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Friday, September 28, 2018

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Love & Chocolate by Gail Cleare + Giveaway (US only)

Love & Chocolate
Gail Cleare
from Red Adept Publishing

When Sarah Westwood's deadbeat husband deserts her and their young son, she takes a job at her family's restaurant, The Three Chocolatiers, working with her famous chef grandfather and her pastry chef cousin, Paisley. Determined to never fall for the wrong guy again, Sarah vows to stick to chocolate and steer clear of men, especially her delicious ice-cream supplier, Blake Harrison. But when Paisley signs her up for a dating site, Sarah is soon engaging in a sexy online flirtation with a stranger.

Blake Harrison wants nothing more than for Sarah to give him a chance, but all she'll give him is the cold shoulder. Never one to run from a challenge, he works on becoming the kind of man Sarah can't refuse. And since he just happens to be on the same dating site, he's not above using a little cyber-intel to worm his way into her heart.

When Sarah's grandfather collapses just weeks before an upscale chocolate-themed wedding that could make or break the business, the staff of The Three Chocolatiers is sent into a tailspin. With the pressure rising on personal and professional fronts, Sarah might just have to let someone sweet melt her defenses. Includes four recipes from The Three Chocolatiers Cookbook.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Exclusive Sneak Peek: The Peppermint Mocha Murder by Colette London + Giveaway (US/Can)

The Peppermint Mocha Murder (A Chocolate Whisperer Mystery #5)
Colette London
from Kensington Books

It’s beginning to look like a merry Christmas for Hayden Mundy Moore. On vacation from providing her sought-after expertise in all things chocolate, Hayden heads to snowy New England with her friend and financial advisor, Travis, for the opening of his pal’s highly-touted holiday musical. But when the show’s producer is murdered, Hayden trades sampling Chocolate Santas for finding the killer—especially since this time, Travis is the one asking for her help...

Soon Hayden discovers there’s more to Travis’s chic hometown than mulled wine and cocoa cookies. But that’s just the beginning. Almost no one, including Travis, is quite what they seem. Did the show’s lead have more savage motives than stardom? Could the dead producer’s husband have felt a murderous envy for his successful wife? Getting behind the mistletoe and jingle bells will take all of Hayden’s savvy—along with some super caffeinated Peppermint Mochas—if she hopes to catch a killer with a heart more bitter than the darkest truffle...

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Interview with RaeAnne Thayne, Author of Season of Wonder + Giveaway (cont. US only)

Today I'd like to welcome RaeAnne Thayne back to the blog to celebrate the exciting release of Season of Wonder, the latest installment in the Haven Point series from HQN Books, a Harlequin imprint!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, RaeAnne! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

I’m not one of those people who knew from birth she was destined to become a writer. I always loved to read and throughout my childhood I could usually be found with a book in my hands. To the disgust of my friends, I even enjoyed creative writing assignments that made them all groan. But I had other dreams besides writing. I wanted to be an actress or a teacher or a lawyer.

Life took a different turn for me, though, when my mother made me take a journalism elective in high school (thanks, Mom!). I knew the first day that this was where I belonged.

After I graduated from college in journalism, I took a job at the local daily newspaper and I reveled in the challenge and the diversity of it. One day I could be interviewing the latest country music star, the next day I was writing about local motorcycle gangs or interviewing an award-winning scientist.

Through it all—through the natural progression of my career from reporter to editor—I wrote stories in my head. Not just any stories, either, but romances, the kind of books I have devoured since junior high school, with tales about real people going through the trials and tribulations of life until they find deep and lasting love.

I had no idea how to put these people on paper, but knew I had to try—their stories were too compelling for me to ignore. I sold my first book in 1995 and now, more than 40 books later, I’ve come to love everything about writing, from the click of the computer keys under my fingers to the “that’s-it!” feeling I get when a story is flowing.

I write full-time now (well, as full-time as I can manage juggling my kids!) amid the raw beauty of the northern Utah mountains.

Even though I might not have dreamed of being a writer when I was younger, now I simply can’t imagine my life any other way.

It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which will hits shelves today:

He’s giving her children a season of wonder...

Dani Capelli seized a chance to start over in a small town with her daughters. Now, facing her first Christmas in Haven Point, she wonders if leaving New York was a mistake. Dani loves working alongside veterinarian Dr. Morales, but her two children aren’t adjusting to small-town life. And then there’s Dr. Morales’s son, Ruben—Dani’s next-door neighbor. Gorgeous, muscled and dependable, the deputy sheriff is everything she secretly craves and can’t bear to risk loving... and losing.

Ruben never pictured himself falling for a big-city woman like Dani. But beneath her prickly facade, she’s caring and softhearted and she needs all the love and protection he can give. When Dani’s teenage daughter starts acting out, Ruben draws on family traditions to show the girls just how magical a Haven Point Christmas can be. But can he convince Dani that she’s found a home for the holidays—and forever—in his arms?

Readers will be thrilled to see that you are back with another Haven Point novel—and just in time for the holiday season! Can you tell us a little about this book and what readers can expect from it?

