Marilyn Brant’s Cover REVEAL of …

mb ppaapb‘Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match’

BOOK BLURB: The course of true love doesn’t run smooth for wealthy stock trader Bingley McNamara and the not-so-angelic school psychologist Jane Henderson — a woman who’s making him rethink his commitment to bachelorhood…

In her everyday life, Jane is an interning school psychologist and a woman who wears an angelic mask in public, but she’s not as sweet tempered as she’d like everyone to believe. Turns out, she may have just crossed paths with the one person who’ll unnerve her enough to get her to reveal her true self.

As for Bingley, he’s a wealthy and compulsively social financial guru, who likes to wager on stocks (and, let’s face it, on just about anything that strikes his fancy). But this dedicated ladies’ man may have finally met the woman who’ll challenge his bachelor ways.

Here comes the sequel to Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match!

Bingley McNamara is Will’s first cousin [Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match’s Dr. Will Darcy] and our heroine, Jane Henderson, is Beth’s best friend [Beth Ann Bennet Darcy]. The cousin and the friend are thrown together FAR too frequently for their liking simply because of Beth and Will’s romance and consequent marriage. Jane and Bingley’s story actually starts at the Darcy/Bennet wedding, as they are the maid of honor and best man for the happy couple…

BUY LINKS: Coming soon!

Marilyn BrantAUTHOR BIO: As a former teacher, library staff member, freelance magazine writer and national book reviewer, Marilyn has spent much of her life lost in literature. She is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of eight novels to date and, recently, the Illinois Association of Teachers of English (IATE) selected her as their 2013 Illinois Author of the Year.

Her début coming-of-age/new adult novel, ACCORDING TO JANE (Kensington, 2009), featuring the ghost of Jane Austen giving a young woman dating advice, won the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart Award and the Booksellers’ Best, and it was named one of the “Top 100 Romance Novels of All Time” by Buzzle.com. Other novels have been Doubleday, Book-of-the-Month Club and Literary Guild picks, and a couple of her eBooks have hit #1 on both the Kindle and Nook Top 100.

Social Media Links: Website / Blog / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

‘All I Ever Wanted’ by Rhonda Helms, Marilyn Brant, Lexi Ryan & Caisey Quinn

????????????STORY: Winterfest is heating up in Abbott Springs…

As the town’s yearly festival kicks off, cold days turn into steamy nights, new flames will be ignited, and old romances will be rekindled.

All About Us by Marilyn Brant—All Sami Abbott ever wanted was permission to be herself. At home, she aims to be the perfect daughter but never measures up. At college, she’s the bold girl who had a one-night stand with sexy musician, Alex Hamilton. When he arrives unexpectedly in Abbott Springs, her worlds collide and she must reconcile the girl she tries to be with the person she really is.

All I Need by Caisey Quinn–All pink-haired rocker chick Everly Abbott thought she wanted was acceptance in her straight-laced hometown. But her best friend and bandmate Justin Cohen is about to show her that what she thinks she wants isn’t necessarily what she needs.

All for Love by Rhonda Helms–All Maya Monterey ever wanted was to belong. Happiest with the Abbott family, Maya’s been secretly in love with sexy pastry chef Oliver Abbott for years. With a flirty new look, she’ll pull out all the stops to get him to notice her. And if her plan fails, she’ll walk away from the only home she’s ever known–and Oliver–for good.

All or Nothing by Lexi Ryan—After years of placing the wrong bets, all Aubree Baxter wanted was someone to take a chance on her. Golden boy Kennedy Hale plays it safe in life and love, but to keep Bree in Abbott Springs, he’ll have to go all in.

REVIEW: You all know by now that I usually need to be dragged out of my historicals, and if I am dragged, it will only be because I’m enamored by an author and her story telling.

Such was the case with this anthology, which by the way was an interesting premise to begin with, that had Marilyn Brant and three authors I’ve never heard of, Rhonda Helms, Marilyn Brant, Lexi Ryan & Caisey Quinn.

Usually an anthology will have a few authors giving us a sample of their work through short stories that are not connected at all, or have a thread of connection, such as a snowy night. This anthology has a Winterfest setting in Abbott Springs and each author is gifting us with her own couple and their happily ever after.

Since all the stories have a sufficient blurb, my review will cover my opinion on each story.

‘All About Us’ by Marilyn Brant 

I loved this couple a lot. Both characters were adorable, and the chemistry and tension between the two is off the charts. I think the reason for it is the heroine and her dual identity, which the hero unravels fairly quickly, and is intrigued by her pretense and her double life.

This was a story about a physical attraction first and if it would be given a chance to blossom into a true love.

Loved it.

‘All I Need’ by Caisey Quinn

This story was as sweeter as it was H.O.T. hot. If you’re a fan of ‘best friends’ turning up a dial to lovers and finding in each other that someone special that was right in front of them the ir whole life, you’ll love this story. I did!

‘All for Love’ by Rhonda Helms 

Let me tell you, out of all the stories, I was looking forward to this one the most because of the way Ms. Brant introduced both of these characters, and both were very intriguing.

Oliver Abbot [the older brother to the heroine from MB’s book] was an amazing chef, but when it came to love, the guy was oblivious to Maya’s feelings. He was hit with that knowledge by his sister and finally opened his eyes and heart to this chick that was so cute.

