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review 2015-12-10 00:00
Tequila and Tingles
Tequila and Tingles - Keri Ford Tequila and Tingles - Keri Ford
Recently, I have come across more and more romances where one or both of the main characters are single parents. It does take some getting used to. My personal opinion is that stories like Tequila and Tingles are more true to life. Children add a different dynamic. With a child life becomes more about taking care of their needs as well as the needs of the parent.

Tequila and Tingles is about finding the balance between parenthood and love. Keri Ford takes a look at love through the eyes of a cynical single mom. Beth is a woman determined to protect her children, keep her head held high and not let anyone too close. I received an ARC of Tequila and Tingles in exchange for an honest review. With this novel Ms. Ford had me choked up with laughter and presented a sympathetic look at the turmoil faced by a person burned by love.

Copyright of Night Owl Reviews
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review 2015-10-07 00:00
Just Want Somebody to Love
Just Want Somebody to Love - Keri Ford Just Want Somebody to Love - Keri Ford Just Want Somebody to Love is a cute story about making assumptions without facts. A one night stand leads to all types of chaos. After being stood up by the one guy she thought was something special Whitney is out for blood. Justin had every intention of showing up but unexpected issues prevented him from doing so. He's willing to do whatever it takes for a second chance with Whitney. When Justin shows up again apologetic and seeking another chance Whitney thinks a little payback is in order. Who will come out the victor in this grudge match? I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Keri Ford has written an charming story laced with personality clashes and misunderstandings that is entertaining to experience.
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review 2015-06-20 18:04
Cupcakes and Crushes
Cupcakes and Crushes - Keri Ford

I'm a big fan of Keri Ford and was excited to read the first book in her new Turtle Pine series. I grew up in a small town in Tennessee, and have to say she totally nailed the small-town feel with Turtle Pine.


Cupcakes and Crushes was such a fun story to read. Annie Cookie became an instant favorite character of mine from the moment she appeared on the page. Annie is such a strong character and I loved how focused she became while in high school to move from home. I also loved that her love for her grandparents brought her back to help out the family business. I loved the relationship between Annie and her grandparents. Really made me think about how close I was to both of my grandparents and cracked me up how she interacted so differently with them.


I loved Cade Revlin just as much as Annie. He had a crush on Annie in high school and still has feelings for her to this day. I loved that I felt the attraction between them from the moment they saw each other again when Cade picked Annie up from the airport. The fact that Cade is the younger brother to her ex-boyfriend only made the story more fun for me. Add in the fact that her half-sister Tina, who has always been horrible to her likes Cade, and you have an even funnier story. I was cheering for Cade and Annie to stay together from the very beginning. I loved they both were so comfortable and happy when they were around one another and the chemistry between them was amazing.


I really understood all the reasons Annie had for not wanting to stay in Turtle Pine based upon her history with her half-sisters. In fact after seeing how crazy Tina acted, I'm pretty sure I would probably never come near her again. I wasn't really sure what to think about Jane. Based upon the history as Annie knew it, I didn't want Annie to do anything to help Jane out. However, I got Annie being the bigger person once she learned more from Jane. I still was angry that Jane would allow Tina to sway her and her treatment of Annie, but could also see a possible relationship between Annie and Jane in the future. Still not sure I'm a Jane fan yet, but will at least keep an open mind about her now.


Cupcakes and Crushes was an awesome start to a new series from Keri Ford. I found it to be a fun small-town story and I can't wait to read more in this series. 


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text 2015-01-12 15:42
Spoon: Diners in Contemporary Romance
The Early Bird Cafe - Carrie Aulenbacher
White Trash Beautiful - Teresa Mummert
Rough Tumble (The Roughnecks, 3) - Keri Ford
Burning Down the Spouse - Dakota Cassidy
The Second Chance Café: A Hope Springs Novel, Book 1 - Alison Kent,Natalie Ross
The Double Heart Diner (A Route 66 Romance Book 1) - Annie Jones
All He Ever Needed - Shannon Stacey
Dog Days - Elsa Watson
The Firefly Cafe - Lily Everett
Defying the Odds - Kele Moon

I was blessed over the Winter Break to take a wonderful road trip to Yosemite. You know one of the many things I  love about road trips? Eating. I love a good roadside diner or small town cafe. A lot. Drifts of to dreams of food...


