Genre: Romantic Comedy (Rom Com)

Stories in the Spotlight | [the stories on Jorie’s readerly radar] feat. notes and an extract of “Simply You” by Maggie Wild

Posted Saturday, 16 January, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

Welcome to a New Year of discovering stories with me on Jorie Loves A Story! The past few weeks, I admit, I’ve been struggling to get back into the rhythm of reading. After a hard-won Christmas and New Year’s this year as Mum worked over 130+ hours within a fortnight which re-arranged our holidays quite a heap and after a turbulent beginning to our New Year 2021 (ie. collectively, per current events) – I’ve been tucked offline, focusing on my health & wellness this January rather than soaking inside books which is how I thought I’d spend the first weeks of the New Year.

Happily I’m seeing improvement with my health (ie. #migrainefree), increased stamina through actively pursuing hiking in nature and redirecting myself to eat less but eat more purposefully by augmenting healthy protein shakes and a heap of greens into my regular diet. I’ve missed focusing on my health with a dedicated passion which is why Mum and I decided if we could make one change this New Year, it was going to be a decided co-effort to get back to basics and see true change in how we approached the year on a personal level.

Thus, whilst I work on getting my health squared away, I am also in the process of sorting out my shelves – wherein I’m getting some organisational totes to decrease what is visible on my shelves in order to read better this New Year, 2021 as well. The books left on the shelf will reflect my current reads and once those are consumed, the ones in the totes will be up on the shelf until I reach my goals of erasing my backlogue! This is in conjunction with developing a TBR dice game I’ll be revealling at the end of January – stay tuned for those details, especially if you find reading stories off your TBR is always a wrenching hard choice and you’d like to spice things up by removing making the ‘choices’ of what to read from your TBR List.

All the while, I have a keen eye on the horizon for new stories and authors who are itching a thirst of interest to be read. This particular Contemporary Romantic Comedy stood out to me and as lovely as it sounds, I have to await a format I can enjoy reading – as this is strictly a Digital First release at this junction of time. If it goes to print or audio, I hope to update you in future when I’ve had a chance to get a copy to read.

I am reading more Contemporary Romances but I am still a bit under-read in RomComs as they have the tendency of being a harder sell for me as a reader. The reason why this is one might suit me is the premise of it – especially for the series as a whole – the setting, the community concept and the promise of hope in finding relationships which are strongly built between the characters. Plus, who doesn’t like a romance spilt between city and country life? Wherein you have to truly choose the kind of life your heart beckons to be lived vs the life you expected to have? I love those kinds of romantic dramas and the fact this is spun with a comedic touch I felt sounded like a wicked brilliant read!

Be sure to read the extract and my thoughts about the story to see if this perhaps might wink an interest into your own readerly wanderings this year! Especially if you’re able to read ebooks – you won’t have to wait for future formats and can dive straight into it! Remember – brew your favourite cuppa and enjoy your stay!

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Stories in the Spotlight | [the stories on Jorie’s readerly radar] feat. notes and an extract of “Simply You” by Maggie WildSimpy You
Subtitle: A Heart Valley Romance | All you need is love... and a bit of luck
by Maggie Wild
Source: Chapter Sampler

She needs someone she can count on.
He’s gun-shy after being hurt.
Can a brush with fate in a rained-out English village turn into enduring love?

Sarah Tildon thinks she’s found the perfect man. But after her overbearing future mother-in-law insists her quiet country wedding become a high-society shindig, she sets out on a two-week ride to rethink her plans. Stranded when her bicycle is stolen in a picturesque hamlet, she’s touched by the kindness of a handsome young farmer who comes to her rescue.

The big city failed Michael Marsden’s ample ambitions. After his fiancée cheats on him, he turns his back on the hustle and bustle and takes on a farm to prove he can lead a self-sufficient life. And taken by surprise when a charming outsider helps sing his hens into laying, he realizes his newfound Eden is missing its Eve.

Unexpectedly falling for the sweet homesteader, Sarah is torn between the security of a gilded cage and the precarious freedom of raising chickens. And when her fiancé arrives to bring her back to London, Michael fears she’ll leave him with yet another shattered heart.

Will this unlikely couple throw caution to the wind and embrace a destined second chance?

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy (Rom Com)


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B08NY3421P

Published by Steel Rose Press

on 12th January, 2021

Format: Chapter Sampler | Online

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About the Hope Valley Romance series:

Simply You is the first book in the heartwarming Hope Valley Romance series. If you like fun heroines, pastoral backdrops, and endearing courtships, then you’ll adore Maggie Wild’s sweet tale.

