Review: The One That Got Away by Kelly Hunter

 

 

Title:  The One that Got Away

Author: Kelly Hunter

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

The man who’s always left her wanting more!

Good job? Check. Newly purchased apartment? Tick. Evie’s life is on a pretty even keel at the moment. The only thing missing? A man with an edge to keep things interesting.

Enter Logan Black. Tortured, distant and sexy, Logan has edge written all over him. He’s also the man who tipped Evie over the edge a few years back – she gave him everything, but he didn’t know when to stop taking.

Leaving Logan was the hardest thing Evie’s ever done. Until now. Because Logan’s back, the chemistry is as blistering as ever and this time he’s not going anywhere…


Review:

I have read three titles from the Harlequin Kiss line now, and each has been vastly different in tone and texture.  My previous forays into the Kiss line were a bit more light hearted and more in line with what I thought this line would be like.  The One That Got Away caught me by surprise.  This is a darker read, with flawed but likable characters.  It delves into the fears of a man whose childhood was marred by abuse, and examines his deepest fear – that he will be as violent, controlling, and selfish as his father.  This fear has shaped his adult life, twisting his relationships and fueling his desperation to keep everyone at arm’s length.  Mix in a hopeless obsession that has festered for over ten years, and you have a story that makes you uneasy and steals your breath away in equal measure.

Evie has worked long and hard to make a successful business of MEP, the architectural firm she runs with her friend Max.  When a huge opportunity looms for them, they both fret about raising enough working capital.  Then Max drops a bombshell.  He asks Evie to marry him so he can access his multimillion dollar trust fund.  Shocked, she agrees, and they travel to Max’s hometown to meet his family, and give Evie another shock.  Max’s older brother, Logan, is the man she spent a blissful week with 10 years ago, a week that ended in disaster.  Both Evie and Logan have been haunted by their brief time together, but for different reasons.  Evie’s heart was broken when she didn’t hear from him again, while Logan ran as fast and as far away from Evie and his obsession for her as he could.  Evie represented everything that terrified him, and he didn’t want to face that monster in the closet of his mind. 

Now, older and ten years wiser, Evie wants to put that week from her past into perspective.  Logan refuses to discuss it.  With the support of Max and his mother, Evie slowly begins to understand the demons that stalk Logan.  She confronts him, time and again, trying to make him understand that they are both different people than they were ten years ago.  I admit that their relationship made me uncomfortable at several points,.  Logan’s fear of being like his father has made him try to repress his inner most desires, and when they batter at him, they terrify him.   Evie and Logan’s relationship is dark and intense, and at times, unhealthy.  I began to wonder if I would be convinced that they could ever have a HEA.  Fortunately, I was, and I became a bigger fan of Kelly Hunter’s because of it.

My one quibble would be the lack of depth regarding Evie’s background, and how her dysfunctional childhood affected her.  We are given a brief sketch of her parents and their inability to commit, but there is no clear picture given.

Grade: A

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Georgetown Academy Book One by Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz

Title: Georgetown Academy Book One

Authors:  Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.

In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.


Review:

When I was approached to review Georgetown Academy, I was excited to dive into the book.  Coliloquy, the publisher, is defining itself as a cutting edge digital publisher, and they are actively attempting to engage more reader interaction.  From their website:

Coliloquy is a next-generation digital publisher, leveraging advances in technology to enable groundbreaking new types of books, new revenue models, and new forms of author-reader engagement.”

Now, I love the idea of this, but after reading the first installment of the Georgetown Academy series, I wasn’t impressed with the reader interaction.  There is one point in the story where the reader can choose one of the characters and follow her POV for a short sequence of events.  I found this more tedious than ground-breaking  because I had to reread the same scene four times to get all of the girls’ perspectives.  This just slowed the pace of the story for me.  What would I like to see in future releases?  Maps of key places, including the school, illustrated character bios, even emails and text messages sent by the protagonists.  How about adding some audio, too, and including voice mails, etc?  That would be so cool, and to me, that would more fully engage my attention.

