Fair Catch by Cindy Roland Anderson

Hello Romantics!

I know I’m a day late this week! However, I promise this book was definitely worth the wait!!!

Fair Catch by Cindy Roland Anderson is a contemporary romance telling the story of Ellie Garrett and Nick Coulter America’s most eligible bachelor and newly retired football player superstar.

Ellie is a single mother who’s cheating ex-husband left her right after she gave birth to their son, Cade. Four years later she definitely has issues trusting men and doesn’t think she is good enough to keep a man around anyway.  Her match making neighbor, Betsy, of course has other plans for her. Especially, when she finds out the identity of their new mysterious neighbor!

Nick had become jaded by his life in the public eye but after an accident took the life of his best friend, Nick realizes just how precious life is and decides to make some personal changes. One of which, is re-dedicating his life to God and making sure that his “star-power” is used to help under privileged kids.

To accomplish these things, Nick decides to move to Colorado and start his non-profit youth camps. Not to long after moving into his new neighborhood he meets his new beautiful blonde neighbor on the nearby running track.

After a lot of persistence, Nick finally persuades the very skittish Ellie to go out with him.  Everything is going along very nicely for the pair when Ellie’s ex-husband, Thomas, pops into the picture trying to make Ellie’s life miserable.  (Why the dude should be jealous is beyond me? I mean he left her, not the other way around! Some men are just crazy.)

Just as Ellie and Nick have decided to overcome the obstacles Thomas tries to throw their way, tragedy strikes! Cade is kidnapped and Thomas blames Nick’s stardom for endangering his son.

Who stole Cade? Will Nick and Ellie ever see him again? Will Thomas always be a thorn in their sides?

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

Fair Catch

Re-readability Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Easy read great for a lazy day or ignore your responsibilities day 😉

Romance Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Great banter, lovely kissing scenes, suspense, drama, and angst. A tiny bit repetitive towards the beginning but still a fun and delightful read. Very likable characters (except Thomas of course!)

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Love Unfeigned by Nadine Keels

Love Unfeigned

Hello Dear Romantics!

So I have two things to tell you about this week. One is a fabulous novella that I will get to in just a minute the other is an announcement!

Next week yours truly will be a blog tour for a newly released clean romance by Danyelle Ferguson called Sweet Confections.  There will be an interview and a giveaway by Ms. Ferguson and it promises to be tons of fun. So make sure to tune in next week.

Now for this weeks exceptionally great find.  In actuality this novella found me. (Love it when great reads come to me. Makes life a little easier.)

Love Unfeigned by Nadine Keels is the story of Lorraine and James and follows them through their growing up years of second / third grade to high school. Their ups and downs and what seems like the disintegration of their relationship.

When the story opens up the two of them are adults and have a chance meeting where James saves Lorraine from almost getting hit by a car as she is about to cross the street. (How galant!)

From there the story takes us into how the two first met back in grade school. Lorraine was a second grade wiz kid when it came to wall ball.  The kids in her grade weren’t enough of a challenge for her so she decided to take on older kids.

So one day during recess she and her best friend Sara go over to the Third graders to find some fresh challengers.  She runs into her older brother Earl and his best friend James. Lorraine is instantly attracted to James because of his braces and from then on in her mind he is known to her as “Braces Boy”.

As the two grow up it is obvious that James is attracted to Lorraine, aka “Itty-Bitty”, and all of a sudden their little world comes to a crashing halt when James’s parents get a divorce and he is no longer able to spend as much time with Earl and Lorraine.

There is a plot twist though that I never saw coming and I’m not gonna ruin it by telling you but I will say that it explains a lot of Lorraine’s reactions after they reunite as adults.

Will Lorraine and James be able to get over their differences?  Will James be lost to Lorraine forever?  What is that plot twist?

Ha! I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out!

Love Unfeigned

Re-readability Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

I can definitely see re-reading this again. It’s an easy read and a very beautiful and poignant story.

Romance Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Only two or three kissing scenes. Nothing that is really toe curling but so much emotion behind the story and you can feel what these two characters feel for each other.