Loved this one too!

‘All or Nothing’ by Lexi Ryan 

And now we come to the last story in this entertaining anthology.

This story was most intriguing because we had a hero that was torn between his wishes and those of his family and the legacy to the name.

I liked the psychological pull-push of both of these characters and enjoyed their thought process very much.

There you have it. I enjoyed each story for different reasons, and I think you might too.

All four authors did an outstanding job by having all the stories and characters flow seamlessly from one story to the next, with characters that were entertaining, relatable and interesting. The pace was remarkably fast and even throughout all four stories and plots very believable.

As for the authors I never heard about before? Now I have no excuse not to seek them out! If you’re interested in checking out one of these authors, here’s a FREE copy of  Stolen Wishes (New Hope) by Lexi Ryan. Now you don’t have an excuse either! LOL!

*Melanie for b2b.

*Book provided by one of the authors.

My 2013 Contemporary Christmas recommends [part 1]

TMHFC BN‘Take Me Home for Christmas’ by Brenda Novak

STORY: Christmas is a time for remembering….

Too bad all memories aren’t pleasant. Everyone in Whiskey Creek remembers Sophia DeBussi as the town’s Mean Girl. Especially Ted Dixon, whose love she once scorned.

But Sophia has paid the price for her youthful transgressions. The man she did marry was rich and powerful but abusive. So when he goes missing, she secretly hopes he’ll never come back—until she learns that he died running from an FBI probe of his investment firm. Not only has he left Sophia penniless, he’s left her to face all the townspeople he cheated….

Sophia is reduced to looking for any kind of work to pay the bills and support her daughter. With no other options, she becomes housekeeper for none other than Ted, now a successful suspense writer. He can’t bring himself to turn his back on her, not at Christmas, but he refuses to get emotionally involved. He learned his lesson the last time.

Or will the season of love and forgiveness give them both another chance at happiness?

REVIEW: This Christmas I ventured to read some more contemporary novels, and here are some of my recommendations…

I don’t remember reading any of Ms. Novak’s Whiskey Creek novels but I just might track them down now.

First, it wasn’t easy liking Sophia DeBussi and at the start of this novel I even had issues with the hero of this piece Ted Dixon, but you know what? I warmed up to them as their story developed and in the end I ended up rooting for them to finally get all that ‘baggage’ they carried resolve and let the ‘cupid’ win the day.

There’s a lot happening in this novel and I hope you give it a try as a second chance in love is offered these high school sweethearts.

Brenda Novak can write a very realistic, passionate love stories with some complex characters and great plots and this book is no exception to that rule.

G b2b

TG CJC‘The Gift’ by C.J. Carmichael

STORY: A heartwarming Christmas novella set in Bandit Creek Montana.

When is the wrong thing, the right thing to do?

What would you do if a little girl in need showed up on your doorstep on Christmas Eve?

Amy Gold, Bandit Creek’s kindergarten teacher, is not the sort of person to flout the law. Especially since she’s dating the local deputy, Gray Cassidy. But an unexpected Christmas gift is about to change everything – not just Amy’s plans for a traditional Christmas, but her entire future, and Gray’s as well.

REVIEW: I never read this author before, but after reading this heartwarming story, I’m going to try to stock up on her other titles.

Who doesn’t want to believe in Christmas miracles? I know I can’t help but believe…

The heroine, Amy wants so badly to have kids, but the reality is cruel and she knows that wish would never come true so she decides to spare her boyfriend this pain by setting him free so he can have a family he deserves.

On Christmas Eve everything changes as a bedraggled little girl shows up at her house and Amy has no choice but to help this little girl and by choosing that path, everyone’s destiny will change.

There’s no way you’re going to not love this story. It has everything in it for this season of God’s miracles. Go for it!

G b2b

ASCFC NS‘A Second Chance for Christmas’ by Nashin Sadeer

STORY: When Nathan Wyler’s adored wife Emily dies tragically in a car accident in December his entire world collapses around him. He immerses himself in work, doing everything he can to escape the grief and ends up neglecting his young son, Stefan, in the process – alienating himself from everybody he loves. Things are made worse still by Emily’s father, Xavier, who blames his son-in-law for the death of his brilliant young daughter.

As the years pass, Stefan is denied contact with his grandparents and starved of his father’s affections. As a result he becomes increasingly close to Kate, a substitute teacher at his school. An understanding and gentle woman, Kate is quick to identify the impact of Nathan’s selfish actions on his young son. As her bond with the Stefan flourishes, she visits Nathan at work in an attempt to make him aware of the emotional strain he’s been inflicting on the innocent boy. Preparing herself for a tempestuous encounter with Nathan, Kate is shocked to instead find a vulnerable, grief-stricken figure desperate to be saved, and a potent mutual attraction becomes clear to them both.

Nathan finds solace in the calming influence of this mysterious young woman, and, with her help, begins to reconcile his relationship with Stefan. Unbeknownst to him, Kate even brokers a successful meeting with Emily’s father and the two settle their differences over Christmas dinner. All may not be as it seems with Kate though, as Nathan slowly begins to piece together the feeling of familiarity he had experienced when they first met. As her good deeds continue and Christmas draws closer, the Wyler family begin to realise that she may not be who she claims to be. But who else could this ethereal samaritan be, and why does she seem so familiar to Nathan?

