Category Archives: Romantic Reads

Five Recommended Books With a Happy Ending

Looking for your next great read? Well, here you’ll see five recommended books I’ve read over the past few months. As a bonus, how about a chance to win two books while you’re here?

In last week’s post, Can Romance Novels Rescue You?, we chatted about romantic stories and how the hope they provide can give you a much-needed respite from your everyday worries. Whatever your current emotional state, perhaps there’s a title or two among these five recommended books that hits the literacy spot for you. But be cautioned, my reading tastes are eclectic. Some of these stories are a tad more spicy or angst-ridden than others, and many are older releases mixed in with a few hot off the press. The two things these five recommended books all have in common, though, are the promise of a beautiful happily-ever-after…and my bookish girl stamp of approval.

five recommended books

Contenders for a Place on Your Keeper Shelf

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

Heroic bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street. There’s nothing in the bag to indicate who it belongs to, although there’s all sorts of other things in it. Laurent feels a strong impulse to find the owner and tries to puzzle together who she might be from the contents of the bag. Especially a red notebook with her jottings, which really makes him want to meet her. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?

When We Were Strangers by Pamela Schoenwaldt

Even after her beloved mother’s passing, 20-year-old Irma longs to stay in her Abruzzo mountain village, plying her needle. But too poor and plain to marry and subject to growing danger in her own home, she risks rough passage to America and workhouse servitude to achieve her dream of making dresses for gentlewomen.

In the raw immigrant quarters and with the help of an entrepreneurial Irish serving girl, ribbon-decked Polish rag man and austere Alsatian dressmaker, Irma begins to stitch together a new life . . . until her peace and self are shattered in the charred remains of the Great Chicago Fire. Enduring a painful recovery, Irma reaches deep within to find that she has even more to offer the world than her remarkable ability with a needle and thread.

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He’s unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier’s life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie… 

Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt

Jackson Daughtry’s jobs as a paramedic and part-owner of a local café keep him busy—but the single dad’s number one priority is raising his little girl with love and small-town values. And when his business partner’s hotshot lawyer niece comes to town planning to disrupt their lives by moving her aunt away, Jackson has to set Melanie Harper straight. When circumstances force them to work side by side in the coffee shop, Jackson slowly discovers what put the sadness in Melanie’s pretty brown eyes. Now it’ll take all his faith—and a hopeful five-year-old—to show the city gal that she’s already home.

The Letter by Kathryn Hughes

The Letter follows the life of Tina in the 1970s who seeks respite from her abusive marriage by volunteering at a charity shop. One day, while sorting through the pockets of a second-hand suit, she comes across an old letter. It is still firmly sealed and un-franked. Unable to resist the pull of curiosity, Tina opens the letter. It was written on 4th September 1939. She is so moved by the contents and bemused as to why the letter was never delivered, she embarks on a quest to find out what became of the writer and his intended recipient.

The mystery of how this love letter ended up in Tina’s hands is also uncovered through Billy’s story from the early 1940s. He writes a letter that will change his life forever, unaware that it will not be read for another 34 years, and then by a complete stranger.


#jolysebarnettgiveaway Winners

Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse at my keeper shelf with that list of five recommended books, it’s time to announce the winners from Week One of my second annual Christmas in July #jolysebarnettgiveaway. They are:

  • Pamela Spaulding-Paterakis (chosen from my Facebook Author Page)
  • PJ Sharon (chosen from last week’s blog post comment)
  • Shari Bartholomew (chosen from last week’s blog post comment)

Woohoo! Ladies, I’m so excited for you! Please email or PM me by Wednesday, July 19th, and I’ll get you set up with your two new reads.

Your Chance to Win a Paperback and eBook

For your chance to be one of three lucky romance book winners this week, comment with the title of a recent fave of yours that includes that all-important HEA. I’ll select two winners here, and another over on my Jolyse Barnett Facebook Page. Feel free to enter at both sites.

Three lucky winners each week in July! If you enter, you could win one romance paperback and an ebook copy of my #1 Amazon Bestseller, Christmas Light. Just saying. Happy reading, and good luck! ox Jolyse

(International winners will receive ebooks only. Sorry.)

five recommended books

Can Romance Novels Rescue You?

Romance novels have heroines and heroes, so I suppose it makes sense they have the power to save us. Right?

We’ve all been there. Life is sailing along, then one day we hit a rock and we’re fighting against getting swallowed up by ten foot waves. We do what we have to, and at the end of the day, we turn to that great escape read to help us forget the pain and difficulties. Even if for a little while. Since you’ve found your way here, I’m guessing you might understand what I’m talking about. You know, bookworm to bookworm. We all could use a little book therapy now and again, and romance is the most optimistic, hope-filled genre I know.

