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Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Girl He Wants by Kristi Rose - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Jayne has a clear plan for the future, she wants to be a successful business owner. She has her own shop and personal shopping service and is looking for a location to open a second shop, so she can expand and attract more customers. Jayne is determined to make it on her own, love might hurt her deeply and that's exactly what she tries to avoid. When she meets Stacy, her new neighbor, Jayne vows not to fall in love with him, but maybe they can have some fun?

Stacy is good with numbers. He's a single dad and needs the flexible hours of being his own boss, so he can be there for his daughter. They were ready for a fresh start and Stacy and his daughter perfectly fit in and feel at home in their new neighborhood. Falling in love wasn't part of Stacy's plan, especially not after his recently broken engagement, but Jayne is difficult to resist and after spending a fantastic night together he wants more, but her walls are hard to break down. Will Stacy be able to convince Jayne that love can be wonderful and that she should give it a chance?

The Girl He Wants is a fabulous love story with amazing main characters. Jayne is smart, independent and talented. She loves with all her heart and this makes her friends, family and customers feel great, but it's easy for her to get hurt too. She does everything for the people she holds dear. She doesn't think she's the nurturing type, but she's actually really sweet and generous. That's why she and Stacy are such a good match, they both have beautiful souls and never mind helping others. I loved their chemistry, their easy friendship and the natural way they are always there for one another. Their story captivated me from the start en enchanted me until the very end.

Kristi Rose has a lovely fast-paced writing style. I like how original her main characters are. They have strong personalities with clear wants and needs and she makes them truly special. She creates an atmosphere that's heartwarming through the friendships she writes about, which gives her books a solid foundation. I love a good story about true love and The Girl He Wants definitely falls into that category. It's a delightful story filled with charm, warmth and love. I highly recommend this terrific romantic book.

Advice

If you love stories about true love, friendship and family you don't want to miss The Girl He Wants. It's the third book in the No Strings Attached series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

About Kristi Rose


Kristi Rose was raised in central Florida on boiled peanuts and iced tea. She’s been lucky enough to travel the world, has lived by an active volcano, almost fallen off a German Alp, and eloped in Arkansas. Today, as a wife and mother she's resigned to traveling to the grocery store.

No matter where she is, she enjoys watching people and wonders about their story. That’s what Kristi writes about: everyday people, the love that brings them together, and their journey. Kristi is a member of RWA. The Girl He Knows is her debut novel.

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter

Interview

1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself? 

Hi (waves like a maniac and NOT like the queen at all). I feel like I'm fairly boring so I'll try and find something that sounds interesting. I used to live by an active volcano. Now I live by several dormant ones. I drive a lot for work (my other job) and listen to tons of podcast. I like the true crime ones.

My husband says that worries him. I've worked in special education for 18 years and I can make all kinds of animals out of playdoh as a result :-)

2) Can you describe the main characters of The Girl He Wants in seven words each? 

Jayne: Doesn't believe love will happen to her

Stacy: Has a girl's name so gotta be funny

or Jayne: Loyal, smart, introvert, scared, foodie, lonely, wonderful

Stacy: dad, math-nerd, swimmer, funny, patient, easygoing, adventurous

3) What’s the most fascinating about writing about nerdy men? 

That underneath their math or science graphic t-shirt are superman capes, good senses of humor, and men who's knuckles drag a little less than some others.

4) Jayne runs her own business and wants to help her parents, what’s the inspiration behind her wonderful kind heart?

I was raised by a single mom who worked 2 jobs years round and 3 during holidays. As a child, I used to dream about making life easier for her. Jayne was abandoned by her father, but cherished by her hard working mother. She had a strong, but small, extended family around her for support and that made a lasting impression on her. Jayne knows life could be a whole lot worse so she gives back what she gets.

5) You love writing romantic stories, what does true romance mean to you? 

Romance, to me, is found in the day to day. Like when your day sucks monkey poo and the person you come home to knows how to make it better- or at least tries. By better I mean, draws you a bath, makes you a tea, let's you hold the remote- those sorts of things. Romance is when life goes sideways unexpectedly the person you love says, "I'll help you make it better" and takes your hand.

6) You’ve traveled a lot, how does what you’ve learned from seeing more of the world inspire your stories? 

