Jozi Flash 2017 – Release

Jozi Flash 2017 web

It’s not quite the Gummi Bears, but it certainly bounces around a lot.

Jozi Flash 2017 combines the talents of ten brilliant authors with one gifted artist, to bring you a collection of 80 flash fiction stories across eight different genres.

From a children’s story about the folly of summoning dragons, to the horrors held in deliciously treacherous ice cream, the authors take you on journeys that weave fantasy and folklore together alongside practical detectives and everyday tragedy.

With stunning artwork prompts by Nico Venter, these South African authors have created an anthology that will leave you breathless.

It is done.

I have no words.

DOWNLOAD LINK:

Jozi Flash 2017 – PDF

*Blog Tour Review: “No Ordinary Girl” by Cheryl Elaine

No Ordinary Girl Full Banner

 

I’ve once again been given an opportunity by Rachel’s Random Resources, to take part in a blog tour to review No Ordinary Girl by Cheryl Elaine.

no ordinaryy

 

No Ordinary Girl

What started out as a night of celebration for Aimee soon turned into a nightmare. Snatched by cruel, sadistic monsters – the worst creatures mankind has ever produced – she’s thrown into a metal container, among other victims too frightened to make a single sound.

The game-keepers force everyone to play. They deliver torment and pain in equal measure. Every hunter has their own agenda and reasons to maim and torture.

Detective Johnson is one step away from catching the killers. Wrestling with his instincts as a father to serve justice his own way, this is no ordinary case for him. Can he stop the vile sadists before they damage more young girls, as well as his own daughter?

Aimee’s ordeal within the compound brings her to the conclusion that she’s no ordinary girl. But can she hang onto her sanity long enough to escape? And will she find a different way to play?

This crime thriller will keep you riveted. It’s no ordinary story.

Please note: contains graphic content.

Quill Reviews

First off, let me just say – DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the graphic content warning!

I made the mistake of thinking it would be a simple, easy to read crime thriller, with a bit of violence thrown in. Ha!

Elaine does not shy away from describing, in graphic, horrifying detail, what happens to just about every victim in the novel.

To be honest, the descriptions often left me feeling physically ill, and I had to stop reading several times to return to my safe space.

However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re an avid thriller/horror reader, No Ordinary Girl will probably leave you feeling like you’ve arrived at a perfect blend of both.

There were some points through the story where I felt the descriptions were gratuitous – there to shock or horrify, and certainly they succeeded in doing that, when perhaps, less might have been more.

There were some neat twists and turns throughout the story, and the ending was… well, let’s not give anything away.

Overall, No Ordinary Girl set out to ensure readers would never forget Aimee’s story (if not necessarily for cheerful reasons), and it certainly did that.

I give it four out of five feathers for sheer, mind-numbing horror at the atrocities humans are capable of dreaming up.

To purchase a copy of Cheryl Elaine’s crime thriller, visit Amazon.

The author is giving away three signed copies of No Ordinary Girl! The entry is open internationally and you can enter here

*I received a free copy of the book from Rachel’s Random Resources in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

No Ordinary Girl - Author Pic

Cheryl Elaine was born in Germany but moved to Northern Ireland as a young child. She then moved to Yorkshire where she spent most of her childhood and this is where she currently resides with her husband and 3 daughters. 

Cheryl Elaine is an avid reader and enjoys watching horror movies – the more gruesome the better! She enjoys travelling and socialising but also loves spending time at home with her family and her ever expanding menagerie which currently includes 2 dogs, a budgie, 2 fish and a rat called Rocky!

Connect with Cheryl on her website, Twitter or Instagram.

 

Cover Reveal – The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James

Another cover reveal? Heck yeah!

Teaming up with Rachel’s Random Resources, I’m taking part in the cover reveal of The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James!

The book is the first to be launched in the Ruby Fiction imprint by Choc-Lit, so this is super-exciting!

