To Trap A Kiss is .99 cents right now and To Kiss An Enemy is totally free on Amazon for the next few days! So if you haven’t read either definitely be sure to go check them out.
Tag: romance books
Want AN ARC copy of to trap a kiss? e-mail me.
Want a review copy of my new, dark mafia romance that comes out on January 31st on kindleunlimted? E-mail me and I will send you a free ARC copy for review. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I never expected to come back to Boston after my mother died. I spent my whole life trying to get away from the Capaldi family. The rich, corrupt, crime family that my mom had worked for as a made up until the night she was shot right before the end of my senior year by a stranger on the street. I spent several months with Giuseppe Capaldi as my guardian and he wanted me to marry his son, Niccolo. But I grew up with Niccolo hating me my entire life and there was no way I could be married to him. So I fled to Florida, to take care of my sick aunt. Now though that Aunt Luciana is dead, I am back in Boston trying to restart my life.
I never thought I’d come back here. I never thought I would let Niccolo Capaldi get close to me again since he hurt me so bad the last time. But this time—Niccolo says he’s different. That he’s in love with me and always has been. That he’s willing to fight for us. I spent years running from the darkness of the Capaldi lifestyle, but maybe it’s their shadows I needed to keep me safe from my mothers dark past. But can you ever really change a mafia son? I don’t know. But I think I’ve got to try.
A complete, full-length, Mafia Romance standalone in the Capaldi Brothers series.
What I’m Reading: Boston Belles book 3: The Monster by LJ Shen
The third book in The Boston Belles series tells the story of Sam Brennan, the son of notorious fixer Troy Brennan from LJ Shens Sparrow. If you know that when you read it, it just fleshes out the story. If you don’t, the story can still be read on its own. Sam Brennan is part of the Boston criminal underworld, thanks to his connection to his adoptive father. Sam’s work involves helping out the rich and powerful Fitzpatrick family with their “problems” whatever that might be from blackmail to scandal. And makes a little extra on the side to stay away from Aisling Fitzpatrick, the precious only daughter in the family. But when Aisling witnesses Sam’s “work”, the two become connected in a way dangerous to them both. And Sam realizes he isn’t the only one with secrets. Aisling has one of her own, one that might make her just as much of a monster as he views himself.
What’s great about Shens characters is they are the driving force of the novel. You come across one, and you instantly want their whole back story. She set up the universe beautifully in the first book The Hunter and continues it on with each additional sequel. The heroes and heroines are interwoven perfectly, and her world has become so built it is fun to see everyone cross paths with one another. Eagerly awaiting the next one!
What I’m Reading: Sea of Stars, The Kricket Series book 2 by Amy A. Bartol
The second book in The Kricket Series by Amy A. Bartol called Sea of Stars follows Kricket Hollowell as she tries to adjust to life after finding out she is a Priestess from an alien world destined to bring about ruin to the ancient houses from her world. When she refuses her intended consort Kyon from her mother’s home planet, Kricket inadvertently starts a war sending the planets scrambling for supremacy that only she can determine. After falling in love with Trey, the bodyguard sent to Earth to bring her back home, Kricket’s intended consort Kyon doesn’t take kindly to the rejection and weaves a path of destruction he won’t stop until he gets what he wants. Kricket with him. The book makes you fear for Kricket. Sometimes, in books where there is more than one “love interest” there is no clear hero. In the case of the Trey vs. Kyon debate, there isn’t really one. Kyon is gleefully unhinged, terrifying, and Trey just wants what is best for Kricket. What’s more, this book introduces Trey’s previous consort Charisma, and the author does a nice job of making her an actual person, and not just a mean girl or a plot point and you end up actually liking her. A quick, pleasing, page-turner of a read.
Minx by Julia Quinn book three in the Splendid Trilogy
The third book in the Splendid trilogy, the book follows William Dunford after he inherits a legacy and a ward that was never supposed to be his. The trouble is, Henrietta Barrett isn’t some naive, little girl. She is a grown, young woman who has been single-handedly taking care of the estate all the meanwhile dressed in men’s clothing. She will also do anything to keep the estate safe, even if it means driving him crazy. And William isn’t sure if he is going to kiss her or kill her just yet. A cute, regency romance perfect for a Spring read.