REVIEW: My, but this story almost broke my heart!

I dare you to read it and NOT shed a few tears!

The above blurb is very good in giving you the gist of the story, so I’m skipping on all that, but I do ask you to get this one if you like your Christmas story to be about forgiveness, and second chances at that elusive thing called love.

I’m very impressed with this author’s portrayal of such deep emotions such as loss and grief of and for a loved one; denial and acceptance of love that was a blessing to find second time in one’s lifetime.

This is another story with a miracle just waiting in the wings and I hope you give it a try.

G b2b

AIWFCIAC EC JR KL

‘All I Want for Christmas is a Cowboy’ by Jennifer Ryan, Katie Lane, Emma Cane

STORY: From Emma Cane, Jennifer Ryan, and Katie Lane come three wildly romantic holiday stories featuring snowstorms, proposals, a sleigh ride … and, yes, cowboys.

‘The Christmas Cabin’ by Emma Cane

Sandy and her young son, Nate, are Christmas tree–hunting when a snowstorm strikes and an old ranch hand points them to an abandoned cabin. Little does Sandy know he sent cowboy Doug Thalberg to the same place. It’s a Christmas all of Valentine Valley will remember.

‘Can’t Wait’ by Jennifer Ryan

 Before The Hunted Series began …

Though she is the woman of his dreams, Caleb Bowden knows his best friend’s sister, Summer Turner, is off limits. He won’t cross that line, which means Summer will just have to take the reins if she wants her cowboy for Christmas.

‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ by Katie Lane

Alana Hale hits the internet dating jackpot when she finds Clint McCormick. He’s sensitive and responsible—not to mention wealthy. When he invites her to spend the holidays on his family’s ranch, she readily accepts. But on the way there, a blizzard strands her with a womanizing rodeo cowboy who could change everything …

REVIEW: I must say all three stories were very entertaining to read and I liked them all equally. They were well written, plotted and had a fast pace so I didn’t have a chance to be bored.

All were different in plot so that helped, but one thing they all had in common besides romance, was hot dudes in chaps. Now how can you pass up on that?!

The Christmas Cabin by Emma Cane

This story is all about making lemonade when life dumps you a lot of lemons.

Everything in this story worked for me, from the plot to the wonderful characters such as Sandy and her little boy, to Doug who needed them s much as they needed him.

This story will make you stop and appreciate the simple things in your own life that you may have taken for granted.

Can’t Wait by Jennifer Ryan

This was a fun and frustrating story. Many times I wanted to pull a Cher [from Moonstruck] and slap Caleb, telling him ‘SNAP OUT OF IT’!

You see, Summer loves him to pieces, but for some reason this Dude is not allowing himself to love her because she’s his best friend’s sister.

Once she breaks down his defenses, we’re in for a treat and a love story that is sweet, poignant and entertaining.

Baby It’s Cold Outside by Katie Lane

I like this author and I think she can write comedy very well. Honestly, I think some of her stories are better written than those Hallmark movies!

If you want to find out what happens when Alana finds that ‘perfect’ man online, you need to read this story.

She acts impulsively by wanting to surprise him for Christmas, and instead gets stuck with a hot cowboy and can’t keep her hands to herself.

All three stories are different in plot and feel, but all of them have one thing in common-a cowboy who’ll make their dreams come true! Now, how can I not like that?!

*Melanie for b2b.

*Books provided by the authors and publishers through Edelweiss & NetGalley.

Marilyn Brant stops by b2b…

?????????????????????????????????????????????‘The Road to You’

BOOK BLURB: ~Sometimes the only road to the truth…is one you’ve never taken. ~
“Until I found Gideon’s journal in the tool shed — locked in the cedar box where I’d once hidden my old diary — I’d been led to believe my brother was dead. But the contents of his journal changed all that.”

THE ROAD TO DISCOVERY
Two years ago, Aurora Gray’s world turned upside down when her big brother Gideon and his best friend Jeremy disappeared. Now, during the summer of her 18th birthday, she unexpectedly finds her brother’s journal and sees that it’s been written in again. Recently. By him.

THE ROAD TO DANGER
There are secret messages coded within the journal’s pages. Aurora, who’s unusually perceptive and a natural puzzle solver, is hell bent on following where they lead, no matter what the cost. She confides in the only person she feels can help her interpret the clues: Donovan McCafferty, Jeremy’s older brother and a guy she’s always been drawn to — even against her better judgment.

THE ROAD TO YOU
Reluctantly, Donovan agrees to go with her and, together, they set out on a road trip of discovery and danger, hoping to find their lost brothers and the answers to questions they’ve never dared to ask aloud.

“In that expectant space between silence and melody, our trip began…”

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Sony / Smashwords / iTunes/Apple

 

***   ***   ***

EXCERPT:

I could count on one hand the things I knew were true about Donovan McCafferty:

He was twenty-three—just over five years older than I was.

He’d escaped into the Army at age eighteen and, except for a few quick but memorable visits, hadn’t returned to Minnesota until this past winter.

He had an excellent mechanical mind.

And he made me very nervous.

Underneath my skin, every nerve fiber was fast twitching. Just thinking about Donovan always did that to me but, this time, it was also about the trip. I couldn’t have been more eager to get on the road to Crescent Cove, and I really didn’t want to make a stop at Donovan’s workplace.

