Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Better Than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts (Author Interview / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Sheila Roberts, author of Better Than Chocolate!

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Sheila! 

Before we get to the interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

First, let me say thank you so much for having me. I'm delighted to be able to hang out with you and your friends. I've been writing forever and have had about thirty books in print over the years, both fiction and non-fiction, under various names. I love what I do. When I'm not writing stories, I'm busy writing songs. I'm a great baker and a not-so-good gardener (although I love to grow things I can eat!) I love to read. And, of course, I love to write. 

How long have you been a writer?

You know, I've been writing since I was a child. In grade school I produced my own "hardback" novels using lined paper and tagboard (a cross between cardboard and paper) sheets. Of course, I did the cover art myself, which usually included a horse because I was horse crazy. 

Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career?

Being an author is my day job and I love it. I love what I do, the commute is easy (down the hall to my office) and my work wardrobe is sweats.

What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.

Like I said, I always wanted to write. I started out writing magazine articles. Then, once upon a time, I got an idea for a novel. And the writing got focused on fiction. So far my career has had many ups and downs but it's always been interesting. 

Please give a brief description/storyline about Better Than Chocolate.

Better Than Chocolate is about Samantha Sterling, a woman determined to save her family company (Sweet Dream Chocolates) from going out of business. Times are tough for both her company and many of the businesses in her small town, so after some brainstorming with her mother and sisters Samantha hits on a brilliant idea: a chocolate festival. This will bring in tourist business and be good for both the town and Sweet Dreams Chocolates. Of course, nothing goes smoothly. And why should it? Our heroine should have to struggle. And our hero (who just happens to manage the bank that's about to close her company down), well, he has to prove himself heroic. And the town has to pull together. But let me tell you, I think they all do a great job. I wish there was an Icicle Falls because I'd like to go there and attend that chocolate festival!

What was the inspiration for this story?

The town of Leavenworth, Washington was actually my inspiration. I love this town. By the sixties they were on the verge of becoming a ghost town but they pulled together and reinvented themselves. Today, Leavenworth is a popular tourist destination spot. And when real estate values were sinking all over the country, theirs held strong. So I wanted to model a town on Leavenworth. I also wanted to write about a strong woman, saving her business. And when I got to thinking about what kind of business I'd want to save, well, chocolate came to mind. 

How did it feel to have your first book published?

First books are like first loves. You never forget that feeling. It was a thrill. 

Do you write books for a specific genre?

I write for the women's fiction - romance market. 

What genres are your favorites? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?

I enjoy reading women's fiction, and I'm especially fond of books with humor. Favorite books? It's hard to narrow it down. Probably Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer top the list, right along with almost anything by Donald E. Westlake or Elizabeth Peters. 

Do you have a special spot or area where you like to do your writing?

My spot is my office. No view, just my computer screen. 

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?

Ideas can come from anywhere. My book On Strike for Christmas was inspired by my husband who was having a hard time finding his Christmas spirit one year. (In other words, he was being naughty.) I often find inspiration in what's going on around me or in something I read. Sometimes though, ideas just come to me out of nowhere. 

When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?

I have a pretty strict writing schedule. I log in time at the computer every day. 

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?

I love pulling together the basic story outline. Hmm, but I also like writing scenes. Sometimes I struggle with revisions. I do a lot of revising - revamping, deepening scenes, adding new scenes. 

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?

That's a pretty long list. I love hanging out with my family and throwing parties. My hubby and I go out dancing once a week. I also play tennis and have recently taken up golf. Add to that songwriting, hanging with girlfriends, going to movies, and reading myself to sleep at night and every day gets pretty full. 

What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?

Never give up. This is a tough business and you have to be persistent. 

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?

When a reader contacts me and tells me she enjoyed my book. That truly touches my heart. 

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?

I hang out on Facebook. If you look for Sheila Roberts, author, you'll find me. 

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?

While I wouldn't mind owning a chocolate factory, this particular book is all imagination. 

What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?

I wish I could point to one, but the road to becoming a writer was one I happened to find all on my own.

What is your definition of success as a writer?

