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WINNER UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who left a comment. My TBR list is chock-full of books thanks to all of you! Random.org chose beckymmoe‘s comment. Congratulations, Becky! Check your email.
 
 

I love food—who doesn’t?!—although I can’t cook for the life of me! Sure, I can make pasta, veggies, and maybe one or two other dishes, but generally I rely a lot on cereal, sandwiches, soup, and restaurants for my meals. But I DO love to read about food and chefs that can create things that I never will, so without further ado…

Deep Autumn Heat cover

Publication Date: July 9, 2012
Length: 300 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Star Harbor, Book 1
Publisher: Loveswept (Random House)
Source & Format: Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley; digital
 
Official Summary
Lexie Meyers decides there’s nothing sweeter than watching Sebastian Grayson’s perfect, wicked mouth devour her coconut cake. He’s hot, he’s hungry, and he’s sizing her up like she’s the best thing on the menu. But she’s been burned in the past and flings just aren’t her thing. Too bad Sebastian can’t resist a challenge.
 
Worldly, famous, and notorious with the ladies, Seb had planned a weekend of fishing and relaxation with his brothers. Until Lexie, with her kissable lips and frosty “get lost” attitude, makes him want to forget his culinary empire and create some magic with her. After he fires up his charm—including challenging her to a televised cook-off to break through her resistance—it’s now hotter in the bedroom than it is in the kitchen and Lexie isn’t sure whether she’s lost her mind . . . or just her heart.
 
 

Katie‘s Mini-Review

I loved Deep Autumn Heat! In my opinion, the summary doesn’t do it justice. There are multiple suspenseful and thrilling subplots to go along with the romance of Seb and Lexie. You know me…I have to have my thrills and suspense! But before I get ahead of myself, let’s concentrate on Seb and Lexie!

Lexie had moved to the small town of Star Harbor from California and opened the Lexie Meyers Kitchen (LMK). She was on the verge of adding a catering business to go along with her successful restaurant. Her signature secret recipe was for her coconut cake. I can’t stress enough my want to try this cake! The only downfall to books is that you can’t grab whatever you want right out of them and eat it!

Sebastian Grayson grew up in Star Harbor but lives in New York City where he is an acclaimed and famous chef who owns a restaurant, Helena. He is looking to expand to another location and is about to start his own cooking show. Seb is one of four boys, and he and his brothers all meet every year in Star Harbor for Labor Day weekend.

Lexie and Seb have chemistry right off the bat, although she doesn’t make it easy. Lexie is busy at her restaurant and she just doesn’t seem to have any time or interest in a romantic relationship, but Sebastian is persistent! The Grayson boys are described as extremely good-looking, so combining that with fame and excellent cooking skills, Seb isn’t used to being turned down. Part of his flirtation game is a cook-off with Lexie right at the LMK—again, I wanted to grab these crab cakes off the page and devour them! Maybe I missed my calling as a food critic {sigh}. This book moves at a good pace, and although I wanted to slap Lexie across the face a few times, the chemistry and sexual tension resolves itself nicely.

The parts that kept me intrigued included an unreliable produce delivery company, a crazy lady (who owns a restaurant in the next town over) who is after the coconut cake recipe, an abusive ex-boyfriend, and some weird threatening notes that show up at the LMK. All of that combined with a smattering of fun, quirky, nosey, and gossipy small-town characters makes this book a winner! It takes the cake! (Okay…that was bad.)

I had only two miniscule issues, which honestly could have been oversights due to the speed in which I read this one:

  • Lexie acquired the nickname “spice” from Seb at some point. I’m not sure when it happened and I don’t love it as far as nicknames go.
  • Buster, Lexie’s right-hand man and grill cook at the LMK, is an older man! I read over half of the book picturing a young kid in his 20s only to find out that I was completely wrong! I was thrown off a little trying to picture him as being older. Regardless, he is a mostly silent but fun character!
Bottom Line

I loved Deep Autumn Heat! If you like romance mixed with suspense and drama, this should be on your TBR list!