But, awkward though it would be, he knew a few things I didn’t and might signal to me (whether he realized it or not) some very useful directions.

I waited until after dinner, biding my time. Made the three of us broiled chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli. Boring, yes, but it wasn’t like anyone cared.

Then I excused myself from the usual watching of TV news and Thursday-night shows, repeat episodes anyway, and drove to the only auto repair shop and gas station in town. The one I avoided like the plague whenever possible, preferring to fill up in places where no one knew me, like Alexandria or St. Cloud. Places where Donovan McCafferty…wasn’t.

It was 7:05 p.m. by the time I got to the shop, and I parked a fair distance from the entrance. They closed at seven, but the work light in the back was on and two out of the three garage doors were still open. I knew he was in there. Not because I’d caught even one glimpse of Mr. Tall, Dark and Intense yet, but because the only other car in the lot was a crimson Firebird Trans Am with the giant bird decal in black and gold across the hood. His, of course.

I pushed open my car door, grabbed my tote bag with the journal tucked safely inside and inhaled several lungfuls of the cloying summer air. So early in June and already every breath was wrapped in sticky-sweet bugginess.

I didn’t make it more than five steps before he came out. A solid, broad-shouldered, six-foot-two mass of frequently impenetrable emotions. Not impenetrable enough this time, though.

Even at a distance of half a parking lot, I detected two powerful sensations that crashed, one after the other, into my awareness:

One, he was hugely curious about why I was here.

And, two, he very much wished I hadn’t been.

He walked up to me and cleared his throat. “Car trouble, Aurora?” He glanced at my hand-me-down, smoke-blue, five-year-old Buick Century, which had done nothing but purr contentedly during my drives around town. Donovan was the type to have noticed this, so I could tell he knew it wasn’t the car.

I shook my head. “I need to show you something,” I told him. “Privately.”

A small flash of amusement quirked one corner of his mouth upward. I was surprised he allowed me to read this, especially since he knew I could. Surprised he was letting me see that one of his possible explanations for my presence was flirtatious in origin—even as he immediately dismissed the idea.

I rolled my eyes. “It’s not like that,” I murmured.

He pressed his lips together, but the amusement still simmered just beneath the surface. “Too bad. ‘We’re both young andinconspicuous,’” he said, parroting the hideously embarrassing words I’d said to him one night when I was a sophomore and had snuck into our brothers’ secret high-school graduation party with my best friend Betsy. The guys had held it forty minutes away in St. Cloud so none of our parents would know.

I fought a blush. “We’re not that young,” I told him, trying to stand straighter and look older. “And we’re not inconspicuous here.”

“Ain’t that the truth.” He turned and motioned for me to follow him inside, clicking the shop’s cool new garage-door opener so the second of the three garage doors came down behind us, shaking until it touched the concrete.

He led me into the back office and ushered me in. “You want me to close this door, too? Snap the blinds shut?” He was mocking me as he asked, but there was a layer of concern beneath it. He knew something serious was up. In a town of 2,485 people, where you’d run into the majority of the residents a handful of times each week, I’d spoken with Donovan McCafferty in private exactly six times in the past five years.

   Here’s to lucky number seven.

***   ***   ***

*One lucky Commenter will end up with  eBook of ‘The Road to You’

*Giveaway INTERNATIONAL!

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us what you liked about the excerpt. 

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three is required for a TRIPLE chance to win in the Grand Giveaway!

If a follower & FB buddy, just COMMENT on the upcoming posts and you’ll be entered.

***   ***   ***

Marilyn BrantAUTHOR INFO: As a former teacher, library staff member, freelance magazine writer and national book reviewer, Marilyn has spent much of her life lost in literature. She is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of eight novels to date and, recently, the Illinois Association of Teachers of English (IATE) selected her as their 2013 Illinois Author of the Year.

Her debut coming-of-age/new adult novel, ACCORDING TO JANE (Kensington, 2009), featuring the ghost of Jane Austen giving a young woman dating advice, won the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart Award and the Booksellers’ Best, and it was named one of the “Top 100 Romance Novels of All Time” by Buzzle.com. Other novels have been Doubleday, Book-of-the-Month Club and Literary Guild picks, and a couple of her eBooks have hit #1 on both the Kindle and Nook Top 100.

THE ROAD TO YOU is her newest release.

Social Media Links: Website / Blog / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter:

b2b is Three!

happy_blogoversary11[1]

Someone pinch me! Has it really been THREE years already?! WOW!

Another year just whooshed by me…Personally, it has been another year filled with health issues I just wasn’t ready to deal with, but then when are we, right?!

Through it all I found that my hubby’s love can get me through everything life throws at me and that is a blessing I don’t ever want to take for granted.

As always, I still feel blessed with so many of you that are faithfully stopping by, commenting and making me laugh out loud. Your support is appreciated and always welcome. I’m really humbled by the romance community all over the world!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all!

This year saw our Krissie leave us, but we welcomed with opened arms two of our faithful followers with their unique reviews, Connie and Leah. I was seriously considering shutting the blog down when they jumped in and literally saved me. Please help me welcome them with a huge HIP-HIP-HOORAY!

Since last year our one month-long PUSH-A-BOOK celebration was such a great hit with readers and authors alike, we thought why mess with something that ain’t broke?

