Oct 242014
 

 

 

 


Product Details:

Book Title: Loving Lucianna: A Hearts in Autumn Romance  

Author: Joyce DiPastena

Category: Adult fiction, 223 pages

Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Sable Tyger Books
Published: October 11, 2014
ASIN: B00NG8NWGW
FTC, FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

About the Book:

Sir Balduin de Soler gave up long ago on love. He never had the means to support a wife until an unexpected advancement in his fifties allows him to reassess his future just as the lovely Lucianna enters his life.

Lucianna Fabio harbors a secret, painful memory from her past that has kept her unwed, as well. Now in her forties, she thought herself too old to marry until she meets Sir Balduin. Now suddenly their lonely autumn lives feel very much like spring again . . . until Lucianna’s brother appears without warning and threatens to revive the secret that will destroy Lucianna’s second chance at love.  

 

Loving Lucianna is the first in Joyce DiPastena’s new “Hearts in Autumn” romance series, medieval romances revolving around heroes and heroines “in the autumn of their years.” Because you’re never too old to fall in love!

 

 

Excerpt:

Lucianna gazed down at the three silver needles bedded against the red silk lining of the tiny but beautifully carved casket that held them, and nearly burst into tears. In the house of Siri’s first husband, a wealthy Venetian merchant, she had usually embroidered with needles of iron or bronze. These must have been shockingly expensive. Even with his prominent position in Triston’s household, the pins must have cost months of Sir Balduin’s pay. He still looked a little pale as he waited for her response, as though he had not quite recovered from the massive loss of his coins, but he also looked touchingly hopeful that they would please her.

 

Please her? No man had ever given her a finer gift. These would make her threads slide through cloth like butter.

 

Her lips trembled to thank him in the sweetest way for a couple in love, with a kiss that forgave everything in the past and promised only bliss in their future. But even as her feet quivered to carry her into Sir Balduin’s arms, Serafino spoke from where he gazed at the gift over her shoulder.

 

“There, you see, cara? You have been cross for no good reason. Today Sir Balduin lavishes silver needles on you. Tomorrow it will be gold threads for your embroidery and silk gowns for you to wear and black pepper at every meal, imported all the way from Venice.”

 

Lucianna shrank at her brother’s words. They were only a reminder of the poison he would pour into her marriage if she allowed the needles to melt her heart, as she had the sweet posy of flowers Sir Balduin had brought her after she had rebuked him for missing dinner.

 

She snapped the pretty little casket shut. “All I see is a man who expects me to sew my fingers to the bone for him. Shirts, hats—no doubt he will even want embroidery on his shoes!” She shoved the casket back into Sir Balduin’s hands. “No. I will not live my life as a drudge, just to wipe away the shame of never being a wife. Take him away, Serafino, out of my sight!”

 

She tried to slam the door of her bedchamber, but Serafino, who had stepped into the corridor outside to view the needles, stuck his foot on the threshold and blocked it from closing.

 

“Signore,” he said with a reassuring smile at Sir Balduin, “you must not heed her. I’m afraid I carelessly reminded her this morning that she is no spring maid as I sought to laud her good fortune in winning the favor of so generous a knight as yourself, but she took my remarks quite amiss. See, Lucianna, how I was right to praise him, though. You will lack for no luxury as his wife, while all he asks in return is to show off a bit of your fine embroidery to his friends. Be reasonable, cara.”

 

Lucianna determined to be anything but. If nagging and scolding and peevish rebukes had failed to break Sir Balduin’s affection for her, then she must leave him in no doubt that his “insulting gift” had broken hers.


My Review

 

It’s always a treat to run away from my troubles and escape in a lovely romance written by Joyce DiPastena. It makes the journey even better when you can revisit characters that you loved from Joyce’s other books. 

