A Charmed Little Lie Review, Tour, Excerpt, Interview and Giveaway!

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Interview with Bestselling Author Laura Florand!

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of reviewing Laura Florand’s latest novel, Trust Me (you can read that review here.) I have been a fan of her work for many years and was delighted when she agreed to an interview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Laura Florand burst on the contemporary romance scene in 2012 with her award-winning Amour et Chocolat series. Since then, her books have appeared in ten languages, been named among the Best Books of the Year by Library Journal, RT Book Reviews, and Barnes & Noble, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. In 2015, NPR gave her the enormous honor of naming her Chocolate Kiss to its list of the Top 100 Romances of all time.

For more information, please see her website: www.lauraflorand.com.


Interview with Laura Florand

General:

What genres do you read?

I’ve always read a lot of fantasy, and right now I am reading a lot of non-fiction and also some middle grade fantasy novels (with my daughter). I used to consume huge amounts of romance as well, but since my own books came out, I sometimes find it more restful and renewing to just read completely outside the genre and I’ve been reading only 2-3 romances a month lately, so I miss a lot of good authors. And I read a lot of French literature of course, including French-language graphic novels which particularly interest me right now.

What authors have influenced your work?51vllx6sssl

It would be hard for me to say. Everything you read gets pulled in and enriches your own ability to write.

 

What approaches do you take when you write a novel? Are you a pantser or a planner? If a pantser, how does this affect your research, because your books show that you do research, or have a lot of facts at your fingertips?

I just start writing a scene and go from there, letting what the characters do and say drive what happens next, kind of like in real life. The research helps, because the more I can “feel” the characters’ setting and profession, the richer the work is and the more naturally the story develops, in most cases. But also, I write about things I find fascinating and want to write about, so the research is so much fun. I mean…top chocolatiers and pastry chefs in Paris! I used to claim I write the books so I would have an excuse to do the research.

Your work has always been different from the mainstream and you have acquired many readers just based on this. What do you think makes you different?51qyfj2baigl

Oh, I don’t know! I think so many authors have unique voices that set them apart in some ay. After all, writing within a genre is essentially taking familiar stories and giving them your own voice and twist. I write from the heart, and I think once you do that, you will always have a voice unique to you.

Also, if I’m not mistaken, you have decided to start self-publishing. Is this because you wanted to branch out from the mainstream? What affect has this had on you, your writing, and/or your readers?

Do you have any advice for the newbie writers who are wondering about going mainstream or self-publishing?

I think my main motivation is just that I like the control. I don’t see why I should give up rights to something I wrote and am almost exclusively responsible for creating, and give up those rights for the life of copyright and maybe 10% of the profits. (This is not to put down the wonderful help editors etc can provide, but there is nothing on par with writing the book itself.) Technology has changed since I was a kid, and I’m happy to enjoy its benefits in this way.

51c4e9o4rwlA definite benefit (to me at least) is that retaining control of my writing means I can write what I want. No one can tell me, Oh, a French heroine of Algerian origin wouldn’t be marketable. All your heroines have to be Americans and, ahem, non-denominational. I write the story I want to write, with the characters who want a story.

Turning Up the Heat and Snow-Kissed were two of the first stories I wrote to self-publish, and I really feel that in both I did something I would never have been able to do in the tradtional publishing industry. I love both those stories so much and the freedom I had to write them to the story and not to the market.

Conversely, of course, as any experienced successful author will tell you, if you write to the story and not to the market, it’s pure luck if the “market” decides to read you anyway.

For newbie writers: How to publish is a hard question and should be—it’s a huge career 51ng-jbeprldecision. I am not a fan of giving up your rights for little return, I will say that. The main challenge, of course, as a new writer, is establishing your bona fides in a saturated market. In a world where even my ten-year-old can publish a book easily (and she keeps pressuring me to let her do that), how do you get other people to start noticing and respecting your own work as worth their time? That’s still the biggest hurdle for those who start off self-publishing, a bigger hurdle for them than it is for traditionally published newbies who have the stamp of approval from a publishing house to help give them credibility. My credibility was established before I shifted to self-publishing, so I’m not the best qualified to give advice on how to establish it on your own. But I certainly know many authors who did it, meaning it is possible.

51ee9zjjrilNow, a couple of questions about The Paris Nights series. Did you plan the entire series and, if so, has it changed? How has it changed?

No, I didn’t plan the entire series. That is, I planned to write stories about three female friends, and have the females be the chefs themselves at last (instead of the almost all male chefs in the Amour et Chocolat series), but after I finished All For You, I remember watching some Hollywood film one night, full of banter and action and completely unrealistic scenarios and saying out loud, “Why can’t I write a book like Hollywood? I bet my readers would massacre for my lack of credibility if I did.” And then that first scene between Chase and Vi started growing in my head and I thought, Oh, hell, I’m just going to have fun.

But as I was writing, the terrorist attacks of Charlie Hebdo and the Bataclan happened, and I actually knew one of the people hurt, so that made writing a “Hollywood” book about terrorism very tough.

51ardz2elql“Chase Me” felt completely different to me as I was reading. And, even more so, “Trust Me” is different yet. I felt that it was weightier, more searching. What does “Trust Me” mean to you?

Well, Trust Me is the aftermath. It’s the reality to the Hollywood story, and the difficulty in that book was in finding a balance of hope and love during a very dark time. I refused to write the classic “dark moment” for it. I said the dark moment was the start, and all the rest of the book was the healing.

Do you have a favorite book that you’ve written?

Honestly, no. All of them have a special place for me. You put your whole heart every time into writing a book.

What do you have in store for us next?

Working on Lucien’s book in the Vie en Roses series! I hope you all will enjoy his story!

And thank you so much, Sascha, for the interview and for inviting me on!


PRAISE FOR LAURA FLORAND’S NOVELS:

“Chocolate, Paris, and a Greek god for a hero; this delectable confection has it all!” – Library Journal Starred Review

“(Florand) captures the nature of love, its fierce, soul-warming necessity, in a way that will make you as happy as the finest bonbon could.” – Eloisa James, The Barnes & Noble Review, a Best Book of 2013 selection

“Florand outdoes herself with this exquisite confection… painstakingly crafted and decadent as the sweets it portrays, leaving the reader longing for just one little taste.” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“Adorable, charming, whimsical.” – Smexy Books

 “Florand serves up a mouth-watering tale of slow-burning passion and combustible consummation that’s as perfectly crafted as the hero’s surprisingly complex confections and as silky and addictive as the heroine’s dark chocolat chaud.”– RT Book Reviews, 4.5 stars, TOP PICK!, RT Seal of Excellence, RT Reviewers Choice nomination Best Book of 2013

Review of Songs About A Girl

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Songs About A Girl

Chris Russell

Flatiron Books

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Blurb from Goodreads:

Charlie Bloom never wanted to be ‘with the band’. She’s happiest out of the spotlight, behind her camera, unseen and unnoticed. But when she’s asked to take backstage photos for hot new boy band Fire&Lights, she can’t pass up the chance.

Catapulted into a world of paparazzi and backstage bickering, Charlie soon becomes caught between gorgeous but damaged frontman, Gabriel West, and his boy-next-door bandmate Olly Samson. Then, as the boys’ rivalry threatens to tear the band apart, Charlie stumbles upon a mind-blowing secret, hidden in the lyrics of their songs… Continue reading

Exciting News!

On Monday, April 24, Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored is hosting an interview with one of my favorite writers, Laura Florand!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

author_picture

Laura Florand burst on the contemporary romance scene in 2012 with her award-winning Amour et Chocolat series. Since then, her books have appeared in ten languages, been named among the Best Books of the Year by Library Journal, RT Book Reviews, and Barnes & Noble, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. In 2015, NPR gave her the enormous honor of naming her Chocolate Kiss to its list of the Top 100 Romances of all time.

For more information, please see her website: www.lauraflorand.com.

 

Review of How Not to Let Go

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How Not to Let Go

Emily Foster

Kensington Books

 

From the author of How Not to Fall comes an electrifying, powerful new story about love, trust, and emotional surrender.

Once upon a time, med student Annie Coffey set out to have a purely physical fling with Charles Douglas, a gorgeous British doctor in her lab. It didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, secrets—and desires—were bared, hearts were broken, and Annie knew she had to leave this complicated, compelling man who remains convinced he can never give her what she needs.

Walking away is one thing. Staying away is another. Annie and Charles reunite at a London conference, rekindling a friendship they struggle to protect from their intense physical connection. Little by little, Annie gets a glimpse into Charles’s dark past and his wealthy, dysfunctional family. Soon, she’s discovering what it means to have someone claim her, body and soul. And she’s learning that once in a lifetime you find a love that can make you do anything…except let go.


SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW

Backstory: I read the blurb for this novel and thought, oh, well that sounds like a good book to read. I like the premise. And, just to prove that I am, if nothing, consistent, I didn’t realize until I started reading that it was the sequel to a book I read and reviewed about a year ago. I must have liked the premise of that one as well. Wink. Wink.

However story: The first book was How Not to Fall (you can read that review here, if you want). As I started to read How Not to Let Go, I realized that I had read and felt frustrated by the first book. (Disclosure: I did not go back and look at my review because I did not want to be in any way influenced by it.) But How Not to Let Go was different. It felt more thoughtful, more cerebral. It brought in the backstory of Charles’ life so that I could have some empathy for him. The writing was beautiful and, again, thoughtful. For me, this was an entirely different experience, one which I enjoyed.

These felt like real people to me. While there may have been a few angsty moments, I never felt like they went over-the-top. It may be because I have known extremely dysfunctional families and, frankly, the average person just has no idea what coming from a situation like that can do to a person’s psyche.

How Not to Let Go delved into more psychology than I remember from the first so I found this fascinating. I have always been intrigued by people’s motivations and their reactions.

The Your Mileage May Vary Story: So I don’t often do this, but I peeked at some of the other reviews on Goodreads and found that people who loved the first novel hated this one, which is in complete contrast to me. See, this is why I am going to make it my reviewing motto: Your Mileage May Vary. Just because you love a book doesn’t mean everyone will and vice versa. It’s the differences that make the world great.

Last disclaimer: How Not to Let Go has been on my currently reading list for a while (mid-January until today). That has nothing to do with the novel and everything to do with yours truly who signed up for far too many review tours and has only now gotten to a place where she/me can semi-breathe and start pulling her act together.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


rating: 4-and-a-half

4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies


 

 

Fearless Flying–Quickie Review

 

Fearless Flying 
by Karen Gordon
(Vivienne Series, #1)
Publication date: October 30th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

Description:
An amazing job, check.
An adorable apartment, check.
A super supportive best friend, check.

There’s only one thing missing from Vivienne Ramsey’s perfect life…

And after ten years of waiting the time is finally right for her to seduce her dream man. Tonight she’s going to wear Danny out in bed until he dies a happy man. But before she can begin her carefully crafted strategy of seduction he’s headed for the door. And for once in her over-organized life Vivienne doesn’t have a back-up plan.

If he had only read the memo about his part in her happily-ever-after.

Fearless Flying is the first book in The Vivienne Series–seven hilariously fierce and flirty chick lit novellas. If you like inspiring stories filled with relatable sexy, smart women then you’ll love this glass-ceiling smashing, worldwide journey by feminist fiction author, Karen Gordon.
This is what happened when I broke them…


SASCHA DARLINGTON’S QUICKIE REVIEW

When I saw all of the fantastic reviews for this novella, I was anxious to read it because I love romantic comedies.

The following are my observations and, as I always say, your mileage may vary.

The beginning of the book was somewhat good, but the level of profanity (and I am not one to call that out as long as it fits the character and situation) for a professional woman from Savannah was kind of remarkable, and not in a good way.

The writing was okay; there were awkward passages that needed to be rewritten. The conversational tone for the most part was good.

The characters were underdeveloped, but that’s pretty typical of a lot of plot-driven novellas. Vivienne’s character was immature and more than a little on the embarrassing side, not at all the wallflower introvert I was expecting.

What disappointed me most of all was that the novella was not funny nor was the romance between Danny and Vivienne remotely sexy. It lacked “swoon” of any kind. As I was expecting a “romantic comedy,” these aspects left me dissatisfied.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Rating: 3-but (3 out of 5 butterflies)


 

Review of Before That Night

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Before That Night
Unfinished Love #1

By: Violet Duke

Releasing June 16, 2016
Self-Published

Blurb

Before that night, Addison Milan had been just a college dropout secretly raising her two young siblings in a beat-up minivan she’d bought with her first semester’s tuition refund—the only money her addict mother hadn’t taken off with when she’d abandoned them the year prior.

Before that night, Caine Spencer had been just a rough, gruff cop sent to check out the phoned-in claims of suspected child neglect involving the same woman he’d met a month ago when she’d first served him the city’s worst diner coffee…which he’d been drinking daily ever since.

Before that night, Addison would never have thought the man she’d been fighting hard not to fall for—her only friend in her new shadow of a life—would be in a position to rip her family apart.

Before that night, Caine would never have believed any woman could make him fall head over heels, let alone make him feel so damn compelled to look the other way when it came to his job.

Then that one perfect night changed everything.

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