Question #1 in a group author interview! ♥
Tag Archives: second chance romance
This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Dear Heart by Linda Lingle.
The narrator is married and her love interest is, too. But, when a work relationship becomes so much more – they have to navigate their way through to each other. The idea of cheating on your spouse is distasteful to me, but the story goes on in a way that you can’t help but feel for the pair.
After a whirlwind romance, life takes hold and everything changes.
Will the soul mates reunite? Or will their everyday lives keep them apart?
I really enjoyed the format of this story and how the author was able to bring it to a comfortable close. While adultery might not be a topic that everyone is comfortable with, the love story at the center of it will keep you reading.
Deirdre Reid and Hartley Tate feel an immediate attraction when they meet at the office where they will work together and fall in love. There is only one problem: they are married to others and Lee has four daughters to whom he is devoted.
For 15 months Deirdre and Lee carry on a passionate affair. Then Lee’s wife is offered a big promotion across the country. With his heart breaking, Lee leaves Deirdre in San Francisco and moves East with his family so his wife can advance her high-powered career.
Soon, unforeseen circumstances have Deirdre second-guessing her insistence on a clean break. She resists every impulse to fly to Lee’s side, but on the first anniversary of their parting, Deirdre grows increasingly regretful and melancholy. Then she receives a surprising Christmas present which sets in motion a 38-year ritual that, against all odds, keeps alive the love she shared with Lee.
As their destiny unfolds, Deirdre and Lee dream about finding their way back to each other’s arms, and an unlikely guide emerges to light the path of their journey.
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/mBrG5D
Here’s a peek at the book…
Dear Heart —
I was so sorry to learn about Jean. I know you must be feeling adrift, as I did after Bill passed, and I wish I could be there with you to let you know that everything will be okay. But, after nearly forty years of suppressing my impulses to abandon everything and fly to your side, I simply cannot give in to them now. What I can do, however, is finally give voice to our most cherished memories which, after all of these years imprisoned, can at last be freed to exist within the light.
Why now? Because it is safe. There is no one left to be hurt by the knowledge of what we shared for those fifteen short, wonderful months. There’s the children, of course, but they are older now than we were when we met, and unlikely, in this day and age, to be shocked by what we did – especially since, when the time came to decide which road we would take, we opted not to disrupt their lives, nor Jean’s, nor Bill’s. I have never regretted that decision, Dear Heart, though the pain of parting left me shell-shocked for all of these years.
That is not to say that I haven’t thought about you every day since the heartbreaking morning we said goodbye, or often wished that things were still like they were all of those years ago when, after watching Soldier of Fortune on our first night together, you became my Clark, even though you looked nothing like Clark Gable, except for the mustache, and I became your Susan, even though I looked nothing like Susan Hayward, except for the color of my hair.
But it was never about looks with us, was it? It was a visceral attraction, shockingly strong, and immediately apparent. Seeing you walk by my office on your first day at Cunningham, Miller, Bender, and Schade took my breath away and, somehow in that instant, I knew that I had just glimpsed my soul mate. And when you shook my hand at the meet-and-greet, and a thrill coursed through me like electricity, and when I saw that you experienced it too, I knew that Fate had brought us together and that we were going to be lovers. It was preposterous, really, because up to that point neither I, during fourteen years with Bill, nor you, during sixteen years with Jean, had ever considered cheating, or even looked at another person with the slightest interest.
But my relationship with Bill was not like ours; with Bill, it had been a practical attraction, not a sexual one. Bill had been drawn to my energy and outgoing personality, and I to his ability to provide stability and security, which I desperately needed after my parents died. We were helpmates, not soul mates, partners journeying through life, not as explorers and adventurers, like we were, Dear Heart, but rather like Eleanor and Franklin after Lucy Mercer. And, although we had a comfortable life, it lacked the vitality that a sexual component brings to a relationship. I did not dream of Bill’s touch, nor imagine the feel of his body on mine every waking moment such that I could think of nothing else. I did not eschew sleep to indulge the fantasies of my restless libido, nor walk through life in a perpetual state of arousal, a phenomenon which I had not experienced until you came into my life.
Oh, Dear Heart, how I’ve longed to hear you call me Susie once more, how I’ve ached for you every night! And, although I highly doubt that I could get this old, arthritic body of mine to ebb and flow like it used to, I yearn for one more afternoon with you, making sheet music in decibels so loud that we surely must have scared the gulls and the fish in the bay.
But time moves on. I have long since stopped dyeing my hair that rich, auburn color you loved so much and I’ve put on a few pounds that I can’t seem to shed no matter how little I eat. And, though you have seen me at my worst and loved me still, thirty-five and full-figured is one thing, but old and plump is another, especially when you throw in grey hair and the probability that the breath required to fund just one more BIG O with you would surely be my last.
Still, after years of putting one foot in front of the other and trying not to dwell on what was, I am finally able to give myself up to the experience without fear that I will die from the pain of wanting you and not being able to have you. I have been through the worst of it and have come out the other side – battered and bloodied, yes, forever changed, certainly, but better for having known you and the rapture that comes when two souls, created from the same wisp of angel’s breath, unite in love, if only for an instant.
