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text 2016-05-02 15:45
Live: A Burnside Novel by Mary Ann Rivers 99 cents 5 Star Read!
Live - Mary Ann Rivers

f there’s an upside to unemployment, Destiny Burnside may have found it. Job searching at her local library in Lakefield, Ohio, gives her plenty of time to ogle the hottest man she has ever laid eyes on: the sexy wood-carver who’s restoring the building. But as the rejection letters pile up, Destiny finds an unexpected shoulder to cry on. With his rich Welsh accent, Hefin Thomas stirs Destiny so completely that, even though he’s leaving soon, she lets herself believe the memory of his scorching kisses will be enough.
Hefin can’t help but notice the slender, confident woman with ginger hair who returns each day, so hopeful and determined. So when the tears start to fall, his silence—penance for a failed marriage—finally cracks. Once he’s touched her, what Hefin wants is to take her back to Wales and hold her forever. But Destiny’s roots run too deep. What they both need is each other—to learn how to live and love again.

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text 2016-01-22 15:38
Most Popular Pinterest Boards and Pin Ups 2015
The Story Guy - Mary Ann Rivers
Talk Sweetly to Me (The Brothers Sinister) (Volume 5) - Courtney Milan
Simple Jess - Pamela Morsi
His Road Home - Anna Richland
Never a Gentleman (The Drake's Rakes series) by Dreyer, Eileen (April 1, 2011) Mass Market Paperback - Eileen Dreyer
The Beast In Him (The Pride Series) by Laurenston, Shelly (2014) Mass Market Paperback - Shelly Laurenston
The Chocolate Kiss - Laura Florand
Beast - Judith Ivory
Once a Pirate - Susan Grant
Neanderthal Seeks Human - Penny Reid

For most of us Pinterest is a rabbit hole of joy and putting off any kind of work.


I try to help with that by gathering all the Romance Books under a single theme and images to match.


Here are the most popular of my Pinterest Boards and Images of the year.


1. Dirty Talker 


My favorite book in this theme is The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers 


I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only.


Carrie West is happy with her life . . . isn’t she? But when she sees this provocative online ad, the thirtysomething librarian can’t help but be tempted. After all, the photo of the anonymous poster is far too attractive to ignore. And when Wednesday finally arrives, it brings a first kiss that’s hotter than any she’s ever imagined. Brian Newburgh is an attorney, but there’s more to his life . . . that he won't share with Carrie. Determined to have more than just Wednesdays, Carrie embarks on a quest to learn Brian’s story, certain that he will be worth the cost. But is she ready to gamble her heart on a man who just might be The One . . . even though she has no idea how their love story will end?





2. Interracial Romance Novels


My favorite book in this theme is Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan


Nobody knows who Miss Rose Sweetly is, and she prefers it that way. She’s a shy, mathematically-minded shopkeeper’s daughter who dreams of the stars. Women like her only ever come to attention through scandal. She’ll take obscurity, thank you very much.


All of England knows who Stephen Shaughnessy is. He’s an infamous advice columnist and a known rake. When he moves into the house next door to Rose, she discovers that he’s also wickedly funny, devilishly flirtatious, and heart-stoppingly handsome. But when he takes an interest in her mathematical work, she realizes that Mr. Shaughnessy isn’t just a scandal waiting to happen. He’s waiting to happen to her…and if she’s not careful, she’ll give in to certain ruination.



3. Disabled Heroes of Romance


My favorite book in this theme is Simple Jess by  Pamela Morsi


Jesse Best is a simple man with simple ambitions, his own dog, his own gun and a woman. In this very special return to Marrying Stone, Jesse gets his chance at all three.

Althea Winsloe is a widow with a son. All she wants is to give her boy a better childhood than her own. But a young woman sitting on a prime piece of farmland is bound to draw attention from her envious neighbors and swains on every side. Interfering relatives and the confession of an illicit kiss force her to make her choice of a new husband by Christmas Day.


Chock full of Ozarks vocabulary, mountain culture and characters that you are sure you know, Simple Jess is a unique and beloved romance novel that no reader should miss.


4. Pretend: Romances where the relationship starts as a fake dating, marriage or engagement.


My favorite book in this theme is His Road Home by Anna Richland


Special Forces medic Rey Cruz needs to find a fiancée, fast, or he'll end up in a marriage orchestrated by an Afghan warlord. Finding a picture online of a girl he barely knew back home, he fakes an engagement photo, thinking no one else will see it. But when Rey loses both legs and the ability to speak while rescuing a local boy, the image goes viral.

Seattle marine biologist Grace Kim is shocked to find out she's engaged. When she's offered a plane ticket to visit her "fiancé," she takes it, looking for the answer to one question: Why did he lie? Touched by Rey's funny texts and the determination she sees in him, Grace offers her friendship—a big step for someone who prefers whales to most company.


