Love & Madness by Leah Parker| Book Review

Title: Love & Madness

Author: Leah Parker

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction

Synopsis:

After a one night stand with Ty, Luna finds herself pregnant. On the up side, Ty wants to raise this baby with Luna to make it work, but they’re both basically strangers. They both make an effort until their individual struggles get in the way.

My thoughts:

Let me begin by saying this is not a happily ever after read. And i’ll follow that and say I still recommend this book because the journey of it is worth reading. Luna and Ty’s story touch on a number of issues such as depression, substance abuse and toxic relationships. What I really liked is that the author didn’t tell her audience that Luna suffers from depression over and over. She showed that. It was realistically done and very relatable. Sadness is not depression. Depression hits even when everything seems okay and everyone around you loves you and supports you.

Ty has a past with alcoholism, and that too is a greyed area. It’s a misconception to think alcoholism is a choice. There are issues deeply rooted in Ty’s past that leads him to this.

Overall, I’d say this book touched on heavy subjects that’ll give the reader an intimate insight of mental health. Romance, love, family, humor are all part of the package if you decide to pick this up. Rated four stars!

Happy Reading

Xo Kat

Book Release + Giveaway| Butterfly Trap by TL Fisher

ButterflyTrap FINAL Ebook

 

Title:  Butterfly Trap

Author:  TL Fisher

Cover Designer:  Regina Wamba of MAEIDESIGN & PHOTOGRAPHY, LLC

Blurb:

Can two tortured souls find beauty in each other?

Party girl Nikki Kraemer is terrified when she wakes up tied to a dirty mattress in a basement that bleeds and breathes death.  Her reality grows more terrifying as she battles her addiction at the mercy of her deadly captor.

This is no ordinary day for Isaac Burns.  He has a dangerous secret that has eaten away his moral integrity for ten years.  Today is the day he will confront his inner demon . . . but Nikki is no ordinary woman.  She is certainly not what Isaac expected.

This romantic thriller treads in dark water and some of the subject matter is not for the faint-of-heart.  READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

***BUTTERFLY TRAP is a Romantic Thriller and does contain some content meant for mature audiences.

To enter a giveaway of this book: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/aa4016073/

Reading Slump!

Have you ever gone through periods where you’re not finishing books because they don’t seem to hold your interest? It’s either the excitement tapers off or the writing needs work. It’s always something. For the past year I can say, I’ve been shelving more books as DNF(did not finish) more than finished.

As a lover of books, it’s affecting my life. I feel sad, withdrawn. I read the premise of a book and although it sounds inviting, I’m scared to enter. There are so just many stories, more so the writing that’s not doing it for me anymore.

I’ve actually been feeling to read authors I read growing up, like RL STINE, or the classics. I think repetition and a particular style of writing is turning me off more and more. I hate to sit here and say that bad writing is infusing its way into our books nowadays, but it truly is. I have no issues with simple writing if a writer can tell a good story. But when most of the content is filler. Two hundred words to describe the same action or feeling. Honestly, it’s getting to me. And I’m losing faith in what I pick up to read.

This kind of writing takes away from the story…from the core plot. Which brings me to my next point. There is no real plot. Nothing is happening except two main characters unloading their feelings for each other on every page. Now pardon me in advance for saying this, but I grew up reading a lot of romances and I can’t remember them being written like this. There was always a story, a cast of supporting characters and something going on. I remember Mill & Boon books, always having some kind of plot unique to the characters and stories.

You know what the problem is here? Insta-love. That’s what I think is taking away from the stories. With no real journey, there’ll be forced and unrealistic sub plots.

I’m in such a deep slump where reading is concerned these days, not even my favorite authors are pulling me out of it. Oh well, in time it’ll pass.

Does this happen to you too? Please recommend a book to take me out of this slump. Thank ye in advance.

Please Note: I read across all genres. Fantasy, Horror, Thriller. Romance has just managed to be the culprit that sent me into a reading slump this time.

xo Kat

Am I getting bored of reading romance?

