Category Archives: romance

CAPTURED will capture your hearts

 

Title: Captured

Author: Michelle Areaux

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Adventure

Pages: 158

Release Date: 24 June 17

Blog Tour Date: 24  –  30 June 17
After their whirlwind time spent on the run, Hallie and Jackson return home. Though they must keep their relationship secret, they are finally together until Samuel enters the scene. Determined to become New York’s next big kingpin, Samuel plans to do whatever it takes to acquire his power, including holding Jackson ransom for a chunk of his father’s territory. Hallie and Jackson’s fathers try to rescue Jackson, but they move too slowly for Hallie’s liking. Will Hallie be successful when she decides to take matters into her own hands, or will she need rescuing herself?

CAPTURED is the exciting sequel to RUNAWAY.

Win one of three copies of CAPTURED by Michelle Areaux
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Buy CAPTURED by Michelle Areaux at AmazonGoogle PlayiBookstoreKobo, and Barnes & Noble Nook.

Also by Michelle Areaux

RUNAWAY– Book 1 of the RUNAWAY Series

Do you trust me?

Those four, simple words would transform seventeen-year-old Hallie Romano’s life.

After Hallie and gorgeous, lifelong friend, Jackson, witness a brutal murder, she has to make a decision—should she trust Jackson and run away, or stay behind and deal with the fallout of what she has witnessed?

Haunted by the crime, Hallie flees in search of safety and freedom. On the run, she attempts to seek some kind of normalcy while keeping one step ahead in a twisted game of chase where she and Jackson are the hunted.

Besides the fact that her father is a mob boss who ordered the hit, the most difficult obstacle for Hallie to overcome is her growing attraction to Jackson. Will they ever make a new life for themselves and move forward despite the dangerous world they left behind?

About Michelle Areaux

Michelle Areaux is the author of the Wicked Cries series. Her love for literature began at an early age and flourished over the years into a passion. Currently, she resides in Nicholasville, KY with her husband Anthony, and sons Connor and Cooper. Social Media Links:

Learn more about Michelle and her books at

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 Guest Post by Michelle Areaux

Hi, fantastic readers,

My name is Michelle Areaux and I write young adult fiction novels. I am so excited to have this opportunity today to share my love of writing, young adult literature, and coffee!

So, if you are reading this today, it is easy to say that you love books. As a writer, my true passion, above all in this industry, is a common love and passion for great books. From the time I read the Babysitters’ Club books to Judy Blume and then on to Sharon Dessen, I have always been a fan of a compelling story. From a gripping plotline, characters that make me scream and cry, to a scene that makes me hold my breath; it was that obsession that pushed and motivated my desire to become a writer.

My mom has said that I began writing stories from the moment I could pick up a pencil. I guess that is true, but I didn’t begin developing those stories into books until high school. From there, I began creating novels. My first novel, Wicked Cries combined my love of the Salem Witch Trials, paranormal romances, and humor. Now, as I write Wicked Endings: Book 4 of the Wicked Cries Series and prepare to release my fifth novel, Captured, I find my desire to continue writing these types of novels keeps increasing.

I have been asked many times why I write young adult novels and not adult romance. My answer has always been and will be that I write what I love to read. I think all adults are still teens at heart. We all still remember our first best friend. The first person we had a “‘real” crush on, and the first time we dreamed and imagined a wonderfully unique world far different from our own. That inner child is why I write books from a sixteen to seventeen year old’s perspective. I write worlds where my readers can relate to a fear, desire, or love a character feels. While I have dabbled in adult romance novels under a pen name (you can e-mail me to learn that name), my true love remains young adult literature.

Many people have asked me how I am able to keep producing so many novels, teach middle school English, and be a parent and a wife. The only answer I can give is that I drink TONS of coffee. I find that the night is the only time I can find solitude to write. My coffee addiction, as my husband loves to call it, keeps me awake as I journey through the night to write the crazy and sometimes wild images that float through my mind.