As I take these first steps down the road of our experience, I realize that there are those who will see this as a quest for redemption, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, once upon a time we found the Holy Grail of love and fulfillment and were forced to relinquish it, but not because we were unworthy. Our hearts were pure, of this I am certain, but Fate had other plans for us, and sent us on a journey to prove our love was true. It was an arduous trip of longing and desire, sorrow and pain. But there were also respites along the way, of indescribable happiness and unexpected blessings.
Although I may never again know the fire of your embrace, I will experience it nonetheless as I retrace the steps of our story – slowly and with deliberation so that I can savor every morsel of our time together. Call it self-indulgent, or the fanciful undertaking of a silly old fool, but also call it a labor of love, Dear Heart, because most of all, that is what this is.
AUTHOR: Linda Lingle
TITLE: Dear Heart
GENRE: contemporary romance, second chance romance
RELEASE DATE: May 6, 2018
PUBLISHER: Solstice Publishing – Summer Solstice Imprint
OUR RATING: ♥♥♥
REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan
Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!
•.☆.•Meant to Be Kept by Amelia Foster•.☆.•
“She’s my wife, and I’ll do anything to keep it that way.”
Yay! That’s awesome! Congrats on your new release!
When a new book comes out, it’s always an exciting time for an author!
Amelia is giving us a look at her contemporary new adult romance, Meant to Be Kept, today.
This is the blurb for Meant to Be Kept:
One night. One too many drinks. One mistake. That’s all it took to derail my marriage.
Now, all I can do is beg for a second chance. To try and redeem myself in a bid not to lose the love of my life.
I’m determined to use every second, every moment I have to show my wife how much she means to me—to rebuild the trust I shattered.
But the harder I try, the more I start to realize our marriage had fallen into a routine of complacency and misplaced priorities long before my indiscretion.
Isabelle is a strong, passionate, beautiful woman—a wife who has sacrificed so much for me. I just hope it’s not too late for us, and that I’ll be able to convince her that our love is meant to be kept.
Here is an excerpt to entice you with!
All the air left her body in a whoosh and Izzy blinked a few times, certain she was seeing things. When the telescope and the mountain of blankets and pillows filling the bed of Tanner’s obnoxious yellow truck didn’t disappear, she spun around to face him.
“Tanner.” She breathed his name and lifted her hand to his cheek. So many thoughts ran through her mind, but none forming into coherent words. Instead she wrapped her arms around his neck, feeling closer to him than she had all week. Closer than she had in years.
His deep chuckled vibrated against her and she closed her eyes, reveling in the sensation. “I’m glad you like it, but we haven’t even gotten to the surprise yet, sweetheart.”
She pulled back, but held on to his shoulders. “What do you mean? We’re going to lie under the stars together on a huge pile of pillows, and you even got a telescope which is something we never had before. . . Tanner, what more could there possibly be?”
“Well, I’m glad you asked, sweetheart.” He stepped away from her with a grin and pulled something off the driver’s seat of his truck. When he turned back around her eyes widened at the present wrapped in dark blue paper. “A little something for you.”
Izzy shook her head, not accepting the proffered gift. “It’s not my birthday.” Her brow furrowed. “And it is still, what thirty-six days until our anniversary? So why am I getting a present?”
A brief flash of disappointment flitted across his face and served to only deepen Izzy’s confusion. But just as quickly as it had come, it disappeared. “No, it’s not your birthday or our anniversary or Christmas, even. You’re getting this because you deserve to get something you love simply because you love it, not just because I’m sorry for what I did. Which I am. Extremely.”
She couldn’t help the small smile that tugged at her lips when she finally took the nearly flat rectangle from his grasp. She took a few steps closer to the truck, needing the help of the interior light. Izzy’s breath caught when she pulled the paper away. She looked from the gift she held in her hands to Tanner’s expectant face and back several times before jumping in his arms, still clinging to the picture frame. “Tanner.” She choked his name past the tears clogging her throat.
His grip on her tightened under her thighs, holding her close.
Izzy put her hands on his shoulders and pushed back enough to look in his face, tears streaking down her cheeks. “You bought me a star.” A bubble of laughter escaped past the happy tears. “First you bring the sky inside and now you buy me a star.”
He grinned and carried her around the bed of the truck, setting her down on the tailgate before climbing up beside her. “Come on sweetheart, let’s lay down for a bit. Unless you want to look for your star. I got the telescope to see if we could find it. Or we could look for what-”
She put a finger against his lips silencing the stream of words. A tiny part of her enjoyed seeing always confident and capable Tanner just a little nervous. She slid back on the inflatable mattress and laid down on the pile of pillows. “Being right here sounds perfect.”
Izzy had to bite her lip to stop herself from laughing at how quickly he scrambled up beside her. He stretched out next to her, sliding his hand in hers and intertwining their fingers. “Belle, being anywhere with you is perfect.” He whispered the words, but they had the effect of a powerful windstorm.
“It’s been way too long since we’ve done this.”
Tanner stayed silent for a long time after her comment and part of her wondered if she shouldn’t have said anything. She chewed on her bottom lip and tried to think of anything she could say to ease the sting.
Finally he propped himself up on an elbow. “How long, Belle?”
She turned her head slightly and the earnest look on his face made her scoot closer to his side. “At least three years,” she said softly. “With the kids and work…we were just too busy.”
Tanner leaned down and brushed his lips across hers. “Not we. Me. Dammit, Belle, I’m sorry.”
