Books, cozy mystery, New Release, series

New Release! Marriage and Murder, Solving for Pie #2, by Penny Reid

The Devil is in the details . . .


Marriage and Murder, an-all new quirky and witty cozy mystery and second book in the Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries from New York Times bestselling author Penny Reid is available now!

Cletus Byron Winston wishes to marry Jennifer Anne Donner-Sylvester (aka The Banana Cake Queen) posthaste! He’s spent the last year wanting nothing more than for the celebrations to be brief, libations flowing, and BYOB (bring your own blueberries). His future mother-in-law has other plans, plans his intended has been willing to indulge, much to Cletus’s chagrin. Therefore, so must he. To a point. But truth be told, he wouldn’t mind if the meddlesome matriarch disappeared, at least until the nuptials are over.

On the night of Cletus and Jenn’s long-awaited engagement party, just when the surly schemer is of a mind to take matters into his own hands, a shocking event upends everyone’s best laid plans and sends the small hamlet of Green Valley into complete disarray. The final months leading up to Cletus and Jenn’s matrimonial bliss are plagued with chaos and uncertainty. Will Cletus and Jenn finally make it to the altar? Or will murder and mayhem derail their happily-ever-after?

And most importantly, who done it?

‘Marriage and Murder’ is the second book in the cozy mystery series Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries. It is best read after Winston Brothers #3, ‘Beard Science’ (which can be read as a standalone) and Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries #1, ‘Engagement and Espionage.’

REVIEW: I listened to the first book in this series, so as I read this one, I could hear Chris Brinkley and Joy Nash in my head! I’m 100% on board for more time with Cletus and Jenn, and here the mystery from Engagement and Espionage continues. Penny’s writing style is so clever and I learn something new whenever I read one of her books.

Of course the rest of the Winstons are involved on the periphery of the main story, and I’m always excited for more time with the Winstons.

Thanks to the author and Social Butterfly PR for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Download your copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3bxHvvw
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/MarriageMurderPR
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Meet Penny Reid
Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

Connect with Penny
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PennyReidWriter/
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lakzsD
Twitter: @ReidRomance
Mailing List: http://pennyreid.ninja/newsletter/
Website: http://www.pennyreid.ninja

Book Review, Books, Kindle Unlimited, New Release, Romance, series, smartypants romance, Uncategorized

New Smartypants Romance release! Steal My Magnolia, a Love at First Sight novel by Karla Sorensen from Smartypants Romance! Now available in Kindle Unlimited!

Steal My Magnolia is more than a love story. It’s a beautifully crafted journey of life full of obstacles but a journey worth the travel with the right person.” –Author Andrea Johnston

❤️❤️ Now available in Kindle Unlimited❤️❤️

BOOK REVIEW: I really love Karla Sorensen’s books. This is the third in the Love at First Sight series. It’s hard to pick a favorite because they’re all so different, and so good! The underlying storyline – of a family “love curse” – is unique, and fun to read.

Each member of the Buchanan family deals with this situation, finding themselves completely in love with someone the minute they lay eyes on them and knowing that this person is their forever, differently. The storylines are so creative and interesting, particularly these last two since they deal with Grace and Grady, a sister and brother whose “forever” people have a deep history with each other, which causes its own particular set of issues.

One thing I really appreciated about this story was there was no misunderstanding or created discord or forced conflict between the characters. I hate those, especially when they seem manufactured, just to cause drama in the story. The issue between Grady and Magnolia, when it comes, is completely organic because it deals with the love curse, which is the basis for the entire Love at First Sight series.

I love how entrenched this series is in the Green Valley World that Penny Reid created. I’ve read some books in the Smartypants romance collection that only have a mere mention of a character we know from the Winston family, for example, as if that would be enough to make it a part of this world and enough to invested us in it. By contrast, in this book, Magnolia’s aunt is Daisy Peyton! Magnolia shops at the Piggly Wiggly where Jennifer Sylvester gets her bananas and where Cletus came to her rescue in the parking lot that time. (This is not mentioned but it came to mind while I was reading.) It feels authentic and genuine, and I love that because I can’t get enough of Green Valley, especially because I’ve visited Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains recently and I feel more connected to these books now.

