5 Romance Novels for Foodies

One of the best things that go together is food and romance. After all, what’s more sexy than having your partner cook (or buy, for those of us who are challenged in the kitchen) our favorite meal for us? So here are 10 romance novels for foodies.

1) New Free Chocolate Sex by Keith Lowe

cvr9780743482103_9780743482103_hrGenre: Contemporary

Page Count: 336 pages

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.14/5 stars

Can your sworn enemy become your romantic obsession? What lies between sugar and spice? Do personal tastes ever change? And when should we try something new? As this irresistible novel reminds us, sometimes love is the least predictable flavor in life’s box of chocolates.

Matt, the brilliant young marketing director of the confectionery Trundel & Barr, loves chocolate. To him it represents sensuousness and innocent joy; it is to be adored, worshipped — and exploited — at every opportunity. For Samantha, however, chocolate represents something more sinister: While researching for a television documentary she learns that there is a darker side to Trundel & Barr, in the horrendous conditions of its African cocoa plantations. So Sam sets out to expose Matt — until she finds herself locked up with him in his own chocolate factory. Stuck together, they are at risk of having a complete meltdown. But if Sam and Matt can find a way to confront their differences and learn to accept each other’s passion for chocolate, their bitter situation stands a chance of turning out sweet….

Buy this at your local bookstore now.

Continue reading “5 Romance Novels for Foodies”

Her Wicked Ways

51wuzpp2b40lGenre: Historical

Word Count: 101, 790

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.62/ 5 stars

My rating: 4/ 5 stars

This book has a slightly shaky start, like most romance novels do, but it pulls me in pretty quickly. It starts off with Montgomery “Fox” Foxcroft committing highway robbery to save an orphanage. Yeah, starts off like your run-of-the-mill soap opera.

The job is supposed to be simple for Fox. Rob a corrupt MP to support the orphanage he runs. Unbeknownst to him, this MP is carrying something even more precious than money. He’s transporting a disgraced heiress named Miranda Sinclair. Miranda’s a beautiful woman who distracts Fox so much that he forgets he’s committing a crime to save some kids and ends up making out with her. Not his finest moment. But it does give him an idea. To seduce Miranda and marry her for her money. But when she starts volunteering at his orphanage, he realizes that she’s not just a spoiled heiress, but also likeable, capable, and someone that he might even grown to love.

This story is fantastic! I re-read it when I realized I hadn’t written a review for it, and it was good even the second time around. Both Miranda and Fox are excellent and the chemistry between them is spot-on.

Miranda comes off as entitled at first, and she is, but she grows out of that pretty quickly. In truth, she’s a very strong person who regularly rebels against the restricting rules of London Society, because come on, why would anyone want to live by those rules? Despite everyone calling her incompetent and useless, she’s smart and very capable. She steals a kiss out of Fox the first time she meets him, and she raises more money for the orphanage in one night than Fox managed to raise in an entire year.

Where I shall stay when we get there. Is this Stratham’s house adequate?” (Her brother asked)

“Yes, more than. You’ll be quite comfortable. Are you sure you’re allowed to stay there?”

“Ah, sweet sister, when will you realize the rules are not the same for you and me?”

But Miranda knew all too well. Perhaps that was why she always broke them.

The only irritating thing about Miranda is that she bends easily to her parents’ will. And while I get that they are her parents, it frustrates me to no end that she complied so quickly, even when it hurt Fox and she didn’t agree with them to begin with. I also hate that she didn’t figure out that Fox was the highwayman. Sure, she might not associate a random, masked stranger with the impoverished owner of an orphanage right away. But then she meets the highwayman again… and then sees Fox again…. she knows she feels the same lust with both of them, and she still doesn’t figure it out? Oh please, she’s smarter than that.

Fox is incredibly lovable, despite his ridiculous jealousy over just about every man that Miranda comes in contact with. He gets jealous over Miranda’s former lover who’s so unimportant he doesn’t even turn up, and he gets jealous over Stratham. He even gets jealous over one of his charges when Miranda compliments the boy’s new haircut. Possessive much?

However, I do like how wonderfully insecure Fox is. Despite being confident in most areas of his life, and refusing to think people in higher class were better than him,  Fox is constantly unsure around Miranda. He thinks she’s totally out of his league, even at the end.

 “That you would give yourself to me is incredibly humbling.”

A twinge of embarrassment heated her face. “Why?”

He smiled. “Because you’re Miranda. A goddess to my mere mortality. I am a beast beside you.”

Damn. Montgomery Foxcroft sure knows how to woo a woman.

