Tag Archives: romance

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Book Reviews: Never Have I Ever Kissed My Brother’s Best Friend and Star Fire

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Book Reviews: Week 3!

More books that have been lurking on my Kindle waiting to be read!

This week’s romance is a Young Adult romance called “Never Have I Ever Kissed My Brother’s Best Friend” by Juliet Bardsley. I picked it up because I’ve been toying with the idea of writing YA sweet and clean romance, and this series has been fairly popular.

This week’s science fiction novel is “Star Fire” by M.R. Fobes. I chose this book because at the end of last year, when I started poking into the science fiction world, it was in the top fifty of several categories on Amazon, and I decided to check it out.

Never Have I Ever Kissed My Brother’s Best Friend

Like I said, this series has been fairly popular, and I wanted to check it out.

First off, it’s short. Like, really short. Even shorter than my Academy books, which are about 25k words.

Because of the length, the story is painfully basic. It was fun to read, but the conflict never felt real to me, and because we all know what’s going to happen in the end of a sweet romance, the lack of convincing danger toward the love story crippled this one a bit.

If you want a really fast, very basic read that might remind you a bit of high school, then this is your book.

Just three stars for this one. I like more than just cute in my stories.

She’s crushed on him for the past six years.
He’s always seen her as his best friend’s little sister.
What happens when they’re forced together?

Gavin Mitchell is a star soccer player, the best looking senior at Cedar Oaks High, and a potential recruit for the college of his dreams. But if Gavin doesn’t raise his English grade, all his plans of playing soccer for his dream school will be crushed. Enter Kenzie Fair, his best friend’s smart little sister.

Mackenzie (Kenzie) Fair has the best friend in the world, an enviable collection of books, and the highest grades in the junior class. But there’s one thing she doesn’t have–Gavin Mitchell–the guy she’s crushed on for forever. The guy she acts like a total spaz around. The guy who also happens to be her brother’s best friend.

When the two are forced to spend time together studying Shakespeare, it’s only a matter of time before Gavin sees Kenzie as more than his best friend’s little sister.

The problem is, she still is. Is it worth risking his lifelong friendship for the chance to date Kenzie?

Star Fire

This is another book that I started and put down a few months ago. I picked it back up this week to finish it.

This is the second military sci-fi book that I’ve picked up that’s not really about space, which continues to surprise me. The story starts out as a space battle, but then everyone crashes and the rest of it takes place on the surface of a planet.

It took a bit for this one to get going, but once it did, and I was invested in the main character, then I was in for the long haul. Good conflicts, good characters, and while I hated the fact that I was right about one of them, I take a sick sort of pleasure in it.

That being said, the last chapter is a horrible cliff hanger, which made me a little grouchy.  The rest of the series is out, but I’m on to a different book and I may or may not get back to this one.

Four stars for this one, although I’m still cranky about the end.

New from million-copy bestseller M.R. Forbes. One man’s epic story of loyalty, perseverance, and hope in a galaxy at war.

Alliance Navy Commander Grayson Stone is patrolling a nearby space station when a mysterious starship appears. It emerges from a storm of fire, its shields impenetrable, its weapons overwhelming, attacking without provocation and annihilating everything in its path.

While his ship is badly damaged in the assault, Grayson manages to survive. Suddenly trapped behind the front line of the invasion, faced with gut-wrenching choices and near-impossible odds, he’ll do whatever it takes to escape the grasp of the terrifying new enemy.

Because if he fails, humankind will fall.

There you go! Book reviews Week 3!
Tune in next week for more reviews.


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Book Reviews: Finding Jack and The Messenger

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Book Reviews: Week 2!

We had a busy week, and I barely finished the second of these books a few minutes ago. Still, I finished! Yay!

Both of these came from my Kindle collection of books I’ve downloaded and haven’t read.

The first is a sweet romance called Finding Jack. I believe author Sarah Boucher recommended this one to me.

The second is a science fiction novel called The Messenger that I picked up because it has a giant mech in it, and the sci-fi book I’m writing has mechs in it. Sort of. It turns out they are very different than this one.

Finding Jack

I’ve met this author, but I’ve never read any of her work before this.

Honestly, I started this one about six months ago, got less than 20% in, and never finished. The beginning felt both rushed and manic. The dialogue and the story were being thrown in my face at a very fast rate. Plus, I didn’t love the main character.

This might be Melanie’s style, I’m not sure, but I didn’t love it. I also didn’t love the reason they couldn’t be together near the end. (Not a spoiler, we all know it’s coming in a romance book.) The idea was sound, but could have been set up better.

However, I must admit that after that 20% mark I was hooked. The character grew on me, I started liking Jack more, and reading to the end felt effortless. There is plenty of humor in this one, and the end is satisfying. The only bump was as I said above, their reason for breaking up was weak.

I did like this book, and would give it a solid four stars.

Can their online flirtation become something real?

When smart, practical Emily finds herself in the crosshairs of an Internet prankster, her orderly world goes topsy-turvy. Instead of getting mad at the handsome stranger behind the joke, she finds herself drawn to him. But Jack Dobson, though hilarious and thoughtful, has a lot of secrets. Despite her growing feelings for her new and unexpected long-distance friend, his biggest secret of all might be the one that breaks the spell they’ve been weaving around each other.

The Messenger

This book looks like a young adult book, which is why I picked it up, but it’s not. It’s fine for YA readers, if they’re okay with a little bit of swearing and gore. Oh, and space battles.

One of the authors is J.N. Chaney. I tried to read his Renegade Star series and barely made it through the first book. The main character was a whiner and a jerk, two things I hate, so I only picked this one up because there is a co-author.

Unfortunately, my author brain had an easy time picking this story apart. The beginning is so cliché I literally rolled my eyes. Picture this: A down-and-out courier, in debt, had to dump their last shipment, in desperate need of a job, and then finds the job that will take him from being a bit of a scoundrel to a man willing to sacrifice his life for the galaxy.

Sound familiar? The authors set this up quickly, then went on to the rest of the story.

Which felt like a cross between a leveling up video game and Voltron.

I didn’t hate the main character, but he was kind of bland. A little snarky, a little brave, but nothing really interesting. Until he stumbles onto a giant mech suit and becomes, the Messenger. The champion for good against the Golden…things.

Don’t get me wrong, I like chosen one stories, but didn’t love this one. This first book felt like 100% set up, not an actual story, and I skimmed the last quarter of it. I never meshed with the characters or the premise of the story, and considering it didn’t grab my attention, I probably won’t read any more in the series.

Three stars.

Dash never asked to be a mech pilot, but fate has other plans.

On the run and out of chances, he guides his ship and crew into the heart of a relic older than the galaxy itself—and find himself on the edge of an eternal war he never knew existed.

The relic is a mech, lost to history and forgotten by all who remain. Built by an ancient race to be the ultimate weapon, the machine is capable of unspeakable destruction, and its discovery could unhinge the balance of power throughout known space.

Worse still, the A.I. inside the machine speaks of an ancient evil that will soon arrive–a race whose power far exceeds anything humanity has ever witnessed.

Only the Messenger can stand against them, the A.I. tells its new pilot. Only you can do what must be done.

There you go. Book Reviews Week 2!

Tune in next week for two more reviews.


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Two Years as a Full-Time Author!

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The journey has been different than I imagined.

Two years ago I quit my day job so I could go full-time with my writing. I wasn’t making great money at the time, but my husband is super supportive and brings home the bacon, so to speak, so I found myself in the unique situation of being able to follow my dream while not having to stress about money.

The first year was hard. I didn’t break even with my expenses, and frankly I was a bit disappointing.

Year two has been a roller coaster of writing and emotions and almost breaking even. This is what happened.

First

I rapidly released eight fairy tale retellings with my Fairy Tale Academy series. While the stories are solid, and people who read them love them, I missed the market a bit, and the series didn’t do as well as I would have liked.

Second

I released five sweet and clean romance books under my pen name, Karly Stratford, and those did really well. I enjoy writing them, but don’t want to go full-time romance. It’s not where my passion lies, although I do love getting emails from fans who say how my book made their day!

Third

I had my very first story come out in Audible. It’s part of a collection of horror stories. I love it SO MUCH! The narrator nailed it, and I now understand a little more about the power of audio books.

Forth

I was part of a collaboration of authors who decided to use our talents to raise awareness about child sex trafficking. I’ve made my initial investment in covers and editing back, and from now on all profits go straight to organizations that actively help fight sex trafficking.

I’m not going to lie, this project sort of consumed the middle section of my year. The topic is difficult to write about, and we faced a lot of opposition when trying to get these books published. But we did it! And I’m pretty sure the journey for this project has just begun.

Fifth

One of my writing groups put together a Fairy Tale and First Dates anthology! We had such a good time doing this, and I loved how excited everyone got when they were able to hold a book of their own in their hands. Totally worth the stress!

Those are some of the highlights for 2019

Some days it’s hard to look past the drudgery and the stupid marketing and the fact that I’d rather make cookies than write and see all the good that I’ve done, the books I’ve produced and the wonderful emails from fans that I’ve gotten.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this endeavor . Cheers to 2019, and I look forward to 2020!

Do any of you have big goals for 2020? I’ve got some, but I’m not sharing yet.


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His Movie Star Second Chance Bachelorette

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The holidays are creeping ever closer.

Do you find yourself humming Christmas songs?

Are you ready for a season of Hallmark-Style Romances?

If so, I have something for you!

The last of my Holiday Romances (released under my pen name Karly Stratford) is out today!

Each story is a small town, second chance romance set during the holidays.

This is the story of Preston and Anna. It was love at first sight, but Anna knew he was too good for her, and she ran away.

A stuntman with a heart of gold.

The movie star who let him get away.

99 CENTS THIS WEEK ONLY!

(Always FREE on Kindle Unlimited)

Preston Decker blacked two weeks out of his filming schedule to spend Christmas with his family. His older brothers have recently found love, and they’re pressuring him to get a girlfriend. No thanks, the last one broke his heart. Unfortunately said ex-girlfriend shows up at his house begging him to be a stuntman in her latest film. She’s willing to pay him whatever he wants.

Anna Jordan, or Berry as the world calls her, is producing a film that’s cursed. First everyone got the flu, and now the lead stuntman broke his leg. The only stuntman available who can pull it off is Preston. They’d dated. He was the perfect guy, and she knew she’d never be good enough for him. She also knew he would probably help her.

When Berry laments that the cast and crew are going to be away from their families for Christmas, Preston comes up with a brilliant idea. When things begin to fall apart, they each must decide what they value most. Can they make a Christmas miracle for themselves? Or will they spend New Year’s alone again?

 


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