About the Book

Jo Docherty and Hattie Contaldo have a vision – a holiday retreat in the heart of the Lake District exclusively for guests of ‘a certain age’ wishing to stimulate both mind and body with new creative experiences. One hotel refurbishment later and the Best Boomerville Hotel is open for business!

Perhaps not surprisingly Boomerville attracts more than its fair share of eccentric clientele: there’s fun loving Sir Henry Mulberry and his brother Hugo; Lucinda Brown, an impoverished artist with more ego than talent; Andy Mack, a charming Porsche-driving James Bond lookalike, as well as Kate Simmons, a woman who made her fortune from an internet dating agency but still hasn’t found ‘the One’ herself.

With such an array of colourful individuals there’s bound to be laughs aplenty, but could there be tears and heartbreak too and will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?

The Cover

And now, the cover!

 

TBBH high res cover

I love this cover. It’s so typically British, and for some reason, I’m reminded of some old cartoon bumper editions I had when I was a child. I’m so looking forward to reading this!

The Best Boomerville Hotel is available to purchase on Amazon UK, Kobo, iBooks, and iTunes.

About the Author

Choc Lit Caroline James PicCaroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, consultant and food writer, Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and writes articles and short stories and contributes to many publications.

Her debut novel, Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me is set in North West England, at the time of a famous gypsy horse fair.  The book went straight to number three on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun.

So, You Think You’re A Celebrity…Chef? was runner up the Winchester Writers festival for best TV Drama and takes a light-hearted look at the world of celebrity chefs as they battle it out for fame and fortune. Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean & Me was runner up at The Write Stuff, LBF, 2015 and is an Amazon best-seller and top recommended read by Thomson Holidays. Jungle Rock, a romcom novella set in Australia, revolves around a TV game show.

In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

You can connect with her on Facebook, her Website, or send her a Tweet.

Stay tuned for my review of The Best Boomerville Hotel, which will take place during the blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources on the 14th March! 

 

Wordsmiths – January 2018 – Bethany A. Jennings

Wordsmiths is a monthly post that interviews new and established authors, links to their media and published work, and best of all: excerpts!

January’s post is a little bit late because of the holidays (oh my gosh, can you believe we’re in 2018 already?!) Today I’m chatting to Bethany A. Jennings, author of the short stories, Threadbare and Dragon Lyric.

Let’s get started!

Wordsmiths Feature Image - January2018

Hi Bethany,

Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview!

To start with, paint me a picture of your favourite writing space. What’s in it, what colours do you surround yourself with, and what would you change about it?

My favourite writing spot is my living room couch, followed closely by my bed (pecking out something intense on my phone after midnight, usually!), and I haven’t customized either of those spaces for writing, so I’ll describe my third favorite place—my desk. It sits in the family dining room, where the walls are a warm cream color and covered with maps and my children’s abstract paintings. I have fantasy art by Julia Busko around and on the desk itself, a stack of books, a rock salt lamp, and a very messy basket full of paperwork and odds and ends. If I could change anything about it, I’d have that desk inside a quiet room with purple walls (and a comfy chair instead of a folding chair!), but for now I make it work with what I have. 

About You:

1. What is the first book that introduced you to the fantasy genre?

That’s hard to say because my mom read me SO many books growing up! It was my father, however, who introduced me to The Chronicles of Narnia, and read the whole series to me. While I doubt it was my very first foray into the fantasy genre, it was a memorable one! Another series that shaped my taste for fantasy early on was The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander.

2. Are you friends with other authors? How do they help you become a better writer?

I have several writer friends who are very close and dear to me. They inspire me with their ambition, broaden my taste with genres or book elements I might not normally read or consider, give me feedback on my writing, and cheer me on so I can push through discouragement and make progress.

3. If you could choose any language to write in, would you still choose English?

I don’t think I know enough about other languages to decide fairly! I probably would still write in English, though. 

