This winter I’ve become fascinated by the Danish concept of hygge, or coziness. Growing up in Maine, curling up with a hot cup of tea and a good book was how I kept my sanity with three feet of snow on the ground. It turns out the Danish had a very similar idea. Even though I’m spending the winter in Florida this year, I still love books that inspire a feeling of coziness. Here are four novels that have made me feel cozy and warm inside even if it was miserable outside. Continue reading “4 Cozy Romances to Read Before Spring”
Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 447 pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.63 out of 5 stars
Award-winning author Linnea Sinclair brings her special sizzle to science fiction with this action-packed blend of otherworldly adventure and sexy stellar romance.
After a decade of piloting interstellar patrol ships, former captain Chasidah Bergren, onetime pride of the Sixth Fleet, finds herself court-martialed for a crime she didn’t commit-nd shipped off to a remote prison planet from which no one ever escapes. But when she kills a brutal guard in an act of self-defense, someone even more dangerous emerges from the shadows.
Gabriel Sullivan-alpha mercenary, smuggler, and rogue–is supposed to be dead. Yet now this seductive ghost from Chaz’s past is offering her a ticket to freedom– for a price. Someone in the Empire is secretly breeding jukors: vicious and uncontrollable killing machines that have long been outlawed. Gabriel needs Chaz to help him stop the practice before it decimates Imperial space. The mission means putting their lives on the line-but the tensions that heat up between them may be the riskiest part of all.
Remember, your purchase can also let you enter to win a $10 visa gift card if you email a screenshot of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org. Offer valid until December 31, 2017.
Today I’ve been in a really bad mood. Why? No clue. Nothing really bad happened. In fact, a lot of good things happened. But I still feel like punching someone in the face.
Instead, I’ve compiled a short list of romance novels to read when you’re in a bad mood. After all, romance novels are great mood purifiers and unlike punching someone in the face, they won’t get you arrested for assault. These books include revenge, anger, and sweet justice and that will leave you satisfied and in a better mood.
1) Love, Inc. by Yvonne Collins, Sandy Rideout
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Page Count: 405 pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.81 out of 5 stars
Zahra, Kali, and Syd would never have met if their parents’ marriages hadn’t fallen apart. But when the three girls collide in group counseling, they discover they have something else in common: they’ve each been triple-timed by the same nefarious charmer, Eric, aka Rico, aka Rick. Talk about eye-opening therapy.
Cheerful, diplomatic Zahra is devastated. Rico had been her rock and sole confidant. How could she have missed the signs?
Folksy, flirtatious Kali feels almost as bad. She and Rick had only been on a few dates, but they’d felt so promising.
Hardened vintage-vixen Syd is beyond tears. She and Eric had real history… Or so she’d thought.
Now all three girls have one mission: to show that cheater the folly of his ways. Project Payback is such a success, the girls soon have clients lining up for their consulting services. Is your boyfriend acting shady? Dying to know if your crush is into you? Need match-making expertise? Look no further than Love, Inc.
2) Beautiful Mess by Lucy V. Morgan
Word Count: 15,700
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.45 out of 5
Warning: contains pet rats, hot YouTube celebrity roommates, and one spurned girlfriend about to get even…
Working in a wedding cake shop sucks when you’ve just been dumped.
Bailey Frost has a recipe for disaster: one cheating ex, one big glass of liquor, and three well-meaning male friends who think her lack of a sex life is funny. Before she knows it, she’s confessed that she’s never had an orgasm with a man.
Now Bailey has to navigate sappy couples at work, while her friends are hell-bent on helping her get revenge on evil Craig…by dressing up as werewolves, on YouTube.
And one of those friends– the tall, shy-but-gorgeous Linc–might just want to help Bailey with that other little problem…
3) By Magic Enchanted by Maggie Shayne
Word Count: 98,540
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.02 stars out of 5
Bridin is in hiding, in exile, awaiting the man foretold to find her, to help her reclaim her destiny.
The last man she expects is very man who took it all from her and drove her from her home.
Tristan has to find a way to win Bridin’s trust because only together can they free their enslaved people with the passionate magic of love.
4) Bad Things Play Here by Chani Lynn Feener
Word Count: 91,910
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
You can’t escape destiny…
Piper Anesidora hates her last name, and the Reaper and demon infested life that comes with it. For centuries, her family has been tasked with protecting Pandora’s Box, and ensuring it’s never reopened. That’s why five years ago she ran away, hoping to build a normal life, one of her own choosing. And it worked. For a little while. But now her brother has been taken by Orpheus, a malicious soul who’s escaped from the Underworld, and if that isn’t bad enough, he’s also stolen the box. The sooner she finds her brother and stops Orpheus from unleashing hell on earth, the better. Piper wants nothing more than to return to the mundane existence she’s created for herself. That is until she’s partnered with the one guy capable of making her crave more. She’s always been told giving into sin is wrong, but her ancestors clearly never met Lust.