Clipart Illustration of a Bunch Of Floating Party Balloons With

So get ready, our bookworms as we’re kicking off our ONE month long celebration on November 1st with Vanessa Kelly and ending it with Anna Campbell.

Throughout the month we’ve invited some of the most hard-working, amazingly creative and way too talented people in the romance community to stop by and help us celebrate. Our invitations once more answered with so much enthusiasm that we just might schedule some visits in twos and threes!

Here’s just a few of the authors that will be coming over… Delilah MarvelleVicky DreilingEileen DreyerDanelle HarmonMaureen Driscoll, Anna CampbellGrace BurrowesMia MarloweMarilyn BrantVanessa KellyLouise AllenShana Galen, Elise RomeNicola CornickJillian StoneSaralee EtterPatricia RicePriscilla ShayBethanne Strasser, Valerie Bowman, Bella Love, Monica BurnsElla Quinn, Caroline LindenSandra OwensTerri BrisbinVictoria Vane, Jenn LeBlanc, Norah WilsonAmanda ScottDonna CummingsNicky Wells, Marguerite KayeBarbara MonajemSaralee EtterDeborah Doucette, Lila DiPasqua, C.C. HumphreysTracy Anne Warren…and a few surprise guests too! There will be prizes…books, and books and some more books, a bookworm heaven, right? There will be many surprises and a Grand Prize as well!

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Won’t you help us celebrate with:

1) Telling us which ‘Book’ would you like to ‘Push’ and why…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three are required for a TRIPLE chance to win in the Grand Giveaway!

However, if you’re already a follower and our FB buddy, all you need do is…COMMENT on the upcoming posts and you’re all set to go. Are you ready to PARTEY?!

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‘Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match’ by Marilyn Brant

PPATPM MBSTORY: Would an Elizabeth Bennet by any other name be as appealing to a Darcy?

A single mother and an ER doctor meet on an Internet dating site—each for reasons that have little to do with finding their perfect match—in this modern, Austen-inspired story. It’s a tribute to the power of both “pride” and “prejudice” in bringing two people romantically together, despite their mutual insistence that they should stay apart…

Beth Ann Bennet isn’t looking for love. She’s an aspiring social worker using an online alias to study sex-role stereotypes. Dr. William Darcy isn’t looking for love either. He’s just trying to fund his new clinic by winning a major bet. Both think Lady Catherine’s Love Match Website will help them get what they want—fast, easy and without endangering their hearts. Both are in for a big surprise.

Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match…where true love is just a fib and a click away.

REVIEW: If you’re expecting your typical ‘Pride and Prejudice’ contemporary re-telling of Jane Austen book, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by finding out that while some names have stayed the same and brought into the 21st Century, the roles might be a bit reversed.

As blurbs go, this one’s perfect and gives you just enough of a peek and a hook into the story saving me the trouble of summarizing it for you, thus letting me tell you the reasons why I liked it.

Ms. Brant cleverly takes some of the bones of the original, shakes them up, guiding them to their perfect landing and giving us a story that is all her own.

The characters, main and secondary, were three-dimensional to a point that they might have been your neighbors or your friends, that’s how real they felt. The plot was intriguing and kept you in anticipation of the final reveal, which kept the story moving and entertaining.

And just when you thought you got it all figured out, Ms. Brant gives you a surprise or two!

You know what else I liked about this story? It made me remember what my husband once told me and at the time, I don’t think I appreciated his wisdom. He said I was everything he never wanted…but go tell that to his heart!

Sometimes, what we find when not even looking is not what we want, but rather what our heart knows we need. That’s what happens to our hero and heroine, and getting there, Ms. Brant made them work for it! I found the individual life stories of both characters touching and way too real, that by the time they got their happily ever after, I was emotionally fulfilled.

‘Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match’ is a great tribute to Jane Austen by Marilyn Brant and it will have you sigh as much as the original, if not more so. Highly, highly recommend you get it! Promise you’ll love it!

*Book provided by the author.

‘Holiday Man’ by Marilyn Brant

STORY: A Year of Holidays…

Shannon Quinn is the small-town girl who runs “Holiday Quinn” — a holiday-themed inn and resort based in scenic Door County, Wisconsin.

One winter evening, wealthy Minneapolis businessman, Bram Hartwick, blows into town along with the fast-falling snow. The sparks Bram and Shannon create succeed in heating up the chilly Midwestern night, not to mention plenty of holiday weekends in the year that follows…

But is their relationship only for special occasions, or might it be the elusive everyday love that neither of them thought could be found?

REVIEW: As I finished this story [3 am Thursday morning!] the one word that bubbled in my mind as I tried to encompass everything within it was ‘honest’.

Make no mistake, there are many more like, hot; sensual; funny; entertaining; warm…romantic. But somehow the word HONEST was the first to pop into my head. Ms. Brant had created these two characters with honesty of who they are within their vastly different upbringings.

Everything in Shannon’s life involved and revolved around the legacy that was left in her keeping. She accepted it with love and dedicated herself to making sure she didn’t disappoint anyone, her new patrons and her regular guests; her friends and employees. In pleasing everyone and making sure that the Inn thrived she neglects her love life and all other dreams are left on the back-burner to be dealt with sometime down the road. Except that ‘down the road’ line keeps moving further and further. I really, really liked her. She was such a sweetheart and totally relatable character.

