Review: Hitched! by Jessica Hart

 

Title:  Hitched!

Author:  Jessica Hart

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Planning the most-talked-about wedding of the year is enough to break engineer Frith Taylor out in a cold sweat. She’s used to construction sites, not wedding fairs! But estate manager George Challoner’s offer of help is one that’s too good to resist. George may be the rebel of the prestigious Challoner family, but his insanely good looks are giving Frith wedding fever! Charm personified, he’s making her feel things she hasn’t dared feel before. Maybe her little sister’s wedding won’t be the only one Frith’s planning…?


Review:

Hitched! is the last of the Kiss launch titles that I read.  Once again, it showed how much  variety there is across the line.  This one threw me though, because it is written in the first person POV, and I struggled with that.  It screamed more Chick Lit to me than Harlequin Romance, and  I found being constantly in Frith’s head, with no glimpses into what made George tick, disconcerting.  I enjoy getting more input from the hero, and as I was only privy to Frith’s thoughts here, that wasn’t possible.  I never felt connected to George or his motivations, because of that.  Frith’s voice is fun and upbeat, but I have some kind of mental block when I am confronted with category romances written in this point of view.  I always have, and it seems, I always will.

Frith has been lassoed in to helping her younger sister plan her extravagant wedding.  She doesn’t want anything to do with it , though.  Always feeling like an outsider in her own family, she doesn’t get along with her sister’s friends, and her wealthy father isn’t in her good graces.  After her parents divorced, Frith watched her mother spiral into unhappiness.  Her mother was never able to get over her father, and due to his indifference to her, Frith’s relationship with him withered.  Determined to make something of herself without his help, she put herself through school and landed a job at a construction company.  Her dream is work at a huge construction project overseas, and she won’t let anything get in the way of her dreams.  Not sexy George or her sister’s much publicized wedding.  Frith has a plan, darn it, and she’s sticking to it!

I did love Frith’s personality.  She is a planner.  A mega planner, actually.  She works off of five year plans, where everything is spelled out for her as she marches toward her career goals.  George, the estate manager for the construction site she’s currently working at,  is her exact opposite.  He has no plans, and he just takes things one day at a time.  He finds Frith’s planning ridiculous.  How can you live your life if you’re so worried about sticking to a plan?  Frith has developed her five year plan, with no room for a serious relationship, to keep herself from falling into the same trap as her mother.  She will never allow herself to feel that passionately about a man, and so her focus is on herself and her career.  All of her previous relationships were tepid and easily forgotten.  All except one, that is, and that one, awful experience is something that she never wants to repeat. 

At first, Frith is able to resist George and his flirty ways.  She doesn’t trust him, and she feels that he’s a threat to her plan.  As the days tick by, however, and they are both roped in helping with the wedding planning, a companionable friendship develops between them.  This is what I enjoyed most about Hitched!  The romance is slow to build, but once Frith starts to give in to her attraction for George, it quickly steams up.  I am not a huge fan of the love at first sight trope, and am usually not convinced by the HEA, so I liked how Frith and George’s relationship changed and grew.  They both have demons from their pasts to face, and together, I know that they will conquer all of their insecurities.  Frith’s belief in George was also refreshing.  After hearing unfavorable gossip about him, she quickly dismissed it as untrue.  She didn’t let  the drama overcome her feelings for him, and instead trusted him enough to explain the situation himself.  There are so many contemporary romances were the heroine takes gossip at face value, driving the couple unnecessarily apart, so Frith’s trust was nice change.  The only thing keeping me from enjoying Hitched! more is the POV.

Grade: C+

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Kelly Hunter, Author of The One That Got Away

Continuing with my Harlequin Kiss celebration, today I invited one of my favorite romance authors, Kelly Hunter, to the virtual offices for a visit.  Please give her a warm welcome!  Don’t forget that on Friday, I will be giving away one complete set of the KISS launch titles, so make sure to stop back to enter for your chance to win!

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

[Kelly Hunter] I’m a forty-something mother of boys, with an eclectic work history and a fondness for the unexpected. I travel a lot and live in Australia.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What makes Harlequin’s Kiss line unique from their other series romances?

[Kelly Hunter] The party-line is that KISS features strongly unique author voices, global settings and world views, smart characters and compelling stories. Fun is definitely allowed. The level of sensuality may vary. I adore writing for this line.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you enjoy best about writing for Harlequin?