Knowing that readers enjoy my books. 

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?

I'm already two books down the road from this one. I will say, I'm very excited about the book I have coming out in November. Merry Ex-Mas is a holiday tale about wives and their exes, and it's great fun. We even made a music video and will have it up on Youtube as a bonus for readers. How fun is that?

Thank you Sheila for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews and sharing a bit about yourself and your writing career with us! I look forward to welcoming you back on Tuesday, November 13th, when I host your virtual book tour event for Merry Ex-Mas! Sheila will be providing us with an author guest post! 

About The Author

Sheila Roberts lives in the Pacific Northwest. She’s happily married and has three children. Her books have been printed in several different languages and have been chosen for book clubs such as Doubleday as well as for Readers Digest Condensed books. Her best-selling novel On Strike for Christmas was made into a movie and appeared on the Lifetime Movie Network. Her novel Angel Lane was named one of Amazon’s Top Ten Romances for 2009. 

When she’s not making public appearances or playing with her friends, she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate. 

Her latest book is Better Than Chocolate.

Better Than Chocolate Book Trailer

Book Review

Better Than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Format: Paperback - 400 pages / Kindle - 501 KB / Nook - 421 KB
ISBN: 077831345X
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Better Than Chocolate

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours. 

Book Description:

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they’re about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank—and that would be a disaster, not only for the family but for the town of Icicle Falls, Washington. Can Samantha, the oldest daughter and new head of the company, come up with a way to save it?

After Samantha does some brainstorming with her mother and sisters, inspiration strikes. They’ll have a chocolate festival! Time’s running out, but the Sterling women are determined and the town’s behind them, so everything’s bound to go smoothly….

Or not. Events seem to be conspiring against Samantha, and her mother’s attempts to help aren’t helping. To make matters worse, the fate of her company is in the hands of her archenemy, Blake Preston, the bank manager with the football-hero good looks. It’s enough to drive her to chocolate. But Blake’s also enough to convince her that (believe it or not) there’s something even better than chocolate.

Book Excerpt:


"Manage your relationships well and your business will go well. Because what, after all, is business, but a relationship with some dollar signs attached?"

-Muriel Sterling, Mixing Business with Pleasure: How To Successfully Balance Business and Love

Samantha Sterling sat next to her mother in the first row of Icicle Falls Community Church and fought back the urge to jump up, run to the front of the sanctuary, grab her stepfather, Waldo, by the neck and throttle him. She didn't, for two reasons. One, a girl didn't do things like that in church. Still, she could have overcome her reservations if not for the second reason - God had already taken Waldo out. Waldo was as dead as roadkill on Highway 2. In addition to a daughter from his first marriage, he'd left behind his grieving wife, Muriel, his three stepdaughters, Samantha, Cecily and Bailey, and the family business, which was nearly as dead as Waldo.

Sweet Dreams Chocolates had been healthy when Samantha's father was alive. The company had been started by her great-grandmother Rose and had slowly but steadily grown under his leadership - one bit, happy family to mirror the happy family who were living off its profits. All three sisters had spent their summers working at Sweet Dreams. All three had it drummed into them from an early age that this business was the source of both the family's income and honor (not to mention chocolate), but it was Samantha who had fallen in love with it. Of the three girls she was the one who stayed and she was the heir apparent.

But then her father had died and everything came to a half. Samantha lost the man she and her sisters idolized and her mother lost her way. Muriel left it to Samantha and the bookkeeper Lizzy to keep the company running on autopilot while first she mourned and then later searched for a new husband.

Enter Waldo Wittman, a tall, gray-haired widower recently retired, encouraged to do so by his company which was downsizing. (Now, looking back, Samantha suspected there were other reasons Waldo had been turned loose.) He was wanting to get way from the rat race. With its mountain views, its proximity to Eastern Washington wine country, its small town friendliness and its attractive widow, Waldo decided Icicle Falls would fit the bill. And Muriel decided the same about Waldo. So, after a year and a half of widowhood, she got a new man.

