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I am so excited to have author Joanne Guidoccio stop in for a visit. She is here to tell us about her new romantic suspense book, “Too Many Women in the Room“. I really like that title. Joanne, please take it away:

 

On a Greek Culinary Journey with Joanne:

Gilda Greco, protagonist of Too Many Women in the Room, and I have a special fondness for Greek cuisine. We appreciate the simple and elegant flavors of foods and beverages that can be traced back to Ancient Greece.

Here are ten interesting milestones from Greek culinary history:

  1. Feta cheese is said to be about 6,000 years old, making it one of the world’s oldest cheeses.
  2. In Greece, cheesecakes were considered excellent sources of energy and served to athletes during the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C. Greek brides and grooms celebrated their nuptials with cheesecake.
  3. The first “cookbook” was written by Greek poet and gourmand, Archestratos, in 330 B.C. His humorous didactic poem Hedypatheia (Life of Luxury), written in hexameters but known only from quotations, advises the reader where to find the best food in the Mediterranean world.
  4. In the Middle Ages, monastic brothers who prepared food in the Greek Orthodox monasteries, wore tall white hats to distinguish themselves from regular monks, who wore large black hats.
  5. Many ingredients used in modern Greek cooking—bananas, potato, spinach, tomato—were unknown until the discovery of the Americas.
  6. Dishes with names like tzatziki (from the Turkish “cacik”), hummus (from the Arabic word for chickpea) and dolmades (from the Turkish word “dolma”) also found a home in Greek cooking.
  7. The Greek Frappe (similar to an iced coffee) was invented at the Thessaloniki Trade Fair in 1957.
  8. Greece’s climate is ideal for growing olive and lemon trees, producing two important elements of Greek cooking. Spices, garlic, and herbs such as basil, mint, oregano, and thyme are added to create blends of tangy seasonings.
  9. Lamb, which is usually spit-roasted, is the most popular meat served in Greek homes and restaurants. Other meats include chicken, pork, beef, and fish. All of these meats can be used in souvlaki.
  10. Filo dough, ultra-thin, flaky pastry, forms the foundation of many popular Greek recipes, including Spanakopita (spinach pie) and Baklava (sweet pastry with nuts).

Yep, I am fond of several Greek foods; Baklava, olive oil, and of course cheesecake!

Blurb for “Too Many Women in the Room”:

When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture— Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?

Excerpt

“I’m a nobody here,” David said, glancing down at his plate. “And with my credit rating, none of the banks would endorse a loan. I’m screwed.”

“What if I backed you?” I couldn’t believe I was speaking so casually, all the while my heart beat at an alarming rate.

David rubbed a hand over his chin and flashed a grin at me. “Gilda, darling, you’re sweet to offer, but I don’t think you know what’s involved here.”

Susan nodded in agreement.

Were they playing me, I wondered. Since winning nineteen million dollars in Lotto649, I had encountered many sharks who hoped to prey on my easy-going nature. A quick Google search would have revealed my three-year-old lottery win. Old news, but still there on the second and third pages.

“Would one hundred thousand dollars be enough?” I asked. “In case you don’t know, I won a major lottery several years ago.” Since winning, I had received many proposals from across the province and had backed three local ventures. In each case, I had chosen to remain a silent partner.

David’s right hand trembled as he poured himself another glass of wine. Susan’s mouth dropped open, and she gave a little gasp.

“I take it that’s a yes,” I said.

More mild protests followed, and another bottle of wine disappeared. We were all a bit tipsy when we shook on the agreement. And so Xenia was born.

Book Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CORaCadAnbA

Buy Links

 

Amazon (US): https://is.gd/NRjAXT

Amazon (Canada): https://is.gd/1pX3Bn

Kobo: https://is.gd/5VwbTf

Indigo: https://is.gd/o3ZKRW

The Wild Rose Press: https://is.gd/1mns8Q

Barnes & Noble: https://is.gd/NFHdlS

 

Bio

In 2008, Joanne took advantage of early retirement from a 31-year teaching career and decided to launch a second act that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Where to find Joanne…

Website: http://joanneguidoccio.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joanneguidoccio

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjoanneguidoccio

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanneguidoccio

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jguidoccio/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7277706.Joanne_Guidoccio

 

Giveaway:

 

Click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

 

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/628069205/

 

First off, let me say this is not my normal genre; being a military/action/suspense/romance. It takes place in Somalia and I don’t normally travel far from the US or Europe in my readings. So I went with an open mind, wondering where this new adventure in reading would take me.