[Kelly Hunter] The fabulous editors.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The One That Got Away?

[Kelly Hunter] In essence, it’s a second chance romance between two characters who meet again unexpectedly after many years apart.

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

[Kelly Hunter] I can tell you how the idea for the story started… A bunch of romance writer pals and I were sitting around one day (there may have been drinks with little umbrellas involved) discussing (okay, pulling apart) the famed and oft misunderstood Presents Alpha Hero. I was writing Presents Extra at the time and wondering why these super-controlled and oh-so-dominant men didn’t really seem to dominate in the bedroom. Figured I’d attempt to write one that liked to dominate there too. The result was Logan Black. The challenge was to see if I could make me fall in love with him.

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

[Kelly Hunter] Strong. Self aware.

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

[Kelly Hunter] Natalie Merchant’s ‘My Skin’.

Some of the lyrics:

"Oh, I need the darkness

The sweetness

The sadness

The weakness

Oh, I need this."

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

[Kelly Hunter] Her handbag. She’s a practical girl.

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

[Kelly Hunter] Bus tickets, comb, junk.

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

[Kelly Hunter] I kinda don’t see Evie living a life of regret. Even after that first week with Logan, Evie didn’t regret her time with him. She learned from it.

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

[Kelly Hunter] Friends. Music. Stories written by other authors – especially ones that stretch genre boundaries and challenge my perspectives.

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

[Kelly Hunter] Time, a computer and preferably a table and chair – although the last two are optional.

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

[Kelly Hunter] Crush, by Richard Siken.  Sometimes I go in search of new (to me) male author voices; more specifically male authors who write about love and relationships. I picked up Crush at the end of last year and it won my heart – probably because it was so different to what I normally read. It’s poetry. I never read poetry ;)

My favourite line: ‘I said kiss me here and here and here and you did,’ from ‘I Had A Dream About You’.

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

[Kelly Hunter] Something by Enid Blyton involving adventures and naughty children and minimal parental involvement (that or a Faraway Tree).

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

[Kelly Hunter] Spend time with friends and family.

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

[Kelly Hunter] I’m on twitter, facebook, and occasionally I blog. Or you can email me privately via my website.

twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyHunterova

fb: http://www.facebook.com/kelly.hunter.73307

blog: www.kellyhunter.co

Website: www.kellyhunter.net

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase The One That Got Away from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below. Be sure to check back at the end of the week for your chance to win a set of the first four KISS titles!

 

About the book

Good job? Tick. 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…

Waiting on Wednesday–The Guy to be Seen With by Fiona Harper

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

After enjoying Nikki Logan’s How to Get Over Your Ex, I am curious to read Daniel’s side of things.  Fiona Harper follows heartbreaker Daniel in The Guy To Be Seen With.  In stores February 19

 

London’s most eligible guy-finally snared?  Who can forget gorgeous adventurer Daniel Bradford? Especially after this commitment-phobe’s on-air rejection of his girlfriend’s marriage proposal sparked a scandal! But some people love a challenge. With Daniel suddenly back on the market, all of London’s single ladies are on the lookout. Yet he’s shown no inclination to get caught by anyone…until now.

So just who is special enough to catch his attention? Our sources reveal she’s strong-willed blonde bombshell Chloe Michaels, orchid specialist and Daniel’s new colleague. And rumor has it that with this tough cookie, London’s very own Indiana Jones is in for the-romantic-adventure of a lifetime!

What are you waiting on?

Review: The Downfall of a Good Girl by Kimberly Lang

 

Title: The Downfall of a Good Girl

Author: Kimberly Lang

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Southern debutante Vivienne LaBlanc can’t believe bad-boy rock star Connor Mansfield is back in town for the New Orleans annual Saints and Sinners pageant. He has a reputation as wicked as his devilish smile, and Vivi has no intention of becoming one of his latest groupies! He once crushed her high school heart, so playing the saint to Connor’s sinner should be easy. But how can Vivi get those less-than-angelic thoughts out of her head-especially when Connor’s so good at tempting her to be bad?