And now here he was, at the front of the church, stretched out in his favorite - expensive! - gray suit. Sweet, velvet Waldo… the money eater. Oh Waldo, how could everything have gone so crazy wrong so fast?

It was early January, the beginning of a new year. And what a nightmare year it was promising to be, all thanks to Mom making her new husband president of their family owned business. She'd left Samantha VP in charge of marketing, much good that had done. Now Samantha was VP in charge of disaster and she could hardly sit still thinking of the mess waiting for her back at the office. 

"You're fidgeting," whispered her sister Cecily, who was sitting next to her. 

Fidgeting at a funeral probably wasn't good but it was an improvement over standing up, pulling her hair and shrieking like a madwoman.

Why, oh why hadn't Mom and Dad done what needed to be done to make sure that if something happened to Dad the business passed into competent hands? Then Mom could have skipped happily off into newlywed bliss, nor harm no foul.

No one had expected her to remain alone forever. She was only in her fifties when Dad died and she didn't function well alone.

When Waldo came on the scene she came back to life, and Samantha had been happy for her. He was fun and charming and both she and her sisters gave him a hearty thumbs up. Why not? He'd brought back Mom's smile. At first everyone got along great. Like Samantha, he'd been a shutter bug and they'd enjoyed talking photography. Her favorite joke when she'd come by the house to talk business with Mom (or try anyway) was to ask, "Where's Waldo?"

But once Mom dropped him on the company like a bomb Samantha didn't have to ask. She knew where Waldo was. He was at the office, in over his head and making her crazy.

She ground her teeth as she mentally tallied how much money he'd squandered: new business cards with his name on them, new stationery, new equipment they hadn't needed, a fancy phone system they couldn't afford that he been talked into buying from a slick-tongued sales rep. How could a businessman be so bad at business! Of course, he'd convinced both himself and Mom that every purchase was necessary and Samantha hadn't had the veto power to stop them.

That had been just the beginning. Six months ago their profits sank and they started having trouble paying their suppliers. Waldo cut back on production, which then affected their ability to fill orders, and Lizzy their bookkeeper began looking like she'd been invited to dinner with the Grim Reaper. "We're behind with our IRS quarterlies," she informed Samantha. "And that's not all." She showed Samantha expenditures on the company credit card that made no sense. A gun. Ammunition. Cases and cases of bottled water, enough to keep the whole town hydrated. Waldo was a financial locust, devouring the company.

Where's Waldo? Busy dumping their lives in the toilet. Flush, flush, flush! She could have happily stuffed his head in the toilet and …

"And I know if Waldo could speak to us now he'd say, 'Thank God for a life well-lived,'" Pastor Jim said.

Her mother let out a sob and Samantha felt a pang of guilt. She should be crying, too. She'd liked Waldo. He'd been a man with a big hear and a big appetite for life.

"We know he'll be missed," Pastor Jim said, and Cecily laid a comforting hand on Mom's arm, which gave Mom permission to start crying in earnest.

"Poor Mom," whispered Bailey, who was sitting on the other side of Samantha.

Losing two husbands - talk about a double whammy. Mom had not only loved both her husbands, she'd loved being married. She had no head for business (which probably had a lot to do with why Grandpa had been perfectly happy to let Dad run Sweet Dreams), but she had a gift for relationships. She'd even had a couple of relationship books published with a small publisher and before Waldo died she'd been about to start a new book: Secrets of a Happy Remarriage.

Samantha only hoped that now Mom would turn her attention to learning how to have a happy life … with no marriage. At least no marriage until they could get the business of the critical care list and Samantha was put officially in charge.

The sooner the better. Her first order of business would be to rehire Lizzy, who Waldo had let go in a misbegotten attempt to economize. She only hoped Lizzy would come back and help her sort through this tangle.

She heaved a sigh. Here her mother was grieving and all she could think about was saving the family business. What was wrong with her? Did she have nothing but a calculator for a heart?

"Now I'd like to give the rest of you a chance to say something nice about Waldo," said Pastor Jim.

He made me nuts probably didn't qualify. Samantha stayed seated.

Lots of other people were happy to oblige though.