Let me begin by saying this post is in no way meant to bash romance writers, readers or books. Till date, it remains one of my most read genres. However in the last few years, I’ve closed book after book, after reading only a few pages. There were a few of them that stuck, and were enjoyable to me personally. And I say personally because we all perceive stories in our own way.

I think what I’ve been coming across lately has also impacted my contemporary romance stories as well. In a more negative aspect.

I’m a different kind of  reader, as we all are. I particularly enjoy romances like the ones Nora Roberts writes. Why, you may ask? Aren’t they all the same? Boy meets girl, sparks fly, happily ever after. While I agree on the formulaic expression of a romance book, I like the deep plots, and also sub plots. I enjoy the characters, flawed or searching. Good overcoming evil. It sounds cheesy but most books have this concept. Let’s not stray. Coming back to why I’ve been having a hard time finishing romance books for the longest time. I think it’s in the writing, more than anything else. I appreciate flawed characters, damaged ones. So it isn’t the art of storytelling that’s putting me off. It’s the way the story is being executed.

One of the reasons why I feel it difficult to just publish my stories out into the world, is because I feel like they are not ready. As a reader, I want to aspire to be a writer like the ones I admire. And my work is not up to par. I believe most content in a book should be meaningful, every dialogue should be progressing the story. I have no problems with mundane dialogue here or there. Don’t get me wrong. I love descriptions and visualizing how an author builds their world, be it realistic or fantasy or dystopian etc.

The core problem I face with reading some of these books are the meaningless filler content. Over descriptions of one character’s actions. Over description of one’s thoughts and feelings. After a few chapters, it get’s redundant. I get that it’s easier for some to write in first person, and while it’s amazing to get inside of a character’s head. The entire book can’t be a monologue where only one character thinks or feels. There’s too much repetition using beautiful words and phrases to convey the same feeling or thought–the same personality–all throughout the book.

Every line of dialogue is followed by a physical reaction one character makes. While that’s not incorrect, it shouldn’t be overdone. A line of dialogue can tell the reader exactly what mood or kind of person the character is.

Have you ever heard the main character’s voice in a whiny tone in your head? It happens to me more often than not.

Recently I read Garden of Shadows by V.C. Andrews, and I thought it executed an entire story in first person POV very well. The story was able to progress, and relate events without being repetitive. In fact, there wasn’t an instance where a feeling or thought conveyed was mentioned twice. The main character was able to describe the reactions/expressions of the other characters in such a way that the reader knew them as well. I honestly think it’s a book we can all learn from in terms of pushing a story forward without stopping in every chapter to repeat things using beautiful words.

What do you think about romance nowadays? Do you read it? I’d like to find more that I can love, so if you have any suggestions, please drop them down below. My next post will discuss erotica in romance books, so stay tuned for that.

Happy Reading Bookish Folk!

xo Kat

In The Gray by A.D. McCammon| COVER REVEAL + Giveaway!

Good Day Bookish Folk!

Lately, I’ve been having a love/hate relationship with romance books which I’ll cover in my very next post. But somewhere in between all of those DNFs(Did not finish), I’ll come across ones written by A.D. McCammon. Her first two books, In This Moment and Crushed can be found on amazon.com for only .99 cents from 3/15 – 3/22.

Crushed made it to my best reads of 2017 simply because it was written beautifully. A.D. has a way with writing emotion that doesn’t sound whiny or pretentious. Her characters, and situations are very real, and her plots are of substance. I appreciate romance writers who can weave a tale without unnecessary filler content, and unconvincing conflict.

Without further ado, let me reveal to you the stunning cover of her newest novel, In The Gray.

in the gray cover.jpg

 

Cover Designer: Indie Solutions by Murphy Rae
Release Date: April 19th
“There isn’t always a clean beginning and ending to every story. Instead of something being black or white, it’s a mixture of both, forming a nice shade of gray.”

Writer Lori Stevens was eighteen when she was assaulted by her mentor, learning people aren’t always what they seem the hard way. She’s found solace living in the gray, keeping everyone at arm’s length with her secrets safely tucked away.

When the biggest story of her career hits too close to home, Lori is forced to face her demons and question everything—like her feelings for Steven Duncan.

