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”

3 Ways to Listen to Audiobooks for Free

Audiobooks are really great for when you want to read, but you’re working with your hands. Whether you’re doing the dishes, cooking dinner, or commuting, sometimes you’re not able to hold a book. Audiobooks are great for that. But they’re even better if they’re free. So here are 5 ways you can listen to audiobooks for free.

1) Llibrivox_logoibriVox

LibriVox.org is a website with free public domain books read by volunteers around the world. They have over 10,000 works catalogued and are adding more all the time. Even if you don’t like the classic books you read in high school, you’ll find so many more interesting and amazing books to read and enjoy.

 

2) Free Audiobooks App by RB Audiobooks

This is a great app that I use quite a bit. You can either stream the books from the internet or download them for on the go. There’s a wide variety of books here, again from the public domain. Currently, I’m listening to The Amazing Interlude by Mary Roberts Rinehart through this app, and I’m really enjoying it. You can find it quickly by going to the app store and typing in “free audiobooks”.

3) Library of Public Domain YouTube Channel

There are plenty of audiobook channels on YouTube, but this one has one of the largest selections. With over 13,000 videos, there are plenty of choices for everyone.

What’s your favorite way to listen to free audiobooks? Comment below.

Book Review: Bascomville by Mark A. Calde

Genre: Contemporary, Teen

Page Count: 284

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.67 out of 5 stars

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Welcome to the life of Max Bascom, whose home is Bascomville. Bascomville has its own special kind of normal, where fathers can get job leads from their sons and Christmas dinners can end up to be Chinese take out. Max does his best to navigate Bascomville and to keep it running as smoothly as possible through good times and tragedy. And he also forms a special bond with the girl next door, Janice, who understands Bascomville despite coming from a world much different. 

This book is so fabulously written. I usually don’t take review requests, but I’m glad I did for this book. It’s part romance, part literary masterpiece, and it captures “growing up” so well. I wish I had this book when I was in middle school or high school because I can relate to making your own kind of normal.

“Us? Normal?”

“How do you know we aren’t? How do we know everybody doesn’t make their own?”

She considered this for a moment then dismissed it. “If everybody made their own then nothing would be normal. Nothing could ever be normal.”

“Exactly.”

That’s my kind of definition of normal. And I think everyone needs to remember that normalcy doesn’t really exist a little bit more.

I didn’t see the plot twists coming ahead of time and I never got bored. On top of that, this book is incredibly quotable. There’s some good life advice in here, like when Max helped Janice cover up vandalism on her house:

And I knew then that ultimately we can save neither ourselves nor our loved ones from life. We can only live it.

Max is a complex character that I like and dislike. He is, ultimately, human, not a hero. He tends to overreact sometimes when Janice is involved, but for the most part he’s likeable. He’s loyal to his family, loves his little sister, and wishes for a world with a level playing field.

My favorite character is his little sister Lily, though. She actually has it worse than Max. She lives at home with her parents after Max goes to college and has to deal with her mother pretending she doesn’t exist and her father pretending to be her best friend to make up for it. Her home life is lousy at best and she practically raises herself for her last years of high school. But she’s strong enough to not break under pressure and she’s not one for self-pity.

“Fair is for dorks. I don’t need fair to make things work.”– Lily Bascom

So why only a 4.5 instead of a 5?

It’s because of the long descriptions, like this one that characterizes Mr. Birnbaum, Janice’s father, through his workshop.

I stepped inside and caught my breath. It was, to me, a foreign wonderland, this workshop. I am not a particularly handy person, and the panorama of neatly arranged rows of tools hanging on pegboards, the fittings categorized in plastic bins, the copper piping slung above the rafters, the worktables and vises and clamps and braided electrical cords all echoed the prowess of this man. I felt humbled, and strangely calm. I still wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing but I was no longer nervous about it. I could leave disappointed, even chastised, and be all right with it. Such was the power of Sheldon Birnbaum and this place.

While these descriptions certainly add character and depth to the story, they can sometimes be a little excessive and make my attention lag. This book is certainly not a fluff book and isn’t meant to be one, but the long descriptions make it slightly more harder to get through than it has to be.

This is a good book for anyone to read and I can’t recommend it enough, especially to teens. It helps us remember that we all need to make our own normal.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to get my list of high quality free romance novels when it’s finished, as well as updates about my blog and exclusive content. I’m in the final stages of editing and hope to be done soon. Have a good day!

5 Great Romance Novel Bloggers to Follow in 2017

171241-smart-bitches-who-love-trashy-books

Smart Bitches Trashy Books

These guys are the ultimate romance novel bloggers. With snarky reviews, cover snark, shopping lists, giveaways and Help a Bitch Out (for when you can’t remember the name of that book you love) there’s plenty here for everyone. SBTB is great for when you want to find new romance recommendations, or just need some laughs. One of my favorites is reading the Cover Snark, because it’s hilarious. Here’s an excerpt from one of their most recent Cover Snark, this one for the cover of the box set Dirty Desires. 

Continue reading “5 Great Romance Novel Bloggers to Follow in 2017”

Book Review: Grind by Edward Vukovic

51m7qvaf84l-_sx322_bo1204203200_Genre: Contemporary, Literature

Page Count: 391 pages

Average Goodreads Rating:4.2/5 stars

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

Ziva has the ability to read fortunes in coffee grounds, passed down from her grandmother. She does it for her family and friends. But then Ziva uses her ‘gift’ for herself.

Throughout her life, her talent had been freely given to those desperate for a glimpse into destiny’s promise: love, loss, life and death, and everything else along the way.

 Ziva revels in the semiotic arts and their ability to bring joy and comfort to those she meets. But with the blessing of enlightenment comes the curse of knowing all that is toxic, harsh and flawed in the future. To tell or not to tell? When face-to-face with imploring eyes, begging to know what’s to come – are they sometimes better off not knowing?

Continue reading “Book Review: Grind by Edward Vukovic”

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.