Bram, our hero, was one of those men that finally starts to see the fruits of his labor. As the CEO of his company, he was very much a ‘hands on’ man and never left anything to chance. He belonged to the family of overachievers and workaholics, so the good and bad habits were in his genes. His love life suffered greatly because of them and his globetrotting.

As these two lonely people meet and consequently embark on an affair, the author is clever in throwing them a curve ball of reality, and that’s where I felt the honesty of a real life and real problems and insecurities intrude into their life and bringing this story closer to the reader.

The chemistry that the author created between the two was raw and sizzled throughout the story. For that alone, this is one worthy read!

For me, a very surprising moment came almost at the end of the book, and it will stay in my memory for ever. I hate giving spoilers, but I’ll give you a hint…I am Serbian.

‘Holiday Man’ by Marilyn Brant

BOOK BLURB: A Year of Holidays…
Shannon Quinn is the small-town girl who runs “Holiday Quinn” — a holiday-themed inn and resort based in scenic Door County, Wisconsin.

One winter evening, wealthy Minneapolis businessman, Bram Hartwick, blows into town along with the fast-falling snow. The sparks Bram and Shannon create succeed in heating up the chilly Midwestern night, not to mention plenty of holiday weekends in the year that follows…

But is their relationship only for special occasions, or might it be the elusive everyday love that neither of them thought could be found?

EXCERPT:

Bram strode over to the counter where Shannon and Jake the Prick stood.

“Bram!” she cried, her expression and her voice indicating delight. He hoped it was genuine. She leapt away from Jake and threw her arms around him. “You got here early!”

Not early enough, apparently. He held Shannon for a long moment, then he kissed her hard on the mouth, tasting alcohol.

With a lethal look in Jake’s direction, Bram reached for Shannon’s glass, sniffed it and said, “Mind if I have a taste? It’s been a long drive.”

“Sure,” she said, grinning up at him. “Jake made it, but I’ve had more than enough already.”

Bram took a tentative swallow. Long Island Iced Tea. With a mix of seven different kinds of liquor, those things were damn potent, but its strength was disguised by the kind of flavorful fruitiness women loved…and every man on the planet knew that. Only dishonorable men exploited it, though.

He gazed into the defiant green eyes of Jake Marcolis, loathed him with every fiber of his being and knew with absolute certainty that he was going to beat the bloody crap out of the bastard. And soon.

Shannon, for all her luscious curves, was still a lightweight when it came to alcohol, and she seemed to be getting a little unsteady on her feet. How many of those drinks had she had?

“You hungry, sweetheart? I wasn’t in the mood for fast food on the way here, so I’d planned to fix myself a little something when I got up to the room. Join me?”

“Of course,” she said, laughing. “I made sure the kitchenette in the Astaire Suite was fully stocked.” She paused. “Good thing, too. I never got around to eating dinner. I’m starving.”

Bram shot another glare at Jake. From the guilty look in his eyes, the assistant had known about this, too. Jake would be sorry. Bram would deal with him later.

“Well, goodnight Jake,” Shannon said cheerfully. “Drive home safe, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Yeah, Jake,” Bram said. “Drive home safe.” Or not.

The assistant stood to his full height, five-foot-ten, maybe—Bram was taller so it didn’t matter—and waved a farewell to Shannon. “Goodnight, babe,” he told her.

Babe?

That guy was so dead.

To him, Jake continued to raise his hand, but he subtly lowered the thumb, index finger, ring finger and pinky of that hand as he turned toward him, so Jake’s “wave” goodnight was a whole lot like a flip off. Bram suspected this was entirely intentional.

As far as he was concerned, the gauntlet hadn’t been thrown down—it’d been hurled to the floor with a smack. And Bram was not one to let a challenge like that go unacknowledged, either in business or in his personal life.

Jake the Prick had better watch his back.

“Let me take you upstairs,” he whispered in Shannon’s ear once the assistant had left the building. “I’ve got a lot to show you, and you know I’m an impatient man.”

She shivered in his arms then hugged him tighter. “I’d been worried, you know,” she admitted, “about how it would feel when we were face-to-face again. It’s been such a long time.” She pulled him by his necktie down to her and planted a long, wet kiss on his lips. “I’m not worried anymore.”

He led her to the stairway, aware of her slight stumbling and unusually relaxed posture as they wound their way to the suite. “I’m glad you’re not worried. You have nothing to fear from me.” Except the untimely demise of your assistant. “I was looking forward to seeing you so much, I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow to get here.”

She grinned at him as she fumbled with the door key. “Bram, I think I’m a little drunk.”

He eased the key gently from her fingers. “I know you are, sweetheart. But, like I said, you don’t have anything to fear from me. I’ll take care of you until you’re thinking clearly again. Okay?”

“Okay.” She paused as they entered the suite, watching him as he tossed his bag on the chair and kicked off his dress shoes. He felt her eyes scanning him. “Then what’ll you do? Once I’m thinking clearly again, I mean?”

He smiled at her, enjoying her warm and open expression, her waterfall of auburn waves, her intelligent and imaginative way of being, and he said, “Then we’ll have wild and raunchy sex until you shriek. Sound good?”

