A Wine and Romance Series Pairing

A Wine and Romance Series Pairing

A Wine and Romance Series Pairing

By: April Hughes


What’s better than sitting down with a cup of coffee and a good book?

-Sitting down with a glass of wine and a good book.

For me, sipping my adult grape juice while reading a novel by one of my favorite authors is the ultimate form of pleasure and contentment. The moment that wine touches my lips and my nose dives into that book is the moment that everything around me ceases to matter- this includes the dishes piling up in the sink, the dog tearing up a roll of toilet paper on the couch, and the kids hurling Legos at each other while duking it out over who’s turn it was to clean out the litter box.

A Wine and Romance Series Pairing: Food isn’t the only thing that pairs well with wine. I have created a list of wines and the novels they pair best with. And the best part? The wine isn’t going to break your bank. After all, I place my money where it matters most- In the books:


Roscato Rosso Dolce

Roscato Rosso Dolce

Roscato Rosso Dolce is a sweet, violet-hued red wine from Northern Italy. It is best paired with a novel from the Love at Stake series by Kerrelyn Sparks. I highly recommend “How to Seduce a Vampire” for the ultimate pairing.





Castello Del Poggio Moscato

Castello Del Poggio Moscato

Castello Del Poggio Moscato is a golden-hued, sweet and aromatic wine from the Province of Asti in northeastern Italy. I would pair this glass of delight with one of the novels from historical romance author Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series. I recommend “An Offer from a Gentleman” to start.





Sutter Home’s White Zinfandel

Sutter Home’s White Zinfandel

Sutter Home’s White Zinfandel is a white wine that is easy to sip and isn’t too sweet. It’s casual and light enjoyment is best paired with the Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy. Pour a glass of this easy beverage while reading the first book in the series titled “The Deal”.





Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio Kris

Pinot Grigio Kris is a crisp, white wine that has a hint of sweetness. I suggest pairing this wine with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. You can enjoy this beverage while getting your ruggedly-handsome-Scot-in-a-kilt fix.





Merlot Ecco Domani

Merlot Ecco Domani

Merlot Ecco Domani is a rich, smooth red wine with a hint of berries. This full-bodied delight is best paired with Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark. A wine perfect for indulging in these yummy immortals.





Chianti Classico Rocca delle Macie

Chianti Classico Rocca delle Macie

Chianti Classico Rocca delle Macie is a rich and bold red wine from Tuscany, Italy. This fun and enticing glass of wine is best enjoyed while reading Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series. This wine won’t be the only thing bringing heat to your cheeks when you read “The Darkest Kiss”.




Check out some of my book reviews here!


Also check out my review of the first book of the Eagle Elite Series here! (goes good with any wine)

Review of “Against the Ropes” by Sarah Castille

Review of “Against the Ropes” by Sarah Castille

Review of “Against the Ropes” by Sarah CastilleAgainst the Ropes four-stars
by Sarah Castille
Series: Redemption #1
Also in this series: Full Contact
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on 2013
Genres: Fiction, Erotica, General, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 349
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble

"Fifty Shades of Grey meets Fight Club."-RT Book Reviews

A Publishers Weekly TOP 10 Romance for Fall

He scared me. He thrilled me. And after one touch, all I could think about was getting more...

Makayla never thought she'd set foot in an elite mixed martial arts club. But if anyone needs a medic on hand, it's these guys. Then again, at her first sight of the club's owner, she's the one feeling breathless.

The man they call Torment is all sleek muscle and restrained power. Whether it's in the ring or in the bedroom, he knows exactly when a soft touch is required and when to launch a full-on assault. He always knows just how far he can push. And he's about to tempt Makayla in ways she never imagined...

