Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Jennifer Ashley | 20 Questions: MURDER IN THE EAST END
Author Guest / August 3, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  Murder in the East End (Below Stairs Mysteries Book 4) 2–What is it about?  Kat Holloway, a cook in a Mount Street mansion in Victorian London is asked to look into the disappearance of a nurse from the Foundling Hospital. Distressed for the woman, and intrigued, because the request comes from the foster brother of Daniel McAdam, a man she’s falling for, Kat can’t refuse. 3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  Tenacious 4–What makes your story relatable? The character of Kat. She’s an ordinary person, not an aristocrat or wealthy dilettante. She works very hard, is good at what she does, and knows exactly who she is. 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?  Kat turns to Daniel McAdam, who is a man-of-all-work who sometimes masquerades as an upper-class gentleman in order to assist the police. She also relies on Lady Cynthia, who prefers men’s clothing to women’s more restrictive ones, and Mr. Thanos, a genius mathematician who is smitten with Cynthia. Kat’s kitchen assistant, Tess, and Daniel’s son, James, round out the irregulars. 6–What do you love about the setting of your book?  The Victorian…

Miranda Owen | Fresh Fiction Reviewer Top Reads of 2019
Author Guest / December 20, 2019

Our reviewer retrospective continues with Miranda Owen‘s favorite books of this year!  I love making lists. At the end of a year, friends and fellow readers will post about their top favorite five or ten books of the year. I’m not configured that way. Trying to pick only five or ten favorite books out of the hundred or so I’ve read over the course of a year is unfathomable to me. Instead, I’ve picked about five or so titles in four different categories. Many of these selections fit a few of different categories listed here. I mostly read and review romances, but cozy mysteries are my jam too. Christmas-themed Romance Picks THE MATCHMAKER’S MISTLETOE MISSION by Jaci Burton A COWBOY UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Jessica Clare ONE HOT HOLIDAY by Cynthia Eden MEET ME UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Stacey Kennedy ONE CHRISTMAS EVE by Shannon Stacey There was a ridiculous amount of amazing Christmas-themed romances that came out this year, many of which came out at the end of October. The ones I’m discussing were my absolute favorites, but there were a bunch more that put a smile on my face. THE MATCHMAKER’S MISTLETOE MISSION by Jaci Burton and A…

Miranda Owen | Bewitched by a Beautiful Stranger
Author Guest / August 30, 2019

by Senior Reviewer Miranda Owen Haven’t we met? Some kind of beautiful stranger You could be good for me I’ve had the taste for danger If I’m smart then I’ll run away But I’m not so I guess I’ll stay Haven’t you heard? I fell in love with a beautiful stranger –Beautiful Stranger, Madonna Two of my favorite romance authors are Mary Balogh and Jennifer Ashley. Both authors write well-crafted character-driven stories that capture the imagination. Both authors also write about extremely close yet also extremely complicated families. Two of my all-time favorite books are both by these authors and are both about characters who meet under unusual circumstances, but who find something compelling and experience an unexplainable initial attraction. I’ve always maintained that AT LAST COMES LOVE by Mary Balogh has one of the best introduction scenes and “getting to know you” dialogue I’ve ever read. The scandalous Duncan Pennethorne, the Earl of Sheringford and beautiful yet very respectable Margaret Huxtable collide at a time when they each have something the other desires. Duncan is looking for a well-connected wealthy wife to satisfy his grandfather and secure his inheritance and, and that particular moment, Margaret needs a fake beau…

Miranda Owen | Cowboy Healing
Author Guest / July 26, 2019

“If you write a book set in the past about something that happened east of the Mississippi, it’s a ‘historical novel.’ If you write about something that took place west of the Mississippi, it’s a ‘Western’- and somehow regarded as a lesser work. I write historical novels about the frontier.”   Louis L’Amour My great-grandfather was born in 1904 and was a Polish immigrant. He supported himself by working on the railroads. In his later years, I knew two things – he liked a glass of whiskey now and then, and he liked to get comfy in his recliner with a Louis L’Amour Western. At the time, I was young, and my literary taste ran more along the lines of Nancy Drew books and the Sweet Valley High series. It’s only in recent years that I can appreciate a tale of cowboys, horses, rodeos, and occasionally cattle rustling. Although, admittedly, my Westerns are of a very different variety than those preferred by my late great-grandpa. Mine is full of more naked shenanigans than he would probably care for. I can’t pinpoint which book was the first romance I read with a Western vibe, but it might’ve been “Catcher Creek” series by…

Jennifer Ashley | Exclusive Interview: DEATH IN KEW GARDENS
Author Guest / June 3, 2019

We are so excited to share this interview with New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley and Fresh Fiction Editorial Manager, Danielle Dresser! Thanks for coming to Fresh Fiction! Can you tell us about your Kat Holloway Mystery series and the latest book, Death in Kew Gardens?  The Kat Holloway series revolves around a cook in Victorian England. Kat is young for a cook, but she’s the best, and she knows it (though she strives to be modest about this). She’s also a very curious person and gets involved in solving murders and ferreting out secrets. In Death in Kew Gardens, Kat becomes distressed when the police accuse a Chinese gentleman who has been kind to her of murdering her employer’s next-door neighbor. Convinced the man is innocent, Kat sets out to prove her new friend, Mr. Li, couldn’t possibly have done it.  One of my favorite things about accomplished cook/ amateur sleuth Kat Holloway is how steadfast and hardworking she is, but she still has moments of vulnerability and even some fun now and then. What are some of your favorite qualities about Kat, and how has she changed since book one, Death Below Stairs? Kat is a woman of her time…