Rating: A

Wine/Beverage Pairing: Gewürztraminer – perfect for sensitizing the palate before a meal (which is bound to be great if made by either Seb or Lexie!) and a total coincidence that the author loves it too (read on for the interview)! :)

Buy It:  Kindle  |  Nook
 
 
 

Interview with Elisabeth Barrett

Katie from K&W: Thanks for being on Kindles & Wine, Elisabeth! I fell in love a little bit with Star Harbor as I was reading this one! It looks like you’ve mirrored some of Star Harbor and the elements of this book after your own life and journey. Are any of the places or characters in Deep Autumn Heat based on real places or people?

Elisabeth Barrett: First of all, thanks for having me here on Kindles & Wine. I’m very happy to be with you today! And I’m glad you fell in love with Star Harbor. To be honest, so did I!

Now to answer your question: I think it’s inevitable that authors put a bit of themselves into everything they write. However, the only thing in the Star Harbor series that was modeled after something real is the town. I grew up in New England, and as a young woman was fortunate to live and work on Cape Cod. The town of Star Harbor is based on Falmouth (you heard it here first, folks!), and while some of Falmouth’s topography can be found in Deep Autumn Heat and the subsequent books in the series, none of the stores or buildings mentioned in the books are based on actual locations. I will also say that none of my characters are modeled after real people. Not even a little bit! Which is why I usually have such trouble when people ask me, “Who would play Seb in a movie?”

Katie: I would totally go to that movie! I peeked at your website and I love how you’ve made so many of the elements real, like the LM Kitchen! Clearly you love baking just like Lexie. Do you have a signature dish of your own? Perhaps coconut cake?

Elisabeth: Yes, I just love cooking and baking—especially baking! If I’m going to whip up something sweet, I make something chocolatey—like dense, rich brownies (Robert Linxe’s recipe is amazing). But then I eat them all (boo!). Unfortunately, Mr. B does not have a sweet tooth, so I end up baking for his poker group or his office to (a) keep my skills up; and (b) let someone else consume the calories. As far as cooking, I do have a signature dish of my own—a delicious stew made with ground beef, kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, onions, and loads of green and red peppers. It’s a variation of my mother’s recipe, and I usually serve it with gnocchi or pasta.

And yes, I make coconut cake. In order to get Lexie’s Coconut Cake recipe just right, I must have made that cake (or a close variation) about fifteen times. I felt really bad for Mr. B who had to sample each version and then take the leftovers into work. Here’s a picture with me and Lexie’s Coconut Cake at the debut release party for Deep Autumn Heat. The cake was completely devoured within minutes of slicing. The final recipe is printed at the back of Blaze of Winter. If you want the recipe for the gluten-free version, please email me!

Lexie's coconut cake

Me and Lexie’s Coconut Cake

Katie: Yes, I will have to try to make that cake! This book REALLY makes me wish that I could cook. I’d love to try those crab cakes they both make in the cook-off! What is your favorite food?

Elisabeth: Chocolate, in almost every form. But never with coffee. I hate coffee. *ducks the rotten tomatoes being thrown at computer screens everywhere*

Katie: No tomatoes from me – I’m not a big coffee drinker either, although I do enjoy the sweeter calorie-filled versions…

You started off the book with a poem: The Legend of the Lorelei. Will we be seeing more of the pirate theme throughout the series?

Elisabeth: Absolutely. The pirate theme ties all four novels together. I am a sucker for a good legend, and the Massachusetts Gold Coast pirates fit into Star Harbor just perfectly. It was also important for me to better connect the heroines in the series, given that they’re not related by blood (like the Grayson brothers).

Katie: I love the Grayson brothers! I have already started reading Blaze of WinterTheo’s story—and I see that you have the other brothers’ stories planned out for 2013! Whose story is next and can you share any details about it?

Elisabeth: Actually, I really enjoyed writing all of the brothers. If you’ve started in on Blaze of Winter, you’ve probably realized that it’s a more introspective story than Deep Autumn Heat. It’s wintertime, so Theo and Avery have a lot of time to think about themselves and about each other. And solve a mystery. And fall in love, of course.

