Thursday, July 19, 2012

Carolina Home by Virginia Kantra (Guest Post/Giveaway)

Today I would like to give a warm welcome to author Virginia Kantra, who is here celebrating her new release, Carolina Home!

Recipe for Summer: 5 Ingredients for the Perfect Summer Read by Virginia Kantra

I’m so glad to be at Reading Between the Wines. Even the name of the blog makes me think about indulgence, about summer wines and summer reads.

The ultimate summer wine is Sangria. And the same ingredients that go into a great Sangria also go into a great summer book.

1. The base
Sangria starts with wine, rich red wines from warm Latin countries. A good summer read needs a good base, too. All the things you expect from any good book—an interesting premise, compelling characters, an engrossing plot—are ingredients of a summer read.

2. A little kick.
Whether you toss in a splash of brandy or a shot of orange liqueur, good Sangria combines a strong base and fruity goodness with a lick of summer heat. How much heat and what kind is up to you. But when I’m in the long, hot days of summer, I like books with sex.  I crave emotional involvement. I want to be swept up by big emotions.

3. Something sweet
Every Sangria recipe calls for sweetness, whether it’s provided by orange juice, sugar, or a sweetened soda. The characters is my favorite summer reads have a touch of that sweetness, too. I love a flawed hero or a heroine who needs to grow.  But I don’t want to spend my summer vacation with whiny, unpleasant, or self-absorbed people. Give me a hero I can fall in love with, give me a heroine I can root for, and I am ready for a good time!

4. Extra fruit
What makes Sangria special, of course, is the fruit, all those lovely extras, lemons, oranges, strawberries, peaches. The vivid colors, the bursting flavors, the melting textures that transport you someplace else. Whether I go to Shelter Bay or Lucky Harbor, to Regency London or misty Scotland, I want to experience that sense of someplace else in my reading, too, to be immersed in the sights and smells of another world.

5. A smooth finish to make it go down easy
Sangria is bubbly, light, and refreshing. We know that times are tough, that love is hard or elusive, that bad things can happy to good people. But we go on vacation to recharge. To relax. To reconnect. Heavier, dryer books are fine for winter. But my favorite summer reads leave me smiling, make me believe in the strength of family, the support of a community, and the power of love. 

Everyone has their own preferences. More heat or more sweet, more fruit or more fizz.
The great thing about Sangria is that it can be blended to your own taste. The great thing about summer books is that everyone can find her own personal favorites.

Let me share mine with you!
Virginia’s Summer Sangria
4 C (1 bottle) chilled dry red wine (Rioja is awesome, but a Zinfandel or Shiraz is good too)
1-2 shots of plain or peach brandy OR an orange liqueur like Grand Marnier OR rum
2 T sugar
1 orange cut into thin rounds
1 lime cut into wedges
2  C fruit: pineapple chunks, sliced strawberries, sliced and peeled peaches

2 C cold club soda

Mix all the ingredients except the club soda and refrigerate for at least one hour. Add the soda right before serving over lots of ice.

And here’s a teaser from my summer release, Carolina Home.

Talking with her mother didn’t usually drive Allison to drink. But she reasoned a single glass of wine would settle her nerves and bolster her courage.
Setting down her empty glass, she tugged open the door.
Matt Fletcher stood on her front porch in a black T-shirt and jeans, thumbs hooked into his front pockets, a hint of a smile on his lips, totally at ease.
Without even trying, he made every gym-toned banker and golf-playing engineer her parents had ever pushed at her seem overdressed, insecure, and uninteresting. He was so entirely male, so completely comfortable in his own skin.
Her insides danced with a mix of lust, rebellion, and Chardonnay.
“You look pretty.” His gaze brushed her bare shoulders before settling firmly, warmly, on her face. The tiny hairs on her upper arms tingled in awareness. “Might want to bring a sweater, though.”
Allison flushed with heat and wine. She’d spent twenty minutes digging in her closet for an outfit that didn’t make her feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder, finally unearthing a halter top from spring break five years ago and a pair of skinny jeans. She had good arms. And decent legs.
But despite what Gail had said about Matt’s reputation, he was obviously in no hurry to talk her out of her clothes. Maybe she should suggest that he keep her warm? But she needed more daring for that.
Or another glass of wine.


So, tell me: What are your ingredients for a great summer read? What books are you reading or looking forward to this month?

Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a copy of Carolina Home  or – since summer should be all about choices -  your choice of one of my three recent ebooks, The Reforming of Matthew Dunn, The Passion of Patrick MacNeill, or The Comeback of Conn MacNeill.