Now, I can sit here and lie to you all and tell you that writing is easy and publishing is a piece of cake, but, I won’t do that. First, writing is difficult—there is no cookie-cutter format to use or a strategy that everyone can work with. The way I write may sound crazy to another writer, however, my best advice if you want to become a writer is this: just write. If you have an idea or see a scene unfold in your mind, write it down. I don’t start on page 1 and end on the last page. No, I may begin my book with a big conflict scene, then, move a few chapters over to a big revealing scene or romantic moment between two characters. As I write the “meat” of my story, I always go back and fill in the gaps later. Again, that works for me, but it may not work for you. Find your own voice and tool that helps you grow as a writer. Next, publishing is not as simple as it sounds. You have self-publishing, vanity publishing, traditional publishing, and the big 5 publishers.

Since we are all friends here, I’ll tell you that I was once scammed by a vanity publisher. I fell into the trap of a catchy pick-up line and the dream of becoming the next J. K. Rowling. It wasn’t until I saw that I wasn’t receiving my truthful royalties and that my novels were not being edited as I was told they would be that I decided to get out of that mess. I was left scared, alone, and feeling like I had somehow failed and wasn’t a good writer. I could have stopped my dream of becoming a writer, but I didn’t. Quitting just isn’t my style—I guess I’m  just too stubborn.

So, as a once published author, I soon discovered EMSA Publishing. Elise Abram scooped in and saved me. She has now published my Wicked Cries series, Runaway, Captured and will continue to publish my novels until she gets sick of me. Ha, I hope not— just trying to throw a little joke in there!

I wish this wasn’t a common occurrence, but unfortunately, it is. There are so many deceiving people out there, ready and willing to take your money with the hope you’ll believe their lies. Please, don’t fall for their schemes. Do your research when finding a publisher. Ask other authors in Facebook author groups about that publisher. Search for their books online. Or, if you decide self-publishing is more your scene, try that, too. There are fabulous cover design artists, promotional marketing companies, and editors out there. Again, do your research before committing to anything. Regardless of which path you choose, please follow your dreams. I did, and I hope you do, too.

With love,

Michelle Areaux

“Shadow of Shame” by Barbara Goss only $0.99 through December 12th

shadowofshame-1Ivy Jeffries falls hopelessly in love with Jonas Armstrong, a man who has forced himself into a somewhat reclusive lifestyle owing to his sordid past.  Ivy is elated when he finally lets his guard down, and kisses her.  She thinks they are now moving forward into a relationship, when he tells her it meant nothing to him.  How could a kiss like they shared mean nothing to him, when it meant the world to her?  Then she discovers he is pulling away for a reason, to protect her.  Is the love they share enough to withstand his past and the child he is protecting?

About Barb Goss:

Barbara Masci Goss is now just Barbara Goss. Barbara Goss lives in Western New York and to date has written 22 Christian/Clean Romance books, mostly westerns. She enjoys crossword puzzles, penny slots, reading, swimming, and her two cats, but not necessarily in that order. She tries to write exciting stories with a bit of God’s word spread within, without dominating the story.

Barbara began writing in 1988 and her first book, Forbidden Legacy, won first prize for fiction at a Christian Writers Convention in Titusville, Florida, in 1989. This won her a book contract with publishers: Fleming Revell and later Baker Books. She wrote four books for them under contract. She then took a few years off to work full time as a secretary to the county hospital and the local school system.

Retired now, she is back to writing. Her first book was written on a typewriter! Since early 2015, she’s written twenty-two more delightful romances.

Barbara’s greatest influence in writing are the 100 books written by Grace Livingston Hill. As a Christian writer, she weaves a bit of godliness into the romance and adventure, yet her books are always clean. Barbara is well on her way to catching up to Ms. Livingston.

Learn more about Barbara Goss and her writing at

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Sweet Wild West Reads is a Facebook group and a wonderful place for sweet western romance authors and readers to discuss their favorite stories, thoughts, and authors. Join the group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1832790870336744/

“Mail Order Mishap” by Barb Goss only $0.99 through December 5th

final-for-mishap-imageAmber Wakefield travels to Hunter’s Grove, Kansas to meet her intended and walks into a very unwelcoming atmosphere. Charles Turner, her intended, seems cool and aloof, and his brother Garrett—downright rude. She wants nothing more than to rush back to Virginia, until Edna Smith, her chaperone, falls ill, and she’s forced to stay. She knows Charles harbors a secret, and she isn’t sure whether Garrett is her hero or her enemy. When she finally discovers the truth, she wants nothing to do with either of them. One of the Turner brothers vows to win her love. But which one?