Cole’s story, Long Simmering Spring, comes out May 13, 2013, and has the distinction of containing the hottest sex scene I’ve written (to date). Here’s the official blurb:

Julie Kensington grew up in the same small town as the Grayson brothers and remembers when the boys were nothing but trouble. As teenagers, Cole’s rugged sex appeal set Julie’s heart ablaze, but she did her best to ignore it. Now a grown woman with a medical degree, Julie still can’t resist her searing attraction to the roughest, toughest Grayson. He’s ex-military, tormented, and sexier than ever, but are his wounds too deep to be healed by her loving, gentle touch?

Even back in high school, straight-arrow Julie had a way of making Cole think twice about his bad-boy lifestyle. When Julie decides she’s finally ready to embrace her wild side, Cole knows he is just the man to show her the way, unleashing years of pent-up desire. Neither of them counted on falling in love, but when Cole’s demons threaten to derail their relationship, it’s up to Julie to show him that together, they can overcome the past . . . and build a future.

 

Val’s story, Slow Summer Burn, will follow on August 12, 2013. Readers have been waiting a long time for both Cole’s and Val’s stories, and I hope the books don’t disappoint!

Katie: I have definitely become a fan of the series and will be reading both Cole and Val’s stories! We recently had a post here at K&W about our top reads of the year. If you had to choose your favorite books of 2012, what would you choose?

Elisabeth: Thank goodness you said books, plural, because choosing just one would be obscenely difficult. There are plenty of books I really enjoyed this past year, but a few really stood out:

Bossypants by Tina Fey. I have a girl-crush on Tina Fey and I’m not ashamed to admit it. She’s smart, funny, and a working mom, all of which comes through loud and clear in her intelligent, hilarious prose. That pretty much nails it for me. This book was published in 2011, but I read it in 2012, so that counts, right?

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. Loved this one. This book was also published in 2011 and I read it in 2012 (sensing a pattern here?). It’s a love letter to NYC, totally Gatsby-esque, with gorgeous prose and thoughtful characterizations that linger long after the book is done.

On to the romance, which will all be 2012, I promise: The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst, About Last Night by Ruthie Knox, Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr, and Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis. As you might surmise, I read a lot of contemporary romance.

Katie: I have to say, I like contemporary romance a lot more than I ever thought I would. Everyone interviewed on Kindles & Wine has to answer these last two questions: If you had to choose: Kindle/eBook or print? (Don’t worry, we don’t discriminate on the basis of preferred book format!)

Elisabeth: Okay, you are not going to like my answer because I use both for different reasons, and I definitely wouldn’t give one up for the other. For my work as a writing coach (I teach literature, too), I absolutely need to have paper copies because I’m annotating, flipping back and forth, and pointing out passages for discussion, all of which are much more difficult on a digital device. For pleasure, I read everything on my Nook. It’s so convenient. And light!

Katie: And finally, what’s your favorite kind of wine? Or, if you’re not a wine drinker, what’s your beverage of choice?

Elisabeth: Ah, finally, an easy question! (Though I am from Connecticut, I live in Northern California, land of Great Wine.) I do enjoy a complicated, bold Syrah, but lately, I’ve been gravitating towards Gewürztraminers and Muscats. I’m really not sure why other than that they taste good and are easy drinking!

Thank you so much for having me as a guest on Kindles & Wine. I’ve really enjoyed being here! I’m happy to say I have one rare paper copy of Deep Autumn Heat to give away to an awesome K&W commenter. I love hearing about what others are reading, so why don’t you let me know what is on your TBR list for 2013?

 
 

Deep Autumn Heat Giveaway

Like she said above, Elisabeth is generously offering a rare print copy of Deep Autumn Heat to ONE lucky Kindles & Wine reader.

To enter for your chance to win, you must:

  1. Be a follower of our blog (click the floating Follow button in the lower-right corner of your browser), AND
  2. Hit the comments and tell Elisabeth what is on your TBR list for 2013.

Please note: This contest will close on Tuesday, January 15 at 11:59 PM (CST) and the winner will be notified via email on Wednesday, January 16.

 
Elisabeth BarrettABOUT THE AUTHOR
Raised in a sleepy little Connecticut town, Elisabeth draws on her upbringing to write small-town romances. Her summers spent living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard were the inspiration for the Star Harbor series, which kicked off with Deep Autumn Heat and Blaze of Winter, and continues with Long Simmering Spring.
 
Currently, Elisabeth lives in Northern California with her husband and three children. Find her online: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads