I’m Reading Historical Romance by Mary Balogh

My reading genres are pretty particular these days. I have authors I trust, and I’m open to trying new books if someone I trust gives me a recommendation.

However, some of my favorites from my pre-author life have lingered. Although I don’t write historical romance (yet), I still love a well-written historical. And one of my old reliables is the incomparable Mary Balogh.

I think I began reading Mary’s “Slightly” series, and then devoured as many of her books as possible. Over the last few years, I’ve loved her Survivor series particularly, so once I finished a deadline book a few weeks ago, when I realized I’d missed a Survivor release last fall, I was delighted to gobble it up!

Only A Kiss was actually the book I’d been waiting to read, since it was about the one sole female in the Survivors’ Club, a group of men (and one woman!) who experienced devastating physical and/or emotional trauma during the Napoleonic wars. The Duke of Stanbrook, who had lost first his son and then his wife thanks to the war, opened his home to this group, and they formed a tight-knit community of support over the years.

These books are not your typical historical romance. Because they deal with subject matter that is completely relevant to our times, there is always a twist, something that goes beyond the simple romantic pursuit of man meets woman.

After finishing that book, I was perusing some of Mary’s books that I might have missed, and I came upon the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. These books are in re-release, but I was very impressed with the first one, Indiscreet. I was happily surprised that it was a much longer book, and yet the storyline was as compelling and endearing as her more recent books. I’m eager to read the next three in that series.

Sexy Sweet Deals!



It’s winter. Bah and humbug.

But wait . . . even if it’s snowing where you are, even if it’s 21 degrees where you are . . . I have good news in the form of FOURTEEN sexy and sweet contemporary romances that will heat you right up!

And each of these books is either 99 cents or F R E E–and what’s better than that?


Spring Fling
by Stacey Joy Netzel


Trevor refuses to ever open his heart again, but a week of uncomplicated fun with beautiful bridesmaid Tessa who is as opposed to love as he is? That’s an arrangement he can work with. Unfortunately, no-strings fun is never that simple when someone breaks the rules and falls in love.

Best Served Cold by Tawdra Kandle


When Liam humiliated Julia in front of all their friends, her heart wasn’t bruised—but her pride was. Revenge is in order. But standing in the way of getting him back is Jesse, a grad student with curly brown hair and dimples. Julia has to choose between payback and love.

Whiskey and Gumdrops by Jean Oram


One woman. One hunky best friend who wants a lot more. When Mandy Mattson she sees an ex-lover marry her rival she realizes her life is adding up to a big fat nothing. It’s time to make changes, but will her most important one include fanning the sparks of desire that flare up between her and her best friend?

Club Secrets by Layla Wilcox


In his first moments at home between college and starting med school, David Hauser learns his parents run an X-rated dating site and Andrea, his beautiful blond neighbor and the object of his teenage fantasies, frequents a local sex club formally run by his family. What he doesn’t know is that this new knowledge will have a greater impact on his future than all his years of schooling.

Temptation by K.M. Scott


Meet Cassian, Stefan, and Kane, three sexy brothers who own Club X, and come live out your fantasies with the wealthy billionaire Cassian, the sexy player Stefan, and the dark ruler of the fantasy section of the club, Kane.


Locked & Loaded- Ricochet part 1 by Heather C. Leigh


Rick “Ricochet” Brennan skips from woman to woman after a disaterous mission as a special ops Marine. Quinn Wallace gathers the courage to leave her abusive husband, fleeing to Atlanta. They meet when Quinn becomes the receptionist at Sanctum MMA, a gym that hides a serect behind it’s walls. This is part one of a three part series.

Honeymoon for One by Chris Keniston


To escape local gossip, jilted bride Michelle Bradford embarks on her honeymoon cruise—alone. Coaxed by a thrill-seeking hunk she never expects to see again, she slowly sheds her good girl persona to have some well-deserved fun. But unlike Vegas, what happens on the high seas doesn’t always stay there.

Made To Be His by Allison Gatta


Logan Grant needs to make good. After accidentally ruining his best friend’s career, he tries to make up for what he’s done in the only way this prideful family will accept. The only trouble? He never accounted for how he’d be affected by his best friend’s suddenly sexy sister…

Whipped by Sabrina York


Fun and flirty contemporary romance featuring a hunky, stubborn military hero with a MAN CODE that is written in stone, and the woman who aims to bring him to his knees!