About Barbara Goss:

Barbara Masci Goss is now just Barbara Goss. Barbara Goss lives in Western New York and to date has written 22 Christian/Clean Romance books, mostly westerns. She enjoys crossword puzzles, penny slots, reading, swimming, and her two cats, but not necessarily in that order. She tries to write exciting stories with a bit of God’s word spread within, without dominating the story.

Barbara began writing in 1988 and her first book, Forbidden Legacy, won first prize for fiction at a Christian Writers Convention in Titusville, Florida, in 1989. This won her a book contract with publishers: Fleming Revell and later Baker Books. She wrote four books for them under contract. She then took a few years off to work full time as a secretary to the county hospital and the local school system.

Retired now, she is back to writing. Her first book was written on a typewriter! Since early 2015, she’s written twenty-two more delightful romances.

Barbara’s greatest influence in writing are the 100 books written by Grace Livingston Hill. As a Christian writer, she weaves a bit of godliness into the romance and adventure, yet her books are always clean. Barbara is well on her way to catching up to Ms. Livingston.

Learn more about Barbara Goss and her writing at

| Website  | Facebook |  Twitter |

Sweet Wild West Reads is a Facebook group and a wonderful place for sweet western romance authors and readers to discuss their favorite stories, thoughts, and authors. Join the group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1832790870336744/

COMING IN HOT – Author Spotlight Tour

coming in hot cover

Paramedical meets paranormal in this steamy set filled with doctors, nurses, paramedics, shifters, werewolves, vampires, and more!

Get a dose of romance, STAT!

Featuring NYT, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling authors, we’re Coming In Hot with paranormal to contemporary, and sizzling to seductive bedside manners by the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and more in this boxed set.

Today’s Spotlight: Bad Medicine by Red L. Jameson!

bad medicine cover

When you make a deal with the devil…

Don’t complain about the heat.

Luckily, I like it hot.

Nurse Ian Ryder, or just Ryder, is everything I want. He’s big. He’s tough. He’s oh-so-sexy with his leather jacket and motorcycle that I’ve had indecent fantasies about. And even better, he seems emotionally closed off. Not the kind of man who would ask a lot of personal questions. The perfect candidate to reveal my secret—I’m still a virgin, worried I’ll die this way if I don’t do something about it soon. Somehow, I’m going to convince Ryder to play doctor with me.

Dr. Asha Whitetail is completely out of my league. Intelligent and sophisticated. And those glasses she wears makes me think about steaming up her scrubs. When an awkward moment turns into a hot kiss, I realize I’m going to do everything I can to have her—not just her body but her heart too. Problem is, she seems to want only one thing from me. So I’m going to make her an offer she can’t refuse. I’ll give her what she wants, if she spends time with me, gets to know me, the real me, while I do everything in my power to convince her she can play doctor with me…for life.

The Wild Love Series is set in Wyoming and Montana, where things are little more…wild, where love can never tamed. Each book within the series can be read as a standalone and intended for a mature and adventurous reader. Enjoy and fall in love!

***BRAND NEW & EXCLUSIVE***

Now Available for pre-order at $0.99 for a limited time on AmazonNookiBooksKobo, and ARe.

bad medicine interview image

Hello! Thank you for this opportunity to talk about my newest release Bad Medicine, Book 4 of the Wild Love Series, featured in the Coming in Hot Anthology! I’m so excited to share more about this book, the anthology, and even titbits about myself!

Tell us about your title featured in this set: 

Bad Medicine is Book 4 of the Wild Love Series, which, although it is a series, each book is a stand-alone. I can write pretty quickly and wrote it in about three weeks. However, it’s the editing that always takes the longest with my own revisions, the back-and-forth between a beloved critique buddy of mine then the back-and-forth between my editor and me, polishing, moving on to my proofer, and polishing some more. My editing process takes anywhere between a month to two months. Oh, and the title…Hee-hee! I asked the other members of the anthology what they thought and we all agreed to Bad Medicine!

Tell us something about yourself. 

