Friday, September 30, 2011

Next Up On Book Club: Sweet Justice by Christy Reece


LIVE FOR HONOR. DIE FOR LOVE.

Honor Stone is a young, idealistic FBI agent when her path collides with Seth Cavanaugh. For a girl who has never walked on the wild side, the dark and dangerous Seth is a temptation she can’t refuse. But then Seth walks out the door and out of her life. Five years later, Honor is an operative with the elite Last Chance Rescue organization and Seth is a desperate ex-cop searching for his missing niece—one of many young women who have mysteriously vanished from college campuses. Going undercover, Honor will attract the maniacal cult leader behind the kidnappings and find a way to work with Seth—while steering clear of the passion and need that’s just one touch away from explosion. Seth knows he had all the right reasons for the wrong he did five years ago. And from the moment he sees her—and takes her in his arms again—this former undercover man will risk everything for one more chance with Honor.

Join us and author Christy Reece to discuss Sweet Justice on Thursday, October 6th.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Club: Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire



By Mary Grzesik

The first time a Roxanne St. Claire book crossed my path, it was Hunt Her Down facing out in Chapters. I was curious but she was an unknown (I know, where have I been LOL).   Fast forward to the end of 2010.  Edge Of Sight (EOS) appears on the shelves & I finally decide to check out this author’s web-site. I found Taken to the Edge, the free prequel to EOS.

This intro to Samantha & Zach was so incredible. Sam, a law student, and Vivi are friends & neighbors. One night, Vivi convinces Sam to party at her place. Sam almost begs off but Vivi won’t take no for an answer. Vivi’s twin brother Zach, an Army Ranger on leave from Kuwait, ushers Sam into the party and that was it for both of them. The chemistry between them was palpable and their banter was so fun & refreshing. No one but Zach could get away with being so alpha, irreverent and charming at the same time.
Zach to the men at the party: “Put your tongues away. She’s taken.”  When Sam calls him on it, Zach says with a smile, “You heard me.”  It was like they were screaming the word at each other, so loud everything in the room silenced while they connected with one simple thought. Sex.

Vivi admitted to Zach that she knew they would spark. Sam & Zach spent three idyllic weeks together, getting to know each other in & out of bed, both of them counting down the days until Zach shipped out again. During their last few hours together, Zach is awake watching the clock count down to his departure time. He dreads letting go of Sam’s hand that he’s holding to his chest. At this point, I’m in meltdown. It’s so poignant and romantic at the same time. While starting his shower, Zach hears Sam crying and admitting her love for him. He doesn’t want to return the words to her in case he doesn’t come home and pretends he doesn’t hear her. To tell her that he loves her is a “contract” and he doesn’t want her to be lonely. Zach thinks to himself that he will make it right when he gets back. If he gets back.

I know I’m using up some of my post for the prequel. While Edge of Sight will stand on its own, the prequel adds such a rich layer to the book.

EOS picks up 3 years later. Zach did not keep in touch with Sam. Sam is bound for Harvard Law School. At her waitressing job, she witnesses a murder in the wine cellar & goes on the run. She hits her place for her laptop, phone and a wig. Though they grew apart after Zach left, Sam texts Vivi for help. Vivi texts back, telling Sam to go to her place.  Zach shows up in the dark to meet her instead. Zach comes up behind her and says, “I’d recognize that ass anywhere.” Sam says, “I guess this means you’re not dead.” Just like that they slip into the banter again.

Sam turns to look at Zach and is surprised by his scarred cheek & eye patch. She assumes that’s the reason he didn’t keep in touch.  Zach & Vivi, who is starting her own security company, protect Sam until the murderer is caught. Their days on the run are harrowing. I know this is a romantic suspense book and Roxanne writes suspense so well but what got to me was the bond between Zach & Sam.


CHAPTER 15 really shows this. I realized that even if you took away the great sex, I loved what they said & what they felt. Here are a few passages that illustrate this. You’ll have to read the book for the “good” stuff.

“You deserve better.”  And that, he knew, was the real reason he couldn’t write that fucking post card.  Even when he was whole.

 “Zach.”  She cupped his face like she had in her apartment, her warm, dry palm closing over his scar.  “I don’t want better.”

He just looked at her. 

“I want you,” she said.  “Just like you are.  You.”  She grazed the scar, threatening to slide her finger under the patch.  He tried not to flinch.  “I want that man who left me crying.  The man who talked all night and made me laugh and drove me crazy.  I want that man, no matter how he looks.  Because that man, that man you used to be and that man I know you still are, that man looks…” She lifted the patch, inched it over his forehead, slid it off his head.  “Exactly the way he’s supposed to look.”

AND:


She looked up at him, the playfulness in her eyes gone .  “I haven’t been with anyone since you left.”
His fingers stilled.  “No one?”
She shook her head. 
“What were you waiting for?”
“I was waiting for you. Even though you didn't want me to, I waited and worried and wondered.”  