This is a 400 page book that spans about two days. To say the book is riddled with action is an understatement.

Tess Newell, strong willed and devoted-to-the-cause American journalist, is about to blow the lid off the story of a lifetime, incriminating governments, politicians, and leaders across a few countries. She is kidnapped and sentenced to be executed. Before that happens, a French Foreign Legionnaire is tossed into her cell.

The chemistry between Tess and Flynn, the Legionnaire, is sudden and swift. Thanks to Flynn’s skills, they escape and flee, dodging their captures as their passions slowly escalate.

What I liked most about this story is how the author did not give Tess and Flynn any easy outs. When presented with a vehicle during their on-foot escape, many writers would be tempted to give them the vehicle and let them ride for a while. Ms. Kelly did not make things so easy on our hero and heroine. She refused to let them have the vehicle, and instead used it as a distraction as they continued on foot. The saga of their escape is full of such devises where the hunter–and reader–would expect them to do something, and the author takes them another way. Kudos on some splendid writing.

Because this is an action/ adventure story, there is also some sex. Their relationship, though fast to bloom, also seemed organic. Neither Tess nor Flynn want to trust the other, yet the gradual–grudging?–trust does form. And so does the sexual interest. Though they only make love two or three times, it is as explosive as the runaway action is. Warning–there is also a lot of profane f*ck language used throughout the book.

When help from Flynn’s squad arrives, about 3/4 through the book, the other Legionnaire’s add plenty of spice with their own stories and personalities. If you like action packed stories, with an international flair, told through a military lens and your romance as loaded as an M-16, you will enjoy “Edge of Truth”.

 

I enjoy reading books by Best selling authors. I want to dissect their works to see what ingredient(s) got them to their best selling status. And since, I enjoy westerns, I was doubly excited to read “Coltrane Corners”. To begin with, it had a well crafted back cover blurb and a nice cover.

However, 1/4 of the way through, I was already shaking my head. Few books make me as frustrated to read as this one did. If not for some redeeming qualities, I might have been tempted to give up.

For starters, Elizabeth Coltrane, the main character, has returned home after six years “back east” at some fancy school. It was supposed to turn her into a proper lady, as well as time spent eastward was to help her physically. As far as I can tell, all it did was turn her from a pleasant, fun, and likeable young girl into a childish snob.

She is immature, and not at all likable compared to the backstory provided. Spoiler–six years ago the guy she had a teen crush on said some insensitive things that drove her away. That was six years ago. She was a girl of fourteen. Yet she clings to it like a crutch now, and uses it as a cause to treat Chase Cameron, the male main character, as terrible as possible. I wished she would grow up already and stop looking at that one single event through the lens of a fourteen-year-old.

And truthfully, the men were not much better. Lots of indecision on their parts. It sort of ended up reminding me of the old Life cereal commercial with Mickey and the two boys. The boys kept saying, “I’m not gonna eat it, you eat it.” as they push the bowl of cereal between them, until one finally decides to give it to Mickey to try. Except there is no Mickey in Coltrane Corners to take responsibility for Elizabeth’s flame and her father. So they push the past between them like immature boys.  Personally, if one of them would have grown a pair, and treated Elizabeth like the grown lady she was supposed to be, instead of the child she acted like, the story could have been much less redundant. Truly, Daddy would rather pay his ranch hands to follow his daughter around and spy on her instead of just telling her the truth about a danger around the ranch. Not very mature of anyone.

The redeeming qualities of the story was the language. It was very natural to the time and setting. It seemed well researched and organic. The metaphors were amusing and clearly pictured. Chase was very likeable, from his endless patience in dealing with Elizabeth’s endless tantrums and stunts to his protectiveness of both her and her father. I found myself rooting for Chase, even if he isn’t the strongest hero in print. It seemed he was the strongest one in the book.

Spoiler, my pet peeve is male characters who make macho, chauvinistic, know-half-the-story, stereotypical assumptions. I see red when I read that stuff and want to claw someone’s eyeballs out. I wish we could have bad guys without the assumptions that the woman is naturally a whore. Apparently not if she hasn’t “spread ’em” for that guy.

All in all, “Coltrane’s Corners” was an acceptable read, not something I would want to read again. If one can get past the redundant backstory telling and the chauvinistic arse-holes sprinkled along, the action and dialogue will make up for it.

