Audio Review: Snow Falling on Bluegrass (Bluegrass, Book 3) by Molly Harper

molly harper snow falling bluegrassSummary: Snowed-in at a lodge on a work retreat, Kelsey will not only have to organize her work colleagues, but also her love life. First Darrell, her ex, makes her life miserable by handing her credit card debt she didn’t sign up for or enjoy. Then the cute statistician at the office, Charlie, flashes hot and cold with her. Is he interested or not? And then there’s Luke, who is running the lodge in the absence of other employees and he’s a Ranger. He’s definitely interested in her. Maybe being snowed-in isn’t such a disaster after all!

Review: Molly Harper is funny, which is no surprise as she’s a former humor columnist. It’s even funnier to hear the narrator, Amanda Ronconi, say and act some of these lines. Kelsey is a smart, funny, high energy person. She’s got a sense of humor and is willing to crack jokes at herself. You have to wonder how a girl like her stuck it out with Darrell for as long as she did. Molly does explain and it is plausible but the backstory made me feel more like I was missing a key element than filling in the blanks. Perhaps this was more readily apparent in a previous book in the series. Both of Kelsey’s crushes are good guys. I would happily see her wind up with either one of them, which is very rare for me to say so. And I would definitely read about the one who didn’t win Kelsey’s heart.

Narrator: I recently listened to Amanda Ronconi in another audio book. She did a great job then and she did a great job this time. When I first heard her speak I couldn’t place the previous audio book I had heard her narrate. I think that means she did an excellent job adapting to the character profiles and accents. I’d listen to her again. She’s definitely a great listen for contemporary romances.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Snow Falling on Bluegrass, Snow Falling on Bluegrass (Audiobook)

Audio Review: Sugar Rush (Cupcake Club, Book 1) by Donna Kauffman

sugar rushHero: Baxter Dunne is Chef Hot Cakes and Leilani’s former boss. When she left his restaurant Baxter realized he needed her in his life and not just for her cooking, but the woman herself. So he does what any man would do in order to woo a woman – he puts his television show on the road and themes it around bakeries just like hers and makes her his first stop.

Heroine: Leilani Trusdale quit New York City when her father became ill. Most of her city friends don’t understand, but Leilani wants to spend her time and talent on person’s who enjoy food and not their social status or figures. So she sets up shop in sleepy Sugarberry Island and is a hit with the residents. She can’t imagine moving back to NYC, he can’t imagine moving to a small town.

Review: Sugar Rush is a sweet romance in more ways than one! Each of the characters are likable. Baxter is a self-made chef and has worked in kitchens most of his life. He and Leilani get off on the wrong foot before they even start. She blames him for the stress and hard time she had professionally in his kitchen. He was trying to negate the gossip by not rising to it. In the end he’s got to win her heart by being vulnerable. My favorite aspect of the story besides the steamy kissing scenes in the kitchen, was Leilani and Charlotte’s friendship. I also enjoyed Alma – she reminded me of Betty White. There were some other characters like an assistant and a college student and a lesbian that kind of blurred in the narrating. I couldn’t tell if they were one and the same or different. In the end it doesn’t truly signify because as side characters they were supporting not staging the romance.

Narrator: Amanda Ronconi is a lovely narrator to listen to. She did an excellent job with Baxter’s and Charlotte’s accents. I’d listen to her again.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Sugar Rush (Cupcake Club), Sugar Rush (Audio book)

Get into Bed with Molly Harper (Author Interview)

Molly WhiteLynn Reynolds: Was it hard to make the switch from werewolf to haunted house in Better Homes and Hauntings?

Molly Harper: Not really.  I have always been fascinated by hauntings.  I was that weird little kid who checked out the non-fiction paranormal books out of the elementary school library so many times that my mom got a concerned note from the librarian. And I watched an inordinate amount of Scooby-Doo as a child. I remember being disappointed that the Velma couldn’t just once say, “Jenkies, Fred, I’m pretty sure this creepy abandoned candy fact really is haunted by a gumdrop ghost.”  But, then again, I was often disappointed by the “true” ghost stories I read or watched, because the ghost’s backstory wasn’t scary enough for me. I’d been tinkering with the idea of “the biggest and best” haunted house story I could tell for a while now.  I hope that the readers enjoy it.