Here are some wonderful diners in Contemporary Romance. My lists are never in any particular order!


1. Defying the Odds (Battered Hearts Book 1) by Kele Moon


When struggling waitress Melody Dylan gives a handsome, lonely stranger a simple gift she has no clue her life is about to take a drastic turn.

The stranger ends up being Clay Powers, a famous UFC heavyweight fighter. Clay’s large build and dangerous fists have always intimidated. People in his hometown keep their distance and Clay is fine with that. Everything changes when a new waitress at the local diner buys him a piece of pie on Thanksgiving. Touched by the gesture when it’s obvious she can barely afford to survive, her warm smile and lush body churn up powerful feelings that leave Clay wanting more from her than pie.

Melody is running from her past and the small, country town of Garnet is the perfect hiding place. With an ex-husband after her and scars from her abusive marriage etched deep, the last thing she expects is to fall for a man who makes a living with his fists, but she can’t resist Clay or the tender connection they share.

Finding love in the most unlikely of places, the passion is undeniable, but Clay and Melody know their haunted pasts and unpredictable futures leave the odds stacked against them.


2. The Firefly Cafe: The Billionaire Brothers  by Lily Everett


Pull up a seat at The Firefly Café and fall in love with the first novella in Lily Everett’s heart-tugging “Billionaire Brothers” trilogy!

For years, the Harrington family has dominated the business world.  Gorgeous billionaire brothers Dylan, Logan and Miles Harrington command the family empire, which has given them everything they could ever want…except the one thing that matters most.  Now they’re about to travel to the windswept refuge of Sanctuary Island, where they’ll discover that fortune, fame and power don’t mean a thing without someone to share it with.


Dubbed “the Bad Boy Billionaire” by the tabloids, Dylan Harrison’s playboy lifestyle is starting to lose its appeal. When he hops on his motorcycle and drives to Sanctuary Island, he’s looking for time alone to get his head on straight. Instead, he gets pulled into the warm friendliness of the island—and an intense attraction to Penny Little, waitress at the Firefly Café and caretaker of his family’s vacation home.  Trouble is, Penny doesn’t realize he’s a Harrington brother…and he wants to keep it that way until he’s sure he can trust her with his heart. But Penny has a secret of her own, and when the truth comes to light, will they still have a chance at love?


3. Dog Days by Elsa Watson


In Elsa Watson's Dog Days, struggling café owner Jessica Sheldon volunteered to be the chairperson of Woofinstock, Madrona’s annual dog festival, to overcome her reputation as “number one dog hater” in her dog crazy Northwestern town. Determined to prove her dog-loving credentials, Jessica rescues Zoe, a stray white German shepherd— and in the process the two are struck by lightning.

Jessica wakes to discover paws where her feet should be, and watches in horror as her body staggers around the town square…. Zoe and Jessica have switched bodies. Learning to live as a dog is difficult enough, but Jessica’s real worry is saving her café from financial ruin. To complicate matters, she’s falling hard for Max, the town veterinarian.

It’s clear that Zoe is thrilled to live life on “human terms,” thoroughly relishing all of the fun and food Woofinstock has to offer. But Zoe is also anxious to use her new human skills to find her missing family—who may not want her back. And Jessica needs to confront a complicated figure from her past before she can move on with her life.

Jessica and Zoe will need to learn from each other to set things right, and possibly find acceptance and love in the bargain.


4. All He Ever Needed: Book Four of The Kowalskis  by Shannon Stacey


He won't stay put for a woman, and she won't chase after any man...