Hmm, where to start? Well, I was born in Montana, but as soon as I turned eighteen I wanted to move away, so I did. I’ve lived in a lot of places during my early twenties, mostly in the South. But something kept calling me back home. Eventually, I moved back to Montana to be closer to family, met a special fella, and, well, the rest is history as they say. I love learning and have tried to continue my education with now one Master’s Degree in US Military history and several certificates—including fitness instructing to grammar to coding to you name it. But my best teacher of all is my thirteen-year-old son, wise beyond his years. I’m the luckiest mom in the world!

Tell us about your writing process. 

It depends on the book. But most often an idea comes, then a few scenes, then the character “talks” to me. I know. That sounds goofy, but I’ll have days where a certain character become so clear to me it’s as if he or she is really talking to me, telling me about their background, their goals, what motivates them, everything. After a few days to months of this, I plot his or her story. Then I write it furiously down. As I mentioned above, it’s the editing that takes me the longest, and by the time I’m done, the character is done talking to me, letting another enter my mind. J

What is your favourite genre to read? 

Romance and almost anything non-fiction.

What would you say is the one thing are you most passionate about? 

Being a good mother. I want to be a good partner, friend, sister and writer, but every day I try so hard to be a good mom to my wonderful boy.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do? 

I like reading, hiking, taking pictures on my hikes, cooking, baking, playing games with the fam…gosh, so much! There’s no shortage of fun things to do.

If someone who hasn’t read any your books asked you to describe your story in this set (the elevator pitch!) what would you say? 

Nurse Ian Ryder and Dr. Asha Whitetail make the deal of a lifetime. She wants to get rid of her V-card; he wants her heart. Who will win?

About the author:

red l jameson image

Red L. Jameson is an award-winning and multi-published author. She writes in many genres. Her pen name, L. B. Joramo, includes the odd combination of historical and paranormal for the Immortal American Series. However, it is under her “Red” name, her nickname too, where all her stories are strongly laced with love, including contemporary, historical, time-travel, paranormal, and erotic romance. Red lives in the wilds of Montana with her family and a few too many animals, and is currently working on her next novel that she hopes will make her readers laugh, cry, think, and fall in love.

She loves her readers, so please feel free to contact her at http://www.redljameson.com

Or sign up for her sporadic emails at http://bit.ly/1jUgUhr

Readers can connect with Red L. Jameson at:

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coming in hot giveaway imag

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New Release: THE COUNTESS INTRIGUE by Wendy May Andrews

The Countess Intrigue is a 60,000 word sweet, regency romance with a thread of suspense. It is a standalone sequel to The Duke Conspiracy.

TheCountessIntrigue500x750Engaged to a rumored murderer – what’s a lady to do?

During her second Season, Lady Elizabeth Castleton is found in a compromising situation with Lord Justice Sinclair, the Earl of Heath. Despite her attraction to him, she is dismayed to find herself betrothed to the man who is rumored to have killed his first wife. Her parents refuse to lend credence to the rumors, so she is soon married and on the way to her husband’s estate.

She cannot decide what to make of the handsome earl but after an attempt is made on her life, Elizabeth is terrified that history is about to repeat itself. She determines to find out once and for all if she is married to a murder.

Can she stay alive long enough to find her happily ever after?

Purchase The Countess Intrigue on Amazon Kindle.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

The evening had already been harrowing with the abduction of her dearest friend from that very ballroom mere moments earlier, but it already felt like eons. After she had left it in the Duke of Wrentham’s hands there had been nothing she could do to help. She had no desire to stand about wringing her hands so she was making every effort to remain calm, keeping up appearances in order to prevent Rose’s absence from becoming common knowledge, in an effort to preserve her reputation. The last thing Elizabeth needed was to be seen conversing with the controversial earl. But despite every instinct shrieking for her to leave the man’s presence on the instant, she forced herself to meet his eye as she bade him good night.

His handsome face always made her blink. Well defined, with a sharp jaw and angular cheekbones. His skin looked smooth, as though he had just left the ministrations of his valet. His wide set eyes were a unique color, somewhere between blue and green, and leant an air of watchful intelligence to his beauty. She wondered if he found it amusing to be constantly faced with wide-eyed women or if he had become immune to it. Perhaps he took it as his due, Elizabeth thought absently, before she refocused her attention. She ought to be keeping her wits about her. Exhaustion from the evening’s turmoil was dulling her senses.