Steven was meant to be nothing more than a failed one-night stand, but when a cruel twist of fate brings him back into her life, she begins falling for him.

There’s one slight problem: he’s dating her best friend.

Officer Steven Duncan is no stranger to tragedy, but that never stopped him from searching for his fairytale. Now, he’s dating the perfect girl, only it’s the wrong girl who feels right.

Steven is willing to fight for Lori—to step outside the boundaries of his black and white world—but can they find happiness living in the gray?

Here are the preorder links for In The Gray:
   
 
Click on the links below for a chance to win stuff!
$25 Amazon Gift Card GIVEAWAY:https://www.facebook.com/admccammon/
 

As always, thanks for reading my friends. And good luck with your new book A.D. ❤

xo Kat

The Obsession by Nora Roberts| Book Review

Book Title: The Obsession

Author: Nora Roberts

Genre: Romance/Thriller/Suspense

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis – At 12 yrs old, Naomi Bowes followed her father into the woods one night and stumbled upon a shocking & disturbing truth. From that moment, life would never be the same for Naomi, her mother, and her brother, Mason. Years later, Naomi’s past follows her wherever she goes, making her develop a nomad-like attitude for her job as a photographer, bumping around from place to place. In the present order of events, Naomi is in her late twenties and decides to root herself in a small town by purchasing a huge house in need of many repairs. She befriends the town folk and even finds love in Xander Keaton, the town mechanic. While Naomi busies herself with taking pictures and bartering them for odds and ends needed around her house, and sparks fly between her and Xander, her horrific past resurfaces and she can’t help but blame herself, and want to retreat into a space where she hasn’t opened her heart and life to others.

My Review – if you’re familiar with my blog, you’d know I love most of what Nora Roberts writes, how she writes, her manner of storytelling. It’s the way I love my own stories to be. A dash of romance tied in with mysteries, suspense and thriller.

I must admit I had an inkling of the climax in this book but not because of a weak plot. I’m just an alright detective(hehe). This book was very character driven. The characters were fully explored and examined, their growth and progress added to the story. Without all of this meaningful clutter, I don’t see how the main plot would work as a whole book. Overall, I would recommend it as it doesn’t narrow in on just a romantic story. That’s just a fraction of what this book is about. Without selling the story away, I’ll say it’s a tie in of murder, mayhem, healing, strength.

*Before heading into this book you should know that there are some dark moments, mentions of rape, torture and murder by a disturbed serial killer. *

Thanks for stopping by. Happy reading!

Xo Kat

Christmas On Thin Ice by Holly Blair | Book Review

Book Title: Christmas On Thin Ice (A Juniper Falls Holiday Romance)

Author: Holly Blair

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: Lily Jordan has just found out that she is pregnant for a famous golfer who ditched her. With the recent demise of her parents and the debt they left behind, Lily and her two brothers has to come up with a plan to save their family business, a tree nursery and skating rink. In comes Noah to save the day by offering to buy a percentage of the Jordans’ business but Lily isn’t too keen on losing her family business, or heart so quickly. 

My Review: Rated 5 stars in Goodreads because this book was a warm and enjoyable read to kick start my holidays reads. A very short book, actually a novella that can be finished in just a few hours but it’s content is full of feeling and substance. Great writing too. I completely recommended this to any who enjoys clean Hallmark type Romance as much as I do. 

Happy Reading! Xo Kat

In This Moment by A.D. McCammon| Book Review

In This Moment by [McCammon, A.D.]Book Title: In This Moment

Author: A.D. McCammon

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Summary:  Elizabeth Shea is a widowed mother of two who’s having a hard time healing from the loss of her husband, Xander. She meets Brendon Scott, a school counselor with a disturbing past of his own. Brendon likes Lizzy(as she’s called throughout the book) from the get go, and although it takes her a while to offer her friendship, she eventually does.

My Review:

In This Moment is a sweet, cozy tale about second chances, healing and love. I’m a very character driven reader and I loved the way Brendon’s carefree attitude balanced Lizzy’s restricted one. The story revolves around their friendship which eventually blossoms into more. The author did a great job assessing the feelings of her characters, something I appreciate in the romance genre. It didn’t feel rushed at all, just progressive. Rated four stars on Goodreads, I think this is a great fast paced read for anyone looking for a fulfilling story about two broken people coming together.

