Novel Review…

This Sunday, I’ve decided to stray a bit. Next week, I’ll be back to my old self recommending my latest hot romantic read. But in the meantime, it is my pleasure to share with you HUNGRY HEART, ADVENTURES IN LIFE, LOVE AND WRITING.

Honest, funny, and entertaining, HUNGRY HEART, is a fabulously penned work of non-fiction. This memoir written by New York Times bestselling author, Jennifer Weiner leaves nothing to the imagination. Ms. Weiner known for writing Chick Lit novels featuring overweight women who overcome their obstacles to become heroines in their own life stories, is truly an inspiration. Her first novel, GOOD IN BED, has recently celebrated its fifteenth anniversary. It is difficult for me to believe that I enjoyed this book all those years ago since I often channel my inner Cannie Shapiro, the heroine of GOOD IN BED. Like Cannie and now Jennifer Weiner, I’ve experienced the self-loathing of living in a beauty obsessed world. As I take my daily walk, I often think of Cannie and her journey to victory over her own life. Being overweight is not a life sentence to despise yourself. Through Ms. Weiner’s written words, I’ve learned that it’s okay to enjoy life, to balance the girly with the feminist parts of my personality, and always remain true to myself. She also made my heart swell as she discussed the eccentricities her family members. Don’t we all have silly stories that instead of pushing under the rug we should celebrate? If you’re a writer, maybe, Ms. Weiner will encourage you to use those experiences to create your own best-seller.

If you’re a woman, you need to read HUNGRY HEART. I know you’ll enjoy it. Happy reading!

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NOVEL REVIEW: TANGLED IN SIN BY LAVINIA KENT

This week’s book review is not for the bashful. It’s for the reader who flirts with what some consider to be taboo. TANGLED IN SIN is the fifth installment in the Bound and Determined series written by Lavinia Kent. Sizzling with sexual vice and erotic intrigue this page turner nearly scorches its pages.

Mistaken as the newest owner of a well-known London brothel, Cynthia Westhope, “Sin” is abducted from her walk home during a horrible rain storm. Left to fend for herself in a remote cabin, she welcomes the appearance of her best-friend’s brother, James Winters. Uncertain why someone would want to kidnap her, she assumes that James had found out that his sister was in danger and come to rescue her.

After staging a plan to force his sister to abandon her newest position as Madame Blanche, James is horrified to find the wrong woman residing in the cabin. Unable to cross the river, he relishes the thought of spending the evening with the luscious scantily clad woman.

Cold and wet Sin and James do the most obvious thing possible to keep warm-they sleep side-by-side. Plagued with innocent desire, Sin falls into an erotic dream in which James is ravishing her. But, it wasn’t a dream. Having taken her innocence, James is determined to wed her.

TANGLED IN SIN promises its readers a steamy hot aphrodisiac into the temptation of the forbidden. I consider myself lucky to have been chose to receive an advanced reader copy of this novel and am thrilled to recommend it. Happy reading!32287534

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I admire the literary prose of Lisa Kleypas. In my opinion, she is the epitome of a historical romance writer. Reading a novel penned by her never disappoints. Ms. Kleypas has a talent for crafting a familial world that jumps off the page. Whether she is detailing the activities of a pig named Hamlet, you can meet him in COLD-HEARTED RAKE, the subject of this week’s review, or the bond between eccentric siblings, her expertise storytelling is a delightful escape.

COLD-HEARTED RAKE, is book one of her latest series, The Ravenels. Already, I’ve read this story released in 2015 by Avon books twice.

Unhappy, with the new responsibilities thrust upon him from inheriting an earldom from his cousin, Devon Ravenel has no intention of maintaining his newly acquired estate. Known for his exploits as a rake, he has little care for the well-being of his cousin’s widow, Kathleen, Lady Trenear or his three sisters. Of course, that quickly changes when he finds himself captivated with the guarded and outspoken Kathleen.

I’ve only written a brief synopsis because, like all of Lisa Kleypas stories, I found the characters to offer a treasure trove of complex emotions that make it a novel hard to put down. If I haven’t convinced you, yet, to read COLD-HEART RAKE, let me dangle a carrot. One of my all-time favorite character’s is Rhys Winterborne. You can get a sneak peek at his literary appeal with his introduction by Devon. I’ll expose more about Rhys later when I review book two in the series, MARRYING WINTERBORNE. Until then, happy reading!

Reflections of an Aspiring Author:

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May 15, 2017

Eyes shut, I lay there. Warm, snug, and alone, wrapped within a cocoon of heavenly bliss, I find my sanctuary. Eyes closed, I listen. Not even Webster, could adequately define the rush of emotions that surge to the surface. Peaceful. Grateful. Blessed. Filled with thoughts of God, my family, my dog, my friends, and those darn birds with their obnoxious squawks and chirps outside of my window, my lips curl and arch towards heaven. Silently, I ponder what in the world those adorable, noisy birds could possibly be gossiping about. Then, I sigh, content to be a small part of this miraculous life and thankful for nature’s gift of joyous song. Small rays of sunlight battle for my attention. Through small cracks in the sealed blind, their bright orange hues penetrate the thin layer of skin that shields my hazel eyes, daring me to open them. No, I don’t want to. If I do, it will come come crashing down. Security threatened, my limbs turn to lead. Squeezed shut, wetness lingers within the tight confines of my eyelids. Haunted by the hurts of the past and the fears of the coming day, I pray, allowing my soul to cry out.

When emotions spiral out of control, you have two options. You can dwell in solitude, feeling sorry for yourself and hating the world or you can get up, push forward and use your angst to create something bigger than your sorrow. For this reason, I write romance.

The greatest strength of a writer is found in their ability to connect with their reader’s emotions. Growing up, my father often reminded me that I took everything to heart and warned me that it would be a difficult trait to manage. He was right, of course. My over-developed sensitivity weighs heavily upon my shoulders. Like a seesaw, it teeters between being my greatest strength and my worst attribute. I feel the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and everything in between. I’ve chosen to view it as a gift and it has graced me with the ability to empathize with individuals that many would dismiss as difficult, odd, or simply a waste of time. Since a young age, I’ve known that the most interesting people always have secrets locked inside. Are we products of our environment? Have we been grafted at birth with certain traits? Probably, a bit of both. One thing is for sure, none of us are perfect. A writer takes that imperfection and spins it into a perfectly imperfect character. With a bit of patience, a lot of tolerance, and steadfast observation, you can delve below the surface. Once there, you’ve found treasure. Overflowing with tales of triumph and despair, a literal pot of gold presents itself before you. The mystery of self-discovery is not for the faint of heart. It’s a responsibility to value, admire, and share. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t long to be loved and accepted. No matter how beautiful, talented or wealthy, each person has their own obstacles to overcome in their quest for happiness.

Romance writers should be viewed as teachers who instill lessons in survival, not unrealistic narrators of fairytales. Although rare, nothing is more precious than unconditional love. Romance writers offer a source of inspired complication, blending words into a web of character struggles that result in personal freedom over demons. Each story is unique and yet, tugs at our heartstrings with its emotional truth. The best thing about writing romance is the knowledge that there is going to be a happily ever after. When I write, or read romance, I know without a doubt that everything will be all right. All the discouragement and despair will be left behind. A new beginning has dawned and I welcome this fucked up adventure called life.

Notables…

“Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone,
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.
I give ye my Spirit, ’til our Life shall be Done.”

― Diana Gabaldon, Outlander

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Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland photo courtesy of Pixabay