And he is so hopelessly in love with her. Even when he was desperate for money, he wasn’t willing to force Miranda to marry him by compromising her because he didn’t want her to hate him. And even though his original intention in courting her was to get her money, he started appreciating her for much more. Unlike her parents, he saw her for the brilliant woman she was and was quick to defend her to anyone who said otherwise.

Love.

The word drove a knife clean through his heart. Did he love her? He didn’t know, but he wanted her for more than money. More than desire. He wanted her here. With him. With all of them. He’d never seen the children so happy. So light. He’d never felt so happy or light—and that said a lot given his cursed financial woes.

He also doesn’t ever want her change. Unlike everyone else in this story, including her brother, the only immediate family member she has who is remotely nice to her, Fox doesn’t think she has to change, and doesn’t even want her to.

“You’re staring at me like I’m food again.” His words heightened her arousal and further emboldened her.

She feasted on his male beauty. “I’ve never seen anything as delicious as you.”

“Christ, Miranda. Ladies don’t talk like that.”

She traced her fingers around his nipples and watched them tighten. Her own hardened in response. “You don’t like it?”

He swallowed audibly. “I like it fine.”

Her Wicked Ways has an excellent story that I could read again and again. And I probably will. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes historical romance novels and even those who don’t. You can read it for free on Smashwords.

If you do decide to read it, let me know in the comments. I’d love to know what you thought about it.

Book Review: The Remnants

51c2jlnk8ilGenre: Historical Fiction

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.26/5 stars

My rating: 3/5 stars

Danny Pulbrook is a handsome and rebellious young man. Born the bastard son of a minor royal and orphaned at birth he is determined to find a new life far beyond his “pre-ordained oblivion”. His only way out – a forced enlistment into the army brings him to an inevitable confrontation with his own demons in the cauldron of the first world war.

Rose Quayle is a beautiful and confident hazel-eyed housemaid who, like her mother and her mother’s mother is employed in service at Meaford House – an expansive vice-regal estate near Tunbridge Wells. Like Danny she longs for a life beyond the tyranny of the rigid class system that defines her humble destiny.

Their chance meeting becomes the catalyst that changes both of their lives forever.

The Remnants is like a fixer upper. It’s unpolished and a bit of a hot mess, but you can still see the potential. Unfortunately, The Remnants was published before it got the TLC it deserved.

Not only is the text plagued with typos and missing punctuation, but there are too many storylines and character to keep straight. It’s a hot mess that could have been amazing.

The story starts out on a seemingly inconsequential day, with two minor characters talking. Yes, minor. They’re barely in the story but they make up the opening scene that eventually introduces Rose as a young, innocent girl going on her first car ride. So far there’s promise. After all, the boggy description will clear up when the story gets going, right?

I wish.

But it does pick up when we meet lovable bad boy Danny. Straight from an orphanage and now working at a general store, he’s a troublemaker and has never known love of any sort. He’s convinced he’s unlovable. Perfect for a love interest. I do have a thing for the bad boys. Give them a vulnerable side and I’m practically putty.

Rose and Danny have an excellently sweet and innocent chance encounter that clashes with the darkness in the rest of the book. Actually, there’s no foreshadowing at all that things will go so horribly awry when they met, or how dark most of the book is.

But dark it is. Danny goes off to fight in India, leaving Rose behind, but promising to still see her. After realizing he will die unless he deserts the army, he runs away and Rose goes to live with him in Canada

Had this been split into two or three full-length novels with the first novel ending here, I would have liked it a lot. But instead this great beginning with Danny’s and Rose’s innocence isn’t given the full detail and development it deserves, instead being condensed to the beginning of the novel.

But unfortunately it gets worse. Because the story continues. With so many characters that it’s impossible to keep them straight.

Danny’s character takes a sharp left when he feels the need to go to war again, this time with the Canadian army. He and Rose had practically just found each other and now he’s going back to fight, and after he had almost died the last time? Yeah. That makes total sense. What is he, an addict all of a sudden?

The entire story goes in a whirlwind. Danny has such a steep character arc, from innocent teenaged boy to hardened veteran, it might as well be a character cliff. Rose, on the other hand, doesn’t have that much character to arc. She’s slightly more bitter by the end, but she had already been bitter in the beginning of the story. Her lack of character frustrates me to no end.

There are some good parts to this story, though. Rose’s experience in the workplace was well-written, as was the death of Grace, Danny’s girl on the side. His war buddy, Mitch, is an excellent character and funny as hell, even if he is a bit cliched. The dynamic between Danny and his comrades is actually very good and I wish I had seen more of that and less flowery description about the war atmosphere.

