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Archive for the ‘romance books’ Category

I originally reviewed this book in September for “Uncaged Book Reviews”.

Joy Smith

Joe Carella’s father is missing at sea, and presumed dead, lost while sailing his beloved yacht, the Anna Bella. Now it falls upon Joe to get the recovered boat from Florida back home to Mystic, Connecticut. He’s no sailor, in fact he has spent his life living under his dad’s controlling shadow, but he feels obligated to get the boat home. To succeed, he will need a good captain who knows what they’re doing.

Marty Chase is a fishing boat captain, now living in disgrace in Mystic, Connecticut. Resigned to painting the undersides of boats since she took the rap for a boating accident, she leaps at the chance to captain Joe Carella’s boat back home. He’s a privileged son of a famous yacht racer. This could be the turning point in her captain career. Never mind she never handled large yachts or deep ocean waters. How different can it be from a fishing boat in local waters?

Set sail aboard the luxury yacht the Anna Bella.  Joe needs this trip to prove something to himself. And so does Marty. What they encounter is bigger than both of them. A brewing hurricane is just the start of their problems. Toss in a jealous ghost onboard, hijackers, being left for dead and having to fight to survive. The story does not suffer from lack of action.

In places the pacing does drag and there are frequent cases of abrupt timing changes. There are times Marty seems confused or inconsistent with her romantic choices between an old lover she knows she has to stay away from and her growing attraction to Joe. However, the chemistry between Marty and Joe is great, it’s hard not to root for them. The sex scenes are short, detailed without being overly descriptive.

The author is knowledgeable about boats and boating and her familiarity shows throughout the pages.

This book easily earns 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.

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I have been busy lately, and not had much time to invite guests to stop in at the blog. Fortunately for me, Jeri Bronson has been holding her invitation and patiently waiting for me. So I am very happy to welcome Jeri now, to come, sit down, have some tea and cookies, and talk to us about her book, “Seeking Perfect”. Might I say, it has a lovely cover. Welcome, Jeri!

SeekingPerfect600

What is this book about?  My book is a YA Contemporary about a 17 year old girl named Jesse Barnes. She lives in a small town in Oregon with her alcoholic mother trying to stay invisible until one day Derek Aames sits with her at lunch.  (Cue scary music) He’s so perfect, can she trust him with her secrets?

Why did you write it? I didn’t have a choice it wouldn’t leave me alone. I also thought it was good way to look at the choices people can make.

How long did it take? The first draft took me a summer and the edits like 7 years of learning how to write.

Seven years? That’s some dedication and education.

Any special inspiration? The world is full of inspiration. I took some from me and other brave people that choose survival.

Where do you write? Photos optional— Haha! It’s a mess always so no pics, but actually my dining room table. We only eat here on special occasions now.

Describe the path to publication? I never intended to publish. I thought I was never good enough and no one would want to read it. This was only supposed to be a way for me to help process emotions and thoughts that never ceased to be quiet.  I got brave in 2012 and I sent it out to agents and someone wanted it after I made some more revisions. She was very excited about it and I freaked out and I never sent it back. You see I fear success I know it doesn’t make sense.  I didn’t touch it again for another 3 years; talk about hiding out in a cave. Finally, in 2016 I joined RWA and sent it out once again and was offered a contract in 2017 by Soulmate Publishing. I found some courage finally.

Fantastic story. Loads of people fear success. I’m glad you sent it out again.

Are you working on anything else right now? YES, I have a romantic suspense that I’m editing now hoping to send out by the end of the year. I am also working on another YA that’s partially written, but some more plotting is needed.

Hardest part about writing? The never ending self doubt even with a published book I wonder if I’m good enough.

Biggest surprise about being a published author? People are always so surprised when I tell them that I write and their always so supportive.

Yes, I’ve noticed that too.

How do you beat procrastination? I walk. It works for writers block too. Once I go for my walk then I need to sit down and write. It engages my brain for whatever reason.

Okay, I’m convinced, this sounds like a terrific book, for young adults and us older adults too. Now, can we talk a little about you as an author and a regular person?

The most recent movie you’ve seen or book you’ve read? (or both) I went and saw The Incredibles 2 (so funny) I just finished rereading Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts. It’s a comfort story for me.

What is your favorite past time? I love to watch tennis and of course I read a lot.

Would you rather have the ability to be invisible or have x-ray vision? I would totally be invisible and go in all the places you’re not allowed in like Buckingham Palace.

I like that.