Love is found everywhere. Love doesn't know color or race or gender or nationality. Love just grabs ahold and tried to make people feel good (at least a healthy love does). I've been very blessed in my travels. I've met amazing strangers who share wonderful words of wisdom that influence their lives and impacted mine.

 I've talked to moms who barely speak English and I barely spoke their language and discovered we both have the same worries and fears about our children and who we are as women. I've sat at the base of an active volcano and watched it erupt and rain ash down on us and learned that every moment was a gift, nature was beautiful but scary, and we're just wanting to make the most of the day.

7) How did your writing journey start? 

I started reading category romance at 13. We lived in a small town and the library ran out of age appropriate books so I moved up to category romances. I had always loved to write and when I read a handful of those romances I decided I was going to write one myself. So, I did. By hand. For Christmas that year my mom bought me a typewriter (yes, I'm that old).

8) Which key elements do you think a good happy ending should have? 

Key elements? Hmm, I'm old fashion enough that I think a happy ending should come with a promise of forever, you can decide what that looks like. I don't think life needs to be perfect for the couple but that they show the stamina to face those obstacles we all know are coming (fussy babies that won't sleep, men with excessive gas, washing machines that break down when you've just splurged on something you've wanted forever- these are the easy ones).

9) You’ve given the subject love a lot of thought, how do you use the many amazing forms love can take for your stories? 

I like to show love in its various forms. Love of family, love of a child, love of a pet...etc. And I like to show how a woman can fall in love with a man and his motherless child even though the woman herself isn't sure she's meant to be a mother. I like to show how love can be giving a wayward stray cat a safe place, or a divorced woman who feels like a failure a second chance.

10) What are your plans for the future? 

I really enjoy reading and writing characters that are fun and I hope mine come off as funny. Laughter means a lot to me. So, my plan is to move into doing more books that make readers laugh (I may have swayed slightly to the more serious but I'm swaying back now). Plus, I'm feeling like a good mystery so I'd like to try my hand at a love story with a good mystery. Fingers crossed it works out.

My other plans for the future are to drink more water and eat fewer cookies. My son wants to know if my mini van can actually get up to 160 mph. I might consider adding that experiment to my future plans too.

Thanks so much for having me. I can't wait to get to know you all better. Drop me a comment and tell me something about yourself. I love bucket list ideas.

Giveaway

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Two very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive digital copies of the complete No Strings Attached series, consisting of The Girl He Knows, The Girl He Needs and The Girl He Wants by Kristi Rose.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a $25 (or equivalent depending on the home country of the winner) Amazon gift card. Good luck!


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Talented Artist - Francesca Rizzato from Francesca Rizzato Art - Interview & Giveaway

Francesca Rizzato Art
About Francesca Rizzato


Hi! My name is Francesca Rizzato and I'm a full time artist, illustrator and maker, born in Tuscany (Italy). I live near Rome, in a little mountain town.

I feel connected to nature in a very special way and this is reflected in my artworks, where animals are usually the protagonists, inspired and influenced by ancient myths and tales of folklore.

My art has been licensed worldwide.

Links

PORTFOLIO // Facebook // Instagram // Society6 // Behance

Interview

1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I'm a full time artist born in Tuscany (Italy), now living in a little mountain town near Rome.
Since a child, I had a passion for art, a passion that I have never lost and grown up with me until today - now, like something I couldn't live without, because it's the most easy and beautiful way to express myself, painting dreams and fantasies without limits.


2) What’s the inspiration behind your work?

The forest is my source of inspiration for excellence. The wild nature at its maximum splendor fascinates and intrigues me completely, I never get tired of it.

I'm inspired by the world around me, by its colors, by the small and simple things that nature has to offer, which I love to capture, with a pinch of magic, enchantment and fantasy.


3) Where did you learn to illustrate and design?

I didn't go to a special art school or something similar: I'm a self-taught artist, and all I create is something I learnt by myself, with many years of practicing and experimenting. I love my work and the best thing is working from home!


4) What does your work place look like?

My house/studio is at the forest's feet, leading up to the mountains. For me it is very important to always be in contact with nature, so here I found my ideal habitat, where I get daily Inspiration for my work.


5) Nature is important to you, how does it inspire your work?

