Book Talk Thursday: SWEET TEA

Althea Dailey has finally arrived. She’s made partner at her prestigious New York law firm. She’s left her hometown of Milford, Georgia firmly in her rearview mirror. Even having to travel south for her new case doesn’t induce her to visit her grandmother in Milford.

But when Allie hears that a filmmaker is making a documentary featuring her grandmother and Granda’s famous recipes, Allie determines to come home and protect both Granda and the recipes.

Jack Darwent may be a trust fund frat guy, but he’s passionate about food and films. Filming Miss Ada, the legendary cook/chef at Milford College, a historically Black college, is going to be the centerpiece of his newest project. When Miss Ada’s granddaughter shows up, with a chip big as a brick on her shoulder and attitude to match, he can only help Miss Ada’s plan to thaw Althea’s hard shell.

The title, SWEET TEA, is a play on words. Sweet tea is at the center of Allie’s lawsuit, and T and Sweet T are her grandmother’s nicknames for her.

SWEET TEA is another departure for Hallmark Publishing. They are definitely trying to diversify their line and it’s showing. With its interracial couple, SWEET TEA is a welcome addition to the Hallmark family. 

Allie and Jack are well rounded characters, not stereotypical and not shallow. I enjoyed their story a lot and I highly recommend it!

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I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it, favorably or not. 

Book Talk Tuesday: Once Upon a Royal Summer

ONCE UPON A ROYAL SUMMER by Teri Wilson is as lovely and sweet and charming as if you combined a fairy tale, Hallmark, and cotton candy. Which is what Wilson and Hallmark Publishers did. With a dash of Disney, sans naming Disney or anything close to copyright infringement.

Lacey Pope is a theme park princess, Princess Sweet Pea. She loves her job. She loves making children happy. She loves being part of a real-life fairy tale. Her fiance’ though, isn’t a fan, and is eager for her to move on to her “real” career. This is one reason they realize they aren’t right for each other and break it off. Lacey wonders why she isn’t more devastated.

Henry is a single dad to Rose. He also happens to be the crown prince of Bella-Moritz, a small kingdom off the south of France. He brings his young daughter to Lacey’s theme park for Rose’s 7th birthday. Rose falls in love with Princess Sweet Pea. As Henry and Lacey spend more time together, their attraction grows. But how can a fairy tale princess and a real life prince have a happily ever after.

Obviously, if you’re a romance lover, you know they’ll find a way.

This is a fun book, perfect for a day at the beach or by the pool. I enjoyed it and recommend it.


I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: SOUTH BEACH LOVE

This fun book is best read along with a Cuban cookbook. As I was almost done, I told my husband it was making me hungry for a Cubano sandwich. He promptly volunteered to make one for me. So our Memorial Day meal was Cuban sandwiches, with chips and potato salad. Maybe not your typical Memorial Day celebration, but it was delicious!

Tony grew up in Little Havana in Miami, but it’s been several years since he’s been home. He’s a big time chef in New York City now, with a hit restaurant. Yes, he’s burnt out from the paperwork and business of running a restaurant, and he doesn’t get to cook like he used to, but that’s the price he’s willing to pay for the acclaim and success. When his sister calls and asks him to come home to help with the menu planning for his niece’s quinceanera (15th birthday celebration), he’s not sure he can leave the restaurant for that long. But he agrees. He could use the break and he hasn’t been home for too long.

Sara Kelly is Tony’s best friend’s younger sister and she has a restaurant in Miami. She had a crush on Tony when she was a teenager, but she’s over that now. Her restaurant specializes in upscale twists on comfort food and is crowded every night. Her niece is also turning 15, and Sara’s sister-in-law asks Sara to help plan the menu.

Tony visits Sara’s restaurant and is impressed with both the food, and his friend’s all-grown-up sister.

Everything would be headed to a happily-ever-after, except for a reporter. She’s assigned to write a story about the resurgence of quinceaneras among the Cuban population of Miami. When she hears that two acclaimed chefs are handling the two menus, she sees her angle. She deliberately baits Sara and Tony, putting them in competition with each other. She will only feature one chef in her article. Both of them need the exposure and publicity the article will garner. Tony wants to open a new restaurant in Miami, so he can return more often, maybe even move back, closer to family and Sara. Sara wants to open a second restaurant. She trains women who need job skills to work in her kitchen. With another restaurant, she can help more women and ease the crowding at the first restaurant.

Since this is a Hallmark Publishing book, of course, Tony and Sara are able to work out the competition and their relationship. This book was a bit of a departure for Hallmark, in that Cuban and Latin culture, language and food were all featured predominantly. It wasn’t just white people in a white town baking white cake (no offense to people who like white cake–I love it!) But it was refreshing to read about a different culture. And remind me how delicious picadillo and porchetta are. Not to mention that Cubano sandwich.

This was a fun book and I highly recommend it.


I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it, either favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: A WATERFRONT WEDDING

A Waterfront Wedding has everything I’ve come to expect from Hallmark Publishing. A sweet romance, lots of small town fun, and a satisfying ending.

