A DELICIOUS DILEMMA by Sera Taíno – Featured New Release

A Delicious Dilemma

A DELICIOUS DILEMMA

Sera Taíno

 

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ADD Book CoverDifferent worlds collide in Sera Taino’s debut novel.

It’s hard to remain enemies when you’ve broken bread together

Val Navarro’s first mistake: going out dancing after a bad breakup when the chef should be focused on her family business. Her second mistake? Thinking the handsome, sensitive stranger she meets could be more than a rebound – until she discovers he’s Philip Wagner of Wagner Developments. His father’s company could shut down her Puerto Rican restaurant and unravel her tight-knit neighborhood. When Philip takes over negotiations, Val wants to believe he has good intentions. But is following her heart a recipe for disaster?

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

 

Purchase at your favorite retailer here: https://serataino.com/a-delicious-dilemma/

 


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Sera Taino

Debut romance author Sera Taíno was selected for Harlequin’s Romance Includes You Mentorship, an initiative launched in 2019 to reach out to diverse communities of writers and bring more own voices stories to romance readers. For more information on this initiative, click here.

She is also the author of several short contemporary romances, including her latest, “Oil and Vinegar,” part of A More Perfect Union: A Voting-Themed Romance Benefit Anthology. All proceeds benefit Fair Fight, a national voting rights organization based in Georgia.

Her debut, #ownvoices novel, A Delicious Dilemma, is out now with Harlequin Romance Special Edition.

When she is not writing, she can usually be found teaching, traveling, or wrangling her family.

Sign up for Sera’s newsletter here, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, or BookBub to stay up to date.


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A Delicious Dilemma is a triumphant debut for Sera Taíno. It’s a sumptuous celebration of food, culture, family, friendship, and love. I devoured this tasty offering in one sitting, its themes so familiar and dear to me.

I find myself relating closely with Val. The eldest of three, close to her dad, loves dancing and cooking, and takes the responsibility for her family’s well-being upon her shoulders. She’s a truly admirable heroine.

Sera’s writing of Philip was impressive as well. I loved the way he handled his inadvertent deception. I cheered his coming into his own against his father. His gentle wooing of Val put a smile on my face. 

I loved that the romance was sweet and slow-burn. The tension in the story was just enough that Val and Philip still had to work for their happy ending. Their conflict was authentic but not too heavy drama and was resolved in a satisfactory manner.

Overall, a start that’s more than promising. It already shows Sera Taíno’s immense talent. I want more stories from her. Soon, please. 

 

4 Four-half-stars

 


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A couple of my favorite recipes from the Sabor de Casa cookbook are Roasted Pork and flan as I featured here. Check them out for yourself. 

BABY, IT’S HOT OUTSIDE, A Contemporary Romance Collection from The New Romance Café – Happy Book Birthday!

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BABY, IT’S HOT OUTSIDE

A Contemporary Romance Collection from The New Romance Café


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It’s getting HOT in here …

This multicultural charity anthology has something for everyone: enemies to lovers, swoon-worthy athletes, vacation romance, insta love, fake relationships – take your pick or read them all!

All proceeds go to Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

This summer read is available for a limited time only, don’t miss it!

BUY LINKS:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B096THQTVW
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B096THQTVW

Available in KU

INDIVIDUAL STORY BLURBS

Ignite – Kenna Shaw Reed

She. Hit. Me.

My first day in town and my ute is wrecked. I’m here to play football, not play fireman. Rylee’s sexy, sassy and knows her way around cars. But I’m not looking for the perfect woman— even if she crashed into me.

He’s not my type.

I’m done with footballers. I’m done with sexy AF men who can have any woman they want. I’m done. Except, Ethan is more than a footballer. He’s more than his billion-watt smile. But if he’s not ready to be part of our town, then we have nothing to ignite.

***

Say You’re Mine – Charlotte O’Shay

Skylar: I’m not the type of woman who kisses strangers in bars. But if you met this guy—the one with a shiner on his sculpted cheekbone and a New York City sized chip on his massive shoulders, if you looked into his turbulent eyes—you’d understand. He figures I’ll tumble into his bed—because I kissed him without knowing his name. But one stolen kiss is all I’ll take because this bad boy will never be satisfied with a woman like me.