Despite my quibble with the interactive features, I did enjoy this introduction to the Georgetown Academy series. I had a good sense of how each of the characters ticked, and felt that I was able to get into their heads as they each dealt with all of the drama tossed their way.  And each of them is drowning in drama!  If you like books with lots of angst, lots of social pressure, and intense interpersonal relationships, this is the series for you.  Once I settled into the story, I was very engaged in the lives and trials of Evan, Taryn, Ellie, and Brinley.  Better yet, I liked some more than others, and found that they each had a unique personality.  Dealing with their parents’ successes and setbacks, boyfriend troubles, and the press kept each of them on the edge.  These teens are in  a larger than life setting, and not all of them are as well equipped to deal with the stress.

Because Georgetown Academy Book One is so short, I found the initial character introductions the slowest aspect of the story.  Just when I felt that I had a handle on the protagonists, the story shuddered to an abrupt ending.  Was I invested in the story?  You bet!  I immediately wanted to start reading Book Two!  So be aware that the beginning of the book drags a bit, but then, as the mishaps and gossip start piling up, GA is difficult to put down. 

Grade:  Wavering between a B and a B-

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Jessica Koosed Etting & Alyssa Embree Schwartz, Authors of Georgetown Academy and Giveaway!

Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz dropped by the virtual offices to chat about their Georgetown Academy series.  Please give them a warm welcome!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your Georgetown Academy series?

[Jessica and Alyssa] Georgetown Academy follows the lives of four girls at a private prep-school in D.C. where all the most powerful politicians send their children, much like the school that Malia Obama currently attends. As a senator’s daughter and sophomore, Ellie Walker knows it’s a world where one innocent teenage misstep can turn into national scandal faster than you can say CNN and where everyone tries to abide by the most important rule of politics…whatever you do, don’t get caught.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Jessica and Alyssa] We have a few friends who grew up in D.C. and went to prep schools similar to Georgetown Academy. Their high school experiences were so unique and interesting (and their stories are ridiculously entertaining) that we both realized it would make a really fun world for a YA series.

Coming up with the characters is one of our favorite parts of the process and for Georgetown Academy, we wanted four very different main girls with very different agendas. We used elements of ourselves, our friends and definitely some famous political families to ultimately create Ellie, Brinley, Taryn and Evan. And the boys were even easier to come up with. They are all versions of guys we wish we had dated in high school!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Evan?

[Jessica and Alyssa] Fair, Ambitious, (major) Worrywart

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Brinley had a theme song, what would it be?

[Jessica and Alyssa] Ummmm…Heartless by Kanye West? Kidding! Though Brinley can come off a little mean and scary to those she’s not friends with, we think her tenacity is what defines her best…so we’d have to go with Fighter by Christina Aguilera.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Ellie won’t leave the house without.

[Jessica and Alyssa] Her iPhone so she can get her Google News Alerts every time a story about her Senator mother hits the web. Or in case Gabe secretly texts her.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Gabe’s bedroom?

[Jessica and Alyssa] A hairbrush, an issue of Us Magazine, a Polo shirt.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Taryn’s greatest regret?

[Jessica and Alyssa] With Taryn’s boho lifestyle, she tries to live life regret-free and focus on the now (something her mother’s private yoga instructor, Chandini, often reiterates). She doesn’t necessarily have regrets about moving from L.A. to D.C., but she definitely underestimated how different it would be. It’s been a struggle for her, but she’s learning how to adapt to her new surroundings without compromising who she is. She’s not going to stop rocking her faux fur and leopard print just because no one else at Georgetown Academy does.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences for the series?

