My 3 Book Weekend – Reviews

My 3 Book Weekend – Reviews

I spent the past weekend resting my thumb and reading three books that I had picked up from Romance Writers of America’s National Conference.

So I had the unique privilege of visiting New York City and Santa Barbara; a magical land called Raea; and Blessings, Kansas.


I hadn’t read any of these authors before.  I have met Joan, and she’s a publishing sister of mine, so it was with interest that I sat down to spend a bit of time reading two short novellas by Joan Bird.

Wishes and Miracles by Joan Bird

Both stories are set in a small publishing company. The editors are men; the writers, women whose work changes their lives. Sam’s Gift has the delicious Lizzie shoving her manuscript under the door of an editor. Jake is transformed by this novel and must have it, so he goes to great lengths to find Lizzie and meet up with her. But with Lizzie comes Jake’s realization; that his wife, Sam, whom he lost on 9/11 when the South Tower went down, has left him the gift of his future; and that he’d darned well better take advantage of it, instead of continuing to live like a ghost. Joan’s way with witty and intelligent dialog will have you giggling in delight.

Amy’s Wish, set in Santa Barbara, is another heart-tugging, witty and intelligent novella. Eric, the editor, is in Santa Barbara only to get Amy to sign a contract for her novel. Amy is certain he doesn’t mean it. It takes them both to bare their souls, and their secrets, before he can convince her that he means everything he says, especially when he says “I love you.”

Both stories give you that warm, happy-ever-afterglow that a good romance imparts, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

This story had me by the first sentence.

“I craft influential cake.”

Right??? Yeah. This is a magical puzzle of three people (well, let’s go with that) that are entwined together.

Maire has no memory of her past beyond the five years she’s been in the town of Carmine. She is a baker who bakes influence into her cakes and tarts and pies. Whether it be love, or luck, or strength, or courage, she crafts her edibles with these emotions and abilities. Those who consume them receive those gifts, which is why her bakeshop is well known in her small town.

But when marauders come through Carmine, she is captured and sold…to Allemas, a strong man who then sets her to make treats for others. He whirls them from place to place, holding her captive when she is not actively baking.

When she is down in the cellar, waiting for Allemas to set her to another task, she is visited by a spirit named Fyel. The more she spends time with him, the more her memory returns…and the angrier Allemas becomes.

I have never read a novel like this before. I loved it. It was like falling into a dream, and I wished I could taste the cakes, the tarts, the petit fours. And the reveal toward the end was breathtaking. I will definitely be reading more of Charlie N. Holberg’s works.

Heart of Gold, a Blessings Novel by Beverly Jenkins

I fell in love, reading this book. I had never read any of the Blessings novels, but I didn’t feel lost at all. I loved Bernadine and her Mal, I loved the feisty 10 year old Zoey, and I absolutely adored her mama Roni Garland and her man Reggie.

Life in a small town can be very interesting, especially when you’re the one who owns it the way Bernadine Brown owns Blessings, Kansas. Add in a furious mayor’s wife in the nearby small town of Franklin, and you’ve got some mayhem tossed in.

This book immersed me in warmth and love as I read and got to know lots of people in the town, from the impossible Devon who will eventually learn not to be an ass (and Zoey will learn not to beat him up), to Bernadine and her love for most everyone.

I will, most definitely, be going back to Blessings, Kansas at the first opportunity.


It was a wonderful way to spend a weekend, refilling my writer’s well, and getting to share these books and these writers with you is another joy.

Return to Laughter by Jameson Parker

Return to Laughter by Jameson Parker

Jameson Parker. I swiped this photo from his website, which is why there’s a big BIO across the front of it. Sorry, JP!

Jameson Parker 

I found Jameson Parker to be intelligent, charismatic, and possessing a wickedly dry sense of humor. He is a forthright man and boy, does he know his way around words!

I read his book An Accidental Cowboy back in December. A memoir told in chunks of chopped up time, his experiences, the way he writes, just dug its hooks into me and after reading it I felt like I knew him.  I knew we were friends, and there were all these things I could say to him that he’d get, because I knew him. Which to me is amazing, since I read a lot – and I’ve never had that connection to the writer like that before this book. Plus, I’d never met the man, so it felt kinda really weird, that connection to his words.

Of course, when I did get a chance to meet him not that long ago, I kept my mouth shut because JP is a very private person. And his beautiful wife would have decked me had I been inappropriate. Which I also knew, from reading An Accidental Cowboy. Yes, you should pick up that book!

