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It is pretty obvious that I got the opportunity to do a review of Susan Mallery’s newest book Three Little Words. What might not be instantly obvious is that I am super late to the party. Hello? This is book TWELVE in the Fool’s Gold series, and I’ve never read any of them (GASP!). Want to get a rookie’s thoughts on jumping into this series so late in the game, the small town of Fool’s Gold itself, and the newest book in the series? Read on…

THREE LITTLE WORDS cover

Publication Date: TODAY!! July 30, 2013
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Fool’s Gold, Book 12
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Source & Format: Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley; digital
 
Official Summary
Can first love turn into the real deal in a sizzling new Fool’s Gold story from New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery? 
 
Isabel Carlisle thinks she’s cursed in the romance department. Her teenage crush, Ford Hendrix, ignored all her letters. Her husband left her for another…man. So Isabel has come home to dust off her passion for fashion and run the family bridal shop until her parents are ready to sell it. Then she’ll pursue her real dreams. At least, that’s the plan, until sexy, charming Ford returns and leaves her feeling fourteen all over again….
 
Seeing Isabel all grown up hits bodyguard trainer Ford like a sucker punch. Back when heartbreak made him join the military, her sweet letters kept him sane. Now he can’t take his eyes—or his lips—off her. The man who gave up on love has a reason to stay in Fool’s Gold forever—if three little words can convince Isabel to do the same….
 
 

Emily‘s Review

I know, I know, I must live under a rock to not have read Susan Mallery before this review. I was a Fool’s Gold virgin. I went into Three Little Words with no expectations at all. I am happy to report that I totally “get it” and fell in love with the town, the heroine, and the hero of Three Little Words.

Isabel Beebe is in Fool’s Gold to recover from a NOT messy divorce and save up for her dream of opening her own boutique in New York. She agrees to run the family’s bridal shop while her parents travel, but she is mentally already back in New York. Well, except she can’t stop thinking about Ford Hendrix. You know, the one she declared her undying love for when she was 14. All through her adolescence, she sent “diary-type” letters to him while he went on mission after mission as a Navy SEAL, and he never once responded. So when he moves into the apartment over her parents’ garage, she feels the need to clear the air and make sure he knows she is all grown up and completely over him.

Except then Ford needs Isabel’s help to dissuade his matchmaking mother. Ford is pretty sure he isn’t capable of love, so while he is busy not falling in love, Isabel is busy making sure Ford knows she is over him…you can maybe guess where this is all going. I soooo love how this book played out!

OHHHHH…and guess what? We get a “two-fer”! Besides Ford and Isabel’s story line, we also get to watch Ford’s brother Kent make his moves on sexy, confident, and deadly Consuelo Ly. Reading about a supposedly shy, single father math teacher and a former military-special-operative-turned-self-defense instructor hookup is a fantastic read on its own. Having it included in Three Little Words is just gravy!

There were a few topics I thought were slightly unbelievable from a “real world” perspective in Three Little Words – Isabel’s sexual naïveté and Ford’s seeming resilience and absolute silence regarding his military career to name two. But ultimately, this did not take anything away from the story. There was just the right level of lightness to make this an easy read and a great romance.

I was also initially concerned I might get lost in the plentiful characters of Fool’s Gold. While there were subtle references to previous books and story lines – nothing made me feel lost or behind. Three Little Words can be read as a stand alone without having read the eleven prior books – but fair warning, you probably will want to read them all afterward!

Bottom Line

I loved LOVED loved Ford! He is the perfect mesh of snarky, sexy, and reluctant sweetness – maybe my personal hero trifecta! Add in Isabel and the crazy town of Fool’s Gold and you are assured a great read (and then eleven more!). If you are looking for an easy, hot, fun romance, Three Little Words fits the bill!

Rating: A-

Wine/Beverage Pairing: I’m going to choose beer as the beverage pairing. Ford is a beer guy, and since I have a little crush on him now, I’m going to give him what he wants.

Buy Digital:  Kindle  |  Nook
 
Buy Print:  Amazon  |  B&N
 
Click HERE for a $1 off printable coupon (expires 8/9/13)
 

 

Interview with Susan Mallery

Emily from K&W: Hi, Susan! Thanks so much for being on Kindles & Wine today! I enjoyed reading Three Little Words and loved meeting all the folks from Fool’s Gold. And I am super excited to have you visit on your release day!

Susan Mallery: Thanks so much for having me! I appreciate everything you do here at Kindles & Wine to support the books you love…and pairing books with wine only makes you more fabulous! I’m going to raise a toast to you right now.

I’m so glad you enjoyed Three Little Words. Readers have been asking for Ford Hendrix’s story ever since he was mentioned in Almost Perfect (Book 2), and I’m really thrilled with what a great guy he turned out to be. And giving his brother Kent a romance in the same book was a lot of fun, too.

Emily: {scrambles to get a glass of wine to toast back} Salut to you too! So now that we are relaxed, let’s get to some questions. 

When I read series books set in a small town like Fool’s Gold, with a plethora of characters who frequently bump into each other and interact, I always wonder how you keep everything straight. While researching for the review and interview, I discovered that Fool’s Gold has a website! (Love it, btw!). Do you have spreadsheets, lists, and maps of Fool’s Gold? How do you remember all the particulars?

Susan: I have what I call the Fool’s Gold bible, which is put together by my assistant Jenel. She reads every book, makes notes of the details about each character—everything from eye color to the car they drive to the formative experiences of their youth. Even the animals are included! I have one list of characters alphabetically by first name, another by last name, another by occupation…it’s quite an undertaking, keeping track of an entire town, let me tell you!

Readers can get a free “Who’s Who in Fool’s Gold” character list on the Fool’s Gold website. And if you go to the About Fool’s Gold page, you’ll find a map of the town and a PDF list of all of the festivals.