We return to Hearts Landing in A Waterfront Wedding by Leigh Duncan.

Evelyn Heart is restless. She’s the bookkeeper for the Captain’s Cottage, the most sought after wedding venue in the premier destination wedding town in America—according to Weddings Today magazine. But lately she’s wanting more than shuffling papers and crunching numbers and submitting supply orders. But what exactly, she’s not quite sure.
Ryan Court has spent the last year renovating the old Boat Works in Hearts Landing, turning it into another wedding venue. He and Evelyn had been childhood friends who’d drifted apart.
Evelyn and Ryan are thrown together to work on the town’s annual Wedding in a Week extravaganza. Working so closely together reawakens feelings each had thought they’d firmly dealt with in the past.
This is a charming story, and it was fun to return to Hearts Landing and to catch up with some of the previous characters we’ve met there.
I highly recommend A WATERFRONT WEDDING.

I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher but this did not induce me to review it, favorably or not.

Tuesday TwoFer: MURDER BY PAGE ONE

I’m a sucker for a good, old-fashioned murder mystery. Add in books and literary references and it’s even better!

Marvella Harris, or Marvey, has recently moved to Peach Coast, Georgia from New York City, to take a job at the local library, working to increase community outreach and services. She’s made some friends and enjoys her job. She’s at her friend Jolene’s bookstore for an author signing when she and Jo and another friend discover one of the author’s has been murdered. The local sheriff deputies seem convinced of Jo’s guilt, so Marvey jumps in to prove there are other equally viable suspects.

This has plenty of colorful Southern characters and small town vibes. I liked the way Marvey dropped in mentions of other books, and her jewelry making hobby. She also has a cat, who doesn’t seem to enjoy their new home.

The murderer is nicely revealed with enough clues and red herrings so the reader doesn’t feel cheated.

Overall, I enjoyed this and recommend it. I’d gladly read the next in the series.

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I received an advance copy of MURDER BY PAGE ONE from Hallmark Publishing, but it did not induce me to review it, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: RESCUING HARMONY RANCH

This was a fun book from Hallmark Publishing and included the elements I’ve come to expect in a Hallmark book: a spunky heroine, a hunky hero, a good reason to keep them apart, but a fun time watching them fall in love and figure out a way to be together anyway.

Jocelyn and Mack were childhood sweethearts in Colorado, until her mother moved her to New York City. Their love story ended, although neither forgot the other. It’s been a decade, and when Jocelyn’s grandmother needs her help, Jocelyn drops everything to fly back to the ranch. After finding out the ranch is in trouble, Joss and Mack are forced to work together to save it. And they find out they still have feelings for each other. But how can they make a relationship work when her life is in New York and his in Colorado?

I enjoyed this entry in the Country and Cowboys series from Hallmark Publishing. I’ve read at least one other in the series, too. This was well written, and Jocelyn and Mack are both strong characters. There’s one cliched plot element I saw from the beginning and wished hadn’t been used, but I guess the author and her brainstorming team couldn’t find a way to keep the couple apart without using it.

Overall, I liked this one a lot and I recommend it!


I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher, but it did not induce me to review it, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday on a Thursday: THE STORY OF US

It’s a twofer this week. Because I have a review already scheduled for next Tuesday, and I don’t want to let this one go another week.

THE STORY OF US is a charming tale that would be a perfect Hallmark Valentine’s movie. Oh wait! It is a Hallmark Valentine’s movie!

TSOUJamie Vaughn owns the perfect bookshop, True Love books, in the perfect town, Waterford, Oregon. Okay, maybe life isn’t perfect. The downtown business district has been losing stores and a redevelopment company is poised to swoop in and buy up the area, closing her shop. And she’s on a romantic hiatus. Her heart just can’t seem to get over her high school boyfriend who broke up with her when he left for college across the country while she stayed in Oregon for school. Her most recent sort-of-boyfriend took a job in Texas. He asked her to move with him, but she couldn’t leave her bookstore.

Sawyer O’Dell has to nail this next job and he’ll be offered a permanent position with the company. No more freelancing and living out of a suitcase. If only it didn’t mean returning to Waterford, where he graduated from high school and left behind his high school girlfriend. They were too young to be that serious, so he knew it was for the best, even if it hurt and even if he’d never met anyone else who made him feel like Jamie did. So he has to get this bid accepted. His design for the business district redevelopment is good and he knows he can sell the business owners on it.

Except he hadn’t counted on running into Jamie as soon as he arrives back in town. And he hadn’t counted on her determination to save her shop–and the business district.

The plot of THE STORY OF US is somewhat formulaic. This is a Hallmark romance, after all. We know how it’s going to end. But that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story. There’s a lovely secondary plot about Jamie’s friend, Lucy, and Sawyer’s friend, Rick.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this book, and I can whole♥edly recommend it.


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but it did not induce me to review it, either favorably or not.