 

 Readers first met Lucianna in Illuminations Of The Heart as she was a minor character in Siri and Triston’s love story. Lucianna always intrigued me as I wondered why she acted the way she did. You knew that she had to have had a hard and painful past. This difficult past is the mystery that comes storming out in the middle of Loving Lucianna. The book starts with the serene picture of an “Autumn Romance” between Lucianna in her forties and Sir Balduin in his early fifties. As someone who fits into that age bracket, it was refreshing to read about a romance between people not in their teens or twenties. Of course it couldn’t stay perfect and wonderful too long because soon, Lucianna’s past comes to haunt her once again. Her older,half-brother Serifino, shows up to cause trouble and continue his blackmail of his sister. Serifino is a well- written fiend that readers will love to hate. Readers will be incensed as they “watch” Serifino manipulate every situation and person within his reach. 

 

 

I’ll not be giving away any more details now, but there will be many misunderstandings, deceptions and some very humorous scenes before this story plays itself out, leading to some sigh-worthy moments. Loving Lucianna is a must read for all of Joyce’s fan’s and for those wanting to read a clean medieval romance. I’m very excited to read more books in the “Hearts in Autumn Romance” series.

 

Buy Loving Lucianna now in ebook format from these booksellers:

Amazon Paperback and Kindle
Barnes and Noble Nook
iTunes (iBook)
Kobo
Smashwords


Praise for Joyce DiPastena’s Books:

“Illuminations of the Heart was truly superb. I was hooked by the first line, and in love with the hero by the third page.”
  — Donna Hatch, Author of The Stranger She Married

“Loyalty’s Web took me on a journey into the twelfth century that I will not soon forget. A tale of intrigue, manipulation, lust and conflict, this book was exquisitely written and showed how love can defy any evil that comes against it.”   
  –You Gotta Read Reviews

“Every story I read, written by Joyce DiPastena, makes me fall in love with this time period more and more. Medieval France is brought to life again, in this story about the fair maiden, Mathilde, and her handsome knight, Etienne.”
  — Sheila Staley, LDS Women’s Book Reviews

Picture Meet the author: 

Joyce DiPastena dreamed of green medieval forests while growing up in the dusty copper mining town of Kearny, Arizona. She filled her medieval hunger by reading the books of Thomas B. Costain (where she fell in love with King Henry II of England), and later by attending the University of Arizona where she graduated with a degree in history, specializing in the Middle Ages. The university was also where she completed her first full-length novel…set, of course, in medieval England. Later, her fascination with Henry II led her to expand her research horizons to the far reaches of his “Angevin Empire” in France, which became the setting of her first published novel, Loyalty’s Web (a 2007 Whitney Award Finalist).

Joyce is a multi-published, multi-award winning author who specializes in sweet medieval romances heavily spiced with mystery and adventure. She lives with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov, in Mesa, Arizona.

Connect with Joyce:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter

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Oct 222014
 

22588781 Painting Kisses

Author: Melanie Jacobson

Publisher: Covenant Communications

Published: October 2nd, 2014

ISBN13: 9781621088516

Paperback: 240 pages

FTC FYI: Received a PDF from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads Summary

Lia Carswell is good at what she does, even if it isn’t as glamorous as her old artist life in Manhattan. The popular waitress works hard in a small Salt Lake City diner, with the goal of easing her sister’s financial strain. And with her witty personality and good looks, she’s something of an enigma to the male customers who vie for her attention. Ever the professional, Lia keeps her distance, with one exception. Aidan is a breakfast regular, and his gentle, clever teasing draws Lia’s attention and builds an easy rapport between them, though Lia would never let their relationship get serious, especially since he’s not the only one trying to catch her eye. Her handsome neighbor Griff has been hinting that he wants more than a neighborly relationship.

Then her old New York artist life comes knocking, and an offer is made for a series of commissioned paintings. Lia knows it would ensure financial security for her family, but she doesn’t know if she wants that life anymore. When she undertakes one final project, she reawakens her heart and soul. And as she finds herself falling in love and needing an outlet more and more, she realizes her paintings might be her saving grace.