Courting the Clearwaters (Boys of Summer book 1) by Jill Penrod

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Hello My Dear Romantics!

I hope you all are having a beautiful Wednesday!

This weeks read is a Young Adult/Coming of Age story that I enjoyed quite a bit.

Courting the Clearwaters is the story of Shawn is young man in college who has recently become saved and is on his way to his first College Retreat. On the way to the hotel he asks his new friend Seth about a girl in the College and Career age group that has interested him. A Ms. Jenny Clearwater to be exact.

That’s when Seth clues him in on the fact that Jenny and her parents don’t believe in dating but in courtship. For those who don’t understand what courtship entails I’ll give you a rough idea of it.

Basically courtship is almost like dating with a purpose. A young man goes to his parents and asks for guidance and prayer if there is a certain young lady he is interested in then once he gets the ok from his parents then he approaches the the girls parents and asks for permission to get to know their daughter and see if they are suited to possibly getting married in the future. Once he has her parents permission that’s when he and the girl are allowed to get to know each other.

After learning what courting means Shawn is pretty sure he doesn’t fit the bill and decides that he won’t try to pursue a dating relationship with Jenny.

Jenny is definitely attracted to Shawn and they start a great friendship but she knows that Shawn is trying to become a stronger Christian and doesn’t want to court her at this time.

Will Shawn be able to overcome his insecurities and ask to court Jenny? Will Mr. Clearwater allow Shawn to court his daughter? Will Shawn be able to get rid of the anger and issues of his past?

Read the book and find out!


Courting the Clearwaters (Boys of Summer)

Re-readability Rating:

2 out of 5 stars
While I liked the book, I probably won’t come back to read it too often.

Romance Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
This is not a conventional romance. There is one small kiss on the cheek. The real love story, in a way is how Shawn grows in his love for God as well as in his love for Jenny

Not His Type by Lisa Crane

Hello Romantics!

I missed posting last week!

I have no excuse I just ran out of time and before I realized it Wednesday had come and gone.

This week though I’m back with a delightful read by Lisa Crane called Not His Type.

Brooke Valentine is a young woman working two jobs and going to school trying to get her business degree.  She’s had some hard times between her grandfather’s long illness, a father who took off after she was born and a mother who is a stripper for a living and wasn’t around much during her growing up, she has become a remarkably strong woman.

Travis Cooper has just bought a parcel of land from Brooke and is building a house next to hers. Due to some negligence on the part of some of his construction crew, Brooke has a terrible, near fatal accident in front of his home. Travis comes to her rescue and rushes Brooke to the hospital.

While waiting to find out her condition, Travis learns more about his quiet little neighbor. Like the fact that her first name is Bunny and that her mother is demanding money from her.

Feeling responsible for Brooke’s accident and the loss of one of her jobs Travis decides to pay for Brooke’s expenses and help her out as much of possible.  Of course, Brooke is so used to doing things on her own she fights him almost every step of the way.

Things get interesting, however, when out of the blue Travis kisses Brooke one night when she is helping him with his books for his security business! (That kiss was amazing!!!!!!)

The biggest problem though is that Travis insists that Brooke isn’t his type. He’s always dated the long-legged, professional, fashionably dressed type of woman. This petite, spunky brunette couldn’t possibly be the woman for him…or is she?

Will Travis see Brooke as the woman of his dreams? Will Brooke ever see herself as the beautiful woman she is? Sounds like you’ll have to read the book to find out!

 

Not His Type (Opposites Attract, Book 1) (An Opposites Attract Romance)

Re-Readability Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

This story has definitely made it onto my list of books that I enjoy reading again and again.

Romance Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Great Kiss scenes. Loved the end!!!! The epilogue was quite lovely as well.

The Random Acts of Cupid by Amanda Tru

Happy Valentines Day Romantics!

I know, I know. I usually post on Wednesdays but I have a few good reasons for posting today instead of two days ago.

