Category: Discussions

Reflection: What We Learned from Julie Garwood

Posted June 13, 2023 by Holly in Discussions, Promotions | 11 Comments

I decided to repost this after hearing about the death of our beloved author. While I never had the privilege of meeting Julie Garwood, her writing helped shape the person I am now, and I will forever be grateful to her for all the lessons she taught me.

Rest in Peace
Julia Elizabeth Garwood
DECEMBER 26, 1944 – JUNE 8, 2023

originally published on July 5, 2017

With the release of Wired, Julie Garwood’s latest FBI/Buchanan novel, Rowena, Casee and I took the time to reflect on our first Garwood, our love for her and how her novels shaped our reading..and our lives, as silly as it may sound. We learned a lot about ourselves, the world and our reading preferences from those early Garwood novels.

What We Learned from Julie Garwood

Casee: The first book I read by JG was Honor’s Splendour. The first thing I really noticed was the selflessness of Madelyne. All she ever wanted was to escape her brother. Yet when she had the chance, she stayed to help his enemy. The second thing that really stuck with me was the humor. JG has a way of writing humor that remains with you long after you have finished one of her books. Honor’s Splendour is still one of my favorite books to this day.

Holly: My first Julie Garwood book was Killjoy, a contemporary romantic suspense novel. It was also my first foray into romance (outside of a few brief illicit Harlequin’s from my t(w)een years). I don’t remember a lot of the finer details now, but the happy ending was enough to convince me to pick up more books by her. My second read was The Gift. While it will never be my favorite, the historical setting and spunky heroine had me clamoring for more. It wasn’t long before I’d glommed her entire backlist. I fell into each new tale, fully immersed in the lives of these fictional historical characters.

Although these books aren’t perfect, I learned a lot from reading them. The heroines were all strong enough to know their own minds; to endure trials and tribulations without faltering. They were honest and kind, and often had to work around men (and women) who wanted to suppress them. But in the end they came out on top. The heroes were all strong, manly alpha-types who didn’t need nothing and no one..until a tiny slip of a woman strolled into their lives and flipped everything upside down.

I remember reading Honor’s Splendour and just melting when Duncan realized he loved Madelyne, long before she realized she loved him in return. Judith and Frances-Catherine, from The Secret, taught me that best friends really are forever, and can endure anything. Even backgrounds as far apart as English and Highland Scots.

When Nicholaa defeated Royce in The Prize with nothing more than a sling and a rock, I cheered. And when he realized he hated the woman he’d forced her to become by trying to mold her into what he thought a woman should be, I realized it was better to be yourself than change to fit someone else’s mold.

Even now, more years than I care to admit later, I can pick up a Garwood novel and be transported.

Rowena: For me, Julie Garwood will always be the author that taught me what true friendship looks like. From Judith Elizabeth and Frances Catherine to Ramsey and Brodick and Connor, Quinlan and Crispin, there are plenty of friendships that look a lot like family. Friendships that are solid and true. Sure, they don’t always get along and they fight sometimes but at the end of the day, they have your back and you have theirs.

I’m fortunate to have found friendships just like those with a little help from Julie Garwood herself. I met Holly and Casee on the JGBB and we came together through our shared love of Garwood’s books. We’re not perfect by any means but I still love them and know that they love me. Like Judith and Frances Catherine, there isn’t a thing that I wouldn’t do for them.

It doesn’t matter how many times I read these books, the thing that always sticks out to me are the friendships. I adored how Judith traveled to freaking Scotland to be there for her best friend and how there wasn’t a thing that Quinlan and Crispin wouldn’t do for Connor. The knowledge that no matter where they were or what was waiting for them at the end of the tunnel, they would walk through fire for each other and I loved that. The loyalty, the camaraderie, the friendships…those are my favorite things and Julie Garwood captures them so effortlessly. It’s why she’s one of my favorite authors.

About the Author


It’s no surprise that Julie Garwood became a writer. Growing up in a large family of Irish heritage, she took to storytelling naturally. “The Irish relish getting all the details of every situation,” she explains. “Add in the fact that I was the sixth of seven children. Early in life I learned that self-expression had to be forceful, imaginative, and quick.”

Creating stories was always a passion for Julie, but she didn’t focus on making it a career until the youngest of her three children entered school. After the publications of two young adult books, she turned her interests to historical fiction. Her first novel, GENTLE WARRIOR, was published in 1985, and there has been a steady parade of bestsellers ever since. Today more than 40-million copies of her books are in print, and they are translated in dozens of languages around the world. One of her most popular novels, FOR THE ROSES, was adapted for a HALLMARK HALL OF FAME production on CBS.