And when Rey is finally sent home, Grace agrees to help him drive his classic car cross-country over Thanksgiving—a once-in-a-lifetime road trip that leads to what feels like real love. In front of his friends and family, she plays the caring fiancée, but what place will Grace have in Rey's new life once he's ready to be on his own again?



5. Disabled Heroines of Romance


My favorite book in this theme is Never a Gentleman by Eileen Dreyer




Miss Grace Fairchild is under no illusions about her charms. Painfully plain, she is a soldier's daughter who has spent her life being useful, not learning the treacherous ways of the ton. She may have been caught in a scandal with society's favorite rogue, but how can she marry him when it means losing herself?




Diccan Hilliard doesn't know which of his enemies drugged him and dumped him in Grace's bed, but he does know the outcome. He and Grace must marry. To his surprise, a wild, heady passion flares between them. Yet Diccan is trapped in a deadly game of intrigue Grace knows nothing about. Will his lies destroy Grace just as he realizes how desperately he needs her? And how can he hope for a future with her, when an old enemy has set his murderous sights on them both?





6. Storytime: Fairytale Retelling Romance Novels or with Fairytale Creatures.


My favorite book in this theme is The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand


Welcome to La Maison des Sorcieres. Where the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets, a collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitués nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china. While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolat chaud.


But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonais, who has the gall to open one of his world famous pastry shops right down the street. Philippe's creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine, and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste. . .a kiss.


Parisian princesses, chocolate witches, pâtissier princes and sweet wishes--an enchanting tale of amour et chocolat.



7. Geeky Heroines of Romance


My favorite book in this theme is The Beast In Him by Shelly Laurenston


Some things are so worth waiting for. Like the moment when Jessica Ward "accidentally" bumps into heartthrob Bobby Ray Smith and shows him just how far she's come since high school. Back then, Jess turned to jelly any time Smitty got near her. Some things haven't changed. Except now Jess is a success on her own terms. And she can enjoy a romp--or twenty--with a big, bad wolf and walk away. Easy.


The sexy, polished CEO who hires Smitty's security firm might be a million miles from the lovable geek he knew, but her kiss, her touch, is every bit as hot as he imagined. Jess was never the kind to ask for help, and she doesn't want it now--but someone is targeting her Pack. And Smitty's not going to turn tail and run. Not before proving that their sheet-scorching animal lust is only the start of something even wilder. . .



8. Turn of the Century Romance


My favorite book in this theme is Beast by Judith Ivory


An exquisite American heiress, Louise Vandermeer is beautiful, brilliant. . . and bored-which is why she has agreed to a daring adventure: to travel across the ocean to marry an aristocrat abroad. Rumor has it her intended is a hideous cad-a grim prospect that propels her into a passionate, reckless affair with a compelling stranger she never sees in the light of day.


Though scarred by a childhood illness, Charles d'Harcourt has successfully wooed Europe's most sophisticated beauties. For a lark, he contrived to travel incognito on his own fiancee's ship-and seduce the young chit in utter darkness. But the rake's prank backfired. It was he who was smitten-while the hot-tempered Lulu, now his wife, loves only her shipboard lover, unaware it was d'Harcourt all the time! And Charles will never have her heart-unless he can open her eyes to the prince who hides within.



9. Oops! Unplanned Pregnancy


My favorite book in this theme is Once a Pirate by Susan Grant


Fighter pilot Lieutenant Carly Callahan was ready for a much-deserved break as soon as her latest mission was complete. She just never envisioned that taking time to sort out her life meant going back in time! But when her F-18 goes down in the ocean during a storm, reality, logic, and time become a tangled mess. Now she’s stranded on a pirate ship in the year 1821 with a man who believes she is a blue-blooded Englishwoman, one worthy of a pirate’s ransom plan.


Captain Andrew Spencer planned on extracting revenge from the man who ruined his life…and the heiress he’s taken aboard ship is precisely the way to do it. Except, the strangely garbed, half-drowned blonde hoisted onto his deck not only refuses to admit she’s his highborn target, she claims to be from another century entirely. Nonsense! Or is it? The more time he spends with her the more he wants to believe, for her talk of flying machines combined with her bravery and fire is enough to melt his cold heart and reconsider his plans. But with enemies closing in all around them, a deadly, desperate scheme may be the only way to save Carly and fulfill their dream of a life together …if they can find each other again through time.





10. Boss: Romance Novel Style


My favorite book in this theme is Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid


There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.


After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can't refuse.





Do you have favorite books in these themes? Let me know!


Also, great images to match? Gimme! 

