Sunday, February 19, 2017

#BOC Keeps the Valentine Going! SPOTLIGHT ON HARLEQUIN with Stella Bagwell

by USA Today bestselling author
Stella Bagwell

Sophie Fortune Robinson is on a mission. The word around the office watercooler is that the boss's youngest daughter is intent on landing Mr. Right by Valentine's Day—and that she has her eyes, and heart, set on a certain hunk in Marketing.

But when she enlists her longtime pal and coworker Mason Montgomery to teach her how to get a man to notice her, little does she know she's already captured his attention!

Now Mason's in a real bind! He has just a few short weeks to fight his way out of the "friend zone." On his agenda: convincing sweet Sophie that he is the real man of her dreams! Will Fortune smile on true love's venture?
by Stella Bagwell
Harlequin Special Edition; January 17, 2017
$5.75 U.S.; 224 Pages

STELLA BAGWELL is a USA Today bestselling author who has written close to 90 books for Harlequin. She lives on the Texas Gulf coast with her husband, where the winters are mild and the summers sweltering. Along with her writing, she stays busy helping her husband care for their 10 horses, 11 cats, and a flock of gulls that always seem to know when it's feeding time! 

Bon Appétit and a Book

A delicious recipe to enjoy alongside the book with an image. Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without something chocolate! Here’s a cake recipe that my family enjoys.
Buttermilk Cocoa Cake
2 cups sugar, ¾ cup shortening, 2&1/2 cups flour, ½ cup cocoa, 2 teaspoons soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup boiling water.
Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture. Add vanilla and water. Pour batter into 13/9 inch pan, or if you prefer layers, two 9 inch pans and bake at 350 degrees until cake springs back when touched.
4 cups confectioner sugar, 6 Tbs. cold butter, ½ tsp. vanilla, ¼ tsp. salt, ¼ scant cup milk. Whip with mixer until creamy. 

#BOC Keeps the Valentine Going! SPOTLIGHT ON HARLEQUIN with Carolyne Aarsen

Courting the Cowboy
by Carolyne Aarsen

Looking for inspiration, artist Ella Langton rents a cabin in the isolated Porcupine Hills of Alberta, Canada. She didn’t count on having neighbors, but rancher Cord Walsh and his three children are just a stone’s throw away. 

Still healing from a tragic accident, Ella has no plans of reaching out, but she’s having a hard time keeping them out of her yard—and her thoughts. And when little Suzy ropes Ella into helping her with an art project, she can’t help her growing feelings for the girl’s rugged daddy.

With three persistent children, Cord and Ella may find their fenced-off hearts opening up sooner than they thought!

by Carolyne Aarsen
Love Inspired; January 17, 2017
$5.99U.S.; 224 Pages

Bon Appétit and a Book

A delicious recipe to enjoy alongside the book with an image.
This is a sweet book and requires a sweet recipe
Here is Cream Cheese stuffed Carrot Cake
    2 1/2 cups peeled and grated carrots
Dry Ingredients
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
    1 cup pecans, finely chopped (I use my food processor)
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon allspice
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Wet ingredients
    4 large eggs
    3/4 cup Vegetable oil
    1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (regular or lowfat)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 teaspoons orange extract
Cream Cheese Filling
    8 oz full fat cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Orange Cream Cheese Glaze
    4 oz cream cheese, softened
    2 tablespoons butter, softened
    2 tablespoons orange juice
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1 teaspoon orange extract
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Optional Decorative Garnishes
    roasted pecans, roughly chopped
orange zest


by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
Maisey Yates
by Maisey Yates
Harlequin Presents; January 17, 2017
$5.25 U.S.; 224 Pages

“I want that painting. It is my last Lost Mistress. My Lost Love.”
Alessandro Di Sione is renowned for being cold and unsentimental, but even he can't deny his grandfather's dream of retrieving a painting steeped in royal scandal. Yet the key to its return is the outspoken Princess Gabriella.
While traveling together to Isola D'Oro to locate the mysterious painting, Gabby is drawn to the man tortured by guilt from his past. Her innocence makes her untouchable, as Alex is convinced his Di Sione blood is tainted. But could their passion be his salvation?