About the Author:

WMAndrews author picWendy May Andrews has been reading whatever she could get her hands on since the age of five. She has been writing for almost as long but hasn’t been sharing those stories with anyone but her mother until recently. Wendy lives in Toronto with her own real-life hero. When not writing or reading, they love to travel wherever the mood takes them.

Learn more about Wendy May Andrews and her writing at:

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Excerpt from WHEN IN ROME by J. Lynn Rowan

perf5.000x8.000.inddLove isn’t always picture perfect…

Kate Miller always thought of herself as the older, frumpier, and less desirable version of her effervescent sister, Sadie. Now that little sister has hooked herself a wealthy husband and seems to have landed the perfect life, all of Kate’s old insecurities rear their ugly heads. Doubting the existence of a fairytale romance, all she wants is to create her own happy ending through her Atlanta-based photography business. When the opportunity arises to join an exclusive fashion photo shoot in Rome, Kate jumps on the chance to gain international recognition of her work. But she’s not counting on an instant attraction to the charismatic, sexy, and irritatingly arrogant director of the shoot.

Domenic Varezzi is used to calling the shots and getting his own way, and his status as a well-known, prolific photographer has earned him worldwide fame. He’s long been on the lookout for a partner, someone who can work beside him as well as fill a lonely void in his life. He thought he’d found “the one”, only to have his hopes dashed by betrayal. Kate’s eye for detail in her photographs has caught his attention, and every challenge she sends his way drives him to break through her tough-as-nails exterior to reach the vulnerable heart that matches his own.

With Italy’s “Eternal City” and the Sicilian town of Taormina as his backdrop, Domenic sets out to win Kate over, and the attention he sends her way can’t be misconstrued. She’s determined to keep him at arm’s length in order to protect her own heart. But she wonders – is Domenic just looking for a fling, or is he in it for the long haul?

Buy When in Rome by J. Lynn Rowan on Amazon.

Excerpt

“Let’s get moving,” Domenic says, taking the boarding passes from Joe. “Pilot wants to be cleared for takeoff in twenty minutes.”

The team lines up, toes tapping, as he thumbs through the boarding passes and starts calling out our names. “Corrine. Rafe. Dave.” Each person steps forward to take their passes and heads toward the gate agent. “Lauren. Joe. Miranda.”

Then it’s just me. Domenic and me, staring at each other steps away from the jet bridge. He holds my boarding pass out to me, and a little surge of indignation heats my face. I want to hear him say my name, the way he said everyone else’s, like it’s validation for my spot on his team. My brows lower and my mouth tightens. I stride toward him, close enough to take my boarding pass.

But I don’t.

I glare at him.

Waiting.

A little coil of something hotter than indignation winding through my core at the amusement shining in his emerald eyes.

He thinks this is funny. My discomfort and impatience is a freaking joke to him.

“Well?” I grind out.

Slowly, he extends my boarding pass toward me. A half-grin pulls at one corner of his mouth as I continue to wait. Something else appears in his eyes alongside that irksome amusement.

My stomach flips.

“Kate.” His voice is low and sonorous, just loud enough for me to hear.

The flip, and the simmering annoyance that’s been building over the past three minutes, explodes into an eruption of raging butterflies. Dizziness threatens the stability of my stance, and my cheeks are on fire. Short of breath, I snatch my boarding pass from his artistically elegant fingers and march myself down the jet bridge.

About the author:

jlynnrowan-headshotJ. Lynn Rowan started writing stories as a small child, usually starring her favorite cartoon characters. Most of her work through middle and high school was filled with typical teenage angst and melodrama, and usually mirrored the books she loved to read. But eventually she found her own author’s voice and decided to seriously pursue a writing career.

Historical fiction remains J. Lynn’s “first love”, but she has enjoyed the journey to becoming an author of romance and chick lit. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Central New York Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society. She is also a teacher who tries to instill a love of learning, reading, and writing in her students.

When she’s not writing, J. Lynn enjoys travelling, gardening poorly but enthusiastically, studying various topics in American history for her own expertise, and channeling Julia Child every time she steps into the kitchen.

A native of Oswego, NY, she now lives in Charlotte, NC, with her own Romantic Hero of a husband and the most adorable baby on the planet.

Here’s where you can learn more about J. Lynn Rowan and her writing

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COMPETING WITH THE STAR by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Competing with the Star FRONTGenre: Young Adult

About Competing with the Star

Hadley Daniels’s life seems perfect…

Before the beginning of sophomore year of high school, Hadley and her family move to a beautiful beach town, where she makes amazing new friends and lands the boyfriend of her dreams—Nick Jenkins. He’s the kind of guy every girl swoons over, and it isn’t long until Hadley discovers some are still swooning.

A famous ex-girlfriend makes matters more complicated…

After some time dating, Hadley and Nick form a deep bond. But insecurity sets in when Hadley discovers her boyfriend once had a huge crush on her friend—who just happens to be the beautiful former teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson.

The past is the past—or so they say…

Hadley confronts Nick, who confesses about his history with Simone. Though he claims to only have eyes for Hadley now, it’s hard to believe—especially when she’s blindsided with the news that Nick and Simone kissed after school.

Now Hadley must determine who is telling the truth. Love, betrayal, friendship…who needs soap opera drama when you’re busy competing with a star?

Buy Competing with the Star at Amazon Kindle,  Amazon Paperback, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.

 

Excerpt from Competing with the Star

Two days passed and Nick hadn’t called again. I couldn’t blame him. After all, I had pushed for him to be honest and then had bailed on him. I’m sure he was mad at me for telling him he could tell me the truth and then I punished him for it—and he would be right. I couldn’t handle the icky feelings, and instead of being a big girl and dealing with them, I came home from school and retreated into the world of books. A world where people were kidnapped, jewels were stolen, but nobody’s heart ever got broken because in my favorite series, The Raven Chronicles, Raven’s boyfriend, Fernando, was ever faithful and loyal and would never even look at another girl. He was the perfect book boyfriend. In other words, he was fictional and didn’t exist.

What readers are saying about Competing with the Star:

From Reader’s Favorite:

Competing With The Star is the continuation of Krysten Lindsay Hager’s epic YA drama series, The Star Series. Through a captivating plot, amazing character development, and Krysten’s flawless writing, the story captures the true essence of the drama, confusion, and emotional high that is teenage romance. It brings to life the beauty of YA romance with all its uncertainties and possibilities. In the midst of all the drama, confusion, and romance, the story also gives off a beautiful and serene sense of family. I especially loved how the book dived into the story right away, and captured the genuine feeling of the story down to details, language, and interaction between the characters. Lovers of YA romance will definitely love The Star Series.

From Katie’s Clean Book Collection:

Oh, the feels! Krysten Lindsay Hager has a way of drawing me right back to my high school days with her writing–feelings and all. This book is a continuation of Next Door to a Star. Hadley is now settling in and a new boyfriend, Nick, really helps her feel like she belongs. What girl hasn’t felt insecure at one time or another when trying to figure out if “he loves me, he loves me not?” Hadley is real. She has real struggles, real strengths, real reactions, and real emotions. Nick once had a crush on former TV star, Simone, and although Simone swears her friendship with Hadley means more to than anything, but oftentimes, actions speak louder than words and Simone is an actress…

Nick is a great boyfriend, especially for a first relationship, as he and Hadley have a lot in common. Many assumptions lead to drama and realizations as Hadley, Nick, and their friends try and navigate the confusing roads of teenage life. I love how this story seems to unfold like a TV show–easy to picture and imagine. The characters and situations are vibrant, almost leaping off the pages and I felt like I was either a fly on the wall or a silent friend, sitting smack in the thick of it. I love the dynamics and can’t wait for more to the story!

About the Author:

Author picKrysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Here’s how to learn more about Krysten Linday Hager and her writing:

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Fast-paced and Entertaining

andrea and the 5-day challengeWhen Andrea promises to complete a 5-day bible study and journal, she isn’t sure if she will be successful or how it will affect her life. But as the week wears on, she faces a number of seemingly insurmountable challenges, most of them concerning school and her crush on new guy Luke Ryan, not to mention Luke’s crush on her. Then there’s the piano recital and the potential to be scouted for Julliard. To make matters worse, mean girl Stephanie is also interested in Luke. Will Andrea survive the week, let alone see her 5-day challenge through to the end?