[Jessica and Alyssa] As far as YA authors go, Ann M. Martin and Francine Pascal have always been huge inspirations for us. They created these contemporary, fun worlds we were both addicted to when we were younger. We still remember everything about all the members of the Babysitters Club and every detail about Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. Another author who delves into the Georgetown Academy arena is Curtis Sittenfeld. We loved Prep and American Wife so she’s definitely an influence, as well.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Jessica and Alyssa] Skype (we live across the country from each other), coffee and Twitter for when we want to procrastinate.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Jessica and Alyssa] The Likeness by Tana French. She creates such a rich, interesting world in this book…and the mystery kept us guessing until the end.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Jessica and Alyssa] Kristy’s Great Idea, the first book in The Babysitters Club series. Despite growing up in different states and not knowing each other yet, we were both obsessed with this book series when we were younger and it was actually one of the things that brought us together as friends years later!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Alyssa] Explore D.C. with my husband (we moved here a few months ago and are loving it), read, watch everything on TV from MSNBC to Pretty Little Liars.

[Jessica] My all-time favorite thing to do when I get any time to myself is curl up and read. Bonus points if it’s rainy and I have a cup of hot cocoa in my hand. Unfortunately in L.A., that’s pretty rare! I also adore traveling, am addicted to more reality television series than I’m willing to admit and love hanging out with my family and friends.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Jessica and Alyssa] We’re all over social media! Come find us!

Our Twitter: @GTownAcademy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeorgetownAcademy

Website (and home to our blog): http://georgetownacademyseries.com/

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Thanks to Coliloquy, I have 2 digital copies of Georgetown Academy Book 1 to giveaway!  Just will out the widget for your chance to win! Extra entries for following.

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Didn’t win? You can purchase Georgetown Academy from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below.

About the book:

It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.

In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.

Review: How To Misbehave by Ruthie Knox

 

Title:  How to Misbehave

Author:  Ruthie Knox

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

What woman can resist a hot man in a hard hat? Beloved author Ruthie Knox kicks off her new Camelot series with this deliciously sexy original novella, in which a good girl learns how to misbehave . . . with all her heart.

As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?

Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own–unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?


Review:

How to Misbehave didn’t click for me because of the length.  This 96 page novella is hot, but I never connected with the characters.  Ruthie Knox has a wonderful way of painstakingly developing her characters, and they were just getting interesting when the story screeched to a halt.  My favorite aspect of Ruthie’s writing was missing, and that’s the careful unraveling of her protagonists’ strengths and flaws; by the end of her two longer novels, I was so invested in her characters that I wanted, no, demanded, that they have their HEA.  The emotional depth was absent here, and though it is a fun, quick read, I was a bit disappointed when I reached the last page.

Amber is attracted to hunky construction worker Tony, but because she’s a good girl, she hasn’t acted on her attraction.  A tornado and a few hours in a darkened basement change things for both Amber and Tony, and desire blazes between them.  Tony tries to resist, though, because he isn’t one for a long-term relationship, and he knows that Amber won’t be happy with a one-night stand.  She convinces him otherwise, finally finding release with Tony after two previous disastrous sexual encounters.  Tony is a walking woman pleaser, and sure enough, Amber is devastated when he won’t even look at her afterwards.  Oh. My.  Talk about a heartbreaker!

Tony is suffering from guilt after a tragic incident in his past.  He has convinced himself that he doesn’t deserve to be happy, and so he keeps himself aloof and never allows himself to have a serious relationship.  He will just let his partner down, so why even risk it?  Without more buildup, he just seemed a bit whiny and self-indulgent.  His emotional flip-flop after meeting Amber wasn’t convincing and was too easily won.

While I wasn’t completely satisfied with How to Misbehave, I did enjoy the author’s writing style, and I am looking forward to the rest of the series, which is comprised of full-length novels.  This novella is only .99, so if you’d like a taste of Ruthie Knox’s writing style, this isn’t a back place to start. 

Grade:  C+

Review copy provided by publisher

Cuddlebuggery’s Top Cuddles of 2012 Giveaway Hop! Win Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry!

Cuddlebuggery Book Blog is hosting their Top Cuddles of 2012 Giveaway Hop, so here is a chance for you to win lots of awesome books!  I am giving away a copy of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry!