She reached up to bury her fingers in his hair and pull his mouth more firmly against hers. The taste of him drove her to wiggle her body beneath his. His scent wafted over her and she barely contained a groan. She was finally surrounded by Tanner in every way and she never wanted it to end.
“Belle.” He murmured her name against her lips and began to kiss down her jaw, planting moist kisses along the column of her neck.
Izzy pulled Tanner until he was fully on top of her and her thighs were locked around his waist. When she lifted her hips and pressed against the evidence of his need she felt a gasp against her neck where Tanner had been licking and biting softly.
His hands slid under her shirt, caressing her back and drawing her closer to him. Tanner lifted the shirt over her head and began making a path of hot kisses across her bare chest. She arched into him again, her fingers tugging on his hair to bring his mouth back up to hers.
“Tanner.” She whimpered his name in between kisses, the soft cotton of his shirt rubbing against her skin, teasing every overly sensitized inch.
She’d always loved playing with Tanner’s hair and gave her fingers free reign to get reacquainted with each strand. When his hands skimmed down her sides and flicked the button open on her waistband she couldn’t help but shiver against him.
His mouth curved against hers. “You like that, sweetheart?”
She hadn’t realized until this moment just how much she missed his hands touching her and his lips leaving a scorching trail along her body.
And one week ago they had been kissing someone else. Holding someone else. Touching someone else.
Izzy felt like a bucket of ice water had been dumped on her, freezing her movement. She pushed Tanner away and scooted to the far corner of the mattress. She grabbed her shirt and held it against her chest. Why didn’t I put on a bra, she chastised herself.
Even in the darkness she could see his face fall. “Belle, what’s wrong?”
“I can’t.” She sobbed and gripped the shirt tighter against herself. She waved her free hand in a sweeping gesture. “Tanner, this is beautiful and perfect and you gave me the most amazing gift. . . but I can’t stop thinking about her. And you.” Her heart splintered. “And you don’t feel like mine anymore.”
She tugged her shirt on over her head, jumped out of the truck, and ran towards the dimly lit house in the distance as fast as she could.
Universal Amazon link: https://books2read.com/u/38xrJw
Nice! Great sexiness and drama. Gotta love this sneak peek. ♥♥♥
So, what are people saying about this book?
“A beautiful established romance with an HEA to make you swoon. While we watch Tanner fight for his wife in the present, we also see the sweet evolution of their love from their college-aged POVs. It’s one helluva ride, and one I highly recommend you take for yourself.” – Evie Drae, Amazon
“Fantastically emotional debut. This past to present, heart-wrenching, beautifully written story drops us into the action from page one. It took hold of me and had me flipping through the pages to see how Tanner and IF Tanner could rekindle the love that was threaded through. I loved the idea of this story, that we get into the grind of daily life and need to remember to cherish what’s precious.
Izzy is the perfect lead, flawed, a little broken but wonderfully relatable. Tanner, despite his mistake, is swoon worthy. And their chemistry leaps off the page.
This book has everything: The feels that run the scale of tears to joy. Hot sex between a married couple – THANK YOU, Ms. Foster. A believable and deep plot. And two characters who grow and learn on an unstable path.” – MaritT, Amazon
“It’s so rare to read a romance about an established/married couple, which makes this one extra-special. Meant to be Kept is a heartwarming story of a couple who experience a crisis in their marriage and must determine how to move forward, not just to keep their relationship as-is but to strengthen it.” – Michelle O, Amazon
Thank you for telling us about your new book! It sounds fabulous! 🙂
Books, coffee, and chocolate make up both the heart and body mass that is better known as Amelia Foster. She has been a lifelong lover of the written word, both as a reader and an author, and completed her first manuscript at the ripe old age of five complete with illustrations. Sadly, her art was a medium that never improved over time, although thankfully her writing has.
From sweet to salacious the only requirement Amelia has in books she reads – and definitely in the ones she crafts – is an excessively satisfying happily ever after… and then a little bit more.
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Amelia-Foster/e/B07MG7YBF7/
Thanks again, Amelia! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime.
Happy reading, everyone!🙂
As a special Valentine’s Day edition of the weekly I Love Romance Blog review, this week’s selection is Valentine in Venice by Kaya Quinsey.
This is another short story that I wish were longer (What can I say? I love to read!), but if you’re looking for a quick, entertaining story this Valentine’s Day – check this one out.
Valentine remembers when she first visited Venice in high school. Although the sights and sounds are amazing, she definitely remembers her first kiss. Ten years later, she returns to Venice – plus one camera and minus one husband. But, fate isn’t done with her yet and Valentine is about to get her happily ever after…I think.
Though a short story, the author has done a great job of describing Venice. The way the story was told, I was taken back to my own trips to Italy and strolls down the canals of the ancient city. Considerably less steamy than last week’s selection, but heavier on the romance – this story was definitely enjoyable.
“Happily ever after…I think?”
I know, you’re wondering what that was about. The setup is there for the HEA, but we’re left to imagine it for ourselves. I actually found myself flipping a couple pages ahead to see if there was more story – then, I was a little bereft. What happened to Valentine? Did she move to Venice? Did she go back to Chicago? I’ve certainly answered all those questions for myself and Valentine is doing just fine where she is.
Valentine Wells returns to Venice. After having visited ten years earlier when she was just sixteen years old, it was where she had impulsively met Lorenzo Dipachio. Her first kiss. Her first love.
