Summer Brides (Wiggs/Woods/Mallery anthology)

Summer Brides (includes Fool's Gold, #2.5)Summer Brides by Susan Wiggs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a collection of three stand alone novellas:

The Borrowed Bride by Susan Wiggs (1996)
During her own bridal shower, Isabel Wharton is whisked away by past love Dan Black Horse to his retreat in the Cascade range. But returning to her Native roots, and Dan’s loving arms, is harder than she ever imagined.

I’m a Wiggs fan. Susan gives us a charming second-chance-at-love story, which I’m a sucker for. My only nit in this book was Isabel’s fiance, Anthony. Even if he did have a great family that she wanted to be a part of, he was too laid back and unconcerned to be totally believable. Who wouldn’t trade him for the uber sexy Dan Black Horse?

Wiggs has a knack for grounding the reader in the scene. I felt like I was right there in the woods with Isabel and Anthony. The romance and feelings between the characters were believable and the problems in their background realistic, making me root for their HEA.

A Bridge to Dreams by Sherryl Woods (1990)
With her vacation plans foiled, Karyn Chambers realizes that her long-awaited escape must give way to staying at home in San Francisco. Little does she know her Prince Charming is right in her own backyard.

I enjoyed the sibling exchanges in this one between Karyn and her brothers. She’s chafing under the protection of many family members while trying to be independent. Brad Willis is a man who sees her as a strong woman.

Susan Wiggs mentioned in her Dear Author letter than she’d updated a few spots in her novella and I wish Woods had done the same. The mention of negatives in a camera and scarcity of cell phones were somewhat of a distraction. Even so, I liked Brad’s determination and patience. Even Karyn’s growing pains were believable and provided a nice black moment in the relationship prior to the satisfying wrap-up.

Sister of the Bride by Susan Mallery (2010)
When Katie McCormick finds out that her sister is marrying her ex, she finally agrees to a setup for the big day. To her surprise, Jackson is a catch. But when wedding catastrophe ensues, will their sparks fizzle or ignite into flames?

What a hoot! I loved the humor and quirky secondary characters in this one as well as the banter between Katie and Jackson. Mallery’s authorial voice shines, making me glad I have more of her work in my Kindle for future reading.

All said, an enjoyable collection for fans of contemporary romance and bride stories.

View all my reviews

This book purchased by the reviewer.

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Tuesday Tidbits: 8.5.14

Top 5 tidbits from my SPAM folder:

Size Matters!
Dylan wants me to call.
Liz and Edgar want to call me. (Geez, I’m popular, ain’t I?)
Apparently blood sugar has secrets ???
And a lost dog has been found on a camel farm…  (Can’t get much more random than that, but, yay for the dog!)

What’s in your spam folder? (Keep it PG-13 folks!)

 

Posted in Annie Rayburn, Carol Burnside, Everyday blather | Tagged

My Alamo Thursday at #RWA2014

My Thursday at the RWA 2014 conference included a lot of workshops and a side trip to the Alamo. Honestly, it was only a couple blocks, so Terry Spear, Susan Carlisle and I walked over and enjoyed a little respite from the crowds. Here are a few pictures of the grounds as no pictures are allowed inside.

WP_20140724_014That’s Susan Carlisle waiving at us.

WP_20140724_010That’s Terry Spear on the Alamo grounds, inside the perimeter walls. It’s a lovely oasis surrounded by modern city.

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The beautiful fountain just beyond where Terry is standing. And to the right, flowers as tall as a person. Aren’t they beautiful?

 

 

 

Tomorrow: Friday breakfast meeting and a surprise celebrity author or two.

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Top 3 Wednesday at #RWA2014

Wednesday at #RWA2014 had three major events:

1. Lunch with my son, Jason, at the Rainforest Cafe along the Riverwalk.  WP_20140723_009We took a selfie.

2. My roommate, Susan Carlisle arrived! Yes, this deserves an exclamation mark because she’s awesome and any time we get together is a good time. WP_20140723_010

3. The RWA annual Booksigning for Literacy Event took place on Wednesday evening. HUGE ballroom, huge crowds, madness ensues as readers jostle through the melee to their favorite authors. I wasn’t signing this year, but Susan distributed my bookmarks along with her sexy doctor bookmark. See what I mean? She’s awesome, awesome, awesome!

