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BLOG TOUR ~ Review & Giveaway: Then, Again by Karen Stivali

May 21, 2013

Then, Again


Sometimes you have to lose it all to find what you really need.

Photographer Kay Turner is dealt a double whammy when she flies home for her grandmother’s funeral to find her boyfriend with another woman. Now with two losses to mourn, she retreats to her newly inherited beach house to clear her head.

Everything at the beach is familiar: the sounds of the ocean, the scent of her grandmother’s perfume—and the irresistible smile of James Margolis. The man Kay spent her adolescence pining for is every bit as charming as she remembers.

James always thought of Kay as “a nice kid”, but he feels something very different for the woman she’s become. Especially when he asks if she’d be willing to part with some of her grandmother’s recipes for his new restaurant—and they wind up sharing much more than culinary secrets.

But as their relationship deepens, Kay finds herself caught between the demands of her dream career as a travel photographer, and a chance for happiness with the one man she’s wanted for a lifetime.

 Warning: This foodie romance contains sensual scone baking, a heroine who discovers one bad apple hasn’t spoiled her appetite, and a delicious hero you can’t help but crave. Blend well, serve hot.

My Review:

Do you remember that crush you had in High School? That boy or girl that you doodled your name on your folder with, dreamed about and hoped that one day you would live Happily Ever After with? So did Kimmy Turner and this is her story.

We met Kay, as Kimmy is now called, returning home sooner than expected to find a not so wonderful surprise at her apartment with her soon to be ex-boyfriend. With the emotional turmoil of her grandmother’s passing and now this; Kay heads back “home” to deal with her grandmother’s house, her loss and to spend some much needed time off reflecting.  Alone time is good for the soul but so is running into the ultimate crush of your youth, James Margolis, looking handsome and sexy and who is now inviting you over for some food. Great Googly Moogly the food…just saying.

Told in the alternating POV’s of  Kay and James we get this sweet romantic story. I was in love with James right away as we get in his head. Each of his “I want to, but I shouldn’t…yet’s” were perfect and how I would imagine a guy’s overactive brain would react to seeing Kay after all these years. It was adorable, endearing and at times damn sexy to know what he was thinking.

 There was no hint of the awkward girl she’d been years ago when they’d first met. She was all woman now, and it took his breath away.

Kay, oh goodness she could have been me through parts of this story. Not the traveling photojournalist part of her but the part that had unrequited love with the boy of her dreams. (Small FYI. I had mine in the 6th grade and ended up marrying him 12yrs later.) Their story is sweet, sexy, passionate and comfortable. Yes, I said comfortable. I love a good romance where our main characters have a history. Sure, these two still have to go through the getting to know you NOW phase but they share a past and this isn’t a case of instant attraction, this is pent up longing for years that finally gets to be released. Thank goodness.

For years James had been a dream. A richly detailed, often imagined, desperately longed for fantasy that she’d been certain would never become a reality. And now he’s real. A shiver ran through her.

Now let me let out a button out of my jeans for a minute to talk about the food in this book. I swear I gained ten pounds just reading the detailed decadence of the food in James’ soon to be opened restaurant and the sexy teaching lessons of Grams recipes between our lovers. I could hear the sizzle of the onions as they hit the pan, smell the mushrooms as they were added and my mouth watered thinking about the sweetness of Cranberry Chocolate Chip Scones. Sweet St. Bridid, I need to run for a week straight, Forrest Gump style, to work of the virtual muffin top I now have. ~Thank you Ms. Stivali for the indulgence.~

From first dates, walks on the beach, painting bathrooms, showers, baby sitting gone wrong, snotty ex’s and misunderstandings, the love story of James and Kay is just what I was looking for. It was the right book at the right time.

Then, Again is a beautifully told love story of looking back to find your future. Both James and Kay have left for bigger and better out in the big city lights to find out what they really want, what has always been there and the one  may have always been simply waiting right in their backyard.

James changed everything. For the first time in her life she wanted something more than she wanted success. Him. It had always been him.

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating



Special post from Karen Stivali on food and books…

How does location influence food in your books?