I feel connected to nature in a very special way and this is reflected in my artworks, where animals are usually the protagonists, inspired and influenced by ancient myths and tales of folklore.


6) Can you tell a bit more about how you started your store?

It all started when I made the best decision of my life: I happily abandoned my graphic designer job. Now, being a full time artist, and my own boss, I can constantly feed my creativity, and do what I love the most without limits.


7) How do you capture the atmosphere of a story and turn it into a matching design?

It may sounds a bit weird, but I "see" it in my mind. Suddenly, after reading a book, seeing a wildlife scene, a dream. The vision just came clear in my mind and all I need to do is do a quick sketch to memorize it. Once the sketch is made, the illustration-work starts!


8) Your shop has a magical feeling, what does magic mean to you?

Magic is a way of living, for me, following the old ways of worshipping nature. Nowadays, people have lost connection with nature, and I believe that is in nature that magic resides. The modern society keeps you away from nature, letting you think you're not a part of it. But there was a time where humans and all living creatures (animals, plants, etc.) lived peacefully together. With my art, I try to re-evoke this feeling of nature-bound.


9) What do you like the most about having your own shop?

I love my work and the best thing is working from home! This way I always have my loves around (my fiance and my fur family), cheering me up for some good inspiration and precious support.


10) What are your plans for the future?

One of my biggest dreams was to move in a house "lost" in the wilderness, and this came true just 3 years ago. I live close to the woods, and if you look at my home's windows sometimes it seems to look at a live painting!

But I'm still a dreamer, and while continue doing art, I dream of getting a camper/van to go explore the world with my fiance and our dogs.

Giveaway

Fox Moon
One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a Fox Moon giclee print (5’’ x 7’’ format) from Francesca Rizzato Art.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

The Marquess Tames His Bride & The Major Meets His Match by Annie Burrows - Book Reviews, Interview & Giveaway

Book reviews by Suze

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Jake is a man with a reputation. He's a member of the ton, but not someone who cares about propriety, Jake and his friends are rakish rebels who love a good wager. When Jake meets Harriet he's instantly intrigued. He takes quite a risk at their first encounter and knows he has to find out more about this lady who makes his heart beat faster. Harriet isn't like the other women of her class and Jake is determined to make her notice him. He does this in his own cheeky way. Will Harriet eventually start to like him and can she forgive him when she discovers what he's kept from her?

Harriet has grown up in an unusual household. Nobody really payed attention to her and having a season is exactly what her mother didn't want for her daughter, but Harriet likes the beautiful dresses and having company for a change isn't so bad either. However, if she's happy with her new acquaintance Lord Becconsall is yet to be determined. Are they equally matched and will they eventually gain each other's trust?

The Major Meets His Match is a wonderful romantic story with a lovely hint of suspense. I immediately loved Jake, he's smart and audacious and I loved that even though he comes across as an arrogant man he's actually quite sweet. Harriet is a clever woman, but she doesn't know much about society. She quickly adapts though and I loved seeing her grow. She changes into a capable and brave woman with plenty of sass. I loved the amazing chemistry between Jake and Harriet and their dialogue is absolutely fantastic. I couldn't turn the pages of The Major Meets His Match quickly enough and read this terrific story in one sitting.

Annie Burrows has a great captivating writing style. She makes the time she writes about come to life in a magnificent way. I liked that her main characters have flaws and plenty of quirks, that makes them stand out and it kept making me smile. They're both endearing and easy to fall in love with. I liked that Annie Burrows constantly managed to surprise me with unexpected twists and turns, intricate plots and intriguing relationships. The Major Meets His Match is charming and entertaining and incredibly well written. I really enjoyed this fabulous book filled with beautiful people, mystery and true love and highly recommend it.

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When Clare's father passes away Clare becomes homeless, so her brother arranges a position for her. On her way there she meets her old childhood friend Robert, the Marquess of Rawcliffe. Robert intended to Marry Clare when he was younger, but his proposal was dismissed. He might get another chance though, because of a possible scandal. He has to save Clare's reputation and presents her as his fiancée. Clare isn't a meek obedient woman, will he be able to convince her that getting married to him is the right thing to do?