Now twenty-six, Valentine is a successful wedding photographer in Chicago. Still impulsive, Valentine is recently divorced after being married for about a minute in Las Vegas. And she doesn’t miss the irony of being a divorced wedding photographer. Also dealing with her mother’s recent diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s, Valentine’s father convinces her that she needs a break.
Now that she is back in Venice, Valentine wants to prove to herself that she’s no longer the impulsive, daring girl who got married (and quickly divorced) in Vegas to a man she barely knew. Now, she is living by a new set of rules: planned, cautious, and carefully executed.
But her plan is challenged when she falls (literally) into the path of her first love, Lorenzo. And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, will Valentine be able to keep herself from making another big mistake?
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/3LGKNM
AUTHOR: Kaya Quinsey
TITLE: Valentine in Venice
GENRE: contemporary romance, holiday romance, sweet romance, second chance romance
RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2019
PUBLISHER: Books to Go Now
OUR RATING: ♥♥♥
REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan
Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!
2018 Reflections and New Beginnings
Hi, readers! Wow, what a year! 🙂
If you’re a loyal follower, then you know I do a New Year’s Eve post every year. With the coming year brings a time of renewal – an opportunity for second chances, and even new beginnings. After a particularly difficult period in our lives, we often think about what it might be like if we ever had the chance to start over.
So today, I’m listing a bunch of books that encompass the ‘new beginnings’ theme.
How apropos for the new year, right? Let’s get started…
‘New Beginnings’ Romances
[Disclaimer: These are simply suggestions compiled from titles I found on Goodreads. I have neither read nor reviewed them.]
These books look great, right? Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments at the end of this post.
Also, I’d like to give a BIG shout out, a mega thank you to all the authors, writers and companies that contributed to this year’s guest posts, features and giveaways! Thanks for all your hard work with writing and giving us a chance to see your books featured here on ILRB. ♥
Listed below are the links to all of our posts from 2018.
New Release/Book Features
Personal Book News/Reviews
https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/27/vote-at-the-critters-readers-poll/ (You can still vote for this one!!)
-Authors represented in the big giveaway:
K.C. Sprayberry, Vina Arno, Leslie Hachtel, Maggie Blackbird, Debbie De Louise, David Russell, Bry Ann, Lance and James Morcan, Devika Fernando, Remy Marie, Tanya W. Newman, Tina Donahue, Fiona Tarr, Palvi Sharma, Viviana MacKade, Diane Merrill Wigginton, CJ Warrant, Amber Daulton, Penny Estelle/P.A. Estelle, Carol Ann Kauffman, Kenneth Sumerford, McKenna Dean, Seelie Kay, Beverly Ovalle, Skye McNeill, Raegyn Perry, Alice J Miller, Jenny Lynn, Sofie Darling, Carole McKee, Bonnie McCune, Young (Bernard Foong), Marie Lavender, Cleo Scornavacca, Sable Hunter, Virginia Babcock, Madison Michael, Vicki-Ann Bush, Lisa Doughty, Theresa Sederholt and Lilly Christine.
Blog Hops & Personal Romantic Thought Posts
What Does Romance Mean to Me? Series Feature
Heroes & Heroines Series Feature
Well, I hope we’ve given readers some new novels to find, as well as fascinating romantic posts to glance over.
In other news, we may start offering book reviews in the future here on the I Love Romance Blog. Don’t get too excited yet and email me, though! A reviewer has reached out to me and when the details are finalized, I’ll put a page up with our review policy, dedicated solely to that service. So keep checking back! 😉
In the meantime, I’m always willing to help out with book features, new release features, author and character interviews, and other types of posts to promote your work.
I hope you have a wonderful, prosperous new year, and it leaves you healthy and content! 😀
And, as always, happy reading! ♥♥♥
Exclusive Interview with author Karina Bartow, plus a look at contemporary romance, FORGETTING MY WAY BACK TO YOU!
Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our third official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.
We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with the talented author of contemporary romance, Forgetting My Way Back to You. Please join me in welcoming Karina Bartow to ILRB! 🙂
Marie Lavender: Hello, Karina. Please have a seat.
Author Karina Bartow: Hi, Marie! I really enjoy your blog and your love of romance.
Marie: Aww, thanks! It’s such a pleasure to see you here!
I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.
Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…
Karina: I’m a full-time author, and I write love stories and mysteries. I enjoy it very much, but you’ll have to ask my readers if I’m good at it!
Marie: (Laughs.) I’m sure your books are great, at least judging by what I’ve noticed so far. 😉
So, tell us…what is your family like?
Karina: My parents have been married for forty-five years, and I have an older sister. She and her husband have an eleven-year-old son, so I enjoy being an aunt.
Let’s try something else, okay?
If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
Karina: It was a simple ranch when I was born, but we added a second story and turned it into a Cape Cod style. We live in the country with an acre of land, which gives me good space to drive my prized possession, my golf cart.
Do you have any hobbies, Karina? What do you enjoy doing?
Karina: Like any girl, I love to shop, but I have a sporty side, too, and I’m a big baseball fan. I also really enjoy listening to music and reading.
Marie: Wow! Such an eclectic blend of pastimes!
Shopping is my Achilles heel. If I have any spare money, I can get myself into trouble 😉
So…what is your greatest dream?
Karina: To have a family of my own.
Marie: Oh, me too! I can’t have biological children, so when my fiancé and I get married, we’ll have to get a little creative.