You can’t resist temptation…
Reece Luben takes intimate knowledge to a whole new level. As the Greek god of lust, he has a long standing reputation to uphold as a playboy, despite the fact he’s grown bored with the game. It’s been centuries since he’s cared about someone other than his maenads, so he passes the time getting people to shed their inhibitions. As one of the few beings who can sense Pandora’s Box, Reece has no choice but to help Piper find and stop Orpheus, even though he’s avoided her family since the start of his second life. But the feisty Anesidora woman makes him feel things he’s long forgotten, and what starts out as one night giving into desire turns into another…and another. What happens when the god of lust decides he’s changing the game and playing for keeps?
5) Eternity by Maggie Shayne
Word Count: 114,060
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.98 out of 5 stars
300 years ago, Raven St. James was hanged for witchcraft. But she revives among the dead to find herself alive. She is an Immortal High Witch, one of the light. A note from her mother warns that there are others, those of the Dark, who preserve their own lives by taking the hearts of those like her.
Duncan Wallace’s forbidden love for the secretive lass costs him his life.
300 years later, he loves her again, tormented by hazy memories of a past that can’t be real. She tells him of another lifetime, claims to be immortal. Though he knows she’s deluded, he can’t stay away. And the Dark Witch after her heart is far closer than either of them know.
When I started Lover’s Quarrel, I wanted to make the world a better place. Now, for the first time, Lover’s Quarrel has raised a significant amount of money for charity and I know, with your help, we can raise $100 for charity in 2017.
Now, for the first time, Lover’s Quarrel has raised a significant amount of money for charity and I know, with your help, we can raise $100 for charity in 2017.
We are 57 percent of the way to our goal and I know we can make it. To help, I’ve compiled a list of romance novels that have high affiliate rates. Half of those affiliate earnings will go to the Malala Fund, a nonprofit that helps women and girls around the world get 12 years of safe, quality education. I’m giving you the opportunity to help them.
However, you need to act fast to make the maximum impact with your purchases. At the end of August, these affiliate rates can fall back to the standard 11%, so buying after August 31 could mean only 5.5% of your purchase goes to the Malala Fund.
Here are 10 romance novels you can buy to make the world a better place.
(Female name) wandered halfway down the hall then turned back again. How hard was it to find the right (type of room)? How many (type of room) did a building even need? At this rate she would never be on time for the interview.
She looked down at the piece of paper with the (adjective) map the receptionist had drawn her, turned the corner and ran into something very solid and warm.
She gasped and looked up at the (adjective) man she had just run into. “I’m so (adjective)!” She blushed. “I-I really should have looked at where I was (verb ending in -ing).”
He grinned at her. “It’s all right,” he said. “There are worse people to fall into my (body part).” He gave her an (adjective) once-over and Charlotte blushed (color).
“I-I I’m (adjective),” she stuttered. “I don’t suppose you could (verb)? I have an interview to get to. ”
“I’m happy to (verb). My name is (male name), by the way.”
“(Female name). Nice to meet you.” she said, smiling (adverb). If only her (body part) would stop (verb ending in -ing) so fast she would be able to (verb) clearly!
“I’ll show you where to go. After all,” he (flirtatious gesture), “I would hate it if you didn’t get the job. Then you couldn’t (verb) into me here anymore.”
How did you like the Mad-Lib? Post your result in the comment below. Or you can create and submit your own mad-lib.
Word Count: 3,880
Average Smashwords Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Through letters, Jonathan and Emily profess their love for each other. You can see snapshots of their lives as they meet and marry, and part ways. Time is fluid in this, with only the Chinese zodiac signs to give you an idea about how much time has passed.
This story was way too short and everything happened way too fast. It was like watching a television show for the first time and skipping entire seasons between episodes.
For instance, the mothers of the two main characters got into a fist fight at the engagement party and at least one of them was arrested for it. Why did the fight start? Do the mothers have a history of being violent? Maybe they have bad history.
The ending was abrupt. It implied a violent ending that had no foreshadowing in the previous letters. The story is a series of romantic snapshots into these people’s’ lives, but I would have preferred a little more reality with some context to what was happening.
The writing drove me crazy at times, too. Mostly it was witty, passionate and made me smile.
What other lovers? Whoever came before you fell out of existence at your first caress. You are my only…for now through eternity.
