Excerpt: The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber and Giveaway!

Thanks to the super-duper peeps at Random House, I have 10 ARCs of Debbie Macomber’s The Inn at Rose Harbor to giveaway.  I’m geeked about this!   Matchmakers first introduced me to Debbie’s writing, and I have read so many of her books since then!  Check out the excerpt below, and then enter for a chance to win an ARC of your own!

Here’s a description:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber comes a heartwarming new series based in the Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove, where a charming cast of characters finds love, forgiveness, and renewal behind the doors of the cozy Rose Harbor Inn.

Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start. Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast—the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn—ready to begin her life anew. Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine.

Her first guest is Joshua Weaver, who has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, and Joshua has little hope that they can reconcile their differences. But a long-lost acquaintance from Joshua’s high school days proves to him that forgiveness is never out of reach and love can bloom even where it’s least expected.

The other guest is Abby Kincaid, who has returned to Cedar Cove to attend her brother’s wedding. Back for the first time in twenty years, she almost wishes she hadn’t come, the picturesque town harboring painful memories from her past. And while Abby reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes she can only move on if she truly allows herself to let go.

A touching novel of life’s grand possibilities and the heart’s ability to heal, The Inn at Rose Harbor is a welcome introduction to an unforgettable set of friends.

Read the excerpt, and then enter the giveaway to win an ARC!

The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber (Preview)


Ready to enter for your chance to win an ARC of The Inn at Rose Harbor?  This is an easy giveaway to enter!  Just fill out the Rafflecopter widget below, and earn extra entries by Tweeting about the giveaway!  Open to US addresses only.


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Didn’t win? You can preorder a copy by clicking the widget below.  Available in print and digital.

Review: Deep Autumn Heat by Elizabeth Barrett


Title: Deep Autumn Heat

Author: Elizabeth Barrett

Publisher: Random House-Loveswept Romance

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

In this sexy new Star Harbor romance series, featuring the too-tempting Grayson brothers, a celebrity chef turns up the heat for a local café owner—and things start to sizzle.

Lexie Meyers decides there’s nothing sweeter than watching Sebastian Grayson’s perfect, wicked mouth devour her coconut cake. He’s hot, he’s hungry, and he’s sizing her up like she’s the best thing on the menu. But she’s been burned in the past and flings just aren’t her thing. Too bad Sebastian can’t resist a challenge.

Worldly, famous, and notorious with the ladies, Seb had planned a weekend of fishing and relaxation with his brothers. Until Lexie, with her kissable lips and frosty “get lost” attitude, makes him want to forget his culinary empire and create some magic with her. After he fires up his charm—including challenging her to a televised cook-off to break through her resistance—it’s now hotter in the bedroom than it is in the kitchen and Lexie isn’t sure whether she’s lost her mind . . . or just her heart.


I don’t think I have read many romances featuring chefs.  Either they didn’t make an impression on me at all, or my innate dislike of cooking has steered me away from books with chefs.  I just don’t find them very sexy.  Sure, it would be divine to have a culinary artist at my beck and call, preparing mouth-watering dishes to please my taste buds and tame my wild heart, but then I remember what a glutton I am, and I realize that if I did find a sexy chef of my own, I would soon weigh as much as my horses.  Like, both of them put together.

In Deep Autumn Heat, both protagonists make a living by cooking.  Lexie runs a small restaurant in Star Harbor, a tourist town on the East coast, and Seb is a glamorous and wealthy chef. His New York restaurant is popular, expensive and five-stars in every way, and his skill in the kitchen has made him rich.  His good looks has landed him a TV show, and, well, this guy has an ego the size of a houseboat.  His first opinion of Lexie’s place is that it’s quaint and a step or three beneath him.  He makes a terrible impression on Lexie; first, he treats her like she’s “just” a waitress, and then he acts as though being in her place should be an honor for her.  He’s THE Sebastian Grayson, after all, and he is eating in HER restaurant.  Then he tries a slice of her coconut cake and it’s all over for him.  He loves her cake and wants to know what’s in it.  After sizing her up again, he decides that he wouldn’t mind getting to know what’s in her pants, either.

Lexie, for her part, is too busy and too focused on making her business successful to give Seb much more than a second glance.  OK, so she gives him a third and a fourth glance, because he is drop dead gorgeous.  Of course he is!  He’s rich, dresses in black, and rides a motorcycle, too, which makes him like a bad boy chef.  A bad boy chef who knows how to clean pots, pans, and various cooking implements, and has a smile that makes every woman’s brain go numb when he flashes a great big smile her way.  Kind of like gulping down a gigantic Slurpee and getting a case of brain freeze.  That is Seb’s effect on all women, including Lexie, though she does try her best to take little sips to minimize the brain freeze effect.

Even though Seb spent most of the book being a pompous ass, I still liked him.  I want a big, sexy hunk of man to cook me breakfast and then clean up the mess.  I want to go on rides on the back of a motorcycle, too.  Le sigh.  This is not in the cards for me.  While I do remember with fondness Dean whipping up Mac & Cheese dinners when I was in college and working full-time, he didn’t do such a good job cleaning up, and he has never owned a motorcycle.  Boo!

I enjoyed the banter and the sparks that flew between Lexie and Seb, and I loved how she calmly put him in his place.  Like, all the time.  She had a gift for thinking well under pressure, she was a natural leader in the kitchen, and better yet, she could cook every bit as well as Seb.  I thought their cook-off was a very fun scene, and enjoyed the interaction between all the characters during that sequence.  I can’t believe that such a diverse cast of people could be crammed in one kitchen and not come to blows.  While Lexie and Seb’s relationship was very competitive at first, they quickly become a team – both in and out of the kitchen.

