Tag Archives: Contemporary Fiction

Author Interview: ‘Playing to Win’ by Ashlie Knapp

About the Book:

Spunky, quick-witted twenty-one year old Callie Thompson is a University of Oklahoma journalism student by day and Oklahoma City Thunder dancer by night. Callie hopes her connections with the franchise might get her foot in the door for a sports broadcasting job when she graduates. She just has one rule: never date the players.

Kyle Kelly is the deadly handsome and charmingly Southern Thunder man of the hour. All the twenty-six year old is looking for is an NBA championship to call his own. An unexpected meeting with an opinionated, feisty Callie, however, who is very unimpressed with his celebrity status, sets his sights toward winning two things: her heart AND the championship.

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’m a mom of two genius, beautiful children of the people variety and four of the four-legged kind – two cats and two dogs. My husband is a coach and his players are basically my children by default, so I usually have a house full of teenage softball girls. I hate mornings, mushrooms and mosquitoes. I was born and raised on a farm and learned how to drive a truck when I was eight years old. I binge watch too many episodes of Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I’m a night owl, so I usually begin writing around ten at night and finish around twelve or twelve-thirty. The house is quiet and the words flow from my brain to my fingers. I write from the comfort of my bed and I may or may not have a cat in my lap trying to help me type and a twelve year old cocker spaniel at my feet.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I was born and raised in Oklahoma, which is where all my books are set. I used to be a teacher, which is the profession of one of my main characters in my first novel. I played basketball and was raised by a coach, hence the creation of my Playing series. Basically, I write what I know.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

If seems that for everyone of my novels, the very first sentence (usually when I’m completely settled and comfy in bed) comes to mind and it flows from there. I don’t know where the story is going. I just have a vague idea of what I want to happen. The longer I write, the more the story builds until I have a complete novel. The characters tell their own story. I just type it for them.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I write contemporary romance with happy endings. I love reading them – why not write them, too?

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

For my recent novel, my dream cast would be Blake Lively as Annie, Zac Efron as Wyatt, Shailene Woodley as Breckin, Emilia Clark as CC, Liam Hemsworth as Griff and Diane Lane as Sadie. Want to see if you agree? Read Unlikely in Love.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I am an avid reader – always have been. Do I have to pick just one favorite??? Right now, I’m big on anything by Marina Adair, Rachel Higginson, Jessica Park and Emma Chase. I’ll also read anything by Suzanne Collins, Lauren Oliver, Dan Wells and Tahereh Mafi.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I’m currently reading Every Little Kiss by Marina Adair and just devoured The Difference Between Us by Rachel Higginson.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Now, this is one I ABSOLUTELY can’t choose. I’m always up for reading The Hunger Games. I think I’ve read it four times. Does that count?

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

My advice is to write, write, write. Write anything and everything. And read. Read the genre you want to to write, just so you can get the feel of different authors and how you want your book to flow.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

You can follow me on several places:

Website: www.authorashlieknapp.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorashlieknapp

Twitter: @authorashliek

Instagram: @authorashlieknapp

 

 

About the Author:

I am a small town Oklahoma mom with a passion for writing. One who loves happy ever afters. I’d rather buy a book knowing I am going to be smiling at the end, floating on a cotton candy cloud of sunshine and rainbows instead of dreading the never-ending tears, swollen eyes, red nose and soggy pillow that follows a heart-breaking tragedy. Nuh-huh. I want the fairy tale. Forget Romeo and Juliet. I’ll take Snow White and Prince Charming any way. I love binge watching Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and am quickly on my way to becoming the crazy cat lady. I hate mornings, mushrooms and mosquitos. My days are spent with my two witty and intelligent children and love-of-my-life husband on the lake or the golf course. If I’m not there, you can find me napping on the couch with my twelve year old Cocker Spaniel and two cuddly cats.

