Essential Beginnings Kennedy Layne
TV Recaps

Recap: Indian Summers Episode 1 (1×1)

Indian Summers

Last night, Masterpiece Theatre unveiled a super-sized episode of Indian Summers. We are plunged immediately into the action in the Himalayan hill station of Simla in 1932. Alice Whelan, fleeing a faithless husband in England and passing herself off as a widow, arrives with her baby, where her brother Ralph is private secretary to the Viceroy. On the train she meets a rather nice missionary named Dougie Raworth who is traveling with Sarah, his harridan of a wife, and their young son. While Dougie is full of compassion, Sarah is definitely not a good person, a racist, and not to be trusted. The train unexpectedly stops in the middle of nowhere. Dougie and his assistant Leena leave the train to find out what the problem is. It turns out that a small boy has been left on the railway track, poisoned for being a half caste. Dougie and his assistant Leena save him, calling him Adam. Sarah is not happy at being left behind on the train without a word from her husband. It’s clear that something is going on between Leena and Dougie. I would suggest that Dougie work on his poker face when it comes to his wife.

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Portland ME Freya Barker sale July
Steals & Deals

Deal Alert: Katana Collins’s WICKED EXPOSURE is $1.99!

Wicked Exposure Katana Collins

The first book in Katana Collins’s erotic suspense series, Wicked Exposure, is on sale for $1.99! So much hotness, so few pennies. Collins’s blend of erotic mystery (with a few touches of BDSM) makes for a compelling, fast-paced, and sexy read. Here’s the synopsis:

Nothing left to hide. . .

A forensic photographer with the NYPD, Jessica is devastated to receive word of her sister’s death in a robbery gone awry. But when she arrives home in Portland and the local PD asks her to take pictures, she finds more than she bargained for. With each new photo she exposes more of her sister’s secret erotic life. And when she shares her discoveries with Sam, the super sexy local detective, she experiences passion she never knew possible. But Jessica soon learns she’s merely a pawn in a deadly game of betrayal and revenge and begins to wonder if her next picture could be her last. . .

We’re not sure how long the deal lasts, so snap it up now.

Sisters in Love Melissa Foster
Reviews, Books, Reviews

Rave: Tessa Dare’s When a Scot Ties the Knot

When A Scot Ties The Knot Tessa Dare

Tessa Dare’s Castles Ever After series perches on the premise that each heroine inherits a castle. As one does. Her latest book, When a Scot Ties the Knot, offers an introverted (seriously, she makes me look outgoing) heroine who’s received a castle under false pretenses–that she’ll soon be marrying a Scottish captain, which is why she simply cannot make her debut in London society. But the heroine made the hero up, confronted with the reality of having to be in public, in a group, and not panic. Armed with that subterfuge, she embarks on doing what she really wants to — illustrating wildlife, living in her cozy Scottish castle. So naturally she’s somewhat surprised when the captain from her letters shows up at her castle, wearing a kilt and with a posse of ex-soldiers who served under his command. Here’s the blurb:

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shy, pretty, and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter . . . and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters . . . and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

This book toys with so many romance conventions, and it is delightful to watch Tessa take those tropes and toss them in the air like confetti. First off is that there are no ‘does he/she know or not?’ moments. As soon as Madeline and Logan are alone, they acknowledge that 1) she made him up 2) he received the letters and 3) he is here to take advantage of the situation she created.

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: WRITTEN IN THE STARS by LuAnn McLane

Written in the Stars LuAnn McLane

Today we have an exclusive excerpt from LuAnn McLane’s new release in her Cricket Creek series, Written in the Stars! We hope you enjoy and will pick up your copy today!

“Siri, I have not arrived!” Grace Gordon tucked a lock of her windblown blond hair behind her ear and sighed. “This is getting super annoying.” She held the phone close to her mouth and spoke slowly and clearly, “Walking on Sunshine Bistro at Mayfield Marina, Cricket Creek, Kentucky.”

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Morning Bites

Blood Moon!

Blood Moon by Lisa Kessler
Someone oughta write a book called Blood…oh, never mind.

Last night in the skies was a rare occurrence, a total lunar eclipse, which is also called a Blood Moon. Of course something as evocatively titled as “Blood Moon” is sure to be inspiration for works of fiction, and it’s no surprise to find many books with variations on the name, most of the books having some paranormal element.