I have been desperate for their cousin Hunter’s story since the first book in the series and it looks like it’s next. I can’t wait!

Thanks to the author and Smartypants Romance for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Life lesson from Grady Buchanan: If you’re going to fall in love with the untouchable girl in town, don’t hire her as your only employee.

Even after he bungled the interview with Magnolia MacIntyre, he knew better than to hire her. The list of why it’s a bad idea is a long one.

Her father could ruin his fledgling business.

She is completely overqualified.

And he’s attracted to her.

What does Grady do? He offers her the job.

Magnolia knew better than to take it. Normally, she’d make the safe choice, and working for Grady is anything but.

He’s new in town–and entirely too charming.

Her dad will be furious.

She hates the outdoors and working for an outdoor adventure company is not exactly the right fit.

What does she do? She says yes on the spot.

Grady and Magnolia will have to prove to everyone in their life that they’re not crazy. And prove to each other that the list of why it’s a bad idea should be tossed out the window.

For these two opposites, sometimes doing the wrong thing is exactly right.

‘Steal My Magnolia’ is a full-length contemporary romance and can be read as a standalone. Book #3 in the Love At First Sight series, Green Valley Chronicles, Penny Reid Book Universe.

Download your copy TODAY!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3jvE6l3

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3kzJYec

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3oouvjH

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Start the Love at First Sight series of standalones!

Read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Baking Me Crazy

http://bit.ly/39GQBZn

Batter of Wits

http://bit.ly/3j8n3qG

About Karla Sorensen

Karla Sorensen has been an avid reader her entire life, preferring stories with a happily-ever-after over just about any other kind. And considering she has an entire line item in her budget for books, she realized it might just be cheaper to write her own stories. It doesn’t take much to keep her happy…a book, a really big glass of wine, and at least thirty minutes of complete silence every day. She still keeps her toes in the world of health care marketing, where she made her living pre-babies. Now she stays home, writing and mommy-ing full time (this translates to almost every day being a ‘pajama day’ at the Sorensen household…don’t judge). She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two exceptionally adorable sons and big, shaggy rescue dog.

Find Karla Sorensen online

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2lU6xAS

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2khRSPL

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2k0Yp0T

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2lBNuez

Website: http://www.karlasorensen.com/

Connect with Smartypants Romance

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BLOG TOUR: Batter of Wits, Donner Bakery book #5, by Karla Sorensen! A Smartypants Romance now available in Kindle Unlimited!

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“Heartfelt, hilarious, with a dash of angst…Karla Sorensen shines with the perfect feel-good read!” –Author Catherine Cowles

Batter of Wits, an all-new funny and heartwarming romance from Karla Sorensen, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

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Hate at first sight couldn’t possibly exist, right?

That’s what Grace Buchanan thought, before her useless car stranded her on the side of a deserted road just inside the Green Valley city limits.

When Tucker Haywood—tall and handsome and full of southern charm— shows up to help, her reaction to him is the strongest thing she’s ever felt in her life, and it makes no freaking sense.

It doesn’t make much sense to Tucker either. Not why she hates him, or why he finds her so intriguing. He knows well enough that Grace is moving to Green Valley for a fresh start, not to distract him when he’s got no room for something like her in his life.

The complications between them are endless, but that doesn’t stop her definitely not love-at-first-sight feelings from changing into something else entirely.

Grace and Tucker are about to learn the hard way that in Green Valley, hating someone has never tasted so sweet.

‘Batter of Wits’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #5 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Download your copy TODAY or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/30wAA1J

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2NDSL0j

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/37cWWrV

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Audio on Author’s Direct: https://bit.ly/2KlA2V8

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Audio on Google Play: https://bit.ly/3cALuZb

Audio on Kobo: https://bit.ly/3btKxlc

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2ueXOh5

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Excerpt

When I looked down, her hands were fisted on the countertop, shaking from the effort of keeping them still.

“I’d take a picture of that,” I told her, voice low and charged.

She tilted her chin up toward me. “Of what?”

In the low light of the apartment, her eyes glowed like melted gold.

“Your hands.” I licked my suddenly dry lips. “I feel like they’re telling me something that I can’t figure out.”Grace peered down at the fists she was making, and her fingers relaxed, the skin no longer white around her knuckles.

