Author Q&A

Author Q&A With Laura Trentham (Author of The Military Wife)

Have you read my review for The Military Wife yet?  If you have, you know that I thought it was superb!  And look who dropped by to chat with us about it!  I had a chance to interview author Laura Trentham about her experience writing The Military Wife.  Check it out below!

Trentham                             39863232

AH: Do you have any personal ties to the military?  Did any of your personal relationships inspire characters in the book?

LT: My best friend from college is a military wife. She has a degree in chemical engineering (like me), but was never able to find a job in that area because of where they lived and how often they moved. I also visited her on different bases around the country, so I got a feel for how they lived. Of course, this was all years and years before this book was even a kernel in my imagination! But I can go to her with questions about how things work on bases with the wives (and husbands.)

AH: How was your experience writing your first women’s fiction novel?  How did it differ from writing a romance novel?

LT: I loved writing The Military Wife and the follow up, An Everyday Hero. I tend to explore family/friend ties in my romances as well, so it was really a matter of strengthening those story lines and making sure they converged. Honestly, the biggest difference is that my romances are fairly hot in the bedroom, and I closed the door on any intimate scenes in the WF books.

AH: How long did it take you to write The Military Wife?

LT: It took around three and a half months. That’s pretty standard for a full-length book for me working “full-time” which is really just when my kids are at school.

AH: What was the easiest part of the book to write?  What was the most challenging?

LT: The hardest part to write was Darren and Allison’s story revolving around PTSD. That is something I don’t have direct experience with and I wanted to make sure I took care to present it with a raw honesty that rang true. The easiest part (although the most emotional for me to write) was the chapter where Harper gives birth to Ben. I could draw on personal experience, being a mother myself and dealing with post-partum emotions.

AH: How do you celebrate finishing a novel?

LT: I order take-out for the family and get ready to dive straight into the next book! I don’t like to take time off between projects, because I have more books outlined to write than I have time!

AH: Who is your favorite author to read and why?

LT: I have the classic gothic romances on my keeper shelves, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Jane Aiken Hodge. It might be surprising to learn that I don’t like to read in the genre I write in because I’m either too critical and can’t get immersed in the story or I’m afraid I’m going to subconsciously pick up another author’s plot or turn of phrase. So, I’ve been reading lots of historical mysteries from CS Harris and Deanna Raybourn and fantasy romances from Sarah Maas and Katherine Arden.

AH: What should readers expect from the next A Heart of a Hero novel?

LT: The next book, An Everyday Hero (the title was picked yesterday so you’re the first to hear it!) is not connected to The Military Wife. It’s a standalone novel set in Tennessee about a failed country musician who has returned home broke and heartbroken and is thrown together with an old classmate who has lost a leg in combat and hasn’t decided whether he wants to rejoin the world or not. It’s a little sassier and funnier, but still has a lot of heart.

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A big thank you to Laura Trentham for chatting with me and to publisher St. Martin’s Press as always for being so fantastic to work with!  Pick up The Military Wife here now and experience this incredible story for yourself!

Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

Watching YouWatching You by Lisa Jewell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve had my eye on this book for a while. Lisa Jewell, I guess you could say I’ve been “watching you.”

Watching You has a lot of different stories about a lot of different things that all somehow fit together wonderfully like getting that last jigsaw puzzle piece into place. Joey has a crush on the local school’s headmaster, Tom. Tom has a history with young girls. Young girl Jenna has a mother who is a little crazy. Her crazy mother creepily watches Tom’s young son Freddie. Freddie has his own issues. And one thing is for certain… everybody is kind of watching everybody in this twisted and exciting thriller.

What I loved about this book was the complexity it brought without going too over the top. Sometimes when authors add layers of complexity, it just makes the book more confusing for the reader, but I didn’t find that to be the case here. I also very much enjoyed the characters and how well differentiated they were. I was never confused about which character was doing what and felt like I had a good understanding of each of their personalities and motivations. I also thought there were some good twists and shocks throughout the book which I appreciated. And finally, I enjoyed the police transcript that was interspersed throughout the chapters. It added a good “crime drama” element that wouldn’t have otherwise been there and added to the mystery.

What didn’t I like? Honestly, nothing. The only reason I’m giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is that it didn’t knock my socks off. It was a perfectly good thriller but nothing I haven’t read before. At the end of the year, I don’t know that it will stick out as being one of the top books I read, but it was still a really great book for you thriller lovers out there.