What Writers Can Learn from Reading Romance
Since the creation of Amazons Kindle Publishing Program, romance writers have emerged as the top earners. Why is that? And what are they doing differently than everyone else? Is it the covers featuring shirtless guys that might even make the original Magic Mike himself, Channing Tatum, green with envy? Is it the sex scenes that would make seasoned, HBO writers blush?
Here’s my opinion: what you see is what you get.
With most books, you might not have any idea what is going on. I could not tell you one, single thing about Where the Crawdads Sing except its got a cool title and cover. With romance, you get titles like My Fake Fiance, Fiance on Paper, Her Stand-in Fake Fiance, etc.
Now, you might think, so aren’t all of these books exactly the same? No. But romance writers EXCEL at writing tropes. Its what the genre is good at. But with things like murder mysteries, you couldn’t exactly call the book THE SISTER DID IT or STABBED GIRL because it just doesn’t really work that well. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t romance novels that are mysteries. There TOTALLY are.
But using titles like MY FAKE FIANCE tells writers 1) exactly what the book is going to be and 2) MAKES IT TOTALLY SEARCHABLE. When I typed this in on amazon, there were 1, 000 results. This is why romance writers dominate the charts. You don’t have to guess what the book is going to be about. If you asked me what The Stand was by Stephen King, I couldn’t tell you. King is a world famous author now, so the point of weather or not you could find his books on amazon is moot. But into today’s internet age, having a title that lets people know what the book is about only helps. I’m not saying that the days of the original, literary title is dead, just make sure its at least got some relevance to your books genre.
I’ve noticed a lot of fantasy books have hopped in on this trend. The Paper Magician, The Last Magician, The Magicians. All different books. All by different authors. Easily searchable, and YOU know instantly its a fantasy book.
What’s more, romance teaches you how to write tropes well. In the 2000s, when the vampire craze took over, there was a reason readers were so obsessed. You knew instantly what you were getting. Did some of those books leave a little to be desired? Yes. But was each book the same? No.
Stefan Salvatore versus Edward Cullen doesn’t sound like a stretch. I mean, both ancient immortals, both broody with big foreheads, and puffy hair. They’ve also both got bloody pasts. But the rules of The Vampire Diaries compared to Twilight are completely different. Romance heavily relies on tropes. You take something like fake dating and add your own spin on it.
Sometimes, this falls flat. What good romance does is it take a trope that is known, and it completely turns it on its head. For instance, girl meets guy at a bar. We know where this is going, right?
Winter Renshaw’s Cruel Stranger takes this and expands on that in her own, gut wrenching way. What happens in between is what matters. The trope is just a scenario, how you tell it is the story.
And just so were clear: a trope is not the same thing as a cliche.
A cliche is, “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.”
A trope is, ” used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.”
Just because a trope is something that recurs a lot, i.e. chosen one, or fake dating, or falling in love with your roommate, or whatever doesn’t mean that it’s cliche. If not handled well, then it can be a cliche. But take a trope and make it into your own thing, and people will love it for what you bring to it. Which is why everyone should read some romance, because romance writers are masters of the trope!
Love n’ stars,
Royals and Rebels book 4: The Bad Luck Prince excerpt
Here is a sneak peak at my brand new, serialized novel only on Dreame!
I want to tell you that this is a story of happy endings. But it’s a story that involves blood, lust, and a lot of bad luck. And it started with a Princess strung up a tree. And it ends in broken promises and bloodshed.
It had been years since my sister Mallory had died. But I still felt the need to check on her grave.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral was the final resting place of my sister, Princess Mallory, of House O’Conner. Because of the constant invasion of the English in Ireland, my family has spent part of our reign in hiding and it wasn’t until 1994 the Royal family of Ireland were even in Hillsborough castle. Our rightful home. When my sister died, she’d been strung up a tree by a group of revolutionaries called The Guillotine who were trying to get freedom for their country, Coleum. They hated anything royal, and my sister had been an easy target. I was about to start my last year of college, my grandmother was stepping down as Queen, and my father would take his place as King. I was one step closer to my future.
A future I wasn’t sure I wanted. Since last summer, my Grandmother had been pressuring me to marry Lady Edele. Edele was a pretty red headed girl who I’d grown up with who knew me intimately. But it wasn’t Edele that I wanted. It had never been Edele.
For as long as I could remember, Moira and Martin Lark had worked for my family. Moira was the family cook, and Martin the family butler. They had a granddaughter that had come and stayed with us during the summer. Little Lucy Lark.
Growing up, we’d been friends until my sister had died. That was when I had realized something.
As long as anyone loved me, they would never be safe. Lucy hadn’t been born into the world of royalty. She was from Boston and spent most of her time there. She could get out of here. Have a normal life. Love someone who wasn’t constantly in danger.
I realized as I was a teenager that I wouldn’t ever be able to have her. So, I did what I could to push her away. I got engaged to someone else temporarily, I tried getting her to date my friend Harkin Redford.
Finally, she stopped coming to Ireland. She hadn’t since the summer that she turned eighteen. Now, she was in Boston, studying to be a cook at Harvard’s culinary school. In two years, she would graduate, get a job, and start her life far away from me.
“So,” said a voice from behind me, “have you told her?”
I turned to face Father O’Leery, the old priest that had taken care of the cathedral for ages. “I don’t know to whom you are referring.”
“The little brunette American girl you’ve been in love with since you were fifteen and first discovered hormones.”
“I discovered hormones at ten,” I replied, “I discovered she had breasts when I was twelve. She developed early.”
Father O’Leery coughed. “Well, be that as it may, you still haven’t told her that you’re madly in love with her.”
“No, and I’m not going to. She’s going to live out a nice, quiet life in Boston and never have to deal with my shite ever again.”
“You’re wrong,” said the priest.
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about the fact that yer girl is back,” Father O’ Leery said, “I saw her in the church myself. Came with her Gran. She said hi. Gave me cherry tarts. Good girl, that one.”
I scoffed. “You only like her because she gives you food.”
“Well, it’s good food,” said Father O’Leery, “you know I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth myself.”
I frowned. “Why is she back?”
“Well, y’know that Moira’s got a brain tumor. She’s come to help out her grandparents. She’ll be going to the Royal University of Ireland.”
I coughed. “For how long?”
“The next two years, at least,” Father O’ Leery said.
“Where’s she staying?” I asked.
“With Lady Edele,” the priest answered, “on campus.”
I scowled. On campus. There was no fecking way Lucy was spending her next two years alone, at a University, filled with randy college boys. “I have to go.”
“Where?” the priest asked with a smirk.
“Away,” I said, clenching my hands into fists as I stormed away from the cathedral.
What I’m Reading: Black Knight, by Rina Kent
Black Knight by Rina Kent is the fourth book in the Royal Elites Series which I’ve become obsessed with. It’s a steamy, dark, bully romance and completely addicting. Since Kimberly and Xander were first mentioned, I’ve eagerly anticipated their story. Kimberly was formally plus size, and struggles with weight issues, and a horrible mother who only amplifies that problem. Xander struggles with alcohol addiction and both are underlying issues resulting from family secrets and past traumas. Xander is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, as the school calls him and his group of popular friends that we’re first introduced to in Elsa and Aiden’s story, Deviant King. Each book follows a new couple, and their journey with their friends. What I liked about Kimberly’s story is that most people think being thin automatically makes everything better, and even though she had lost weight, she still struggled because of it and it didn’t mean that everything was perfect in her life the way its often portrayed in the media. She still had to deal with her past as a fat girl, and her health issues weren’t glossed over. The book does contain heavy topics, such as bulimia, suicide, and cutting. But for each hard thing Kimberly and Xander go through, it brings the frenemies closer together and I absolutely loved seeing their journey and can’t WAIT for the next book in the series.