Thursday, January 19, 2017

Happy New Release Coming & Goodreads Giveaway ~ Be sure to sign up!

Welcome to our Sweet Romance Reads blog! Happy 2017! I hope the new year will bring you and your loved ones health and happiness. For me, personally, it will be a big year. Two of my big 2017 events are the release of two new novels, THE HAPPINESS IN BETWEEN and THE MEMORY OF BUTTERFLIES. THE MEMORY OF BUTTERFLIES will be out in July, but THE HAPPINESS IN BETWEEN (women’s fiction with romance and suspense) releases on the last day of January. JANUARY 31ST! It’s almost here! [Happy Dancing!]

Authors will tell you that releasing a new novel is both exciting and terrifying. In this case, I’m especially excited because I love this story. I grew up as that good, obedient daughter who wanted to please her parents and teachers, and also as a late bloomer—a girl who was smart in school, but never in sync with her peers. One basic truth of growing up is that a person who doesn’t have a sense of who they are, their own worth, even if their self-knowledge is imperfect, are prime pickings for those who victimize. 

THE HAPPINESS IN BETWEEN, via the main character, Sandra Hurst, tells the story of how some take longer than others to figure out their future and sometimes need a few extra chances, and that confidence isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. It takes hope and courage to face your life and make (or remake) your future. 

I hope you’ll read THE HAPPINESS IN BETWEEN and enjoy it. 

If you order now, before the official release, you’ll get Amazon's lowest price guarantee and it will be delivered directly to your ereader on 1/31! Same with the print book, or the audio version. You’ll get the lowest price and the book will ship right after release.

Important: There is a **GOODREADS GIVEAWAY** for THE HAPPINESS IN BETWEEN. Do you use Goodreads? If not, this is a good time to start. Get details & sign up here:

If you don’t already subscribe to our Sweet Romance Reads newsletter, please do so. The signup box is on the right-hand side of this page. Thanks!

Grace Greene is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of women’s fiction and contemporary romance set in the rolling hills and forests of her native Virginia (Kincaid’s Hope, Cub Creek) and the breezy beaches of Emerald Isle, North Carolina (Beach Rental, Beach Winds). Her debut novel, Beach Rental, and the sequel, Beach Winds, were both Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. She is the author of The Happiness in Between (release date: January 31, 2017), a standalone also set in Cub Creek. For more about the author and her books, visit or connect with her on Twitter at @Grace_Greene and on Facebook at

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Latest Release—SHADOWS AND LIES by Raine English

I write in a variety of genres, but my favorite is romantic suspense. SHADOWS AND LIES fits into that category and others, as well. It’s part time travel, part ghost story, and is a hauntingly romantic Gothic set in Louisiana along the banks of the Mississippi River on an 1830s sugar plantation.

When Olivia Lockwood leaves the comfort of her quaint Massachusetts home for an eerie mansion in Louisiana to fulfill her grandfather’s dying wish, she has no idea of the long-buried secrets that await her there. Or whether Jaxon Carter, her grandfather’s right-hand man, might steal her heart or put her life in jeopardy.


When we approached Turnberry Plantation, the first thing I noticed were the giant oak trees dripping with Spanish moss that lined the long driveway. We drove through the open wrought iron entrance gates, and a minute later, I spotted the massive white mansion built in the Greek Revival style. Its pillars rose to the roofline, and a two-story colonnade surrounded the house. It looked very much like I remembered, only a little more run-down, with its cracked and peeling paint.
Before I’d even gotten out of the taxi, the front door opened and a middle-aged man dressed in a navy suit came out and walked toward the car. He opened my door, and then offered his hand to help me out.
I accepted his assistance, stepping onto the driveway with as much grace as I could manage after a long day of traveling.
“Good afternoon, Miss Olivia. I’m Gerard, your grandfather’s butler. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Thank you. It’s nice to meet you too.” When I started to rummage through my purse for money to pay the taxi driver, Gerard reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of bills. I opened my mouth to protest, but he held up his hand, silencing me.
“Don’t be silly. Your grandfather invited you here. He doesn’t expect you to pay for anything.”
I raised my brows in surprise. Grandfather had paid for my plane fare, but I certainly never expected that he would pay for more than that. A moment later, my bags were taken out of the trunk, after which the taxi quickly drove away.
As I stood looking at the house, clouds covered the sun, darkening the bright, beautiful day and casting shadows over Turnberry, giving it a much more sinister appearance. My gaze traveled up to the second floor, and I could have sworn I saw someone staring out from one of the large paned windows, but upon second glance, no one was there. Could it have been my imagination, or had someone been watching me arrive?
My fingers curled around the spinel pendant that hung from my neck, and I stroked the cool, smooth stone, hoping it would help to ease my anxiety.
“That’s a lovely necklace, Miss Olivia,” Gerard said, his gaze fixed on the pendant.
“Thank you. My mother gave it to me.”
“Many people confuse spinel with rubies, but I don’t quite know how that’s possible. No other stone gives off that fire. Did you know it has mystic qualities?”
I nodded, thinking back to how my mother had said it would protect me…