My Review

This book is darling.  I instantly liked Lia.  Her spunk and attitude were my favorite things about her.  I loved how the author gradually introduced us to her life, not spilling all her secrets out in the first chapter.  I appreciated Lia even more, getting to know her and those around her, and what she especially has gone through.  I also loved the men in her life.  As much as she didn’t want them around at first, they came anyway.  Aidan and Griff kept me guessing, I suspected something early about one of them.  I turned out to be right, but I loved how it all came about.  I also liked the turn the book took when Lia made her decision on who she liked and what to do with the news he shares.  What I really enjoyed were Lia’s painting scenes.  Also a particular trip up to the mountains with a certain character.  Lia came alive when she started painting again and it made a difference for those around her too.  Her story is a sad one, but again, I loved how Melanie revealed it all.  Melanie did a great job with these characters and as always, her writing is creative and fun.  The relationships with Lia and her sister and especially Chloe were my favorite.  I had a clear favorite guy for her, but don’t want to spoil anything for ya, it will give it away.  The romance and humor in Painting Kisses, as with Mel’s other books, is spot on.

4 out of 5 stars.  Another enjoyable book from Melanie Jacobson.  Can’t wait for more.

Author Links

Goodreads / Website / Twitter / Facebook

Purchase Links

Amazon / Deseret Book / Barnes and Noble / Seagull Book 

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Oct 212014
 

22299642 Remake

Author: Ilima Todd

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published: October 14th, 2014

ISBN13: 978-1-60907-924-6

Hardcover: 291 pages

FTC FYI: Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads Summary 

Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. By design, her life in Freedom Province is without complications or consequences. However, such freedom comes with a price. The Prime Maker is determined to keep that price a secret from the new batches of citizens that are born, nurtured, and raised androgynously.

But Nine isn’t like every other batcher. She harbors indecision and worries about her upcoming Remake Day — her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose who and what they’ll be.

When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is pulled between two worlds and two lives. Her decisions will test her courage, her heart, and her beliefs. Who can she trust? Who does she love? And most importantly, who will she decide to be?

My Review

Nine was picked on for being different in her batch of 20, but she always had Theron around to stick up for her.  Something happens that forces them apart, and Nine has to learn how to survive without him and learn how to live a life she has never known.  I know that doesn’t make any sense now, but I don’t want to summarize anymore than that, every page is so important, especially when Nine meets with the Prime Maker.  What I thought was interesting was each batch member is waiting to be Remade when they are 17, they could even chose a different gender if they wanted.  Nine really struggles with what her life should become, until life chooses for her.  Those who live in Freedom think they are free to choose, but are so wrong.

This book is very cool and intriguing.  I wasn’t sure what to think of Nine and her life in Freedom when I started reading, but I really ended up caring about what happened to her and those around her, especially when the story takes a different, but enjoyable, turn.  I loved how the author threw this new situation in for her (again, can’t tell, sorry).  I loved the characters that she meets in her new life and LOVED the ending.  Also, what really was happening in Freedom is mind-blowing and creepy.

4 out of 5 stars.  I was excited to learn from the author that there will be two more books!

Author Links

Website / Twitter

Purchase Links

Amazon / Deseret Book / Barnes and Noble

 

 

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Oct 172014
 

Truth is Relative 22739444 Product Details

  • Title: Truth is Relative
  • Author: J.J. Lyon
  • Series: Truth Inducer Mysteries
  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Gem Cache Publishing; 1 edition (July 26, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0990351203
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Book Description:

Anthony Blackwell’s “gift” compels people to confess their deepest secrets. It corrupts his relationships, derails his career and drives him toward eviction—until he becomes Anthony Bishop, private investigator. His first case drops him into a deadly family drama that will save him financially, if it doesn’t kill him first.

 

My Review:

I knew that I was going to love this story when I first read the back blurb and it described Anthony Blackwell’s “gift” that compels people to confess their deepest secrets. What a great twist for a main character! I have to admit that my favorite parts of the book were when Anthony had his little chats with people and they were spilling all kinds of thoughts and feelings to him. Some are downright funny, where others are kind of creepy; this is a murder mystery after all. 

 

There are two stories intertwined in Truth is Relative. One story concerns Anthony and his family, and the other concerns the attractive Danielle, her cousin Aria who is engaged to Danielle’s former fiance and his father Dennis. The mystery in the story is compelling and keeps the story moving until the shocking end where the killer is revealed. I really like Anthony, and hope that J.J. Lyon writes more stories with this P.I. and his “gift” that makes others gab if they want to or not.

 

  Reader Reviews:

“I love the premise of this book, it’s like PI Morrow meets Liar Liar.”

 

 

“This book reminded me of the stone movies Tom Selleck was in. It has the rough feeling of the west but is written smoothly so that it’s hard to stop reading. I’m hoping there is/will be more. Stefanie Andersen - Logan, UT 

 

“A very interesting and innovative plot.” Billie H – Lamesa, TX

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 EXCERPT

The Monday before Thanksgiving, my car disappeared. Or it might have been late Sunday night. The day was half over before I even looked outside. Instead I focused on an ugly painting until I realized I was hungry. I was out of bread and low on groceries in general. I cleaned my brushes, grabbed my keys, opened the front door, and stared at gray asphalt where my Mazda used to be. A few dead cottonwood leaves swirled there before the wind swept them off.

I didn’t bother calling the police. My car hadn’t been stolen, it had been repossessed. 

My cell phone buzzed. It was my brother, Bart. “Hey,” I said.

“Hey, Bro. How’s life in the Big City?” Bart wasn’t being ironic. Compared to our hometown of Jersey, Cheyenne was enormous.

“It’s good!” I stepped back into Sam’s Café and tried to think of something else to say. Something that would back up my lie.

“Great. When are you coming for Thanksgiving?” Bart asked.

 

My brain scrambled, too busy to pay attention. I didn’t need a car. The abandoned café was a great studio, with north-facing windows and indirect natural light. My work happened right at home.

My work was also stacked against the walls, waiting for a gallery to accept it. The art that was already in a gallery had hung there for months. I needed a day job. A car would help.

“Tony? Hello?”

“Huh?”

“What about Thanksgiving?”

“I don’t know yet.”

“Whaddaya mean? I thought you were your own boss.”

“Yeah, but I’m pretty …” I glanced out at the empty parking place. “It’s hard to get away right now.”

Bart was quiet, and when he spoke again he sounded unusually hesitant. “So how are you really?”

“Fine. I’m doing great.”

“Yeah, okay. You know what you need? A night out.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do. I can tell you’re depressed.”

“I’m not depressed.”

“C’mon, Tony. Think of everything we could learn about the beautiful women of Cheyenne.” Bart could afford to be fascinated by my new ability. He didn’t have to live with it.

“I’ve got to go get some groceries,” I said.

“Fine.” Bart sounded annoyed, but he didn’t argue. “Fine, I’ll talk to you later.”

 

I turned away from the café window and walked to my bedroom, which was actually a converted storage area in the back of the café. A walk-in cooler had once taken up most of the space, but it had been ripped out and sold the last time the place went out of business. There was room for a twin bed and a battered dresser from Goodwill Industries. I pulled my wallet from the top drawer and retrieved my old bike from the back of the building.

 

It was a cold ride to the store. Cheyenne’s legendary wind pushed against my side and cut across my hands. I’d forgotten my gloves. I zipped my jacket all the way up, stuffed my hands in my pockets, and kept pedaling, glad I had at least one useful talent. God gave me excellent balance.

My mind whirled as fast as my bike wheels, tallying my other useful abilities. I was decent at hanging Sheetrock, and I could tape and texture as long as the customer didn’t mind it a little antique and heavy. As for roofs, I’d done it all—patch, replace, steel, asphalt. If I had a truck I could rent myself out as a handyman. I could work in blissful isolation most of the time.

A gust of wind broadsided me. I went down in slow motion, shifted my weight, scuffed on the pavement with my feet. In the end my shoulder hit the road before I could pull my hands out of my pockets. The car behind me screeched to a stop and a woman got out. “Are you all right?” she asked.

“Fine,” I said. The front bike wheel spun uselessly. My arm hurt. I scrambled out from under the bike, trying to place the woman’s voice.

“Anthony?”

Recognition registered in my gut as much as my ears. I knew that voice. The last time I had heard it, its tone had been much angrier. “Hi, Heather,” I said.

“What are you doing out here in the cold on a bike? I heard you drove a hot Mazda.”

“Not today,” I said.

“I heard you got fired, too. Twice.”

Technically I only got fired once. The other time I quit before the ax fell.