That’s why I’m happy to announce that your summer #JolyseBarnettGiveaway is here! If you’re game for a chance to WIN TWO ROMANCE NOVELS this week, you’ve come to the right place. To enter, simply write a comment after reading this short post. (Psst. Writing can be a lonely pursuit at times, and I really do love to hear from readers, so please don’t be shy.)


To show my appreciation for your precious summer minutes, there will be TWO weekly winners selected from the comment entries left between now and Wednesday, July 12th. Winners will be announced on my July 13th blog.

For a THIRD chance to be one of my weekly winners through the month of July, visit my Jolyse Barnett Facebook Page after you leave a comment here.

But first, a little catch-up…

“We have a situation here.”

That statement pretty much sums up the first half of 2017 for my family. Since the majority of issues involved my children, I’ll keep the details low key. I can, however, share the wonderful news that both have bounced back. Once again, my children are healthy and happy.

My children are my heart. So happy they’re happy!

Escape into Reading

During our family’s struggles this winter, I kept writing–even if it was only a little each day. I love my character and stories. (If I’m a new author to you, feel free to read a sample or two on my Jolyse Barnett Books page.) When I was just too exhausted to create, I escaped into other people’s stories. In all, I’ve read almost fifty novels since January! Not only did I read many terrific contemporary romances, but I also discovered a handful of new-to-me authors of commercial, women’s, and literary fiction. When you check back next Thursday for the list of winners from this week’s entries,  stick around for a minute to read the list of my favorites. Feel free to share your recommended recent reads then, too.

Lose yourself this summer in a great romance!

Take the Good with the Bad

With the arrival of Spring came a long-awaited family vacation. So much fun! We loved all ten incredible, relaxing days together on our Western Caribbean cruise.


Recharged, I returned home all fired up, and I worked diligently to finish my work-in-progress. Since then, things have been looking up, highlights including our son’s Senior prom and high school graduation.

My babies are all grown up.

Now that summer is here, I’m home full-time and loving everything about my new writing office. Four projects in progress…

I hope you’ve enjoyed your journey through the first half of 2017. If not, I hope that you’ve found solace and hope in great romance reads. Go, bookworms!

Now it’s your turn. Share something about your first half of 2017, or a goal you have for the remaining months…


Audubon House: 3 Surprising Facts About This Popular Attraction

Audubon House
Audubon House

Audubon House of Key West

John Audubon never lived at the Audubon House. In fact, none of his relatives ever resided there, either.  It turns out that the home was built by John H. Geiger. He lived in it with his family, and it was handed down through the generations to their descendants until the mid-1900s. At that time, the house was sold to a Key West native, and it was they who decided to convert it into a museum honoring the famed bird naturalist.

Audubon House
Historical Marker Outside the Audubon House
Audubon House
Sketch of Black Cormorant

Flamingo tongue was a delicacy served to the Geiger’s house guests upon their visits. However, the black cormorant was likely the meat they feasted on the most, since it was said to be “the best bird to eat, much like the black duck of the north” according to Henry A Patterson’s diary. I found that historical tidbit a tad ironic, considering the Audubon Society’s mission has always focused on the protection of waterfowl populations. But I can’t be too upset with the Geigers for that particular transgression. After all, they did serve their guests wine from a really cool wine chest.

Audubon House
Dining Room of Geiger Home
Audubon House
Wine Chest in Dining Room

Women who lived at the Audubon house enjoyed a life of luxury. According to a letter written by Ellen Anderson in 1849 and later published in Echoes From a Distant Frontier, she woke up between 6-7 AM, ate a leisurely breakfast made by her servants, then taught the children for about an hour before she sewed. Dinner was at 2 PM. After her meal, she would go out and return at 6 PM for the family’s last meal of the day. Of course, her day wasn’t complete without another stroll around the piazzas.

Perhaps Mrs. Anderson’s description shouldn’t have caught me by surprise, but it did. Key West was isolated during the 1800s, but apparently the wealthy family managed to create a pampered lifestyle. Of course, their servants’ lives were a harsh contrast, and it struck me that Key West hasn’t always been known as a proponent of their present-day “One Human Family” motto. Then, too, I was reminded of Hemingway’s novel, To Have and Have Not, which featured prominently in my heroine’s adventures in One More Sunset. (Scroll down for One More Sunset‘s big cover reveal in anticipation of its re-release October 3rd.)

Audubon House
Master Bedroom in Geiger Home


Audubon House
The Drawing Room

Next time we’ll trek outside the property and explore the flora of the Audubon House’s Tropical Gardens, my absolute favorite part of the grounds.

Audubon House

Final Winner of Summer of Love Giveaway

Congratulations to Denise H.! You’re the winner of my fourth and final Summer of Love Giveaway. Contact me to receive your autographed copy of Jennifer Gracen’s paperback book, Someone Like You and assorted Jolyse Barnett swag. Thanks again to everyone who entered. I enjoyed spreading a little summer love and I wish you all a wonderful autumn.

One More Sunset Big Cover Reveal!