Cindy K. Green’s Andrea and the 5-Day Challenge is a quick and entertaining read, one which I finished over the course of 4 days. The story is fast-paced and the characters are believable. Poor Andrea is stuck feeling like such a hopeless failure as she tries to please everyone around her: her parents, whose only dream is to see her be a successful pianist, her friends who want her to let loose and have fun with Luke, she neglects to please herself. Rather than embrace a chaste relationship with Luke, she spurns him several times, but by the end of her 5-day challenge, she learns how to communicate and negotiate and that, if she’s simply honest with the people in her life, there is a way to make everyone, including herself, happy.

Though I’ll admit I was a bit wary of the religious aspect of this text, Green manages to work in the importance of prayer and God in one’s life without hitting the reader over the head with it. The Bible passages are short and relevant to what’s happening in Andrea’s life. In addition, Andrea uses the passages she chooses on each day of the challenge to find solace in her life and to become a better person, which is kind of cool. Young girls will be able to identify with Andrea’s search for her identity, her soul, and for a way to have it all.

Mamabear gives this book:

four-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Believably Dystopic

rp_autumninthecityofangelscover-220x300.jpgWhen 17 year old Autumn finds herself alone in Los Angeles after a global pandemic, she does her best to survive. On a foray into the city, she is taken in by The Front, a group whose focus is power and repopulation. Autumn escapes and is saved by Grey, who disappears shortly thereafter. She returns to her condo where she discovers Ben and his seven year old sister, Rissi. The three of them set up house in Autumn’s penthouse and grow to become a family, but waning supplies forces Autumn out into the dangerous streets of Los Angeles in search of Grey. Due to the air of mystery surrounding him and the kindness he showed her, Grey has become all Autumn can think of lately. And she thinks she knows just how to find him, based on the directions he left her just before he disappeared.

Kirby Howell’s Autumn in the City of Angels was a great read. Howell expertly sets the scene of a believably dystopic Los Angeles. And while Autumn contains many of the plot lines familiar to this genre– a mysterious boy with whom the protagonist can’t help but fall in love; two camps, one good, one evil; most of the world destroyed by a super-virus–there is one plot twist that I didn’t foresee (and which I won’t divulge here) that makes it different from the rest. Autumn in the City of Angels is more than a simple tale of surviours in a post-apocalyptic world. The sci-fi elements are there if you look closely enough. These elements serve to throw a wrench into Autumn and Grey’s sweet love story and hooks the reader further in as the novel races toward the end.

I’ll admit I was thrown for a loop when the big sci-fi element was spelled out for me. When I went back to write this review, I realized that was because I wasn’t reading closely enough. Howell drops hints that I’d missed throughout. Simple things like Autumn’s loss of time that are credited to her injuries, have a much deeper meaning, so watch out for them when you read. And though my first impulse was to stop reading at the point of the reveal, I’m glad I didn’t. My one true complaint is that the book ends too abruptly, and without resolution, probably to leave the reader wanting more for the next book in the series. I’m one of those few people out there who don’t particularly like binge reading series, and would have preferred more of a plot resolution as a result. If you enjoy reading series, however, then you won’t be disappointed. Howell’s intention, to leave the reader wanting more, is bang on.

If you enjoy dystopic sci-fi and paranormal, romance book series, you are in for a treat in  Autumn in the City of Angels.

Mamabear gives this book:

four-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Welcome back, Ines Bautista Yao

Britbear’s Book Reviews is pleased to welcome back author Ines Bautista Yao, talking about her new book, Just a Little Bit of Love.

just a little bit of loveAbout Just a Little Bit of Love:

Three short stories about three young girls: Anita, Ina, and Carla. Each one finding their lives disrupted by a boy. Maybe it’s because he wanders into the coffee shop where she works after school every Tuesday. Maybe it’s because he won’t leave her alone even if she has made it clear that she is crushing on his football team-mate. Or maybe it’s because she’s spent one unforgettable afternoon with him—despite being oh-so-forgetful. Three small doses of love that serve up a whole lot of feels.

Buy Just a Little Bit of Love on Amazon.