4. What would you give up in order to become a better writer?

Spending money. Hahaha. In all seriousness, though, investing in an author coach has been one of the best things for my career! My coach (Janeen Ippolito) has revolutionized the way I see my writing, pursue it, and market it. Another important investment has been going to an annual writing conference.

5. You’re a Christian fantasy writer, a combination that is sometimes viewed as a contradiction of beliefs. How does Christianity impact your fantasy stories, and how do you personally reconcile magic with belief?

Ooh, that’s a meaty question! My faith in Christ is foundational to my life, and although it may not be visible in all my stories, the underlying worldview always flows from that. I often work deep symbols into my stories, using my fantasy worlds as a metaphor for reality, mostly because that’s how my brain works—I create fantasy so I can understand and process the real world from new angles. When it comes to magic, I’ve approached it from a few different directions: in some stories it’s just science we don’t understand yet, and in some it’s a supernatural gift. Often it is both.

6. What is your favourite punctuation mark, or the one you inadvertently find yourself using the most?

The em dash! My precioussss…

Gollum
Image by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

7. If you had to list story elements in order of importance to you as a writer; from most to least, where would you place the following: plot, character, setting, conflict, resolution?

Character, resolution, conflict, plot, setting.

About Threadbare:

8. Threadbare is the first short story you published. How did publishing it change your writing process?

There is a thematic depth to Threadbare which, after publishing it, forever “spoiled” me—it made me realize I craved that depth, and I couldn’t honestly share a story with the world unless I knew there was a meaning and a purpose behind it, as I knew I had with Threadbare. So now a major part of my writing process is understanding the WHY behind a story, the reasons I’m writing it, and the purpose I have in sharing it with others. I value stories that are meant as pure entertainment, for sure, but as an author I feel compelled to ensure there is a piece of sincere truth from my heart in everything I publish.

9. The story is clearly part of a much bigger world. It opens with Bess fighting a battle with magic, but very quickly it’s revealed that she’s one of a few who use magic in a world similar to ours. Do you have plans to write more stories, or even a novel, based in this world?

Yes, I do hope to write more stories! I would love to write a series of them, each focusing on a specific member of Bess’s team, but the thought of writing a full-length novel has occurred to me too.

10. Threadbare is a lovely story of courage and hope. What inspired the idea of magic seen as threads?

Threadbare was born from a long personal struggle I endured with a “gift” of my own. I had to set aside a major project for a time (I didn’t know for how long, at the time), which was brutal. Doing so made me realize that the project and my goals for it had become unhealthily integral to my identity—without them, I didn’t even know who I was. While working through the pain of that struggle, unraveling layers and layers of faulty thought processes and loss and grief, I began to think of my trouble as “tangles” entrapping me. Every time I unraveled one tangle, it seemed, I’d find a worse one beneath. One day I had the thought, “What if there was a character who had literal tangles entrapping her?” And so Threadbare was born. Writing it was very cathartic, and became a part of my healing.

11. The cover for Threadbare is gorgeous. Who designed it, did you have any input on the creative process and how much of the design matches your original vision for it?

It matches my original vision almost perfectly! I made some mock-up covers of my own to serve as a rough idea, and then hired LoriAnn Weldon of Magpie Designs, Ltd. She took my ideas and recreated them as the beautiful cover Threadbare has now! I especially love what she did with the title text. 

 About Dragon Lyric:

12. Dragon Lyric was quite possibly one of the most unique short stories about dragons that I’ve ever read. What inspired it, and how long did it take you to write?

I actually typed up the first few pages one late night in 2014, and I was so disturbed by the darkness of the story that I tucked it into a folder in my computer, unfinished, and left it there for several years. In 2017, I was older and more prepared to handle the material, and showed it to some friends—who begged me to finish it. So it actually took me several years to complete. But the actual work of writing it only took a few days or weeks, combined; it’s just that the writing sessions were very far apart! As to what inspired it initially…I’m not actually sure! It was one of those “flash of lightning” inspirations. My running theory is that I felt “devoured” by my responsibilities at the time (I had just found out I was pregnant with my fourth child) and my subconscious created a cruel dragon out of the overwhelm I was feeling.