I’m so excited to share the first piece of my romantic suspense’s brand new, beautiful cover! What do you think? Eager to see more? I promise there are more pieces to reveal throughout the day. See you later!

One More Sunset Cover Art

“She drank him in like the first sip of caffeine on a groggy morning, sunshine filling her soul. If she were greedy when it came to Dylan, then so be it. She wanted him. “




“I’m here for you Abby. You’re not going to scare me away.”

Was that a catch she heard in his voice? She opened the truck door, plopped onto the leather seat, and promptly burst into tears. Great, he’d totally ruined everything. He was too damned sweet. With her luck, she’d fall for him like she had from that infernal machine. Hard.



“The elevator stopped, and the doors slid open. She stared at a man running down the hall toward her. Her hair stood on end, and she held her breath, unable to think, unable to look away. Was it him? She jabbed the elevator button again and again, each press of her finger using more force than the last. Close. Close. Close. Should she have walked the three flights instead? She shuddered, recalling another stairwell in another building not long ago… No, the stairs weren’t any safer.”



One More Sunset's NEW Cover!!
One More Sunset’s NEW Cover!!

Abby trailed her hand down his tan, muscled back. Manual labor agreed with him. Dylan was even more gorgeous in the early morning light, his hair mussed and face scruffy. She gazed at his peaceful expression, tempted to kiss the freckles on the bridge of his nose but unwilling to wake him.


Now it’s your turn. Did you experience any surprises during your travels this past summer?




3 Easy Steps To The Most Stunning Flower Photos

Stunning flower photos? Well, I’ll let you be the judge when it comes to mine. I’m not a professional photog, but I’ve always been the family shutterbug on vacation and during holidays. And once we began our annual trek to Orlando each spring starting in 2005–which just so happened to overlap with EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival–I also become known in my little world for my flower photo obsession.

Stunning Flower Photos
EPCOT Flowers w/Backdrop

Unlike the other how-to articles about taking flower photos, I don’t know much about fancy cameras and can’t teach you about perspective. I switched out my trusty Canon a few years ago in favor of a Smartphone camera, and I’d never so much as read a how-to article related to photography until today, when I read a few to ensure I was bringing you a fresh take on the subject.

Stunning Flower Photos
EPCOT Bougainvillea

A decade of trial-and-error and literally hundreds upon hundreds of flower photos in the name of fun have helped me master a few tricks for capturing images that, at times, might just rival some of those stunning flower photos taken by professionals.

Stunning Flower Photo
Taken in my front yard…

So, whether you want to take pictures for art’s sake or memory-keeping, or you simply enjoy looking at pretty flowers, here are my three easy steps to help you see the subject through a different, stunning lens.

Stunning Flower Photos STEP 1:  COLOR

Stunning Flower Photos
Fuchsia Azaleas
  • Does the flower’s color pop out at you?
  • Is the flower itself an unusual shade or hue that draws you in, surprises you, or fills you with happiness?
  • If you respond yes to any of the above questions, then you likely have an excellent candidate for a memorable photo.
  • My most popular flower photos are those with fuchsia, orange, purple, and yellow.
  • If you respond no to all of these questions, your flower might still be a good candidate if it possesses other qualities listed in Steps 2 or 3.

Stunning Flower Photos STEP 2:  CONTRAST

Stunning Flower Photos
Zoomed-in, Bird’s Eye View, Purple, Unique Texture

  • Is there one angle or distance from the flower that allows more of a contrast in color, lighting, or texture than others? Be sure to try eye-level, bird’s-eye view, off-kilter, zoomed in, or skyward, etc.
  • Does the same flower look prettier to you at certain times of the day, or in special weather conditions?
  • Is there an interesting backdrop to accentuate its beauty? (Remember to look at the flower from different vantage points.)
Stunning Flower Photos
White Azalea Textures

Stunning Flower Photos STEP 3:  CHARACTER

Stunning Flower Photos
Golden Hydrangea???

Once I let go of my Virgo approach to photography, I began to consider a flower’s character. I know it might sound silly, but one of the greatest surprises for me as an amateur photog was the realization that locating the perfect angle with the perfect, pristine flower wouldn’t necessarily equate to the most stunning flower photo. Turns out, some of my best flower photos are of imperfect or past-their-prime flowers.

Stunning Flower Photos
Bee on Flower

I can still remember my Honey teasing me about choosing to post a photo of our white hydrangea whose petals had begun to decay. But I thought they deserved one last shot and was amazed by the result. (Scroll back up to see the Decaying White Hydrangea…)

Stunning Flower Photos
Easter Lily

Perhaps it’s the flower’s unique shape, texture, or arrangement that  encourages the human eye to explore it further. Whatever the reason, my Golden Hydrangea experience has encouraged me to think outside the box when it comes which flowers are the “perfect” ones.

Stunning Flower Photos
Amazing Audubon Tropical Gardens

What about the Audubon Tropical Gardens?