"He was the most generous man I ever met," said Maria Gomez, his regular waitress at Zelda's. "He gave me two hundred dollars to get my car fixed. Just like that. Said not to worry about paying him back."

Samantha pressed her lips firmly together and envisioned hundred dollar bills with wings flying away, circling ever upward and off toward Sleeping Lady Mountain.

You do have a calculator for a heart. Here people were talking about how nice Waldo had been, and all she could think about was money. She was a terrible person, a terrible, terrible person. She hadn't always been a terrible person. Had she? A tear slipped from a corner of her eye.

Ed York, owner of D-Vine Wines, stood up. "I can still remember sitting with Waldo out on his deck, looking at the mountains, sharing a bottle of wine, and him saying, 'You know, Ed, it doesn't get any better than this.' That Waldo, he sure knew how to enjoy life."

While everyone around him was pulling out their hair.

"He was a dear soul," said old Mrs. Nilsen. "Just last month he stopped in the freezing cold to change my tire when I had a flat on Highway 2."

On and on the praise went. Good old, wonderful Waldo. Everyone here would miss him … except his rotten, ungrateful, Scrooge-in-drag, calculator-for-a-heart stepdaughter. She was pathetic. Another tear sneaked out a corner of her eye and trickled down her cheek.

Pastor Jim finally called a halt to the festivities and the party made its way under cloudy skies to Festival Hall where everyone could mingle, sing Waldo's praises further, and devour cold cuts and potato salad. Inside, the three sisters smiled and commiserated.

Waldo's brother and his daughter Wanda had flown in from the East Coast. Taking in the woman's red eyes as she approached, Samantha managed to find empathy in that swirl of guilt and resentment and frustration she was experiencing.

"I'm sorry we're having to see each other again in such sad circumstances," Wanda said.

"So are we," said Cecily.

"I'm sorry for you loss," Samantha added. And she was. She knew how horrible it was to lose a father and she wouldn't wish that experience on her worst enemy.

Wanda dabbed at her eyes with a soggy tissue. "I just can't believe he's gone. He was the best father. And he was always so positive, so upbeat."

So clueless. "I wish we could turn back the clock," Samantha said.

Wanda sniffed and nodded. "You were all so good to him."

Samantha couldn't think of anything to say to that. She hardly wanted to confess that the last few months she'd been anything but good.

Cecily stepped into the gap. "He was a nice man."

True. He was just a bad businessman.

"He sure loved Muriel," Wanda said. "He was so lonely after mother died. Muriel gave him a new lease on life."

"And I don't know what her life would have been like without him," Samantha said.

"I think Muriel would like to hear that, Wanda," said Waldo's brother Walter, and led their long distance stepsister away.

"I need a drink," Samantha decided.

"Good idea," said Bailey, and they all drifted over to the punch bowl. 

Samantha really wasn't much of a drinker but a good stiff belt sure seemed to help a lot of movie characters through stressful moments, and right about now she was willing to give it a try. "I wish this was spiked," she muttered.

Bailey looked across the room at their mother. "I feel so bad for Mom."

Muriel Sterling-Wittman sat on a folding chair framed by the weak winter light coming through the window behind her, a beautiful, tragic figure starting the new year alone. Her basic black dress discreetly draped her Betty Boop curves and her hair was still the same shiny chestnut it had been when Samantha was a girl thanks to the geniuses at Sleeping Lady Salon. The green eyes Waldo once raved over were bloodshot from crying, but still looked lovely thanks to lashes thick with waterproof mascara. Half the men in the room were hovering with tissues just in case she found herself in need.

"Well, at least we won't have to worry about her being lonely," said Bailey. She was the spitting image of their mother and the most like her as well - sweet, positive, and naive.

Cecily gave a snort. "Much good any of those men will do her. They're all married."

"Not Ed," said Bailey

"He's got the hots for Pat over at the bookstore," Samantha said and mentally added, Thank God.

"Arnie's not married," Bailey said. "Neither is Mayor Stone. Or Waldo's brother. Wouldn't it be sweet if-?"

Samantha cut her off. "Let's not even put that thought out in the universe." All they needed was another man coming along and convincing Mom that the third time would be the charm.