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Book Review: ‘The Sugar Baby Club’ by Teresa Lo

 

Published: 22nd March 2017

Author: Teresa Lo

Facebook: www.facebook.com/teresalowriter

Twitter: @teresalo_tweets

 

Synopsis:

Sick of “hanging out” and hookup culture, college freshman Jasmine Lewis decides to try out a new kind of dating—sugar dating. After watching a documentary about sugar daddies, she and her roommate Kita Okoye sign up for Searching Sweet Sugar, a sugar dating site that promises to change young girls’ lives for the better. After meeting a few salt daddies, terrible men who abuse the system, Jasmine and Kita land the sugar daddies of their dreams, men who shower them with money, Louis Vuitton, and vacations. Their newfound, glamorous lifestyle attracts the attention of girls in their residence hall, and soon, Jasmine and Kita find themselves running a make shift dating agency from their dorm room.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with a beautiful cover. The cover is very creative and fun. When college guys just don’t cut it these girls start to look for something a bit more high-end. Sugar dating seems to be the way to go but that doesn’t mean a few salts don’t get in there too.

The story starts with Jasmine and Kita after a bit of a disappointing night out that ends with them being taken in by police after being found clearly tipsy back on campus. Bad to worse when Kita’s father starts pushing his weight around. Her dream of studying in Paris for a year being pushed right out the window when he refuses to pay anymore. Though really I think he was just waiting for her to mess up so she wouldn’t get to go. Dreams crushed she knows there’s no way to get the 40k needed but it seems Jasmine might have found a way. Mainly after she sees a website called Searching Sweet Sugar. Explaining just how much money and gifts they could get while being treated like a princess. An idea is born were they will sign up to see just what they could get. The sugar daddies range in ages from 20s to 60s and their wages increasing with age. Jasmine decides Paris seems like a good idea too as her prospects at school with art are failing. They have a year to make 80k. What could possibly go wrong?

Seems to get a good sugar daddy you have to go through a few salts. Those guys you just want to stay clear of but lessons need to be learned. A few weeks in and they seem to be doing ok with the treats they’ve been given – cash, shoes, diamond bracelets and a holiday to paradise. Trip not in vain it seems when a local guy gives them some sleepy powder that might just come in handy if they really don’t want to go there with a daddy. Its not long though before they seem to get attached to certain daddies – Jasmine with Matthew who wants a fairytale romance vibe and Kita with Tyson an artist in the making – but is that really wise when feelings get involved?

Britney’s soon to follow in with the fun that can be had but she may be feeling a little closer to Jasmine than her sugar daddies. Seems once word gets out more and more want to join them. Soon the Sugar Baby Club is born. Jasmine and Kita plan on helping the girls weed out the salts for a cut of what the girls might make. Got to get that Paris fund growing! With very strict campus policies though they don’t seem as clued in one what could go down if they get caught. What could possibly go wrong when these girls put their heads together?

Amusing comical read following these girls through the trials of sugar dating. Some fail some pass but all seem to get what they want out of it in the end. That goes for both parties too.

Side note: Eggs are funny for payback for whatever the reason so people should watch out.


4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Single Chicas’ by Sandra C. Lopez

Title: Single Chicas

Published: 14th August 2016

Author: Sandra C. Lopez

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Sandra-Lopez

 

Synopsis:

Perfection is a Barbie doll, and, unless you’re looking for a guy with a fake smile, a hard head, and no genitalia, then you’re better off NOT being perfect―Single Chicas

Single Chicas is a collection of stories about modern Latinas being in, out, and around the zany hurdles of relationships. One woman receives strange calls from a lonely soul, another seeks advice on how to love herself, and another wakes up in a parallel universe to a man she’s never met. These chicas will make painstaking effort to survive the complexities with humor and grace. Once again, López dazzles audiences with her brilliantly candid craft. Smart, witty, and funny, these stories will explore the true endurance of singlehood.

 

Review:

Funny, witty collection of short reads with a romance and single ladies ‘be proud’ vibe running throughout. Read in one sitting but would be good for the lunchtime read. A well rounded read that manages to hold your attention and make you laugh throughout.

MY BROTHER’S FUNERAL

When your brother is making a massive mistake in your eyes but you are powerless to stop it happening. This girl can’t let go of always looking out for him but at some point she’s going to have to let him go out into the world on his own or she might lose him for good.

HE LOVES ME (AND?)

Having a boyfriend who calls you to say he misses you hours after you left to go home from spending a week at his would grate on anyone’s nerves. You can see why this girl would be getting testy. It’s all in the title really. Why are you with him? Well he loves me. And?

THE LESBIAN THEORY

When you have a guy that just won’t get the message that you are not interested you may need to pull out some new tricks to get away. Seems this latest one back fires with a whole other set of problems.