Heather wasn’t in my fan club, but she wasn’t being rude, either. She was just under my influence. After thirty seconds in close proximity, people began confessing to me. I didn’t know why this began happening. For the first year or so, I didn’t realize it was happening at all. But as soon as my “gift” began manifesting itself, my life started rolling down a rocky slope.

“I almost drove by when you fell.” She brushed dirt from my sleeve. “I knew it was you and I don’t want to talk to you, but it looked bad.”

“It’s all right.” I stepped away from her brushing hand.

She didn’t leave. “Can I give you a ride? Please say no. I don’t want to be in a car alone with you, pretending I don’t remember how you—”

“No thanks.” I gripped the handlebars and pressed my weight on them a little. 

She nodded. “You wouldn’t accept help from me anyway. Bart, maybe, but not me.”

“I don’t need it. I’ll see you later, okay?”

“Okay.”

I rode the rest of the way to Safeway with my hands on the handlebars. My fingers numbed in the wind. The pain in my arm faded to a dull ache, and I shook off the encounter with my ex. In the store parking lot, the lights shone in the murky daylight. It was early afternoon, but the thick clouds fooled the light sensors into thinking it was dusk. I went inside the store and found some sandwich meat on sale and a package of rubbery cheese slices. I picked up some day-old wheat bread and waited in line behind a thin, fortyish man with a few days’ beard. He wore dirty jeans and a sweatshirt stained with what looked like motor oil. After thirty seconds, he turned to me.

“My wife left me this morning,” he said.

I nodded. If I didn’t acknowledge him, he would only repeat himself. Louder.

“She put her ring in my hand and said, ‘I’ve got to go to work.’ I said, ‘Can we talk about this?’ and she said, ‘It’s too late.’”

I nodded again.

“How can it be too late? Twelve years, and she can’t even talk about it? Isn’t twelve years worth a little discussion before you throw your husband in the garbage?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“I know I didn’t pay attention before. I mean, when she was going around all mopey and resentful. I just figured she’d work it out. And sometimes she tried to tell me something and I’d change the subject, ’cause I could only hear that her life sucked so many times—”

“They’re ready to ring you up,” I said, nodding to the sales clerk.

The man stepped forward. I stepped back. So far, ten feet looked like the magic distance. More than that, and most people were out of the range of my gift. Less than that and I was in the confessor’s bubble.

“Are you in line?” a young mother asked behind me.

“Yeah. I’m just, uh …” I glanced at the man, who was now deep into an emotional conversation with the salesclerk. Apparently I wasn’t far enough away yet. I took another step back. “That guy needs a little space.”

The mother peered at him. “Is he crying?”

“I think so.”

She shrugged. “It figures. I get it all day from these two.” She nodded to her cart. A baby in the front clung to the push bar and gummed it with a slobbery mouth. A curly-haired toddler sat in the main basket, his fist buried in a box of cereal. “Maybe they never get over it. ‘I need this,’ ‘I want that.’”

I nodded.

“And then their dad comes home and he needs dinner and he wants sex. Everybody’s gotta have something.”

I took a step forward.

“Can’t anybody see that I’m tired? Look at me. I haven’t had a shower in three days, and I’m supposed to be a sex goddess?”

I glanced at her. She was frumpy. “Looks like it’s my turn.” I stepped up to the counter the crying man had just left.

She followed me, closing the space I had opened between us. “I mean, I’m doing good to be conscious at the end of the day.”

“Maybe you should tell this to your mom.” I hoped to deflect her. I didn’t want to hear any more—not today.

“She’s in Alabama,” the young mother said. “Everybody I know has a mom who acts like a built-in babysitter, but I’m stuck here alone in the cold.”

“Ten fifty-four,” the salesclerk said in front of me. I dug my wallet out of my jacket pocket and handed some bills to her.

“You have the most amazing blue eyes.” The clerk leaned forward. This might have been interesting, if she were not sixtyish, wrinkled, and stinking of cigarettes.

I held out my hand. “Can I have my change?” 

 J.J. Lyon is a wife, mom, public relations professional and recovering journalist.

Her passion for prose and love of the American West are so intertwined; she doesn’t think she can separate them. When J.J. runs out of words, she reaches for her camera, takes off on a back road and returns home with a bucketful of inspiration.

