Serenity - what a great place to live

Sherryl Woods is one of my all-time favorite authors. If you enjoy reading appealing, character-driven stories infused with the flavor and fragrance of the South, her Sweet Magnolia novels can't be beat. I just finished Where Azaleas Bloom and could not put it down. With all the turmoil in the world today, sometimes it helps to escape to a small town setting where everyone pulls together to help those in need.

Summer’s officially here! Time for beach reading

Heading to the beach this summer? The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews would make a perfect beach read. Set on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina, the author takes us on a wild ride of secrets, betrayal and deception. Written in her trademark blend of humor and warmth, and with characters and a setting you can't help but fall in love with, this book is a perfect summer escape.

A new take on old classics

If you are a fan of Jane Austen's works you might enjoy these authors' modern versions of some of her greatest classics. I finished Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld this weekend and I have to say I was impressed. The story was very well written and the author has some thoughtful commentary on modern society, which I think Miss Austen would have appreciated.

New Leaf by Catherine Anderson

The second installment in her paperback Mystic Creek series, New Leaf by Catherine Anderson is another excellent read by one of my favorite authors. It is most definitely a romance novel, but the book also touches on some very real social issues trending in the world today; attitudes toward law enforcement officers, as well as how wealth and dishonesty can affect court decisions. I think the author addresses these issues in a very real and believable way.

Perfect Touch by Elizabeth Lowell

If you like authors Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell ranks right up to their caliber when it comes to romantic suspense. Her latest, Perfect Touch, blends just the right amount of action, mystery, suspense, and thrills. A former soldier turned rancher and a beautiful designer and art appraiser must race to stop a vicious killer, all while fighting their sizzling attraction for each other.

When it’s Right by Jennifer Ryan

Don't let the picture of the hunky cowboy on the cover fool you. When it's Right by Jennifer Ryan has a storyline with real substance. There is romance, of course, but the story line touches on serious subjects like domestic abuse, addiction to drugs and the effects it has on children who live through it. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a story where the underdog finally gets all that they deserve.

Food and romance in Milwaukee

Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy Wright is a sweet romance set in Milwaukee. Main character Elizabeth Johnson (who likes to be called Lou) is a chef with a new restaurant called Luella’s. Lou is engaged to Devlin, an ambitious lawyer. For Devlin’s birthday she bakes him a special coconut cake (recipe is included) and takes it to his apartment as a surprise, stopping along the way at a newsstand where she bumps into a stranger.

Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

Hopeless romantics everywhere will want to add Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas to their reading list. It is a wonderfully romantic story guaranteed to warm your heart. Although this might be the fourth book in the author's Travis Family series, it still does well as a standalone and proves that you don't always need high drama to keep things interesting. It has been years since I read the last one but with back stories perfectly woven in I had no problem catching up with the Travis clan.

This guy knows his romance

Chris Harrison has been the host of ABC's hot series The Bachelor since 2002 and has spent his career helping men and women find their soul mate. Who better to write a romance novel? The Perfect Letter is Harrison's writing debut and, I have to say, this guy really knows his romance. Not bad for a first attempt. Light and easy, it is a must-read for Bachelor fans and hopeless romantics everywhere.

A sweet little series set in Sweet, Texas

Are cowboys and sweet romance your thing? The Sweet, Texas series by Candis Terry is full of hot cowboys and good old fashioned romance guaranteed to satisfy. I just finished book number three, Something Sweeter, and highly recommend this author to those who enjoy authors Robyn Carr or Jill Shalvis. Once you meet the Wilder family from Sweet, Texas in book one, it won't take long until you feel like you are one of the family – and what a family they are!

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