Finn: Actions speak louder than words and I’ve learned to let my fists do my talking. Schoolyard bullies who ridiculed my stutter only made that mistake once. These days women want my tatted-up fighter’s body more than romantic words I can never give them. But when a sleek uptown woman comes on to me in a bar, everything changes. Now I have to find the words to make her mine.

When serendipity brings them together, will they have the courage to say yes to forever?

***

Segments From A Secret Summer – A. Perveen

Meet-cute with a namesake stranger was the last thing on Tamanna Shaikh’s mind when she’d reluctantly boarded the plane to get to her ex-husband’s cousin’s destination wedding. Her mother was cross with her, the last two books hadn’t sold well, and inspiration was playing hard-to-get. Could spending time with her intriguing co-passenger raise the temperature enough to help unfreeze that cold, colossal bitch? Ah, well, no harm in trying…

As a successful, exclusive event planner, Armaan Jatoi loved weddings. Good thing his clients didn’t know he hated marriage. Having witnessed the train wrecks on steroids that counts as marital bliss for most people, a lasting relationship was the farthest thing he wished for. But casual flirtation with a gorgeous namesake wedding guest? Count him in. Only, the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to turn away…

She spins dreams from truths. He dresses up lies for a living. Can love be born in a place that was dismantled before they met? No place like a desi summer wedding to find out.

***

Summer Vacation Blitz – Jackie Paxson

Ellie Franklin is a devoted elementary school teacher. Her whole life revolves around her school year and her garden. On the last day of school, her best friend offers her a free two-week trip to Fiji.  At first, she’s reluctant but when she glimpses what her future could be she jumps on the opportunity. What could possibly happen on a two week vacation?

Lucas Stallworth is a star football player and a hopeless romantic.  In one swoop, his heart and dreams of his own happily ever after are shattered. To break Lucas out of his stupor, his best friend arranges a vacation/training excursion to Fiji. A reluctant Lucas drags himself to the sunny beaches.

When Ellie and Lucas have an unconventional meeting, the sparks fly along with some choice words. Can two people really fall in love in two weeks or will reality crush their romance before it’s really begun?

***

The Way You Drive Me Crazy – Olivia Hardin

Can a simple drive lead to something as crazy as love?

Lacey isn’t adventurous.  She’s not a wild child and crazy isn’t what she does. She’s certainly not the kind of girl who gets into a car with a total stranger to go off on a wild goose chase. But losing her dad changed things and she’s been on a mission. So, if hitching a ride with a cute mechanic from Simoneaux Bayou is needed to track down the last mysterious piece of her genealogy… well, a girl’s gotta do at least one crazy thing in her life, right?

Luke is just a grease-under-the-nails diesel mechanic.  A mechanic who just happens to be the favorite nephew of one Betty Ruth… as in Betty Ruth’s Country Store.  In his aunt’s eyes, he can fix just about anything, so it’s not that unusual for him to get a call about “pretty little girl” who’s car is broken down out at Simoneaux Bayou. But this girl is all woman and its hard to keep his eyes off of her long enough to get a good look at her busted transmission.  And when Aunt Betty tells him he has to drive the girl to Lafayette… well, he’s not gonna argue over getting to spend a few hours alone with the best looking girl a mechanic like him has ever seen, is he?

***

Challenging Helen – Susanne Ash

Sparks fly when an disorganized wedding planner has to rely on the help of a new competitor with a hidden agenda.

Event planner Helen Williams’s day goes from bad to worse when the venue for the biggest wedding of the year falls through. Ethan Shaw is the new competition, but to her surprise, he comes to her rescue. But there’s a catch: they have to work together. Which wouldn’t be a problem, if she didn’t feel so attracted to him.

Ethan Shaw lost a big promotion to nepotism and he’s out for revenge. He needs Helen’s help to get close to one of her clients. A client who can help him get a foot in the door back home and show his old boss that he’s made a big mistake. The problem? He likes Helen and using her for his own gains is becoming harder by the day.

How will Helen react when she discovers Ethan’s secret agenda? Is the deception something they can overcome to find their happily ever after?

***

Queen of Hearts – L.D. Wosar

Radio talk show lonely hearts advisor, Darinda Levian, tells her callers to open themselves to love.  However, her track record with men is anything but romantic; it’s an epic fail.