Mountain Charm by Sydney Logan


When she was thirteen, Angelina cast an Appalachian love spell. Since then, her magical faith has been shaken to its core. As her 21st birthday approaches, she refuses to practice her supernatural gifts and no longer believes in the love charm. That is, until Dylan arrives on her front porch. Can he prove his love is real–spell or no spell?

Almost in Love by Kylie Gilmore


A humorous friends to lovers romance! Successful entrepreneur Barry Furnukle wants to take things to the next level with the pink-haired neighbor he adores. But when the world’s most “awesome” date (birding and fro-yo) lands him in the friend zone, it’s time to unleash his inner stud!

Trusting the One by Rochelle French


Lia Sawyer is ready to move beyond her painful past and resume dating, but there’s one problem: she’s still afraid of men. Her solution? Ask her best friend Jack Gibson to teach her how to enjoy a man’s touch. But accepting the challenge means Jack could break his own heart…

Hometown Heroes by PJ Fiala


10 Fan-Favorite Novels Featuring the Heroes You Love Best — the Sexy Men Who Live Next Door! Hot firefighters, military men, contractors, doctors, single dads, and even athletes…all right here, right now for only 99 cents!!

Step by Step: Forbidden Love Trilogy by Gillian Cherry


Being a curvy big girl was the biggest problem Jolene had before her mom got married and moved them halfway across the country. Now she has a mean stepsister and two handsome identical twin brothers, who are making her life far more complicated than she’d ever thought possible.


Sweet Sexy Deals Cover graphic





I’m Reading The All-Girl Filling Station Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

When I first began writing (seriously), I had a tradition of rewarding myself after each book I finished. The dangling carrot could be anything from a diamond ring (my very first book!) to a new handbag or a pair of shoes.

It’s telling that nowadays, my reward is permission to read a book I’ve been saving just for this occasion. Time for reading is much more precious than anything material, and reconnecting with my favorite authors is a special treat.

For this last book (I just finished writing ALWAYS MY OWN, coming January 26th–and yes, it was down to the wire. Long story, but it’s done), I sort of cheated. Christmas fell smack in the middle of writing this book, and under the tree I had a gift I don’t often see anymore: a real book. As in, a physical, hardback book with pages that really turn. My oldest daughter and I have a love affair with Fannie Flagg’s books, and she’d discovered one we hadn’t read.

So with this beautiful book tempting me, I just might have sneaked some reading time when I was in situations that precluded having my computer open to write. And as always, I fell in love with Fannie’s characters, her world and her unique and heart-rending view of family and history.

One of Fannie’s specialities is taking a family situation, tossing a quirky character into the midst of it and then giving the reader insight that goes beyond the knowledge of the main characters. We saw it in Fried Green Tomatoes, during one of my favorite parts of that book, when Evelyn, in the middle of her search for self-knowledge and direction, goes to an African-American church and ends up talking to a friendly church member. Evelyn doesn’t know it–but we the readers find out that the woman to whom she speaks is the daughter of one of the characters in the long and colorful story Evelyn’s new friend Cleo has been sharing.

In All Girl Filling Station, the main character is Sookie, a wife and mother of four in her late fifties. Sookie has just finished marrying off her three daughters (one of them twice to the same man). She’s exhausted and ready to dive into the next phase of her life. Complicating this transition is her mother, Lenore, who lives next door. Lenore is the kind of woman my grandmothers would have labeled a Handful. She’s demanding, attention-seeking and controlling, but she’s also the sort of woman outsiders find quirky and amusing, even when her own family doesn’t necessarily see the appeal.

Sookie is a wonderful daughter, much more patient that I would be. But everything in her life is turned upside down when she receives a letter from Texas that throws into question her past, her history and her understand of self.

Sookie’s long and complicated adjustment to this new information is juxtaposed with flashes from the past, giving us more insight and detail into what led up to the situation affecting Sookie.

All Girl Filling Station tackles a number of complicated themes: the fathomless and multi-layered relationship between mothers and daughters, the dichotomy of self knowledge vs. the world’s perception, family, the evolving role and understand of women in the twentieth century and the love between sisters. I was especially fascinated by the detailed history of the WASPs, an often-forgotten chapter in our nation’s history during World War II.