About the book:

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Entering is easy! Just fill out the widget below.  US shipping addresses only, please! Earn extra entries for following.  Make sure you hop around to all of the participating blogs!

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Here is a list of the participating blogs

Review: Jane’s Gift by Karen Erickson

 

 

 

Title:  Jane’s Gift

Author: Karen Erickson

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

A devastating house fire cost Jane Clark nearly everything: her husband, her confidence, and her looks, with the physical scars marbling her body. Now, two years later, she’s living and healing back in her childhood hometown of Lone Pine Lake. The upcoming holidays are the perfect opportunity to bring some Christmas cheer into her young children’s lives, starting with a visit to the firehouse, where her brother’s best friend has offered to help quell their residual fears.

Lone Pine’s resident playboy, fire captain Christian Nelson is happy with his single-guy lifestyle. He’s an everyday local hero, so he’s never wanting for attention around the holidays. But when Jane Clark shows up, Chris is immediately drawn to the beautiful widow—even though kids and commitment have never been his style.

Despite her brother’s warnings about his friend’s playboy status and dangerous occupation, Jane can’t help but fall for the gorgeous fire captain. The holidays are a time of new beginnings, but can two scarred people find the strength to let go of their pasts to live in the present, when a lifetime together might be the sweetest gift of all?


Review:

Some books come out of nowhere, start quietly, and before you know it, you’re completely hooked by the characters.  Jane’s Gift was like that for me.  I had no expectations when I picked it up, other than I wanted a quick read with a holiday setting.  It’s all about the holidays now, and I wanted to latch onto a little Christmas spirit.  Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down, and I polished it off in almost one sitting.

Jane is recovering from a house fire that took her husband’s life and left her with horrible scars.  She is understandably terrified of fire now, as are her young children.  When she moves back to her small hometown, her brother suggests she take her kids to meet the fire chief to help ease their fear of fire.  I had a hard time getting into the story at first, because it seemed a little hokey.  But I kept turning pages, and before I realized what happened, I was completely invested in the characters.  It’s the protagonists that give Jane’s Gift a breath of life, and once I got to know them, I didn’t want to step away from their fears and hang ups.  Jane thinks it’s too soon to become emotionally involved with another man, and Chris has sworn off of serious relationships after watching the train wreck that was his parents’ marriage.  As time slowly passes, both Jane and Chris find themselves drawn to each other, and as they get to know each other better, they can’t help but care for each other.

To add a little conflict to their relationship, Jane’s daughter isn’t happy about having Chris around all the time, and she makes her unhappiness known.  Jane begins to question the wisdom of a relationship with Chris again, wondering if it’s a good idea to involve her children in Chris’ life.  He has such a dangerous job, and she wants to protect them from any more emotional disasters.  She is uneasy with the thought of Chris facing death every day, when she does her best to run as far away from risk as possible.  Jane’s emotional conflict was convincing, and when she does push him away, it’s understandable.  She doesn’t know if she’s strong enough to support him, and as the reader, I kept hoping she would somehow find the strength to be there for him.

Chris turned out to be a wonderful hero.  At first he pulled a few douche bag moves, but as he allowed himself to get to know Jane and her kids better, he allowed himself to care for them.  Suddenly their feelings and well being were more important than his own.  He realized how empty his life was, and how much he wanted to be part of Jane’s family.  He actually came around faster than Jane did, though he did have less to lose.  Jane’s whole focus was on her kids, and with her scars from the fire, she didn’t think she would ever find a man who could accept her as she was after the horrible accident.  It took her a while to trust Chris enough to believe that her scars didn’t mean anything to him.

Jane’s Gift is a wonderful holiday romance with likable characters and a convincing HEA.  I am looking forward to reading more by this author.

Grade:  B+, wavering on an A-

The BLI Holiday Reading Challenge

Interview with Karen Erickson, Author of Jane’s Gift and Giveaway!