“What are they telling me, Grace?” I begged.

She ducked under my arm and I exhaled heavily. Without the heat from her body against mine, I took a second to get myself under control. When I turned, she was handing me her camera.

“Go ahead,” she said.

I tilted my head. “You want me to take your picture?”

Grace studied the camera, carefully removing the lens cap and pulling it up to her eyes. She aimed it at my face, and I wondered what she saw. If I looked like I was one thread away from snapping, because that’s how I felt.

I’d never felt like I was one quick step away from freedom, but here, I was. One nudge over the edge of the cliff, and she’d have me free falling without a parachute. I’d never, ever wanted it so badly.

When I heard the click of the shutter, I rubbed the back of my neck. “Can I see?”

She ignored me, pulling the camera away so she could look at the digital image on the back. Her lips curved in a secret little smile.

“What do you see?” I asked.

Her chest expanded on an inhale. “Frustration.” Her eyes met mine. “Want.”

Words lodged in my chest, and I couldn’t tear them loose.

I held my hand out and she passed the camera to me. With a rough swallow, I squinted at the tiny viewfinder once it was at eye-level. Grace came into my eye line, holding my gaze with such directness that I fought the urge not to throw the camera across the room simply because it was between us.

It was her turn to ask. “What do you see?”

My finger pushed the slick button on top of the camera, and her mouth curled in surprise that I took a shot.

I pushed the button again as she took a step closer.

“You’re not answering me,” she said lightly.

“Because I can hardly think straight when you’re looking at me like that.” My admission was rough and hard, out before I could stop it.

She took another step, within reach now, and one of her hands slid up my forearm.

One more picture, the sound of the shutter snapping between us like a shot.

Somehow, I set it down on the counter without smashing it.

“You can’t lie to a camera,” Grace said quietly, watching her hand on my arm before the other landed on my heaving chest. “It captures things as are they are, good or bad or ugly or beautiful.”

I slid an arm around her waist and tightened my grip until she was flush against me. My other hand pushed up the back of her neck and into her hair.

“This is insane,” she breathed, dropping her forehead onto my chest.

“No, it’s not.”

Grace lifted her head and pinned me in place. “Tucker, seventy-two hours ago, I hated you. You can’t tell me this doesn’t feel a little nuts.”

I couldn’t stop my smile. “You didn’t hate me. Not really.”

One eyebrow lifted. “Wanna bet?”

About Karla Sorensen

Karla Sorensen has been an avid reader her entire life, preferring stories with a happily-ever-after over just about any other kind. And considering she has an entire line item in her budget for books, she realized it might just be

cheaper to write her own stories. It doesn’t take much to keep her happy…a book, a really big glass of wine, and at least thirty minutes of complete silence every day. She still keeps her toes in the world of health care marketing, where she made her living pre-babies. Now she stays home, writing and mommy-ing full time (this translates to almost every day being a ‘pajama day’ at the Sorensen household…don’t judge). She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two exceptionally adorable sons and big, shaggy rescue dog.

KS_CROPPED

Find Karla Sorensen online

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2lU6xAS

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2khRSPL

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2k0Yp0T

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2lBNuez

Website: http://www.karlasorensen.com/

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Connect with Smartypants Romance

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Books, Kindle Unlimited, New Release, Romance, series, smartypants romance, Uncategorized

New Smartypants Romance Release! Batter of Wits, Donner Bakery book 5, by Karla Sorensen

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“Heartfelt, hilarious, with a dash of angst…Karla Sorensen shines with the perfect feel-good read!” –Author Catherine Cowles

Batter of Wits, an all-new funny and heartwarming romance from Karla Sorensen, is LIVE!

DB05-BOW-EBOOK

Hate at first sight couldn’t possibly exist, right?

That’s what Grace Buchanan thought, before her useless car stranded her on the side of a deserted road just inside the Green Valley city limits.

When Tucker Haywood—tall and handsome and full of southern charm— shows up to help, her reaction to him is the strongest thing she’s ever felt in her life, and it makes no freaking sense.

It doesn’t make much sense to Tucker either. Not why she hates him, or why he finds her so intriguing. He knows well enough that Grace is moving to Green Valley for a fresh start, not to distract him when he’s got no room for something like her in his life.

The complications between them are endless, but that doesn’t stop her definitely not love-at-first-sight feelings from changing into something else entirely.

Grace and Tucker are about to learn the hard way that in Green Valley, hating someone has never tasted so sweet.

‘Batter of Wits’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #5 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

Baking Me Crazy was the first book that I’d read from the Smartypants Romance collection. I liked it, and it was probably my favorite of the Donner Bakery series, until I read Batter of Wits. I’m actually not sure why this book belongs in the Donner Bakery series, though. The only thing this book has in common is that the first one was about Levi Buchanan, and Grace is Levi’s cousin. There’s no connection to the Bakery otherwise. But I guess they had to put the story somewhere.

These two books are about people who fall “victim” to the Buchanan Love Curse. In Baking Me Crazy, Levi is in love with his best friend Jocelyn, and waits for five years for her to realize that she feels the same about him. In Batter of Wits, Grace Buchanan experiences “hate at first sight,” and it results in a fun and interesting story unlike anything I’ve read before.

I love books set in Green Valley, especially when we get little mentions of characters we know and love, but this book seemed to give the small town even more depth and life. We meet more of its residents, and there’s a quirky little fair that reminded me of something that would happen in Lucy Score’s Blue Moon Bend. We get the setup for the next Buchanan Love Curse story, which involves Grace’s brother Grady (who doesn’t believe in the curse, BTW). I am really looking forward to that book, and hope that Grace and Grady’s dad also gets hit with the Love Curse, because it’s never too late!

Thanks to Smartypants Romance for the opportunity to read and review this lovely book.

DB05-LIVE

Download your copy TODAY!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/30wAA1J

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2NDSL0j

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/37cWWrV

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Kobo: http://bit.ly/2RDMZge

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Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2ueXOh5

Coming to Kindle Unlimited on April 27th!

About Karla Sorensen

Karla Sorensen has been an avid reader her entire life, preferring stories with a happily-ever-after over just about any other kind. And considering she has an entire line item in her budget for books, she realized it might just be cheaper to write her own stories. It doesn’t take much to keep her happy…a book, a really big glass of wine, and at least thirty minutes of complete silence every day. She still keeps her toes in the world of health care marketing, where she made her living pre-babies. Now she stays home, writing and mommy-ing full time (this translates to almost every day being a ‘pajama day’ at the Sorensen household…don’t judge). She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two exceptionally adorable sons and big, shaggy rescue dog.

KS_CROPPED

Connect with Smartypants Romance

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2kvDnb4

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2lzyduO

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Website: https://smartypantsromance.com/

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Book Review, Books, New Release, Romance, series, smartypants romance, Uncategorized

Book Review! Beef Cake, Donner Bakery book 4 by Jiffy Kate, from Smartypants Romance

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4 of 5 satisfying stars

I was looking forward to the spring launch of Smartypants Romance, so I was excited to read this book. I’d read the other Jiffy Kate contribution, Stud Muffin, and I enjoyed it but found it surprisingly angsty. I’m not familiar with any other Jiffy Kate books, so I don’t know if that is standard for these authors. This had some elements of angst, but not nearly as much as the first book.

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I felt like it was a bit rushed toward the end, and would have liked to see more of the relationship between the two characters once they got past their conflict. One thing I will say is that I loved how persistent Gunnar was in his pursuit of Frankie. She was an interesting character and a tough nut for him to crack; but while he recognized she needed her space, and gave it to her, he didn’t give up.

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Buy Beef Cake here

Books, New Release, Romance, series, Uncategorized

Smartypants Romance – New Release – Beef Cake, Donner Bakery book 4, by Jiffy Kate

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I was all in with this slow burn romance that had me laughing and swooning from cover to cover” –Author Andrea Johnston

Beef Cake, an all-new small town contemporary romance from Jiffy Kate, is LIVE!

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If opposites do actually attract, then Gunnar Erickson and Frankie Reeves take the cake.

Frankie Reeves is complicated, even though she won’t admit it. She fills her days working as an ER nurse, taking care of her mom, and searching for the father she never knew. Anything else has no place in her perfectly compartmentalized, purposefully simple life. Attachments? No thank you. She has no time for that.

Gunnar Erickson recently moved to Green Valley to train at Viking MMA with his brother Cage. Being the youngest of the Erickson clan, he’s always felt like he has something to prove, and now that he’s finished with college, it’s his time to shine. But before he can step into the ring, a freak accident sends him to the ER and into the care of one Frankie Reeves.

While he’s immediately smitten, she pretends to be unfazed by this six-foot-three, two hundred and thirty-pound beef cake. Gunnar sets out to prove to Frankie that, not only does she like him more than she wants to admit, but he’s not the uneducated, brute she assumes he is. To Frankie, he’s the worst kind of complication, but that doesn’t make it easy to stay away.

‘Beef Cake’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #4 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

DB04-LIVE

Download your copy TODAY!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/38ipiAU

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/364MzVJ

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/30tZjUD

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2FX2D15

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Google Play: http://bit.ly/2NRZDYj

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About Jiffy Kate

Jiffy Kate is the joint pen name for Jiff Simpson and Jenny Kate Altman. They’re co-writing besties who share a brain. They also share a love of cute boys, stiff drinks, and fun times.

Together, they’ve written over twenty stories. Their first published book, Finding Focus, was released in November 2015. Since then, they’ve continued to write what they know–southern settings full of swoony heroes and strong heroines.

JKJKJKJKJ

Find Jiffy Kate online

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Website: http://www.jiffykate.com/

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New Smartypants Romance Release: No Whisk, No Reward, Donner Bakery book 3, by Ellie Kay

 

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No Whisk, No Reward, an all-new small-town romance from Ellie Kay, is coming available now!

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How do you know if a risk is worth taking? If you knew, there wouldn’t be any risk.

Following a disastrous appearance on a televised baking show, Sophie Copeland is certain things can’t get any worse. Several calamities later, Sophie finds herself in Green Valley, Tennessee with no plan, no place to stay, and no prospects. But at least she has a temporary seasonal arrangement with the famed Donner Bakery. And that’s something, right?

It’s not permanent, and it’s not a home, but it’s still something.

Enter Joel Barnes, a Green Valley mystery, wrapped in rumors, and a whispered connection to the local notorious biker gang. Joel’s got a name for being bad news, but he also has an apartment for rent.

Intrigued by the dichotomy of Joel’s reputation and sexy southern pull, Sophie can’t help but be tempted, even though she knows—given her (bad) luck—she should stay far, far away. . .

Yet as everyone knows, without risk, there’s no reward.

‘No Whisk, No Reward’ is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book#3 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/31zMc3a

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/NWNR

Amazon Print: https://amzn.to/2lCqhZJ

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2lyEQ0z

About Ellie Kay

Ellie Kay is an Australian born living in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada who honed her creative writing skills in the colorful, and imaginative world of Corporate Insurance.

Socially awkward, she loves to respond to theatre ticket vendors who say, “enjoy the movie” with, “Thanks, you too,”, but she also likes to cook, travel and spend time with her partner and cat Taako.

Ellie is on a mission to help change the stigma surrounding the Romance genre and hopes to see a day when they are no longer considered “guilty pleasures,” but rather, just a pleasure.

Connect with Ellie Kay

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Book Review: Smartypants Romance release “Stud Muffin,” Donner Bakery book 2, by Jiffy Kate

4 out of 5 delicious stars

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This was a fun read, but it was more angsty than I expected. I liked the addition to new folks to the Green Valley that we know and love, while the occasional beloved character pops up here and there. I didn’t really like the view of the “religious” people in this book; they seemed VERY self-righteous in their piousness and they came off like real jerks. I liked Tempest’s outlook on God much better. She didn’t really like going to church but she recognized that God was there for her whether she went to church or not!

I’m not really a big fan of the MMR/fighter/boxer type books, but fortunately, Cage was more than that. He was a good friend to Tempest and was there for her when no one else was. I liked how their relationship developed.

This was my first Jiffy Kate book, and they are VERY good at the sexy times. I think some author pairs are excellent at writing together and you can’t tell where one author’s work begins and the other author’s work ends. That wasn’t the case here; occasionally, it was obvious that some sections were written by one author, they were so different in grammar and tone. It did not stop me from enjoying this story, nor will it prevent me from reading other books by Jiffy Kate.