AND:


He kissed her as gently as he could, trying to use his mouth against hers to say all the words she deserved to hear.  Appreciation.  Adoration.  Affection.  Love.

AND:

He fell on her, strangled for air, dripping with sweat, helpless and shameless and lost.
His face smashed against hers, his scars pressed against her creamy complexion, their joining skin soaked.

There are only a handful of books that stay in my head, my heart and still on my desk (because I can't bear to put them away). Edge of Sight is one of them. Roxanne will be visiting with us today and giving away a full set of the Guardian Angelinos trilogy - Edge of Sight, Shiver of Fear and Face of Danger. 

Here is one of Roxanne’s fave recipes:

Uncle Nino’s Comforting Chicken Cacciatore
“It’ll cure a heartache.” 
- Vivi Angelino, FACE OF DANGER, p. 372

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour for coating
1 (4 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 or 4  tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
14 oz can of Italian peeled tomatoes or equivalent amount of fresh ripe Roma tomatoes.
4 or 5 Fresh Thyme sprigs with leaves stripped off
Pinch of dried oregano
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups fresh white or Crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions
Cut chicken into 8 pieces. Salt and pepper chicken pieces and dredge in flour and sauté in well heated olive oil. (Nino says dredge immediately before sautéing... one piece at a time)  
When chicken is well browned remove from pan and set aside.
Add onions (sprinkle of salt) and a couple of minutes later add the garlic.

Sauté for a few minutes, then add pepper, tomatoes and chicken pieces, wine, thyme leaves, and oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer on medium-low for about 30 minutes and add mushrooms. Cook another 10 minutes or so and serve over pasta or with crusty bread.



Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Book and a Giveaway: GEORGIA ON MY MIND

Since Georgie Quinn’s mother died after a brief illness, the highlight of Georgie's life has become “jogger stalking” every morning with her roommates Tess and Cat. Stuck running the senior center her mother founded in Newport, RI, until a replacement director is found, Georgie dreams of returning to her glamorous life in Atlanta. As that life begins to unravel, she discovers a whole new one in Newport where the jogger turns out to be sexy detective and tree hugger Nathan Caldwell. Determined to get her mind off her many problems—including a possible threat to her own health—Georgie indulges in what she intends to be a no-holds-barred one-night stand with Nathan. Unfortunately, Nathan has other ideas and sets out to have a relationship with her. Tess, on the run from an abusive husband, and Cat, who raised her younger brother and sister, hook up with Nathan’s brothers, Ben, an injured Iraqi war veteran, and Ian, a single-father and talented musician. Add a zany cast of seniors who seem determined to drive Georgie slowly mad with their never-ending needs and comparisons to her sainted mother, and you’ve got the ingredients for a fast-paced, often comical, emotional journey that leads Georgie straight to the home of her heart.


Read an excerpt from GEORGIA ON MY MIND.


Where to find GEORGIA ON MY MIND:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
iBooks
All Romance Ebooks


I've got two copies to give away for the best story of how your life went in a direction you didn't plan, but it turned out to be the exact right thing for you! Bring it on!



Friday, September 23, 2011

Next Up On Book Club: Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire

The killer she can't escape . . .

The heartbreak she can't forget . . .

The one man who can stop them both.

When Samantha Fairchild witnesses a murder in the wine cellar of the restaurant where she works, the Harvard-bound law student becomes the next target of a professional assassin. Desperate for protection the authorities won't provide, Sam seeks help from Vivi Angelino, an investigative reporter who recruits her brother, Zach, to protect Samantha. A Special Forces vet with the scars to prove he's equally fearless and flawed, Zach takes the job, despite the fact that he and Sam once shared a lusty interlude that ended when he left for war and disappeared from her life. Now, as they crack a conspiracy that leads to Boston's darkest corners, Sam and Zach must face their fears, desires, and doubts, before a hired killer gets a second shot...

Join us on Thursday, September 29 for our discussion of Edge of Sight. Author Roxanne St. Claire will be joining us to answer questions and giving away a copy of Edge of Sight!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Club: Summer of Two Wishes by Julia London


By Aly Hackett

Whose wife was she?

Macy Lockhart's life shattered in a moment with the news that her husband, Finn--serving in the military overseas--has been killed in the line of duty.  Their ardent and devoted marriage is over, leaving Macy alone and directionless.  But while she tries to sustain herself with memories of Finn, the quiet, strong man who made her and their small Texas ranch the center of his life, it is wealthy Wyatt Clark who slowly brings joy back into her life.  Her love for Wyatt may be less romantic than the breathless passion she'd once shared with Finn, but she vows to cherish him, and their marriage is happy and solid as a rock.  Until the day that Finn, miraculously spared from death, returns home to claim his bride...

How can a woman choose between the two men she loves?  And how will she make the right choice--for herself and everyone involved?