MAISEY YATES is a New York Times and US Today bestselling author who lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband—whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

In 2009, at the age of 23 Yates sold her first book. Since then it's been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever-afters, and she wouldn't have it any other way. She divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere and light, sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

Bon Appétit and a Book

Bon Apetit and a book:

I’m not really a gourmet cook. My food isn’t fancy, but it is tasty!

I’m also not big on following exact recipes, but I’m going to do my best here!

You will need:

1 pound of chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
1 package corn tortillas
1 can can tomato sauce
2 cans enchilada sauce (I prefer Rosarita)
Shredded cheese (as much as you want)
1 can black olives (sliced)

Boil chicken until cooked, shred, set aside.

First preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Warm up some oil (canola, olive, whatever you prefer) in a small pan on the stove. Dip your corn tortillas in the oil. This is to warm them up and make it so they don’t split, you don’t want to fry them! Set them on a plate or cookie sheet lined with paper towels to help get rid of some of the excess oil.

Take one tortilla, put in a line of shredded chicken, then a little cheese over that. Roll the tortilla and place in a glass baking dish (9x13 is ideal). Then repeat until your pan is full.

Pour your canned sauces into a bowl and mix them, then pour them over the top of your rolled, filled tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese, add olives and bake about 20 minutes, or until the enchiladas are bubbling.

And there you have one of my favorite meals to eat, on deadline or any time!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

VALENTINE'S DAY RELEASE ** The Scoundrel's Honor (Sinful Brides #2) by Christi Caldwell **

There is no possible way to say it without sounding like a fool in love! The Scoundrel's Honor by the indomitable Christi Caldwell is everything this reader LOVES, tucked into one fabulous story! You want action? You got that. You want intrigue? You got that. Need a bit of action? Well you got it. How about romance? Well DUH! 

Penelope Tidemore never had a chance. Her family history of scandal is known far and wide and even though Penelope was always standing on the precipice of scandal, she always attempted to evade its notice. Well, that is until she comes into contact with the dark and dangerous, Ryker Black.

Born to the mistress of a Duke, raised in the streets of London, Ryker Black knows the good and bad in both of those social classes and he prefers to stay off the grid in the darkness of his gaming establishment  Hell and Sin. When his beloved sister beckons him to attend a ball, try as he might to deny her, Ryker gives in, but not without grumbling about it. He knows he doesn't fit in, even though he is probably better educated than most of the guests. 

Needing to get away from the confines of the ballroom, Penelope flees to the gardens where her life is forever changed when she and Ryker Black end up in a rather precarious position on the garden grounds. Public ruination leads to a hasty marriage for two strangers, as Ryker and Penny struggle to come to an accord. Penelope's introduction to life inside a gaming hell is eye opening to the almost properly brought up woman and Ryker's education into the needs of a proper wife make this story engrossing. 

Of course, where there is a gaming hell trouble brews and although Ryker is no stranger to trouble, the fact that the new wife he is actually beginning to care for, may also be placed in danger, troubles him greatly. Where love blooms, danger evades leaving Ryker wondering if bringing Penny into his dark and dangerous world is the right thing, and if it isn't, what then is to be done about it?

Uh uh, I am soooo not telling you more... Do yourself a BIG favor and grab this fabulous read by a truly wonderful author and find out yourself how it all comes to pass! 


Sunday, February 12, 2017

GUEST POST by STACEY AGDERN ** The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne **

Kerrigan Byrne 
The Duke (Victorian Rebels #4)

Each of Kerrigan Byrne’s books has dealt with redemption and heroes whose pasts are not as clear as most heroes we see in historical romance.  But more than any of the others, The Duke isn’t about finding your one true love, but about what needs to happen for someone to be ready to fall in love.
‘Tell me exactly,’ the heroine says to the hero in the middle of the black moment, ‘when I should have revealed my tender secret to you?’ 
When indeed.  Especially considering the hero, the book’s titular Duke, and the heroine have spent the entire length of the book dealing with issues of timing.
 Our hero first meets the heroine at her ‘night job’, as a hostess at a ‘club’; she is the ‘whore’ with the heart of gold who blows his mind and his heart.  She meets him again at her ‘day job’, when on the verge of death from injuries he receives on the battlefield, she literally nurses him back to health. Finally, she is his next door neighbor, the widow of an older man.  He holds the first as a perfect moment in his mind, doesn’t know the second and cannot stand the woman he meets in the third.  To him, these three women  are unconnected, even though they are the same person. 
“How could I not have known?” the hero laments, “How could I not have recognized you by how badly I wanted you?”
How could he not have indeed. Paranormal authors (including Bec McMaster in Lady Quicksilver) have often dealt with the question of identity and timing; shifters (and some vampires that emulate them) know their mate by scent.
Unfortunately, a purely human duke doesn’t have that capacity. It takes information and an unexpected glimpse of a painting for our hero to realize that the woman who haunts his dreams and the woman who he’s beginning to fall for in the present are one and the same.
Only one woman had seen him as he was depicted in that damnable painting…The memory he’d lost slammed back into him with bone shattering speed.  It climbed into his psyche.  It created him, destroyed him, and then built something new from the broken pieces as he stared at the rendering of the past.
The question then becomes, would the Duke as he was at the beginning of the book, or even at the middle, be the sort of man who could have handled being in love with the heroine.  The man he is at the end answers the question himself, and quite well.
She was the mistress of her own destiny.  A destiny that might not include him, because he’d never presented himself to her as an enticement.  Only an opponent…He’d pompously thought (she’d) take him in whatever capacity he offered.  That she’d be happy to accept this broken, bitter, barbarous man he’d allowed himself to b become.  It had never occurred to him she’d want more.  Or that he had no right to her secrets. That he had no claim on her heart.

This is a romance, of course, so I’ll leave you to figure out how our hero manages to present himself to the heroine as an enticement after all.  Because in the end, the timing, and the Duke, are right after all. 



Thursday, February 9, 2017

RELEASE DAY GUEST BLOG REVIEW ** Teach Me Something (Something #4) by Aubrey Bondurant **

I’ve followed the “Something” series from the beginning and I have to say, Teach Me Something may be my favorite. As with her previous books, Aubrey Bondurant writes a story filled with funny, steamy, and tender moments that will keep you turning pages well into the wee hours of the morning. 

Catherine Davenport had a successful career as editor of Cosmo Life fashion magazine. Unfortunately her marriage had not been so successful. While she’d been about to further commit to her husband by starting a family, he’d been planning their divorce. He’d shredded her self-confidence, telling her she was boring, dull, and predictable. He’d moved on to someone younger while she’d been in a rut for 2 years. She had a hard time meeting dating prospects and couldn’t put herself out there online because of her job. So Catherine turns to an instructor at a private club to climb out of her rut and breathe new life into her self-esteem. Donning a wig and using a fictitious name and profile, Catherine meets her instructor, Calvin, the man she hopes will improve her dating strategy and sexual confidence. Calvin seemed understanding of her situation and suggested texting to work on her flirting skills. Also, her homework was to comprise a list of 50 things she wanted to do. Half of those to be sexual. Though his read on her took her off guard, Catherine liked the anonymity and the chance to reinvent herself. A constant list maker, she had no trouble compiling her criteria for the perfect match and her fantasy list. And as for texting, she enlisted the help of her girlfriends, even learning the fun of emoticons. It wasn’t long before she found herself anticipating her next meeting with Calvin and anxious for his texts. Catherine knew Calvin was only being accommodating on a professional level but she enjoyed his attention. 
On a weekend Vegas retreat with friends, Catherine begins surreptitiously texting Calvin when she realizes her friend Will’s phone is chirping in sync with her texts. Could it be? Will was Calvin? They were in the same professional circle. He was someone she’d worked with, part of her inner circle of friends. And he was considerably younger. Catherine was mortified but couldn’t blame Will. He hadn’t caused the situation. Will and Catherine were able to get past the awkwardness and continued their friendship. In fact, it seemed they grew even closer than before. Will gave her advice on dating and challenged her to step out of her comfort zone. He even got her a Magic 8 ball to help her make decisions since she tended to over analyze everything. With Will’s help, Catherine was actually having fun. She was more relaxed and less analytical about her decisions. But when she put her flirting skills to use on one of Will’s friends, Will didn’t like it. Even if neither was ready to admit it, something had been building between them. Even though Catherine knew it could jeopardize their friendship, when Will kissed her, she didn’t want it to stop. Will knew he didn’t meet her criteria for a dating match. She was out of his league, but he suggested they enjoy one another for the short term and still be friends beyond that. Catherine worried if she could have a fling without the emotional investment, but she’d been through so much, didn’t she deserve to enjoy this? With Will, every touch was electric. When they were together, it was raw and physical. He’d even memorized her fantasy list down to the number. He may have been younger, but “obviously age did not equal skill”. They had an overwhelming connection. It felt natural to be with him, holding hands, dancing. 
As their friendship changed to something more, Catherine realized she was changing too. She was becoming more adventurous. There was a playful side to her that seemed to only come out with Will. She’d never been more secure. “Will had become important to her, not as a crutch but as someone who brought out a side of her she hadn’t thought existed. He’d blown out of the water any criteria she’d thought she needed to be happy.” The more time she spent with Will, the more attached she was feeling to a man she had no future with. Could she continue to keep things in the casual box? Catherine was afraid she was in trouble when it came to wanting more than just the physical with Will. 