Emily: Jenel sounds like keeper! I am a list and spreadsheet kind of girl, so your “bible” sounds right up my alley.

Let’s get into your newest book. Isabel, your heroine, is temporarily running her family’s wedding shop when we meet her in Three Little Words. I thought the writing about her job and how a bridal store operates was thought-provoking and fun. How did you go about researching the ins and outs of running a wedding shop? 

paper-moonSusan: I watched far too many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress. “No, honey, you can’t watch sports right now. I’m doing research!” I’ve also spoken to many small business owners about the unique challenges that retailers face. You have to have a true entrepreneurial spirit to operate your own business, even one that’s been in your family for years, like Paper Moon Wedding Dresses has been in Isabel’s.

Emily: I love Say Yes to the Dress and that you can call watching it research! :)  Ford left Fool’s Gold when Isabel was a young teen. Through a steady stream of letters that followed him around the globe, Ford is kept abreast of Isabel growing up. I loved these letters! Can you share with us how you thought up this unique aspect of their relationship?

Susan: Stories of couples falling in love with each other from half a world away during World War II have always captivated me, and I wanted to bring that romantic idea into the 21st century. The thing is, though, in Three Little Words, Ford never wrote back. Not once. Isabel started writing to him when she was 14 and he was a grown man who had just joined the military. He wasn’t about to start writing to a kid. But he watched her grow up in those letters, and she kept him connected in a very meaningful way to the way of life he was fighting to protect. When they see each other again for the first time in almost 15 years, he knows way more about her than any man should! She told him secrets only a diary should know. 

Emily: I love how the letters move Isabel and Ford’s story forward – and how you worked a WWII concept into Three Little Words. While reading this book, I saw that you are writing Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold Cookbook, which “features recipes from beloved characters in the land of happy endings as well as original romance.” Are you the mastermind behind the recipes in the Fool’s Gold Cookbook? Please tell us about how the idea for a cookbook happened! 

Susan: A few years ago, I started posting recipes on my website and got a great response from readers. Lots of comfort food, everything quick and easy because the truth is that I, like most women, don’t really have a lot of time to cook. I’d rather spend my time writing than spend hours in the kitchen. At some point, my editor said, “Do you realize how many recipes you have up there?” She’s the one who came up with the idea of putting together a Fool’s Gold cookbook, and I was thrilled. Harlequin then hired a professional recipe developer to look at what I had, perfect some, supplement with others, and together, we put together a really amazing cookbook, which will be out on August 27. There are 150 recipes organized by season, with lots of beautiful color photographs. Plus, I wrote a Fool’s Gold novella specifically for the cookbook, with a love story that you won’t find anywhere else.

Emily: I’m a cookbook collector, so the Fool’s Gold Cookbook is now on my “must have” list – and it rocks that we get a novella within! Hopefully the romances in Fool’s Gold continue on and on! I read somewhere that there are some football players coming to town (YES!). What else do you have in store for Fool’s Gold, and how long do we have to wait to find out what happens next?

Susan: After the release of the cookbook, next up is Christmas on 4th Street, which will be released in gift-sized hardcover and ebook on September 24. Noelle Perkins is living her dream of opening The Christmas Attic in Fool’s Gold, but her dream is threatened when, during the holiday rush, her employees would rather ski than work. So she accepts an offer of help from a very sexy Army doctor on leave and soon has visions of mistletoe dancing in her head.

In 2014, three former football players move their PR firm to Fool’s Gold. I’m writing their books now, and these men are really incredible! After a lifetime of being the best at what they do, they have that confident, sexy swagger that the women of Fool’s Gold find completely irresistible.

Release dates for next year haven’t been finalized yet, but readers can sign up for my mailing list at www.susanmallery.com in order to get an email on release day so they don’t miss any of my books.

Emily: I’ll be spending some time on your previous Fool’s Gold books, so I can wait a little longer for your football players! Onto some random questions… Your press kit says you love coffee – me too! Describe your perfect cup of joe – Black? Flavored creamer? Mocha? 

Susan: I’m a Starbucks girl. My normal order is a tall latte, but my favorite is the pumpkin latte in the fall.

Emily: Tell us your ideal book-writing conditions. What type of environment produces your best words? 

Susan: I prefer to work in a quiet office with no distractions and no one else around other than my adorable little dog, who is the most nonjudgmental listener I know.

susan-mallery-and-nikki

Emily: So true – I find my adorable big dog is pretty nonjudgmental as well! 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. :))

Susan: You might think this is a cop-out, but the truth is, I really don’t care. For me, the story is the thing. I don’t care if the story is on paper or in pixels or read aloud – paperback, ebook, audiobook – it’s all the same to me. I just want a story that will carry me away.

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

Susan: I am most certainly a wine drinker. When given a choice between red and white, I’ll almost always choose red even if it’s not the “right” wine to serve with that particular meal. And when given a choice between reds, I’ll usually go for a cabernet.

 

Three Little Words Blog Tour Giveaway

Today’s giveaway opportunity is different from what we usually do on Kindles & Wine. It is set up through the Three Little Words blog tour, which we were lucky to be a part of today! Here’s the official info:

Enter the Three Little Words blog tour contest once a day every day from July 30 through August 11 for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or BN.com gift card! And because this blog was set up by Fool’s Gold Cheerleader Lesley, if you win, she’ll win a gift card, too! Click HERE to enter.
 

We also have a special treat. Susan will be stopping by the blog today to respond to readers’ comments. So be sure to hit the comments to wish her a happy release day and ask her a question, if you’ve got one.

 
Susan MalleryABOUT THE AUTHOR
With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.
 
Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com.