Reason 1) Weather!!!!  During Tuesday and Wednesday I was in the middle of an ice storm and lost power.

Reason 2) Today’s Valentine’s Day why not post on one of the most romantic days of the year!

So for this week’s offering I bring to you The Random Acts of Cupid by Amanda Tru

In this sweet novella we meet Elise as a high school student trying desperately to find her friend Chandra before she embarrasses herself thanking her high school crush Damon for sending flowers that he didn’t send.

You see in there little group for each others birthday they play a practical joke on each other.  For Chandra’s joke, Elise sent some flowers and signed Damon’s name. How was Elise supposed to know that she wasn’t going to figure it out?

After racing through the hallways looking for Chandra, Elise finds her behind a tree kissing Damon!

Fast forward 10 years and we find Elise being bothered by her friend Britney to fix her up with Ryan Jenkins. Over the years, Elise has been secretly fixing up people around the college she works at and a story of a Cupid has hit the newspapers.  Only two people know the identity of this Mysterious Cupid is in actuality is Elise.

Elise tells her she will think about it but she doesn’t believe they will be a great match.

The next day, Elise is confronted by Ryan when he finds out that flowers were sent to Britney and someone has signed his name! After tracking down the florist and finding out that the flowers were ordered on Elise’s account, Ryan tells her that he knows she is Cupid and that he is going to expose her to the newspapers!

To try to keep that from happening Elise convinces him to give her 24 hours to prove that she isn’t trying to play with people’s lives and that in her own way she is just trying to help these people find love.

Will Elise be able to convince Ryan not to out her?  Will Elise find love for herself? Did Elise really send the flowers to Britney? 😉

You’ll have to find out for yourself!

The Random Acts of Cupid (Christian Romance)

Re-Readability Rating:

4 out of 5 Hearts

Such a cute and lovely read that I can’t help but read it again and again!

Romance Rating:

5 out of 5 Hearts

Oh man I’ve got to meet a man like…Oh wait I’ll give up the ending if I say who!?! But I will say he’s quite a kisser!

…And the winners are!

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Hello Dear Romantics!

Normally, I post winners on a separate page from the reviews but I didn’t have a review ready for this week so I’m using this week’s post for the grand reveal.

Can you feel the excitement in the room? Well, after my very scientific method of picking 2 winners, putting names in a bowl and having someone draw the names for me, the winners are…wait for it….

Kristy K. James

And 

Luthien 84!!!!!

Congrats Ladies!!!!!

Mary Jane will be contacting you soon about delivering your prize(s).

I’ll see y’all next week with another great review!

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Emma, Mr Knightley, and Chili Slaw Dogs: An interview with Mary Jane Hathaway

Hello My Dear Romantics!

So as I mentioned last week I am interviewing the fabulous Mary Jane Hathaway writer of the Austen Takes the South series.

You may have seen my previous review of the first book in the series Pride, Prejudice, Cheese Grits, well since that review Ms. Hathaway has been fortunate enough to have her series picked up and republished by Simon and Schuster Publishing House!

So in honor of her re-launch for the series I’d like to welcome to the blog Mary Jane Hathaway!

Hi Mary Jane! I’m so excited to have you join us today. For my readers who are just getting to know you please tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a writer.

Mary Jane Hathaway is the pen name of an award-nominated writer who spends the majority of her literary energy on subjects un-related to Jane Austen. A homeschooling mother of six young children who rarely wear shoes, she’s madly in love with a man who has never read Pride and Prejudice. She holds degrees in Religious Studies and Theoretical Linguistics, and has a Jane Austen quote on the back of her van. She can be reached on facebook at ‘Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits’ or her regular author page of Virginia Carmichael (which is another pen name, because she’s just that cool).

Who, other than Austen herself, are your literary heroes and how did they contribute to your literary career?