Jeffery Halohan, confirmed bachelor, thinks Darinda’s lonely heart spot on the radio is fluff.  They have a friendly competition on the radio station. His failing financial advice show versus her matters of the heart. They make a deal to engage in a fake relationship for one month to help boost his ratings.

Is this agreement business as usual or will love blossom at the end of the month?


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PARTICIPATING AUTHORS

Kenna Shaw Reed

Kenna lives in the land down under with most of her books set in Sydney or the south coast of Australia. She writes from experience of past loves and lovers. Of broken hearts and redemption. Of women who get the man (or men) they deserve. Kenna lives with her darling hubby, two children and two dogs who love her, and a cat that refuses to acknowledge she exists.

Facebook | Instagram | Website

***

Charlotte O’Shay

The only thing award winning author Charlotte O’Shay loves more than reading steamy romance where happily ever after always wins is writing them. Charlotte lives with her IRL hero, Mac, in the West Soho section of Manhattan where walks along the Hudson Riverfront serve up fresh story ideas every day. Charlotte loves to talk all things romance at:

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook  | Bookbub

***

A. Perveen

A. Perveen is a South Asian introvert who daydreams about love-myths, monsters, and magic during her day job and binge-watches period dramas at night. When she’s not writing romance, she’s either having imaginary conversations with fictional characters over chai or chatting up the stray cats in her backyard. She spends most of her life reading steamy books, humming off-key old Bollywood songs, and sighing over gardening blogs because she loves plants and has a knack for killing them.

You can follow her at:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/A-Perveen/e/B08R44J192
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/20234394.A_Perveen
FB: www.facebook.com/A.PerveenAuthor
Insta: https://www.instagram.com/saraab.e.sukhan/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/aperveen1
Blog: www.sarabesukhan.com

***

Jackie Paxson

Jackie lives in central Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids and two crazy fur babies.  When she isn’t writing, she’s busy irritating her colleagues at her day job.  Most of her one-liners they have heard during work hours.  She’s an avid reader who had a blog for more than seven years.  Her love of reading and writing goes all the way back to her days reading Sweet Valley High while pretending to clean her room.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jackiepaxsonauthor
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jackiepaxsonauthor
Newsletter:  www.jackiepaxsonauthor.com

***

Olivia Hardin

Olivia Hardin always realized how strange she was to have complete movie-like character dreams as a child. Eventually she began putting those vivid dreams to paper and was rarely without her spiral notebooks full of those mental ramblings.  She’s also an insatiable crafter who only completes about one out of five projects, a jogger who hates to run, and is sometimes accused of being artistic, though she’s generally too much of a perfectionist to appreciate her own work. A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny, and their two rescue pups, Bonnie Sue and Heidi Ho.

Facebook  | Bookbub | Goodreads

***

Susanne Ash

Susanne Ash writes sweet contemporary romance. When she’s not busy putting pen to paper, she loves to cook, knit, and head out exploring with her husband and daughter. She lives close to the beach in beautiful South Carolina. You’ll find that her novels’ settings are often a fictionalized version of her surroundings and the places she’s visiting with her family.

For more Palmar Island stories, check out her other books on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Susanne-Ash/e/B07TFTMD5D

Sign up for her newsletter and get a free sweet romance novella at https://www.susanneash.com/news

***

L.D. Wosar

LD Wosar writes Western Fantasy. She’s from Olympia, Washington but currently living in Las Vegas and works in the Gaming Industry. She’s written the Western trilogy, Kit Weston Chronicles, A Capot Adventure Series, a time-travel adventure, Relic, as well as her newest Jaded Vamp series. Writing is her obsession, which she spends all of her free time writing stories with a Paranormal flare.

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/L.D.-Wosar/e/B081DD1WHP
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ldwosarbooks
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/LdWosar
Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/ld-wosar
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19390914.L_D_Wosar
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ldlegendarylitcrew

HOTEL KING by Claire Marti – Happy Book Birthday!

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HOTEL KING 

by

Claire Marti

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Entrepreneur Ryan Michaels never loses. Well, except that time, a few years ago when he lost a promotion to spoiled rich girl, Charlotte “Charlie” Ray. Now he’s forced to hire his nemesis to secure funding to develop a string of luxury boutique hotels. Not only does she not fit his corporate vision, but she’s too damn attractive for her own good. And his.