Redemption SeriesAgainst the Ropes In Your Corner Full ContactFighting Attraction (coming Spring 2017)

More praise for Against the Ropes: "Smart, sharp, sizzling and deliciously sexy."-Alison Kent, bestselling author of Unbreakable

Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille

Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille

Review of “Against the Ropes” by Sarah Castille

Review by: April Hughes


I mentally DEVOURED this novel…

Max Huntington, known in the underground fight world as “Torment”, is a millionaire business man by day and an intense, well-known fighter by night. When Makayla, a trained medic, first meets Torment- those sparks fly! Heck, they do more than that- they SIZZLE and burn! I can still remember how my heart thumped in tandem to Makayla’s daring entrance into that fight ring in the club Redemption. That moment displayed just how courageous she can be, and just how much of a challenge Torment was going to find her.

From there, the book falls into a progression of intense, hot encounters for our two main characters. However, there is more to our characters than just their inability to resist one another and their susceptibility to the others attraction. We learn that Makayla struggles daily with crippling financial issues, uncertainty about her future and goals, and troubling childhood memories. Torment also struggles with guilt from a tragic event in his teen years and a disconnect with his family. Both characters ghosts cause a lot of conflict during their passionate, tumultuous relationship.

I greatly enjoyed watching them navigate unfamiliar emotions and deal with their pasts together. I also took delight in reading about the other members of Redemption. In fact, by the end of the book, I found that I couldn’t wait to see what this group was going to do next! I cannot wait to pick up the second book in the series and continue indulging in a novel filled with alpha, tattooed fighters and strong, challenging women!

Check out New York Times bestselling author Sarah Castille’s Redemption series today!

You can pick up your copy on Amazon Here.

See my review of “Full Contact” by Sarah Castille here!

Also, Check out my other reviews Here.

This Maine Town is Infamous for its Haunted History PLUS Local Event

This Maine Town is Infamous for its Haunted History PLUS Local Event


Haunted Maine Town

By: April Hughes


Ghostport is an annual event that takes place in October in the town of Bucksport, Maine. Bucksport is notorious in the state for its rich history and legend involving its founder, Colonel Jonathan Buck. According to the legend, in 1852- a little over 50 years after Colonel Buck’s death- a monument was erected in his memory by his grandchildren. While this is not unusual, what was considered peculiar is the distinct marking of a woman’s leg and foot that appeared soon after it was built. This legend concluded that the markings were placed there due to a curse bequeathed upon Jonathan Buck by a witch he had sentenced to death by burning. Before the witch was engulfed by flames, she spat out a curse and stated that her sign would be left upon his tombstone. Her leg then falls out of the fire where her deformed son then picks it up and runs off into the woods with it. This story is a popular tale and has many variations to it. Unfortunately, the validity of the legend cannot be verified, though it’s fun to speculate.

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Catherine J. Gross Photography

I decided to attend Ghostport this year in hopes of checking out Jonathan Buck’s infamous tombstone, and the activities taking place near the waterfront. As I crossed over the bridge into Bucksport from Verona Island, I could instantly spot the hordes of people decked out in their costumes as they explored the river’s shoreline, and the many quaint shops along the main street. It was surprisingly easy to find a place to park considering how busy the event was for such a small town. With my family in tow, I followed the distant sound of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” blasting from speakers and the tantalizing aroma of buttery pretzels and sweet cotton-candy. Once we arrived at Bucksport’s marina, we headed straight towards the pretzel vendor- there was no way I was walking past them after having smelled their deliciousness.


Moonsyer Candles

As we snacked on our buttery treat, we slowly explored the rest of the vendors. There was a booth occupied by ghost hunters who relayed stories about their spookier adventures. They are a Maine-based group who travels around to haunted locations throughout our history-rich state. After all, there is a reason Stephen King bases many of his novels out of Maine. We then spent some time in a tent occupied by Moonsyer Candles, a local Maine candlemaker. Moonsyer Candles uses hand-poured, all-natural palm wax candles in their homemade creations. The candle names and some of the scents were unique enough to remark upon- such as, Maine Made Moose Poop, Bunny Burps, Monkey Farts (which smelled of bananas, of course), Snowman Balls, and one you probably would never think to purchase in candle-form- high octane gasoline. We ended up walking away with a bag filled with wax melts. I currently have their Maple Bourbon Brioche melting away on my wax burner-delicious!