Season of Wonder is about taking risks and finding the courage to embrace new possibilities. When a veterinarian and single mom from Queens moves her two daughters to Haven Point, the unique family struggles to find a place in the small Idaho town. The book features a feisty heroine, a hero I adored writing, an angsty teenager and her adorable sister. There’s no better place to spend the holidays than Haven Point!

The heroine of this novel is Daniela Capelli, a newcomer to Haven Point and a single mother with a dark past. Can you tell us a bit about Dani and where the inspiration for her character came from?

I have so much admiration for people who have made poor choices in the past, sometimes because of circumstances thrust upon them, but still have the spark inside them to want something different for themselves and for their children. Dani came from a tough childhood, orphaned at a young age and thrust into foster care. As a hurt, angry, lost teenager, she did things she later regretted. Through hard work and grit—and the help of others along the way—she managed to reach her personal dreams and become a veterinarian. She wants to raise her daughters in a place where the whole family can finally put down roots and feel part of something.

Ruben Morales is the hero of Season of Wonder, and in addition to being a charming Haven Point sheriff’s deputy, he is also the son of Dani’s boss—and her next-door neighbor! Can you tell us a little more about Ruben and what makes him a good fit for Dani?

I fell in love with Ruben when I introduced him in a previous book, Snowfall on Haven Point. He had a very minor role in that one but I knew the moment he stepped onto the page that one day I would write his book. Ruben is a decent, dedicated law enforcement officer who cares about his family, his friends and the people he serves. When Dani’s oldest daughter Silver gets into trouble, Ruben is the first one who has her back and tries to help her learn from her mistakes. Because of her own past mistakes, Dani is drawn to that core of decency in Ruben and the compassion he shows to those around him. From the moment Dani arrives in Haven Point, Ruben is smitten with her, but it takes her a little longer to trust her heart.

Much of the tension in this novel centers around Dani’s troubled past and secrets she is trying to keep buried. What would you like readers to take away from this novel in terms of dealing with past demons and coming to terms with the past?

Dani carries a big burden, one she is afraid will ruin any chance she and her daughters have at finding a place in Haven Point. She carries a great deal of pain and guilt from choices that weren’t her own. At one point, after she finally finds the courage to tell Ruben the truth, he tells her that some people will definitely judge her for the mistakes made by someone she once loved. Those who do aren’t people she needs in her life. I think that is a powerful reminder not to waste this precious time we have here on this earth trying to impress people we don’t need in our lives anyway.

Another major theme in this novel is starting over—which is often harder than it looks! What made you want to write a story about a single mother who is looking for a fresh start for her and her daughters, and what did you learn about “turning over a new leaf” while writing this book?

I don’t know if I learned this lesson but it was a reminder to me that everyone is fighting a hard battle. We don’t always know the difficulties people have overcome or the challenges they still face, so my essential message is to be kind always. Sometimes a smile or a freely offered hand of friendship can make all the difference to someone trying to re-invent and re-imagine him—or herself.

A lovely and fitting title indeed! Where can you be found on the web?

It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, RaeAnne! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one print copy of Season of Wonder
—woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is tell me:

What is a law you wish you could change?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. RaeAnne and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Little Bird Publicity!
Giveaway ends October 9th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to continental US residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke: Holiday Recipe + Giveaway (US/Can)

Christmas Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen #23)
Joanne Fluke
from Kensington Books

It’s Christmas many years ago, and topping young Hannah Swensen’s wish list is becoming the go-to baker in Lake Eden, Minnesota. But as Hannah finds out, revisiting holiday memories can be murder...

With her dream of opening The Cookie Jar taking shape, Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle in Lake Eden—especially when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball from the past in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care. But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes for the merry festivities, she instantly becomes enthralled by Essie’s old notebooks and the tale of a woman escaping danger on the streets of New York. Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. As Hannah prepares to run a bakery and move out of her mother’s house, it’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake...

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Rooted in Deceit by Wendy Tyson + Giveaway (US/Can)

Rooted in Deceit (A Greenhouse Mystery #4)
Wendy Tyson
from Henery Press

It’s summertime in Winsome. Washington Acres is abloom, Megan is preparing for the grand opening of their wood-fired pizza farm, and things with Megan’s beau, handsome Dr. Finn, are getting as hot as the August temperatures. But when Megan’s ne’er-do-well father arrives in Pennsylvania with his high-maintenance Italian wife, Sylvia, and announces they’re staying at the new yoga retreat center a town away, a sweet occasion sours.

Eager to secure pieces for her Milan boutique, Sylvia finagles a meeting with up-and-coming artist Thana Moore, whose work is showing at the retreat center. After their explosive encounter, Thana is murdered and Sylvia becomes the prime suspect. Only Sylvia isn’t the only one with ties to the artist—once upon a time, Thana Moore had been Megan’s best friend. As Megan delves into Thana’s past, piecing together the years since their falling out, she realizes that something sinister is afoot in Bucks County. Unless Megan can find the killer, this idyllic summer will turn nightmarish. Innocent people may be imprisoned—and even more could die.