Working as VP of Sales and Marketing for a luxury hotel is Charlie’s dream job. Too bad her boss is Ryan Michaels, the same pompous stick-in-the-mud that she remembers. If he tells her that this project is his legacy one more time, she might scream. Or maybe kissing him will get him to shut up?

Because that’s the other thing. The sizzling attraction between Ryan and Charlie is impossible to ignore. But everyone knows not to mix business and pleasure. Don’t they?

 

 

Buy Links: 

Books2Read          Kindle          Nook          Kobo          Apple          Google Play          Indiebound

 

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Did his player little brother want to date her? Could he blame Austin?

He surged to his feet and stalked around the room. Charlie was gorgeous, brilliant, and full of creative, progressive ideas. Hell, he couldn’t lie to himself that she intrigued him. Which was funny because at their old job, he truly hadn’t noticed her. He’d never had this strange and annoying inability to stop watching her. What had seemed obnoxious and strident before now appeared more friendly and vivacious.

And since when could he not control his behavior? He didn’t want to be attracted to her, damn it. His complicated new fascination with his former nemesis needed to stop. Simple dislike had been a lot easier.

On a personal level, it was a terrible idea––they were opposites after all. On a professional level, it was suicide. He couldn’t blur the lines.

 


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Headshotfullbody518smallClaire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga.

 

Social Media Links:

Website:  clairemarti.com
Facebook:  ClaireMartiAuthor
Twitter:  @clairepmarti
Instagramclairepmarti
Goodreads: Claire_Marti
Bookbubclaire-marti
Amazon:  Claire-Marti

 

IT TAKES HEART by Tif Marcelo – Featured New Release

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IT TAKES HEART

by

Tif Marcelo

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From romance author Tif Marcelo comes a heartwarming story about taking a second chance on love at a family-owned couples resort.

Heart Resort, a private resort in the Outer Banks, is a romantic getaway for couples but a hotbed of family drama for its proprietors, the Puso family. Brandon Puso, the youngest of the four siblings, prefers life on his own as a licensed contractor in DC after a falling-out with his eldest brother.

After a hurricane plows through the Outer Banks, Brandon has a change of heart. He returns to the resort to help with the grand reopening but encounters his big sister’s best friend, designer Geneva Harris, who’s there to do the same thing. But Geneva and Brandon have a secret. Years ago, they had a secret romance that ended in heartbreak.

With the resort’s future at stake, Brandon and Geneva decide to put the past aside and to keep peace with the family. But as their mutual attraction heats up, they have to decide if history will repeat itself—or if this time, love gets a second chance.

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Buy links: 

Tif’s Website
Amazon


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Tif Marcelo is a veteran US Army nurse and holds a BS in Nursing and a Master’s in public administration. She believes and writes about the strength of families, the endurance of friendship, heartfelt romances, and is inspired daily by her own military hero husband and four children. She hosts The Stories to Love Podcast, and is the USA Today bestselling author of In a Book Club Far AwayOnce Upon a SunsetThe Key to Happily Ever After, and the Journey to the Heart series.

Follow her here:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

2021 books


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To follow.


Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

LEARNING TO LOVE by Trinity Wood – Featured New Release and Giveaway

Title: Learning to Love
Series: New Zealand Sailing #1
Author: Trinity Wood
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Release Date: August 5, 2021

BLURB
Learning to Love Ebook CoverNew Zealand Romance with Spice
Sam Northcroft needs to win.
Every single time.
On the water, on the Olympic sailing stage, or on land.
He’s got something to prove.
Ellie Tennyson can’t lose.
Not this time.
Between teaching four year-olds and playing grown-up, her dating life is flatter than a can of soda left out overnight.
She’s got something to prove.
Sparks fly between broody introvert Sam and bubbly Ellie when they meet at a house party on Auckland’s North Shore, but will his past and relentless pursuit of winning threaten their future?
***
LEARNING TO LOVE is the first book in the New Zealand Sailing series, and can be read as a stand-alone. This steamy book features a K-drama-loving artless preschool teacher, a cinnamon roll athlete hero with a lot to learn, and the most meddling group of friends ever. In the City of Lovers, HEA is guaranteed.
PURCHASE LINKS
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

COMING SOON
HIDDEN DEEP
Releasing September 15
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

AUTHOR BIO
Trinity writes contemporary romance set in New Zealand. Because she can’t get enough of book boyfriends, she created some of her own. Get ready to meet Sam, Corey, Jay, Tai, Luke, Mike Travis, and many more, but please form an orderly line. Behind Trinity.
A self-professed good-time nerd, Trinity’s never far away from one of her trusty Pokemon coffee mugs. Trinity also swears that Margaritas can cure colds.
Keep in touch on Facebook in The New Romance Cafe, or at trinitywoodauthor@gmail.com.

GIVEAWAY
Click for a chance to win $50 Amazon gift card

REVIEW
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I always love books that transport me to another place and Learning to Love does exactly that with Ms. Wood’s vivid descriptions of the setting, the cadence of the characters’ language, and the specificity of aspects of New Zealand culture mentioned in the book.

While I got slightly breathless by the fast pacing of Ellie and Sam’s romance, I also appreciate the decisiveness of their actions. There wasn’t much push-and-pull that could get annoying if overdone. I like the effort made to be inclusive and diverse and I love the involvement of friends and families.

Overall, a promising debut by Trinity Wood. I enjoyed my return visit to New Zealand through this book.

A DELICIOUS DILEMMA by Sera Taíno – Preorder Blitz

A Delicious Dilemma

A Delicious Dilemma by Sera Taíno is coming August 24th! Pre-order now and get an EXCLUSIVE cookbook straight from the fictional family restaurant featured in the novel! Simply email seraspromos@gmail.com with a screenshot or forward of your pre-order receipt to claim!

Pre-Order Graphic

Pre-Order Here at Your Favorite Retailer


Different worlds collide in Sera Taino’s debut novel.

It’s hard to remain enemies when you’ve broken bread together

Val Navarro’s first mistake: going out dancing after a bad breakup when the chef should be focused on her family business. Her second mistake? Thinking the handsome, sensitive stranger she meets could be more than a rebound – until she discovers he’s Philip Wagner of Wagner Developments. His father’s company could shut down her Puerto Rican restaurant and unravel her tight-knit neighborhood. When Philip takes over negotiations, Val wants to believe he has good intentions. But is following her heart a recipe for disaster?

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

A Delicious Dilemma Pre-Order Blitz 2

 


ABOUT SERA

Sera Taino

Debut romance author Sera Taíno was selected for Harlequin’s Romance Includes You Mentorship, an initiative launched in 2019 to reach out to diverse communities of writers and bring more own voices stories to romance readers. For more information on this initiative, click here.

She is also the author of several short contemporary romances, including her latest, “Oil and Vinegar,” part of A More Perfect Union: A Voting-Themed Romance Benefit Anthology. All proceeds benefit Fair Fight, a national voting rights organization based in Georgia.

Her debut, #ownvoices novel, A Delicious Dilemma, is scheduled for publication with Harlequin Romance Special Edition in September 2021.

When she is not writing, she can usually be found teaching, traveling, or wrangling her family.

Sign up for Sera’s newsletter here, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, or BookBub to stay up to date.


SABOR DE CASA

I had the privilege of receiving an early copy of the cookbook Sabor de Casa and I immediately taste-tested several of the recipes. With the Spanish heritage common in both Filipino and Puerto Rican cultures, the dishes are familiar to me and the recipes for them easy to follow. I made the roasted pork (similar to lechon), tostones (the Filipino maruya is a sweet relative), mojo, and the perennial favorite (leche) flan. All the ingredients are readily available in the local grocery stores, especially here in Texas with its huge Mexican community. I chose the small limes because they reminded me of the calamansi. I also substituted evaporated milk for whole milk in the flan recipe.  

The house smelled amazing with the aroma of garlic, of the succulent pork while it roasted in the oven, and the sugar being caramelized. The roast pork was super moist and delectable my 12-year-old son had two servings.

I didn’t have a tostonera so I improvised by smashing the plantain with the use of two differently-sized dipping sauce dishes. One note about the tostones–I fried the plantains five minutes per side two times. It should probably only be five minutes for both sides. Ten minutes total frying not twenty. They turned out browner than the recipe called for. My bad. They were still delicious but did not photograph very well beside the pork. I love brown food, so it’s all good as far as I’m concerned. 

The flan came out great. Creamy and not too sweet. I’ll probably use less sugar next time (2/3 cup instead of 3/4) and I’ll make it with 6-8 egg yolks. In short, I’ll revert to my own recipe. Hahaha. 

I cooked a feast with the three dishes I chose. I can’t wait to try out the rest of the recipes. Maybe I’ll do the arroz con gandules, bistec encebollado, and tres leches cake next. Come back here on August 24 to see which dishes I made and to check out my review of A Delicious Dilemma. Preorder the book so you too can make these scrumptious meals.  

 

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Fourth of July

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SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Epilogue

“A captivating display like no other,” Aidan recited, looking in admiration at his girlfriend. Her back to him, Maddie’s jet-black hair styled in an elegant updo shone with a thousand little stars from the lights illuminating the hotel behind them. Sleek dress in traffic-stopping red lovingly caressed her returned curves. A long string of cultured pearls from her home country worn backwards around her throat aligned with the now completely healed “Carpe Diem” spine tattoo.

Spectra, the light and music show on the bay that would culminate the embassy’s advanced Fourth of July celebration might be captivating. Madeleine Duvall, French Filipina public relations and events management expert, his woman, was absolutely dazzling. No question about it.

. . .

Cheers went up as the colors of the rainbow lit up the night sky of Singapore, along with the soaring fountains that danced in time with instrumental music, fulfilling their promise to captivate. Aidan was enchanted, all right. Not by the show, but by the woman in his arms.

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of the fun and sexy multicultural contemporary romance series Carpe Diem Chronicles.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

GINGERBREAD KISSES by Minette Lauren – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

GINGERBREAD KISSES
Hot in Magnolia Book 4
By Minette Lauren


Publication Date: April 30th, 2021
Pages: 275
Categories: Sexy Romance

Scroll for Giveaway!

Hollywood actress Ginger Lynn Harding is broke, unemployed, and stuck in the glaring spotlight of a sex-tape scandal thanks to her lousy ex-boyfriend. Changing her coveted ginger-colored hair to brown, Ginger heads to small-town Magnolia, Texas, where she plans to hide out and wait tables at the Cupcake Diner and Dive.

As a Magnolia constable and possible candidate for mayor, Roland Karr prides himself on protecting the community. When he nabs a Lauren Bacall look-alike for speeding, Roland is surprised that he lets the sassy beauty off the hook, but he can’t help it. She looks like she could use a break.

As Ginger settles into life in Magnolia, she can’t stop thinking about the handsome and debonair cop, but can she risk losing her heart when she’s lost everything else?

PURCHASE LINKS:

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With its double serving of swoony love stories, small-town quirks, adorable pets, and fascinating characters readers would want to get to know more, Gingerbread Kisses is an early holiday treat for Romance lovers everywhere. Its fun and light tone makes it an easy and enjoyable read and its steamy sexytimes live up to the series title of Hot In Magnolia. Funny, low-angst, and hot. Exactly how I like my Romance.
This is my first book by Minette Lauren, my first visit to Magnolia, and I’m happy to go back for more. I usually don’t seek out stories with actors and actresses as lead characters because I find so little in common with them, but Ms. Lauren made Ginger Lynn sympathetic to me and I give her kudos for that.
I admire Ginger’s determination to get back on her feet after her humiliating fall from grace, her willingness to work two jobs that she considered beneath her in the past, and her gradual warming up to the people of Magnolia. I understood her loss of confidence and cheered for her when she realized what’s important. I also liked the characterization of Roland as a by-the-book constable whose life is upended when Ginger came into town. I really like his patience with her and his respect for her wishes despite her sometimes hot-and-cold behavior. I especially like the ending where they both reached out to the other and decided to be together even to the point of giving up what’s familiar.
I have an equal appreciation for the second-chance romance between Lexi and Noah. I’m always soft for heroes who fall fast and fall hard for the object of his love and Noah ticks that box for me. There’s a “Seize the Day” quality to their getting together that is totally my jam.
Ms. Lauren’s vivid descriptions gave this book a great sense of place. I can picture in my head where the scene locations are as if they’re real. Magnolia seems to be a quintessential Texas small town with a higher proportion of hot men and women than most places in the state (or country). Herein lies my major cavil about this book–the lack of diversity. There’s not much indication of multiculturalism or unconventional lifestyles. Everyone seems to be fit, white, and straight. Not truly reflective of the society we live in today.
Overall, an engaging read and a book I’d recommend to the followers of this blog. It put me in a holiday spirit, inspiring me to bake gingerbread kiss cookies. I’m not sure if it’s Ginger’s grandma’s recipe, but it sure made the house smell like Christmas. Thanks to Ms. Lauren for the inspiration and for providing me with a complimentary copy to review through Lone Star Lit.
4 out of 5 stars