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text 2016-01-13 17:00
The Best Romance Short Story/Novella of 2015
The Maid's Quarters - Holly Bush
Dragos Goes to Washington (Elder Races) - Thea Harrison
Hades: A Demonica Novella - Larissa Ione
My Only Sunshine: A Burnside Novella (The Burnside Series) - Mary Ann Rivers
Ice Planet Holiday: A SciFi Holiday Alien Romance (Ice Planet Barbarians Book 5) - Ruby Dixon
Bear Attraction - Jennifer Ashley
Homecoming - Beverly Jenkins
Magic Gifts: A Kate Daniels Novella - Ilona Andrews
Numb (Terran Times Second Wave Book 20) - Viola Grace
Harlot - Victoria Dahl

Even when I am too busy to read, I make time of Romance Novellas. 


Here are my The Best Romance Short Story/Novella of 2015.


My lists are never in any particular order because .... lazy cat... 



1. The Maid's Quarters (Crawford Family, #2.5) by Holly Bush


1893 . . . Alice Porterman is released from her duties as a maid and travels home to help her mother care for her sickly brother. But her mother and brother are not in their family home when Alice arrives and she learns the landlord, Albert Donahue, has evicted them into the harsh Boston winter. Alice goes in search of him and is surprised at what she finds.

Albert Donahue, an up-and-coming member of Boston’s elite, made his fortune through hard work and shrewd business deals. But his dreams of a family to share it with have not come true, perhaps until an impertinent young woman enters his home and won’t leave until she speaks to him.


2. Dragos Goes to Washington (Elder Races, #8.5)by Thea Harrison


Dragos Cuelebre, Lord of the Wyr, needs to throw a party without maiming anyone. That isn’t exactly as easy as it might sound. After the destructive events of the last eighteen months, the Elder Races are heading to Washington D.C. to foster peace with humankind. Not known for his diplomacy skills, Dragos must rely on his mate Pia to help navigate a battlefield of words and polite smiles rather than claws. With Dragos’s mating instinct riding close to the surface, his temper is more volatile than ever and the threat of violence hovers in the air. Then the human spouse of a prominent politician winds up murdered and Dragos and Pia must race against time to hunt down those behind it before they are held responsible for the crime.


3. Hades by Larissa Ione


fallen angel with a mean streak and a mohawk, Hades has spent thousands of years serving as Jailor of the Underworld. The souls he guards are as evil as they come, but few dare to cross him. All of that changes when a sexy fallen angel infiltrates his prison and unintentionally starts a riot. It’s easy enough to quell an uprising, but for the first time, Hades is torn between delivering justice — or bestowing mercy — on the beautiful female who could be his salvation…or his undoing.

Thanks to her unwitting participation in another angel’s plot to start Armageddon, Cataclysm was kicked out of Heaven and is now a fallen angel in service of Hades’s boss, Azagoth. All she wants is to redeem herself and get back where she belongs. But when she gets trapped in Hades’s prison domain with only the cocky but irresistible Hades to help her, Cat finds that where she belongs might be in the place she least expected…


4. My Only Sunshine by Mary Ann Rivers 


John Lake owes his label an album—and has for months. Alone in his farmhouse studio outside of Lakefield, Ohio, he hears the music, but he won’t write it down. All the songs remind him of her.

Fifteen years ago, Mallory Evans was a fairy-haired warrior-poet. John couldn’t figure out why no one in high school noticed. He noticed, and he came to her window every evening before darkness came and the private violence of her home life threatened. Then, inevitably, one terrifying night broke the sweet spell between them.

John hasn’t seen Mallory since, but he’s looked for her—in his audiences, in his dreams. Now he decides that if he can’t find the inspiration to finish an album, he can at least find Mallory and finish what has always been between them.


5. Ice Planet Holiday by Ruby Dixon


All this snow and no holidays? What's a stranded human to do?

Create a new holiday, of course. Georgie and the other women decide to bring some new traditions and cheer to the sa-khui. More babies are born, presents are exchanged, and a new romance blossoms between a human woman desperate for a change, and the alien determined to protect her.


6. Bear Attraction (Shifters Unbound, #6.5) by Jennifer Ashley 


As the military liaison between the human Shifter Bureau and Shiftertown, Walker is often stuck trying to appease both sides—and angering both. So when bear-Shifter Rebecca is captured taking a run in a restricted area, Walker has to talk fast to get her released. The compromise: if Rebecca helps him find a missing woman—thought to have been abducted by a Shifter—she won’t be charged and executed.

Mate-less Rebecca is not happy to be under Walker’s supervision. As a bear used to roaming for miles, she hates being confined and restricted, she distrusts anything involving humans, and—worst of all—the strong and handsome Walker starts triggering her mating need.

They have no choice but to work together, and as they continue their search for the missing girl, uncovering secrets neither Shifters nor humans want them to know, both Walker and Rebecca find it hard not to mix business with pleasure…


7. Homecoming by Beverly Jenkins


In 1883, Lydia Cooper is happily traveling back home to celebrate the simple joys of the holidays when an unexpected complication appears in the all-too-distracting form of Gray Dane, the man she loved as a girl; the man she left behind. Gray, a soldier, is finally returning home too. Seeing Lydia after fifteen years reignites all the temptations from years ago…and also the pain and regret.