Read Simply You to start fresh today!

The second novel is Back Home to You ← forthcoming 31 May, 2021!

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Converse on Twitter via: #SimplyYou and/or #MaggieWild
as well as #HopeVallyRomance and #ContemporaryRomance

About Maggie Wild

Simply You novel promo badge for Maggie Wild's Hope Valley Romance series provided by Xpresso Book Tours and is used with permission.

Maggie Wild lives in California Wine Country with her own Mr. Right and a small collection of furry friends. A native of Yorkshire, England, she returns “home” every day through her fictional worlds. When not writing her fun, contemporary romance stories, she loves to watch the birds in her garden and hike through the local redwoods.

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Posted Saturday, 16 January, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Blitz, Book Spotlight, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Xpresso Book Tours

A #SpooktasticReads Book Review | “Ghastly and Good” (Merry Hanukkah series, Halloween short) by Debby Caruso

Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: In 2018, I was approached by the author to read the first story in her Merry Hanukkah series – whilst in 2019, I had the delightful joy of having her as a featured guest during my @SatBookChat! In June, 2020 I was able to read the sequel to ‘Merry Hanukkah’ which was ‘Happy Everything’. Wickedly ahead of sorting out which spooky reads I wanted to be reading this #SpooktasticReads, I was contacted by the author about this lovely Halloween short story she had written into the series. I was quite chuffed I could receive a print copy and thus, this delightful short became the story which kicked off my readathon of #SpooktasticReads! (a mini-event for @WyrdAndWonder)

I received a complimentary copy of “Ghastly and Good” direct from the author Debby Caruso in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why I love #SpooktasticReads:

Quite humbly, I attempted to host #SpooktasticReads as a book blogger years ago – however, the better incantation of the event I envisioned wasn’t fully realised until I pitched the idea as a mini-event attached to Wyrd And Wonder to Lisa and Imyril. As we co-founded @WyrdAndWonder together as a celebration of Fantasy. #SpooktasticReads picks up where Wyrd and Wonder leaves off – wherein, each Autumn we get hankerings to be reading a spookier side of Fantasy and/or any story which allows us to get our spook on – in whichever capacity which inspires us to read.

Some of us like the cosier side of Horror (ie. my own personal declaration of reading #CosyHorror notwithstanding!) whilst others like to seek out ghost stories, Urban Fantasy, Gothic Lit or Gothic Romance or any route betwixt and between which seeks to give us a slight chill to our readerly lives this October. For me personally, I love reading selections which run the full gambit of choices – from stories of Suspense & Thrillers which give me a chilling read through a Mystery I cannot predict how it will end to an epic Ghost Story which might leave me rattling my funnybone or contemplating the layers of how authors write such believable ghost stories within a witchy setting! I love stories involving witches and ghouls as much as I appreciate a delightful Urban Fantasy.

Ergo, to get myself into the festive mood of the next 13 days where you will find me on a bit of a binge of all the spooktacular reads I have on hand to be read – I decided to dial it back a bit and selected a story I hadn’t even realised was available to read this #SpooktasticReads as it was a surprise from the author! I love light Halloweeny tales as much as the grip your heart ones and this one is right in the middle of a series I have loved reading since the first novel released.

I felt this lighter read was the best way to start my readathon and find the festive spirit within the story itself! I can’t wait to see what everyone else is reading and I can’t wait to dive into stories and audiobooks in the thirteen days leading into Halloween!

Let’s get our SPOOK ON, shall we!?Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On what I enjoyed about “Happy Everything”:

Caruso also spends a wonderful amount of time tucking you closer into Rhonda’s marriage – how she feels as distant as her husband does to the celebratory coupling moments they loved sharing – wherein once life starts to pick up its pacing after you’ve dated and married, those more intimate and special moments can feel as if they’ve gone by the wayside. You can feel how much he misses their romance – the little nuanced moments they used to share vs how rushed they feel now going to family meetings and doing what they might consider out of duty for friends and family alike. In essence, reality has truly hit and hit hard as these two try to navigate their ‘new world’ as a married couple who barely have enough time to spend on each other. It drives home the realism once the afterglow of the honeymoon stage waxes off and the truer moments of marriage are observed with a humbled honesty only Caruso can tell.