Clare used to care for a demanding father and even though she has several brothers, none of them cares enough to take her in. She thinks Robert just messes with her when he proposes and has no idea he's serious about marrying her. When secrets of the past come to the surface, they finally start to understand each other better. However, Robert has an ulterior motive to make Clare his bride as soon as possible. He has a matter to investigate and Clare plays a key role in it. Will he be able to convince her of his love even though he can't be completely honest with her?

The Marquess Tames His Bride is a delightful story about true love, passion and mystery. I was immediately intrigued by the bold and confident Lord Rawcliffe. Robert hides his kind and loving nature well, but with Clare he becomes a lot softer. I loved that transformation. He's a good and loyal friend and he's incredibly clever. Clare knows how to stand up for herself, she never lets him walk all over her and I loved her fierce and fiery nature. They're evenly matched and sparks fly every time they are together. Their quarrels are a vital part of their sizzling connection and I enjoyed every single page of their story.

Annie Burrows has a terrific heartwarming writing style. She clearly understands emotions and uses that to her advantage. I loved how she gives each scene plenty of fabulous layers and enjoyed every single one of them. Her descriptive and gripping writing fascinated me from beginning to end and I didn't even once look up while reading The Marquess Tames His Bride before reaching the amazing end. I highly recommend the Brides for Bachelors series, it has every ingredient I like when reading historical fiction, beautiful interesting main characters, intrigues and secrets and plenty of chemistry. The Marquess Tames His Bride is a superb dazzling book and I can't wait to find out what comes next.

Advice

If you love historical romance you don't want to miss the Brides for Bachelors Series. The books can be read as standalones when you read them for the romance alone, but if you want to have every detail of the mystery Annie Burrows is writing about you should start with the first book and read the stories in their correct order.

About Annie Burrows


I have been making up stories in my head for as long as I can remember. It was a long walk home from school, and there were no ipods in those days to keep you amused! When I wasn't daydreaming, I had my nose stuck in a book. My parents used to take me to the library every Saturday, until I was old enough to get there on my own, and my house was always full of books.

During school holidays, the whole family loved to visit stately homes and castles. As soon as we got home, my older sister and I would either dress up as lords and ladies, and romp around the garden, or, if it was raining, retreat to our bedroom where we would draw intricately detailed plans of our very own imaginary stately home, complete with secret tunnels, dungeons, and usually, a maze in the extensive grounds.

When I was old enough to go to university, I studied English literature, with Philosophy. I was not sure what I wanted to do after that, but meeting a handsome student of maths, who was the owner of a very powerful motorbike helped me make up my mind. Reader, I married him.

For many years I felt it was important to stay at home to raise our two children, but one day, when the youngest had gone to senior school, I began to wonder if all those stories I made up to occupy my mind whilst attending to mundane chores, would interest anyone else.

I started to write some of them down, and eventually decided that one of them was "deep" enough to merit attention from publishers! It took me almost two years to complete, mainly because I kept tearing it up and starting all over again. And having to keep going out to work to help pay for school fees, then university tuition, slowed progress down as well.

Needless to say, this masterpiece was rejected by every single publisher I sent it to, but by this time, writing had become an addiction.

Four more stories got rejected before Mills & Boon bought "His Cinderella Bride", my first regency romance.

And the rest, as they say, is history...

Links

Website // Blog // Facebook // Twitter

Interview

1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself? 

I’ve always been an avid reader. And if I didn’t have my nose buried in a book, I would be daydreaming up stories of my own. I took English Literature at University, because it meant reading a lot, and then writing about what I’d read, though I hadn’t a clue about what to do with that qualification when I got it. However, once I did decide to write stories for publication, what I’d learned did come in handy.

2) You write about strong women, which key characteristics should a good regency romance heroine have? 

A modern reader isn’t going to sympathize with a romantic heroine if she can’t stick up for herself, and, as the Regency era was an age when men were very dominant, that means she need to be pretty strong-willed. So I don’t write doormat-types. In fact, when my husband read my first story, he commented that my heroine was a bit of a stroppy cow. (Not long after remarking that he could imagine me saying most of the things she said)

3) What made you fall in love with regency romance? 

Reading lots of them! I particularly enjoy the regency romances of Georgette Heyer, though once I discovered the historical romances published by Mills & Boon, I felt as if I’d really found my niche.

