Dust Jacket

5 Hot, New Romantic Reads

By Charlotte on August 22, 2012 6:29 PM

By all reports, E. L. James Fifty Shades of Grey is this summer's HOTTEST read and, until recently, it was in the top slot on Amazon's bestseller list.


Some of my friends (yes, even those in the 50+ crowd like me) have loved it so much they couldn't wait to finish the other two books in the erotic trilogy. Others simply couldn't get past the explicit and often ultra-kinky sex scenes. OMGoodness!


Should I read it just to see what all the fuss is about? (Please help me out and let me know what you think in the comments section below.) While on the fence, I've rounded up some other great new love stories perfect when you're in the mood for pure-pleasure reading:

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Sleeping with Dogs and Other Lovers Julia Dumont

While launching a boutique matchmaking service called Second Acts, Cynthia Amas' life gets a lot more complicated ... and steamy. When not juggling her southern California clients, she's trying to keep her high-maintenance mother from meddling, getting frisky with her irresistible ex and enjoying girl time with her new BFF, the sexy owner of a chic Beverly Hill's dog grooming salon.


Just the thing when you want something light and fluffy, Julia Dumont's breezy tale entertains with humor, heart and plenty of unexpected twists. (Broad Lit, April 2012, 254 pages)      



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The Time in Between Maria Duenas

Growing up in 1930s Madrid, Sira Quiroga discovers she has a natural talent for turning simple cloth into high-style statements. Giving up her ambitions, she runs away with her dashing first love only to be left alone and broke in North Africa. The grief-stricken girl fights back by becoming the country's most sought-after haute couture designer.


Love, fashion, espionage and war take center stage in Maria Duenas' first novel, which is already a bestseller in Spain. This historical thrill ride explores Spain, Morocco and Lisbon from the Spanish Civil War through World War II. (Atria Books, July 2012, 640 pages)      

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Timeless Desire Gwyn Cready

Looking for something she can sell to offset funding cuts, librarian Panna Kennedy opens a storage room door that transports her to 1706. There she enters the book-filled den of library benefactor John Bridgewater, who is under house arrest. Convinced she must help him escape, the gutsy young widow finds herself plunged into intrigue, family disputes and an intense attraction to the handsome war hero.


Gwyn Cready's seventh time travel adventure is a fascinating romp through history filled with action, juicy romance and just enough suspense to keep you guessing. (Astor + Blue Editions LLC, July 2012, 384 pages)

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When Lightning Strikes Brenda Novak

Hollywood PR agent Gail DeMarco must marry her A-list movie star client Simon O'Neal to salvage his reputation and her business after he spirals out of control following a nasty divorce. The in-name-only arrangement should help the handsome bad boy get custody of his son and give her access to his millions without risking her heart ... if only he weren't so darn irresistible.


Fun, sexy and, at times, tender, this not-to-be-missed dance from one of my favorite bestselling authors, Brenda Novak, kicks off a nine-book series set in the quaint, fictional town of Whiskey Creek, CA. (Harlequin MIRA, Aug. 28, 2012, 448 pages)      



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The Marriage Bargain Jennifer Probst

Facing the loss of her family home, impulsive bookstore owner Alexa Maria McKenzie decides she must marry. Feeling desperate, she tries casting a love spell, never expecting to conjure up her BFF's brother, billionaire Nicholas Ryan. He doesn't believe in marriage but needs a wife to get his inheritance. The handsome architect rescues Alexa, offering a one-year, purely business union with no messy entanglements.


Taking cues from Shades of Grey, Jennifer Probst's engaging marriage-of-convenience story walks on the wilder side with sex scenes that leave little to the imagination. The first in her Marriage to a Billionaire trilogy, it's a fast-paced erotic fantasy laced with humor and hopes of financial freedom. (Entangled Publishing, September 2012, 302 pages)


         Kindle                   Paperback                  Kindle                  Paperback    

         Kindle                  Paperback              Paperback

Red Thong Strong: Girlfriends Little Secrets to Smoothing Lifes Panty Lines
Guest Room

Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

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By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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Playing Favorites

Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

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