What ‘s a typical day like? I drop my son off at school, he’s 16 working on the license so not for much longer yay! Then do house business stuff and writer business then go walk for about an hour. I will write or edit for a few hours eat lunch work some more till the boy gets home. Then writing will put aside till after his swim practice, dinner, dishes etc. I might work for another hour before bed then read a little. Boring, day, I know. 

Boring to some, blissful to others. We should never envy someone else’s life.

How do you like to spend a rainy day? I live in California what rain?

Good point.

Do you know any foreign languages? I could speak Spanish fluently when I was little because my grandmother was Hispanic. Now I get by with necessity Spanish like asking for food or the bathroom.

What one item would you grab if the house was on fire? (assume no living beings are  inside) Pictures of my kids and probably all the computers with the pictures on them.

Describe one moment in time when you took a huge leap of faith. How did it turn out? I sent my book to a publisher and worked out pretty well.

Indeed.

What’s one favorite thing you do by yourself? Going to the library and the movies. First no one will rush me at the library I can peruse as long as I want and then I don’t have to share the popcorn. Notice both places are silent.

Silence is a good thing, right?

Favorite food to cook? I can’t cook my husband does it. I’ve burned things and not only food.

Oh-oh.  Let’s move on to less incriminating topics, shall we?

Favorite animal? Cat

Favorite color? Green

Favorite book? Pride and Prejudice

Favorite sport or physical activity? Tennis

Favorite kind of music? Alternative

Favorite song?  U2, Where the streets have no name

Favorite place to visit? The mountains, any of them.

What makes you laugh? My husband constantly

What three adjectives describe you? Loyal, quiet, compassionate

Favorite season? Summer

Strangest thing you ever ate? Tofu it was fried but squishy in the middle.

Strangest thing you ever did? I asked my favorite tennis player for his autograph and he offered to take a picture with me. Remember I’m the quiet one hoping to be invisible.

That could qualify as a leap of faith too.

Which do you prefer for a second home? Mountain cabin, beach house or big city condo? Mountain cabin definitely.

What dessert do you order most often? Chocolate cake/brownie ice cream combo thing.

Oh my…YES!!!!!!!!

Whom do you admire? (living or dead) Why? I think Jane Austen because she wrote about women doing things they weren’t allowed to do.

What is your favorite type of art? Music always music

If you had a magic genie, what would your three wishes be? Hmmm…world peace you know like the pageant ladies really that would be nice. I would like to be able to speak every language in the world and an all access pass to See’s candy.

Favorite vacation spot? Hawaii

 Jeri, it has been an absolutely pleasure to have you visit today. Let’s wrap up our conversation with a few parting thoughts so we can share how readers can connect with you and check out “Seeking Perfect”.

What three items would you take if you knew you were going to be stranded on a tropical island for a year? (enough suntan lotion is a freebie) Books, a boat and wet wipes. Sometimes sand is not your friend.

One quote you love, that keeps you going in life? Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light –Albus Dumbledore.

What would you do in life if you knew you couldn’t fail? Play the piano

One thing few people know about you? That I can speak Spanish.

Do you believe  in love at first sight? I’m not sure anymore because no one ever looks up from their phones.

Excellent point. Jeri!  How many first’s do we miss because of that?

Anything special you would like to share with readers?   My story is about hope and choices people have to make on a daily basis.  I think sometimes young adults think they can’t do anything about their circumstances and to certain extent it may be true, but there is always help if you’re willing to ask for it.  You also have to do the hard work it’s definitely about the hard work in this life.

BLURB for “Seeking Perfect”:

Jesse learned early not to trust a soul, but what if he was her soulmate?

Senior year of high school should be about friendship, boyfriends and graduation, but for seventeen-year-old, Jesse Barnes, it’s about escaping the shame of life with an alcoholic mother.

Jesse’s goals are clear, keep a roof over her head, avoid the revolving door of leering men her mother brings home, graduate from high school, and do everything possible to keep her home life secret. Friends, boyfriends, not an option. Who would understand?

Then, perfect, popular Derek Aames, sits with Jesse at lunch. How can she discourage him? How can she keep him from intruding on her life and discovering her secret? And most of all how can she keep him out of her heart?

Will his persistence finally break down her walls, or just break her?

Connecting with Jeri:

Jeri is a native Californian that found her storytelling voice while walking home from elementary school. Long walks with a hyper imagination led to all sorts of wild ideas. Her debut novel, Wildflower, finally came to fruition after she was laid off from her full time job as Human Resources Manager.