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It was also great to see long time friend and USA Today Bestselling Author, Terry Spear! We made it a point to exchange phone numbers and we met up several times. I loved reconnecting with her and catching up in person. She’s a sweetheart.

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Susan and I were delighted to run into a friend from RWA 2012 in Anaheim, Anita Learned. We reminisced about our day on Venice Beach. Fun times!

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Announcing Winners from Blog Hops!

CarolBurnside_HerUnexpectedFamily_200pxFrom the Summer Reads Blog Hop, Sherry Strode wins an ecopy of HER UNEXPECTED FAMILY.

FrPF2 WEB largeom Melissa Schroeder’s 10th Aniv Blog Hop, Kathy Watts wins an ecopy of PHANTOMS & FANTASIES.

Ladies, please contact me at Carol(at)CarolBurnside(dot)com with your preference of file type. Thanks to everyone for participating!

7/30/14: Actually, ladies, check your e-mail. I’d forgotten I have your addys. Happy reading, everyone!

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Tuesday at #RWA2014

Okay, so my trip to San Antonio and the RWA conference began on Tuesday. I flew in, grabbed a shuttle and made it to the hotel and my room with no trouble. Whew! I wasn’t there long when my son called that he was on his way from Austin, where he works as a firefighter and EMT.  When he arrived we walked along the Riverwalk and stopped at the Esquire Tavern, a night spot the Marriott’s concierge recommended as being eclectic.

I was so excited to see Jason, I only got one quick picture before our food came. WP_20140722_004

The Esquire Tavern was located in the upper story of an historic building and looked very Texas, inside and out. We had drinks at the bar while waiting for a table, but it didn’t take long. Our dining selections were (from their menu):

CHICKEN MOLE – mesquite smoked organic chicken, dark mole, candied almonds and creamed corn

HUITLACOCHE ENCHILADAS – corn tortillas stuffed w/ huitlacoche & creamed corn, topped w/ huitlacoche salsa, Oaxaca cheese, chimichurri and macerated onion

I have to say, my son’s enchiladas were better than the mole. Mine had a great flavor, but was a thigh/leg quarter and really difficult to eat. The waiter tried to convince me that the bright pink inside my chicken was a vein. Um, no. Cook it more. They did. I ate. Just when the darkness of the mole became a bit too intense, the candied almonds rescued my palate and made me want more.

WP_20140722_007 Live music topped off the experience and we walked back. Ever the EMT, Jason roused a transient sleeping under a bridge because neither of us were sure he was breathing. He grunted an answer. We left him to his stupor and continued on to enjoy a small cup of gelato on the return trip along the riverwalk. Yum!

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Tomorrow: Lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. Susan arrives! And a humongous book signing.

Posted in Carol Burnside, Everyday blather, Going Places | Tagged , , , ,

While I was away…

WP_20140723_018I’ve been away at the Romance Writers of America’s  national conference with my good friend Susan Carlisle and others. The conference took place in San Antonio along the Riverwalk, which was quite lovely even if it did add to the humidity. It was a blast, exhausting, and I have stuff to share now. Woo-hoo, right?

San Antonio in July…I know, right? Who thought that would be a good idea? Hot and humid describes the weather no matter which day is referred to. Thank goodness for air conditioning, which our friends from England found too chilly. There were a ton of workshops and events. A ton. It was difficult, at times, to choose which one I wanted to attend. The food was good, the friendship divine, the atmosphere inspiring. What more could I ask for, a drink, maybe? But no, we had those too. :-)WP_20140725_008

I’m trying to regroup today, get unpacked, judge my Maggie contest entries and score, get a few chores done around the house, feed myself and the dogs, and sneak in a workout in the pool. Oh! And send the entrants for the recent hops through Random.org to choose winners. Definitely got to get that done, too. So, check back each day this week for updates, pictures and more.