The closest I’ve come so far is adopting kitties. 😛
But I think life has a way of surprising you just when you need it the most. ♥
Let’s try another question.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Karina: I wish I could be someone who, as they say, doesn’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t know what holds me back. Probably age and circumstances.
Marie: I know what you mean…I wish I could be a bit more casual about everything. I can get too serious about the stuff going on in my life.
Okay, I’m going to throw another random question at you now.
Not to pry too much, but who was your first love?
Karina: Dean Cain in his Lois & Clark days. Needless to say, it was unrequited!
Marie: (Laughs.) OMG, how did I forget that? I was nuts about him when I watched that show. Those dimples were to die for! 😉
Let’s try something else now.
What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Karina: Frankly, my disability. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and have tried to make the most of my life, but it affects every part of it. I don’t wallow in that, but I can’t say I’m thankful for it, either.
Marie: Oh, no! 😥 I’m so sorry you have to deal with that, and I can’t blame you for getting discouraged. I have epilepsy, and I’ve definitely had to shape my life around that disability.
Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Karina: To be a published author, and of course, I did achieve it! It hasn’t been what I expected in that it’s not as glamorous as Hollywood makes it look. Unless you’re well-known, you don’t get a nationwide book tour or a call from Oprah. Authors have to put in a lot of time marketing their work, but I’ve come to enjoy that.Marie: True enough! I don’t think most people realize how difficult it is to make a name for yourself in the publishing world.
So, who is your role model, Karina?
Karina: My parents.
Marie: Lovely! I know my folks were definitely an influence on my outlook with regards to how ‘love’ should be, and I can blame them for my interest in writing romance. At least a little. (Chuckles.)
Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Karina: Nobody truly likes everyone they meet, but I try to be polite, regardless. Some test that, though!
Marie: For sure! But I like your attitude…we need more of that in the world these days. 😀
Let’s try another question.
What is your deepest desire?
Karina: To be faithful to God.
Marie: All right.
So, tell me something, Karina. What is your greatest fear?
Marie: 😯 Wow, I didn’t see that one coming! Though I guess they are a bit freaky.
I want to try something different next, Karina…
Readers, let’s shift somewhat and get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.
We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Charlee Stoll. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?
Karina: Charlee works as a physical therapist at a senior center, where her dad lives. She moonlights as a trainer for her alma mater’s football team. At age 29, she’s still single, quietly holding a torch for her high school sweetheart.
Marie: Nice! I love second chance stories!
So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?
Karina: She’s loyal and devoted to her family.
Marie: Commendable, of course!
And what are her greatest weaknesses?
Karina: She can act in haste, which sometimes leads to disaster.
Let’s try something fun, shall we?
What are some of her favorite foods?
Karina: Brownies, coffee, and ice cream—anything sweet!
Marie: (Chuckles.) Oh, I definitely have a sweet tooth too!
How about another question?
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Karina: She’s open-minded and trusts people, often giving them the benefit of the doubt.
Marie: Not such a bad trait!
Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Karina: I hope they’ll like her because of her mix of innocence, tenacity, and caring nature.
Marie: Works for me!
Now that we have a real taste of Charlee, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.
What first gave you the idea for Forgetting My Way Back to You?
Karina: Forgetting My Way Back to You is comprised of parts of my first book, which was about a woman who developed selective amnesia after a head trauma. As young as I was—eighteen—when I started, I’d already experienced some events I wouldn’t have minded forgetting, just to be free of that baggage. Thus, like many stories, it began with the elusive ‘What if?’.
Marie: Gotcha! Many of my stories launched that way.
Interesting how the muse works, huh?
Let’s try something else.
What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Karina: Pantster all the way! I enjoyed improv in high school drama class, and that’s how I write. It’s all extemporaneous. I think on where I am in the story throughout my day and sit down with a generic idea of where I want to go, but I never know the details until I’m in the moment.
Marie: Sounds like quite a ride!
How about another question?
I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Forgetting My Way Back to You or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Karina: It took me nine years from the time I started it to when I signed the contract, so it was a long process. As far as writing it went, I couldn’t find satisfaction in it for a good while, and I think my maturity level played into that. I didn’t have enough experience to write good conflict, so it kept coming out as pretty childish. All in all, though, I wouldn’t change it because I learned a lot about myself and my craft.
Marie: I know what you mean. My first historical romance took me nine years to write too, and I definitely matured as a woman throughout the experience.
Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Forgetting My Way Back to You appears to be. Congratulations on your new release, since it just came out in mid-October!
Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this modern romance by Karina Bartow, a talented author!
When Charlee Stoll loses all memory of him, Hunter Jett knows his mistakes led to this moment. Though tempted to give up on their future together, he’s determined to use the twist to right his wrongs.
Through charm and deception, can he win back her love…before she discovers the truth?
Karina is also offering us a peek of the book!
After finishing off the Tuscan chicken and other treats from the buffet table, Hunter and Charlee wandered outside to look at the estate’s breathtaking gardens. In the last seconds of daylight, the colorful flowers’ bright petals stood out under the darkening sky. The staff members around them were busy deconstructing the sites where the two ceremonies had taken place and didn’t notice them at all. A few other guests strolled the grounds, too, but on such a large property, they crossed paths just once with each of them, leaving them alone for the most part.