Welcome back, Ines!

When we last spoke, it was about Only a Kiss. Tell me a bit about your latest release, Just a Little Bit of Love.

Hi, Elise! Thank you for having me again! 🙂 Just A Little Bit of Love is made up of three stories that are all set in the world of Only A Kiss. What I did was imagine who else could have possibly been in particular settings of the book.

In the first story, “Watching, Waiting”, I used a scene where my main characters were in a coffee shop. Naturally, there will be more people there with their own stories, their own problems, and their own hopeful endings.

The second one, “On The Sidelines”, is about a girl who is also obsessed with Ethan, the boy Katie, my main character in Only A Kiss had a huge crush on when she was a kid.

The last one, “Sticky Notes and Forgetfulness” is about a minor character who comes out in Only A Kiss too. I found her so adorable, I wanted to write more about her.

Both Only a Kiss and Just a Little Bit of Love are sweet romances. What do you like about writing in this genre? What draws you to the genre?

I love this genre! I love reading it and that’s probably why I love writing it.

Just a Little Bit of Love is a series of short stories about three girls. Are the stories connected or related?

They aren’t really related, but they happen in order. And I guess you can say the characters are all basically at the same point in their lives as each other, age-wise — if that makes any sense. The first one happens in high school, the second in college, and the third after college.

I love that as a way to organize your stories!

Your Goodreads bio says you used to be an editor for two magazines and that you currently work as an editor for Summit Books. How does writing compare to editing? Do you find your job as an editor helps you to write? Do you consult an editor prior to publishing?

I believe everyone needs an editor. If you say you don’t, you’re either too full of yourself or you have some magic power I wish I possessed haha! Even the best writers need feedback because they’re too close to their stories and to their words. Sometimes, when something makes sense to me but isn’t too clear to my editor/readers, then I know I have to change it. Because I’m an editor, I know how important it is to have my work edited and I never release something unless I have it edited first.

I prefer writing to editing because it is less technical and it’s more creative. Editing is work. But I enjoy it too. I learn a lot as I go and it also helps me when I write. I have a better idea of what works, what the best practices are, and what I should be mindful of.

Your bio also says you’ve been a teacher in the past. Were your students aware of your status as an author? How did they react when they found out? Have you ever mentored a student to help with his/her writing career?

I wrote and published my first book after I stopped teaching. But my former students are so supportive and so wonderful! They come to my launches, buy my books, and spread the word. It’s wonderful!

I help a lot of people with their writing. I guess it’s because I used to teach? So it comes naturally. When I find out friends have been wanting to write since forever, I encourage them till they finally do it. I love it when people finally realize their dreams!

My last question is a wild card. Choose a question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview. What is it? How would you answer it?

Why do you write?

I don’t think anyone has ever asked me this question. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t need to be asked, or because writers interview me so they too have the same feelings burning within.

I write because there’s something inside me that needs to be satisfied, sated, addressed, acknowledged. It’s not anything I can pinpoint, but it’s there. When I’m not writing, I don’t feel complete. But when I am, I feel more alive—like the world is more interesting, my life is more fun, and I am filled with an enthusiasm I never really knew before—or maybe I did when I was teaching.

But this is different. While writing, I’m lost in another world, yes, but at the same time, something happens to me. Maybe it’s because I’m creating something, maybe it’s because I’m finally doing what God created me to do. Whatever it is, writing makes me happy. That statement is so simple and I feel doesn’t fully capture the wonderment, the vividness, and plainly, how much more alive I feel when I’m doing it. And not just the act itself but while I’m writing something, I pay more attention to what’s happening around me, I’m constantly thinking of what will come next or how I will work a particular scene—I’m more engaged, not so lost, but oh so free.

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About the author:

photo-2Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s in your Heart, and Only a Kiss. She has also written two short stories, “Flashbacks and Echoes,” which is part of a compilation called All This Wanting and “A Captured Dream,” one of the four short stories in Sola Musica: Love Notes from a Festival.

She is the former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone magazines and a former high school and college English and Literature teacher. She is also a wife and mom and blogs about the many challenges and joys of motherhood at theeverydayprojectblog.com. She has recently launched The Author Project, a section in her current blog devoted to the stories in her head.