Source: Release Blast~~~> “Food & Romance Go Together” Volume 1: An Anthology

Source: This is Why She Rescues German Shepherds

Exciting news! “Food and Romance Go Together, Vol. 1” is now available for Pre-order and officially releasing May 16th. I am included as one of the six contributing authors in this food-themed romance anthology offered by Melange Books. In celebration, I am offering this wonderful gift basket full of food and kitchen related items. Check this out:


Look at what all is included: Designer Desserts adult coloring book, blank recipe journal, Unicorn cupcake kit, Dough-notes 12 pack note cards, handmade cork-and-stone trivet, hand-painted ombre 3-piece wooden spoon set, orange segments salt & pepper set, Starbucks 2-pack hot cocoa, (drink them both or share with your favorite love) and a thankful mini-gift basket crock containing measuring spoons, a butterfly cookie/dough cutter and miniature storage container. Wow!

To win this awesome gift basket, simply sign up for my newsletter. That’s it. Just leave an email in the comments below, I will add you to my newsletter service with Mailchimp. (You can adjust your preferences later and I absolutely promise you will NOT get flooded with constant mailings. Maybe two or three a year, unless something terrific is going on I need to share). I like Mailchimp because it will only have your email in the header, not those of everyone subscribed so I can ensure some privacy for subscribers. Anyhow–once I have an email in the comments, you are entered into a random drawing to win this basket.  *Due to the high foreign postage costs, I am restricting this to US readers only. Sorry.        CONGRATULATIONS TO AUDREY S. WHO WON THE GIFT BASKET!

Six food-themed stories, with recipes found in each one, but six different talented authors.

“Coffeecake Chaos” by Ryan Jo Summers

Avianna Goodman and Sawyer Steele had been young lovers. Now she is a caterer, building her own business. Right now she needs cash to help her family. He’s being ordered to stop his wild ways and settle down to take over the family empire. His controlling mother has picked out the perfect heiress for him. Now they need the right caterer to launch the perfect engagement celebration.

Old sparks rekindle as Avianna and Sawyer reunite.

Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2pIjNbG

Smashwords buy link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/720457

Lulu paperback print buy link: http://bit.ly/2p65MAP

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Food and Romance Go Together,
Vol. 1
Pumpkin Blossoms by Sue Stewart Ade
Jillian yearns for love and falls for a dog and her sister’s former boyfriend. But
the dog bolts and the boyfriend seems to still have feelings for her sister. Can she
find love with a man who can’t see who she really is?
Coffee Cake Chaos by Ryan Jo Summers
Avianna Goodman needs cash. That’s why she agreed to cater her ex-boyfriend’s
engagement party. Seeing Sawyer again confirms Avianna still isn’t over him.
The biggest mistake Sawyer Steele ever did was walk away from the one girl he
was crazy about. Now Avianna’s back in his lifeand he can’t have her.
Apple Pie Delight by Sonja Gunter
Lost loves reunite after forty years of deceptions. Can a Sun-Kissed Apple Pie
bring Toril Swanson and Erik Sutton together again?
Peanut Butter Kisses by Jody Vitek
Beth Canton attends her ten-year class reunion to catch a glimpse of her long-
time, school-girl crush, Hank McGrath, but doesn’t hope or even dream of
anything more. She leaves with more than a glimpse, while Hank can’t get
enough of her peanut butter kisses.
Boston Crème Breakdown by Randi Perrin
Kestin just wants to return to life as normal after returning home from the war,
but there’s no way his life will be the same again. Looking for easy money to
make bills, he stumbles over an ad to teach perpetually-single Erica to cook, and
can’t resist answering it. He never expected to actually get the job—or to be
attracted to her.
The Chocolate Queen by April & Holly Marcom
In a world sprinkled with superheroes, you never know when the person beside
you is one of these few elite. When Clarissa begins to fall for a guy who harbors
a super secret, it feels like she’s not good enough. But he may just help her
discover a super sweet secret of her own.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I love to cook, and when I wrote the story of a caterer, she naturally had to create a menu for her ex-boyfriend’s engagement party. That is part of the fun of being a writer! Each author has a recipe listed that is featured in their story.


This coffeecake is a real dessert I used to make for my husband to take to his work to share with his co-workers. It is super quick and easy to make, and very flexible to tailor to your own preferences.