No, I haven’t forgotten that I’d teased you all about sharing more photos from our recent getaway to Key West’s Audubon House & Tropical Gardens. But this little tutorial turned out to be way chattier than I’d planned, and I’ve yet to announce the Summer of Love Giveaway winner for this week. Besides, the history buff in me insists I also include a few shocking facts I learned about the house’s history to go along with the purty pics.

I hope you’ll join me then!

Winner of the Summer of Love Giveaway #3

Congratulations to Janine! You’re the random winner of my third Summer of Love Giveaway, featuring Jeannie Moon’s autographed copy of Until You, a Jeannie Moon canvas tote bag, and assorted Jolyse Barnett swag. Please contact me with your mailing address.

This is Jeannie’s release week for her contemporary romance novella, Truly, Madly, Deeply, too! If you’re a fan of Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay series, you’ll definitely want to check out Jeannie’s Barefoot Bay Kindle World books. (I was lucky enough to read an Advanced Reader Copy of this book, and I adored it. Just saying…)

Enter to Win the Summer of Love Giveaway #4

This week’s giveaway features the fab Jennifer Gracen, a woman referred to as “a hot new voice…definitely one to watch!” by RT Book Reviews. She generously donated a signed paperback of Someone Like You, the second book in her Harrisons series. Talk about hawt heroes and family dynamics! Each of her novels are stand-alones, so it’s not a concern if you haven’t read the first Harrison one yet. The lucky winner will also receive assorted Jolyse Barnett swag. (I love surprises like that, don’t you?)

Here’s an excerpt from Jen’s contemporary romance to whet your appetite:

Someone Like You_MMThe HARRISONS series -SOMEONE LIKE YOUBook Two

Pierce Harrison–yes, that Pierce Harrison, black sheep of the wealthy Harrison clan–has come home to his family’s luxurious Long Island compound. The big question is why the dangerously sexy soccer star agreed to coach a kids’ soccer team. His co-coach Abby McCord should be grateful. Instead she’s fending off some seriously smoldering advances from the scandal-ridden athlete. Good thing bad boys are so not her type . . .

Abby is definitely not lacking in passion, but the sweet-faced beauty needs to learn a thing or two about taking a team to the championship–and a whole lot about how to let a man into her once-broken heart. Pierce definitely knows how to make the moves, but will Abby trust that the bachelor the world has condemned as a scoundrel can settle down with the one woman who has taken hold of his heart?


Now it’s your turn..

What’s one of your hobbies that you could teach to others? Or is there a hobby you’d like to start, but for whatever reason you haven’t begun yet?

So…before you go, leave a comment, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the fourth of my Summer of Love giveaways! Good luck, and check back to see if you’ve won this cool prize courtesy of Jennifer Gracen! I’m excited to do my small part spreading a little summer love…

One winner will be selected at random from the comments and announced in the next blog post (Generally on Mondays, but subject to change due to life’s ups-and-downs…). The winner will have seven days after announcement to contact me via my website contact page and supply a valid US mailing address for the package to be mailed. Otherwise, a new winner will be selected. Thanks so much for playing!


Release Week Fun Recap — Enter to Win!

Release week fun for Text Me, Maybe, my first romantic comedy with Entangled’s Lovestruck imprint, is chock-ful of teasers, excerpts, behind-the-book trivia, and cool giveaways. In case you’ve missed any of the exciting news, here’s a recap of the highlights.

Release Week Fun Recap

Text Me Maybe Release
One of my TMM #tuesdayteaser memes
  • Harlequin Junkies Spotlight & Giveaway — An acrostic poem using the title of my new release, TMM trivia, and an excerpt from the “Hot Yoga” scene that dared give me all that trouble during the drafting stage.
  •  Jaunty Quills Guest Author Post — I share my Ultimate Fan Experience and invite you to share yours. (So far, there appears to be a tie between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fans. Just sayin.) There’s a giveaway, too, separate from the one listed just below.

Release Week Fun Giveaway…

Indiesage PR Blog Tour, August 8 – 26th — Enter my giveaway for a chance to win my NYC-themed gift package…souvenir pens, stationery, journal, bracelet, art, Broadway merchandise, an autographed paperback copy of Text Me, Maybe, Jolyse Barnett homemade lavender sugar scrub, and more!!!!!

Release Week Fun

And while you’re here…

why not hop over to my post, Pamplona Room, Fourth Book, & Summer of Love Giveaway, where all you have to do is comment to be entered for a chance to win an autographed copy of Jeannie Moon’s UNTIL YOU, a Jeannie Moon canvas tote bag, and Jolyse Barnett swag, including my homemade lavender sugar scrub.