She now works part time as a substitute High School teacher, which is a constant source of fabulous material. She lives in Orange County, California with her husband of 28 years, her teenage son, their dog Sam, and cats Sparky and Lilly. The whole time missing her daughter who’s away at college. Jeri does her best writing still while walking, but now Sam goes as well.

When not writing she is an avid reader, of course. She also is an equally avid tennis fan and can be found watching the Tennis Channel most nights. Definitely, do not bother her during Grand Slam tournaments. She is currently working on several Romantic Suspense novels, plus another Young Adult book is brewing. Stay tuned she’s just getting started.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/JeriBronsonauthor/

https://twitter.com/jeribronson

www.jeribronson.com/

 

Book Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38472691-seeking-perfect?ac=1&from_search=true

https://smpauthors.wordpress.com/meet-jeri-bronson/wildflower-by-jeri-bronson/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seeking-perfect-jeri-bronson/1128622457?ean=9781682916674

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August 15th is National Relaxation Day. In our crazy never-stop, always-on-the-go society, I personally think one day a year isn’t sufficient. I think we need more like one day a month, twelve days a year, in which to experiment, find and perfect the art of relaxation. With multiple methods available, we could find the one that matches our personality and needs the best.

Lying around in our jammies, binge watching TV or binge reading while eating ice cream? I’m in! Going to the movies? Cool. Traveling to the forest/beach/country/city/ happy place to take in the stillness? Or the sights? How about a spa? Massage? Golf? swim? Horseback ride? combing the flea markets? Most of those would be on my list to try.

Lounging on the front porch in a swing or hammock? With sweet tea of course. Chair with our bare toes gliding through the grass? Picnic? Park? Zoo? Day drive with the top down and music up loud?

I am so there!

 

How about gardening? Mowing the lawn? For some it’s work, for others it’s relaxing. For me, I find it soothing to putz in the yard, digging my fingers in the dirt, deadheading flowers and watching new transplants grow. And of course I am always planning next year’s planting designs. This next planting season I am seeking blue and white flowers to fill in some gaps. This was inspired by a lovely bouquet I received this summer, with a gorgeous, huge head of a hydrangea bloom. It was pure white with tiny baby blue pin dots in the center of each petal.

  Cats are masters of relaxing.

 

 

 

So in honor of National Relaxation Day, I’d like to offer some of my books for your consideration to find your perfect relaxation spot and get lost in another world. To me, that’s the ultimate relaxation!

 

 

If romantic suspense is your fave, there is “Upon the Tide”, set on a boat in the Caribbean. If you like a hint of two of mystical or paranormal with your suspense and romance, consider “Chasing the Painted Skies”, set on an isolated lighthouse island in the Great Lakes (complete with its own ghost) or “Wild Whispers”, built around the exciting world of horse racing.

If you prefer clean and wholesome Inspirational Christian fiction, how about “Shimmers of Stardust”, with a bit of time travel included; “Beside Still Waters” or “Rainbows in the Moonlight”. Both of these are family centered stories, rooted in romance, forgiveness and second chances. Sweet!

If you like anthologies, I got ya covered there too. “Sizzle in the Snow” is eight stories all about Christmas. “Food and Romance Go Together” is, yep, you guessed it, stories all about food and romance. Talk about cooking in the kitchen! “Craving Country” turns up the heat, with twelve stories all about finding love and good, country living.

And if you like a shorter read, consider “Glimpse Eternity”, a pretty little story centered around Valentine’s Day or “It Happened at the Park”, a rollicking romantic comedy including dogs and their humans.

Speaking of dogs, if you prefer non-fiction, how about my self-published story about Ty, my adopted collie (a beautiful blue merle) with PTSD and the first two years of our journey together? It’s called, appropriately enough, “Ty’s Journey” and features countless photos.

 

 

 

 

All these fine books can be found at Amazon or my website, http://www.ryanjosummers.com. Several have been nominated for various peer-review awards.

 

So there you have it, loads of ideas on how to relax on National Relaxation Day and a few not-so-subtle suggestions for a good book or two if reading is your fave way to relax. However you like to escape, feel free to drop me a line in the comments and share your secrets. As for me, I’ll be busy working August 15th, but I’ll be thinking hard of relaxing, most likely by trying to write another book.

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Winds of time cover

I received a free copy of this book from Reading Alley in exchange for an honest review.

Selena Tillman is a modern-day woman who is haunted by dreams of her ancestor, Mary, who disappeared in 1871. And of Dylan, the half-breed Native American man accused of murdering her. Peace and love in her time seem to be impossible to find, so Selena decides to return to Texas, the scene where Mary and her secret lover died. She hopes to lay the ghosts to rest so she can move on with her life.  Instead she finds more trouble than she thought possible.