But as Lydia and Gray make their way home together, they get a chance to mend the past, and rediscover the joy, trust —and passion — of before; to realize that love isn’t just sweeter the second time around, it’s downright decadent.


8. Magic Gifts (Kate Daniels, #5.4) by Ilona Andrews


It isn’t often that Kate Daniels and the Beast Lord Curran get to take a breakfrom protecting their pack and enjoy some time for themselves. So when Curran offers Kate a romantic dinner in town, there’s no way she’s going to pass.

But their quiet night doesn’t stay quiet for long. The trouble starts with a necromancer dying at a nearby table, continues with bloodthirsty vampires crashing though the windows, and ends with more blood on the walls than any dining establishment needs.

Pulled into a deadly game neither wants to play, Kate and Curran findthemselves dealing with the vile undead and tolerating a clan of maniacal, hard partying Vikings while desperately trying to save the life of an innocent child...


9. Numb by Viola Grace 


Given the chance to feel touch for the first time, she sacrifices her body for eternity in the arms of an immortal.

Gala suffered from lack of nerve response and had lived her life numb. Her lifetime was spent looking for damage to her body or avoiding it. When you can’t feel your limbs, anything can happen.

Given the chance to gain a sense of touch by giving her body to a planet for occupation, she becomes the Avatar of Rekfa without hesitation.

Rekfa shares her body and convinces her that she needs to seek out her own sense memories in whatever form they come.

Arez has been waiting for a mate of his own, and the Avatar is as close as he can come in this lifetime. He offers himself to her and is amazed when she takes him up on his offer to teach her what seduction can feel like when both parties are focused on the outcome.


10. Harlot (Prostitute, #1) by Victoria Dahl


After working in the gold fields of California for two years, Caleb Hightower has come home to marry his childhood sweetheart, Jessica Willoughby. But when he returns, Caleb learns his refined bride-to-be is now a whore. Enraged by her betrayal, he can't reconcile this shameless woman with the sweet innocent he once deeply loved--but Caleb knows what to do with a harlot. He's determined to get everything from her that she's sold to other men. And he's prepared to pay for the pleasure of his revenge.

Left penniless after her father's death, Jess made a deal with a devil. Now she must face her first love, whose scorn is no match for her regret. To make amends, she'll let Caleb quench his rage with her body. Their bargain strips them down to searing passion and naked vulnerability, and Jess can still glimpse her loving Caleb buried deep inside this rough cowboy. In the end, an unbearable truth emerges that could push them toward forgiveness...or could destroy their fragile bond forever.


Great Novellas already noted on my other Best Of 2015 List!


1. Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker 

2. Ninja at First Sight by Penny Reid

3. Under Her Clothes by Louisa Edwards

4. Sweet Agony by Charlotte Stein 


What are your favorite Romance Novellas? 


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review 2015-12-15 15:17
Beautiful, Sexy Little Holiday Read
Snowfall (Novella) - Mary Ann Rivers

This is probably the best holiday novella I've ever read, and possibly the best novella, full stop. Jenny, a microbiologist who makes her living viewing tiny organisms under a high powered microscope, moves across the country to become a research scholar, and then almost immediately receives a life-changing medical diagnosis:

she's going blind.

(spoiler show)


While working through the stages of grief related to her condition, and adjusting to her new job and new city, Jenny strikes up a serendipitous cyber relationship with the former tenant of her apartment. After several innocuous online interactions, their relationship turns to very spicy cyber sex, which is both a physical and an emotional refuge for Jenny, who is lonely and tending toward depression.


Meanwhile, Jenny also has sexual tension developing in her contentious relationship with her occupational therapist, Evan, whose job it is to help her adjust to the new reality necessitated by her medical condition.


The reader realizes much sooner than Jenny that Evan and her online lover are one and the same, and when Evan realizes and doesn't immediately tell Jenny, that could have been a huge turnoff for me (I hate intentional dishonesty tropes), and yet Mary Ann Rivers negotiates that plot twist deftly enough that both characters' motivations and reactions are both relatable and ethical.


The writing is hauntingly beautiful. I'll be thinking about this story long after finishing it, and I'll definitely read it again -- perhaps every Christmas season.

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review 2015-08-24 20:54
Laugh (The Burnside Series): A Loveswept Contemporary Romance - Mary Ann Rivers

So I read Mary Ann Rivers's Laugh last night and absolutely loved it. Lovely writing, diverse world, set in an Ohio that felt very familiar to me. Great family/sibling dynamics. Of course now I have discovered that my library doesn't have the rest of the series available. WOE.

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