SHADOWS AND LIES is available now at Amazon.


USA Today bestselling author Raine English writes sweet small-town contemporary romance, along with paranormal and romantic suspense. She’s a Daphne du Maurier Award winner and a Golden Heart finalist. To receive information on all her new releases, you can sign up for her newsletter, visit her website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter. Scroll down the right side of our blog and enter your email address under Newsletter Signup. Remember to join the Sweet Romance Reads Cafe too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Story Inspirations (or Why Authors Watch TV) by Liwen Y. Ho

Hi there! As a new member of Sweet Romance Reads, I'm so excited to be sharing my very first post with you today. Often times, people will ask me where I get the inspiration for my stories from. The short answer to this question is, "From real life." And when I say "real life", I mean people and experiences from my life, but also the TV shows I watch (in real life). 😄

Barry Chang, the main character in my winter-themed short story, The More The Merrier, was named after two men I admire. Barry is for Barry Allen, the sweet, endearing superhero from the TV show, The Flash. He's an all-around nice guy who you can't help but root for. 

Image courtesy of flickr.

Chang is the surname of my maternal grandfather, my own real-life hero. My Grandpa was a fun-loving and generous man who introduced me to Mariah Carey and The Wilson Sisters and more importantly, took in my then teen-aged mom and her brother when their parents passed. Because of him, I gained a whole clan of aunts and uncles and cousins (and now nieces and nephews!) and have some wonderful memories to look back on.

This is one example of how my real life played a part in inspiring one of my books (and a good reason for why authors watch TV). 😉 Now that you know about one of my favorite shows, please comment below and tell me about yours. One random winner will be chosen to win a free ecopy of The More The Merrier. Come back tomorrow to find out who won.

Liwen Y. Ho is an Amazon bestselling author of contemporary romance, both sweet and inspirational. A marriage and family therapist in her pre-author life, she enjoys creating realistic characters and helping them find their happily-ever-afters. She lives in California with her techie husband and their two munchkins and blogs about life as a recovering perfectionist.

She'd love to hear from you! Find her online here:

And be sure to mark your calendars for the Sweet Romance Reads Valentine's Party! Join us for a fun time of books and giveaways. Click HERE to take you to the Facebook event page!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Martin Luther King Day

One of my favorite speeches is the "I Have a Dream." Martin Luther King was a great man who believed making changes through peaceful protests rather than violent acts. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. This is a day to celebrate freedom and equality for all people.

Today is the last day Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Box Set is on sale for 99¢.

Blurb: 3 stories in one book
Deadly Hunt: All bodyguard Tess Miller wants is a vacation. But when a wounded stranger stumbles into her isolated cabin in the Arizona mountains, Tess becomes his lifeline. When Shane Burkhart opens his eyes, all he can focus on is his guardian angel leaning over him. And in the days to come he will need a guardian angel while being hunted by someone who wants him dead.

Deadly Intent: Texas Ranger Sarah Osborn thought she would never see her high school sweetheart, Ian O'Leary, again. But fifteen years later, Ian, an ex-FBI agent, has someone targeting him, and she's assigned to the case. Can Sarah protect Ian and her heart?

