Audio Review: Love in the Afternoon by Alison Packard

love in the afternoonHero: Sean Barrett is the sexiest soap star on TV. His father — an amazing actor in his own right — is embarrassed that Sean spent ten years of his life acting for a lowbrow soap, and tries to get him to audition for Hollywood hits. Sean refuses to use his father’s connections in the industry to get ahead and purposefully avoids leaving the soap for greener pastures. He and his father do not get along. Sean sees every attempt to reconnect as an attempt to manipulate him. His father’s pull is so strong others have tried to get close to Sean in order to get close to his father, something Sean finds distasteful. His fame-seeking ex-girlfriend has left a bad taste in his mouth and he’s determined to avoid his sexy new costar at all costs… until he realizes she wasn’t hired for her pretty face but for her acting skills. Then all bets are off.

Heroine: Kayla Maxwell’s biggest career move in seven years has been to accept a contract with daytime’s most popular soap, A New Dawn. It will give her the chance to show her acting chops and perhaps prove to her manipulative ex-boyfriend – also an actor — that she’s more than a bimbo in some B-rated slashers. Things seem to be going well, because the producers are expanding her role and slotting her character as Sean’s character’s newest love interest. But when real terror comes to the set, Kayla doesn’t know what to do. A hateful fan leaving threatening notes for her to quit the show and get out of town has escalated into vandalism and hints at more. Her handsome costar wants to keep her safe and Kayla is inclined to let him.

Review: Found this treasure on Audible for free one day and snagged it. I’m glad I did. I very much enjoyed the narrator. Gia St. Claire did an excellent job and I would listen to another book read by her.

I liked how the lines of dialogue at the top of each chapter reflect the growing attraction and love the two shared as both the main characters and their on-screen personas. I would classify this romance as sweet, despite the crazy fan mystery. I thought Sean and Kayla were great together on and off the stage. I liked the behind-the-scenes-look at filming day time soap operas with new tapings each day and the two’s interactions in the evening studying their lines.

The mystery is pretty good at keeping you guessing who is behind the threats. I won’t give you the choices, but I know I kept bouncing back and forth on it for a good portion of the novel. There’s a significant portion of page time devoted to Sean’s friend, Matt, a baseball player with some serious issues involving the death of somebody (wife, child?). It’s a clear setup for the next book in the series. Perhaps with Kelly, Kayla’s sister?

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Love in the Afternoon (Feeling the Heat)

Review: Great Aunt Sopia’s Lessons for Bombshells by Lisa Cach

lessons for bombshellsReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This story takes place in Pebble Beach, California. Grace Cavanaugh has come for the summer to take care of her great aunt. As she takes care of Sophia, she’ll also be working on her dissertation. Sophia was what used to be called a “B” actress. If you follow this link, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B_movie, it will give you the definition of what a “B” movie and a “B” actor is.

With Grace going after her Ph.D. in Women’s Studies, I’m a little surprised at how she feels about herself. Her time with her aunt is starting off with a real bang – she meets her aunt’s personal assistant. Darlene has quite the personality. You will have to read in order to understand.

As Darlene takes Grace, and her friend Cat, up to see her aunt they meet Declan O’Brien. He’s Sophia’s financial advisor and “friend”. When they finally meet the aunt, two words come to mind – “hot ticket”. Their first “debate” is both intellectual and funny. Sophia shoots straight from the hip and takes no prisoners. She says what she feels no matter who gets hurt.

You will find that Lisa uses some big words with Grace’s character. If you don’t know what they mean, just keep a dictionary handy. Don’t let them put you off – they show you how intelligent Grace is. Declan is a plain spoken man but it will be interesting to watch his interactions with Grace.

Great aunt and niece make a bet and this is where the fun begins. Now make sure that you don’t miss a page otherwise you may miss something good. Lisa also has you chuckling especially when we see Grace hide some food. We also get to see some of Grace’s research. She could just make note of it in the story and move on but she gives the reader actual snippets of Grace’s research notes.

Lisa has made Declan a man who is full of himself. He seems to be someone that most women would stay away from – if you’re looking for a lasting relationship. He and Grace have a love/hate relationship. We’ll have to continue reading to find out who teaches who a lesson. This is what makes it tough to put this book down.

Lisa takes on a very hard subject in her book – women and their weight. Women just have so many issues and I was brought up in the age where there were two things about women that were off limits – a woman’s age and her weight. Lisa doesn’t get preachy but does show how family can be when one of their women is just a little too curvy.

If you have never read any of Lisa’s work, this is a great piece to cut your teeth on. You can also check out her web site, http://lisacach.com/, and see what else she has available. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Great-Aunt Sophia’s Lessons for Bombshells

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Get into Bed with Belinda Jones (Author Interview)

This interview is with author Belinda Jones on her newest book California Dreamers

Keira: If Stella, your heroine from California Dreamers, were to give women advice on love, what would she say? Would she share it in make-up terms?