NIGHT CALLER

Someone calling in the middle of night saying ‘love me’ is not a great way to meet someone. Especially when you don’t know them. First starts like a little bit of a stalker but get him to talk and things might change.

SINGLE CHICAS

Three girls heading up a website where people send in their problems for a bit of advise. Love the email chats and responses, funny and helpful vibe with these. Sometimes you just need to find out why something happened to be able to move on from it.

MY BIG FAT FAKE MARRIAGE

The pressure on some people to get married by their family can be great but none more so than here. One little white lie to get them off her back soon turns into an avalanche of problems rolling down the hill. Seems like another one might be needed to stop it.

ALWAYS A PRICE

Nothing is ever really free in life. Something our girl finds out the hard way when trying to get her flat tire fixed.

THE MARRIAGE ASSISTANT

Being stuck in the middle of a married couple whose family works together wouldn’t be somewhere I’d like to be. Especially when the dirty laundry starts to get aired.

OLD MAID

Everyone needs a little bit of company every now and then. When you feel alone after losing those you care for it might just take a little while to warm up to someone new. Cards anyone? Seems a game may be a way to break the ice and get some advice from someone older and wiser.

THE BALL DROP

Getting smacked on the head while out taking photos is not a good thing. But coming round feeling like you have stepped into twilight zone is worse. Waking up to find someone calling you honey and insisting they’re your boyfriend when you have no recollection of them would be enough to put anyone into a spin. The bump may have made her forget but perhaps it was meant to be to finally see what, or rather who, was in front of her all along. Doesn’t hurt that he’s sweet, caring and a bit of a looker.

VIRGIN MARY

With her head in a book instead of the clouds she was dubbed by her cousins the Virgin Mary with them thinking that she didn’t know anything about having fun. But it seems that the life she has had has more to it than meets the eye and might soon get others to question what things might have been different if they’d taken a different path too.

THE DISTRACTION

All she wants to do is read her book in peace while on a flight home but a certain distraction keeps her mind wondering. Well if a Stefan Salvatore look-a-like rocked on up to me wanting to talk I think I’d get a bit distracted too.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘The Missing Piece’ by Marie Lavender

Title: The Missing Piece

Published: 20th February 2017

Publisher: Solstice Publishing – Summer Solstice Imprint

Author: Marie Lavender

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

Twitter: @marielavender1

 

Synopsis:

The biggest mistake of Aly’s life could turn into the promise of new love…

When Alyssa wakes up on the lawn of a local fraternity, she can’t remember what happened the previous night. A new friend and frat guy, Justin, offers to help her out. As she makes discoveries that force her to accept a different reality, she finds herself drawn to Justin for a number of reasons.

Can the biggest mistake of Aly’s life turn into the promise of new love?

 

Review:

A fun short read that luckily didn’t go down a darker route with why Alyssa couldn’t remember what had gone on the night before which I was glad about.

So we’ve probably all overdone it at least once in our life in regards to drinking too much the night before but Alyssa is sure learning the hard way what the head and body feel like the day after. More so after she finds herself on a fraternity’s front lawn early the next morning. Clearly she went to a party the night before but she has absolutely no recollection of it, how she came to be there in the first place, or how she ended up on the front lawn. Confusion and panic soon start to creep in as snippets start to filter through about a conversation she had with her roommates. Seems she needs a knight in shinning armour to help get her home and hopefully fill in some blanks – enter Justin.

He remembers her from the party and has a few shocks in store when he tells her what she got up to and who she was spending time with. Seems the missing part of her memory could be filled in with a missing brother from the house – Brendan. Justin vows to help her find the missing time but the longer she spends with him the more she is grateful for how they met. An interesting way to meet someone but a spark is still coming to the surface nonetheless. He might be loyal to his friend thinking that on some level Justin and her might be together now but that doesn’t stop him feeling or acting the way he does. A knight in shinning armour to carry her away it seems. Even though he too is a stranger she feels comfortable with him and both feel like they have known each other forever with being so alike. I think we can all see where this story might lead.