Review:

I struggled with The Downfall of a Good Girl.  I never felt a connection with Vivi, the story’s protagonist.  She is everything that I am not.  She comes from one of New Orleans’ oldest and wealthiest families, she is a former beauty queen, and now she spends her days running an art gallery and volunteering for various charitable causes.  I am fortunate to run a brush through my hair and pull it back into a ponytail on a daily basis, so a former pageant competitor was difficult from me to relate to.  The plot revolves around the annual Saints and Sinners fund-raising competition, where Vivi is pitted against her childhood nemesis, Connor Mansfield.  Connor and Vivi have been at loggerheads forever, and Vivi is dismayed to discover that Connor, now a successful rock star, will be her competition.  She had never considered that he would be chosen to be the Sinner, and she’s not happy about it at all.  She is extremely competitive, she hates to lose, and for a majority of the book, she is a poor loser just at the thought of losing.  If I met her, I don’t think we would ever be buds.

Connor is reeling from a scandal, and though he proves that the gossip about him is false, he’s still reluctant to put himself in that kind of position again.  When he meets Vivi again, he thinks he’s safe.  He doesn’t even like this woman, and she hates him.  Ever since that flash of temper when they were teens and she publically slapped him, they have been like oil and water.  What Connor doesn’t know is that Vivi once carried a torch for him, but after realizing that he was only using her to get to know her friend better, she can’t find it in herself to forgive him.  Worse, her family and Connor’s are very close, and they have been thrown together since childhood.  Forget that gentle, Southern belle non-sense – she doesn’t want to be nice to him, so she usually isn’t.

While I did enjoy the sparks between them, Vivi’s personality grated on me.  She determines from the beginning that she is going to win the contest by raising the most money, but when Connor is unveiled as the opposition, she gives up before things even begin.  Instead, she charges herself to be a better person than Connor, though even that’s a struggle for her.  Why is he back in town, stealing her thunder?  This was supposed to be her moment to shine, not Connor’s!  This thought process annoyed me, because it is the charity’s moment to shine, and the fact that Vivi was allowed to participate should have been honor enough.  She’s been denied few material things in life, but in terms of personal accomplishments, she is lacking.  She was runner up in the Miss American pageant, and she is steamed to be second best again.

Once Vivi loosens up a little and finally lets go, jumping into an affair with Connor, the pacing of the book picks up significantly.  Their competition becomes fun, and they both focus on doing their best to raise as much money for the charity as they can.  Vivi is having the time of her life, until Connor starts thinking about making New Orleans his home base.  Suddenly, their temporary affair isn’t such a good idea anymore.  She doesn’t want to risk her heart to him, and as long as their arrangement was temporary, there was no threat to her emotions.  Her attitude about trying to stick with Connor permanently pissed me off.  Instead of gambling on that ever elusive HEA, she decides that it’s not worth the effort.  If I had been Connor, I would have been furious.  It’s okay to have a fling, but not okay to try to make things work out permanently?  If Connor had walked away at that point, I wouldn’t have blamed him.

I loved the setting for The Downfall of a Good Girl, and the book would have made my TBR pile just because of that. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t click with the heroine, and that some pacing issues at the beginning of the story prevented my from feeling engaged in Connor and Vivi’s romance.

Grade:  C+

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Jessica Hart, Author of Hitched!

Today Jessica Hart is visiting the virtual offices to talk about her latest release, Hitched!  This is one of the Harlequin KISS launch titles, and I’m thrilled to have Jessica here.  On Friday, I will be giving away one complete set of the KISS launch titles, so make sure to stop back to enter for your chance to win!

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

[Jessica Hart] Loves history, lists & wide horizons. Loathes litter, lies & misused apostrophes. Hopeless at being concise.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What makes Harlequin’s Kiss line unique from their other series romance?

[Jessica Hart]  A sharp contemporary edge and a sense of fun.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you enjoy best about writing for Harlequin?

[Jessica Hart] Connecting with readers around the world.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Hitched?

[Jessica Hart] Engineer Frith is a woman with a plan, and it doesn’t include weddings of any kind. But when she’s roped into organizing a hen party for her spoilt half-sister, she ends up relying more than she wants on her annoying neighbour George … and before long a wedding doesn’t seem quite such a terrible idea after all.

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

[Jessica Hart] A glossy magazine leapt into my hands one day, the way they do, and it seemed rude not to glance through it. There was a story in it about a billionaire’s younger daughter who was having some extraordinarily ostentatious wedding. She was described as the apple of her father’s eye and almost as an aside the article mentioned that her older sister was going to be a bridesmaid. I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to be that sister who was clearly not the apple of her father’s eye, and so Frith started to come to life. I wanted her to be someone who didn’t belong in her family, so I made her a half-sister and gave her a fraught relationship with her father and a determination to prove that she could manage by herself. And then I thought about the kind of man who would challenge everything Frith thought she wanted, and along came George …

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

[Jessica Hart] Loyal. Prickly. Honest.