Macy Lockhart has been heartbroken since the day two men from the Army came to tell her that her husband, Finn, was killed in action. In that moment Macy could never imagine moving on with her life. But as time passes, Macy starts to heal and opens herself up. Two years after losing Finn she marries Wyatt Clark, starts to build a foundation and is planning on starting a family. Macy certainly hasn't forgotten her first husband - and one true love - but she has survived her grief and realizes that she still has plenty of life to live.

And then the absolutely unthinkable happens. Two men from the Army once again approach Macy but this time it is to tell her that her husband is in fact alive. This is not only a shock to Macy and all those that love Finn but it creates a conflict like none other.

Macy now must make a devastating decision: decide to divorce Finn to make her marriage to Wyatt legal or request her marriage to Wyatt be declared void and stay married to Finn. How is she going to choose between her first love and the man that brought her back to life by loving her? That is the question which torments Macy for a good part of the book and tests her in a way nothing else could.

She loved two men. She loved them differently, but she loved them both nonetheless, and it left her incapable of making a decision. Or eating or sleeping, for that matter. She was paralyzed.

On one hand there is Finn. Finn kept himself alive while in captivity by remembering his life with Macy and imagining what things will be like when he gets free. Never did he imagine that when he did finally manage to escape, his wife would no longer be his wife, or his at all. So not only did Finn have to readjust after being held prisoner and learn how to cope with PTSD but the one thing he thought he could depend on - his life with Macy - is gone. His emotions are all over the place, as anyone could imagine and he's so angry at Macy for moving on without him that his pain takes on a life of its own.

Finn Lockhart, as he remembered himself, thought of himself, had ceased to exist, and now he was the guy everyone kept calling a hero. He wasn’t a hero. He was the farthest thing from a hero.

On the other hand, there's Wyatt. Wyatt, in my opinion, is in the absolute worst position of the three. There were definitely parts of this book where I wanted to smack him but who could blame him? He has the woman he wants, the woman he loves and is getting ready to start a family with her. Business is going well, life is everything he could ever want...and them WHAM!! His life is turned completely upside down.

How did a man go about handling that sort of news? He was a newlywed; he was building their life. He was embarking on a very large deal to build a destination resort and spa that would make them wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. He didn’t need this. He needed Macy, and now he didn’t even know what to expect when she came back from D.C.

I will be very honest and say I went into this book a bit skeptical because I wasn't sure that I would be happy with the ending. I am so glad that I got past my skepticism because not only am I happy with how it ended but with the book as a whole.

But aside from the absolutely heart wrenching story line this book is made with its characters. At some point during the story I loathed almost every single character! LOL! No, really, I did! This is a very tough situation for everyone involved and they all make some choices that are emotional rather than rational. And despite my loathing, Julia London makes me understand why every single one of them behaves in the manner in which they do and makes me love them again :)

In the end, Summer of Two Wishes is an emotional story that has some fabulous characters and definitely makes you want to see what is going to happen next in Cedar Springs.

Thanks to Julia for stopping in today to visit with us!  We are thrilled to have you here!

By now we all know that I am not a cook!  Bake, yes.  Cook, HELL NO :)  But here is a crock pot recipe that my kids love!

Slow Cooker Pork Chops 
From allrecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/pork-chops-for-the-slow-cooker/Detail.aspx)

Ingredients
6 boneless pork chops
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Place pork chops in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over pork chops.
Cook on Low setting for 6 hours, until internal temperature of pork has reached 160 degrees F

And for something a little more *me*

Apple Orchard Cake
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 apples – peeled and diced
½ cup butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
¾ cups walnuts (optional)

Mix sugar, margarine and eggs in bowl. Stir in graham cracker crumbs, apples and nuts until blended. Spread batter into greased 8x8 pan. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Next Up On Book Club: Summer of Two Wishes by Julia London


Whose wife was she?

Macy Lockhart's life shattered in a moment with the news that her husband, Finn--serving in the military overseas--has been killed in the line of duty.  Their ardent and devoted marriage is over, leaving Macy alone and directionless.  But while she tries to sustain herself with memories of Finn, the quiet, strong man who made her and their small Texas ranch the center of his life, it is wealthy Wyatt Clark who slowly brings joy back into her life.  Her love for Wyatt may be less romantic than the breathless passion she'd once shared with Finn, but she vows to cherish him, and their marriage is happy and solid as a rock.  Until the day that Finn, miraculously spared from death, returns home to claim his bride...

How can a woman choose between the two men she loves?  And how will she make the right choice--for herself and everyone involved?