We finished the rest of our pretzel bites while watching people launch pumpkins into the river with a man-made, wooden catapult. There was a small, floating platform marked by two balloons that were an apparent target for people to aim for. It was an interesting site watching all those pumpkins bobbing forgotten in the water. I imagine they will provide a nice treat for Maine’s wildlife.


Author Deborah J. Hughes Meet and Greet

After watching the pumpkin launch, we headed over to a Halloween-decorated tent occupied by Deborah J. Hughes, a Maine author who created the Tess Schafer-Medium series, as well as a few standalone novels. This tent drew hordes of people, all clambering to get their hands on Deborah J. Hughes’s spooky novels. Being an avid reader, I never turn down a chance to pick up a new novel, especially when I have a chance to talk with the author themselves. Did I have a total fan-girl moment when the author kindly signed the inside cover of her novel No Matter What for me? Why yes, I did. Am I ashamed of it? Why no I’m not. I have been a fan of this author since I was barely old enough to recite my ABC’s. She is, after all, the person who got me hooked on ghost stories and romance (have I mentioned she’s my Mom?). Now, If I had almost half the talent of that woman…sigh. See my review of Deborah J. Hughes’s Be Still My Love here. And also check out my other book reviews here.

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Catherine J. Gross Photography

Bucks Tomb

As I clutched No Matter What in my hands (which I will be posting a review about soon- so stay tuned!), we made our way over to the infamous Colonel Jonathan Buck’s tombstone. As I stood on my side of the wrought-iron fence and gazed at the tombstone, I half anticipated something eerie to happen. After all, I was standing in front of an infamous cursed stone. Disappointingly, I did not experience the presence of the supernatural. However, it was still exciting to witness a piece of history and speculate on the possibility of a true witch’s curse.

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Catherine J. Gross Photography

At the end of the day, I have a new book to read, some new candles to burn, and I had the chance to witness a legend!


Like the Photography included in this post? Checkout her photography businesses at Maine Wedding Photographer and Newborn Photography Maine!


Review of The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

Review of The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

Review of The Lovely Reckless by Kami GarciaThe Lovely Reckless four-half-stars
by Kami Garcia
Published by Imprint on October 4th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Girls & Women, Social Themes, Emotions & Feelings
Pages: 304
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble

She used to care about being the good girl.

Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend's death, Frankie Devereux lives her life by one dangerous rule: nothing matters. But she crosses the line with a reckless choice that forces her to move in with her dad—an overprotective cop—and transfer to a new school. When Frankie meets Marco, a tough street racer who is risking everything for his family, things get complicated.

He wasn't always the bad boy.

Everyone says Marco Leone is trouble. But at Frankie's new school, where fistfights in the halls don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football, Marco is also the fastest (and hottest) guy around. As their attraction grows, Frankie can't seem to stay away from him—until she discovers Marco's dangerous secret.

Your own heart will race with each page turn of this heart-stopping star-crossed love story.

An Imprint Book

Book Review of “The Lovely Reckless” by Kami Garcia

Review By: April Hughes


Review of The Lovely Reckless: The Lovely Reckless is a standalone novel by author Kami Garcia. The story follows Frankie Devereaux, a high school senior from the Heights- a neighborhood of the rich and privileged. In the beginning of the story, Frankie’s mental and emotional battle over the murder of her boyfriend comes to a head when her reckless behavior lands her in jail with a DUI. This behavior is apparently unusual for Frankie, as she describes herself previously as a happy, law-abiding student who is not prone to impulsive or reckless behavior. This naturally changes after she witnesses her boyfriend’s murder. Unfortunately, the killer is never caught because Frankie is unable to describe him to the police, as her mind has apparently blocked the memory out.