Streusel Coffeecake

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Filling: Mix below items together with fork in small bowl before mixing cake:

½ C brown sugar, 2 Tbls. flour, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 Tbls. melted butter  and ½ C nuts (optional)

Batter:  1 ½ C sifted flour, 1 ½ tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt and ¾ C sugar. ¼ C shortening,

½ C milk and one egg (Well beaten)

3. Sift dry ingredients. Cut in shortening with pastry knife or fork. Blend in egg and milk.

4. Spread half of batter in greased, flat 8 X 8 or 6 X 10 inch pan.

Sprinkle with half of filling. Add rest of batter and sprinkle remaining filling on top.

5. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Good served warm or room temp.

Optional topping: warm maple syrup and mix with brown sugar and drizzle over top. Or blend a few teaspoons milk with powdered sugar until runny and drizzle over top. Crumbled, cooked bacon or chopped nuts are good sprinkled over this too

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

In full disclosure, I received an ARC from the author’s publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is third in the Wind River Ranch series by Lindsey McKenna, each one telling the story of different characters who come to the Bar C Ranch in Wyoming and soon call it home. Each is a stand-alone book, however, there are numerous references to people from previous books.

Publisher’s blurb: Kira Duval was part of a Special Forces team that got caught in an ambush–leaving only two wounded survivors: herself and Weapons Sergeant Garret Fleming. Losing her team was traumatic, and in the chaotic aftermath, she lost Garret too. But she never lost her secret yearning for him.

Finally she gave up trying to find him back in the states. But as she settles in at the Bar C cattle ranch in Wyoming, a place where veterans can find a home and a place to heal, she’s introduced to her housemate: none other than Garret Fleming.

They’re a long way from Afghanistan–and a long way from the people they used to be before tragedy changed their lives. But as Kira earns her keep by care-taking for the ranch owner’s bedridden, alcoholic father–a task that sometimes feels more challenging than any black ops mission–she finds that even in peacetime, Garret still has her back, and that in this warm, welcoming place, the passion she resisted in the heat of battle may finally have a chance to flourish..

*  * * *

There was  much I enjoyed about this story, but before that, my two pet peeves. First, was the head-hopping of the two main characters–Kira and Garret–between paragraphs. Once upon a time I never used to notice that, until enough editors preached to me about it, so now it glares at me whenever I encounter POV in both characters heads in the same few lines of each other.

Second was the redundancy in the beginning between Kira and Garret’s secret feelings for each other. Clearly, while working in Afghanistan, and part of a team unit, they could not have shared nor demonstrated their true emotions or interest in each other beyond “just friends”. It is a common sense thing to me, however, it felt like the author was belaboring the point repetitively for more chapters than necessary.

Now, all the main characters that reside at the Bar C Ranch suffer some degree of PTSD as a result of their experiences in the military. The severity and complexity and everyday challenges were all well handled. I like how the author researched the various ways it can manifest and emphatically wrote the character’s experiences. I felt I could experience it right alongside them.

Around the middle of the book, the characters really started to shine. Garret’s protectiveness of Kira felt real and remarkable. I do wish they’d spent less page time internally dwelling on their true feelings now, instead of excusing to themselves why they still could not be honest with the other. They are ex-military now, no more reasons to hold back. I felt they should just take the chance, and be open and honest with each other much sooner. However, that can be a manifestation of the PTSD, so I chalk it up to that.

The situation between Kira and the ranch owner’s ailing father was also wonderfully done. It showcased PTSD in it’s most honest form, and I caught myself gritting my teeth and wincing right alongside Kira sometimes.

What I did love was the way Garret, and another soldier buddy, Reese, tenderly protected and looked after their lady loves. These are big, strong, warriors, yet Ms. McKenna wrote splendidly of their wonderful job in portraying their softer, gentler, nurturing personalities. It was lovely to read.

Other than a few minor typos and one case of a wrong name used, and the aforementioned issues, I thought this latest edition of the Wind River Valley saga was a very good read.

I will add this: the cover is a bit misleading, as is the title. Garret is not a cowboy, he does not handle horses in the story with the exception of two lines toward the ending. He spends his time working on ranch machinery, running an odd errand here and there, and spending most of his time with either Kira or the Ranch people, never the horses. He is never astride a horse. Also, the reason for the dog is a mystery as there is no dog mentioned anywhere in the story. Just a head’s up not to be looking for dusty cowhands who spend their time talking to their horse or the loyal dog. Perhaps in other Wind River stories, but not this one.