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Audiobook Review, General Fiction (Adult), Romance

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay so I’m having a super hard time rating this book because the writing was actually really, really good. But, the content was just not for me. So let’s just say, I would give the writing itself 4 stars but the content only 3 stars.

So let’s start by talking about the cover. Look at it. It’s sweet isn’t it? A nice quirky font choice. A play on mathematics with the illustration. A cute little couple kissing. Looks like a cute, quaint love story. Like even maybe suitable for young adults, right? WRONG! I felt like I was listening to soft core porn. I would classify this more as erotica than romance which is definitely not my typical choice of genre.

I would call this book a combination of Fifty Shades of Grey (sans the S&M) mixed with Pretty Woman mixed with Crazy Rich Asians. Stella has Asperger’s. She’s a genius but she struggles socially. So what does she do? Obviously she hires a hot escort to teach her how to date and how to have lots of amazing S-E-X. Cue the erotica.

While this isn’t my typical genre, I did really enjoy Helen Hoang’s writing. It was light, airy, and charming with a naughty side. Had it been all light and airy, I would have loved it. The naughty side was outside of my comfort zone. Call me a prude! But, overall it was a nice chick lit book that I think a lot of women would really enjoy. It’s definitely a good summer book to put on your list for poolside reading.

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Fantasy, Historical Fiction

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

The Night TigerThe Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Expected publication Tuesday! Pre-order from Amazon here!

Book #2 “in the books” for the Booksparks Winter Reading Challenge! #WRC2019

The Night Tiger was…. interesting. I can’t sit here and say that it worked for me because in all honesty, it didn’t. This book had all the makings of a wonderful story. Rooted in magical realism, there was a mystical quality to the writing. There was a murder mystery. There was a love story. All the things that I would expect from a fantastic novel. But unfortunately, they didn’t all mesh that well together for me. There was a lot of fuss over a severed finger that I just didn’t understand or connect with. And the love story was a tad “icky.”

That being said, there were some qualities that I could appreciate that are worth mentioning. I did like the overall writing style of Yangsze Choo, and although I didn’t connect personally with the mystical elements, I could appreciate that the story was deeply rooted in folklore. In addition, I really enjoyed getting to know Ji Lin, the main character, and really connected to her as a character.

While this one didn’t blow me away, I’ve seen plenty of reviews from others who absolutely LOVED this book, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you like folk stories with a touch of fantasy.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Yangsze Choo, and Flatiron Books for the opportunity to review.-

On to Book #3 of the Winter Reading Challenge, Me For You by Lolly Winston!

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Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

The Night Olivia FellThe Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published this week! Order on Amazon here.

The Night Olivia Fell was The Night Ashley Started the Booksparks Winter Reading Challenge! For more information on #WRC2019 click here. I’m so excited to read all of these books with the Bookshark community!

I preordered this book and was so excited to get a special note from author Christina McDonald! The fact that she takes the time to interact with her fan base is something I find commendable and endearing. Thanks Christina!

The Night Olivia Fell is about exactly what it sounds like… the night Olivia fell. Flipping between past and present, Christina McDonald tells the story of Olivia as she goes through a journey of self discovery, exploring love, exploring relationships, and faced with some challenging decisions. But, when she is found having fallen from a bridge and is declared brain dead, her mother wants answers and will stop at nothing to find them. Did Olivia fall or was she pushed?

I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it on Audible and with the help of 2.5x speed, I was able to finish it in about 4 hours. If you’re not opposed to listening fast, it would make a perfect book for a quick road trip (or a long road trip if you want to listen at normal speed like a normal human).

Christina McDonald created some wonderful characters, and I could feel the angst and mourning that Olivia’s mom emoted as she came to terms with letting Olivia go. I’m not a huge crier but I can see how this one may be a tear jerker for some. I thought Olivia was likable as well and felt her need to break free from her mom and gain more independence while finding her way in life.

The only negative for me was that at times I felt it was a little slow moving, and I have to say I didn’t find the outcome of all the did she fall? was she pushed? if so, by who? drama to be all that surprising. It was a little bit predictable, but still a great story.

Book 1 of #WRC2019 “in the books.” Now on to Book 2: The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo!

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