Unless you’re a natural event aficionado (and if you are, kudos!), it’s unlikely you would have known what a blood moon is, but now that you know, isn’t it cool? Do you like finding out that authors have gotten inspiration from real-life events?

What strange facts have you found out through books?


Morning Bites

Season for Shippers*!

Sleepy Hollow returns this week, with both Ichabod and Abbie sporting new ‘dos. LOTS of stuff happened last season, and many people are curious to see if the show can regain what made it so fresh and magical in its first season (tl; dr: focus on Ichabbie‘s relationship)

Next week, Arrow returns, and its trailer also seems to offer some intriguing twists and turns.

‘Tis the season for shippers! Are you excited about these, or other new for fall shows? Do you root for characters to get together?

*A shipper is a person who hopes for a relationship between two characters, even if they aren’t written as together in canon. Shippers, and shipping of characters, is an increasingly important element of pop series.

Steals & Deals

Deal Alert: Sonali Dev’s A BOLLYWOOD AFFAIR is $2.99!

A Bollywood Affair Sonali Dev

Sonali Dev’s highly-acclaimed debut, A Bollywood Affair, is down-priced to $2.99! It’s a contemporary romance that includes an arranged marriage, a forbidden brother, and a woman who’s trying to figure out her present as she charts a course to the future. Here’s the synopsis:

Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years–not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be–if her husband would just come and claim her.

Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naïve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life–cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.

Sonali releases her next book, The Bollywood Bride, on Tuesday, so it’s a good chance to give her writing a try to see if you like it.

Reviews, Reviews, TV


Indian Summers

If there is anything that I like more than reading about people with romantical problems in olden times, it’s watching programs about people with romantical problems in olden times.  Lucky for me, Masterpiece Theatre on PBS specializes in those kinds of dramas.  After giving us Poldark, a sweeping saga set in Cornwall in the late 18th century, this Sunday, we are introduced to Indian Summers, a nine-episode drama set in India in 1932. Indian Summers seems designed to appeal to the Downton audience, and it’s already been picked up for a second series. The series will be paired here with Home Fires, a drama revolving a rural English village on the verge of the Second World War.  A two for one on Sunday night!

This series seems to have everything that I love: glamorous clothes, an exotic locale, and gorgeous people suffering. Not to mention secrets, intrigue and forbidden love! And more important, diversity! It’s nice to see a series that is not all white and set in olden times. And it stars Mrs. Weasley (Julie Walters) as Cynthia Coffin, the Queen of Simla society who runs The Royal Simla Club with a well-manicured fist.  Cynthia (according to the series website) is “prepared to remove anything–or anyone–that stands between her and prosperity.”  Ooh, hello! I’m all for watching Julie Walters chew the scenery wearing slinky gowns. Frankly, I would watch her read the phone book and I love the fact that one of the leads is a woman of a certain age.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: Wendy Corsi Staub on HELLO, IT’S ME

Hello It's Me Movie Wendy Markham

Although Wendy Corsi Staub’s most recent releases are thrillers, she also has a softer, more romantic side. She wrote Hello, It’s Me under the name Wendy Markham, and it’s been made into a movie that will be showing on the Hallmark Channel this Sunday at 9EST. Wendy joins us today to talk about what happened while writing the book, and how fiction often imitates life. Thanks, Wendy!

Twelve years ago last month, with my first New York Times bestseller under my belt, I had multi-book contracts with several major publishers. I was taking up two spots on the USA Today Bestseller List, with a suspense novel, Dearly Beloved (Kensington), written under my real name, and a romance novel, The Nine Month Plan (Warner), written under my new pseudonym Wendy Markham. The economy was surging at the fastest pace in decades, the publishing industry was solid, and my career was on an upward trajectory, enabling my husband to finally leave his hectic day job in advertising sales to spend more time with me and our two young sons. With our good friends Jon and Bill, we were planning a long awaited beach vacation to eastern Long Island, where our other friends, Mike and Lisa, lived. Our children were healthy. We were slowly healing from losing my mother-in-law to breast cancer in 2000, and my own parents were alive and well. Life was good.

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