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

[Jessica Hart] Treats for his horses.

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

[Jessica Hart] A list. An electronic organizer. A mirror.

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

[Jessica Hart] Letting grief and loneliness make her vulnerable to humiliation.

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

[Jessica Hart] Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Loretta Chase, Nora Roberts, Jenny Crusie, Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart.

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

[Jessica Hart] My iMac. No distractions. A looming deadline.

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

[Jessica Hart] The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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

[Jessica Hart] Honestly? About Teddy Robinson by Joan G. Robinson. This was my favourite book when I was four. I used to scream with laughter, and insist that not a single page was missed. A perfect lesson in how a well-written story can make you believe utterly in the characters – and it still makes me laugh! After that, it would probably be Anne of Green Gables.

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

[Jessica Hart] It sounds boring, but I’m transcribing some 16th-century court records that are fascinating. That’s my labour of love. Otherwise, I like to cook and eat and plan holidays, and I spend far too much time sloping out for coffee or a drink even when I’m supposed to be writing.

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

[Jessica Hart] Come find me on Facebook, or through my website – I’d love to hear from you!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Hart/197786216977996

www.jessicahart.co.uk

jessica@jessicahart.co.uk

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Have a wonderful day!

[Jessica Hart] You too, and many thanks for the invitation to the Manga Maniac Café!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Hitched! from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below. Be sure to check back at the end of the week for your chance to win a set of the first four KISS titles!

About the book

Planning the most-talked-about wedding of the year is enough to break engineer Frith Taylor out in a cold sweat. She’s used to construction sites, not wedding fairs! But estate manager George Challoner’s offer of help is one that’s too good to resist. George may be the rebel of the prestigious Challoner family, but his insanely good looks are giving Frith wedding fever! Charm personified, he’s making her feel things she hasn’t dared feel before. Maybe her little sister’s wedding won’t be the only one Frith’s planning…?

About the author:

Jessica’s earlier career was a haphazard one, including stints as foreign newsdesk secretary in London, cook on an Australian outback cattle station, TEFL teacher in Jakarta and interpreter on expedition in Cameroon. She first stumbled into writing as a way of funding a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies, and since then she has written 59 books for Harlequin Mills & Boon’s Romance/RIVA series. A multiple finalist and past winner of both a RITA (Christmas Eve Marriage, Best Traditional Romance 2005) and the UK’s coveted Romance Prize (now the RoNA Rose Award), Jessica was awarded the National Readers’ Choice Award (Traditional category) for her 50th book, Last-Minute Proposal, in 2009 and again in 2010 for Cinderella’s Wedding Wish.

Jessica lives in York, a historic city in the north of England, and also writes ‘time slip’ novels as Pamela Hartshorne.

To find out more about Jessica, visit her website, www.jessicahart.co.uk, or find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Hart/197786216977996

Review: How To Get Over Your Ex by Nikki Logan

 

Title:  How To Get Over Your Ex

Author:  Nikki Logan

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Being rejected is one thing. Being rejected live on radio takes it to a whole new level!

After her on-air proposal is turned down by her commitment-phobe boyfriend, Georgia Stone must learn to survive singledom. Unfortunately, thanks to a clause in her contract, she has to do it under the watchful gaze of brooding radio producer Zander Rush.

And so begins the Year of Georgia! Lurching from salsa classes to spy school, Georgia discovers a taste for adventure. Her biggest thrill so far? Flirting with danger—aka the enigmatic Zander. But admitting she’s ready for more than just a fling…? Definitely Georgia’s scariest challenge yet!

Next month, look for the second book in this duet: The Guy To Be Seen With by Fiona Harper


Review:

How To Get Over Your Ex is the first Kiss title that I picked up.  I have read and enjoyed several of Nikki Logan’s books, so I was eager to dive into this one.  The premise of being rejected on live radio intrigued me, and I wondered how Georgia would handle such a publically humiliating incident.  When she puts her head down and runs, I couldn’t blame her.  My gosh! How mortifying to learn how badly you’ve misread your relationship!  While Georgia believed that she and her boyfriend Daniel were firmly on the path to marriage and contentment ever after, Daniel was just hanging out with her because it was convenient and because he didn’t love her or expect her to push for a commitment.  Ouch!

