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Beware magazine articles

Sexpiry Book Cover Sexpiry
London Loving Book 3
by Tori Turnbull
Romance , Women's Fiction
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 11 Oct 2019

Harriet “Hari” Rawlinson has an IQ that puts her in the genius category, she’s a computer coding phenomenon and karate gold medallist. But she doesn’t understand people or nuance and she personifies socially awkward.
From the moment he meets her, Cameron “Cam” Foster is captivated by Hari, with her plain speaking, mental fixations and head full of facts, she is like a human Siri. He sees her - All of her - And can’t imagine not having her in his life and can happily spend the rest of his life getting to know her.
Hari’s never had a real relationship. Sex, yes. But a man who wanted to get to know her or stick around after sex? No. She is in the middle of a personal crisis: She only has twelve days before her sexual expiry; it’s true, she read it in a magazine. She doesn’t have time to get to know Cam right now.
Somehow, whilst Hari is fixated on having a one-night stand, she finds herself with a real-life boyfriend. But what if she doesn’t have whatever it takes to make a relationship work in the long term?

Contemporary romance

While this book is amusingly written and well shows the folly of believing in articles written in the popular press and magazines, I have a major beef with it. It is following a trend which shows female computing/mathematical whizz kids to be on the spectrum. To be lacking in the ability to communicate successfully with other people, and to have difficulty with emotions. I realise that this was always the usual portrayal of male computer/mathematical males but why?  Music and maths for instance, are the 2 parts of the same ability? And why link what they can achieve intellectually with their human communicational abilities? It is too easy to use this for a story. Which means that despite my enjoyment and the humorous prose (btw the jokes were unnecessary) I am downgrading the book to a 3 star.

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Boys helping Boys

The Bromance Book Club Book Cover The Bromance Book Club
#1Bromance Book Club
Lyssa Kay Adams
Romance, Romantic Humour, Sports Romance
Headline Eternal
Pub Date 30 Jan 2020

If you love Jasmine Guillory, Sally Thorne and Helen Hoang, you'll LOVE Lyssa Kay Adams! The first rule of book club: You don't talk about book club. Gavin Scott's marriage is trouble. The Nashville Legends baseball star has recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. His reaction to the revelation is the final straw for their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he's let his pride and fear get the better of him. Welcome to the Bromance Book Club. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency called Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his beloved wife.

I loved the concept here and would recommend people to read this book. The title is slightly misleading in that it implies bromances – ie romances between men – but it is not that at all. It about a group of men who get together when their romances get into difficulties and read romance novels to give them hints as to how their women would like them to behave – and what they could say!

An interesting idea and hey do consider one book in particular, but it might have been nice to find out a little more about the other books they had read ad why and who, choose them.

The issue is that these are men who are archetypal alphas, with women usually falling over themselves to be with them, and thus have never had to actually woo a woman. So when their partner decides that is not who she is, or never was, they find themselves unable to respond in a suitable manner and need to learn different behaviour and speech patterns.

It has some fun situations but does bring up the basic problem, particularly in the US I believe, of the hero worship of sports stars, which means that these men fail to fully grow up and take responsibility as they have never needed to. They are cushioned by the clubs that they play for and the people hired to ensure that they have everything that they need and that any trouble is just magicked away. So they are spoilt.

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Beware Family History

A Perfect Cornish Christmas Book Cover A Perfect Cornish Christmas
Porthmellow
by Phillipa Ashley
Romance , Women's Fiction
Avon Books
31st October 2019

But after last Christmas revealed a shocking family secret, Scarlett’s hardly feeling merry and bright. All she wants this Christmas is to know who her real father is.

So Scarlett heads to the little Cornish town of Porthmellow, where she believes the truth of her birth is hidden. She just didn’t bargain on being drawn into the Christmas festival preparations – or meeting Jude Penberth, whose charm threatens to complicate life further.

Everything will come to a head at Porthmellow’s Christmas Festival … But can Scarlett have the perfect Christmas this year, or are there more surprises on the way?

Thank goodness, a Cornish novel where it rains, it storms, gales do blow and overall the weather isn’t brilliant every day!

An interesting and complex small town set of characters inhabit this novel, with plenty of gossip and rows and misunderstandings. The only missing character was Aunt Joan - she deserves her own novel!

So we have people behaving badly, parties in the 190s fuelled by alcohol and wacky baccky, and the resultant secrets that finally come out. Plus PTSD, bad fiancés, fiancées,  university crushes and lots more. Real people, suffering real emotional traumas.