Remember to check back Monday, when I’ll be blogging about:

  • The Audubon House and Tropical Gardens of Key West (OMG, wait till you see all the flower photos!)
  • The winner of my Summer of Love Giveaway #3 (Will it be you??)
  • Details for entering my Summer of Love Giveaway #4 — featuring the fab Jennifer Gracen this go-round, a woman referred to as “a hot new voice…definitely one to watch!” by RT Book Reviews. So don’t miss out. Check back here Monday to learn more!

Until then…

Good, luck and hope you have a wonderful weekend doing whatever you love!  oxo Jolyse



Pamplona Room, Fourth Book Release & Giveaway

Pamplona Room
View from Pamplona Room Balcony

Pamplona Room at Andrew’s Inn~ Wow!

Pamplona Room sounds so exotic, doesn’t it? Maybe the name added to my fascination when I first read about it on Trip Advisor. We were traveling to Key West for Hemingway Days, one of Hemingway’s books featured prominently in my storyline for One More Sunset, and I was looking for a new B&B home-away-from-home to call our own. This one seemed worth a try, almost kismet!

Pamplona Room

When I wanted to book it back in November 2015, however, all Andrew Inn’s rooms were booked. Disappointed to be shut out, I reserved a room at another B&B. It was a little more expensive, but within our price point, and close to Southern Beach. I couldn’t complain.

Pamplona Room
Stairs that lead to Paris and Pamplona Rooms

But still…I secretly pined away for that Pamplona Room experience.

Pamplona Room
Andrew’s Inn Courtyard

A month out from our trip, I checked the vacancy status at Andrew’s–just in case–and was pleasantly surprised to see that the Pamplona Room I’d yearned to acquire for our four-night/five-day trip was available. We called immediately to verify what I’d seen online, had a lovely talk with the manager Lisa, and promptly switched over our reservations.

Pamplona Room
Poolside at Andrew’s Inn

The day of our couple getaway arrived. Our flight from Long Island to Fort Lauderdale wasn’t picture-perfect (not by a long shot), but when we finally managed to land in Florida about twelve hours after our originally scheduled time, and drove our rental car through the Keys to arrive at our B&B in the middle of the night. The Pamplona Room at Andrew’s Inn was everything I’d envisioned, though, and eased my frustration with our bad luck prior to that. And as always, the rest of our getaway was fantastic!

Pamplona Room
Book signing in Hemingway backyard

Pamplona Room at Andrew’s Inn HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Cozy yet clean queen size room w/AC
  • Plenty of storage in room and bath
  • balcony overlooking Ernest Hemingway’s backyard–Wow!
  • breakfast included
  • Intimate setting — only six rooms on-site
  • happy hour with the other guests 4:30 – 5:30 DAILY, with wine/beer/light snacks
  •  excellent, personalized customer service provided by Lisa and Christine
  • free parking!
  • dipping pool and quiet lounge area
  • Quiet and private, yet steps away from Upper Duval Street

Andrew Inn at Night

Andrew’s Inn Tips from Jolyse:

  • Take advantage of the recommended laundry service around the corner
  • Rent a bike on-site in hot weather–much more comfortable/quicker traveling with a breeze on your face
  • Take advantage of the breakfast and happy hour

Great Places to Check Out Nearby:

  • Hemingway House and Museum
  • Six-Toed Cat Café — great key lime pie
  • Lighthouse & Museum
  • End of US 1 Photo Opp
  • Banyan Trees
  • Fort Zachary Taylor Beach/Cafe
  • Truman’s Little White House
  • Green Parrot – open-air bar/restaurant
  • Upper Duval Street
  • Butterfly Conservatory
  • Southernmost Beach & Café
Pamplona Room
Available at major digital outlets now!

Fourth Book Release

My fourth book hit the Amazon charts today. The first in my Single in the City series,  TEXT ME, MAYBE is a romantic comedy set in NYC.  Writing this one was a roller-coaster ride–but I’m very pleased with the final version. I wanted to give the world–so often filled with sadness and hate–a ray of optimistic sunshine. Lexie and Matthew aren’t perfect, but I hope you find them to be perfect for each other. Reviews like this one give me the courage to continue pouring my heart and soul into my stories day after day.  oxo Jolyse

“It was a true pleasure to meet Lexie & Matt, the undeniable chemistry between these two was like a magnet that pulled me right into their world and had me hanging intently onto their every word. Their unique, and oh so, charming story was brimming with romantic comedy, laced heartfelt emotion, and packed with some heated moments that had me in dire need of a fan! This one turned out to be a very enjoyable first read for me, and left me looking forward to reading more from this author in the very near future, and I highly recommend you give it a try, these two are sure to win you over!!”  ~ Reds Romance Reviews

Winner of Summer of Love Giveaway #2

Congratulations to Katherine Martell, you’re the winner of Maggie Van Well’s signed copy of RUBY’S LETTERS along with some Jolyse Barnett swag! (Please contact me within seven days of this notice and provide a valid US mailing addy.) Thanks to everyone for playing along and to Maggie for donating her lovely read.