I loved Zander’s reaction to the disaster he inadvertently allowed to happen.  The radio producer is used to successful, high-rated programs, so when Georgia’s Valentine’s Day proposal is shot down like a lead balloon, he has to somehow salvage the promotion.  He’s got advertisers to think of.   With London taking sides after the rejection,  he must quickly make Georgia more sympathetic.  How could she not realize that her relationship was so shallow?   Having been burned by love himself, Zander does his best to retain Georgia’s pride and keep his ratings.  By proposing that she have a Year of Georgia, to discover who she really is, he entwines his life with hers for the next twelve months. 

I loved the concept of having a year to discover who you really are.  Georgia balks at the idea at first, not wanting anything else to do with her humiliating on-air segment.  She thinks it’s a waste to spend the sum allocated by Zander on classes and exploring who she really is.  She knows who she is!  As she starts taking classes and meeting new people, Georgia discovers how little she does know about herself.  She thought that she was happy, but she was just settling for the easiest, most convenient option.  She has put her dreams on the back burner in favor of work, and now that she is confronted with all of these different situations, she realizes how close she came to selling herself short.  Life is full of risk, but she was always taken the safest route.

I enjoyed How to Get Over Your Ex so much because I liked Georgia and Zander so much.  The story is more about discovering who you are and then accepting that even if you chase your dreams, things aren’t always going to work out, but if you avoid taking chances, you will never have what truly makes you happy.  Zander is dealing with an embarrassing relationship fiasco from his past which has kept him at arm’s length with his relationships, so it was fun to see how Georgia, using her fresh perspective on life, continue to try to win him over, regardless of how often he rejects her advances.  I thought this was a different read for a Harlequin, focusing more on Georgia gaining some needed confidence before she attempts to tackle her tangled emotions for Zander.  I am looking forward to reading Daniel’s side of things in Fiona Harper’s The Guy To Be Seen With next month.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Kimberly Lang, Author of The Downfall of a Good Girl

Kimberly Lang is here to join in on my Harlequin KISS celebration.  I am uber-excited about this new series by Harlequin, and I’m working on inviting all of the launch authors to drop by the virtual offices for a chat.  On Friday, I will be giving away one complete set of the KISS launch titles, so make sure to stop back to enter for your chance to win!

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

[Kimberly Lang] Author of sexy contemporary romance, trouble-maker and Southern belle.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What makes Harlequin’s Kiss line unique from their other series romances?

[Kimberly Lang] I think KISS hits that sweet spot – a fairy tale feeling that we want from a romance, but with enough realism to feel like it could happen to you or a friend. The characters and situations are easy to identify with, so readers can just get lost in the story. KISS has a fun, flirty vibe and it definitely sizzles! There’s a variety of voices in KISS (and some of the most talented authors out there!), so there’s something for everyone who loves a good story.

If books were fireworks, KISS would be the sparklers – burning hot and fast with lots of sparks, but close-up and personal, because you hold them in your hand while they burn.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you enjoy best about writing for Harlequin?

[Kimberly Lang] I love the short format. There’s a real challenge to telling a complete story in 50,000 words or less, but I like that challenge. It keeps me focused because I don’t have the word count available to wander off with secondary characters into subplots. The immediacy and pace required means I never get bored by the story or tired of the characters. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Downfall of a Good Girl?

[Kimberly Lang] I had so much fun writing this book.  Downfall is set in New Orleans (the site of many a good girl’s downfall!), and pits the saintly Vivi against her childhood nemesis, Connor, during the Saints and Sinners charity fundraiser. I’ve got an alpha hero rock star in a set of five-foot tall angel wings and a former beauty queen determined not to lose this crown. There’s music, good deeds, a parade and a really hot scene with a piano that I’m quite fond of.  You can find the official blurb and an excerpt on my website (http://www.booksbykimberly.com/books/the-downfall-of-a-good-girl/)

And speaking of music… all the songs featured in Downfall were written by the beautiful and talented Cristina Lynn, a local singer/songwriter who was kind enough to put her words in Connor’s mouth. Cristina even wrote an original song inspired by Connor and Vivi’s story.  Check out my site or hers (www.cristinalynn.com) for a listen!