Belinda Jones: The Stella at the end of the book would probably say that sometimes you have to set aside your ego and really try to put yourself in your man’s shoes and think of the situation from his point of view. It’s so easy to get hurt and reactionary when a man doesn’t meet your romantic ideals but sometimes a tantrum of emotions can obscure a deeper truth. Also, I think she would say, ‘Never give up hope. Life can always surprise you. Especially when it comes to love.’

In make-up terms… Hmmm. I don’t know about metaphors but I think she would dare you to share your make-up free face with your guy asap. It’s nice to be complimented when you are all glammed up but there is nothing better than feeling accepted and adored just as you are, flaws and all. It helps ease the crazy shame we feel for not being perfect.

Keira: Why does Stella want to transform herself?

Belinda: I think physical transformations are sometimes less about beautification and more about seeing yourself in a different light. If you can look different, you can be different – make different choices and have a different life. Stella needs a break from the lackluster person she has become. She wants to experiment with taking on the appearance of someone bolder and more daring. The kind of person a certain movie star might find attractive…

Keira: Good friends are important. What makes Marina such a good friend?

Belinda: I think fundamentally her word is good – if she says she’ll do something or promises something, however far-fetched or fanciful, she’ll find a way to make it happen. She’s definitely generous and open-hearted and pretty down-to-earth for a movie star! She may be hot-headed, even a little scheming, in her matchmaking but it is well-intentioned. I hadn’t thought of this until now but I would like her as a friend – I admire her appetite for life!

Keira: In a sentence or two tell us about the men in their lives!

Belinda: Well, the two women in the book have something in common in that they have both fallen head over heels in love with military men – sailors in the US Navy to be precise. The book takes a look at the other side to the Officer & A Gentleman fantasy though I shall never be able to deny the appeal of that immaculate white uniform! Plus there’s also actor/bon vivant Milo, offering rather decadent temptation…

Keira: What is your favorite scene in California Dreamers? Did you have to cut anything out you wish you could have kept?

Belinda: I think my favourite scene is when Stella first meets Milo in the lavender field in Ojai. There’s just something so dreamy about that purple haze! (Yet all decorum is lost thanks to those impertinent bees!) I also liked their banter – I didn’t expect the conversation to go that way but it took on a life of its own, which is really the most fun aspect of writing!

I don’t think I had to cut anything major this time. Sometimes I get carried away with ‘fascinating’ facts during my research and I did have to pare back an excess of Navy regulations on physical appearance. But it was nothing compared to the whole chapters I had to drop for On The Road To Mr Right – fortunately I could just paste them on my website as bonus material! (That said, I just checked my www.belindajones.com for them and they are no longer there. Jeez! I have to get more techno-savvy.)

Keira: What is your California dream?

Belinda: It’s actually very close to the book – that stretch of California coast from Los Angeles to San Simeon is just so magnificently uplifting, I’d love to be cruising along it right now with the real-life Jonathan and Bodie (the dog!), stopping off for romps on the beach at Santa Barbara and then ollalieberry pie at Linn’s of Cambria. The reach-for-the-stars dream would be to swim in the Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle. I wish I could have a book launch there and invite all my lovely readers, all dressed in Forties finery sipping vintage champagne!

Keira: What’s next for you?

Belinda: Good question! It looks like the next novel will be set in the ski resort of Cortina in the Italian Dolomites but I’m looking into a few fabulous twists!

Buy: California Dreamers (UK)

Review: The Redhead Revealed by Alice Clayton

This is book two in the Redhead quartet (possibly a quintet). It is not a stand alone but part of a series. You do need to read book one, The Unidentified Redhead, as book two continues immediately where book one ends.

When we left them last Grace Sheridan had just been hired on to be the star in an off off Broadway production in New York City while Jack Hamilton stayed in California and was fast becoming the next Robert Pattinson and creating a frenzy among women ages 7 to 77 the world over. The two agree to do the long distance relationship thing and that’s where we start.

Grace loves being onstage again. She’s working hard and loves her part as Mabel. She’s singing, acting, and dancing with joy and satisfaction. Her old flame from college, Michael, is the show’s producer and writer and the two fall right back into being the best of friends talking in code with lots of inside jokes. Offstage Grace is exploring the city and misses her George terribly.

Jack is crisscrossing the USA and Atlantic Ocean for multiple interviews and press junkets promoting Time, the first movie in a Hollywood blockbuster smash about a sexy time traveling scientist. His manager refuses to let him tell the masses that he’s got a girlfriend (something which Grace is relieved about) and so uses the interviews to send coded messages instead.

The two get by on phone sex… but phone sex loses its charm and novelty and soon only an in person appearance will do. I feel bad for the chauffeurs!

Tensions rise when the paparazzi leak rumors and photos to various fansites and media. Will the two survive or will this along with Grace’s insecurities about the 9 year age difference pull them apart for good?

I gobbled this installment up so fast I got heartburn. ;) I’m ready for more Crazy and Sweet Nuts. When’s the next Redhead coming out?

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Redhead Revealed (The Redhead Series)