Enter Summer of Love Giveaway #3

Andrew's Inn

This week’s Summer of Love Giveaway features the fabulous Jeannie Moon! I’ve adored every one of her contemporary romances that I’ve read, and I’m so excited to offer this giveaway, which includes as signed copy of Until You, a Jeannie Moon canvas tote bag, and related author swag.

Here’s a blurb from this wonderful blend of women’s fiction/romance:

When newly divorced Kate Adams is approached on the sunny deck of a California hotel by hockey star David Burke, and he invites her to dinner, she almost says no. He’s obviously younger than her. And charming. And drop dead gorgeous.  But there’s also something sweet about David, so Kate—who hasn’t done anything spontaneous in a very long time—accepts his invitation.

It is, after all, her fortieth birthday.

However, a real romance with thirty-year-old David, whose picture is in the gossip pages as often as it’s in the sports pages, is out of the question. No matter how much she wants him, it’s just too risky.

But meeting Kate has been David’s lightning strike. She’s the one for him, and he has no intention of giving up on her.

So while Kate guards her fragile heart, David sets out to win her over with the same determination that drives him on the ice.

And he’ll break every rule in the book if he has to.


Now it’s your turn..

Share a special getaway moment, or tell us about a time everything seemed to go wrong at the beginning of a long-awaited vacation, but ended up fine in the end. Or, respond to any other part of today’s Monday Mash-Up Post! 🙂

So…before you go, leave a comment, you’ll be entered for a chance to win the third of my Summer of Love giveaways! Good luck, and check back next Monday to see if you’ve won this cool prize courtesy from Jeannie Moon! I’m excited to do my small part in spreading a little summer love…

One winner will be selected at random from the comments and announced in next Monday’s blog post. Winner will have one week to contact me via my website contact page and supply a valid US mailing address for the package to be mailed. Otherwise, a new winner will be selected. Thanks for playing!









Wedding Idea for Book and Cat Lovers

Wedding idea needed?

Wedding idea needed for you or a loved one? If you’re thinking about a destination wedding, and the bride adores books and cats, then Key West might be a great option. There are many pros about choosing the Conch Republic for this special event, such as:

  • it’s exotic
  • it’s within US
  • it’s known for its embracing, inclusive view toward marriage
  • it has a variety of venues, lodgings, and activities for guests
  • it’s romantic
  • it’s also a great honeymoon destination–saving on travel expenses and time
wedding idea Key West beach
Southern Beach in KW

Wedding venues galore!

Over our many getaways to the westernmost Florida Key, my Honey and I have met many newlyweds who married on the island. Most planned to celebrate their entire honeymoon there, too. I always tease my husband that I want to get married to him again, but say that this time we’d do it in Key West. I even promise, er, threaten, to wear my original wedding dress. I know my daughter wouldn’t consider wearing it in a million years. So, why not?

Wedding in Key West

We’ve observed sunset weddings on the Southernmost Beach while we lounged in our swimsuits, and witnessed brides and their entourages as they gathered at the Key West Historic Seaport. Later, we’d see the festive groups depart on a rented yacht while we dined in our T-shirts and shorts nearby at Turtle Kraals.

wedding idea on mallory square
Reception Set on Mallory Square

We’ve been celebrating the sunset and enjoying the free entertainment at Mallory Square with the rest of the crowed while a couple tied the knot at one of the waterside resorts. Their celebration would be separated from non-guests by a satin rope.

Perhaps that explains why I half-expected to hear a couple reciting their vows at the legendary property while we were touring Hemingway’s house. I mean, it could happen. Right? Well, apparently not. According to our tour guide, weddings and other special events only occur there in the evening hours, AFTER the museum tours are done for the day. It’s such a tropical and tranquil spot, secluded from the noise of Duval Street and filled with legend, history, and happy cats. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the concept. What a great wedding idea!

wedding idea at Hemingway House
Tropical and Tranquil

Hmm. Now I might not be able to convince my husband to marry me again, but perhaps he’d agree to a book release party there someday, and I’d invite all my reader friends to join us. Wouldn’t that be cool?

wedding idea pagoda
Wedding Pagoda at Hemingway Property
wedding idea for Key West venue
Wedding Pagoda

In addition to the wedding pagoda, you will also find forty-five or so well-cared-for cats that roam the tropical-landscaped property, a gorgeous backyard pool I told you all about in Pool at 907 Whitehead (maybe that’s when they make use of the pool?), and an on-site pet cemetery. The last isn’t such a happy thought, but I figured I’d mention it since it highlights the love Hemingway and his descendants had for their feline pets.