I love classic literature! I grew up in a house packed to the brim with old books and my heart still beats wildly for Elizabeth Gaskell, Louisa May Alcott, The Brontes, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and many more.  In modern literature I love Franny Billingsley, Laura Whitcomb, Shannon Hale, Rick Riordan, Cassandra Clare, Alan Bradley, anyone with a truly distinct voice and story to tell. I guess they remind me to search for my own words, and although we want to imitate our heroes, we also know that our voice is a God-given unique gift. There is only one of you and only one of me. We’re meant to speak our own story. 

I know you write under a few pen names what are they and what is the story behind them?

At the time of my first contract, someone (can’t exactly remember who now) told me that Munoz was too difficult to remember. So I went with my maiden name for my books with Love Inspired/ Harlequin. Then as I wanted to self publish my Austen books but was afraid that people would be confused when I switched to longer, stand alone novels, I chose Mary Jane Hathaway. Mary is my legal first name. Jane should be obvious!! And Hathaway is my mother’s side of the family. So, both of my pen names honor both sides of my family (and Miss Austen).

What was your inspiration for this series?

I read Bridget Jones’ Diary and laughed myself silly. But I couldn’t share that series with most of my friends because of the immorality and the language. It started me thinking of a sweet version of Bridget Jones’ Diary (which was really a new take on P&P). I needed the perfect setting because so much of the story relies on family obligations and expectations. I also needed a place with a very rich dialogue and long-standing customs. What better place than the South? I live in Oregon and we pretty much sound like every newscaster you’ve ever heard. We also eat normal food, nothing out of the ordinary. We also have very little history (our big claim to fame is living on the Oregon Trail). So, it was a blast to dive into the rich heritage and history of the South to set the stage for a P&P retelling!

So I have to be honest I’ve read almost every book Austen ever wrote and Emma was one of my least favorites however your spin on the story actually raised my opinion of the Emma character.  What about this character spoke to you and made you want to take on her story?

I love Emma because she always thinks she has the perfect plan. I’m the same way! I always think I can (refurbish that vintage desk, paint the house, bake a soufflé, write a novel). Most of the time, it’s a major fail and someone has to come in and fix my mess. With Emma, she has a good heart, truly. And that is her saving grace. In my book “Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs”, Caroline comes up with plans that she believes will help everyone around her. As her plans don’t work out, she has to face the fact that her idea of what people need isn’t always the reality.

Was there any part of this story that you had trouble writing about and why?

I was attracted to the story of Emma because she’s such a fun character, but the love story was hard to write. We’re all used to the ‘cute meet’ and instant attraction and characters finally admitting their love for each other. But this story has the hero and heroine in love, without really understanding the depths of their feelings. I had to find ways to plant that idea in the readers’ mind, without bringing the characters together too soon.

In the end, I loved writing it because it taught me how to subtly describe two people in love, but in such gentle ways that the characters themselves could be caught off guard my the realization.

I know there were some added scenes between your original release and the relaunch of Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili Slaw Dogs.  Without giving too much away can you tell us what they are and how they add to the story?

I can absolutely tell you what sort of scenes were added. My wonderful editor, Beth Adams, asked if I could expand a little on the reasons behind Frank’s deception, Lauren’s reasons for assisting him, and Caroline’s job issues in the end. She also wanted a little bit more time between the moment that Caroline and Brooks first kiss (and misunderstand each other so thoroughly) and the actual proposal. The plot line of Lexi Martinez was central to the story, but it didn’t get much page time, so that was another place I got to fill in details. In the new version, Caroline goes to Lexi’s home and talks to her dad at the gas station. This is a pivotal scene, because she realizes how arrogant she was to assume she knew what was best for Lexi. Just like Emma assuming that she could tell Miss Harriett Smith that she should refuse Robert Martin just because he’s a farmer, Caroline meant well, but was very wrong. I also tried to give a little more satisfaction to the villain, since that was something  readers mentioned. In the original Emma, Frank and Jane Fairfax get to ride off into the sunset happily married, I tried to leave the “villains” of my books un-chastised. But what works for Miss Austen doesn’t always work for us! I needed to give them some comeuppance.

What’s the next Austen book you are going to take on in this series and can we get a little taste of the new story?

Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cracklin’ Cornbread is the next book. It’s about an African-American woman from a wealthy, very traditional family. She falls in love with a white boy  from the wrong side of the tracks who has an unmarried single drop out for a mom and an absent father. Her aunt convinces her to dump him before she leaves for Harvard, saying he had no future.

  The story begins as Jeremiah “Jem” Chevy (our hero) comes back into Tupelo, Mississippi on a program from his medical school called the Rural Physician’s Program. (We have it here in Oregon, too. A qualifying medical student can erase their school debt by serving in a rural area for a certain number of years.) His heart has healed, or so he thinks, and he isn’t too worried about running into the beautiful girl who broke his heart ten years before.

Our heroine, Lucy Crawford,  is now on the verge of losing her home, Crawford House, because her father has reversed mortgaged it to the max, and her two sisters are living off his credit cards. She’s trying her hardest to keep the family together, but her job as a historian at a Civil War battlefield isn’t going to save the house. Their family history is rich and they have the respect of the entire community, but they’re in massive debt. In the ten years since Jem left, her life has only gotten sadder and more solitary. She was wrong to break up with him, but by the time she realized her mistake, he was gone forever.

    These broken-hearted people might never cross paths, if the board of the Free Clinic didn’t manage to work out a deal with her father, and now Jem and Lucy are thrown together on a daily basis.
  A story of love lost, love found, and second chances set in the beauty of the deep South. There’s laughter, hope, and lots of Jane Austen!

So, I like to ask a personality question just for fun.  I know you’re happily married but, if you could meet and marry any Austen hero who would it be and why?

Mr. Knightley!!! He brought Emma a book, and he was always in his library reading. I think we’d make a great pair and raise lots of lovely little bookworm children! 😀

Mary Jane, it’s been great talking to you about your re-launch. Before you go, do you have any advice for our aspiring writers out there?

Write the book you want to read. I’d heard that before, but never quite understood it, until I laughed my way through Bridget Jones’ Diary. I just kept thinking, “This is great, but I sure wish…” So, I decided to stop wishing and start writing.

Thank you so much for having me over here!

Caroline Ashley is a journalist on the rise at The Washington Post until the sudden death of her father brings her back to Thorny Hollow to care for her mentally fragile mother and their aging antebellum home. The only respite from the eternal rotation of bridge club meetings and garden parties is her longtime friend, Brooks Elliott. A professor of journalism, Brooks is the voice of sanity and reason in the land of pink lemonade and triple layer coconut cakes. But when she meets a fascinating, charismatic young man on the cusp of a brand new industry, she ignores Brooks’s misgivings and throws herself into the project.

Brooks struggles to reconcile his parents’ very bitter marriage with his father’s devastating grief at the recent loss of his wife. Caroline is the only bright spot in the emotional wreckage of his family life. She’s a friend and he’s perfectly happy to keep her safely in that category. Marriage isn’t for men like Brooks and they both know it… until a handsome newcomer wins her heart. Brooks discovers Caroline is much more than a friend, and always has been, but is it too late to win her back?

Featuring a colorful cast of southern belles, Civil War re-enactors, and good Christian women with spunk to spare, Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs brings the modern American South to light in a way only a contemporary Jane Austen could have imagined.

Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs

Re-Readability Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

This book has made it to my list of books I love to wander back around to when I need a good read to pass the time of day.

Romance Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Love the kiss scene! Great banter and dialog but I will say the lack of communication did get on my nerves just a tiny bit.  We human beings can be so silly sometimes.

Mary Jane Hathaway is also giving away some awesome Prizes!!!!

Leave a comment telling us your favorite Austen character and why for a chance to win a free e-book copy of Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili Slaw Dogs or a pair of Jane Austen inspired earrings from Etsy.com! You have until Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 11:59pm EST

Book EARRINGS Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen quote vintage Typewriter

You can also keep up with Mary Jane on Facebook: Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits Fan PageVirginia Carmichael Author Page

Twitter: Mary Jane’s Twitter

and her blog: Virginia Carmichael @ Blog Spot