Please welcome Karen Erickson, who is celebrating the sweet holiday romance Jane’s Gift.  Please check back tomorrow for my review, too!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Karen Erickson] Romance author/mom extraordinaire/lover of books. I write for Samhain, Entangled Bliss/Brazen & Avon Impulse. I’m a lover not a fighter.

(I stole most of this from my Twitter profile LOL)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Jane’s Gift?

[Karen Erickson] Jane Clark is a widow who survived a house fire. Now that she’s mostly recovered, she’s moved back to her hometown to be close to her family and start anew. She immediately meets the handsome fire captain Chris Nelson, who’s her younger brother’s friend and there’s instant chemistry. Despite the both of them not looking for anything serious, they somehow end up together…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Karen Erickson] I read an article a few years ago about a woman who suffered terrible burns and survived a plane crash. She should’ve died but from pure determination and surrounded by the love of her family, she survived.

I wanted to create a strong heroine like that woman. A heroine who had an amazing spirit and family, a woman who suffered much but came out on the other side a winner. And I wanted to give that woman a second chance at love.

That’s how Jane came to be. And then I gave her a fear of fire (of course) and that her hero should be a fire captain. Instant conflict!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Jane?

[Karen Erickson] Determined, thoughtful and passionate.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Chris had a theme song, what would it be?

[Karen Erickson] Oh my gosh, this is a HARD question! What’s that song Donna Summer sang? Hot Stuff? Ha! He’s pretty hot and he’s a firefighter so…yeah. That works.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Jane won’t leave the house without.

[Karen Erickson] Her purse! When you’re a woman with three children, you need your purse to stash everything they need in. Trust me. I know (says the mother of three children). Smile

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Chris’s bedroom?

[Karen Erickson] Whips, chains and a flogger? LOL This is a sweet romance so none of those naughty bedroom accessories would appear in his bedside drawer or be stashed deep in his closet.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Karen Erickson] I read a lot when I was young. I was an only child until I was eleven and I needed something to occupy my mind. Plus, I had an active imagination. I wouldn’t say there’s anything that’s my one greatest creative influence but I do try to always look for a story idea. They’re everywhere. On the news, in a magazine, a person I see walking down the street…

Sometimes music gets the juices going. Or reading. Oh, I could go on and on!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Karen Erickson] Diet Coke, an open mind and at the moment, my desk heater (it’s cold!).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Karen Erickson] It was a YA—Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. Oh, it was SO FREAKING GOOD. I couldn’t stop reading it. I had to know what was going to happen next. Can’t wait for the next one!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Karen Erickson] That is a TOUGH question. How about the one book that turned me on to reading romance? That would be Judith McNaught’s Paradise. I found an excerpt in the back of a Cosmo magazine when I was a teen. Went right out to the local bookstore (B. Dalton’s in the mall baby!) and bought it. Oh. It was so good. That was the start of my Judith McNaught consumption.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Karen Erickson] Hang out with my family, reading, catching up with the TV shows on my DVR, traveling (wish I did that more).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Karen Erickson] Where you can find me: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Karen is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite, so be sure to click the link below and fill out the widget to enter for your chance to win!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NzYwNzA3YTg0ZTE3OWY4MzU4MzYzMjIwZmI4Yzg3OjEx/

You can order Jane’s Gift, as well as Karen’s other titles, from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below:

 

Blurb for Jane’s Gift:

A fire captain afraid of commitment. A widow afraid of fire. Can the holidays bring them together?

A devastating house fire cost Jane Clark nearly everything: her husband, her confidence, and her looks, with the physical scars marbling her body. Now, two years later, she’s living and healing back in her childhood hometown of Lone Pine Lake. The upcoming holidays are the perfect opportunity to bring some Christmas cheer into her young children’s lives, starting with a visit to the firehouse, where her brother’s best friend has offered to help quell their residual fears.

Lone Pine’s resident playboy, fire captain Christian Nelson is happy with his single-guy lifestyle. He’s an everyday local hero, so he’s never wanting for attention around the holidays. But when Jane Clark shows up, Chris is immediately drawn to the beautiful widow–even though kids and commitment have never been his style.