"Look at them. Waldo is barely gone and they're already circling around her like some old guy version of The Bachelor," Cecily said in disgust. "Men." 

"You know, for a matchmaker you sure have a sucky attitude," Bailey observed.

"How do you think I got it?" retorted Cecily.

"I don't know how you manage to stay in business," Bailey said in disgust.

"By staying superficial," Cecily said with a wicked grin.

Cecily was the only blonde in the family and she was the prettiest of them all with perfect features and the longest legs. Samantha had been cute with her red hair and freckles, but it was Cecily the boys drooled over. Still, in spite of her good looks, Cupid had never been kind to her. So far she'd gone through two fiancees. Samantha never understood how Cecily could make money matching up beautiful people in L.A. but when it came to her own love life she couldn't seem to get it right.

Like you're doing so well? Touche, she told her snarky self.

"You're enough to make a woman give up on love," Bailey muttered as she nodded and smiled at old Mr. Nilsen, who was ogling her from the other side of the hall.

"That would be the smart thing to do," said Cecily.

"Well, I don't think Mom's ready to give up on love. Maybe you could match her up with someone," Bailey suggested.

"No!" Several people turned to stare and Samantha downed a slug of punch in an effort to put out the fire in her cheeks. What was wrong with her? Could a woman suddenly get Tourette's at thirty?

The wicked in Cecily's grin turned up a notch. "I know No one will ever be able to replace Waldo."

"I liked Waldo, I really did," Samantha said. "But no more men.. I've got enough to deal with already." 

"Gosh, Sammy." Bailey frowned at her.

Samantha frowned back. "Hey, baby sister, you two get to go back to sunny California and match up lonely millionaires and cater events for starlets. I'm the one left with the fallout here."

Cecily sobered. "I'm sorry. You're right. We're leaving you with a mess. You've got the business to sort out plus Mom's affairs."

"Except if anyone can do it, you can, Sammy," Bailey said, linking arms with her.

Samantha sighed. As the oldest it was her job to be the rock everyone leaned on. Except right now she didn't feel like a rock. She felt like a pebble on a beach about to be swept away by a tsunami.

And her own mother had been the one to unwittingly drop her there. She and her mother loved each other dearly but they often locked horns. And right before Waldo died they'd locked horns a lot, especially when Samantha would try and get her mother to talk sense into him.

"He's not feeling well," Mom kept saying, but when pressed for details she'd remained vague.

Maybe the poor guy's heart had been acting up all along. Maybe he'd been so worried about his bad health he hadn't been able to concentrate and that was why he'd been making such poor decisions. Except that didn't explain his odd purchases. Or the answers he'd given her when she asked him about them.

"A man needs to be able to protect what's his," he'd said when she'd asked him about the gun.

"In Icicle Falls?" she'd countered. The biggest crime they'd had all year was when Amanda Stevens had keyed Jimmy Rodriguez's Jeep after he'd cheated on her with another girl. And Jimmy had decided not to press charges.

"You never know," Waldo had hedged. "I saw someone. In the parking lot." 

"Doing what" she'd asked.

"He was following me. And don't tell your mother," he'd added. "I don't want to worry her."

Like he'd just worried his stepdaughter? Then there'd been the water.

"We could have an avalanche and be trapped here for days," he'd said.

She'd let that slide, too. Until things started going really bad. And then, just when she'd decided she and her mother were going to have to have a very unpleasant conversation, Waldo had walked from their house on Alpine Drive into town and keeled over dead right in front of Lupine Floral. Poor Kevin had dropped the roses he'd been storing in the cooler and run right out to give him CPR while his partner Heinrich called 911, but Waldo was dead within minutes.

And now Samantha was left to deal with the mess he'd left behind. Her sisters were leaving on Monday and it would be just her left to deal with her mother and find a way to pay the people who depended on Sweet Dreams for their livelihood. Great Grandma Rose, who had started this family business on a dream, was probably turning in her grave at what her bozo descendants had done to it.

Samantha frowned at her empty punch cup. The glass is half empty ... the glass is half full. Either way, "This stuff needs booze."