#RWA2014

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Phantoms & Fantasies #giveaway

PF2 WEB 200-300Phantoms & Fantasies is the July 23rd Book-of-the-Day (BAD) giveaway on The Romance Studio today. It’s a simple drawing which you can enter by clicking on the link above.

Want to know more about the book before you enter? Check out the Blurb and excerpt here on my website.

Here’s what others are saying:

highly recommend I very much enjoyed Phantoms and Fantasies. Ms. Rayburn has a fantastic imagination. Her books and characters come to life making it hard to stop reading at bedtime! Keep ‘em coming, Carol. I want to read them all. ReaderMax, 5/5* (B&N)

Unique and sensual! I love Annie Rayburn’s stories and this one definitely delivers on the sensuality and emotion. I truly felt for Zeenie because of the trauma she’d suffered in the past. Turk is the perfect hero. He’s patient and understanding. And he’s loved Zeenie, his life mate, for years even though he couldn’t be near her. The sexual tension explodes off the page and so do the intense emotions! I loved this story and I can’t wait to read this author’s next story, Bittersweet Obsessions. – Anon., (B&N) 5/5*

Interesting Premise! Enjoyed the sexy read, the new world Ms. Burnside created, and look forward to reading many more! – Terry Spear Urban Fantasy 5/5* (B&N)

“Phantoms and Fantasies is a touching tale of healing and love mixed with passion. Kudos to Ms. Rayburn for broaching such a sensitive topic and hitting the perfect balance between Sci-fi and Romance. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a story about survival and love after tragedy.”—Shyla The TBR Pile. 5 STARS, Highly Recommended

“Annie Rayburn expands her Crainesians’ world with Phantoms and Fantasies and gives women, human and Crainesian alike, a satisfying glimpse into a erotic relationship that begins in the mind. Trust me, you’ll love how Ms.Rayburn turns dating and mating rituals on its head with her Crainesians.” – Pamela V. Mason (Smashwords review)

“I love Annie Rayburn’s stories and this one definitely delivers on the sensuality and emotion. The sexual tension explodes off the page and so do the intense emotions! I loved this story and I can’t wait to read this author’s next story, Bittersweet Obsessions.” – n22v (Amazon 5-star review)

“Annie Rayburn has created an amazing world. Her alien race of Crainesians blends easily with their human neighbors and share a large number of similarities. The traits that do make them different are what makes these books so tantalizing. This was an breathtaking story. Ms. Rayburn has totally created a world that is both believable and sexy. I could see myself living next door to a Crainesian and am envious of the link the life mates have with each other. I read this story in one sitting, it was that good. I think the author has a definite keeper with this new world and I can’t wait to read more.” – Tami Brothers, (Amazon 5-star review)

Good Luck!

Posted in Annie Rayburn, Books, Carol Burnside, Contests, Everyday blather, Free Stuff, Promo | Tagged , , , , , ,

Melissa Schroeder’s 10th Aniv Blog Hop

Mel's AnniversaryIn celebration of Melissa’s 10th Anniversary of the Harmless series, she’s re-releasing A Little Harmless Sex. This book started the series, but has a new cover. Very sexy, yes?

LittleHarmlessSex72Congrats, Mel, on your 10th anniversary of sexy “Harmless” reads!

(Click the cover for more information)

Blurb:
Is it love, or just a little harmless sex?

Max has always been Anna‘s knight in shining armor. But Max has always seen her as a charming, and very sexy, little sister.

Until Max’s cold fiance dumps him, Anna unloads another of her many conquests and she invites him over for margaritas and Mexican food. Too much tequila, too much flirting, and too many years of fighting the attraction — Max loses control and has mind-blowing sex with Anna on her couch. And in her shower. And in her bed. When the sun rises the next morning, both of them must face that their night together is just the first of many.

For Max, he knows he wants Anna forever, but convincing a commitment-phobe like Anna is no easy task. For Anna, she can’t believe she has finally slipped beneath Max’s steely self-control. He is every woman’s dark, wet fantasy come true.

