Fresh Find: Sips & Strokes by Sarah Skye

I am over the moon about the cover reveal for this book. Sips & Strokes is the whisky-flavoured, fake-relationship delight by Sarah Skye, the debut book collaboration between two of my favourite romance authors, Sarah Smith and Skye McDonald from Quick & Dirty Romance.

And because it’s by these two troublemakers, you know this book will be full of gushy lovey-dovey moments, stunning sexy exchanges, and a great attitude and writing style. Here’s the scoop:

Sips & Strokes
Sarah Skye
Publication date: April 20th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

Lily Maldonado is screwed. The people-pleasing art professor has been roped into attending her ex’s wedding by her overbearing, image-obsessed parents. Even worse? The woman her ex is marrying is Lily’s childhood bully. She can’t back out, but she’s not sure she can face this nightmare solo.

Enter Calder Ross. The sexy Scot’s abs have graced the cover of many romance novel bestsellers, but the reformed playboy needs a more serious image if he wants to land his dream job as the spokesman for Sonce Whisky. Modeling for Lily’s figure drawing class is step one in the right direction.

After their very adorable—and very naked—meet-cute, Lily and Calder realize that they can be each other’s saving grace. Lily can bring Calder to the wedding as her fake boyfriend to ward off pitying stares. Calder can bring Lily to Sonce events as his fake girlfriend to show he’s the responsible, relationship-minded guy that execs want as the face of their brand.

But the longer Lily and Calder play pretend, the harder it becomes to deny the very real chemistry between them. Will they play it safe and stick to their fake roles? Or will they throw out the playbook completely and risk it all for love?

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I’m playing Anti-Belle Thanksgiving this month!

Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

I can’t even.

How is it November already? Feels like this year blitzed and dragged at the same time.

Hurdles have abounded over the past 11 months (and more); some visible, some invisible. The pandemic turned up the pressure and thrust a whole lotta things into focus.

I don’t know about anyone else, but gratitude seems to be the one constant that gets me through a difficult challenge. I take stock of what I have, make time to meditate on it all, and remember that how much we have will never matter if we don’t know how to appreciate it.

This is what got me started on a Project 365 (which I’ll talk more about in a future post), and why I plan to participate in Skye McDonald‘s and jennsbookvibes‘s Instagram hashtag game, #antibellethanksgiving, this month.

#antibellethanksgiving themes: Nov 16: Blessings in disguise, Nov 17: Your cheering squad, Nov 18: What’s your pleasure?, Nov 19: Share your table, Nov 20: What gets you through?
#antibellethanksgiving meme starts 16 Nov!

Anti-Belle Thanksgiving is a week of love, gratitude, and community between readers and romantics—especially those of us who loved Skye McDonald’s Not Suitable For Work! From Skye’s newsletter:

I’m partnering with Jennifer from “JennsBookVibes” to host a week of thankfulness over on Instagram. Daily from November 16-20, you can enter to win a prize by following us and playing the prompt of the day. At the end of the week, a grand prize winner will get their pick of one of 3 Nashville-based business prize packs!
What will you pick? Christie Cookies? Bongo Java Coffee? Jewelry from Strings for Hope? The choice will be yours!
Mark your calendar for November 16-20 and be sure to follow me on Instagram to play along!

The game starts 16 Nov 2020. Let’s play together 💞

Fresh Find: Not Suitable For Work by Skye McDonald — cover reveal, interview & giveaway

So, this Skye McDonald person—I’ve been following her on twitter for ages. When I found out we were releasing books within days of each other, and that her heroine is also named Celeste, I totally took it as a sign that she was a certifiably Cool Person™.

Hah, jokes, she was already cool when she tweeted about a Talisker single malt.

Her book, Not Suitable for Work, comes out 24th September. While we were chatting about giveaway particulars, she did me the honour of answering a couple of questions about her hot new web designer romance. Check it out…

JL: What inspired your latest book, Not Suitable for Work?

SKYE MCDONALD: First and mostly, Nashville inspired me! Growing up, Nashville was quiet. I longed to get away to a big city, and now that I have, Nashville has exploded into a hip, vibrant place to be. On top of that, I had a vision of an empty office with two desks facing each other and thought, who would be there and why? From there, Celeste and Ben became clear to me.

JL: How much of your own life did you draw upon for your Anti-Belle series?