Join us on Thursday, September 22 for our discussion of Summer of Two Wishes.  Author Julia London will be joining us to answer questions!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Club: With No Remorse by Cindy Gerard


By: Brooke Hren

Black Ops, Inc. operative Luke – Doc Holliday – Colter is taking some much needed down-time, making his way across the Peruvian Andes via rail, when banditos attack the moving train in the midnight hours.  It soon becomes apparent that robbery is not their intent but the abduction of super model Valentina, who is traveling incognito while recovering from a public scandal involving her ex-husband, high profile US Senator, Marcus Chamberlin.  Luke whisks Valentina off the train in a daring escape but the two of them become the targets of a relentless manhunt.  Enlisting the aid of Luke's BOI teammates, they soon discover that Val’s intended abduction is linked to a plot put in play by an international gun smuggling alliance.  The BOI team led by Luke, with Val along as a necessary pawn, must race halfway around the world to thwart a ruthless attack that would not only result in a devastating loss of life but destroy a tenuous peace the US and her allies have established in a vastly unstable part of the world.

This was my first book I'd read in the Black Ops Series and I admit to downloading the rest to my Nook by the end of the day.  

“Luke Colter’s number one rule of self preservation: Don’t ignore the itch.” 

With No Remorse starts with a bang and keeps on going.  It begins with both characters on a train traveling thru the Andes Mountains of Peru.  Luke is returning from vacation when his train is stopped and group of heavily armed men storm the train.  It looks like a robbery but Luke quickly realizes it's an attempted abduction and Luke flees with the young boy the bad guys are after.  Oh, but the young boy turns out to be Luke's adolescent crush, Valentina.  Valentina, or Val, is also on her way back to the states after taking some time off to escape the media circus that her life had become.  

I have to admit that I've had a long time crush on Harrison Ford and to have Luke referred to as "Indy" and the mention of the fedora, *swoon*.  I really liked Luke.  Not having read any of the previous books it was my first time getting to know him.  I'd like to gush over Luke like he was gushing over Val.  He's my ideal military hero; he's strong, funny, and a little tortured by his past, but a good woman helps him through it.   
I also liked Val- most of the time.  But I understand where she's coming from.  She's a woman who wants to stand on her own feet after feeling like she's had no control over her life for a long time.  And having her marriage end the way it had didn't help her either.  She did pull herself up when Luke needed her and followed his directives.  I did want to go "Why?!" when she called her ex-husband for help when Luke stepped out.

I was thrilled when the rest of the Black Ops team showed up as well.  I was drawn right into their tight family and didn't feel like anyone was a stranger.  Their joking back and forth made me laugh out loud several times.  Val summed it up best when she thought, 

Good Lord. Doesn’t Luke have any ugly friends?

The sub-plot weaved in very nicely and didn't overshadow the growing relationship of Luke and Val; it enhanced it.  There were times that the hesitation between Luke and Val drove me crazy.  They each had their own hangups but Luke's strong but gentle personality was just what Val needed.  His knowledge of her from entertainment magazines worked for me and brought tension relief at times.  The Epilogue brought everything together for me and it was nice to see Luke and Val in a everyday setting.  After all, they "had me at potato."

Overall it was a wonderful book and I will definitely be checking out the rest of the Black Ops series.  Cindy Gerard grabs you right from the beginning and holds you until the very end.  

Thanks to Cindy for joining us today and don't forget to comment!  Cindy will be giving away 2 copies of With No Remorse!!

*RECIPE*

Potato Soup
(my grandmothers recipe)

Val and Luke spend some quality time with potatoes so I thought this was appropriate.

Ingredients
10 whole Potatoes
1 whole Onion, Diced
8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
1 can Cream Of Celery Soup (10 Ounce Can)
1 can Cream Of Mushroom Soup (10 Ounce Can)
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoons Pepper
Milk (optional, For Desired Thickness)
1 bunch Green Onions (diced, For Garnish, If Desired)
1 cup Cheddar Cheese (shredded, For Garnish, If Desired)

Preparation Instructions
Peel and dice Russet potatoes into 1-inch cubes and place into a Dutch oven or a large saucepan. Cover with water and boil potatoes and onions til fork-tender. Add cubes of cream cheese to the mixture and stir until the cheese melts. To this mixture, add creamy soups and mix. Add garlic powder, salt, pepper, and milk (if desired).  Serve up the bowls, and garnish with cheddar cheese and green onion.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Book to Give Away: Signed Copy of SNAPPED by Laura Griffin

My friend Laura Griffin sent me a signed copy of her latest release, SNAPPED, to give away to one lucky commenter today.

Here's a brief summary of the book:

SOPHIE BARRETT THINKS SHE’S LUCKY TO BE ALIVE. SHE MAY BE DEAD WRONG.
On a sweltering summer afternoon, Sophie Barrett walks into a nightmare. A sniper has opened fire on a college campus. When the carnage is over, three people—plus the shooter—are dead and dozens more are injured. Sophie escapes virtually unscathed. Yet as details emerge from the investigation, she becomes convinced that this wasn’t the random, senseless act it appeared to be. No one wants to believe her—not the cops, not her colleagues at the Delphi Center crime lab, and definitely not Jonah Macon, the homicide detective who’s already saved her life once.