And as always, Fannie’s fabulous writing had me laughing aloud–and crying. Full-disclosure: I cried hard and ugly tears for about the last 30 pages of the book.

The story also made me think about my own relationship with my late mother. Like Lenore and Sookie, we had both our charming similarities and our extreme differences. I struggled for many years with the idea that because I was not like my mother in some ways, I was a disappointment to her. I made choices in my life specifically to win her approval, at times, and I dealt with the repercussions of the decisions of which she is disapproved. In the end, though, like Sookie and Lenore, I know that my mother loved me to the best of her ability, given her own history and struggles.

Laughter, tears and deep personal insight: what more could I ask from a book?

I’m Reading the Remember When Trilogy by T. Torrest

I have a habit I’m sure others can understand: sometimes I download a book, start to read it, and for whatever reason . . . I’m not feeling it. Maybe I’m not in the right mood. Maybe I’ve just finished a book that really slayed me, leaving me unable to be open to a new love.

Who knows?

But it happens. And apparently it happened earlier this summer, when I downloaded a book called Remember When. I know I started the book, but for some reason, I didn’t get very far. I’m thinking maybe Sarina or Kristen or Elle had a release about that time and I jumped into that.

Anyway, this week as I trolled the ‘Zon for something new to read, I found a book that intrigued me. It’s called Down The Shore, and of course that pulled me in, since I’m a Jersey girl myself and know exactly what that phrase means. True, this love story was about North Jersey, which any respectable Jersey girl knows is a totally different beast than South. But still. It was also about rock n’ roll and the early ’90s and cover bands, so I decided to give it a shot.

I LOVED this book. The main character pulled me in, her love interest was sweet and hot and wonderful, and the juxtaposition of the friendships was also very cool. Great storyline, wonderful, familiar setting . . . all in all, a wonderful read that I was happy to recommend to my friends.

About halfway into the book, I realized that its author T. Torrest was also the author of the Remember When books. 51OKFbC+kcL._UY250_And since I already had that first one downloaded, I decided to give it another shot.

I’m so glad I did. And I’m pretty sure T. Torrest is trying to kill me.

Just this morning, I finished the second book. The third one is downloaded and ready to go, but today I’m on the road, heading home from a family trip north. So no reading today . . . and then I’m under deadline . . . but still. Odds are I’ll be losing sleep to finish this trilogy.

And no pressure to the author, but this book better bring my two characters together . . . I’m dying here!

This trilogy follows Layla Warren and Trip Wilmington from his first day at her NJ high school during their senior year. The first book is all about the ups and downs of that senior year, how their friendship evolves and then crashes and burns when Layla’s certain Trip can never feel the same way she does. They manage to get it back together, but be warned: this book doesn’t end with a HEA. Not even a HFN. But that’s okay, because there’s book 2 . . .

. . . in which our leads have aged ten years. Are they together? Will they be together? Yes and it’s unclear. Because book 2 ALSO ends on a down note.

But I have faith. And I’m sure the author won’t let me down. Right?

I’ll be sure to let you know.

Find all of T. Torrest’s books here.

I’m reading . . . Wicked Restless by Ginger Scott

Usually when I post reads to this day on the blog, I’ve finished the book and can tell you how I felt about it overall. Today’s different. I’ve been short on good reads lately, so today really IS What I’m Reading #Wednesday.

I’ve been waiting for this book since I finished the first one, Wild Reckless. I loved that one, even though it was mostly YA, a genre I rarely read; the depth and the plot line overcame any misgivings I might have had.

Now I’m about a third of the way into the second book, and I’m not disappointed. We’re back in Woodstock, a small town near Chicago, and we’re back with the Harper family. This time, younger brother Andrew is the main character. He’s a kid who’s the unlucky recipient of his family’s legacy: the Harpers are the subject of rumors, speculation and bad opinion after the family’s suffered in the aftermath of mental illness.

This story picks up about a year after the first one, but then we jump ahead five years. I’m not going to spoil the plot by talking about why we make the leap; suffice it to say that it works.

I’m eager to read the rest of it and see what happens with Andrew and Emma, his love interest. She’s got a secret we don’t know, and while I can guess at it–maybe?–I’m not sure.

So far, the characters are likable, the story is moving along well, and I’m enjoying it. I’ll come back and update once I’m finished.