read so many books that I’ve enjoyed and learned something from. Among my favorites are Jane Austin (shocker, I know :)), C.S. Lewis (the most brilliant writer ever!), Shannon Hale (the only way to describe her writing is lovely), and Janette Rallison (because she writes clean, fun, and upbeat romances–my fav.)
I don’t think I’ve ever asked an author this but what made you make the decision to write primarily clean romances?
What can I say? I love clean stories. I always have. I think there was a reason Christ taught using parables, and it’s because stories are powerful–they have the ability to motivate, teach, and influence. They have the power to lift people up or drag them down; the power to put good thoughts and feelings in a reader’s mind or negative thoughts and feelings.That’s a huge responsibility for a story-teller to realize, and one I don’t take lightly. Yes, I write to entertain. But I also write to uplift, inspire, and hopefully make this world a better place one story at a time. Because I feel so strongly about that, I keep my books clean and hopefully uplifting.
Now for your wonderful book, The Reluctant Bachelorette, Where did the idea for this story come from?
It started off with me reading about a smaller-scale online version of The Bachelorette/Bachelor TV series. I went to the website and spent an afternoon perusing past dates and came away thinking it would be fun to write about something like that. But there were a few things I wanted to change in my story: #1 – I didn’t want a willing bachelorette, and #2 – I didn’t want it to go the way of the real show, where it appears like the bachelor/bachelorette ends up sleeping with the final 3 dates–hate that! So I came up with my own version.
I’ve read books with a bachelor/bachelorette contest storyline before. What do you think makes your book standout from all the rest?
I’m not exactly sure, since I haven’t read too many myself, but I definitely wanted to make The Reluctant Bachelorette different from the TV version of the show. To do that, I turned the contest into a charitable fundraiser, threw in an unwilling bachelorette (and 1 unwilling bachelor), made it a public vote rather than the bachelorette’s decision, and wallah–a fresh spin on what’s becoming an old story in this world of reality TV.
Who would you say is your favorite character in this book and why?
Honestly, I love Jessa–which is funny because a lot of reviewers thought she was a horrible friend. But I loved her spunk, her love and loyalty of a town she ended up in by accident, and the way she always said what she thought and did what she wanted. She was a really fun character to write. Someday I’m going to get around to writing a sequel about Jessa’s life post Shelter’s Bachelorette, if only to show readers that she does have a softer side. 🙂
Of all the bachelors that were in your story who would you like to date and why?
Am I allowed to answer this since I’m happily married? 🙂 How about I tell you a little secret instead. The bachelor named Greg was actually based on a real person–one of my husband’s best friends. Just like the Greg in the book, my husband’s friend loves yard sales, is always looking for a good deal, wears wrinkled shirts (at least he did before he got married and his wife made him stop), and has a bizarre love of all things Neil Diamond. He’s been trying to get me to write him in as the hero of a book for years, and so I finally gave him a spot as one of the bachelors. The funny part is that when he and his wife read my book, she said, “Any chance I can trade you in for Luke?” 🙂 LOL
Personality question time!  When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
A secretary. Why? Because my dad’s company used to throw this amazing carnival every year that I ADORED. Since I didn’t think girls could be engineers (because the only engineer I knew was my dad), I decided to be a secretary instead. That way, I could always go to the carnivals every year.
Yes, I was that smart. 🙂
By the time I was ready to graduate HS, I changed my mind and ended up going into business instead. But I guess there wasn’t enough romance for me in the business world because now I’m a writer. And a mom. And I love it. 🙂
Rachael, I want to thank you so much for coming out and joining us today. Before you go, do you have any advice for any aspiring writers?
Thanks for having me, Shineka! As far as advice goes, I say if you love writing, learn all you can, write the best you can, and go for it! There’s nowhere to go but up!
Taycee is living in a farm community that is slowly dying and her wonderful friend Jessa is in charge of trying to create revenue to save the community.  Jessa’s idea, start an online Bachelorette contest where viewers pay to vote for the lucky Bachelors.  The problem is who should be the Bachelorette?
Why Taycee of course?  Only Taycee doesn’t know she’s been chosen until it’s too late to back out!!!
Then if matters couldn’t be any worse Taycee’s childhood crush Luke has moved back to town and is now one of the bachelors!
What’s a girl to do?  Will Taycee meet the man of her dreams? Or has she already met him?
You’ll have to read the book to find out!

The Reluctant Bachelorette (A Romantic Comedy)

Make sure you visit Ms. Anderson’s website
Re-readability Rating:
Definite 5 star rating
I’ve already gone back a re-read several parts over at least 4 times since reading it the first time.
Romance Rating:
5 Stars
It’s a Bachelorette contest so there are some nice kiss scenes but everything is extremely clean.
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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!

Five Days in Skye: A Novel by Carla Laureano

Hello Romantics!

I’m back with the next awesome read.

But, before I gush about this beautiful read, I want to wish a happy 15th birthday to my baby brother David! Happy Birthday my not so little brother!!!  Love you and I hope you enjoy your day!

Now back to the review (clearing throat): I found this little jewel while trolling through Amazon again.  At the time it was being offered for free and I couldn’t resist the fact that the hero of the book was not only a chef but also a man from Scotland. (I’ve always been a sucker for a man with an accent. Even if he is fictional.)

Five Days in Skye, is the story of Andrea Sullivan and Scottish celebrity chef James MacDonald.

Andrea is a hotel hospitality consultant. She has just “blown” a deal with her latest client by giving him a black eye for coming onto her and not taking no for an answer.  As punishment her boss sends her to Scotland to consult and land a contract with known womanizer Chef James MacDonald.  Andrea is not especially excited but what more can she do? Her job is possibly on the line and its only for a few days.

James is a rumored playboy, or is he?  Sure he’s been seen with lots of women but is there more to his story?

The story opens with Andrea having a glass of wine in one of James’s restaurants in London. She wants to do some research on his tastes before she creates her proposal. Enter James who comes over and instantly starts flirting with her.  Of course in true literary fashion Andrea has no clue that the man hitting on her is her next client and she abuses her new potential client right to his face. (SMH)

This introduction sets them up for an interesting dynamic for the rest of their time together.

Will Andrea be able to look pass the facade James has constructed and see the real him.  Will James be able to break through Andrea’s defenses and capture her heart?

You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano

Re-Readability Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

Oh yeah it’s that good!  I’ve already re-read several sections a few times.

Romance Rating:

3 out of 5 Stars

Great kissing scenes. Loved how they met.  Love the redemption story that was interspersed throughout the book.

Make sure to read the contest winners page to see who won last weeks prize.