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Ravelling – Un

Unravel You Book Cover Unravel You
(Cole Brothers, #1)
Diana A. Hicks
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: November 18th 2019

It’s the wedding of the summer… College graduate Valentina de Cordoba never expected to fall for the handsome and intimidating Derek Cole when she accepted his offer to rent his property. From cottage to mansion, this single mom is certain she doesn’t deserve him or the fairytale unfolding. But Derek gets what he wants… and he wants her. He’s “the one” for her, but before she says I do, she has to survive a month long trip to his family’s estate in Atlanta. Gaining approval from four brothers and an over-protective mother might just be her hardest test yet. For hot billionaire Derek Cole, this homecoming is a chance to mend the damage he caused when he walked away from the family business. But all it takes is a bless her heart from his mother for Derek to know it will take more than tea to get the two women he loves on the same page, let alone under the same roof. Just when they think nothing else can go wrong… their past and future collide.  

Excerpt

“You had a plan when you walked into my office five minutes ago. What was it?” He gripped the edge of the armrest with both hands, crossing his legs at his ankles. The tiny flame in my chest grew bigger and spread down to my core.

“I had no plan.” I admitted because the extent of my thoughts when he texted was to come in here and have sex. All I could think of was touching him and feeling his weight on me again. But now I was a little pissed. He could’ve been more explicit. Like, hey, I’m just here to work, bring me the report. No sex. Get your mind out of the gutter. He could also wipe that knowing smile off his face. “What makes you think I had a plan?” I crossed my arms over my chest to cover my hardened nipples.

He rubbed the side of his face. “The thigh-high stockings. You know how they drive me wild. Even if I can’t see them, I know that’s the only kind you own.”

If that was true, why was he still five feet away from me? Why had he not ripped my clothes off already and had his way with me on the couch?

“I have a meeting to go to.” I bolted to the door. Before I could open it, his large hand pressed against it, effectively blocking me from leaving.

“I don’t think so.” His voice was deep and so full of meaning. He walked me back to the living area until my butt hit the back of the sofa. “You had a plan. Show me.” He gripped my waist and shifted so he was the one caged in.

I could go, or I could stay and get what I came here for. I slipped my hands inside his suit jacket and pushed it off his shoulders. His dark gaze stayed on me as I removed his dress shirt. A low moan like a hiss escaped his lips when I ran my hands down his muscled chest. His pecs were harder than I remembered. It seemed Derek’s hard body was directly proportional to the amount of stress he had at work. The more they pinned on him, the more time he spent in his boxing ring. These past three weeks must have been hell for him.

 “Now you.” His voice sounded strained.

Self-control was Derek’s superpower. I gave up all pretenses and removed my blazer and silky top quickly. My skin felt hot from needing him so much. His lips parted when I finally let my skirt pool at my feet.

He cradled my face and kissed me hard. “Fuck. Valentina. You came to work wearing that underneath?” His mouth was warm, and he tasted of cinnamon gum. I melted into him, fumbling with his belt.

“The door.” I panted in between kisses.

“I locked it.” He gripped my ass and wrapped my legs around his waist as he strode around the sofa and sat with me straddling him. “Valentina. How do you do it? How do you make me forget about everything?” He freed me from my bra and sucked on my aching nipples, switching back and forth until I couldn’t wait anymore.

“I need you now,” I whispered in his ear.

I didn’t care that my voice was laced with desperate desire. He cupped my butt cheeks and lifted me enough to give him room to lie flat on the cushions with his head on the decorative pillow. My thighs rubbed his sides as I rested on top of him, topless and without a clue what to do next.

My confusion must have registered on my face because he placed both hands behind his head and grinned at me. His biceps bulged on either side of him.

“Your show.”

“What?”

He bucked under me to get comfortable, as if he were getting ready to watch a movie or something. The grin that twitched his lip was both infuriating and such a turn-on.

“You want me inside you. Do it.”

Author Bio

Diana A. Hicks is an award-winning author of steamy contemporary romance with a touch of suspense. Book two in her Desert Monsoon series, LOVE OVER LOGIC, won the 2019 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner in the Romance – Suspense genre

When Diana is not writing, she enjoys kickboxing, traveling, and indulging in the simple joys of life like wine and chocolate. She lives in Atlanta and loves spending time with her two children and husband. Connect with Diana on social media to stay up to date on her latest releases.

https://www.facebook.com/DianaHicksAuthor/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17596254.Diana_A_Hicks

https://dianahicksbooks.com/

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Sara Tells us How

Woodhouse Hall Book Cover Woodhouse Hall
21st Century Austen Book 3
Sara Marks
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Illuminated Myth Publishing
Publication date: October 28th 2019

Woodhouse Hall
Sara Marks
Publication date: October 28th 2019
Genres: AdultContemporaryRomance

Goodreads

Amelia is stuck in the worst dorm on campus for a whole year!  She’ll have to make the best of it in Woodhouse Hall and her roommate Jenna will be her new best friend, Amelia’s sure of that.  Jenna’s sweet personality and openness to new things incite the matchmaking-genius in Amelia to find the perfect boyfriend for her new bestie. She shoots high by attempting to entice Eric, the President of the Student Government, to fall for her roommate. Amelia’s past success makes her confident they will be a couple in no time. When that turns out to be a disaster, she is forced to face the lies she’s told herself about her strengths and her assumptions about the people she loves. Over the year, Amelia learns who she is, what she wants, and how to fight for what’s really important.

This novel, inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, will have you laughing, crying, and finding a little of yourself in one or all of the characters.

Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

I work at a university so I see a lot of college students through my days, weeks, months, and years. I get to know some of them and what they’re struggling with. The 21st Century Austen series are modernizations of Jane Austen books and she wrote about people in this same age group. Modernizing it means considering college students and how different they are from other adults and people the same age who don’t go to college.

Emma, the book that inspired Woodhouse Hall, is about a woman of immense privilege. She has the life she wants without having had to compromise like others around her. She sees herself as skilled at something she has merely been lucky to get right. It’s something common for all of us to understand and happens often in our early twenties. I want readers to see that mistakes and failures aren’t the end of the world but lessons that can help us make better decisions. 

How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

Woodhouse Hall happened very quickly. I write my first draft during National Novel Writing Month events. There are three a year: the big one in November and then two smaller ones in April and July. I was going to write a different project in July 2018 but this idea suddenly came to me and I was able to write the whole thing in a few months. I did the research as I wrote and edited, talking to college students around me. From start to release day it took less than a year and a half to work on this book.

I do have a lot of journals and notebooks where I collect my notes, outlines, research, and character details. Each book will take at least one notebook.

How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

Research is my bread and butter. I’m a research librarian so I can get lost in the research process because I enjoy it so much. How much time depends on the topic. If I know a lot about it, I don’t spend too much time. The research for Woodhouse Hall required a little research about how buildings are added to the national register of historical buildings and talking to college students about life in dorms. It didn’t take long at all. Another book is going to take place in a candy shop, which I know nothing about. It’s going to take extensive research that will involve eating candy!

What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote

The resources depend on each book. For Woodhouse Hall I was easily able to find a lot of resources online. The government puts up a ton of information about getting a building listed on the historical register. I also looked up blueprints of dorms and costs so I made sure plot points happened accurately. I like going to places and talking to people as part of the research process. It helps me understand context of things that happen and I get great stories to include. I can also see how people interact with each other in a setting.

Do you have any pets? Do they help you write?

I have a cat and a dog. Neither are helpful when writing. Sabine, the cat, wants to be left alone. Cedric, the dog, wants to be the center of my attention. He likes to sit in my lap, making it difficult to work. I have to leave the house everyday if I want to get anything done. It’s probably why I can write and publish books the way I do. When I go out to write, I can focus and just check items off my to-do list.

Do you have an unusual hobby?

It’s not unusual but I’m also a knitter. Before I decided to start self-publishing, I was doing so much knitting that I was creating my own patterns and still sell them online. I still knit, especially when I’m not writing. I try to make sure I knit at least one item for every story I write. I have so much yarn I just shop in my own house when I’m ready to knit something else.

If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?

I love Paris and my plan is to retire there in thirty years. My plan is to continue writing full time while I’m there. I love Paris and have since before my first visit ten years ago. I love the food and history. Anytime I can manage a way to insert Paris into what I’m writing, I do. Phi Alpha Pi has a major scene happen there but not Woodhouse Hall.

Do you people watch to find characters for your books? How do you do this? What is the funniest thing you have seen that you have incorporated into a book? Or do you add some traits from your family and friends into your characters?

I do and it often shocks my friends how much I’m paying attention to everything. I was in Boston with some friends, walking to a chocolate shop for a tour. Behind us was a couple who had clearly been on a few dates but not that comfortable with each other. I walked between our two groups, listening to both my friends and the couple. Later, over lunch, we were talking about the couple and they were shocked at how much I had over heard.

Sometimes these things make it into books but usually I watch to see how people talk and what these things show me about them, even if its assumptions people will make. I often think about what people think about me when they see me in cafe’s working. These things work their way in to everything I write.

The funniest thing that ended up in Latkes of Love, specifically, was when a friend and I had lunch in Salem, MA during the Women’s Soccer championships this past summer. There was a guy at the bar there and he was far more enthusiastic than anyone else in the bar. I wrote the entire thing into a disastrous date for a character. I don’t want to spoil it but it was magnificent.

About the Author

Sara Marks is a librarian with two masters degrees and plans to never stop getting over educated.   She likes the idea of having all the academic regalia she can ever possess. She cries at nearly every movie she sees (ask her about when she cried at a horror movie), but it’s full-on weeping for Disney animated movies. She loves reading nearly every genre but likes to write women’s fiction, romance, and even horror. You have to balance out the reality of the world if you’re going to be a hopeless romantic! Her heroines are women who don’t want the expected life, rarely worrying about their age, weight, marriageability, or fertility. 

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