Copy of DB02-LIVE

Available in Kindle Unlimited here: Stud Muffin

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New Release: Baking Me Crazy, Donner Bakery book 1; first book from Penny Reid’s Smartypants Romance!

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“Friends to lovers at its best– a sweet indulgence I couldn’t put down!” – R.S. Grey, USA Today Bestselling Author

Baking Me Crazy, the first in the romantic comedy Donner Bakery Series of standalones, from Karla Sorensen is available now!

 

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I’m Levi Buchanan, and until five years ago, I thought the legend of my family’s curse was a load of crazy, Southern nonsense.

No curse can make you fall in love at first sight. No curse can force a true, deep, passionate, all-consuming love that will haunt you all the days of your life.

Then I met Jocelyn Abernathy and I realized how completely wrong I was.

The problem is, Jocelyn guards her feelings like well-armed soldier. She’s the most beautiful, stubborn, infuriating woman I’ve ever met. Every time she talks, I want to kiss the living daylights out of her. But I can’t.

Because when we met, she didn’t need true love. She needed a best friend. And that’s what I’ve been to her… for five years.

But when Jocelyn meets a handsome stranger her first day working at Donner Bakery and she lets him buy her a dill pickle cupcake, I realize with ominous regret that I may have missed my window with my best friend.

If I can’t get her to see past our friendship, my new curse may be to watch the love of my life move on with someone else.

‘Baking Me Crazy’ is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book#1 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Excerpt:

“Besides, this is my best friend perk. Shouldn’t I get perks in baked goods?”

She cut me a look. “You’ve been getting those perks for two years, Buchanan. Don’t even pretend you didn’t put on a solid ten pounds that first year I started baking.” Quite pointedly, she looked at my stomach, which we both knew was covered in muscle.

“That’s rude,” I mumbled under my breath. I flexed my bicep. Nero licked my elbow since it was right in front of him. “Yeah, ten pounds in my left arm maybe.”

The noise she made roughly translated to you are ridiculous. She made that sound at me a lot. Of course, the sad truth of the matter was that I was ridiculous.

Not once in the past five years had my feelings lessened for her. I had just learned to live with them. In my junior year of undergrad, I was taking a class on brain pathology in injuries, and a man came to talk to us about how he learned to live without his right arm after it was amputated.

He told us about how, even years after he lost his arm, his brain still triggered sensations to the limb that was no longer there. The adult brain, in particular, struggled to reorganize after the loss of a limb, and given that four out of five amputees suffer from phantom pain symptoms, some of which were incredibly debilitating, it was a lesson that stuck with me.

I wasn’t fool enough to think that me loving Jocelyn was on par with a man who’d lost his arm, but something about the way he talked plucked at a chord inside me. Sometimes my brain struggled to remember that we were just friends.

She’d never dated, never even hinted that she wanted to. She’d never given me a longing glance. Never stared at my mouth like she wondered what it tasted like.

But my hands never, not once, stopped wanting to reach for hers. My fingers always, always itched to dig into her crazy hair and see what the curve of her scalp felt like.

My brain knew what this relationship was, but sometimes, the signals it sent to the rest of my body didn’t always match up with the truth of our situation. We worked out together a lot, Joss and I, and when she got frustrated with the limitations of her body, I always wanted to wrap my arms around her.

I wanted to pull her into the curve of my body, absorb her dissatisfaction into my skin, and carry it for her. That was the irony when she made noises like that.

She had absolutely no clue how ridiculous I really was.

About Karla Sorensen

Karla Sorensen has been an avid reader her entire life, preferring stories with a happily-ever-after over just about any other kind. And considering she has an entire line item in her budget for books, she realized it might just be cheaper to write her own stories. It doesn’t take much to keep her happy…a book, a really big glass of wine, and at least thirty minutes of complete silence every day. She still keeps her toes in the world of health care marketing, where she made her living pre-babies. Now she stays home, writing and mommy-ing full time (this translates to almost every day being a ‘pajama day’ at the Sorensen household…don’t judge). She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two exceptionally adorable sons and big, shaggy rescue dog.

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