Lynn: Which do you like writing better the paranormal or the contemporary?

Molly: I have a bit more fun with the paranormal, because giving these big bad supernatural creatures very human foibles is hilarious. But every once in a while, I really like working with characters who can go out during the day and eat normally. (With all due respect to my werewolf characters.)

Lynn: Has your husband ever played a part in more than one of your books?

Molly: My husband, David, is a six-foot-four, manly-man police captain and he takes a lot of teasing over what his wife does for a living. He hears, “Oooh, does your wife base all of her heroes on you? Hahaha!”  And he will be the first one to tell you, “Yep, it’s all right here.”

And to be honest, yeah, it is. We’ve been together since my freshman year of high school, so naturally, he has a lot of influence of how I think about men and how they should interact with women. His ability to tease me back into a good mood and his tendency to be a wee bit overprotective is in Gabriel Nightengale.  His occasional wildly inappropriate humor is in Dick Cheney. His gruff, morning person persona is the basis for Cooper Graham’s surliness.  And his weird on-the-job stories made their way into And One Last Thing …… for Monroe, who is a retired police officer. (David usually asks me to tell people that unlike Monroe, he has never been shot in the butt.)

Lynn: Is there an author that you love to follow?  What draws your attention to a book?

Molly: I fangirl all over people at conferences.  It’s embarrassing, but I’m a reader, just like everybody else. I met Teresa Medeiros at SOKY Book Fest a few years ago and I thought I was going to faint, because her books were the first romances I was “allowed” to read.  (I’d been sneaking paperbacks out of my mom’s romance hoard for a while.) But I also love Nora Roberts, Alice Clayton, Nicole Peeler, Christina Lauren, Rachel Caine, and a bunch of others.

Lynn: Why did you choose the New England coast for your latest book?

Molly: I usually stick with a Southern setting for my books, but I started reading about Newport and the Gilded Era mansions – the Vanderbilts, the Astors, etc. And I knew it was a perfect setting for a ghost story.  Everything was so beautiful and glamorous but with an ugly underbelly. People had secrets upon secrets, and unresolved business leads to ghosts aplenty.

Lynn: Have you ever stayed in a haunted house?

Molly: Not on purpose!  But while I was attending Western Kentucky University, I did live in a dorm that was supposed to be haunted by the spirit of the woman it was named for – Mattie McLean. The rumor was that she was very protective of “her girls.” If we were being mistreated by a man, Ms. McLean was supposed to find a way to make the man leave, by making him ill or just too uncomfortable to stay. She also supposedly wandered the halls at night, locking our bedroom doors if we forgot to do it before going to bed. I never saw anything, beyond the typical creeped out feelings in the basement laundry room, but it was a basement laundry room, so that was pretty natural.  And one morning, I woke up to find the blankets I KNEW I’d kicked off during the night tucked around and under my body, but I still think my roommate did it… even though she was similarly tucked in and under her blankets and would have had a really hard time doing that by herself…. Nevermind.

Lynn: Have you ever listened to one of your own audible books?

Molly: I always listen to the audio books!  Amanda Ronconi does such an amazing job.  Her voice makes the story new for me all over again.

Lynn: Can you give the readers a hint as to what you have in store for them next?

Molly: If you enjoy audiobooks, Better Homes and Hauntings will be released by Audible on the same day that it is released in print and ebook.

Also, my Half-Moon Hollow Christmas short story, I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas, will be available in ebook on November 3, 2014.

And third book in the Bluegrass contemporary series, Snow Falling on Bluegrass, will be released on September 22.

I will be writing several new Half-Moon Hollow spin-offs and hope to have some other announcements soon!

better homes and hauntingsBook Blurb:

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance

Buy: Better Homes and Hauntings