Deadly Holiday: Tory Caldwell witnesses a hit-and-run, but when the dead victim disappears from the scene, police doubt a crime has been committed. Tory is threatened when she keeps insisting she saw a man killed and the only one who believes her is her neighbor, Jordan Steele. Together, can they solve the mystery of the disappearing body and stay alive?
Buy links:
Barnes & Noble:
Google Play:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Hot Drinks for a Winter Flu by Alicia Street

I absolutely love coffee any time of the year, but when a winter flu gets me—yep, it’s gotten me already and it’s a doozy—I’ve got a roster of go-to hot drinks that are great for chasing away the flu-blues.

Hot Apple Cider
My favorite and probably the easiest. Just heat it up and pour it into a nice big mug with an optional cinnamon stick.

Black tea with Honey and Lemon
Of course! Nothing like tannic acid to soothe a sore throat.

Miso Broth
Heat water and pour into a cup, then stir in a teaspoon of brown rice or barley miso. If the water boils it will destroy the fermented nutrients in miso, so let it cool a bit first.

Chamomile tea with Ginger
I confess, I buy this in tea bags, but my sister grates ginger into the water as she boils it and then steeps it over a bag of chamomile.

Hot and Sour Soup
Great for clearing your sinuses. I’m lucky to have a fab Chinese restaurant nearby where I can order take-out.

Chicken Soup
The tried and true. I make mine with lots of garlic and add plenty of liquid. In addition to the chicken, celery, and carrots, I add mushrooms and green chard to give an immune system booster.

Wishing you a happy—and healthy—2017!


Alicia Street is a USA Today bestselling author and a Daphne du Maurier award-winner. A compulsive reader of every genre, she writes both sweet and steamy romance. She spent many
years as a dancer, choreographer and teacher.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

99-Cent Sale by Merrillee Whren

This is my latest series of books. Each book can be read as a stand-alone, but reading them as a series gives the reader a chance to revisit characters from the previous book. The first three books are set in Massachusetts. The fourth book follows Amanda Reynolds, who appears as a secondary character in books 2 and 3, to Tennessee, where she hopes to find success as a singer and songwriter. I am still working on that book.

For Christmas my husband and I joined our daughter and her family as they returned to Boston, where our son-in-law grew up. Although the small Massachusetts towns in these stories are a product of my imagination, the characters like to make a trip into Boston for different festivities. While we were there I took photos of some of those places.

This is the Park Street Church across the street from the Boston Common. In A Place to Call Home the characters use this landmark as a reference point.

This is a photo of the outside of Fenway Park where the Boston Red Sox play baseball. In both A Place to Call Home and A Love to Call Mine, the story find the characters attending a baseball game there.
This is a picture of the duckling statues in Boston's Public Garden. The statues depict the ducklings in the book, Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. The heroine of A Love to Call Mine has a heart-to-heart talk with her best friend as they sit on the bench across the walk from the statues. Notice how the little girl is riding the mother duck, decked out in her Christmas finery.

This is a view of the Frog Pond in the Boston Common. People stand in line for their chance to skate. In A Family to Call Ours, my characters take a spin on the ice here. They also see the Christmas light show at Quincy Market and the giant tree you see in the photo below.

It was fun to put myself in the shoes of my characters as I revisit these places. One of the fun things was discovering something I had missed the many times we had visited Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, which is a National Historic Park. We had gone into the old building and the shops on the main floor. I had no idea we could venture upstairs in the building that was built in 1742. This is what we found when we climbed the stairs. I may have to write a story that includes this experience.

Do you like to encounter real places you have visited in books you read?

The first book in the series, A Place to Call Home, is now on sale for 99 cents. 

Be sure to pick up a copy. You can find buy links to all retailers here.

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter. Scroll down the right side of our blog and enter your email address under Newsletter Signup. Remember to join the Sweet Romance Reads Cafe too.

Merrillee Whren is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award presented by Romance Writers of American. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty-plus years, and has two grown daughters. Connect with her on her Facebook page and sign up for her newsletter.