Saturday, June 14, 2014

Keeper Books: Tawny Taylor, Jennifer Beckstrand, Kimberly Kincaid Share

by Joyce Lamb)

Today's featured authors: Tawny Taylor, author of Surrender; Jennifer Beckstrand, author of Huckleberry Summer; and Kimberly Kincaid, author of Gimme Some Sugar. We're talking books on our keeper shelves.

Tawny Taylor, author of Surrender

• One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. This book introduced me to a world full of hilarious characters, goofy antics, and sweet romance. I devoured it in one sitting ... and then went out and bought the rest of the series. I have been hooked since. There are now 20 (soon to be 21) books in this series. Janet cannot stop writing these books. Ever.

• Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Yes, it is a children's book, and I am most definitely not a child anymore, but it still lives on my keeper shelf. We read this book in elementary school and then our class took a field trip to a local historical village. Thanks to that book, and that experience, I have spent summers parading around my state in Victorian and Renaissance garb, participating in historical reenactments. I drag my kids along. They wish I had never read that book.

• Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson. It seems that everyone I know is into dark, angsty books now. I read my share of them, too, but I tend to love light-hearted books with snappy dialogue and quirky characters. These fun reads, like Undead and Unwed, are the ones I keep and re-read over and over. I guess I would rather laugh with a character than cry with one.

Here's the blurb for Surrender:

I was his.

To touch.


Any time he wanted.

Abby is ready to agree to anything to stop her brother from going to prison, but Kameron Maldondo, the owner of MalTech Corporation, is asking for the unexpected. Enthralled by his commanding brilliance, she agrees to be his assistant, at his beck and call for whatever he needs — whenever and however he wants. What that means is for him to decide and for her to submit to. Frightened yet fascinated by what he promises, Abby becomes a willing captive to his caress, undone by his peerless touch, a quivering submission to an aching need for complete carnal surrender ...

Jennifer Beckstrand, author of Huckleberry Summer

I love books. I adore wonderful stories and soaring romances. I think I have a bookshelf in just about every room in my house except for the bathrooms. If you're like me, narrowing the favorites down to just three books is well nigh impossible. So I listed some of my favorite authors and cross-referenced those with some of my favorite romances and came up with three must-reads.

• Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I simply adore this retelling of Cinderella. It's a Young Adult novel, so it's shorter and quicker to read than an average romance novel, but Levine makes the most of every page. The setting is delightful, the plot is clever, and the romance is incredibly satisfying. The prince is vulnerable and deeply good, and Ella is spunky and lovable. You'll cheer for her from the first page. Warning: Do NOT watch the movie in place of reading the book. Even though I love Anne Hathaway, the movie is clumsy, campy, and not at all the same story.

• Enchanted by Orson Scott Card. Enchanted is another retelling of a fairy tale. (I'm sensing a theme here.) This modern-day adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, by the author of Ender's Game, is astonishingly clever and heart-stoppingly romantic. Card is an incredibly gifted writer. When I feel my own writing getting stale, I read an Orson Scott Card book to get my mojo juiced up again. Enchanted// features a truly vile witch, a powerful heroine, and a hero whose deepest desire is to do what's right. Love it!

• Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice has been my favorite book ever since I was 14 years old. I think Jane Austen originated the romantic comedy genre. Her delightful characters and masterful writing have kept readers enthralled for two centuries. And Mr. Darcy? He is still the quintessential romantic hero.

Here's the blurb for Huckleberry Summer:

Cautious to a fault, Lily Eicher strives to live up to her dat's high standards. She's certainly not the kind of proper Amish girl who would make time for someone as impetuous as the Helmuths' grandson, Aden — even if his lively spirit and caring ways are showing her just how wonderful following her heart can be ...

Recklessly doing the right thing got Aden into big trouble. A fresh start at his grandparents' is just what he needs. And shy, pretty Lily is turning his world upside down and making him want to prove he can do good within the rules. But now both must find enough faith and understanding to risk pursuing their dreams — together ...

Kimberly Kincaid, author of Gimme Some Sugar

My Keeper Shelf is like comfort food — it warms the belly and the heart! No secret my favorites are all food-related.

• My first "keeper" is The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O'Neal. It's a lush, lyrical story of finding love in unlikely places, and between unlikely people. O'Neal's beautiful phrasing and obvious love of food carry the reader from page to page, and she gives us quite possibly my favorite secondary character of all time. The Lost Recipe for Happiness is a lovely treat.

• My second "keeper" is side-splittingly witty Jenny Crusie, with her snappy romantic comedy Bet Me. Crusie is a master at dry humor and perfectly delivered dialogue. I read this book (the first time) in one sitting. Trust me, you'll be back for seconds!

• The third book on my "keeper" shelf features my favorite romantic couple (as well as the culmination of a series-long Food Network-style competition). Louisa Edwards' Hot Under Pressure is steamy, sexy and sweet. Chefs Beck and Skye bring even more heat than the delicious dishes they create.

Here's the blurb for Gimme Some Sugar:

Desperate to escape the spotlight of her failed marriage to a fellow celebrity-chef, Carly di Matisse left New York City for a tiny town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The restaurant she's running these days may not be chic, but in Pine Mountain she can pretend to be the tough cookie everybody knows and loves. Until she finds herself spending too much time with a way-too-hot contractor whose rugged good looks melt her like butter …

Jackson Carter wasn't looking for love. But he's not the kind of man to walk away from a worksite — or from a fiery beauty whose passionate nature provides some irresistible on-the-job benefits …

It's the perfect temporary arrangement for two ravenous commitment-phobes — except that Jackson and Carly keep coming back for seconds … and thirds … and fourths …

Find out more about the authors and their books at their websites:, and


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