Which brings me to the part of the review where I share what didn’t work for me in this story.  Lexie has fled from a previous, abusive relationship, and when it appears that her ex is stalking her, she refuses to accept that she might be in mortal danger, or that he might have tracked her down.  Instead, she is convinced that all of the threatening notes and little mishaps that have been plaguing her are the work of a rival who wants her coconut cake recipe.  While it turns out that lots of folk are after the secret behind her yummy cake, Lexie is a really smart woman and her firm denial was annoying.  She was already threatened by the slime ball she used to live with, and she was more than familiar with how awful he could be, so some of her behavior didn’t ring true.  When everyone is telling you that you are in danger, most rational people pay attention, especially if they are scared to death of the person and have experienced the violence they are capable of first hand.  

I thought the pacing was a little slow for the last 20% of the story, and even though I enjoyed Buster’s kick butt moves, I thought that the plot thread introduced during Lexie and Buster’s supply run didn’t fit well in this book.   It’s set up for another book in the series, but to me it just felt like an under developed plot point, and I wouldn’t have missed it if it hadn’t been included.

Deep Autumn Heat is a quick read, with scorching sex scenes.  The electricity between Lexie and Seb quickly flared out of control, and I loved the book until Seb had to go back to his business in New York.  Then, without the blazing encounters between the protagonists, the story lost some steam.  Lexie’s emotional baggage was also resolved too quickly, but overall, this is a fun summer read, so load it on your reader before heading to the beach!

Grade:  B-

Review copy provided by publisher

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Cover Shot! Deep Betrayal by Anne Greenwood Brown

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I thought Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown put a fantastic spin on mermaid mythology, and I can hardly wait for Deep Betrayal, the next book in the series.  Sadly, I have a long, long time to wait!

In stores 2013.

It’s been thirty days, two hours, and seventeen minutes since Calder left Lily standing on the shores of Lake Superior. Not that she’s counting. And when Calder does return, it’s not quite the reunion Lily hoped for. Especially after she lets her father in on a huge secret: he, like Calder, is a merman. Obsessed with his new identity, Lily’s dad monopolizes Calder’s time as the two of them spend every day in the water, leaving Lily behind.

Then dead bodies start washing ashore. Calder blames his mermaid sisters, but Lily fears her father has embraced the merman’s natural need to kill. As the body count grows, everyone is pointing fingers. Lily doesn’t know what to believe—only that whoever’s responsible is sure to strike again. . .

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Interview with Anne Greenwood Brown, Author of Lies Beneath

Anne Greenwood Brown dropped by the virtual offices to chat about her new book, Lies Beneath.  Check out what she has to say.

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Anne Greenwood Brown] I’m a born and raised Minnesotan, wife, and mother of three. I love to make things up, and I miss high school. A lot.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about your book, Lies Beneath?

[Anne Greenwood Brown] Lies Beneath is billed as a paranormal romance, but I see it primarily as an evolution story (as in Darwin). It’s the story of a merman, Calder White, and his mermaid sisters, who medicate their natural depressive states by robbing people of their life energy (killing them in the process). They’re animals; it’s really no different than a lion taking down a gazelle. It’s creepy, but it’s just the natural way of things.

When the story starts, Calder and his sisters are seeking revenge against the man they blame for their mother’s death. Calder is charged with the task of getting close to the man, by first getting close to his daughter, Lily. It should be easy. Calder has plenty of experience seducing young girls. However, this time he screws everything up by falling in love. (If that’s even possible for his kind.)

Over the course of the novel, Calder starts to evolve from his animalistic past to his more human future, and starts to acquire some of the most profound capabilities of the human spirit.

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for Lies Beneath?

[Anne Greenwood Brown] I actually started writing a contemporary story that was set on Lake Superior about a girl who came up to tend the lighthouse and fell in love with a ferry boat captain. But I kept having this dream where the ferry boat captain dove over the side of the boat. That would be a really stupid thing to do on Lake Superior. Like, death wish stupid. Then in one of those dreams, the ferry boat captain dove into the lake and burst out with this amazing tail! I woke up with the first line of the book in my head: “I hadn’t killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that.” I figured that was the story that wanted to be told, so I sat down to write it.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Calder would never have in his pocket?

[Anne Greenwood Brown] Oh, boy, let’s see. He wouldn’t have any money. He wouldn’t have an ID. And . . . he wouldn’t have any lint (because he doesn’t have much access to a washer/dryer).

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Anne Greenwood Brown] My laptop. Coffee. And the time on the clock to be before noon!

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Anne Greenwood Brown] THE TIME GARDEN by Edgar Eager. It was about a frog who taught a group of children how to travel through time by inhaling thyme. I remember they went to visit Queen Elizabeth on one trip, and Louisa May Alcott on another.

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

You can purchase Lies Beneath from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below.  Available in both print and digital


Interview arranged by {teen} Book Scene

The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark–Excerpt

One of my most anticipated January 2012 releases is The Demon Love by Juliet Dark. Random House is offering a free sneak peek at the book. Here’s an excerpt from the book for you to enjoy with your morning coffee.


A must-read for paranormal romance fans: THE DEMON LOVER: A Novel by Juliet Dark (excerpt)

The Demon Lover is available in both print and digital formats.  You can order a copy from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below.

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