Witnessing Mary’s death by a tornado, she time jumps from the twenty-first century to the nineteenth. Encountering the handsome, and bitter half-breed army scout, Dylan, she wonders if she just met her destiny. Dylan just knows she is a liar and probably crazy to boot. He has enough troubles trying to prove his innocence in Mary’s murder, and thereby save  his own life,  while trying to stop a war between the white men and Indians. He doesn’t have time for Selena’s foolishness.

This story has great potential and flowed along nicely, at a good pace most the time. It suffered from frequent misplaced commas, leading to awkward or jilted sentences. There is also frequent mild profanity and premarital, graphic sex between the two main characters. Beyond that, the heroine, Selena, is a fantastic character. She is quite likeable and her adaption to being unexpectedly transported to the past and her struggles against the typical male mind-set of the day make her winsome and likeable. The historical aspect seemed pretty spot-on as well.

Dylan is in need of serious work. He has such a massive chip on his shoulder, it’s a wonder it doesn’t make his horse collapse under the weight. So bitter with white women, white folks, and being the misunderstood half-breed Indian, he is convinced Selena is lying. He leaps to ridiculous conclusions faster than a spinning tornado, tries to constantly pick fights with the woman he loves, and treats her sometimes like dirt. He is so caught up in his own heritage and problems (mostly self-inflicted) that he is blinded to what Selena and others are trying to do to help him.

In my opinion, Dylan would have been a more likeable character and the story would have flowed along better without his chip, if the focus had been on Selena’s integration to 1871 instead. Clearly people did not understand her language or expressions of modern speech. It would have been nicer to see more character-wide confusion over the language gap filling the pages, with more “What is she saying” instead of “She’s lying again.”

Overall, I give this story three out of five stars. It’s a nice story hurt by randomly placed commas and Dylan’s deep running bitterness.

 

 

 

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I am excited to have Highlander and Romance author Madelyn Hill visit today, talking about her Wild Thistle Trilogy.

 

 

First, let’s get to know a little about ‘Highland Honor’. Madelyn, what is this book about?

Lady Honor can heal everything but a broken heart . . .

Highland Honor is the final book of the Wild Thistle Trilogy set in the Scottish Highlands. The entire series came to me while in the shower of all places! The dialogue from the heroines’ dying father popped into my head and the story begged to be written. The father’s pledge was; “Through Hope, Faith, and Honor, ye can rule.”

The trilogy follows each of the heroines as they try to live up to their father’s parting words. The pledge cause uncertainty and conflict with each of the sisters.

For Honor, she is the clan healer and strives to never cause another person harm. Which creates quite the conflict with Bryce, a clan warrior who trains the men with fierce dedication. His goal is to protect the clan to his best ability, even if that means injuries or death. Bryce and Honor are thrown together after a stranger is detected in the area and Bryce is assigned to protect Honor as she gathers herbs in the woods.

Fantastic. I can see lots of conflict brewing there. Okay, let’s get to know you better.

   Madelyn Hill, author

Any special reason why you chose the character names and location that you did?

I choose the Highlands because Scotland has always fascinated me. As for the character names, they were derived from the father’s dying pledge. Luckily, the words he chose to speak were perfect for my heroines. For one of my other novels, Heather In The Mist, I named the heroine Rogan. I had a bit of pushback from my critique partner because she said it was a male name. However! I recently ran into a little girl named Rogan!

I love that name! And I’d certainly give it to a female character. What’s the hardest part about writing?

The hardest part of writing is keeping focused and not allowing social networking or writing minutia to get in the way. I find that time flies when I’m on Facebook or Twitter, so much so, that it eats into my writing time. Also, there is a lot of marketing and writerly stuff which needs to be done that also eats into writing time.

How do you beat writer’s block?

If I just can’t keep the story going, I revisit my Pinterest board for the novel or read over research to see if that will spur my muse. If this doesn’t work, I will start working on something new or take a short break.

The most recent movie you’ve seen or book you’ve read?

We just saw the Avengers: Infinity War movie. It was great! I love super hero movies and this one did not disappoint.

Your favorite town/ city in the world? Why?

I love Quebec. The history and beauty along with the food is a fantastic experience. The town is small enough to be quaint and the shopping is great too.

What is your favorite past time?

Besides reading, I love to cook and bake.

Would you rather have the ability to be invisible or have x-ray vision?

I think the ability to be invisible would be great. Just think of where you could go and what you could hear without being seen.