While this story is mildly entertaining, well-researched, and interesting, it’s not my favorite and I will definitely not be reading it again. What do you think? Does this book sound interesting to you?

Disclaimer: I was given a small amount of money in exchange for this honest review. 100% of my compensation for paid reviews goes toward the upkeep of this website.

 

5 Romance Novels I’m Kicking off 2017 With

We’ve now been in 2017 a little over a week and it looks like my reading list is not going to decrease any time soon. Right now I have 5 romance novels in my immediate reading list and I’m in the middle of 4 of them. So, here’s a quick peek at some of the reviews to come:

51m7qvaf84l-_sx322_bo1204203200_1) Grind by Edward Vukovic

Ziva’s love of coffee is double-edged. Throughout her life, she gives her talent freely to those desperate for a glimpse into destiny’s promise. Predicting the future with chilling accuracy, she understands the cost and has sworn never to divine her own truth. Having fled the economic aftershocks of the Balkan war, she struggles adjusting to her new life and clings to the remnants of her past, until she meets Isaac. Against her better judgement, Ziva ‘reads’ for herself and what she sees will change her life irrevocably.

Told from the perspective of multiple characters, Grind follows the plight of Ziva, an ordinary immigrant with an extraordinary gift, and highlights the impact we have on each other through the interconnectedness of chance encounters.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore now.

When Edward Vukovic approached me about reading and reviewing his novel, I almost said no. I haven’t been able fulfill review requests on a regular basis for a long time now. But he offered me a print copy of the book, and how can I say no to a print copy? So now I’m about halfway through, and enjoying the book. It’s not my usual read, but it’s great all the same.

97802639174202) In Debt to the Enemy Lord by Nicole Locke

Anwen, bastard of Brynmor, has fought hard to find her place in the world. But she’s forced to rethink everything when she’s saved from death by her enemy Teague, Lord of Gwalchdu. Instead of releasing her, he holds her captive… 

Teague trusts no one. So, with ominous messages threatening his life, he must keep Anwen under his watch, no matter how much her presence drives him wild. And when passionate arguments turn to passionate encounters, Teague must believe that the strength of their bond will conquer all!

This book is pure guilty pleasure. It was an impulse buy, thanks to its pretty cover, my love of historicals, and me actually opening an email from Harlequin. It’s very excellent so far well above Harlequin’s normal standards. The review from this one won’t be for awhile because, like I said, this book is pure guilty pleasure and it will be awhile before I can have a pure joy read.

51c2jlnk8il3) The Remnants by W.P. Osborn

Danny Pulbrook is a handsome and rebellious young man. Born the bastard son of a minor royal and orphaned at birth he is determined to find a new life far beyond his “pre-ordained oblivion”. His only way out – a forced enlistment into the army brings him to an inevitable confrontation with his own demons in the cauldron of the first world war.

Rose Quayle is a beautiful and confident hazel-eyed housemaid who, like her mother and her mother’s mother is employed in service at Meaford House – an expansive vice-regal estate near Tunbridge Wells. Like Danny she longs for a life beyond the tyranny of the rigid class system that defines her humble destiny.

Their chance meeting becomes the catalyst that changes both of their lives forever.

This is another paid honest review book. It’s not bad so far. It’s kind of a memoir, kind of fiction, and so far it’s very interesting. I’ll have a review for this book up soon.

bascomvillecover-finalred2_grande4) Bascomville by Mark A. Calde

Welcome to Bascomville, the singular domain of Max Bascom, the universe he has spun for himself from the raw materials of his surroundings.

This is Max’s journey from friend to lover.  From seducer to seduced.  From firstborn to prodigal. From betrayer to betrayed.
And finally, from child to man.

This was another review request that I almost turned down. Except Mark offered me a print signed copy. I have yet to start this book, but I’m looking forward to reading it.

 

51wuzpp2b40l5) Her Wicked Ways by Darcy Burke

Banished from London for her reckless behavior, Lady Miranda Sinclair is robbed by a dashing highwayman en route to the country. By offering him a kiss in lieu of the jewels she had to leave behind, she commits the very type of act that caused her exile. When her dour guardians extend her punishment to performing charitable work at the local orphanage, she’s further tempted by the home’s owner, a provincial gentleman who stirs her passion in a most wicked way.

Desperate to save his orphanage from financial catastrophe, Montgomery “Fox” Foxcroft leads a double life as a highwayman. The arrival of wealthy, well-connected Miranda, whose kiss he can’t forget, presents a lawful opportunity to increase his coffers. His problems seem solved—until she rejects his suit. Out of options and falling for the heiress, Fox must risk what principles he has left and take advantage of her wicked ways—even if it ruins them both.