One new character I liked as much as Rhonda was Diana – she seemed like the kind of person who could consistently surprise people for how much she understands about this dynamic family and how to show a different side to a person even Rhonda felt she knew everything about. It just shows you that sometimes you can have the complete wrong impression about someone until a new person shows up and starts to show you a new side of their personality which had remain hidden until now! Diana is a charming character who has a tough-as-nails job to do but one that is truly important in a world where not everyone cares about their companions in fur, feather or scales.

If I could have transported myself into Mimosa alongside Rhonda, her and I would have spilt a second salted caramel brownie!! Sometimes you just have to go with what soothes your soul and in that moment, where Rhonda knew the best response was to show kindness and grace, the better part of her mind knew that if she didn’t comfort herself with some much needed chocolate, she might have spoken out of turn which would have done nothing to savage the lunch. It was the kind of scene you’d find yourself living inside but without the right set of reactions – I agreed with Rhonda about how her father blindsided her with news and the kind of news that he seemed to have taken in stride – expecting her to do the same and let nothing be said about it either. I felt that was a bit over the top as how could Rhonda not have a reaction? She played her cards well!

Caruso allows Rhonda to show the portions of herself and her emotional internal life that might not always be disclosed in other stories. The ways in which she lets the reader see Rhonda’s heightened emotional states and reactions to different life moments in the heat of Rhonda being unable to sort through them properly and chooses to explode instead. Seeing how she becomes vocal and then remorseful – how she uses exercise to find a centre of calm and how like for most of us in those instances, nothing truly changes immediately after an experience like that but we each know of a route to find our balance and re-centre ourselves to continue moving forward. I liked how Caruso showed this area of Rhonda’s life and how emotionally Rhonda was at her tipping point.

Through everything Rhonda and Dez rise to the occasion. Their lives are chaotic and sometimes they have family members who drive their very last nerve out of their bones but overall, they share a sisterhood friendship with has such a strong bond that nothing can shatter it. Not even all the little fires which creep up in our lives which seek to cut us down to the quick. I love how Caruso shows through faith, family and friendship you can tackle anything which crosses your path in life but without the addition of humour, coffee and some wicked sweet Italian foods – you might not get through it quite as well as those who do!

I love this series – I am hoping for a third if not fourth installment – as I can’t leave this family where we last find them. Plus, I was so overjoyed I could handle the journey through Cancer with Aunt Bunny as that is one of my issues with most Contemporaries which feature the illness; either the details or the descriptions weigh heavy on my heart. Caruso thankfully focused on other bits of her journey and mostly focused on the recovery and bolstering of having loved ones have your back when a medical crisis arises. Best of all though is the comfortable pace and the realistic marriage you get to tuck inside between Rhonda and James. Theirs is a marriage which is equally strong to Kay Hunter and Adam (from the Kay Hunter series by Rachael Amphlett). You truly will find yourself snorting into laughter, getting emotional about the tides which keep turning and eager to get to the conclusion to find out if Rhonda can breathe a bit easier again!

-quoted from my book review for Happy Everything

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A #SpooktasticReads Book Review | “Ghastly and Good” (Merry Hanukkah series, Halloween short) by Debby CarusoGhastly and Good
by Debby Caruso
Source: Direct from Author

Join Rhonda, Dez, and the Merry Hanukkah crew as they try to pull off yet another holiday feat in this Halloween Short that’s sure to leave you laughing.

In an attempt to treat the kids at the local shelter to a Halloween party like no other, Rhonda finds herself running out of time, battling a hurricane, and wrestling with ghosts. In true Rhonda fashion, she has a few tricks up her sleeve, and the end result is anything but ghastly.

Grab a hot apple cider—or pumpkin spice anything—snuggle up, and enjoy a short story that will bring you back to a time when Halloween was filled with all the good things life has to offer.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy (Rom Com), Spooky Reads for Halloween, Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B08GJBCYFL

Also by this author: Merry Hanukkah, Happy Everything

Also in this series: Merry Hanukkah, Happy Everything


Published by Self Published

on 9th September, 2020

Format: Personal Copy provided by Author

Pages: 37

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The Merry Hanukkah series:

Merry Hanukkah by Debby CarusoHappy Everything by Debby CarusoGhastly and Good by Debby Caruso

Merry Hanukkah (book one) | see also Review

Happy Everything (book two) | see also Review

Converse via: #SpooktasticReads + #WomensFiction or #Halloween #shortstory

This is a Digital First Release (ebook only!) Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #SpooktasticReads 2020
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Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov in #SpooktasticReads, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Indie Author, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Women's Fiction

Book Spotlight w/ Notes and Extract | “Love Me Like You Do” by Aimee Brown

Posted Wednesday, 30 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I’ve been thankful to keep an eye on emerging Contemporary Romance & Women’s Fiction stories for the past seven years – over the years, I’ve worked with different publishers to either bring featured content by the authors themselves or to find ways in which I can shine a light on the stories (such as this featured spotlight with extract) and/or when a format I can read or listen to were available, I’ve been bringing reviews to my blog Jorie Loves A Story.