Frankie’s mother, the epitome of a spoiled and selfish wife of a wealthy man, is unable to handle the self-destructive aspects of her grieving daughter. Frankie is subsequently sent to live with her father, an undercover cop whose primary job is to nab car thieves, in a far less glamorous neighborhood dubbed “The Downs”. It is at the Downs public high school that Frankie meets Cruz, a girl who reminds me a lot of Letty from the Fast and the Furious, and Marco Leone, a boy well-known in the Downs as an illegal street racer and car thief.


The characters in the novel truly made the story. The Lovely Reckless was not your typical “boy meet girl, they both fall in love, there is some drama, then they live happily-ever-after” story. There was a lot more to it than that. First, there was Frankie’s quest to unlock the memory of her boyfriend’s death by frequently writing in her journal about that fateful night. Then, there was her struggle over who she was prior to her boyfriend Noah’s murder, and becoming familiar with who she became after his death. Marco had to battle his own demons. He was not merely a criminal from the Downs. Both characters internal struggles, coupled with their burgeoning interest in one another, made for an interesting read.

I will also say this, I enjoyed watching Frankie’s relationship with the father she barely knows unfold. The author did a great job staying true to the dynamic of a typical father and daughter relationship and all the trials that it entails. I was also mentally fist-bumping the author whenever Cruz demonstrated that there are girls out there who know their way around a vehicle (hell yeah!). Finally, I loved that tingle of ice sliding through my veins the moment Frankie found out who killed Noah (you’ll have to read the book to find that one out).

I loved the location, I loved the star-crossed lovers, I loved the characters, I loved the illegal street races (though I wished Frankie had more kick-ass race scenes), and the loved watching the murder-mystery unfold.

Heck. I loved everything about this book.

Buy, or download, your copy of The Lovely Reckless today!

This was my review of The Lovely Reckless, Also, See my REVIEW OF PAPER PRINCESS BY ERIN WATT


7 Steps for Surviving the Holidays

7 Steps for Surviving the Holidays

By: April Hughes


   Every October I find time to reflect on everything I’ve learned in holidays past. This is done in an effort to emotionally, mentally, and physically prepare myself for the chaos to come. I know that once November 1st hits, there’s no going back. I am going to be thrust into the whirlwind of holiday spirit- I’m talking Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and all the cheery crap that comes in between. With having two kids I am more inclined to participate in the “festivities”. So, the day after Thanksgiving I slap on my jolly elf hat and I decorate until my house looks like the North Pole threw up all over it. So, here are the 7 steps I take to navigate the benevolent, and sometimes unpredictable, currents of the holidays and still manage to cheerfully sip my hot cocoa.

My 7 Steps

  1. I do the bulk of my shopping over Amazon- Amazon Prime is my best friend during the holidays. This means I can avoid the blood-thirsty hordes swarming our local stores. Prime Discounted Monthly Offering Only $5.99 per month until Dec 31st!!!
  2. Instead of participating in Black Friday, I join the “stay-in-bed-where-it’s-nice-and-warm” Friday. You should try this. You’d be amazed about how great it feels to not be standing in a mile-long line in freezing temperatures.
  3. Spike the eggnog, punch bowl, fruit juice, or any cup you’re holding that contains liquid. Trust me. You’re going to need it.
  4. Heading to a holiday party? Snag a dessert at your local supermarket, place it in one of your own dishes, and present that sweet delight to the masses. They’ll never know (unless you’re naturally terrible at baking. Then they might suspect something is amiss).
  5. DON’T wait until Christmas Eve to wrap presents! Ugh. I tell myself this same thing EVERY year. I never listen. Then I regret not listening. It’s a vicious cycle.
  6. Avoid participating in Elf on a Shelf. How is moving that little bastard every night fun? Save yourself some time by writing a good-bye note from the elf to your kids. I highly doubt they’ll miss his creepy little face *shiver*
  7. When someone mentions Christmas caroling, that’s your cue to start singing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” very loudly and off-key. I guarantee they won’t ask you to join their caroling group. You’re welcome.

Try a few of these Holiday survival tips and you may just make it through the next two months. Good luck!

See Next: 6 Secrets to Finding Time to Read

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