But what happens when Max pushes Anna for more than just A Little Harmless Sex?

- – – – -
PF2 WEB largeMel definitely writes hot, so in keeping with that theme I’m giving away a copy of my erotic novella, PHANTOMS & FANTASIES.

Phantoms & Fantasies is soft Sci-fi, lite paranormal, alternate reality contemporary and sizzling hot!

Available at: Smashwords / B&N /Apple(iTunes)Kobo(Sony) / Amazon-US / UK / DE / FR / IT / ES / ARebooks

Blurb:
After a devastating trauma, Zeenie attended a college mixer and experienced powerful Crainesian pheromones between herself and Turk. Unprepared for the life-mate call, she panicked and fled. Turk has waited and yearned for Zeenie for years while staying dialed in to her recovery. Finally, rumor says she’s ready to date again, and he’s determined to make her short list, even if it means resorting to a little trickery.

Zeenie’s plan is to ease back into the world of dating, not dive in heart first. Especially not with the hunk who’s supposedly bedded half the women in Dallas since she rejected him. On a blind date, he surprises her with patience and maturity when she fights against their pheromone bond, then shows tenderness and consideration when phantoms of her past arise.

As she learns more about Turk, Zeenie entertains heated fantasies of what could be and makes tentative forays into his sensual world. But her initial rejection broke with Crainesian custom and continues to cast a dark shadow on their future. Can she embrace her sexuality and summon enough courage to claim her man in true Crainesian style, or will their growing love be tainted forever?

Read an excerpt HERE.

Review:
5starsexy_TBRPile“Phantoms and Fantasies is a touching tale of healing and love mixed with passion. Kudos to Ms. Rayburn for broaching such a sensitive topic and hitting the perfect balance between Sci-fi and Romance. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a story about survival and love after tragedy.”—Shyla The TBR Pile. 5 STARS, Highly Recommended

I’m awarding one commenter an e-copy of Phantoms & Fantasies.
Comment to be entered once.
Subscribe to my NEWSLETTER for two more entries for a total of three entries. GOOD LUCK!

Follow the hop for more prizes here:
http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=423790
And enter the RAFFLECOPTER for Mel’s Grand Prize: an iPad Mini!

 

Posted in Annie Rayburn, Books, Carol Burnside, Contests, Everyday blather, Free Stuff, Promo | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Summer Reads Blog Hop

summer readsSummer’s in full swing! Come in out of the heat and check out our favorite Summer Reads! Each blog will feature their favorites and a giveaway so visit them all!

Honestly, I had a difficult time recommending a Summer Read, because there are so many good books out there. But since that’s the name of the hop, here are my recommendations:

Anything in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, a long time favorite of mine. Roarke and Eve are a fascinating couple and the evolution of their love story never fails to interest me. Also not so shabby are Eve’s investigations which fuel the books with plenty of action and twists.

I guess I’m into series reading lately, because I glommed onto Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson books (1st Grave on the Right, Second Grave From the Left, etc). Even though Charley (female) is the grim reaper, the books are snarky, laugh out loud funny and fast-paced reading perfect for a vacation. I highly recommend.

CarolBurnside_HerUnexpectedFamily_500pxAnd now for the really fun part. I’m giving away an e-copy of HER UNEXPECTED FAMILY from my Sweetwater Springs series. (There’s that series thing again!) This series is contemporary small town romance with plenty of sizzle and Southern charm. (18+ please) Sexy, humorous, and emotional. Simply leave a comment to enter.sunset-beach-sizzle-web-copy

And later this summer, look for SUNSET BEACH SIZZLE, my erotic romance set in Hawaii! How’s that for summer reading?

You can find the rest of the hop participants and grand prize entry information by clicking here: Entry-Form. Two lucky Grand Prize winners will win either a $100 Amazon gift card or a $30 Amazon gift card!!!

Thanks for participating!

 

 

Posted in Carol Burnside, Contests, Everyday blather, Free Stuff, Promo | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments