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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fly Away with Me & Come Home With Me by Susan Fox - Book Reviews, Interview & Giveaway

Reviews by Suze

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Eden's mother is desperate to find her sister. She's ill and wants to know what happened to her beloved older sibling now that she still has the chance. Therefore she sends Eden to Destiny Island, the last place she knows her sister was staying many years ago. Even though the trip isn't a holiday, Eden's pilot Aaron is determined to make her enjoy her stay. He will also help her with her search and in the meantime they can spend their free moments together. 

Eden isn't looking for a relationship and Aaron doesn't think he'll ever find someone he wants to stay with for a long time, so they both feel the same way about being attached. Will their attraction change their minds and will Eden find what she's looking for or is she going home with just good memories of the man she met on the island? Destiny Island has a magical effect on people, will Eden be able to forget about it and move on once she leaves it behind?

Fly Away with Me is a wonderful romantic story about two strong main characters. Eden and Aaron both know what it's like to look out for other people. They do everything they can to make their loved ones as happy as possible. Eden is cautious and levelheaded. She never does anything spontaneous, but meeting Aaron brings out the best in her in many different ways and she can finally loosen up. Aaron didn't have an easy childhood and he's never seen good examples of loving successful relationships between people close to him. That's why he doesn't believe he will ever have one either. When he meets Eden something shifts. They're amazing together, but they don't live in the same part of the country, so keeping in touch would be difficult. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out if they'd have a chance at true love.

Susan Fox writes about a beautiful setting in a fantastic vivid way. I loved reading about Destiny Island, a place that has a terrific vibe. I was mesmerized by it from the start and liked every single page of the story. Eden is falling in love with both a man and an island and that is something I could easily imagine. Susan Fox has written a spellbinding story filled with impressive emotional layers and plenty of surprising twists and turns. I really enjoyed reading this gorgeous book.

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Miranda likes living in the city, but when she's broke and doesn't have anywhere to go she decides it's time to go back to the island where she spent part of her childhood to live with her brother Aaron. She's a single mother and Ariana's wellbeing comes first. Aaron has found love and Miranda has to get used to this new situation. Romance isn't for people with their background, at least that is what she always thought. Could she be wrong?

When Miranda meets Luke she immediately feels a connection. However, he isn't like the other men she dated. She always went for bad boys who left her brokenhearted. Luke is the local vet and is known by everyone on the island, he's also a widower and he already met the love of his life at a young age. There's no way Miranda can compete, so she's wary to even try. Luke is a single father, so they have a lot in common. Will their easy friendship be able to grow into something more or are Miranda and Luke both far from ready to give love another chance?

Come Home with Me is a fascinating romantic story. I was immediately intrigued by both of the main characters. Miranda had a difficult childhood. Her brother Aaron was always there for her, but there was only so much he could do being a child himself. Now he makes sure she has a place to stay and this gives her a chance to get her life back on track. It's time for Miranda to look at the future and make the right decisions. She wants to give her daughter much more than she ever had and I admired her spirit and determination to make it happen. Luke had everything Miranda had to miss while growing up, but he knows what grief feels like. I very much hoped they could heal each other's hearts and finding out if they would kept me glued to the pages.

Susan Fox has a wonderful way with words. I love her gorgeous descriptions of Destiny Island and the detailed way she writes about emotions. She makes her stories come to life in an incredible vibrant way. I'm impressed by how she thoroughly explores the way her main characters are feeling and love the natural progression of their relationships. She knows how to write about true love and that enchanted me from beginning to end. Come Home with Me is a beautiful love story and I enjoyed every single page.

Advice

If you love romantic stories with beautiful settings you will definitely like the Blue Moon Harbor series. The books can be read as standalones, but if you want to know every single detail I'd advise you to read the books in their correct order.

About Susan Fox


International bestselling author Susan Lyons, who also writes as Susan Fox and Savanna Fox, writes “emotionally compelling, sexy contemporary romance” (Publishers Weekly). She is published by Kensington Zebra, Brava and Aphrodisia, Berkley Heat and Harlequin Spice Briefs, and has also self-published books and short stories. She is also one of the contributors to Northern Heat: Best Canadian Erotic Romance Stories (Quarry Press).

New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs said of Susan’s book, Home on the Range, “I loved this book. It’s the perfect sweep-you-away story—smart, sexy, funny and touching, set in a beautifully rendered place in the west. Susan Fox delivers an unforgettable read.” Publishers Weekly said of Love Me Tender, “Fox knows how to strike just enough sway between sweet and bitter, homespun and steamy.” Romantic Times Book Reviews said of Love Somebody Like You, “With heartfelt, modern storytelling and genuine characters set within a touching plot, Fox pens a tender story of love and healing that will melt readers’ hearts.”