Jonah has all kinds of reasons for hoping Sophie is mistaken. Involving himself with a key witness could derail an already messy investigation, not to mention jeopardize his career. But Sophie is as determined and fearless as she is sexy. If he can’t resist her, he can at least swear to protect her. Because if Sophie is right, she’s made herself the target of a killer without a conscience. And the real terror is only just beginning. . . .

To be entered into today's drawing, tell me what makes your heart beat fast when reading suspense. Drawing is open until noon EDT on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Next Up on Book Club: With No Remorse by Cindy Gerard

His quiet vacation in the Peruvian Andes turns deadly when a Black Ops, Inc. operative rescues a stunning stranger from a mysterious train robbery and discovers she’s the target of a vengeful manhunt.

A DANGEROUS MAN
For Luke Colter, down time is an illusion. He should know better than to ever leave his gun behind. Especially since he risks his life to save world-famous supermodel Valentina.
A REBELLIOUS WOMAN
Val thought traveling incognito through the mountains would be the perfect cure for her bruised heart . . . until someone tries to kill her. Without knowing who is after her—and why—does she dare trust her irresistible protector?
A PERILOUS MISSION THAT COULD SEAL THEIR FATE
Luke’s elite military training offers little defense against his feelings for Val. When his BOI team links her ruthless enemy to the cutthroat global weapons trade—and to a man from her troubled past—he’ll do anything to save her.  So when Val offers herself as bait, will he make the right call . . . or surrender to the hold she has on his heart?

Join us on Thursday, September 15 for a discussion on With No Remorse.  Author Cindy Gerard will be joining us to answer questions!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Club: Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas


By: Kara Conrad

Welcome to Harmony
Population: LOTS of unforgettable characters
SYNOPSIS from Jodi Thomas’s website: Sixteen-year-old runaway Reagan has always wanted a place to belong. She's never had a real home of her own, but perhaps she could borrow someone else's. Under an assumed name and identity, she moves to Harmony, Texas, but keeps her distance from the welcoming townsfolk. Until prairie fires threaten Harmony-and Reagan learns the true meaning of family, friends, and home.

When you first enter the town, you’re sure to see people that remind you of someone you’d like to meet, maybe even someone you’ve known your entire life. You will meet young children who can teach us all something about life, teenagers from the local high school, including a rising rodeo star, slightly (maybe slightly more than slightly?) eccentric old folks, some quite cheerful, others down-right cranky. As Alex thinks about Jeremiah, “He’d been old her whole life.” Don’t we all know someone who fits that bill? And I guess that’s the thing about Welcome to Harmony; there is an entire cast of characters the reader will recognize. There are people who may appear one way on the surface, but not too far below that surface have several layers most never get to see. Thanks to the brilliant writing of Jodi Thomas, we do.

If you like romance (and of course we all do), then there is something for you in this book. In fact, there is more than ONE love story for you. I dare you to read the scene when we first meet Alex and Hank and NOT be intrigued by their relationship. We’ve talked before about those books set in small towns, and have featured some of them here at the club. This book has that too, which adds so much depth to the story. By the time you finish, you will feel not only like you KNOW these people, but that you can’t wait to learn more. Lucky for all of us, this book is the first in a series! There’s also suspense and a mystery to solve. This book has it all!

I really enjoy at least a bit of comedy in the stories I read, maybe even a laugh out loud moment or two. How about Jeremiah, the old man we hope will take Reagan in and give her a real home? One of his many, memorable lines is, “I welcome company about the same as I do black mold.” J But this book also offers much more serious, deeper emotional scenes. For instance, on the same page Jeremiah declares his ‘fondness’ for visitors, Reagan describes what she calls reverse wishing. At sixteen, she has learned “I don’t wish for good things to happen, I just wish the bad things would leave me alone for a while.” That line stuck with me, as I know that to be the truth for many children.

If you’ve read the book already, then you know what I’m saying is true, and I’m looking forward to finding out your favorite characters and storylines from Harmony. If you haven’t read this book, believe me when I say, this little write up barely scratches the surface of all you’ll find within its pages.  And yes, I’m a bit biased as I’m currently in my third reading of this book, but I’m not alone in my praise for it. Welcome to Harmony has received many fantastic reviews and is a 2011 RITA winner! The second book in the series is Somewhere Along the Way and is already out in bookstores. The next book, The Comforts of Home, is due to be released November 1!

And finally, this is how I know Jodi Thomas is a writer for me (and anyone who knows me will get this): not only is she an amazing story teller, but right there on page 72 of Welcome to Harmony, Tyler stops by SONIC!  Jodi doesn’t mention the drink he orders, but I’m quite certain it is a Coke, extra ice. J

Jodi is scheduled to visit with us today, so ask your questions! Also, for my own benefit, let’s talk favorite characters, lines, etc. I will be dropping by as often as I can, but don’t let my absence slow you down. Step right up, start the party, and WELCOME TO HARMONY!

While I fully recommend a trip to Sonic, a la Tyler (p. 72), it is the tradition of book club to include recipes with our book talks. Since they are served up here by yours truly, you know it can’t get any easier than this. You cooker ladies keep you laughter to a minimum.
Certain to be hits at the Blue Moon Diner:
Chili Cheese Fries
Ingredients:
1 (32 ounce) package French fries
1 (8 ounce) bag shredded Colby jack cheese
1 (15 ounce) can chili with no beans
2 green onions (sliced)

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat French fries according to package directions. Drain on paper towels.  In a medium sauce pan over medium heat the chili until it is heated through.
Step 2: Arrange fries on the bottom of an oven safe dish. Top with chili, then shredded Colby jack cheese, and finally green onions. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese has melted (can also be done in the microwave on plates).


Blueberry Crumb Pie

Yield: 8 servings
1 c Sugar
• 8 oz Commercial sour cream
• 3 tbsp All-purpose flour
• 1/8 tsp Salt
• 4 c Fresh blueberries
• 1 Unbaked 9-inch pastry shell
• 1 tbsp Sugar
• 1/4 c Dried breadcrumbs; fine
• 1 tbsp Sugar
• 1 tbsp Butter or margarine; melted

Combine first 4 ingredients; stir well. Place blueberries in unbaked pastry shell; sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over berries. Spread sour cream mixture over berries. Combine breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon sugar, and butter; sprinkle over top. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until center is firm. Yield: one 9-inch pie.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fatal Wedding Grand Prize Winners!

Before I announce the grand prize winners, a reminder to the 14-day winners. Some of these prizes are still unclaimed, so if you see your name, drop me an email at marie@marieforce.com. I've tried to notify everyone who gave email addresses, but some winners did not provide emails.

Here they are again:

Day 1: Stacey @ 9:53: $25 Amazon Gift Card

Day 2: Lisa Fillipe: $25 B&N Gift Card

Day 3: Alison Peterson: $25 to 1-800-FLOWERS

Day 4: Monika Michalek: $25 to Abercrombie & Fitch

Day 5: Catherine Bice: $25 to Amazon

Day 6: Anne Woodall: $25 to Zappos

Day 7: Jackie Conlon: Signed copy of Fatal Affair

Day 8: Stephanie JS: $25 to Amazon

Day 9: Lisa B: $25 to B&N

Day 10: Sarah (at 9:54 pm): $25 to Godiva

Day 11: Donna (@ 4:55 pm): $25 to Godiva

Day 12: Fedora: $30 to iTunes

Day 13: Jackie0668: $50 to the charity of her choice

Day 14: Hope Frost: Signed copy of Fatal Affair

And the GRAND PRIZES go to:

Kindle or Nook (or $100 to Amazon or BN if you already have one): Danielle West

Advance Fatal Books for the Life of the Series: Michelle McGinty

THANK YOU all once again for the wonderful show of support for Sam & Nick's wedding. I hope you're all enjoying Fatal Destiny. I apologize to Kindle users for the pricing snafu at Amazon. With everyone at Harlequin off for the holiday, I can't do anything about it today. Hopefully, we can get it resolved tomorrow and everyone will get their dollar back! Sony and Kobo users who've reported they can't find the book, you can get it at AllRomanceEbooks.com or Carina Press. I will also ask Harlequin to check on those two platforms. 

Going to the Chapel, and We're Gonna Get Married....

The big day is finally upon us! The Fatal Series wedding novella, Fatal Destiny, is available for free today, everywhere ebooks are sold! I thought it would be fun to list all the wedding details in one central spot to refresh your memory on what you chose for Sam and Nick.

First, a little about Fatal Destiny: 
With the week of their wedding finally upon them, Washington, D.C., Police Lieutenant Sam Holland and her fiancé, Senator Nick Cappuano, are at odds. In the aftermath of a tragic loss, they struggle to reconnect as the big day draws near, but their work keeps pulling them apart. When a new clue into a cold case surfaces, Nick asks Sam not to take any foolish chances before the wedding and to leave it alone for the time being. Sam agrees, but she can't let it go entirely and winds up trapped in an explosive situation. Then an unwelcome visitor from her past threatens her future happiness… With trouble at every turn, will Sam survive long enough to walk down the aisle?

And now for another look at the wedding of the year:

The Church
St. John's, the "Church of the Presidents," in Washington, D.C.


The Reception
The Hay Adams Hotel, Washington, D.C.



Invitations


Bridesmaid Dresses


Flowers






Nick's Suit


Don't be mad at me because I referred to a bowtie in the book. Woops!