Get it free on Smashwords now.

I’m actually re-reading this book. It’s a free book that I’ll be including in my upcoming ebook, Lover’s Quarrel’s Ultimate Reading List of Free Romance Novels, which is a list of free full-length novels that I’ve rated 4 stars or higher. It’s as good a book as I remember, and I’m happy to re-read it, and excited to include it in Ultimate Reading List, which will be a free ebook for everyone who subscribes to my newsletter. 

What are some books that you’re kicking off the new year with? Leave in the comments below.

Book Review: Claiming Her Highwayman by Michelle Grotewohl

claimingherhighwaymanGenre: Historical

Words: 17,970

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.8/5 stars

My rating: 2/5 stars

Cass runs one of the greatest band of highwaymen around. Despite being a woman, she’s respected by her crew, and every night they return to camp richer than they were and she can enjoy being in the arms of her second-in-command, Will Carpenter. But that all changes when Will accepts a position in the King’s Guard. Cass knows Will wants more than what she can give him. He wants marriage and kids, as well as honest work instead of thieving. But Cass doesn’t know if she can ever give him up.

Claiming Her Highwayman is free on Smashwords.

I found myself underwhelmed by this story. When it starts, Will and Cass are already a couple, and the chemistry between them already feels forced, as well as the heist they’re about to go on. It’s like a bad first draft that hasn’t developed into something greater yet. Cass and Will feel more like paper dolls than people and unfortunately, I never get that attached to them. They just don’t have the chemistry.

It doesn’t help that my suspension of disbelief took a huge beating when Will’s offered a job with the King’s Guard, as the princess’s personal guard. He’s a highwayman! Since when do they let criminals guard princesses? Um, never. Not only that, but he’s still in contact with his old gang, and he’s not even in training to be a soldier! He just is. Apparently the standards for becoming a member of the King’s Guard is really low.

It would make a hell of a lot more sense to me if there was a scarcity of guards for some reason, like the country was at war, and that’s why they’re turning to criminals to keep up with the demand of soldiers. That would flesh out the plot, too. But nope. Apparently we’re supposed to accept that a robber can become a princess’s bodyguard easily after mugging her with his gang of bandits. Oh, and he almost becomes her husband. Because every king wants his little girl to marry a common criminal.

Despite everything wrong with the story, I like Will’s and Cass’s characters. Even though Will only exists to be Cass’s lover, he’s got some pretty charming lines in the story. His need to protect her is incredibly sexy.

Cass’s character is a little more complex. She’s strong and independent, and she knows what she wants in life. She’s the type of girl who would be bored to death in most respectable professions for a woman, instead enjoying being a bandit. But I hated her when Bryce, one of her men, attacked her in her tent. All she did to defend herself was bide her time until she could scream for help

What. The. Fuck.

She’s a damn gang leader and she doesn’t know how to defend herself against one man who gets too handsy? Please. That’s fucking ludicrous, and all of my respect for her is just gone because of that one scene. How the hell did she become a leader in the first place if she needs to scream like a damn damsel whenever she gets attacked? Not cool.

This book really didn’t do much for me. While it’s all right, it’s not that good. The characters aren’t good, and neither is the writing. I suggest you look elsewhere for your historical romance bad boy.

If you liked this review and want more, then please like Lover’s Quarrel on Facebook, for more reviews, giveaways, and more.

5 Reasons Why You Should Read War Bride

256062181. It’s more than just a romance

War Bride by Elise Marion is primarily a romance, but it’s so much more than a love story. The book covers a lot of social issues today, even though it’s a medieval fantasy romance. Lady Emery Calliot fights for equal rights as a woman in a misogynist world. Leofred grieves over his brother’s death. Both of them have PTSD from a recent, brutal conflict between their kingdoms that almost turned into a devastating war. Even though this is book is a lot of fun to read, nobody can ever call it a piece of fluff.

Continue reading “5 Reasons Why You Should Read War Bride”

Diversity in Romance With Brilliant Author Elise Marion

71xltwle9xl-_ux250_Elise Marion, author of the Chained series, was generous enough to do an interview with me in anticipation of our War Bride giveaway event. It’s a pleasure to be working with her and to have her on the blog. She has some great answers, including her opinion on the lack of diversity in books. I highly recommend you read her work, because she really is a fantastic writer.

Continue reading “Diversity in Romance With Brilliant Author Elise Marion”