For a short book it was still quite descriptive with the characters insights, back-story and the world as a whole they found themselves in. Quick contemporary romance that you know is just the start of what’s to come. Almost like the beginning of Alyssa and Justin’s story where you are only guessing on how it will move forward. Would be interesting to see how it would work as a longer read following the romance building more but fun all the same.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘A Different Kind of Lovely’ by Petra March

Title: A Different Kind of Lovely: A Novel

Published: 23rd May 2017

Author: Petra March

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorPetraMarch

 

Synopsis:

A man with a damaged soul fell in love with a ballerina with a broken body.”

When Neal Medwin glimpses Mina Automne for the first time, he’s a man whose soul is darkened with memories of a painful past, whereas Mina is a vibrant, strong, young woman. She’s a determined ballerina who’s carefully planning and painting her life.
Neal steps into her existence and threatens to shatter Mina’s plans with an impossible request.

Mina can’t help the fragile man who’s invading her home, even though their parents used to be close friends and she knows of Neal’s hurtful background. She allows him to linger within her lovely and artistic world, however, hoping he might find some peace and solace.

Slowly, their conflict turns into friendship, and eventually into love, until a terrible discovery ruins Mina’s projects and forces her to let go of all her dreams, and of her sweet, damaged man.

Neal is unable to fight for Mina and for the unripe love they share, because he’s not ready to leave his past behind. He’s not strong enough – not yet.

(Ages 18+)

Publisher’s Note: This stand-alone Novel is a spinoff of Petra March’s award winning series, A Touch of Cinnamon.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book about dancing or dancers. Another beautifully descriptive novel written by Petra March, one that takes the reader on a journey through a wealth of emotions from start to finish. A little repetitive at times but a good read all the same.

After the death of David everyone connected with him – family and friends alike – have all found it hard to move on passed their grief. All grieve in very different ways but all slowly need to find another/new reason to move forward and not live in the nightmares of the past. Something that Neal is slowly starting to learn after meeting Mina.

Neal is a broken soul of a man still struggling – like the rest of his family – with the sudden death of his brother David years before. His coping mechanism is to just shut down all his emotions, put on a mask and take care of his parents and sister. They call, ask him to do something, and its like he is powerless to refuse them. The latest task his mother sends him on is to purchase the cottage David stayed at before he died. One of the roads that lead to it being the one the accident happened on. A weird way to grieve on the anniversary but its what they do, buy something new to help push away their emotions. He thinks he’s just going to have a look as he thinks they are already selling but he gets a shock when the owner very much says she is not.

Mina is a ballet dancer with a passion to perform and live life to the full with her dream but it all comes crashing down when her body starts to betray her. Neal first spots her in a field dancing. Gliding across the land and through the air like a butterfly caught on the wind, soon to be his Butterfly. She caught his attention and drew him to her swiftly. When he follows her to the cottage and she finds out he wants to buy it it’s a push and pull feeling she has to deal with. He intrigues her so she wants him to stay but at the same time angers her with his intensions to buy her home making her want him to go. Seems their parents were friends once upon a time and hers thought to sell when they asked to buy without letting her know, even though the cottage is hers. Her dream being to build a dance studio out on the land and teach, after she has had a career with her ballet that is.

Seems to be heart and head, or should that be body and mind, are feeling very conflicted about what they are doing. Chemistry is a bit of a slow build between them as they try to get a feel for the other. The cottage and Mina’s memories of David help Neal to start to open up to his own. She knows his pain, can see it clearly in his face as his mask is slowly falling away. The cottage and Neal’s subconscious might hold nightmares to start with but soon they will turn around with the presence of Mina. Just as she can see his pain he can see hers, though hers might be more physical. They need each other to hold onto and build something new from their broken souls but his need to help his family pulls them apart. Can they find their way back to each other to help heal their pain, both physical and mental?

Cameos with Eagan and Brina give the story a rounder depth as it’s showing how others have come through the other side of their grief. Felia, Neal’s sister, needed to find her own way through it, which Neal is slowly figuring out. To move on you have to face the past and until they do that they will be stuck in a dark loop repeating their mistakes. Push past it and they will finally be happy again, just like David would have wanted.

To get a proper feel for the story and how certain characters may show their emotions, or lack their of by keeping them locked up, I would recommend reading the other books in the series. This can be read as a stand-alone but I feel you would benefit from reading the others. Plus they are good anyway, so why not.

4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

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