Sam's Dress


Sam's Shoes


Sam's Hair


Nick's Ring


Sam's Ring


The Cake


The Groom's Cake


First Dance


Thank You For Loving Me, Bon Jovi

Wedding Favors
A Donation To:


Honeymoon






Thanks again for making the wedding planning so fun! 
Sam and Nick are eternally grateful for your good taste!




Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fatal Wedding Big Reveal Day 14: Honeymoon!


**Make sure to check the sidebar to see if you've won any of the random prizes over the last 14 days!**

Sam and Nick are finally getting a week off together—granted, they had to get married to make it happen! We need to send this special couple to a place where they can recharge, regroup and reconnect after some crazy months. I'll let the photos do the talking... Remember to comment to be entered into the grand prize drawing for one of two prizes: A Kindle or a Nook (or $100 to Amazon or B&N if you already own a device) OR advance Fatal Books for the life of the series. Be the very first to know what's up next for Sam and Nick!

Honeymoon Destination 1
The St. Regis Bora Bora Hotel, Tahiti, French Polynesia





Honeymoon Destination 2




Honeymoon Destination 3
Paradise Island Resort & Spa, Maldives Islands, Indian Ocean




And the winner is....

Number 1: Bora Bora!

Phew! Well, that does it for the Fatal Wedding planning. I hope you've all had as much fun as I have planning Washington's Wedding of the Year. Sam and Nick asked me to tell you how very much they appreciate your input to their big day and how very much we ALL appreciate your enjoyment of their ongoing story. We'll release the results of your choices TOMORROW in the FREE Fatal wedding novella, Fatal Destiny.

Another very special thank you my dear friends Alyson Hackett and Ronlyn Howe, who came up with all the beautiful choices for Sam and Nick. About five minutes after I had the big idea to involve readers in Sam and Nick's wedding, it dawned on me that it would be an enormous amount of work to put together the variety of choices we've given you over the last 14 days. Aly and Ronlyn LITERALLY saved my life (and saved Sam and Nick's wedding) by stepping up to the plate and hitting a grand slam. Thank you both so much!

Okay, watch for two posts tomorrow. The first will put the whole thing together in one place, with all your winning choices highlighted. The second will reveal the two winners of the grand prizes.

For today's last prize, I'm offering another signed copy of the print version of Fatal Affair, the story that started the series. Comment here on the blog to be entered into the drawing.

Thank you all for making this so much fun! I really hope you enjoy Fatal Destiny!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fatal Wedding Big Reveal Day 13: Wedding Favors


Sam and Nick want to thank you for helping to plan their wedding! They've given a lot of thought to a gift they could give their guests to remember their special day. In the course of their work as a police officer and as a U.S. senator, they see a lot of need in their local community. So in lieu of favors, they are going to make a donation in the name of each wedding guest to one of their three favorite charities. Nick left it up to Sam to decide what three charities to offer as choices, and she chose three organizations near and dear to her:

Charitable Organization 1

Washington D.C. Police Foundation

The Washington DC Police Foundation is a group of Washington area business and civic leaders who work with the D.C. Police Chief to promote better public safety across the District of Columbia.

The DC Police Foundation was formed in 2000 by Washington area business and civic leaders under the aegis of the Federal City Council to generate resources to support crime prevention programs and programs for at-risk youth.

The Washington DC Police Foundation works to support key unmet public safety needs identified by the Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department and other public safety leaders in the District of Columbia. We do this by giving support to MPD and by engaging directly on public safety policy initiatives in the city.

The Foundation relies on financial support and in-kind resources from our members who include the business and professional community, retailers, faith-based leaders, civic leaders, philanthropic foundations, and individuals who are interested in improving public safety in our Nation’s Capital.

Charitable Organization 2

Big Brothers Big Sisters National Capital Area

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the National Capital Area is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of children through professionally supported long-term, One-To-One® mentoring relationships with carefully screened, caring and committed adults in Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is the oldest, largest and most effective youth mentoring organization in the Washington Region. We are the leader in One-To-One youth mentoring services. We develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of young people. Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors children ages 6 through 18 in our community.

Charitable Organization 3

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

The Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) offer resources on spinal cord injury, paralysis and mobility related disabilities.

And the winner is...

Number 3! 

I was so glad you all chose that one in loving tribute to Sam's paralyzed father. In honor of all of you today, I'll make a $50 donation to the charity of the winner's choice in the winner's name, so go forth and comment on today's Big Reveal!

One more day, and then it all comes to fruition in Fatal Destiny! I posted a new excerpt on my Facebook fan page last night. "Like" the page and click on "Exclusive Fan Zone" for a little taste of what's to come in Destiny!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fatal Wedding Big Reveal Day 12: The First Dance


Here's what I said about this one in February: Those of you who've read Fatal Justice may have a "leg up" so to speak when it comes to choosing the first song Sam and Nick will dance to as husband and wife. If you want to know Sam's favorite, hurry up and read Fatal Justice! :-) I love that Ronlyn and Aly included Bless the Broken Road, which is one of my favorites, and they didn't even know that! Which one will I vote for? My favorite or Sam's? Hmmmm....