She threw her head back and laughed. “Well, yeah…”

FEATURED AUTHOR:Marilyn Brant

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‘Friday Mornings At Nine’ by Marilyn Brant

STORY: Every woman remembers her firsts: Her first kiss. Her first lover. And her first time contemplating an affair…

Each Friday morning at the Indigo Moon Café, Jennifer, Bridget and Tamara meet to swap stories about marriage, kids and work. But one day, spurred by recent e-mails from her college ex, Jennifer poses questions they’ve never faced before. What if they all married the wrong man? What if they’re living the wrong life? And what would happen if, just once, they gave in to temptation…

Soon each woman is second-guessing the choices she’s made–and the ones she can unmake–as she becomes aware of new opportunities around every corner, from attentive colleagues and sexy neighbors to flirtatious past lovers. And as fantasies blur with real life, Jennifer, Bridget and Tamara begin to realize how little they know about each other, their marriages and themselves, and how much there is to gain–and lose–when you step outside the rules.

REVIEW: Jennifer is married to Michael, mother to twin girls, and works as freelance web designer.

Bridget is married to Graham, mother of three and had just recently started work again.

Tamara, married to Jon, has one son and is stay-at-home mom.

These three middle-aged women meet each Friday at the Indigo Moon Cafe, to share their lives with each other.

Tamara’s husband is a lawyer who’s never home. Keeping company with her neighbor, a very handsome writer seems a thing to do. As their only son is off to college, she’s left all alone. Lonely and bored she makes her home and especially her garden a sanctuary of sorts.

When Jennifer receives an unexpected message from her ex-boyfriend arrives, she has a choice to make. See him with telling her hubby, or not see him and not tell her hubby?!

Bridget gets a job at Dr. Luke’s dental office, and both are happy to discover that they share their love for cooking…

The suspense of this tale is in trying to figure out which one of these women will succumb to infidelity. To be honest, I didn’t see it coming, and hope you won’t either.

Marilyn Brant went out on a limb with this story, calling it romance, and while some will no doubt not see it as such, once you get into the story, vest yourself in these complicated, sometimes frivolous yet very human characters, you’ll see the romance of it. What drew me to this story at first was the subject matter, but what grabbed me and held me captive was the humanity of the story.

You’ll appreciate this author’s serious thought and consideration to this topic which I’m sure wasn’t an easy thing to do when writing romance. She went all out in making sure we, the readers, would have the full story and in the end we were left to accept the decisions of these women without any prejudices and judgments. Now, that I call some crafty writing!

This was one book I wasn’t looking forward to reading and after I was done with it, I had a hard time penning a review of it. This story needed digesting and coming to terms with. Stories of these three women were just hitting too close to home. I identified with all three of them. I saw bits and pieces of myself in them, and like them, had at one time or another come with that same dilemma, so in the end I did…well, this is not about me, is it?

If you like well written contemporary stories, with lots of humor and plenty of reality, this one’s for you. I’d say if it comes to ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ and this one, skip the ‘Shades’. You’ll be glad you did!

Fan2Author Interview with…Marilyn Brant!

K:  Hello Marilyn!  Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with us!  It is a pleasure to have you here! 

MB:  Thanks, Kristal—it’s wonderful to be at bookworm2bookworm!! Thank you so much for inviting me.

K:  My first question involves your extensive travel!  On your bio, I read that you have traveled to 46 states and over 30 countries??  That is amazing.  I have only ever been to a handful of the states and Canada!  How do you decide where to go next?  Do you have a favorite place to travel to? 

MB:  When my husband and I met, we were both public school teachers. During those few years that we were married but before we became parents, we lived in a little apartment and we’d save up all year and then choose a few interesting spots to visit during summer vacation. My husband still teaches world history, so he particularly loved getting to visit some of the incredible historical sites he talked about to his high-school students—like those in Italy, England and Greece. And I studied French for 5 years and had an insatiable love of Swiss chocolate, LOL, so between the two of us, we wanted to see A LOT of places!

We traveled as backpackers then. We never checked our luggage on a flight, so everything that we brought for one of our trips had to fit into a carry-on backpack. For us, that made it easier to travel light and visit multiple places on a trip. When we went to Europe, we would purchase Eurail passes in advance so we’d have full access to their extensive train systems. It allowed us to easily change plans because we could hop on almost any train we wanted with very little notice. We might decide to begin our journey in Austria but, then, while we were there, some random person we met would tell us we just had to visit this small community in Switzerland…so we’d look at our map, consult the train schedules and figure out what connections we needed to get there. (That actually happened by the way—it’s how we discovered the beautiful town of Zermatt in the Swiss Alps.) It was very freeing and really fun to be able to be that flexible.

Of course, that was 15 years ago, and our lives have changed a lot since then! We now have a house, a teenage son and aging parents who need care. We can’t just take off and go to Europe for a few weeks. However, we really wanted to introduce our son to the joys (and, sometimes, the challenges) of travel, so we went on our first international trip as a family last month, and we took him to England and northern Wales. My husband and I hadn’t been in the U.K. since 1996, so it was thrilling for us to go back there for a week and a privilege to get to see our son experiencing the wonder of places like Stonehenge and the Tower of London for the first time.

K:  Do your extensive travels inspire your books?  Any particular place that brings out the creative muse in you? 