My Book Review:

Icicle Falls, Washington is the home of Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company, a family owned business run by the Sterling family, that began four generations ago with the recipes that came out of Great-Grandmother Rose's kitchen. Over the years the company flourished and grew until the death of its leader, Stephen Sterling, when it came to a grounding halt and the business begun running on autopilot under the guidance of heir apparent, Samantha Sterling, the eldest daughter. Before Samantha could get the business back on track, barely a year and a half after the death of her father, her mother Muriel married Waldo Wittman, and named him the new president of the company. Unfortunately, Waldo was a poor businessman, he proceeded to run the company into the ground by squandering the company's money, and his sudden death left the company deep in debt and on the verge of going under. Once again it is left to Samantha to save her family's beloved chocolate company any way that she can. But it won't be an easy feat to accomplish, the company has defaulted on it's loan installment payments to the bank, and has been extended a one month grace period to pay the loan off in full. When Samantha tries to get Cascade Mutual's new manager, Blake Preston, to give her six month extension while they restructure the company, he refuses to change bank policy for her, leaving her in a pickle! Samantha is determined to save the company from going out of business, and after brainstorming with her mother Muriel, and sisters Cecily and Bailey, they decide to host a chocolate festival that will save both their family business and the town. What could be better than chocolate when dealing with stress or when having to deal with a pesky banker who becomes smitten with Samantha? Hmmm ... maybe Blake has something sweeter to offer?

Better Than Chocolate is a lighthearted romance story that will captivate the reader's imagination. Author Sheila Roberts weaves a tantalizing tale of family, business and romance written in the third person narrative, she easily draws the reader into the lives of the Sterling family and the townsfolk of picturesque Icicle Falls, Washington. Rich in details and vivid descriptions of the scenic little mountain town in the Pacific Northwest, the reader is transported to Icicle Falls with its breathtaking mountain scenery, quaint shops, and of course the Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company ... close your eyes and imagine the scent and taste of sweet chocolate candies ... The story follows Samantha Sterling and her family as they strive to save their family owned chocolate company from going out of business, while also helping their little town's economy revive. The town has taken a hit when little snowfall and the recession keeps tourists away from the ski slopes. Samantha has one month to save her company ... with the help of her family and the support of the townspeople, they hold Icicle Falls First Annual Chocolate Festival ... only to have trial and tribulations along the way ... is it enough to save her beloved company ... or does the race against the clock push Samantha to reach out and ask for the assistance of her frenemy, Blake Preston?

While I am a sucker for romance, I rather enjoyed how this story's main plot revolved around the saving of the family company and the chocolate festival event, with the romance of Samantha and Blake as a subplot. I really enjoy the author's descriptive style of writing, she has a way of drawing the reader into the story, you feel like you have been transported into the lives of the townspeople of Icicle Falls. The story is engaging and fun, it has a lot of humorous scenes that will keep you entertained. It's a whimsical story about family and friends, of community spirit, and of course there is romance thrown into the mix. I loved how each chapter begins with a business/relationship quote from Muriel's publications, I think it was a great lead into each chapter.

The author has created a large cast of characters who are realistic and warmhearted people. I loved following the trials and tribulations of Samantha, mother Muriel, and sisters Cecily and Bailey. The family bond that they share comes shining through as they learn to deal with the changes that life has brought their way. I couldn't help but like Blake, he too has his struggles to overcome as he must decide whether to tow the company line or stand up and be his own man. I enjoyed the tension between Samantha and Blake, while their relationship was not the main focus of the story, I think it did satisfy the romance that I crave when I read romance stories. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the story had a quirky bunch of supporting cast of characters who added to the story's overall entertainment value with their humorous adventures.

With fun characters, humorous dialogues and interactions, rich descriptions and a storyline that will engage your senses with the addition of yummy chocolate recipes, Better Than Chocolate is a story that will tickle your fancy! Better Than Chocolate is a must read for the diehard Sheila Roberts fan, you won't be disappointed!

Better Than Chocolate is the first book in the Icicle Falls series.


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