Here are our choices:

Song 1: At Last, Etta James 

Song 2: Thank You For Loving Me, Bon Jovi

Song 3: Bless the Broken Road, Rascal Flatts

And the winner is (as if there was ever any question):

Number 2!!!!

While I managed to work one of the other songs into the story, I really love the first-dance scene in Fatal Destiny! Can't wait for you guys to read it on MONDAY! In case you missed it yesterday, the novella is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the Carina Press site. 

Today's drawing is a $30 gift card to i-Tunes, so go forth and comment on Sam & Nick's first dance!

Next Up On Book Club: Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas



Sixteen-year-old runaway Reagan has always wanted a place to belong. She's never had a real home of her own, but perhaps she could borrow someone else's. Under an assumed name and identity, she moves to Harmony, Texas, but keeps her distance from the welcoming townsfolk. Until prairie fires threaten Harmony-and Reagan learns the true meaning of family, friends, and home.

Join us on Thursday, September 8 for a discussion of Welcome to Harmony.  Author Jodi Thomas will be joining us :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Book Club: Fade to Black by Leslie Parrish


By: Shelly Estes

Formerly an investigator in the  FBI’s violent crimes unit, Special Agent Dean Taggert knows the vicious nature of some people.  He is now a member of the Black CATs – a cyber crimes unit headed up by Wyatt Blackstone. The unit has just discovered online video of vicious murders committed by The Reaper, who sells his murders in an online world called Satan’s Playground.  One of the victims resembles a missing person case in Hope Valley, Virginia.  Dean and Wyatt travel to Hope Valley to meet with the local sheriff,  Stacey Rhodes, who took over for her father when he retired.  She is still reeling from being a Virginia State Police first responder to the violence of the Virginia Tech killing spree.  All she wants is a nice, quiet, non-violent life.  Her cozy life is turned upside when she identifies the first Reaper victim as a local girl named Lisa Zimmerman, who has been missing for more than a year.  She agrees to help the FBI unit with their investigation.  She and Dean also share an instant attraction to each other.  Stacey is willing to have a physical relationship with Dean, but doesn’t want to get too involved because it would mean opening up her feelings to pain and sorrow. Dean is willing to try a physical relationship because he has been celibate since his divorce 10 months prior.  He was thinking more along the lines of a bar hook-up, but when Stacey proposes that they hookup, he’s all for it!

While Dean & Stacey plan to get together after a day of searching for Lisa’s remains, which Stacey is sure are near town based onthe video, a horrible surprise is left on her front porch.  She arrives home to find the body of her dad’s dog on the porch, and the word Bitch written in the dogs blood on her doormat.  While she is cleaning up the carnage,Dean arrives for their rendezvous.  He takes over the cleanup, and encourages Stacey to go inside and shower.  When he’s done and comes inside to check on her, Stacey invites him join her, resulting in one really steamy shower!  Later, she overhears Dean having a goodnight talk with his young son, and realizes he is someone she could fall for, even though she doesn’t want to.

While continuing to investigate the Reaper murders,several of the townies are considered suspects, and in the process of elimination they almost accidently stumble on the Reaper and his currentvictim.  The Reaper escapes capture by hanging himself for the Satan’s Playground audience.  Once the investigation is over, Dean has no reason to stay in Hope Valley, and Stacey must decide if she is willing to risk her heart.

I really liked this book, except for the killing of the dog :o).  The attraction between Dean & Stacey was believable and well thought out.  There was some humor and lightheartedness, even in the midst of the murder investigation.  I love the part where Stacey turned Dean onto Chuckie Cheese for his son – and Dean had the thought that if he never saw that big singing rat again, he’d be happy!!
My office mate gave me the second recipe – when you see the first one you’ll know why!

Pizza
Preheat oven to 400
Open box, place frozen pizza on pizza pan
Bake until golden brown.
Slice and enjoy with your favorite beverage

Pasta Carbonara with Bacon
6 oz uncooked fettuccine or spaghetti
4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces (1/4 lb)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 egg
¾ cup milk
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
¾ cup chopped plum (Roma) tomato (1 medium)
½ cup thinly sliced green onions (8 medium)
1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Greek Fat Free plain yogurt

1)      Cook and drainfettuccine as directed on package. In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon and garlicuntil crisp. Drain; remove from skillet, and set aside.
2)      In small bowl,slightly beat egg. Beat in milk, Parmesan cheese and pepper. Place cookedfettuccine in skillet. Add milk mixture, spinach, tomato and green onions.Cover; cook about 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, untilspinach is tender.
3)      Stir in yogurt;cook over low heat just until heated through.

Serve with additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese andfreshly ground black pepper.

Leslie will be dropping in to say hi and answer questions.  She will also be giving away the next two books in this series - Pitch Black and Black at Heart.