 When I choose locations for my books or for places the characters visit I try to choose places I’ve either lived or visited. I’m lucky to have travelled a lot in my lifetime so I have a lot of memories to reference. Since I’m a very food-oriented person my memories of different places always include the local foods. I still crave the unique offerings from several towns and cities where  I’ve spent time.

There was a dairy farm near the house I lived in when I was in grade school that had the best chocolate glazed white cream filled donuts I’ve ever had. I’ve tried look-a-likes countless different places in the decades since and have never come close to finding the taste and texture. There’s a place in Rochester NY called Country Sweets that makes the most amazing chicken wing sauce I’ve ever eaten. I haven’t been there in two decades but I still remember the spicy/sweet flavor. I lived in NYC for several years and not a week goes by that I don’t long for a slice of real NY pizza, a true bagel or a cannoli from Veniero’s pastries. Sure you can get pizza and bagels and cannolis just about anywhere these days, and some of them are quite yummy, but they never compare to ones I dream about eating.

Some foods also remind me of people or of particular time periods in my life. The scent of a certain roast of coffee can transport me back to my grandmother’s kitchen when I was a kid. The aroma of meatballs cooking in tomato sauce reminds me of waking up on Sunday morning to smell the night’s dinner already simmering on the stove. I love that something as simple as a smell can trigger such vivid memories and all the feelings that go along with them. That’s a big part of the reason that food and all its tastes and fragrances are so often described in my writing.

Then, Again is set in a fictional small town on the southern New Jersey shore. This isn’t the glitzy/trashy type of shore town you see on TV shows, it’s a smaller family-oriented town where some families have lived for decades. These towns pepper the New Jersey coastline and are often populated with families of Italian, Greek or Portugese heritage. Food is a big part of these cultures. That’s why when James is planning the menu for his new restaurant he wants to work so hard on nailing all the recipes, and it’s why it means so much to him when Kay is willing to share her grandmother’s culinary secrets with him. Likewise, for Kay, it’s a way of memorializing and remembering her grandmother. Keeping her alive by passing on her recipes for others to enjoy them.

Now it’s your turn to tell me. Do you have a favorite food from someplace you used to live? From a vacation spot? Something you can’t find anywhere else but can’t forget? Share it with us!


Tour Wide Giveaway $20.00 Gift Card to Amazon OR Barnes and Noble

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A digital copy of Then, Again by Karen Stivali

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 Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking extravagant meals and serving them to family and friends, who never seem to mind the excessive quantities she ten??????????????????????ds to prepare. She attributes her ability to multitask to the fact that she rarely sleeps, which gives her more hours every day. Prior to deciding to write full time Karen worked as a hand drawn animator, a clinical therapist, and held various food-related jobs ranging from waitress to specialty cake maker. Planning elaborate parties and fundraisers takes up what’s left of her time and sanity.

 Karen has always been fascinated by the way people relate to one another so she favors books and movies that feature richly detailed characters and their relationships. In her own writing she likes to explore the dynamics between characters and has a tendency to craft romantic tales filled with sarcasm and sexy details. Although she writes in three genres (erotic romance, contemporary romance and women’s fiction) all of her stories are love stories with happily ever after endings.

 Karen has published several erotic romance novels with Ellora’s Cave including two award winning stories: Always You (published September 2011, First Place Winner of the RWA Passionate Plume Award – 2012)and Marry Me (published June 2012, First Place Winner in the NEC-RWA BeanPot Reader’s Choice Award – 2013).

 Her works of women’s fiction, Meant To Be, and its sequel, Holding On, (published by Turquoise Morning Press in August and November 2012, respectively) both made multiple  Best of 2012 lists and are rated as true gems and recommended reads.

 Karen’s latest release, Then, Again is a contemporary foodie romance published by Samhain Publishing.

 To learn more about Karen  and all her upcoming books you can visit her website where she blogs original recipes, sassy commentary on The Bachelor, and tidbits about her journey in the writing world. Karen can also be found attempting witty banter on Twitter.

Connect with Karen Stivali: 


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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 22, 2013 9:41 am

    I have seen a former boyfriend & I can honestly say that I didn’t want to ever see him again. He wasn’t a part of my past that I like to remember.

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