They came upon a stone bridge, which no doubt had played a part in many weddings and photos over the years, and the two stopped to observe the scene. With the sun dipping out of sight, the stars came out in full display. The lit-up mansion softened the aura of everything that much more, showcasing the late Pennsylvania summer at its best.
“I didn’t think it could look any more beautiful,” Charlee mused aloud.
Hunter wanted to tell her that he thought the same every time he saw her, but he feared it would intimidate her.
“How’d you know about this place, anyways?”
He contemplated his reply, again worrying his honest answer would force her away, but he took the chance. “My grandfather took my grandma here on their first date, and because he’d heard the story of how it swept her off her feet, my dad gave it a try with Mom. Considering that my grandparents stayed together for over sixty years and my folks just celebrated their thirtieth, I figured it’d be a good choice. It beats taking you to a dance where everyone’s pushing us apart, at least.”
“Yes, that’s where we went wrong,” she joked. “But can crashing a wedding set us up much better?”
Hunter chuckled and shrugged his shoulders. “Well, if my family’s tradition doesn’t work out, maybe your dad’s motto will come true: ‘It isn’t about the way you started…’”
“‘It’s the way you finish that matters.’” She completed the proverb her dad had drilled into her head since her days of learning to walk.
He gave her a considering look, trying to discern how far he should take the romancing, before he extended his hand. “Speaking of which…”
She’d resisted taking his hand the whole evening, but she relented, letting him lead her back towards the carriage house. He veered off to the side instead of going into the building, where they could hear the opening words of ‘Wonderful Tonight’ playing inside. He took hold of her, and they danced under the moon the way they had years earlier.
“Was any of this an accident?”
“I may have made a request to the deejay,” he remarked with a grin. “Other than that, though, I could only hope you’d agree to come here with me. That said, I don’t think you and I being together can ever be called an accident.”
History repeated itself once more when he leaned in to kiss her. The same sparks flew, but this time, they glowed brighter.
Wow! I’m curious to find out what happens next in this book… 😀
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/bWzOPq
We’ll be sure to get a copy of this contemporary romance! ♥♥♥
Karina Bartow grew up and still lives in Northern Ohio. Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her. Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters that have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want. Her debut novel, Husband in Hiding, was released in 2015 and was well-received by readers. She’s excited about her new love story, Forgetting My Way Back to You, available now from Vinspire Publishing. She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart!
And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Karina Bartow, here are some author links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Karina-Bartow/e/B076L4FCGV/
Once again, I want to thank Karina Bartow, the brilliant author of this romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work!
Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Here is a great new film release by writer and director Bethany Ashton Wolf. Please help me in welcoming our first theatrical release to this romance blog! Forever My Girl, a family romance with a touch of music and drama, releases in theaters tomorrow. How exciting!
That’s awesome! Congrats on your new release! 😉
Roadside Entertainment and LD Entertainment are giving us a look at their romance film, Forever My Girl, today.
Great movie cover! So romantic!
This is the info on Forever My Girl:
Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind.
Roadside Entertainment and LD Entertainment are thrilled to debut the full-length theatrical trailer for the uplifting family romance Forever My Girl which will be released wide in theaters on January 19th. Forever My Girl is the 7th collaboration for the two companies including multiple Academy Award® nominee Albert Nobbs and Biutiful.
Written and directed by Bethany Ashton Wolf, and based upon the novel by Heidi McLaughlin, the film stars Alex Roe, Jessica Rothe, Abby Ryder Fortson, Travis Tritt, Judith Hoag and John Benjamin Hickey. The film was produced by Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon and Jennifer Monroe. Executive producers are Alison Semenza King, Nicole Stojkovich and Zach Tann.
Check out the movie trailer here!
We also have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak with the director of the film.
Marie Lavender: Hello, Bethany. Please have a seat.
Bethany Ashton Wolf: Hi, Marie! Lovely to meet you.
Marie: It’s such a pleasure to see you here! Please tell us a little about Forever My Girl, your latest feature film. What steered you toward working on this project?
Bethany: Female writer to female writer, I’m liking it already! I’m someone that if I read a piece of underlying material, or I have an original idea, and I see the whole entire vision of the film from its inception in my wildly creatively busy brain– aesthetically, audibly, all of its characters, their arcs, back stories, the details in every single scene from what they are wearing to what’s playing on the radio to what’s cooking on the kitchen stove, and I’ll see it in all three acts–I’M IN. I’M OBSESSED. YOU CAN’T STOP ME FROM WANTING TO WRITE AND DIRECT THE FILM. I’M IMMEDIATELY IMMERSED IN THAT NEW WORLD, AND I CAN’T STOP MYSELF OR MY IMAGINATION FROM SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS IN EVERY DIRECTION. It’s a thrilling moment when that happens as a filmmaker. It’s just how my brain naturally processes everything around me, since I was a little girl, and I didn’t know that was even a job growing up. I thought everyone’s brains were making their lives more fantastical around them, filming it in their head, editing it, and making it into something more magical. So, when I see all of that, I HAVE TO GO IN AND PITCH FOR IT, and I was inspired to that degree when I read Heidi’s book (Thank you, Heidi!). I saw the whole world and all of its characters and set pieces, everything that I mentioned above, I saw it for the film version, and I just had to write the screenplay, direct the movie, and develop all of the music for the soundtrack.
Marie: Awesome! So, what is your target audience?