And for those of you who are thinking, wasn’t Jameson Parker an actor? Yes, he was. For 30 years. He played opposite Gerald McRaney on Simon & Simon for 8 years. (He’s not that other Parker, so put that out of your mind right now.)

But this post isn’t about that.

Jameson Parker has a new book out that I can’t wait to get my hands on, and that I had to share with you.  It’s called Return to Laughter, and it’s – well, here’s the blurb for you.

cover of the book Return to Laughter
Return to Laughter
is an insider’s account of the rise and fall and bittersweet redemption of a wild and wildly ambitious young star. Young Rocky Stone rebels against the stuffy and circumscribed world of his upbringing and climbs up the acting ladder to the top of the most glamorous profession there is, a world of wealth, fame, and privilege, as well as sex, drugs, and self-destruction. The birth of a child stops Rocky Stone’s downward spiral, but Hollywood is also a world where cheating and embezzlement are ways of life, and lives are considered disposable. When real disaster strikes, can a little girl save him?

Perhaps a novel, perhaps a roman à clef, perhaps a biography, Return to Laughter weaves reality and fiction together to paint a portrait of Hollywood that is as true today as it has always been, a transient place of youth and beauty and adoration and the shadow of something evil.

So – it’s a little bit tell-all, a little bit biography – with a heaping helping of fictionalized reality is my guess. Can you see why I’m interested in reading this book? Just as soon as I’m done reading my “homework” novels…

Jameson’s Author Page on Amazon: Go HERE.

Jameson’s Website:

Do me a favor, please?

Click on the links to his books (above or below) and then click “like” on those books on Amazon. I love this man’s writings, I treasure the time I spent with him in his kitchen drinking coffee, and the only way I know how to repay him for that time is to share him and his novels with you. And, in a way, share you with him. He doesn’t have a writing support fellowship like I do; so I’d really, really appreciate it if you’d help him out.

I believe in the power of social media, and in the generosity of writers. I’d like you, my friends, to help me turn Jameson Parker into a believer, too. If I’m very lucky, I’ll have him on the blog some day with an interview. We shall see! In the meantime, let’s get those “likes” to above 100, shall we? Pass it on to your friends!

One commenter will receive an ecopy of either Return to Laughter or An Accidental Cowboy from me. Just make sure you let me know what number you are in the comments when you “like” either Return to Laughter or An Accidental Cowboy  – if you “like” both, you’ll get entered twice in the drawing (I am VERY proud to say that I was the first “like” – Number 1 – for both those books!), and make sure you leave your email in the comments so I can gift you a copy from Amazon. This giveaway will end at midnight on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013.

So – when was the last time you felt you knew the author, just by reading their words? I’d love to know!

~ Until the next time, cheers! ~


Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

Wallowing in Books

Wallowing in Books

The last couple of weeks I’ve been reading like it’s going out of style. My taste is diverse, as you’ll see from this list! I highly recommend ALL of these books. If you click on the link on the title, it’ll take you to the Amazon page for that book. If the author is highlighted, click there and it will take you to their website.

First up – Darynda Jones’ new series starts with Death and the Girl Next Door. A Paranormal YA novel, this book totally kicks ass and takes names. I am a HUGE Darynda fan and was thrilled to have met her in person when she came to speak to the Orange County Chapter of RWA in November.

The book is fun, snarky, gets dark, and has some wonderful twists to it. The 3 best friends, sophmores, skip school a lot, but unless your teen is hyper susceptible to suggestion this shouldn’t be a deterrent. This is exactly the type of book I wished had been in style when I was a teenager.

Next is Teresa Hill’s Twelve Days of Christmas

This is a wonderful novel. QUITE the tear-jerker, and the one that comes after this one, Emma’s story, looks to be just as much a tear-jerker. Teresa has written for Harlequin for many years and has a lot of stories out there, but I’d never read her before this book. It was on my Kindle, had a Christmas title, so I read it – devoured it – in one 3 hour stretch of time over the weekend. Lovely, really very lovely.




To stick with the Christmas theme, I need to put in a book that I JUST finished yesterday  by Regan Walker called The Holly and the Thistlea short historical romance set in London at Christmas time. It was a lovely story about a widow, a Scotsman, and Christmas traditions, and I HIGHLY recommend it. She also has a full-length historical out that I haven’t read yet, but it looks fantastic. It’s called Racing With The Wind and is the beginning of her Agents of the Crown series.