MB:  I love so many, many places…sigh. I’d dreamed of visiting the Alps since I was in 6th grade. I even wrote a descriptive piece for my middle school English class on the beauty of the mountains there, though it would be more than a decade before I’d get to see them with my own eyes.

When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into an exchange program through AFS, and I spent the summer when I was 16 in Brisbane, Australia. I *loved* that! If I hadn’t already been a totally travel-obsessed kid that trip would have made me so.

But the place I always think of as my “creative muse” is Venice, Italy. I love everything about that city. The uniqueness of it. The colorful masks. The way the light plays against the many footbridges and piazzas and how the reflection of the buildings in the water makes it seem like the paint is sliding off of them and into the canal… And, oh, there are to-die-for gelato shops and beautifully crafted pieces of art and jewelry to look at and be dazzled by. There are the historical sites, the famous rituals/carnivals and the fact that the place has looked essentially the same for centuries.

So, short answer: Yes. My travels have definitely inspired my books. My most recent novel, A SUMMER IN EUROPE (Kensington), is all about a woman who’d never before left the United States but is getting to discover the beauty of Italy, France, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and England for the first time…and how those experiences change her perception of where her life is and where it’s going.

K:  I see that you are a Jane Austen fan!  My daughter and I have watched Pride and Prejudice a hundred times.  I really am a sucker for the epic love story.  Have you read all of her books and seen all of the movies about her?  How much of Jane’s influence can we see in your books?   

MB:  Depending on the book you’re reading, Austen had quite a lot of influence! My debut novel, ACCORDING TO JANE, is my personal homage to her. Austen has been my favorite author since I was a high-school freshman, and my first book is about a woman who has the ghost of Jane Austen in her head giving her dating advice…for about 2 decades! (It takes my heroine a long time to get the love thing right, LOL.) And, yes, I have read all of her published novels, as well as quite a few biographies and letters she wrote and unfinished writing projects. I don’t think I’ve seen *every* movie made about her or adapted from one of her books, but I’m pretty close on that. I don’t blame you for watching PRIDE AND PREJUDICE a hundred times, by the way!! I’ve watched and read that brilliant story countless times, too.

Two of my other books—ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAE and FRIDAY MORNINGS AT NINE—reference Austen’s novels in there somewhere, but A SUMMER IN EUROPE has some Austen-esque elements. It also shares a lot with E.M. Forster’s classic story, A ROOM WITH A VIEW, which is another novel I’ve loved for years.

K:  All of your books have received wonderful reviews.  People love them and relish the characters and the dimensions of your stories.  How does it feel to know that people love your books so much? 

MB:  Oh, thank you for saying that! I know that no author can be loved by *everyone*—much as we wish we could. However, I do feel tremendously excited and honored when readers will take time to leave me a comment on Facebook or to send me a tweet or an email saying that they read one of my books and it made them laugh or it touched them in some way. It’s the best feeling. I also love when they post reviews on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads or their personal blog and recommend one of my books to others. An honest, enthusiastic review from a reader is like getting a very special gift. It’s proof that a connection exists between us—a bond of understanding authors and readers share—and, to me, that’s priceless.

K:  What inspired you to become a writer?  Was it something you always knew you wanted to be or did it come to you over time?  Can you tell us a little bit about the creative process that takes place in your mind? 

MB:  The reason I became a writer was because I felt so indebted to other authors for either giving me a fun story to escape into or convincing me that they really understood whatever struggle I was dealing with in my life at the time. I’ll always appreciate Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips for creating such laugh aloud romantic comedies, and I’m just as grateful to Sue Miller, Anne Tyler and Elizabeth Berg for making me feel as though I wasn’t alone in being frustrated with many real-life issues or relationships. It’s my biggest hope that I can be an author who brings that kind of humor and/or reassurance to a few readers out there, too.

As for the creative process, I think it mostly comes down to the fact that I ask myself hundreds of “what-if” questions every day. “What if you had to run an ice cream parlor for the summer with the guy who’d broken your heart a decade before…and he didn’t even know it?” Or, “What if Jane Austen could advise you on the guys you’re interested in…and what would happen if you didn’t listen to her or if she were even wrong on occasion?” Or, “What if you were given an amazing summer trip as a gift but you’d never been far away from home before…how would you feel being truly out in the world for the first time?” I think creativity originates in curiosity, so I really enjoy contemplating all kinds of questions like these.

K:  What can we expect next from you?  Any books in the works right now?  What releases can our readers watch out for in the future? 

MB:  I’m working on three different projects right now, and I hope all of them will be published in the next year or two. The first is a new romantic comedy that (fingers crossed!) will be released at the end of this year. (I’ll always post the publication dates of any upcoming books on my website: http://www.marilynbrant.com) The second project is the first book in a romance/women’s fiction series set in a warm climate that involves a cast of funny, unique characters and a community that cares deeply about the environment. And the third is a project I’m in the midst of writing, and it’s a little too early for me to describe it accurately. I’m still learning who these characters are and what they desperately need in their lives. Every day, I’m excited to get back to it so I can figure out a little more about them and delve a bit deeper into their story…

Thanks, again, for having me as a guest today. It was a pleasure to be here!

I’ll give away a PDF copy of my romantic comedy, DOUBLE DIPPING, to one of the commenters on this post .