What a great story about life and love. It was definitely a sexy read, but it had its “tug at the heart” moments too. Catherine and Will taught each other something. Catherine learned to embrace the qualities that made her unique. In so doing, she became more comfortable with herself and with her decisions, and she became stronger. Will learned he didn’t have to carry burdens alone. That it was okay to ask for help. That a partnership meant sharing the good and the bad. In addition to the fantastic plot, I also loved seeing old friends from previous books and making a few new ones as well. I’m anxious to see what “something” comes next. 
A Book Obsessed Chicks Review Team Selection 

From Amy Compton's  LOVE AT 1st READ

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

#BOC Guest Review by Joann **Dance With Destiny by Becky Lower**

This was a very good read. The story depicts the hardships of the families that remained behind as their men folk volunteered in the Union Army in 1861. 

Susannah Meyer is devastated to learn her husband William enlisted for a 90 Day stint in the Union Army. William would be leaving her to maintain their farm and care for their four children, all under ten years of age. Her anger is palatable, she believes William does not care about his own families welfare.

Shortly after William leaves for his assignment Susannah learns she is carrying her five child. Although a strong spirited woman she just finds herself overwhelmed by her new circumstances. 

It is during this time Raoul Lafontaine, a half-Ojibwa and half-French Canadian finds himself in the mountain area near Susannah ranch.
Raoul is on a quest to find the fair haired white woman in his visions. He is not sure why but he is urged to locate her and feels he must.

Raoul befriends the oldest child Hanna and she in turn brings him home to her mother. He has been observing the harsh situations on the ranch and trades his work for room and board in the barn. Soon Susannah learns her husband has signed on for three years in the Army and becomes quite bitter.

It is an immediate connection felt on the part of Susannah and Raoul that makes you want to never put this book down. A forbidden but pure love. They each find they must fight this magnetic attraction. 

If you enjoy reading about the West this book has it all. I would highly recommend it.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

In Need of a Knight (Heart of a Duke) by Christi Caldwell


Years earlier, a gypsy woman passed to Lady Aldora Adamson and her friends a heart pendant that promised them each the heart of a duke.
Now, a young lady, with her family facing ruin and scandal, Lady Aldora doesn't have time for mythical stories about cheap baubles. She needs to save her siblings and has resigned herself to marrying a titled gentleman with wealth, power, and a respectable name. She sets her bespectacled sights upon the Marquess of St. James. Until...
An Unexpected Meeting
Turned out by his father after a tragic scandal, Lord Michael Knightly has grown into a powerful, but self-made man. With the whispers and stares that still follow him, he's been shut out of respectable society. He would rather be anywhere but London...
Then he meets Lady Aldora, a young woman who mistakes him for his brother, the Marquess of St. James. The connection between Aldora and Michael is immediate and as they come to know one another, Aldora's feelings for Michael grow.
Now Aldora must choose between her responsibilities as a sister and her love for Michael.

** This story is a re-issue of a story previously in an anthology. This re-issue has new content/characters**