Despite her brother’s warnings about his friend’s playboy status and dangerous occupation, Jane can’t help but fall for the gorgeous fire captain. The holidays are a time of new beginnings, but can two scarred people find the strength to let go of their pasts to live in the present, when a lifetime together might be the sweetest gift of all?

You can find JANE’S GIFT | B&N | Kobo

Keep up with the Jane’s Gift blog tour here

Interview with Marion Lennox, Author of Taming the Brooding Cattleman

Marion Lennox is the author of many romances, including Taming the Brooding Cattleman, which I recently read and enjoyed.  It’s part of The Larkville Legacy continuity, published by Harlequin Romance.  Marion recently stopped by the virtual offices for a chat.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Marion Lennox] Tall. A Bookworm. A farm kid transported to a regional city with marriage, but you can’t take the farm out of the girl. Mind, I don’t miss twice daily milking. A beach lover.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Taming the Brooding Cattleman?

[Marion Lennox] This is part of the Larkville Legacy, a multi-authored series of Harlequin Romances. We’re given two extended families discovering past secrets that link their futures. Taming the Brooding Cattleman takes my cute heroine straight from her New York family and dumps her onto an Outback Aussie farm, where the only thing Jack Connor cares about is his horses. From the moment he spots her pink suitcase, sparks fly.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share how you and the other authors worked together to write these books?

[Marion Lennox] We’re given a `bible’ created by the Harlequin editors which is basically the overarching story of the two families. Then we’re given our time lines and characters, suggestions as to conflict and let loose. It’s a lot of fun as we create our individual romances within the story arc. There’s a lot of give and take, asking other authors to bleed in backstory, offering suggestions as to how our characters might behave in future books. It’s an amazing and fun way to write and make friends at the same time.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Alex?

[Marion Lennox] Feisty, smart and soft-hearted. Is that four?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Jack would never have in his bedroom?

[Marion Lennox] A woman. Anything fluffy. Did I say a woman?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Alex had a theme song, what would it be?

[Marion Lennox] Anything you can do, I can do better…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are Jack’s must have accessories for a night on the town?

[Marion Lennox] My Jack wouldn’t have a night on the town. He’d be hunkered down on his cattle station, with nothing but his beloved horses.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Marion Lennox] The thousands of writers who’ve shown me other worlds since I was a kid.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Marion Lennox] A computer.

A switched off internet connection.

My dog and cat on either foot.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Marion Lennox] Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster Series. The first – Spymaster’s Lady – blew me away and they just keep getting better.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Marion Lennox] Anne of Green Gables. I was a pretty isolated kid in a farming community and Anne picked me up and transported me into the land of dreaming. She taught me that you don’t need to stay confined – just pick up a book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Marion Lennox] I’m a beach nut. Beach walking, swimming, rock pool wading, hurling sticks for my dog into the surf and then trying to retrieve them myself when she loses interest… Right now it’s whale migration time so see me on the cliff top watching for spouts.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Marion Lennox] Through the contact details on my website at www.marionlennox.com

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order Taming the Brooding Cattleman from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below. Available in both print and digital

Here is a list of the entire Larkville Legacy series, in order by release month. I am a bit behind, but I intend to read them all.

The Cowboy Comes  Home by Patricia Thayer – JULY

Slow Dance with the Sheriff by Nikki Logan – AUGUST

Taming the Brooding Cattleman by Marion Lennox – SEPTEMBER

The Rancher’s Unexpected Family by Myrna Mackenzie – OCTOBER

His Larkville Cinderella by Melissa McClone – NOVEMBER

The Secret that Changed Everything by Lucy Gordon – DECEMBER

The Soldier’s Sweetheart by Soraya Lane – JANUARY

The Billionaire’s Baby SOS by Susan Meier – FEBRUARY

Here are all of the covers -

Lark Ville Legacy