Head of Zeus is a publisher I’ve been working with since April 2019 and it has been such an incredible journey of seeking out the stories their authors are writing. I even have had the chance to discovering a thrilling writer of Suspense in J.S. Monroe! I can’t wait to start listening to their audioreads and sorting out which Historical & Contemporary novelist has captured my attention the most through the stories they’ve written based off the ones I’ve selected to focus on during their blog tours on Jorie Loves A Story. As getting the chance to interview their authors is another wickedly exciting part of hosting their tours.

And, one of my favourite ways of finding new Contemporary authors who are writing stories I’m interested in reading is through hosting blog tours for Head of Zeus. They publish a wide variety of stories I’ve showcased (both Contemporary & Historical) but with the Contemporaries, I am finding a lot of different kinds of stories interest me – sometimes the plots take me by surprise and other times, they feel as cosy comforting as the last series I showcased for Jenny Kane!

Thankfully more of these lovelies are going into audiobook release and as they reach Scribd, I am hoping to listen to more of them over the course of the next year. Until then, it is a pleasure of joy of being able to talk about the stories, share an extract and hopefully increase my bookish friends’ TBRs as readily as I am increasing my own! Ha! I’d love to know if anyone has followed behind me and has started to read these stories ahead of me or if they are hoping to read them in the future?

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Why I wanted to host a spotlight & extract
for this new Contemporary Romance ‘Love Me Like You Do’:

As the founder and host of @SatBookChat – I am constantly seeking to find new stories featuring strong women in the centre of Romance & Women’s Fiction. I read an equal amount of Contemporary and Historical stories within these genres of interest whilst encompassing all the lovely sub-niches of their literary styles as well. This New Year 2020 I am also seeking out Feminist Lit which celebrates the kind of stories I am enjoying to discover as well. All of which I try to champion and showcase in the chats I host on Saturdays – wherein writers, readers, book reviewers, book bloggers and the rest of the bookish community on Twitter get to engage with one another. Thereby as a regular reader of these stories I was delighted to find a #newtomeauthor to start seeking out to read!

I hanker after romantic comedies in theaters and yet, when it comes to my personal interests as a reader, I must confess, it is the RomCom which I struggle to find which carries with it my preferences for sophiscated comedy without derailing itself into a niche of comedy which makes my brow wrinkle. I love comedic romance because it tucks us into the lighter areas of life whilst poking fun at the complications of dating & courting before marriage. The interesting bit is that I’ve found that comedic timing in novels is just as layered and intriguing as the comedic timing in films.

Whichever medium the writer is writing – they have to grab our attention quite early-on and give us a reason to hunger after the story we’ve just become introduced. The best RomCom writers have a way of gripping me within the opening bridge of their novels and then, giving me such a satisfaction to reach their conclusions! When that happens, I count my blessings and am full of grateful gratitude for having found them.

I had a bit of a smirk when I read this involved a ‘runaway bride’ as I still have fond memories of seeing Julia Robert’s film (“Runaway Bride”) and being swept up in her life. Which at the time, felt less like a RomCom and more like a dramedy – but I could say that for her other films as well, including “Notting Hill”. I think the more stories like this one I can seek out the better I’ll be as I could use more lighter stories in my reading queue! I love to laugh at the movies but I think I’ve forgotten to find ways to laugh in my readerly life! Oyy.

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Be sure to brew your favourite cuppa and enjoy the extract from this story!

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Book Spotlight w/ Notes and Extract | “Love Me Like You Do” by Aimee BrownLove Me Like You Do
Subtitle: To fall in love they will have to find themselves again...
by Aimee Brown

A runaway bride. A handsome stranger. Two pasts to put behind them.

Parker is ready to marry the man of her dreams. But he isn't ready to marry her. It would be helpful if he didn't choose their wedding day to tell her this. But as she flees from the travesty behind her, she literally runs into the arms of a handsome stranger. The southern drawl, the dreamy eyes, she can't fall for another man after being left at the altar – can she?