SKYE: Oooh, tough question. When I read over the books, I see very clearly certain aspects of my personality that shine in my heroines. However, their journeys are very much their own. Some of my most fun side characters to write take inspiration from people I’ve known, and of course my hometown (Nashville) sits center-stage in the series. But the relationships and the romances are pure inspiration, and not at all based on my own love story/stories.

JL: Who would be your movie star picks to play Celeste and Ben?

SKYE: Haha, I don’t often model my characters on people, but if I got to choose I’d say Jennifer Lawrence and Channing Tatum. 

(Bloody good choices too!)

An illustrated cityscape on the cover of "Not Suitable For Work" by Skye McDonald

Not Suitable For Work (Anti-Belle, #1) by Skye McDonald

Available: September 24th 2019 
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

The competition is stiff. The stakes are high. And what happens on Halloween night is definitely not suitable for work.

Celeste Greene and Ben Addison didn’t realize the internship-to-hire opportunity was actually a contest, but neither of these talented web designers can afford to walk away. After betrayal destroyed her fabulous life in New York City, Celeste moved home to Nashville, Tennessee broke and broken. Restarting her career is her only goal. An ice queen who drove her partner to cheat can’t even think about friends or fun. Celeste’s talent and desperation should make the competition an easy win—if only she could stop gawking at her rival long enough to concentrate.

Ben Addison doesn’t want to be a corporate climber or live in a high-rise downtown. He just needs a steady paycheck after foolishly investing everything in a pretty face and a shot at a music career. He has no business fantasizing about his competitor, even if she is the most stunning—and guarded—woman he’s ever met. 

This contest can’t rival the chemistry between these two, but is the risk worth the reward? With a haunting past and her future on the line, Celeste must decide what she wants, what she needs, and what her heart is really worth.

About Skye McDonald

Author Skye McDonald says hello

Skye spent a lot of her adolescence dreaming about living in a hip, urban town full of adventures that occurred outside of the local mall. (Hers was Rivergate, in case you know Nashville well!) Now that she’s been living away from Nashville for years, the once sleepy Southern city has become just that place, and she returns to visit whenever she can. Her seven-novel-and-growing Anti-Belle series is centered in her hometown, partly as a homage and partly because these days Nashville is too hip to ignore.

In the real world, Skye is an English teacher in Brooklyn, New York, and has lived there long enough to consider herself a true New Yorker—even though she proudly cheers for the Tennessee Vols (her alma mater) and loves being a GRITS (Girl Raised in the South).

Skye’s philosophy is to live with your heart and mind open. She believes in the beauty of this world and seeks adventure and joy as a daily practice. If “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans,” as John Lennon said, then she’d rather leave the schedule open and let life happen.

Enter the giveaway!

Two lucky winners will receive a digital copy of Skye McDonald’s new book, Not Suitable For Work, in the ISWAK giveaway, along with a bundle of handcrafted goodies, more fresh romance reads and a signed paperback copy of It Starts With A Kiss.

Check out the giveaway post for details on how to enter.

Giveaway — It Starts With A Kiss

To celebrate the release of my upcoming sci-fi office romance, It Starts With A Kiss, I’m running a very special giveaway draw 💝

Two lucky winners will receive a signed paperback copy of the novel, along with a bundle of lovely treats featuring the work of local crafters Renée Botman, More Sundays Please and Handmade Gems; a digital download of Skye McDonald’s latest novel; and this year’s sweet ebook releases by fellow Kyanite authors Sophia LeRoux, A. R. Vagnetti and Crystal Kirkham.

What’s in the prize pack?

The rules are simple:

  1. You may enter by email, instagram, or both — yes, this means you can enter twice!
  2. To be eligible for entry by email, you must be subscribed to my mailing list. You may only enter once by email.
  3. To be eligible for entry by instagram, you must be following me on instagram. You may only enter once by instagram.
  4. If you win, you must be okay with telling me your postal address so I know where to send your prize!

How to enter by email

If you’re already a Dot Dot Dot subscriber, you’ll have received instructions already. Just reply to that email with answers to both questions.

If you’re not yet a Dot Dot Dot subscriber, it’s easy—just sign up, confirm your subscription, and the instructions will be sent straight to your inbox 💌

Make sure you get it done and dusted by 29 September 2019.

How to enter by instagram

Check out the giveaway post on my profile for instagram entry details!

A couple kissing. Text in image: Giveaway, "It Starts With A Kiss".

Good luck, my lovelies. I look forward to reading your entries! 👀