Mitch Kowalski lives out of a suitcase—and he likes it that way. Traveling for work has the added bonus of scaring off women who would otherwise try to tie him down. But when he's called home to help with the family lodge, he's intrigued by the new girl in town and her insistence that she doesn't need a man. If there's one thing Mitch can't resist, it's a challenge.


After a nomadic childhood, Paige Sullivan is finally putting down roots. Determined to stand on her own two feet, she lives by the motto "Men are a luxury, not a necessity." But when Mr. Tall, Dark and Hot pulls up a stool in her diner and offers her six weeks of naughty fun with a built-in expiration date, she's tempted to indulge.


They're the perfect match for a no-strings fling. Until they realize their sexy affair has become anything but casual...



5. The Double Heart Diner (A Route 66 Romance Book 1) by Annie Jones


he newest series to join the humor-filled Time for Laughter romance line, the ongoing tale of the Double Heart Diner begins with the story of a very different man and a woman who set out on their own personal quests, only to find that the treasure God plans for them is worth far more than they ever dreamed.

All Jett Murphy wanted to do was purchase a piece of land on the Texas panhandle, clear it of the crummy diner in the middle of it, and make a bundle by selling the property to a land developer. Instead he?s captured?in more ways than one?by a redheaded whirlwind who?s determined to make him see the error of his ways, even if she has to drive him clear from Chicago to Texas to do it!

Georgia Darling?s mission seemed simple: Save the Double Heart Diner. But things have gotten more complicated since sophisticated Jett entered the picture. She likes him, maybe too much, but it?s clear she can?t trust him. Can she save the diner?and her own heart?before it?s too late?


6. The Second Chance Café: A Hope Springs Novel, Book 1 by Alison Kent


Growing up, Kaylie Flynn was shuffled from foster home to foster home before being welcomed into Winton and May Wise’s family. It was May who taught Kaylie the comfort of home, and the healing power of baking the perfect brownie. Years later, May leaves Kaylie the money she needs to open her own café in the charming Victorian house they once shared. Now back in Hope Springs, Kaylie’s determined to finally make all her dreams a reality—and unearth answers to lingering questions about her past.


Soon, however, Kaylie’s carefully laid plans take an unexpected turn. The house needs far more work than she realized, and Tennessee Keller, the carpenter Kaylie hires, is proving to be a very handsome and very unneeded distraction from her quest to uncover the truth about her parents. When a crisis threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard to build, Kaylie must decide where her heart lies: with the ghosts of her past or the love and promise of her future.


7. Burning Down the Spouse  by Dakota Cassidy


After discovering that her famous chef husband was cheating, Frankie Bennett lost her mind-on live TV. Now Frankie is broke, unemployed, and hiding out in her aunt's retirement village. That is, until Maxine Henderson-Barker-reformed trophy wife and owner of Trophy Jobs Inc. employment agency-arrives to give Frankie a much needed kick in the pants.

Soon, Frankie lands a job as a prep chef at a Greek diner in New Jersey, home to the world's best meatloaf and an owner who resembles an exquisitely chiseled Greek statue. Falling into bed with Nikos isn't the best idea, but after years of living in a man's shadow, this ex- trophy wife is ready to get busy cooking...


8. Rough Tumble (The Roughnecks, 3) by Keri Ford


Having her fiancé confess through email that he married another girl while away was humiliating enough. Telling the small town she lived the truth was something Tonya just couldn’t face. With her ex in the military, it seemed easy to let everyone think they were still together. Just for a little while. Except a little while snowballed into a huge lie she didn’t know how to get out of.

Fast-forward through time and Tonya’s restless, lonely, and unsure how to fix her lie. To add to that, she’s finding her best friend, Trent Iverson, more and more attractive.
When Tonya confesses the truth, Trent feels like his life is finally on the right path. The girl he’s admired and secretly wanted for so long is single. Just one problem. After a past filled with lies, Trent isn’t sure if he can look beyond Tonya’s deception so they can have a future.



9. White Trash Beautiful  by Teresa Mummert


Cass Daniels isn’t waiting for her knight in shining armor. She knows that girls like her don’t get a happily ever after. Not if you live in a trailer with your mom, work at a greasy spoon diner, and get leered at by old men. Maybe that’s why she puts up with Jackson—her poor excuse for a boyfriend, who treats her like dirt. Cass has learned to accept her lot in life. That is, until he walks into her diner. . . .

His name is Tucker White, and he’s different from any man Cass has ever known. Tall, tattooed, and bad-ass gorgeous, he’s the lead singer of the rock band Damaged. From the moment they meet, Tucker sees something in Cass he just can’t shake. Something beautiful. Something haunted. Something special. And he’s determined to find out what it is—if only he can get her to open up and let him in. .


10. The Early Bird Cafe  by Carrie Aulenbacher


For years, Jim and Eve have shared breakfast every morning at the Early Bird Café. Their constant friendship, however, is thrown into chaos when Jim begins writing his second novel. Their friendship strained, the novel takes all of Jim’s focus, and a grievous string of events coupled with Jim’s manipulative new lover put their friendship to the ultimate test.

As Jim struggles with the darkness in his own life, Eve attempts to negotiate her feelings for Jim and their strictly platonic relationship. In the midst of the turmoil, both find themselves wondering if their feelings for each other actually run deeper than the friendship they thought they once had.



Do you have a favorite diner/cafe set romance? Let me know! 


Go to my list on Goodreads to vote for the best of the best: Spoon: Diners in Contemporary Romance

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text 2014-09-11 16:09
Shy Heroes of Contermpory Romance
Live - Mary Ann Rivers
While It Was Snowing: A Novella - Elyssa Patrick
In the Clear - Tamara Morgan
Geek with the Cat Tattoo - Theresa Weir
Her Best Worst Mistake - Sarah Mayberry
Shelter Mountain - Robyn Carr
Control - Charlotte Stein
One Fine Fireman - Jennifer Bernard
Easy - Tammara Webber
All I Want Is You - Keri Ford

This is a bit of  revisit to a blog entry from January, Shy Heroes of Romance, but this list in only Contemporary Heroes. 


I think Overbold Alpha run especially amuck in this Romance genre. Couldn't you use a break?


Well, here you go!


1. Live: The Burnside Series by Mary Ann Rivers 5 Stars


If 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.


2. While It Was Snowing: a novella by Elyssa Patrick 


Felicity Evans and Harry Walsh have been best friends forever, but lately, Felicity has noticed the looks Harry has been giving her. And she’s going to do something about it. Sex solves everything, or so she hopes. But she never knew Harry was a virgin—until now. Being snowbound in a Vermont cabin is the perfect opportunity to take things to the next level . . . and perhaps dare to lay her heart out on the line. 


3. Geek with the Cat Tattoo (Cool Cats Book 2) by Theresa Weir 


Beauty and the geek… 

Shy music geek Emerson Foshay breaks into a cold sweat and is rendered speechless whenever Lola Brown, the girl of his dreams, steps into his guitar shop. But once a stray cat named Sam follows him home, everything changes and Emerson becomes the coolest guy in town. 


4. In the Clear (Winter Rescue Book 1) by Tamara Morgan


Fletcher Owens is full of secrets. 

Few people know he spends his nights volunteering for a Search and Rescue team, saving lives while risking his own. Even fewer know he’s in love with his best friend’s sister. And since he’s not willing to give up their friendship for a chance at something more, that’s exactly how things will stay. 

Lexie Sinclair has nothing to hide. 

The zany daughter, the wacky sister, the quirky fundraiser for a children’s charity — Lexie couldn’t hide her true self even if she wanted to. So when her brother’s best friend is revealed to be a local hero, she’s determined to stand up and prove she’s ready to be more than just friends. 


5. Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry


She thinks he's stuffy. He thinks she's spoilt.
Then the gloves come off... and so do their clothes!

For six years Violet Sutcliffe has known that Martin St Clair is the wrong man for her best friend. He's stuffy, old before his time, conservative. He drives Violet nuts - and the feeling is entirely mutual. Then, out of nowhere, her friend walks out just weeks before her wedding to Martin, flying to Australia on a mission of self-discovery. Back in London, Violet finds herself feeling sorry for suddenly-single Martin. At least, she tells herself it's pity she feels. Then he comes calling one dark, stormy night and they discover that beneath their mutual dislike there lies a fiery sexual chemistry.

It's crazy and all-consuming - and utterly wrong. Because not only are they chalk and cheese, oil and water, but Martin once belonged to her best friend. A friend Violet is terrified of losing. What future can there be for a relationship with so many strikes against it?

This book is a spin off from my Blaze novel, Hot Island Nights. Both stories can be read in isolation and still make perfect sense, but I hope that together they form a neat little duo.


6. Shelter Mountain: Book 2 of Virgin River series by Robyn Carr 


John "Preacher" Middleton is about to close the bar when a young woman and her three-year-old son come in out of the wet October night. A marine who has seen his share of pain, Preacher knows a crisis when he sees one—the woman is covered in bruises. He wants to protect them, and he wants to punish whoever did this to her, but he knows immediately that this inclination to protect is something much more. Paige Lassiter has stirred up emotions in this gentle giant of a man—emotions that he has never allowed himself to feel.


But when Paige's ex-husband turns up in Virgin River, Preacher knows his own future hangs in the balance. And if there's one thing the marines' motto of Semper Fidelis—always faithful—has taught him, it's that some things are worth fighting for.



7. Control by Charlotte Stein 


When Madison Morris wanted to hire a shop assistant for her naughty little bookstore, she never dreamed she'd have two handsome men vying for the position—and a whole lot more. Does she choose dark and dangerous Andy with his sexy tattoos? Or quiet, serious Gabriel, whose lean physique and gentle touch tempt her more than she thought possible?


She loves the way Andy takes charge when it comes to sex. But the turmoil in Gabe's eyes hints at a deep well of complicated emotions locked inside. When the fun and games are over, only one man can have control of her heart.


8. One Fine Fireman  by Jennifer Bernard 


Kirk, a.k.a. Thor, one of San Gabriel's infamous Bachelor Firemen, certainly lives up to his nickname. He's tall and handsome, with a chiseled body worthy of any Viking god. But he'd give it all up for one glance from her.


Sweet, shy Maribel has no idea that Kirk's been pining for her. There's nothing he'd like better than to sweep her off her feet and show her just how exquisite their love could be. But Kirk has a secret, and he won't let anyone get close, least of all the sexiest woman he's ever met.


Can a feisty little dog and an even feistier little boy help these star-crossed lovers find the passion they both so richly deserve?


9. Easy (Contours of the Heart) by Tammara Webber 


He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior...
The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he'd worked so hard to overcome, and the future she'd put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.
Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth - and find the unexpected power of  love.


10.All I Want Is You (A Chester Farms Novella Book 1) by Keri Ford 


Tasha Parks dropped out of college, cashed in her savings and opened an ice cream store. All her energy should be going into that store. There’s just one problem. Patrick Abington. Handsome, sweet and oh so shy, all Tasha wants for Christmas is him. 

Patrick has had his eye on Tasha since she moved to town and opened the only ice cream store for miles. Being flat broke has kept him from asking her out. When a friend gets them in the same room, he can’t back away. Desperate not to let her go, it’s time to think out of the box for ways he can win her heart. 


Did I miss your favorite Contermpary Romance Shy Hero? Believe me, I want him. Let me know!


To vote for the best of best go to the Goodreads list: Shy Heroes of Contemporary Romance. 


If you care to gaze on some handsome shy men and get even more recs, go to my Pinterest Board: Shy Heroes of Romance.


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