4) How do you handle the research for your stories? 

I read a lot of biographies of people who lived in that era. At the moment, I’m reading about Captain Scovell, who was the man responsible for breaking Napoleon’s codes during the Peninsular Campaign. Reading about people’s lives tells me all sorts of things about the kinds of possibilities I can have for my own stories, as well as giving me lots of background detail about the era.

Occasionally I get a more fact-based book, such as an itinerary of stage coaches, or a political book about Paris during the Napoleonic wars. However, whenever I put too much of that period detail in my stories, my editor always complains that it is slowing down the pace, and urges me to concentrate on the budding romance. So it mostly has to stay in the background. However, I do think it is very important to gain as much knowledge as possible about the period, to make my stories “ring true”. I wouldn’t want to inadvertently have my characters do or say something that they couldn’t have possibly said or done in the early 1800’s, because my readers are very knowledgeable about the period, and it would spoil their reading experience.

And as I live in the UK, there are heaps of stately homes I can visit, where I can walk round rooms imagining what it would have been like to have lived there at the time. Just seeing a dining room set out with all the silver and porcelain conjures up such an evocative atmosphere in which I can set my stories.

5) You’ve worn a dress from the period you’re writing about yourself, how was that and if you could wear it traveling back in time where would you go to wear it? 

That was such fun! And also very enlightening. I always assumed that regency women must have been frozen, going about wearing such flimsy cotton or muslin gowns, but what I learned was that actually all the layers trapped a lot of heat, even though each layer was such light material. It was summer when I spent a day in a full-length regency outfit, and I was too hot to wear the full length petticoat supplied. The dress and overdress alone were enough to keep me comfortable. If it had been winter, a heavier material for the underdress and overdress, with a flannel petticoat and thick stockings, would have done. Plus a spencer, of course. Also, wearing a bonnet really does keep a body warm, as well as protecting the complexion!

Where would I go? Well, the gown I wore was a day dress. I would not have been able to attend a ball in it, but I would have loved to have strolled through a market of the time, or visited the shops, (with a footman in tow to carry all my purchases home) and seen all those bolts of cloth with such lovely-sounding names – poplin, sprigged muslin, slub, twill, damask…and hopefully run my fingers over the fabric to feel the difference in weight. I am old enough to remember going into shops that sold fabric by the yard, and recall the rich, sweet smell of brand-new cloth. I would love to have been able to do that in Regency London. And don’t get me started on ribbons!

6) You often meet with author friends, what’s the most fun about those meetings?

Cake!


However, as well as having fun celebrating our successes, it is very valuable to be able to talk to other writers, who have experience of various methods of publication, as mostly, otherwise, I work alone. It’s great to be able to bring a dilemma to a panel of such experienced ladies, and be able to talk through where to go next.

7) True love is important in all of your stories, what does true love mean to you? 

I must confess to being a romantic myself, or I couldn’t write stories where finding a soul mate equates to a happy ending. I believe that life is so much richer if you have someone to share it with.

8) How did your love for books start? 

My parents both loved books, and there were always lots of books in the house. Bedtime stories were a feature of my childhood. We weren’t very well off, but my parents made sure I always had access to books suitable for my age by taking me to the local library every week, as soon as I was old enough to read. This was a jolly good thing, as I was rather a sickly child, and spent a lot of time off school, especially during the winter. Books filled those hours when I could do nothing more strenuous than sit up in bed, and took me away in my head to far happier, more interesting places!

9) What should a good romantic happy ending look like? 

The hero should be completing and enriching my heroine’s life. And she should be the answer to his needs, too.

10) What are your plans for the future? 

My writing plans…as ever, my head is bubbling with ideas I can’t wait to get down onto paper! Currently, I’m writing a story involving a bookish, bespectacled lady code-breaker (hence the research into Captain Scovell), who is trying to persuade an impossibly handsome, rakish Marquess that she can help him track down a traitor. It’s all a bit nebulous at the moment, but I’m hoping they will engage in a lot of spirited banter and indulge in some clandestine kisses on the way to unmasking the villain.

Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive signed paperback copies of The Marquess Tames His Bride, The Major Meets His Match and The Captain Claims His Lady by Annie Burrows.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Saturday, July 14, 2018