And last but not least, Tara Lain’s Beautiful Boys of Romance! Volley Balls, Fire Balls and Beach Balls all in one volume called Balls to the Wall. LOVED these stories set in one of my favorite places, Laguna Beach. LOVE the men, the way they fall in love, their insecurities and their macho attitude and how their hearts are speared by love, but my favorite of the three is Beach Balls. What a lovely story! I’m a new reader of Tara’s – these are the first books of hers I’ve read – and got to meet her at OCC’s chapter meeting in November. I can tell you, I’ll definitely be picking up more of her books!



That’s all I have for right now – thanks for stopping by. Tell me, what have YOU read lately that you think I’ll love?

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest!

Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest!

Ciara Knight, a friend of mine, has joined together with Alex J. Cavanaugh for this fun blog hop – all about books that may be hidden gems, but that the world should read and know about. No book that is on the NY Times or USA Today bestseller lists is allowed, and neither is our own book if we’re a writer.

I had a hard time choosing. I have many writer friends and have read and reviewed a lot of their books in the past year. So I decided to go online and check out all the reviews I’ve done at Amazon – and one book stood out for me.

Lorna Tedder's cover of Flying By Night

Lorna Tedder’s Flying By Night. (That link is to Amazon.)

Here’s the blurb (again from Amazon):

” “The last time I saw my two husbands alive, they were standing naked before the Altar of the Goddess.”

So begins a harrowing tale of suspense, mystery, and spirituality. Kestrel Firehawk, a polyamorous witch, is framed for the murders of her lovers and forced to flee for her life on Beltane Eve.

Almost as dangerous as a cold-blooded killer is Dylan MacCool, the burned-out detective on Kestrel’s trail. His pursuit of answers will bring him to his knees–and take him to a destiny he never knew existed.”

And…below is the review I put up on Amazon:

“A terrific novel set in the pagan/Wiccan world, Flying By Night is an amazing story filled with love and tragedy and written with depth and compassion. Det. “Finn” McCool, working a seemingly ritualistic double-murder case where a woman also goes missing, is plunged into a world he’s afraid of – the pagan world – and doesn’t realize the depth of his own prejudices until he pushes away the one person he needs more than anything.

Kestrel Firehawk is the missing woman; she is guided to a pagan group who helps her, hides her, and literally saves her life by distracting the murderer out to get her. Years later, Finn tracks Kestrel down; unfortunately, so does the murderer, who will not suffer a witch to live. There are other players in the game who come to Kestrel and Finn’s aid; and the four of them become locked in a showdown to the death with the murderer.

I devoured this novel during work, throughout my lunch hour, and sat and read when I finally got home – I could not put this book down unless I absolutely had to, it was that good. The writing is rich, complex with imagery, emotion, and history, and will catch your heart. A jewel of a book.”

If you know Lorna, tell her I noticed her book. And then go check it out for yourself – you will not be disappointed! Oh – and October is the perfect season to read it. Treat yourself – get a copy for your Kindle!

Buy the book here: AMAZON

Find Lorna here: BLOG

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?


The Wonderful World of Rebecca Zanetti

The Wonderful World of Rebecca Zanetti

I found Fated, Rebecca Zanetti’s debut book in her Dark Protectors series last year while looking at other paranormal novels that had come out. I read it, loved it, left an Amazon review (which I can’t find now, because there are so many – GO, REBECCA!). So it surprised me when I found Rebecca at RWA National Conference in Anaheim this year, signing Claimed – I didn’t realize it had come out last year, too.

Cover page of Fatedcover of Claimed

So I bought it, she signed it (how lucky am I?), and I spent yesterday at the beach devouring every word. To the point where it pissed off the hubster. (Sorry, honey!)  Her Realm is real, dark, and deadly – and Claimed is the King of the Realm’s story, Dage Kayrs.

In this one novel, Rebecca is lining up the possibility of novels stretching into the future in this world (with the help of Janie Belle, a 4 year old who knows things). Her adding pressure to the Kayrs Royal Family is astounding, and you know, with dead certainty, that when Dage says (something terrible) would never happen, that Zanetti will make damned sure it DOES happen. You just won’t know when. But the seeds are planted…at least, in my twisted little mind they are.

Her storytelling is impeccable. Her characters intriguing and likable. The sex is hot, the deviousness is hotter, and I just realized that Hunted came out, and Tempted, and so has Consumed. Provoked comes out November 1st, 2012. OMG, so much goodness to read!

So, if you’re looking for a hot Paranormal romance that’s written with intelligence and wiles, you want to pick up this series by Rebecca Zanetti. Excuse me while I go download her books…

~ ~ ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?