Hemingway Pet Cemetery
Hemingway Pet Cemetery

Wedding idea chat…

It’s your turn. Let’s chat weddings. Mine was in the Adirondacks on a chilly April afternoon–complete with snow flurries!  You might want to share:

  • Your wedding story
  • Your take on destination weddings
  • Your dream wedding ideas
  • OR  your reaction to this post in general

This post wraps up my mini blog series about Ernest Hemingway’s Key West property. If you’re interested in learning more, you can catch up by hopping on over to the first two posts, Hemingway’s Key West Studio and Hemingway House’s Fun Facts and Six-Toed Cats. (I mentioned and linked to the third Hemingway House post earlier in the post.)

WINNER of Summer of Love Giveaway #1

Congratulations to TERESA FORDICE! You’re the lucky winner of Patty Blount’s YA romance, TMI, and assorted Patty Blount and Jolyse Barnett swag! Contact me via my website contact page to confirm your mailing address. (I used List Randomizer at to select the winning entry.) Thanks to everyone who participated. I enjoy blogging, but enjoy reading your comments even more. <3

Patty Blount, YA Author
Patty Blount, YA Author

Enter the Summer of Love Giveaway #2

By Maggie Van Well
By Maggie Van Well
You never know what you’ll find behind the wall of a closed up fireplace.
Emma Hopkins is a recently divorced chimney sweep trying to make it in a man’s world. When she wins a huge job in Brooklyn Heights , she finds more than she bargains for; a sexy general contractor who makes her blood boil and an evil spirit who wants her dead.
Ryan Atkinson struggles to keep his once-successful general contracting business alive, but horrors in his past have made him a shell of the man he once was. Now he has to face those fears to save Emma from a murderous ghost hell-bent on revenge.
Together, Ryan and Emma become ghost hunting partners, hoping to solve the mystery behind Ruby’s letters. What they uncover is a one-hundred year old murder and a budding love that can’t be denied.


This is truly one of the sweetest romances I’ve ever read. A real gem!

Maggie Van Well is another blessing in my life since I began writing professionally six years ago, one of my Long Island Romance Writers pals, and a great personal friend, as well. If you’re not into ghost story romances (although I think you’d love this one, too), she also writes contemporary romances. Learn more at Maggie Van

So…before you go, leave a comment about today’s final Hemingway House post and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the second of my Summer of Love giveaways! This week’s prize for one USA resident who leaves a blog comment features an autographed copy of Maggie Van Well’s RUBY’S LETTERS. The gift package will also include a few surprises, including Jolyse Barnett swag. I’m excited to do my small part in spreading a little summer love!

One winner will be selected at random from the comments and announced in next Monday’s blog post. Winner will have one week to contact me via my website contact page and supply a valid US mailing address for the package to be mailed. Otherwise, a new winner will be selected. Thanks for playing and have a wonderful week!


Beach Days Ahead Giveaway

Are Beach Days Ahead?

Well, of course they are! And man, how we need them after a season of overcast skies and short, chilly days. To help celebrate the blossoming of a new season, and in anticipation of my very first reader newsletter–squee!–I’ve decided that now’s the perfect time for a “Beach Days Ahead” Giveaway! But more details about that in a minute.

Let’s Talk About Spring

I’ve always considered myself to be more of a summer girl. I love sipping cold drinks by the pool, wearing a bikini beneath my tank and shorts, and swimming laps for exercise. But in recent years, I’ve grown to appreciate the gradual warming of the earth. The past few weeks I’ve found myself eager to start my daily stroll around our front yard and taking the time to slow down to, well, smell the flowers. If you’ve located me on social media, you might already be privy to my flower obsession.  Here’s one of my favorite #instaflower in  #myfrontyard photos. (Visit me at Instagram if you’d like to see more–plus an embarrassingly huge number of cat photos.)

@JolyseBarnett #instaflower

I used to plant flowers and tend them faithfully with my children’s help while my husband/their father worked far away. In recent years, as my writing has taken more of my focus and my Honey is home full-time, he has taken over the spring outdoor festivities. Perhaps what I love best about his gardening style is the element  of surprise. He’ll buy a bag of bulbs and scatter them about, burying them much like a squirrel would for winter. Then, as each one sprouts, we enjoy playing a game of “What kind of flower is that?” or  “I bet you five bucks this flower will be __color word__.” Then, too, we walk around and watch nature at work…bees and butterflies pollinating…birds nesting…squirrels scampering…in addition to those blooming flowers. Who knew my own front yard could hold such wonders?

And maybe the best part isn’t necessarily the games we play, but the fact that we’re playing them together. I’m wishing you the same simple joys this spring…doing whatever you love with the one(s) you love.   oxo Jolyse

And now, as promised…

Beach Days Ahead Prize Package

Beach Days Ahead
Beach Days Ahead Package

All you need to do to be entered for this giveaway is:

  1. Sign up for my newsletter. Scroll down to the bottom and fill-in the box under “Newsletter Sign-Up” with your email addy. Be sure to also confirm your subscription when you receive the follow-up email from this site. (The first newsletter will be emailed to your inbox upon the release of Text Me, Maybe in May–with special, members-only treats and info!) If you’re already a subscriber, you’ve already fulfilled this part of the entry.  🙂
  2. Comment below about your favorite part of the season or share one of your own favorite photos.