13. Like Threadbare, this story seems destined for more. Do you plan to write more about Theryn and her world?

This should probably be a secret, but…yes. 😉 I have actually already written a partial draft of a sequel! We shall see if it ever sees the light of day…

Excited

14. What did you edit out of this book?

Not much! It was very tightly written. However, I did rework the ending several times to hit all the emotional notes that I wanted.

15. Theryn is not a typical heroine of a romantic fantasy. Nor is Roth the typical hero. Reading the blurb, it seems the story may be destined for a happily ever after, but the ending was quite delightfully unexpected. Without giving too much away, why did you choose to go that route? Were you just trying to avoid clichés or is there a message you hope readers will take away from it?

I definitely hoped for readers to take away a message, or at least for the story to spark thought. Speaking as a Christian, I know that in the church there is often pressure for an abused wife to stay with her husband—despite the danger to her physical, mental, and spiritual health—and that grieves me. There are some situations where I believe taking Theryn’s course of action is necessary, and I wanted to show that in how I ended the story.

About Your Future:

16. What does literary success look like to you?

Being agented, with my novels published through a major publishing house and (let me dream big here!) developing fandoms of their own. J I would also like to continue self-publishing shorter works—so ultimately I’d like to be a hybrid author. But traditional publishing has always been my goal and will probably continue to be my “barometer” of success unless something drastic changes.

17. Do you think that as your readership grows, you may fall into the trap of changing your stories to give people what they want, or do you plan to avoid that?

I don’t think I would fall into that trap easily, because I have very strong feelings about what I feel called to write and pretty good self-awareness about what works for me. So I plan to avoid that!

18. If you could have a discussion with your future self, what would you remind her of that you think you’ll want to be important to you for your whole life?

You write for Christ your King—seek Him first, trust Him with your journey, and remember that being close with Him is a greater joy than any earthly success can give you.

19. If a significant person in your life were to give you one piece of advice about your plans for the future, who would it be, and what would you want to hear from them?

I would love to hear from any number of successful authors how they pursued their vision for a project through the difficulty of making it marketable and appealing to a broad swath of readers. And how to keep a balanced perspective on their own craft and calling.

20. Social media plays a big role in modern society. I know you have your own Facebook group, and you’re on Twitter. What would you most like to see developing from the platforms you use in the near future?

I would love to see my Twitter platform gain more prospective readers and continue to encourage authors through my hashtag game, #WIPjoy. And I would love to see my author Facebook group grow, and for members to be bold and share their thoughts about my books (or just their lives!) in it. I’d love for it to be a space of mutual enjoyment and nerdy fun.

Big Bang Theory

Excerpt from Threadbare

A long sleep does nothing to help my magic. I wake, still exhausted, with a knot in my middle that rivals the one I saw in my hands the night before. The tiny windows of the safe house bedroom cast sunlight down on the concrete floor. The door is closed. It’s quiet— an oppressive kind of silence that beats on my ears, reminding me how alone I am. I sit on the edge of my bed, stiff and sore, wondering if the others have gone to the store or chased down another Drifter, leaving me here alone.

Useless.

Magic drifts around me, faint but appealing— a sensation that feels more like a taunt than an invitation right now. Its faint pressure tugs at me, prickling on my skin, begging me to interact with it.

Fighting the ache in my bones, I reach out and catch a wave. The mass reappears in my hands.

Trembling and gritting my teeth, I try again and again to disentangle it, but I can free only one tiny, glittering strand. I bury my face in the tingling threads, crushing them in my hands, and cry until my heart feels like it will tear in two.

I’m trapped. I can’t manipulate the waves anymore. I can’t continue my training. I couldn’t withstand the current, couldn’t hold my own threads steady.

I’m worthless.

The rattle of the doorknob and the creak of hinges are dim details on the edge of my awareness. Then Marshall sinks onto the squeaky mattress beside me, wrapping a wiry arm around my shoulders.

I turn and weep into the soft folds of my mentor’s flannel shirt, taking in the scent of pine dryer sheets and Cajun seasoning.

“I’m so sorry! I’ve put the whole team in danger. I’m no good for you all. I shouldn’t have tried to train with you. Why did I think I was ready for battle?”

He rubs gentle circles on my back until my agony fades to desolate sniffles on his sleeve.

“It’s a great loss, Bess,” he murmurs finally, “and there’s no shame in being sad about it.”

I smudge away my tears. “No, I’ll untangle it. I’m sure I can.”

“It’s pretty bad.” He’s quiet for a long moment. “I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but I’ve never heard of such a severe tangle unraveling.”

He falls silent, leaving me to piece it all together.

Everything in me fights back against the suggestion he’s planting. “I won’t let you cut my threads.”

He lets out a quiet sigh. “But either way, you’ll be free.”

“Free to do what? To be helpless and useless?” I push away from him, my throat constricting. “You leveled up to a blade when your threads were severed, but most people revert to Threadbare and their magic never comes back.”

“And they’ve gone on to live quiet, normal lives away from this conflict.” His voice is measured, cautious.

I picture living as a Threadbare: plugging away at a meaningless job, blind to the magical forces eroding my confidence and motivation, surrounded by others who are sapped of their strength and peace by enemies no one can see.

I tremble. “I don’t want that! I’m not a super magic warrior with extra special powers, like you are. This is all I have.” My voice breaks. “I have to untangle it.”

“Bess…” He tries to lay a hand on my arm, but I edge away. “I didn’t have special powers either. When my threads were severed, no one could’ve predicted I’d advance to a blade instead of losing my magic.”

“Like I said, you’re you.” I slide back against the wall and pull my knees up under my chin, fresh tears rolling down my face. “I’m nobody. I never belonged here to begin with. I’m nowhere near as gifted as the rest of you.”

Hardened ferocity comes into his face, and he stands, shaking a single finger at me. “Whatever you do, kid, I don’t ever want to hear you say you don’t belong here. I wanted to train you. You’ve apologized to me again and again for failing, but all I see is a girl who always gets back up.” He rests a hand on my shoulder for the briefest moment, then walks out, shutting the door behind him.

I sit on the bed, huddled against the wall, until the shadows lengthen and the sinking red sunbeams pierce my eyes. Anna raps on the door and calls me to dinner, but I ignore her. Over and over, I draw out my hideous mass of strands and tug and pull at the endless loops.

By the time darkness fills the room, the glowing ball has threads trailing out of it in all directions. It’s an improvement. At least it’s something. I picture Marshall summoning his blade and slicing my tender strands apart, and anxiety grips me. No; I will fix this, even if it takes years.

***

Threadbare is on sale on Amazon now!

Bethany’s short story, Dragon Lyric, can be found here.

Thanks so much for taking the time to spend with us today, and we look forward to what’s still to come!

Author pic

Bethany A. Jennings is a science-fiction and fantasy author, a sandwich aficionado, and a chronic night owl. She is endlessly passionate about the power of speculative fiction to shape hearts and cultures and unveil hidden realities. Though worlds and stories are always dancing in her head, she is often found wrangling her younglings, running Twitter events, editing, and doing graphic design. Born in SoCal, Bethany now lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband, four kids, zero pets, and a large and growing collection of imaginary friends.

You can connect to her on her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter or Instagram, or reach her on her website

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If you are a wordsmith (whether you’ve been published, self-published, or are in the process of publishing), and you’d like to be featured on our blog, please let me know in the comments, or by sending an email to chasingdreamspublishing(at)gmail(dot)com

Cover Reveal – The Magic of Stars by Jackie Ladbury

I’m so thrilled to once again be teaming up with Rachel’s Random Resources, to take part in the cover reveal of The Magic of Stars by Jackie Ladbury!

I love cover reveals, because it truly feels like the goal of getting a book published has finally been achieved when that cover is finalised and set free to wow readers. It gives me warm fuzzy feelings all over.

About the Book

Sapphire Montrose always felt like a loser in the struggle of life, but when she becomes the airline manager of a run-down airline she starts to believe she is a winner – until she unwittingly propositions her new boss and all her hard work is undone.

In a moment of recklessness air stewardess, Sapphire Montrose throws caution and her dress to the wind by propositioning a handsome stranger in a hotel in Florence, only to find herself waking up alone and embarrassed in her hotel room.

Unfortunately for Sapphire, it turns out that her new boss, Marco Cavarelli, is the man she failed to seduce and she is now fighting for her job and her self-respect when he tells her there is no place in his revamped airline for an alcoholic woman with lascivious tendencies. To make matters worse she is increasingly attracted to him and he seems to be giving out the same vibes. Or is he simply testing her? One wrong move could be the end of her career. But what if he really is offering love – and is he worth the risk?

The Cover

And now without any further ado: the cover!

The Magic of Stars Cover

Isn’t it gorgeous? I love the mystical feel of the shadowed building offset against the romantic fantasy of the starlit sky.

The Magic of Stars is available to purchase on Amazon UK

About the Author

IMG_1071Jackie Ladbury was desperate to become a journalist when she left school but was ousted within minutes on the day of the exam at her local rag because she’d forgotten to bring a pen.

Short and sharp lesson learned.

Her budding writing career was not on hold for long, though, as Jackie found herself scribbling love stories of pilots and ‘hosties’ while she flew in aeroplanes of various shapes and sizes as a flight attendant herself.

Fast forward a good few years and, after being short-listed in a couple of prestigious romantic writing competitions, Jackie decided it was time to discard her stilettos, say goodbye to the skies and concentrate on writing romantic novels, where the only given is a guaranteed ‘happy ever after.’

You can connect with her on Facebook, her Website, on The Write Romantics or send her a Tweet.

Stay tuned for my review of the Magic of Stars, which will take place during the blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources on the 4th Feb! 

 

*Blog Tour Review: “Recluse Millionaire, Reluctant Bride” by Sun Chara

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The opportunity to take part in my first blog tour hosted by Rachel’s Random Resources, with a Harper Impulse romance to review, thrilled me.

I love romance novels. As a teen, I devoured Mills & Boon paperbacks at an alarming rate. They were a light-hearted escape from reality and now, in my early thirties, I’m still a romantic at heart and happily ever afters give me warm fuzzy feelings.

As a general rule, modern romances have grown in depth and meaning since I was a teen. They tend to have a heroine that attempts to be strong while still submitting to a dominant male. Sometimes authors will get it right and their characters will actually sit firmly in their femininity and still be strong and independent.

Generally though, the plot is fairly obvious, and it’s unlikely that there’ll be too much thinking going on, so I’m not super critical of plot and characters when I deliberately pick up a romance.

That being said, Recluse Millionaire, Reluctant Bride by Sun Chara left me with mixed feelings.

Recluse Millionaire

Is his reluctant bride a business risk or a personal necessity?

Stan Rogers, recluse millionaire, must negotiate a risky deal with Stella Ryan, the exotic beauty from his past, to gain custody of his son. But how can he close the deal with her, the one and only woman who flips his switches and pegs him as the enemy?

Martial artist Stella knows she should steer clear of Stan, the man who had shattered her heart and could still destroy her. Four years have passed since their hostile business deal, and now, the American financier is proposing holy matrimony…but she’s the reluctant bride wondering, what’s he up to?

Quill ReviewsUnfortunately, Stella Ryan falls just short of breaking romantic stereotypes, and Stan Rogers behaves like an ass for much of the book, not a role-model for masculinity at all.

On my initial reading, the opening chapters confused me and I wasn’t quite sure what was happening in the story. I went back to read them again after finishing the book, and it made a lot more sense, my confusion seemed to come from the rapid shifts in timing and perspectives. Not only did the scenes confuse me though, Stella’s reaction to it enraged me. She tried to be angry and then just gave in to Stan’s demands.

As per the blurb, it turns out Stan needs Stella to be his bride so he can gain custody of his son as a stable, married father. From the way the author plays it out, it originally seems that his son has been severely traumatised and may have been emotionally or physically abused. Unfortunately, the meaningful impact this could have had on the overall story was lost, because the foreshadowing goes nowhere in the end.

Stella, as a martial artist running her own school, has so much potential to be an amazing heroine! She’s strong, her career choices break stereotypes, she’s independent and business minded. Then she falls madly in love with Stan and suddenly she loses all sense of herself.

As for Stan … I fell a little bit in love with him when I saw his interaction with his son, and the way he truly seems to care for him. It’s beautifully written and I was starting to hope he may be redeemed, but no. He made some lousy decisions and ruined it all, among them – his refusal to take “no” for an answer to his kisses. He does stop when she insists, but with a little dig at Stella for saying one thing while her body says another.

Ice Cube - Nope

A friendly note to romance authors: physical arousal is not dependent on mental agreement. Having characters make snide remarks about another’s decision to maintain his/her dignity by refusing to sleep with someone they’re physically attracted to, is an indication of the worst type of passive-aggressive behaviour. It’s not attractive at all.

Those are the things I didn’t like about the story, and a lot of it can be excused by the fact that it is a stereotypical romance and most of them are bound to have one or two of those flaws. Onward then to the redeeming features.

Stella is a strong heroine as far as stereotypical romances go. She is independent, and she doesn’t completely collapse at the separation typical in these books. She misses Stan, but her life goes on. Yay, Stella!

The adults’ relationship with Stan’s son. It’s never quite clear how old Troy is, but he’s sweet and both Stella and Stan have an amazing relationship with him. For all that Stan is an overbearing jerk with Stella, he does love Troy and will do anything for him, and that’s beautiful. They both try to protect Troy from the turmoil in their relationship, and don’t try to play sides with the child which I really appreciated.

The fact that there wasn’t a love triangle! I cannot even begin to express how tired I am of misunderstood relationships between the two main characters and a side affair that so obviously means nothing except to the desperately jealous and insecure lover. The fact that Recluse Millionaire, Reluctant Bride doesn’t have a hint of this was so refreshing!

Sun Chara’s writing style. Although the first couple of chapters were jerky and confusing, it improved later on. The author writes well and it was easy to keep reading. Her description of scenes and character emotions are engrossing and easy to visualise, and she leaves enough to the imagination that it’s showing, not telling.

I normally measure a romance novel by the butterflies I get at the end of the story when the characters get their happily ever after. While Sun Chara’s new novel may not be entirely my cup of tea, I was happy that they managed to resolve their differences, and the happily ever after made me smile.

Overall, I can excuse the disappointments based on a fairly well-written attempt at a romance that only falls short on stronger characters because stereotyping took over.

Recluse Millionaire, Reluctant Bride gets three out of five feathers.

If you enjoy strong heroines and romances that deal with some real obstacles to happiness, I’d recommend grabbing a copy of Sun Chara’s new book here. 

*I received a free copy of the book from Rachel’s Random Resources in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Sun photo-1

Sun Chara, an Amazon top 100 bestseller, writes sexy, hip ‘n fun contemporary romance for Harper Impulse. JABBIC winner, Manhattan Millionaire’s Cinderella launched her writing career, spinning the ‘global millionaire’s series’. She makes her home in southern California, and has appeared on stage/film to rave reviews in How the Other Half Loves, General Hospital, and McGee and Me. With a Master’s Degree in Education, and membership in SAG/AFTRA and Romance Writers of America, she enjoys sipping designer Frappuccinos topped with whipped cream/sprinkles, and dancing on the beach…making everyday a celebration!

Sun loves to hear from her readers on Facebook or Twitter