But sometimes it was pretentious and absurdly wordy.
“Fleeting and cold is my opinion of email, text and phone calls. I make no apologies for my old fashioned views on modern technology. It may not be instant, and might take a bit more effort (of which you are more than worthy!), but I prefer to sit and put pen to paper.”
You can find it for free on Smashwords.
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Word Count: 19,780
Average Smashwords Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Get Conference Cupid free on Smashwords.
I’m still trying to catch my breath from reading Conference Cupid by Eden Elgabri. The sex and the romance is a huge whirlwind that left me wanting even more. But I’m still not sure why I liked it so much.
Devin Barnett can’t believe it when he sees his old high school crush walk into his hotel for the romance writers conference. She’s just as beautiful as he remembers, but he doubts she will recognize him. After all, he was just a skinny nerd in high school. He certainly never would have entered her radar. But maybe he can finally have her.
Mark Calde is the author of Bascomville. You may remember it from his book spotlight and my review for Bascomville. Today, I am pleased to have him for an interview on Lover’s Quarrel. It’s been awesome working with him and I wish him the best in future endeavors and I hope we do get to see a sequel to Bascomville someday.
Tell us what Bascomville is about.
Bascomville is a literary romance that functions on several levels. It is the story of Max and Janice, who begin as childhood friends and gradually fall in love. It is the story of Max’s family and how he relates to them. And finally, it delves into the notion that, for better or worse, we each create our own special universe.
The characters all appear very real. Did you base any of them off people you know?
As a writer I try to be observant of the people I come into contact with, whether casually or on a more consistent basis. My characters often embody the traits I observe in others and in myself, but I avoid slavishly copying someone I know, as that hampers the creative process.
Max and Lily discuss what “normal” means. What does it mean for you?
For me, and the thesis I try to exemplify in the book, normal is what each of us make it. There is, in my view, no test-tube version of normal. It can’t be quantified or objectified. What’s normal for one person may be far out of another’s comfort range. If we all behaved in the same way and liked the same things, life would be a tremendous bore!
If we all behaved in the same way and liked the same things, life would be a tremendous bore! — Mark Calde
Out of all of your novels, which was your favorite one to write?
While each of my novels has been its own unique journey, I’d have to say that my fondest memory is of my first, Shadowboxer, a suspense novel published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Your first book is rather like your first kiss. It’s an experience that can’t be duplicated and remains with you forever.
What does a typical writing day look like for you? From idea to final draft, what is your writing process?
These are interesting questions because I’m rather an atypical writer. First of all, I have to know where I’m going, where the story is going to end. The road to that end doesn’t have to be totally in place but the destination does. Next come the names of the main characters. Those are very important to me and help me to visualize the characters. Also, I don’t do a lot of drafts. I prefer to think about a chapter a great deal before I write it, and I often wind up doing the actual writing in the evening. Of course, I hit dead-ends from time to time and have to backtrack, but largely my first draft of a book is about ninety percent of the finished product.
What are some of your favorite books?
My two all-time favorites that I’ve read several times each are The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I never fail to be inspired by the characters, the themes and the wonderful storytelling.
Keep searching for that one book that will speak to you over and over again. And when you find it, never let it go.
Are you currently working on any writing projects, or have any planned for the near future?
I would very much like to do a sequel to Bascomville. I believe Max and Janice have more of their story to tell. Also, I’m making notes on what I hope will be a young adult series. It’s something I’ve never done and I like the prospect of a challenge. We’ll see if I’m up to it!
Is there anything else you want to share with my readers?
I firmly believe that books, especially fiction, are an essential ingredient to making whatever time we have been allotted both meaningful and enjoyable. Well-written, well-plotted fiction can illuminate our lives. It can teach us, it can entertain us and it can make us think. And sometimes it can change our lives. So please, keep reading. Keep searching for that one book that will speak to you over and over again. And when you find it, never let it go.
What’s the one book that speaks to you over and over again? Let us know in the comments!
Sometimes you need to go and revisit the classics or discover some new classics. These are five books that are in the public domain, so you can find them for free. They are perfect when you need some old-fashioned romance.
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
This classic is one of Austen’s best-known works. It has humor, romance, and a healthy dose of reality. Headstrong Elizabeth Bennet wants happiness for herself and her sisters. And that does not include marrying Mr. Collins, no matter how much he courts her. She enjoys the company of a handsome soldier named Mr. Wickham and tries to avoid the handsome, rich, and completely intolerable Mr. Darcy. But when she learns the truth of Darcy’s past and his intentions, she finds him not as intolerable as she thought.