Minette Lauren is an award-winning author who loves animals and writes humorous romance in a small Texas town.

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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

THREE WINNERS
First place: Signed copies
of the Hot in Magnolia series books (prequel included) + $25 Amazon gift card
Second place: Signed copies of all four books in the series
Third place: Signed copy of Gingerbread Kisses

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AAPI SPOTLIGHT – A LOWCOUNTRY BRIDE by Preslaysa Williams

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A LOWCOUNTRY BRIDE

by

Preslaysa Williams

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A heartwarming Avon debut of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings set in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry.

Maya Jackson has worked for Laura Whitcomb, Inc, a renowned New York City bridal gown brand for years and dreams of becoming Head Designer. She has the talent, she just needs a chance to showcase her unique style. Due to an illness, she’s always prioritized her career over her personal life until Maya’s father fractures his hip and she returns to Charleston, SC. While home for only a few months, she’s thrilled to find an opportunity at the local bridal gown boutique, never expecting sparks to fly with its owner…

A military veteran and widowed father, Derek Sullivan hopes to save Always a Bride from bankruptcy in order to preserve the legacy of his mother. He also wants to reconnect with his estranged, twelve-year-old daughter, who is still recovering from the loss of her mother. The last thing he needs is a relationship with a beautiful, smart, complicated woman who will be leaving soon.

When Derek begins to fall for the lovely Maya, he knows there’s no future. But destiny has its own plans, and these two lonely people with big hearts discover that coming home to love is the best gift life can give.

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Buy links:

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Apple     Google Play     IndieBound     Kobo


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ALB bookstagramA Lowcountry Bride is an affecting story of discovering identity, fulfilling dreams, dealing with loss, keeping the faith, and finding love. The authenticity with how the characters’ culture came across strongly emphasizes the importance of providing opportunities for own voices stories, of lifting marginalized creators, of representation and inclusion.

This book is bursting with Ms. Williams’s pride in her unique mix of West African/Filipino heritage. It’s manifested in the food, by distinctive sewing techniques, and in the sympathetic personalities of the main characters.

Maya Jackson, with her struggles to cope with a chronic illness while attempting to achieve her mother’s dreams for her amidst obstacles in the workplace, feels like a real person to me.  Adding to all those the care for her injured father, she is heavily burdened than most but utterly real. Maya’s internal conflict when making life-altering choices made me anxious. Despite the guarantee of a hopeful ending, I still fretted over her decisions.

While I liked Maya, I was soft for the men in her life–her father Carl and her love interest Derek Sullivan. These two dads had similar tales of guiding their daughters to find their paths. They had the best lines from the book.

Her dad’s advice resonated with me.

But don’t stop living, Maya. Don’t ever stop living. You owe it to yourself to live every single day to the fullest.”

Derek’s declaration made me melt.

It’s not the dying that matters. It’s the living. … I can bring the past with me and use it to craft a beautiful present and a hopeful future.”

I like that despite the heavy topics (illness, deaths from a mass shooting, inequity in the workplace, racism) this book is not depressing. There’s enough humor and joy in the successes both Maya and Derek achieved individually and together.

My minor concern is with the portrayal of Laura, Maya’s boss, as an irredeemable villainess. I wish there’s more dimension to her character. After all, she hired Maya in the first place. Her part in the story appeared soap-opera-ish.

Besides that, I enjoyed this book.  It’s engaging and made me root for the characters. I can’t wait for the author’s upcoming books.

4 out of 5 stars


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Preslaysa Williams (nee, Preslaysa Edwards) is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction with an Afro-Filipina twist. She loves sharing her culture with her readers.