Susan is a 2016 finalist for Romance Writers of America®’s prestigious RITA® award. Her books have won the HOLT Medallion, the Booksellers Best Award, the Book Buyers Best Award, the Aspen Gold Readers Choice, the Golden Quill, the More Than Magic, the Lories, the Beacon, and the Laurel Wreath. Sex Drive was a Cosmopolitan Red-Hot Read.

Susan’s books have been translated into French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and German. Many are available as audio books.

Susan has presented workshops at the Romance Writers of America® National conference, the Surrey International Writers Conference, the RT Booklovers Convention, and regional RWA® conferences. She will be a presenter at Word on the Lake Writers Festival (Salmon Arm, BC) in May 2016. She has spoken at library events and to reader groups. Her articles have been published in Romance Writers Report, RT Book Reviews, NINK (the Novelists Inc. newsletter), Love Letter (Germany), and RWA Chapter newsletters.

Susan is a Pacific Northwester with homes in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. She has degrees in law and psychology, and has had a variety of careers, including perennial student, computer consultant, and legal editor. Fiction writer is by far her favorite, giving her an outlet to demonstrate her belief in the power of love, friendship, and a sense of humor. 

Links

Website // Pinterest // Facebook // Goodreads // Bookbub

Interview

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

I’m a West Coast Canadian girl, having lived all my life in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. It took me forever to decide what I “wanted to do with my life,” as they say. I got a B.A. in psychology, did Master’s work in anthropology, got a law degree, and also started a graduate program in counseling psychology. I’ve worked at a variety of jobs, from Cariboo Wagon Road researcher to job creation program manager to tech consultant to legal editor.

When I started writing fiction, I mostly read mysteries and legal suspense thrillers, so that’s what I tried to write. I fairly quickly realized that wasn’t my forté when my mystery plots kept getting sidelined by the growing romance between my protagonists. I also realized that, as a writer, I like character-driven stories, especially ones about people at transition points in their lives—such as when they’re faced by obstacles that challenge their usual coping strategies and their beliefs about themselves. I write about character growth, and the power of friendship and love.

I’ve had approximately 30 books published, and they’ve been translated into five languages. My stories have won a bunch of awards, which thrills me to bits, but even better than that is hearing from readers who’ve been touched by my writing.

2) Can you tell a bit more about the setting you’ve chosen for your Blue Moon Harbor series?

Blue Moon Harbor is on Destiny Island, a fictional island set among the very real Gulf Islands near Victoria, British Columbia. I’ve known those islands most of my life, and my partner and I cruise among them in the summers, on our old wooden boat. The inhabited islands are relatively undeveloped, and each is its own little community. As I’m sure you know, small communities can be quirky. Well, small islands can be even quirkier! After all, an island is, well, an island. You’re semi-isolated, accessible only by boat or plane, and your ability to get on and off your island depends on the weather.

Of course I developed a craving to write about this part of the world: the rugged, gorgeous scenery, the eccentric characters, and the romances that can develop in such an unusual setting. Rather than use one of the actual Gulf Islands, I created one that is true to the essence of the islands but also better meets my story purposes.

Here’s what I said about Destiny Island in the proposal I sent to my editor at Kensington Publishing. Destiny, a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest, is blessed with craggy bluffs, forested hills, secret coves, and meadows dotted with wildflowers. The locals are individuals—make that eccentrics!—reflecting the island’s history of aboriginal people, loggers and fishermen, African-American and Japanese immigrants, hippies, artists, boaters, and escapees from the city.


3) Your main characters don’t have easy lives, how do you prepare to write the difficult parts?

You’re right. My stories kind of walk the line between romance and women’s fiction. There’s always a central romance with a happy ending, but there are also a lot of the elements that are found in mainstream women’s novels. Things like family relationships (functional and dysfunctional), health issues (like multiple sclerosis, PTSD, and bipolar disorder), and even abuse. Those are the topics that most intrigue me as a person and as a writer, in part because they present such challenges and also because triumphing over relatively traumatic circumstances is particularly inspiring and moving.

And yes, it can be hard to write about those issues. I prepare by doing my research and then getting to know my characters at a deep emotional level. When I’m writing the really difficult parts, I make sure to take breaks, go for long walks, listen to music, read a good book, do things to nurture myself and remind myself that my characters’ traumas are not my own.

4) You write about the differences between the city and the countryside, what do you like most about each?


I’ve been lucky enough to live in both settings. My favorite thing about cities is their diverse, cosmopolitan nature and their energy. I love hearing half a dozen different languages spoken in the space of a couple of city blocks. I love the variety of cuisines, and cultural influences. But the country soothes my soul. I’m very nature-oriented, and have always lived within walking distance of the ocean. For me, at this stage in my life, I feel as if I need both in my life for a happy balance. And I’m lucky enough to have it: I live in the countryside near Victoria and also visit Vancouver several times a year.

5) What does true love mean to you?