Whether the setting be medieval Scotland, Regency England, frontier Montana, or modern-day Louisiana, her themes are consistent: family, loyalty, and honor. Readers claim that it’s the humor as well as poignancy of her novels that keep them coming back for more. Julie described her goals this way: “I want my readers to laugh and cry and fall in love. Basically, I want them to escape into another world for a little while and afterwards to feel as though they’ve been on a great adventure.”

Julie lives in Leawood, Kansas, and is currently working on her next novel.

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What Are You Reading? (585)

Posted November 5, 2021 by Holly in Discussions, Features | 3 Comments


I am currently reading Annihilation Road (Torpedo Ink #6) by Christine Feehan. After I finish this one, I’m going to start Savage Road (Torpedo Ink #7). I’m also listening to The Secret by Julie Garwood. It’s like reading it for the first time because the narrator is so amazing.


Audible Plus has a new feature. When an audiobook finishes, another recommended read from the collection autoplays. That’s how I ended up listening to Hot Asset by Lauren Layne, then Hard Sell and Huge Deal. All three were re-reads and I enjoyed revisiting the series. Then I listened to Stay by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy, another reread. That’s all I’ve had time for this week.

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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What Are You Reading? (570)

Posted June 25, 2021 by Holly in Discussions, Features | 6 Comments


I’m reading several books. I’ve been bouncing back between Jessica Gadziala & Devney Perry. I love, love, love both of these authors. I’m currently reading For a Good Time, Call… (Scars #1) by Jessica Gadziala. For book club I am reading The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I tried it on audio first and the narrator was atrocious so I just started reading it. It’s a very quick read though it has really made me think about the way our lives can change based on decisions we make.

I’ve been listening to the Tin Gypsy series by Devney Perry. I listened to Gypsy King (Tin Gypsy #1) last week & have Riven Knight (Tin Gypsy #2) to start next. I loved the narrator of Gypsy King. Riven Knight has different narrators & I’m really hoping that I like them. Fingers crossed.


I didn’t have a lot of time to read this week. I read, Wolfish Charms, the second book in the Ever Dark, Ever Deadly series by Jenna Collett. I liked it better than the first book. I definitely recommend it. I re-read Hot as Hades by Alisha Rai and Heartbreaker by Linda Howard. I haven’t decided what I’m going to read next. I’m kind of in the mood for a SciFi, so I might see if I can find something similar to Polaris Rising. Let me know if you have any recommendations.


My reading has been absolute crap this week. I went home to California for Father’s Day weekend to spend some time with my Dad and then this week, I’ve been training the new girl at work so I’ve been pretty exhausted afterward. On top of that, I have my nephew from California spending the week here with me in Vegas. We’re going to Top Golf and eating Korean corndogs today so that should be fun.

I’m still reading The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary and I’m hoping to finish it up over the weekend. Wish me luck! Afterward, I’ll be jumping into my copy of So We Meet Again by Suzanne Park.

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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What Are You Reading? (547)

Posted December 4, 2020 by Holly in Discussions, Features | 3 Comments

Casee is on vacation this week and Rowena is still on sabbatical.

Holly: I devoured Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews the day I got it from NetGalley. It was such a stellar read. I’m only sad that it’s over and there isn’t another book available. A common problem for me with Ilona Andrews. I read Shadow of a Doubt by Hailey Edwards, the first book in The Potentate of Atlanta series, a spinoff of The Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy. I didn’t love the main character in the previous series, but she’s growing on me. I do really love the hero and I’m anxious to learn more about it.

I re-read The Scarletti Curse by Christine Feehan and I finished re-reading the Kate Daniels series with Magic Shifts, Magic Binds and Magic Triumphs. I’m glad I re-read the series before reading Blood Heir. I also listened to Wildfire and One Fell Sweep. I’m in the market for a new audiobook if anyone has a recommendation.

I’m starting To Dream Again by Laura Lee Ghurke this week for my book club.

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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What Are You Reading? (543)

Posted October 30, 2020 by Holly in Discussions, Features | 4 Comments

Holly: I’m still listening to Lord of Temptation by Lorraine Heath, but I finished Polaris Rising and Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik. I started Chaos Reining, the third book in the series. I hope to finish it this weekend. Next I plan to read In the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce, a novel about the Black Widow serial killer, perfect for Halloween.

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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