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

[Kimberly Lang] Honestly, I couldn’t tell you.  My mind is a very messy place, so I really don’t know what causes an idea to bubble to the surface. Usually, I’ll have a character or a situation as the seed and I build the book around that. This time, I knew I wanted to set a book in New Orleans, and I knew one of the characters would be in the music industry (because music is such a big part of New Orleans). From there, my creative process gets a little fuzzy… I know I had several false starts and rejected Chapter Ones before everything clicked into place for this story.  But where the idea finally came from? No clue.  I’m just glad it did.

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

[Kimberly Lang] Saintly. Competitive. Elegant.

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

[Kimberly Lang] A smartphone – he needs to stay connected and have music to listen to. (Hm, I guess I have that in common with him!)

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

[Kimberly Lang] Connor would only carry the bare minimum required, so anything other than a phone and a credit card would be superfluous.

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

[Kimberly Lang] Slapping Connor at their Coronation Ball ten years ago. (Only in that she wishes she’d have hit him harder and not done it in public.)

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

[Kimberly Lang] I have a couple of English degrees, so I’d like to say something about great literature, but I’m really inspired by pop culture, especially TV shows like Friends and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer that have strong women and really great dialogue.

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

[Kimberly Lang] Diet Coke, hot tea, and cherry jelly beans.

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

[Kimberly Lang] This is a bit of a tease (and slightly self-promo-ish), but… I’m really excited to say that I’m part of the When Honey Got Married … anthology with the very talented Kelly Hunter, Ally Blake, and Anna Cleary that will be released in March. Although we planned the books together, I was totally blown away with how good their stories turned out. I mean, I like my contribution to the anthology, but Kelly, Ally and Anna’s are just amazingly good and I can’t wait for folks to get to read them!

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

[Kimberly Lang] I’ve been an avid reader my entire life – my mom says I started reading when I was four, so I don’t ever remember not loving books and wanting to read. The first romance novel I read, though, was Bertrice Small’s Skye O’Malley, and it led to my obsession with romance novels. I still love a big, fat, sexy historical romance – and those are the books I’m most likely to turn to when I need a break.

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

[Kimberly Lang] I read, watch crime dramas like L&O: SVU and Criminal Minds, hang out with the family and play with the dog.  I’m also a fitness instructor – I teach a combination of yoga, pilates and tai chi that helps combat the “writer butt” that develops from too many jelly beans.

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

[Kimberly Lang] My website, www.BooksByKimberly.com, Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kimberly.lang.520) and Twitter @booksbykimberly.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase The Downfall of a Good Girl from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below.  Be sure to check back at the end of the week for your chance to win a set of the first four KISS titles!

About the book

"Why would you decide to seduce me? And why now after all these years?"

Southern debutante Vivienne LaBlanc can’t believe bad-boy rock star Connor Mansfield is back in town for the New Orleans annual Saints and Sinners pageant. He has a reputation as wicked as his devilish smile, and Vivi has no intention of becoming one of his latest groupies!

He once crushed her high school heart, so playing the saint to Connor’s sinner should be easy. But how can Vivi get those less than angelic thoughts out of her head—especially when Connor’s so good at tempting her to be bad?

Next month, watch out for the second book in Kimberly Lang’s duet: The Taming of a Wild Child

About the author

Kimberly Lang isn’t one of those people who always knew she wanted to be a writer. She actually wanted to be a ballerina, but puberty failed to deliver the required swan-like elegance. That dream scuttled, she went on to get her Master’s Degree in English – and she has the bartending skills to prove it. At her husband’s insistence, she quit teaching in 2007 to write full-time, and in May 2008, sold her first book to Harlequin’s London office. That book, The Secret Mistress Arrangement, debuted at number nine on the Borders Series Bestseller list and won the 2009 National Readers’ Choice Award for Best First Book.

Since then, Kimberly’s books have appeared on the USA Today, Amazon, Borders, and Bookscan bestseller lists, and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. (And, yes, that’s really cool.)

She’s married to her college sweetheart, whom she affectionately (but appropriately) calls her Darling Geek, and is Mom to the most brilliant and beautiful child on the planet (aptly nicknamed Amazing Child). She started taking yoga-based fitness because she eats way too many jelly beans while writing, and became an instructor once she figured out that spending time with her butt over her head helped spark her creativity. More than one sticky plot point has been solved in the Down Dog position.  She has no hobbies because she doesn’t have time, but if she did, they’d include knitting, skiing and ballroom dancing, because they sound like they might be fun.