I guess, basically, that this person is “the one,” a soul-mate, in a deeply romantic way. There needs to be, for a start, mutual liking, respect, and trust. Combine that with physical attraction and a sense of soul-deep emotional connection. Being able to be yourself with the other person. Being each other’s staunchest supporter. Wanting to create a future, side by side, as equal partners. And understanding that, while building that future, there will be downs as well as ups—and committing to work together through the tough times.

Those are all the things that I try to illustrate in my stories. Personally, I’m never convinced that a love relationship will last unless I see that the couple has all of those things going for them, by the end of the book.

6) You’ve studied a lot of different subjects, when did you know you wanted to write and how does your knowledge help with your stories?

I did a lot of drifting, with my education and my jobs, enjoying what I did but never feeling like I’d found “my bliss” in terms of a career. Then a friend gave me a book on writing, and I read it, and then took a night school course, and I started writing my first novel. And I was hooked. There it was: my passion. A little research quickly told me that it was very difficult to make a living as a writer, so I hung onto the day jobs, paid off the mortgage, and practiced my craft as a writer for many years before I sold my first book.

My favorite academic subjects were the human and social sciences, especially psychology, and that certainly drives my writing. I’m fascinated by personality, relationships, personal growth, and our reactions to challenges and traumas, and all those things form a big part of my books. I do have a law degree, and that figures less obviously in my writing, though I think my legal studies helped sharpen my analytical skills.

7) You’ve already written a large number of books, how does it feel to see so many of your titles together knowing people enjoy them?

Absolutely wonderful! I’ve been a fiction reader all my life, and derived pleasure, companionship, and insights from novels. Being able to pass that gift along to my readers is an honor. I treasure every note I receive from a reader saying that she or he has been caught up in one of my stories, identified with one of my characters, or found a different perspective on life.

8) You write about love, family and friendship. What are the most important elements of deep and meaningful connections?


I think there needs to be a meeting of minds and hearts, at some level. People don’t have to agree about every little thing—in fact it’s more stimulating when they don’t—but I think that, for example, a person who believes strongly in protecting the environment and a person who couldn’t care less about the environment might have trouble forming a deep, meaningful connection. It really helps if basic values are shared. Beyond that, I think there also needs to be fundamental honesty. Not to say that there isn’t a place for polite or protective “little white lies,” but there shouldn’t be any important deceptions. People who connect on a deep level must be able to trust each other and be there for each other.

9) Your stories always have happy endings, what’s so important about them and what’s the magic about them for you? 

While I do like writing about serious issues, I don’t like leaving readers (and myself!) depressed at the end. I like uplifting resolutions, stories of hope, stories that illustrate how strong people can be when they dig deep inside. And, of course, when they’re motivated by love. There’s so much in real life to get angry, depressed, or frustrated about, and I think we all need stories that remind us to be hopeful and to be strong.

10) You enjoy taking photos, how did this passion start?

My father was a nature photographer, so cameras were always part of my life. I got a good one myself as a teen, and was immediately hooked. But my dad often wanted to get a person in his photos, for color and interest, and that person was often me. I really didn’t like having that camera aimed at me. I still don’t—and that’s probably because I’m not the least big photogenic. Anyhow, as a photographer, I almost never take pictures of people: it’s always nature. BTW, I often share my photos on my Facebook page, if readers want to take a look: http://www.facebook.com/SusanLyonsFox.


11) What are your plans for the future?


I’m hoping to continue my writing career and my Blue Moon Harbor series. The next book, Sail Away With Me, comes out in September, and I have a proposal in with my publisher for more after that. Fingers crossed!

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Come Home With Me.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

28 comments:

  1. I checked out your FB page and there are some great photos - love the orchids of course :-)

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    1. Thank you, Eliza! I just discovered that this interview had been posted, so please forgive me for not responding earlier.

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  2. The Blue Moon Harbor series sounds like romantic stories with beautiful settings.

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  3. Would love to win this book for my Mum who reads a lot.

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    1. Good luck. Say hi to your Mum for me. I read a lot, too!

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  4. Great interview! Thanks for sharing it.

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  5. thanks for the fab interview - books are so much more interesting when you know a little about the imagination that created them xx

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    1. I hope you'll give the books a try, Julie.

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  7. This sounds like a fun series. :-)

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    1. Fun, but also with some depth and serious issues, Caro. Hopefully, realistic!

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  8. Your book sounds wonderful!! I just heard of you so I am new!! Rita Spratlen

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  9. This sounds like a great book and I like the cover!

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  10. I've read Susan before and I loved the book. I want more.

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  11. These look like really sweet, emotional stories that I'd love to curl up with & immerse myself in!

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  12. I love that the setting is based on places the author actually knows, I always think this shows through in the writing.

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  13. Oh this sounds like such a great romantic read. I cannot wait to read. I love when they involve the outdoors and nature!

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