She has an undergraduate degree from Columbia University and a MPA from the University of South Carolina. She is also a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar, a Jackie Robinson Foundation Extra Innings Fellow, and a Sol Spiegelman Scholar. Preslaysa is currently earning a MFA in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.

In addition, she’s a professional actress. She started acting at age eight, joining the Screen Actors Guild as a teenager when she co-starred on the Nickelodeon TV show, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo.

She’s an avid bookworm and planner nerd who hoards pens, pencils, and notebooks in her spare time. In her daily life, you’ll find her wearing mismatched socks while being a homeschool mom. Preslaysa presently makes her home in Virginia with her husband and two children. You can visit her online at www.preslaysa.com where you can sign up for her newsletter community.

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AAPI SPOTLIGHT – HAPPY ENDINGS by Thien-Kim Lam

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HAPPY ENDINGS

by

Thien-Kim Lam

With her debut novel, Thien-Kim Lam serves up a sexy second-chance romance about exes with unfinished business. When working together reignites their passion, will these former flames sizzle or get burned all over again?

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Trixie Nguyen is determined to make her sex toy business a success, proving to her traditional Vietnamese parents that she can succeed in a nontraditional career. She’s made a fresh start in Washington DC, and her first pop-up event is going well—until she runs into the ex who dumped her. With a Post-it note.

The last person Andre Walker expected to see in his soul food restaurant was the woman he left behind in New Orleans. Their chemistry is still scorching, but he’s desperately trying to save his family restaurant from gentrifying developers. The solution? Partnering with his ex to turn Mama Hazel’s into a vibrator pop-up shop for hungry and horny clients.

Thanks to their steamy truce, both businesses start to sizzle and their red-hot desire soon reignites deeper feelings. But when Trixie receives an incredible career opportunity, will pride ruin their second chance at happiness?

 

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Buy links: 

Amazon     Harper Collins     Barnes & Noble     Indiebound     Bookshop

 


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A promising #ownvoices debut with a multicultural pairing, an admirable female lead, sex positivity, fierce female friendship, strong family ties, and loads of glorious food, Happy Endings is exactly my jam. 

I love that there are more and more Asian-American authors writing romance and I’m ecstatic that we are creating main characters who positively represent our heritage and who celebrate the joy of loving freely. It’s wonderful to read books with characters, backgrounds, and situations I can relate to. 

Ms. Lam’s debut excites me because she’s fearless in giving her Vietnamese-American female lead a job selling sex toys thereby confronting the issue of the hyper-sexualization of the Asian female in popular media head-on. Trixie’s pride in her accomplishments and her ambition in furthering her career no matter the obstacles delighted me. 

For me, this is very much Trixie’s story–her quest for success, her difficult relationship with her very traditional parents, her friendship with the Boss Babes were all fascinating to me. Her romance with Andre only takes second place. I do understand the attraction between them and the intimate scenes were really hot but, in my opinion, Andre needed to be more, to do more to deserve Trixie. His characterization was the weakest aspect of the book for me. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading more of Ms. Lam’s Boss Babes. 

 

4 out of 5 stars

 


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Thien-Kim Lam_Photo Courtesy of the AuthorThien-Kim Lam writes stories about Vietnamese characters who smash stereotypes and find their happy endings. A recovering Type-Asian, she guzzles cà phê sữa đá, makes art, and bakes her feelings to stay sane. Thien-Kim is also the founder of Bawdy Bookworms, a subscription box that pairs sexy romances with erotic toys. She’s been featured on NPR, BBC America, and NBC.

Thien-Kim brings over 20 years’ experience as a sex educator and sex toy expert into a steamy second-chance romance in her debut, Happy Endings. Selected as the winner of Avon’s 2019 open call for unagented Own Voices submissions, this romantic comedy is filled with heart; it is a story of honoring each person’s culture in an interracial relationship, sex positivity, and exploring non-traditional ambitions even when they terrify you.

Happy Endings is my love letter to all Asian women,” says Thien-Kim. “We live in a society that fetishizes us, but Trixie explores her sexuality on her own terms and wants to help the women in her life do the same. She may stumble a bit, especially when love is on the line, but she’s got her Boss Babes by her side. Just like how I have my Boss Babes in my corner.”

 

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