Indeed! If you had to give up one of your five senses, what would it be? (common sense does not count here) Most likely the sense of smell or touch. I’d hate to lose sight, hearing or taste.

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

I do not like rainy days and I prefer to cuddle on the couch with a blanket and watch movies.

Do you know any foreign languages?

I can understand Spanish and speak very, very little. My husband is fluent in Spanish.

What one item would you grab if the house was on fire? (assume no living beings are  inside)

The bins with my children’s pictures. I’d hate to lose them.

Describe one moment in time when you took a huge leap of faith. How did it turn out?

I packed up and moved to New York to be with my boyfriend. It turned out great! I end married the guy.

Yes, that’s a leap of faith. Glad it worked out so well. Okay, some short Q & A. Favorite food to cook?

Pasta

Favorite animal?

Horse

Favorite color?

Red

Favorite kind of music?

Country

Favorite place to visit?

My hometown in Michigan

Favorite season?

Spring

Strangest thing you ever ate?

Octopus

Which do you prefer for a second home? Mountain cabin, beach house or big city condo?

Beach

What kind of car do you drive? Color?

            A White GMC Yukon

What is your favorite type of art?

The Impressionist – Mary Cassatt to be specific

Maddy, I am so glad you stopped to visit today. In our parting thoughts, what three items would you take if you knew you were going to be stranded on a tropical island for a year? (enough suntan lotion is a freebie)

Assuming my family would not be considered a thing and would be there with me;

  • Tons of books, including one that details what is okay to eat on the island
  • Coffee
  • First aid kit

Now those are some good, solid choices. What would you do in life if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Be an actress.

I like that. Do you believe in love at first sight?

Yes!

Anything special you would like to share with readers?

I appreciate your interest in my books!

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CSY4PGY/

Social Networking connections:

Website: http://www.madelynhill.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/madelyn.hill.94

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorMaddyHill

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/madelynhill68

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2919194.Madelyn_Hill

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Madelyn-Hill/e/B00ELRG34U/
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authormadelynhill

Madelyn Hill, thank you for stopping by. Best wishes.

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Heavy rain and thunderstorms are hitting my area right now. My poor collie, Ty, hated to go outside this morning and now is hiding in the corner of the kitchen as he tries to escape the big booms outside.

Me, personally, I love the thunderstorms. I delight in the rain falling in sheets and the crack of thunder and streaks of lightning. It’s a symphony I never seem to tire of. As I stood at the window, enjoying the show, it brought back a long-buried memory. And it got me thinking of when more is too much.

writing

When I was young, we often grew a yearly garden to have vegetable reserves for the coming year. One spring, when I was about ten or eleven, we had a terrific thunderstorm. It was flooding our garden. I was instructed to go outside, take boards, and try to barricade the garden.

It was pouring rain. I was soaked.  I recall using the board to push the dirt back as inches-deep muddy water rushed past my ankles, washing away our seedlings. I recall my bare feet sinking into the cold mud and my hair plastered to my scalp as I tried to beat the watery surge. It seemed equivalent to holding back the tide of the great lakes.

We had hoped for steady, soft rains to water our crops. Instead we got too much: a deluge of relentless rain that destroyed a portion of our garden. And sometimes we do that in other areas of our life.

Like when we tell a little white lie, that starts innocently enough and soon turns into a flood of endless falsehoods. Or spices added to a meal that should have enhanced it and instead drown out the food’s intended flavor.

Or when we are writing a scene and once we reach the wrap-up, we keep going  and going like the Energizer Bunny. The scene is complete, the loose ends tied up, and the conclusion is satisfying. We should close and move on. Instead, we belabor points, add dialogue or narrative that isn’t needed, and in general we linger in the scene far longer than necessary.

We have all read books like that, and some of us have written books like that. Yes, me too. I call it a learning curve and a rite of passage as we grow and mature as writers.

daydreaming kitty

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I can so relate with Snoopy right now. I plowed into 2018 with three new releases under my belt and a firm resolve to take a few months to recoup from those, and then spend the spring writing two more time-travel novels for late 2018 submission. However, a new opportunity presented itself last month so I  decided to temporarily pause the novels to work on a short story, of which I am now 3,000 words into.

While I do have more than one sheet of paper, I have limited time and reserves to write when I need to be doing everything else. I’ve heard it said writing is hard work. Personally, I don’t find the real writing so hard, I find many other aspects of being a writer the hard work.

I wish ol’ Snoopy all the luck with The Cabin and his one sheet of paper. In the meantime,  please wish me luck on the literary endeavors I am writing my way through.

Snoopy one sheet of paper

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