That’s it!! Easy, right?

Extra points toward your entry will be awarded for:

  • sharing this post
  • following me on Instagram
  • subscribing to this blog

text_450The winner will be announced in my first newsletter, along with my recipe for Sweet Hands Sugar Scrub, an exclusive “interview” with my swoonworthy hero in my romantic comedy, Text Me, Maybe, among other surprises.

Let’s hear it for summer’s little sister!


Pin It For a Chance To Win It!

Pin it to Win it! I don’t know about you, but every winter about this time I get a tad antsy. I’m ready for a little excitement, a little something unexpected…a little fun.

AND if, like me, you’re unable to gallivant off on an exotic vacay whenever the whim strikes you,but you’d still appreciate a wee bit of me-time, why not do what I do? Escape home to a romantic read…

Pin it to Win it


Playing “Pin it To Win it!” could get you a free copy of ONE MORE SUNSET, my Key West romantic suspense!

Yeah, I’m a voracious reader, too! A few of the HOT destination romances I’ve devoured this winter are:

  • Life’s a Beach by Jamie K. Schmidt — This sexy little number is set in Hawaii. If you enjoy reading a racy romance with no-holds-barred sensuality, you’ll be an instant fan. I really enjoyed the plot, too. No, really, I swear. 😉
  • What the Lady Wants by Nika Rhone — Oh my, this contemporary romance brought back memories of Kevin Costner in the movie, The Bodyguard. Those mirrored sunglasses. I enjoyed the summer hanging-by-the-pool with Thea and her girlfriends and plotting how to finally get Brennan to acknowledge the girl who adored him from afar all these years. This was Nika’s debut contemporary romance with a suspense element. I’m excited to see what she has in store for us readers next.
  • Her Pirate from the Past by Caro Carson–SEXY pirate. Time-travel in South Carolina. Need I say more? Caro is a new-to-me author, and I’ll definitely check out more pirate-themed or time travel stories of hers for quick, light escapes.
  • Barefoot with a Bad Boy by Roxanne St. Claire –I’m so excited about this newest release (set in sunny Florida) by one of my go-to authors. You can bet it’s next in line on my Kindle. If you haven’t read Ms. St. Claire books before, she has dozens of incredible backlist choices. I especially enjoyed her Barefoot Bay Brides series. I’d suggest reading the prequel novella to this romance first though, FREE on Amazon Kindle. It’s self-standing. No annoying cliffhanger.
Sailboat at sunset
My cure for the winter blahs…Key West dreams.

“Pin It To Win It!” Details…

For a chance to win a signed paperback copy of my destination romance, One More Sunset, and a mystery box of escapist goodies for my WINTER BLAHS GIVEAWAY…all you have to do is:

  1. Subscribe to my spam-free newsletter.
  2. Comment below about your dream destination or hot book recommendation.
  3. Spread the love by tweeting, sharing, or pinning this blog post.

Contest Terms and Conditions…One USA entrant will be randomly selected from qualifying entries to receive the WINTER BLAHS GIVEAWAY PRIZE. Depending on total number of qualifying entries, up to three runner-up winners will be randomly selected to win their choice of ebook from the author’s backlist.  Giveaway will remain open until Sunday, March 13th and the winners will be announced on the Monday, March 14th blog. Good luck!

Giveaway to Celebrate Holiday Book Promotion

In the mood for a giveaway? To kick off our special promotion of my holiday romance, Christmas Light, at 99 cents, my publisher featured me on their blog today!

Here’s a taste to whet your appetite:

Adirondack Christmas

I was born and raised in upstate New York, one of five children living with our hard-working, loving parents in a large clapboard house, painted white. Come December each year, our large yard, where we enjoyed Sunday summer picnics with our extended family, would be blanketed in snow. And there’d be a special magic in the air…

Most every house in my childhood Adirondack village decorated for the season, Christmas trees glowing bright through front windows and strands of lights outlining houses—from the farm homes on the country back roads to the houses huddled together in the center of our quaint little town.Christmas Light Promotion with Giveaway

An evergreen wreath with a velvet red bow on our front door welcomed friends and family into our home. Our freshly cut tree would be draped with strings of popcorn and cranberries, mounds of silvery tinsel, and treasured ornaments unpacked from brown boxes stored in the attic.

On Christmas morning, my younger brother and I always woke first and would tiptoe downstairs to find our tree overflowing with presents. We’d read the tags and giggle with excitement whenever we found one of our names, but we dared not touch. Against Dad’s rules. We also knew the true meaning of Christmas wasn’t in the gifts inside those wrapped boxes, but all around us in the love we shared and in God’s love and his Son he sent to save us…


To read the rest, get a recipe and the chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, hop on over to the Tule blog.

Happy reading and good luck!

oxo, Jolyse