Bethany: Everyone who loves romance, family, friendship, community, redemption, good music, the beauty of a town that has each other’s back in good times and in the difficult times, and likes to laugh, be deeply moved, and fall in love. It’s a romance at its core, but it is also a father/daughter story, a father/son story, a mother/son story, a brother/sister story, a story about finding your way back home to your true self. So basically LIFE. So if you like life and good music, this movie is for you!
Marie: Nice! Have you directed a film or written a screenplay such as this in the past?
Bethany: I have been hired by studios to write other screenplays that involve romance and love, and I’m grateful to say that I always have had something new to say and explore about love in each one. All of my work, screenplays, shorts and my directorial debut film are romances at their center no matter what the genre because love is all there is if we peel it all away and be truthful with ourselves. I’ve written and/or directed films that are epic biopics, sweeping romances, character thrillers, satirical humor, dramas, I’ve even been hired to write films about organ trafficking and time travel, but at the epicenter of all of my films and screenplays, all of the things that we experience in life really concatenates to love, if you think about it. Love is universal. We are either falling in love, seeking love, recovering from the loss of love, or trying to find peace in life without having love of another but just being centered with loving ourselves. Life and everything we do is all really about love, don’t you think?
Marie: Of course!
So, I am curious about something. What was it like working with the cast/crew?
Bethany: I have such immense love for my actors and crew. I would go to the ends of the earth for them. I am by nature, a nurturer and protector. I am a lover, gusher, hugger, but I am also a leader, collaborator, visionary, communicator, and most of all an artist who stands in my truth. I go to great lengths to create an environment where we can all stand in our truth together, a safe haven for all of our artistry to shine together as we step into our pilgrimage of making a film together. I am an actor’s director but I am also a crew’s director. I love my whole team; they become my family, and I will advocate, protect, shield, and move mountains for them all. I’m their leader, and I take that job very seriously. I lead with love, and my goal is to have that love permeate through the whole set and all of production, on through all of my post. I’m a mama bear and they are all my cubs!
Marie: Sounds like quite a family!
As a fiction writer myself, I know location is everything in a story. Is there any special significance to the film’s setting for you? Was this filmed on story location, or on a set/in a different place?
Bethany: Ohhh, this film is a love letter to the place that I was born and raised, Louisiana. I did change the location in the film to Louisiana because I felt that in that whole vision I first saw for the film, this was my opportunity to show the world the beautiful, loving, gracious people that I was raised by and the homespun values I was raised on. The friends, family, and community that I paid witness to growing up, and still witness now when I go home to visit, they are a safe haven of love that truly has each other’s backs in good times and in the extremely difficult. And I think it becomes a love letter to all small towns and communities in our beautiful country of ours. And not just small towns, but the communities within bigger cities. It’s triumphant to witness how we take care of our own in this country in the good times and in the extremely difficult. I think it’s a beautiful reminder for us how wondrous and magnificent we are as a country in the light of all that is going on in the world right now. We have each other’s back, no matter what. We are of light and love in each of our communities; even when faced with great adversity and tragedy, take notice of how communities take care of each other and love each other all over the vast tapestry of our Americana.
Marie: Without giving away any spoilers, what message do you hope our readers might glean from this movie?
Bethany: Forever My Girl is a celebration of love, life, family, friendship, forgiveness, the power of music, and community. I want people to feel that they can always go back home, and that doesn’t necessarily mean literally home. It can, but it can also mean finding your way back to your own truth. That no matter where you are in life, you can always find your way back to your true self. Your authentic self. It’s never too late. And that you can laugh a little, cry a little, and sing a little on that pilgrimage home to self-discovery. And most of all, enjoy the ride! Sit down on your front porch with your family and friends and watch a sunrise together, take in a sunset. It’s there, every day for all of us to witness, no matter where we are in the world.
Much love ♥♥ Bethany
OMG! This looks perfect for ILRB readers.
Thank you for telling us about your new film! It looks great! 🙂
Bethany Ashton Wolf, born and raised in Louisiana, has been a screenwriter and feature film director for the past 15 years. She began her career in the indie world of filmmaking co-writing the controversial short, Don’s Plum, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. She wrote and directed 2 award-winning short films, The Burgundy Room, and Wait, followed by her first independent theatrical feature, the Cajun drama, Little Chenier, which won 21 awards on the festival circuit, including 10 Best Picture Awards and 6 International Best American Film Awards. She has had numerous screenwriting assignments for both independent companies and studios, including, On the 12th Day (Radio London Films), Bullrider (Free To Be A Filmmaker Entertainment), The Pilgrimage of Layla (Riche Productions), along with Other People’s Love Letters (CBS Films & Laurence Mark Productions) and Time Between Us (CBS Films & Schorr Productions). Wolf recently completed a festival run of her short film, Love Scene, based on her screenplay of the same name that chronicles the 25-year love affair of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. The short, in which she wrote and directed, won Best Short and Best Screenplay awards all over the world. Her current feature film that she wrote and directed for LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions, Forever My Girl, will be in theaters in January 2018, accompanied by the release of a country star soundtrack that Wolf developed for the film. Wolf is currently in development on another feature film for LD Entertainment, along with writing and directing her next feature film based on the best selling novel, Archer’s Voice.
Writer/Director’s Filmography: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0039192/?ref_=tt_ov_dr
Book Link: http://amzn.to/2tXS9G9
Thanks again, Bethany and LD Entertainment! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime, perhaps with your next film release.