Miranda Owen | Contemporary Gothics
Author Guest / March 26, 2019

Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Miranda Owen loves a contemporary gothic story! The atmosphere, the moody settings, and the thought-provoking plotlines… The de Vincent estate was one of the most haunted locations in the entire state of Louisiana. –MOONLIGHT SCANDALS by Jennifer L. Armentrout I have been fascinated by gothic tales of romance and danger since I read my first Dorothy Daniels book in junior high. It had a predictably historical setting, with a dash of the paranormal, and a hint of romance. For a long time, I only connected gothics with a historical setting, and never imagined that there were such things as contemporary gothics. I recently discovered Jennifer L. Armentrout’s spectacular “de Vincent” series and was immediately sucked into her world of danger, mystery, and eroticism with a decidedly gothic edge. All of the authors discussed in this article utilize a few classic elements of a gothic novel but throw them in a story with a contemporary setting. She felt…God, this sounded insane, she felt watched. Obviously, she wasn’t being watched unless it was by a ghost. There were no windows and no one else was in here. –MOONLIGHT SINS by Jennifer L. Armentrout Location is everything. Authors who…

Miranda Owen | Widows in Romance
Author Guest / February 20, 2019

Today we are joined by Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Miranda Owen: I am a widowed lady, well past the age of innocence. Why should I not kiss a handsome man in a drawing room? A little carnality won’t hurt me.  – THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE by Jennifer Ashley I find stories with a widowed heroine particularly compelling. For good or bad, marriage and living with somebody play a huge role in your life, and how you function every day. In a good marriage, your partner enhances your life – in small ways and big ways. If you have the misfortune to be in a bad marriage, it sours many aspects of your life. In different ways, stories about women who have loved and lost, as well as stories about women who have endured until being set free by a spouse’s death, are equally fascinating. In stories where there was some affection between the husband and wife, an author tries to convey the love that existed and how the wife is left to pick up the pieces. One of the first stories I read with a widowed heroine was THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE by Jennifer Ashley. In Jennifer…

Miranda Owen | Celebrate the Season with Festive Romance Reads!
Author Guest / December 21, 2018

A warm holiday welcome to Fresh Fiction Reviewer, Miranda Owen, who is here to discuss some of her favorite holiday-themed romances! If this post doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, we don’t know what will. Without further ado… I love a fun holiday-themed romance. Admittedly, my favorite holiday-themed romances involve Halloween, but I enjoy Christmas ones too. Some of my favorite books by Carolyn Brown and Terry Spear are centered on Christmas and family. The Christmas romances I’ve read this year – by old favorites and new-to-me authors – have had dual themes of “family” and “Christmas” with delightful results. The one story featured here that’s not set during Christmas is a paranormal romance by Cynthia Eden that opens with a catastrophic blind date on New Year’s Eve, but that story also has a lot to do with family. In SOMEONE TO TRUST by Mary Balogh and THE CHRISTMAS KEY by Lori Wilde, the heroes are both drawn to women with big hearts and loving families. SOMEONE TO TRUST opens with an idyllic Christmas house party with the Westcott family and their assorted friends and relations. Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges can’t help but be charmed by these people because…

Fresh Fiction Favorite Mysteries of 2018!
Author Guest / December 17, 2018

Every day from now through the end of the year (and even a few days into 2019), we’ll be sharing our reviewers’ favorite reads of 2018. A different genre will be featured every day! We’ll share why these books were some of our favorites and what made them so special. We hope you’ll share yours in the comments, too! Up first, our favorite mysteries, of all kinds – thriller, psychological, romantic suspense… Check back next week for cozy mysteries, though! Below they are listed in no particular order: NO PLACE FOR WOLVERINES by Dave Butler Jenny Willson 2 REVIEWER: Clare I recently read this and knew straight away it was my thriller of the year. A Canadian national park and nearby town try to fend off a big-money ski resort proposal. We learn so much about the get rich quick types behind this, the activists are driven to protect their park, the geology, and nature of the wilderness area, the work of police and journalists. Mystery Woman Sleuth | Thriller Crime [Dundurn, On Sale: October 13, 2018, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 978145973983 / ] An intelligent web of money, threats, townsfolk, and wilderness… Buy NO PLACE FOR WOLVERINES: Amazon.com |…

Declare Your Independence
Cozy Corner / July 2, 2018

Guest writer: Rebecca Adler First, a big howdy to y’all from Texas. Second, a big thanks to the lovely Kym Roberts for this opportunity to share all the exciting new cozy releases hitting the shelves of your local and virtual bookstores during the month of July. As a heat wave blazes its way across the country this week, I encourage you to declare your independence from the humdrum of work and responsibilities. Stake out those well-deserved hours, minutes, or even moments, of relaxation and repose by engaging your problem-solving skills in one of the most enjoyable ways possible—by reading a delightful cozy mystery. Whether you choose a title from a beloved author, discover a new favorite series, or both, this week’s new releases will make you glad you asserted your right to relax and solve a wonderful whodunit. THE CORPSE AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE by Carola Dunn Daisy Dalrymple Mystery #23 A casual outing to the Crystal Palace in London takes a mysterious and murderous turn in The Corpse at the Crystal Palace, the latest mystery in Carola Dunn’s beloved Daisy Dalrymple series. April 1928: Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher is visited in London by her young cousins. On the list of…