When Liam agreed to go to go on a date he didn't expect to leave with the bride. Nor did he expect to take her the emergency room. Immediately he's drawn to her fiery spirit, her kind heart and beautiful smile. Liam's got a whole host of problems and a past that keeps coming back, now can't be the time to fall in love, but Parker might just be the one to break down his barriers and let him live a little – if she'll let him in.

Will these two strangers allow serendipity to put them together, or will their fears keep them apart?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy (Rom Com)


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B0876FXPSH

Published by Aria Fiction

on 17th September, 2020

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Published By: Aria Fiction (@Aria_Fiction)
a Digital First imprint of Head of Zeus (@HoZ_Books)

This is a Digital First Release!

Converse via: #LoveMeLikeYouDo, #ContemporaryRomance and #HeadOfZeus

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Posted Wednesday, 30 September, 2020 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Contemporary Romance, Head of Zeus, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy

#SaturdaysAreBookish Audiobook Review | “Jesse’s Girl” by Tara September, narrated by Verla Bond

Posted Saturday, 19 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Starting in August 2020, I started hosting for Random Things Tours as a new book blogger working with them to either review and/or host guest author features on behalf of their authors. I was thankful to join their book blogger team and look forward to joining the tours which are highlighting the stories I actively enjoy reading and discovering. I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Jesse’s Girl” from Random Things Tours in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why “Jesse’s Girl” felt like a good fit for a Contemporary Romance:

I love second chance romances and stories of redemption – I have a preference for slow burning romances and getting the chance to have a new relationship repair the angst of a past relationship which seemed to be the case with ‘Jesse’s Girl’ as Gwen was finding her life completely erased from the life she had with Jesse once Jesse left her and his daughter for a fling with a colleague.

What appealled to me the most was the shortness of the story itself – as this was an audiobook under five hours and I felt that was a good length for me at this time to listen too. The shorter audiobooks are fast becoming my new ‘favourites’ and when it comes to Contemporary Romances, I am still navigating the genre to root out who my new favourite voices are for this genre. Having said all that, as you will see on my review, I reached a point in the narration where I could not move forward and what I had hoped to have found in the story was not quite the experience I was given. Despite that, I have some strong observations to relate to my readers who can hopefully discern if this is a romance better fitted to them and their readerly habits.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish Audiobook Review | “Jesse’s Girl” by Tara September, narrated by Verla BondJesse's Girl
by Tara September
Source: Direct from Author via Random Things Tours
Narrator: Verla Bond

“I wish that I had Jesse’s Girl”

Successful Texas lawyer, Reade Walker, curses that damn song every time it plays, all too aware of the irony of its lyrics. After all, he has been secretly and painfully enamored with Jesse’s girl, Gwen, for nearly a decade. It was love at first sight for him, but sadly she’s not his girl. She belongs to the one man who betrayed him and knows Reade’s hidden family secret. Yet Reade can’t seem to love anyone except the one woman he can't have. Or can he make her mine?

When Gwen Clark’s senator husband runs off with his intern and all their money, the ensuing scandal turns her life upside down. Deserted, penniless and desperate to provide for her six-year-old daughter, Gwen has no one to turn to but Reade Walker. The one man her heart desperately wants, but her pride dreads having to ask for help. Despite welcoming them into his home, it seems like Reade can barely stand being in the same room with her anymore, let alone under the same roof—in the same bedroom. But Gwen is determined to get her life back on track. It is past time to rediscover her own dreams…if only she can keep her aching heart from breaking all over again.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy (Rom Com), Short Story or Novella


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Heat Factor for Romance
three-flames

ISBN: 9781093176131

ASIN: B07XBWTWNJ

Published by Plus It Up

on 6th September, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 3 hours and 37 minutes (unabridged)

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Published by: Plus It Up

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomCom or #Romance and #JessesGirl
as well as #audioreads, #audiobook or #loveaudiobooks

About Tara September

Blogger and former PR executive for The Walt Disney Company, Tara holds a Master’s degree in journalism & communications from New York University. She also spent a semester abroad during her undergrad at Queen Mary University in London. For over a decade before publishing, Tara has penned a popular lifestyle, travel and parenting blog at TaraMetBlog.com.

Always an avid romance reader, she has been daydreaming about being an author since school. Dozens of bad dates, four cities and adventures later, she still finds it impossible that she met her husband on a New York City subway. They now live in sunny Florida with identical twin boys and four cats underfoot/on her laptop/everywhere. Fueled by an IV of green tea and sometimes Champagne, she's finally writing the happily ever after tales she's been dreaming about.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 19 September, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Audiobook, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Random Things Tours, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Vulgarity in Literature