New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra credits her love for strong heroes and courageous heroines to a childhood spent devouring fairy tales.
Virginia is the author of more than twenty books of contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. Her stories have earned numerous awards including Romance Writers of America's RITA Award, eight RITA nominations, and two National Readers' Choice Awards. Her work includes the popular Children of the Sea series and, in e-book format, the Sweet Home, Carolina stories. In July 2012 look for Carolina Home, the first book in her new Dare Island novels.
Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of three kids, Virginia lives in North Carolina. She is a firm believer in the strength of family, the importance of storytelling, and the power of love.
Her favorite thing to make for dinner? Reservations.

As Virginia mentioned above, she is giving away one eBook of choice (Carolina HomeThe Reforming of Matthew Dunn, The Passion of Patrick MacNeill, or The Comeback of Conn MacNeill) to one lucky reader. To enter, just leave a comment on this post answering her question above and then fill out the rafflecopter below. Additional entries are available but not required. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I will have to stick with the club soda, Virginia (diet restrictions) but would love a copy of Carolina Home to ease the pain! Will shelve it next to the Children of the sea Series!

  2. Hot summer reads just have to be awesome and engrossing for me. As to what I'm looking forward to reading...well my TBR list is HUGE these days, so I have all kinds of reads to look forward to. Your book sounds fun! Hope I get a chance to read it! :D

  3. I have a lot of books on my wishlist right now but they all seem to be for later on, and I need a book now....
    Thanks for the interview!

  4. I love Sangria. It's that touch of sweetness that makes it perfect. As for books, I'm currently working my way through Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series. They are the perfect summer books - sweet, but intense enough to keep you engrossed.

  5. I love sangria and am going to try your recipe. It sounds delich! I am currently reading Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost.

    Would love to win a print copy of Carolina Home. Thanks for the giveaway

  6. I'm looking forward to a glass of Sauvignon Blanc tonight for medicinal purposes. Last night I finished Tanya Michael's Tamed By a Texan. It was all about a cooking competition - I think I gained 3 pounds while reading it! Tonight I'm starting Kathy Carmichael's Kissing Kelli.

  7. thanks for a fun post! Congrats on the newest release!

    I just look for a book that i can lose myself in and I can get emotionally invested w/ the characters. Which unfortunately is not the book I'm reading right now (b/c a friend is making me :( )

  8. My ingredients for a great summer read would be
    1 part hot man (maybe a reformed bad boy or an alpha male w/heart)
    1 part spunky woman
    splash of miscommunication
    Serve with Lots of steamy sex :O)

  9. Nancy, nothing wrong with club soda! Maybe with a slice of lime?

    Liesel, I have a huge TBR pile, too! So many good books out this summer!

    Diane, thanks for dropping by. Best of luck!

    JenM, I really enjoyed Jill's Lucky in Love. Looking forward to starting At Last.

    Fingershankins, I'd be happy to send a print copy if you win. Hope you enjoy the sangria! (And the book, too, of course.)

    Kim, Italian Guy just told me that a glass of wine a day improves bone density. (Also my mood, though he didn't point that out.)

    Erin, I'm sorry your current read is a let down. Here's hoping you find one more to your taste (and that your friend relents)!

    Carin, I love your recipe! Thanks for sharing.

  10. That sangria recipe looks lovely. I'm not a big wine drinker but sangria is yum.

    I'm looking forward to Gunmetal Magic which I think releases soon. I am also have Carolina Home on my wish list after reading a couple of good reviews from reviewers I trust. And I'm saving a Susanna Kearsley book for a special reading occasion too - Sophia's Secret (aka The Winter Sea).

  11. Like Kaetrin, I'm looking forward to Gunmetal Magic which release July 31. It should have what I like in a summer read: fun characters, humor, a little bit of sex (or a lot, I'm fine with both)and lots of action.

  12. Kaetrin, thanks! I'm very grateful for good reviews and hope you like Carolina Home.

    Ann, thanks for the comment.

    I'll have to keep an eye out for Gunmetal Magic.

  13. Just got done reading Vengeance Born by Kylie Griffin, and am about to start Need by Sherri Hayes. Love sitting outside reading, nothing better in my opinion. Thx for give away.

  14. The Sangria sounds does your book, Carolina Home! My TBR pile is HUGE...I'm looking forward to reading Gena Showalter's Wicked Nights. Thx for the giveaway op! :)

  15. Where do you look to for inspiration? Do you have a ritual when writing?

  16. That sounds pretty good to me! The drink and the summer read ingredients :)

    Right now I'm looking forward to reading Echoes at Dawn by Maya Banks. I just picked it up today and can't wait to start reading :)

    Thanks for the giveaway!


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