Happy viewing, everyone!🙂
Hi, readers! As you know, the I Love Romance Blog is a place to celebrate all things “love”, including tips on romantic relationships, as well as reading love poems, exploring romance novels in the form of pre-order and new release features, blog tours, cover reveals, guest posts about romance writing, giveaways, and perhaps finding a new, favorite romance author. This year, we also started two cool new features. One was our ‘What Does Romance Mean to Me?’ guest post feature. We had a whopping 20 posts in that series! Plus, you can’t forget our ‘Heroes & Heroines’ feature, explaining some of the behind-the-scenes details about our favorite characters from romance novels. It has been an awesome year! Hopefully, the New Year will bring just as many new and exciting opportunities!
With 2018 approaching quickly, it becomes clear that we should reflect not only on the past, but also what the future may bring. This is a time of renewal and rebirth; it’s also an age of new beginnings. With the giving spirit of the season in mind, perhaps it might lead to the greatest challenge of all – forgiveness. Perhaps second chances are truly possible, hmm?
So, to honor how much we love romance as well, I thought we’d go a step further. Why not give readers a list of great second chance romance novels? Let’s get started, shall we?
[Disclaimer: These are simply suggestions compiled from titles I found on Amazon. They are merely meant to give you options for second chance themed romance books to read. I have neither read nor reviewed them.]
This list looks like a great set of novels to get us started for 2018. I love a good romance! 😉
Also, here is a second chance story of mine!
To fully honor 2017, I’d like to thank all the talented authors who stopped by to visit ILRB. I would also like to offer tons of gratitude to the dating companies and individuals who offered up relationship and dating advice to our readers! Such a variety of posts this year! Additionally, we had 85 authors, either guesting or with books spotlighted, on our blog alone this year. Many thanks to our readers as well, for giving the I Love Romance Blog a chance!
Here are some highlights from 2017:
New Release/Book Features
http://www.startdating.dk/awards/romance-blogs-award-2017 (You can still vote for this one!!)
Personal Book News/Reviews
https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/vote-for-a-romance-cover/ (You can still vote for this one!!)
Blog Hops & Personal Romantic Thought Posts
What Does Romance Mean to Me? Series Feature
Heroes & Heroines Series Feature
Well, I hope we’ve given readers some new novels to check out, as well as fascinating romantic posts to glance over.
I wish you all the best in 2018! Happy New Year!
I’ll catch you on the other side…and happy reading! ♥♥♥
I am pleased to announce a great book release by Laura Barnard, an author I met during my journey! Her romantic comedy, Excess Baggage, officially released today!
Yay! That’s awesome! Congrats on your new release! 😉
When a new book comes out, it’s always an exciting time for an author!
Laura is giving us a look at her modern romantic comedy, Excess Baggage, today.
Such a great cover!
This is the blurb for Excess Baggage:
Stuck in a dead-end relationship, Erica Bennett finds herself daydreaming of her first holiday romance. She was fifteen, it was exciting, new and full of possibilities…and Jack Lawson was hot as hell. That kind of thing leaves a mark.
So when her friends suggest a girls holiday to Luna Island, it’s exactly what she needs to take her mind off things. What she doesn’t expect is to spot Jack – a much older, hotter version of him – across the hotel lobby.
Their attraction is still there and it isn’t long before sparks fly, but fifteen years is a long time. They aren’t the same people they were back then and besides, it’s only a week, right?
Is it a second chance at something real or will their excess baggage ruin their shot at love after they leave Luna Island?
And here are some teasers to entice you with.
What people are saying about this book:
“An absolute must read this summer!” – Lady Living in Bookland
“Quintessential British humor; I felt like I was on a girls holiday with my own chicks.” – Perusing Princesses Book Blog
“Almost made me pee myself, I laughed so hard!” – Shelly’s Book Corner
Universal Amazon link: myBook.to/ExcessBaggageLB
Wow! Love the hotness here. ♥♥♥
Thank you for telling us about your book, Laura! I know I can’t wait to read this romance! 🙂
♥♥♥ EXCESS BAGGAGE RELEASE DAY GIVEAWAY! ♥♥♥
Head on over to Laura’s Facebook page to enter her release day giveaway, and have a chance of winning a signed paperback of EXCESS BAGGAGE and a $5/£5 Amazon gift card!
Woo hoo! Sounds great! 😀
Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book!
Laura Barnard lives in Hertfordshire, UK and writes romantic comedy or ‘chick lit’ as it’s so often described. In her spare time she enjoys drinking her body weight in tea, indulging in cupcakes the size of her face and drooling over hunks like Jamie Dornan, Ryan Gosling and Leo Dicaprio.
She enjoys wearing yoga pants and reading fitness magazines while sitting on the sofa eating chocolate. She’s a real fan of the power nap, loves setting her friends up together and, of course, READING!
She writes not to get rich or famous, but because she LOVES writing. Even if one person tells her they enjoyed her book it makes the midnight typing worth it!
She’s an Amazon best seller and also the winner of Favorite British Author 2016 – Two Peas in a Pod Reader’s Choice Awards and Favorite Romantic Comedy Author 2016 – Obsessed with Books Indie World Awards.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Laura-Barnard/e/B00E4WTI26/
Thanks again, Laura! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime.
Happy reading, everyone!🙂