Thanks for reading!

xo Kat

Crushed by A.D. McCammon|Book Review

I’ve been lucky this year to have found some well written romance novels. A lot of romances can get cliched and cringey, not any fault of the authors but I believe few of us writers really know how to capture the essence of true love, especially true first love. Well A.D. had no issues doing that. Love and heartache roll off every page in this book. It was beautifully written, and felt and what I loved the most or actually admire, is the author’s ability to keep love alive throughout the book without repeating herself. As a writer, I find this very difficult. I get very repetive once I’ve fleshed out my characters enough so I pretty much fell in love with the way this book was written. 

Here’s a brief synopsis…

Julianna has just returned to her hometown after being separated from her cheating husband. She has negative, and sometimes troubled feelings about returning to Tennessee. Soon after moving back, she meets up with Eric, her best friend in high school. As the book progresses we learn that Julianna and Eric both had a deep love for each other but never acted on it due to circumstances. They’d also broken contact for some time so it took them a few to rekindle their friendship, and admit their love for each other. 

There’s some suspense elements in this book and if you’ve read my blog before you’ll see that’s my favorite recipe for romances. 

Happy reading! Xo Kat

The Challenges of Writing Romance

I enjoy both reading, and writing in the romantic genre. I think my obsessions with a good romance started at an early age. The first trigger was Indian movies which I looked at quite a bit because of my mother and most of them were centered around romances. For some reason the library at my high school carried Mills and Boon novels and I fell into that very quickly. My fifteen year-old mind went places, if you know what I mean. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mills and Boons, they are a set of romantic books published by it’s parent company, Harlequin Enterprises. Most of what I read was set in a historical period and till date I enjoy reading romances set in the far past. Not everyone enjoys romances or its sub genres but I do. I love a happy ending, flawed characters that grow, the essence of drama and love. I love it all. One of my favorite authors as an adult is actually Nora Roberts. She’s my hero when it comes to reading romance. Her books usually have strong characters and suspense or a little mystery so it dramatizes very well.

And because I enjoy this genre so much, a lot of ideas or plots that take birth in my head end up materializing into a romantic story. I have plotted and outlined so many of these romantic story lines and even though I can almost always see the ending, it’s hard to complete. It may seem like an easier genre to write compared to sci-fi, fantasy or crime fiction but it comes with it’s own challenges. If you run into similar problems or have any input, please feel free to drop me a line in the comments.

  1. Creating subplots. The template for most romance stories are similar. Boy meets girl or girl meets boy and they instantly click or click over time. The thing that would separate your story from another writer’s story is your subplots. Both or one of the main characters will need an issue to resolve.
  2. Repetition. Romances are a difficult genre to write because much of what we fantasize or dream about has already been written. It’s unnerving when you question every dialogue, every scene.
  3. Creating Interesting Characters. The earlier romances that I read had weaker female characters who suddenly came into thier own after finding love. In more recent times we see stronger female characters. I often find I write bland characters and need to make them do something drastic or have an annoying quality to appear more engaging to a reader.
  4. The Problem & Climax. Every book, romance or not needs a problem in order to reach the climax. The problem needs to be engaging and convincing enough for readers to want to get to the climax. I’m left doubting my work more than I would like to. The climax also has to be a suiting one. For example, not all love stories have a happily ever after ending. It all comes down to the fear I have of disappointing readers. I’ll talk more about that in a separate post why that’s not a great idea.
  5. Simple love or sexy love. When it comes to writing erotica, I’m still having a hard time. I am uncomfortable with writing intimate details, for the fact that I won’t allow my parents to read something with adult content. I’m also a sucker for back in the day romances…you know the kind with love letters and chivalry. It’s difficult when I sit down to write and all that’s playing in my head is “Clean or dirty.” I wish so many stories didn’t call for it, unfortunately it does.

Thank you for reading! xo Coffee Doll