She lives in a mountain valley with her husband, three children, some cats, two goats, a bird and a basset hound.

 

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Oct 142014
 

22343778 Wedding Cake

Author: Josi S. Kilpack

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Publish Date: December 30th, 2014

ISBN13: 9781609079321

Paperback: 368 pages

Culinary mystery

Reviewed by Mindy

FTC FYI: Received an eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary

When Sadie Hoffmiller receives a threatening, anonymous text message just days before her wedding, she is determined not to let it interfere with the celebration she has carefully planned for months. But when the threat changes from a distant fear to a frightening reality, Sadie realizes just how much she is underestimated the situation. Desperate to put an end to the game she has been forced to play, Sadie, her fiancé, Pete, and her children pull out all the stops resolved to stop running and see justice done. What they do not know, however, is just how far Sadie’s nemesis is willing to go and just how many people may be hurt in the process. There is no turning back for anyone in this riveting conclusion to the twelve-volume series, and the question becomes whether or not Sadie will have a future left when the game finally comes to an end.

Author and Reviewer Warning!

*Make sure you have read the first 11 books before you start Wedding Cake.  The gloves are off when it comes to holding back the details on the previous mysteries.  Some of the other book plots are revealed, especially the books that involve Jane.*

My Review

The word perfect doesn’t even come close to how utterly awesome this book is.  As much as I have been looking forward to reading Wedding Cake, I was also dreading it.  Not in a way that it was something I didn’t want to do, believe me, it was only because I knew Sadie’s story would be ending.  That being said, that never would have stopped me from reading and loving Wedding Cake.  I know all things must come to an end, like Harry Potter :), and WOW, what an end!   My heart raced, my head pounded, and my stomach hurt all while reading in anticipation, turning the pages as fast as I could.  As I read, I thought, what next!  Poor Sadie, poor Pete, poor everyone!

When I read the teaser chapter at the end of Fortune Cookie earlier this year, I knew this book was going to be a wild ride.  Jane has been keeping herself quiet for awhile, but she has been bidding her time.  I’m sure we all have been wondering what has happened to Jane since her last words to Sadie in Pumpkin Roll.  The books since have mentioned her, but in Wedding Cake, she makes her presence known right at the start, and is not holding back.  This will be spoiler free review, with no details given, but when you do get to read this, prepare your life for not getting anything else done until you finish this book.  The epilogue is so lovely, it had me smiling through my tears.

5 out of 5 stars.  This book is everything I wanted it to be with many surprises mixed in.  Again, Jane doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to Sadie and the people she loves.  It was fun to have the other book’s mysteries mentioned and their characters.  Sadie will forever be one of my all-time favorite characters, and Pete is including on that list as well.  Sadie is nothing short of amazing, as is the author who created her.

Author Links 

Goodreads / Website / Facebook / Twitter

Pre-order Links

Amazon / Deseret Book 

 

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Oct 112014
 

NotInTheScript-500px Not in the Script

Author: Amy Finnegan

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Published: October 7th, 2014

ISBN13: 9781408855539

Paperback: 367 pages

FTC: Received a paperback ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads Summary

Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.

Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.

When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.

This novel in the deliciously fun If Only romance line proves that the best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.

My Review

WOW! This book was so much fun.  I loved it.  Amy does a fantastic job of giving the reader a glimpse of celebrity life.  Emma is a fabulous character.  Her head is in the right place when it comes to the Hollywood scene, but her heart and personal life needed work.  She has been burned many times in the past, and is very cautious when she meets Jake (who is absolutely perfect for her).  I instantly loved Jake!  A down-to-earth guy who works hard, using his earnings for a good cause.  He and Emma start hanging out “as friends”.  Emma’s best friend stated for years that if she ever met “The Bod”, he was hers.  The Bod ended up being Jake Elliot, a co-star of Emma’s.  Emma feels guilty about the relationship.

I liked how this book was written with the point of view switches between Emma and Jake.  It was great seeing each other’s perspective on the events that take place.  I felt bad for Emma at times with all she had to endure.  Being a celebrity has a price.  She is taken advantage of by so many, including someone very close to her.  Jake was great for her in helping her see things differently, and just being a great friend.  However, many things are thrown at them as they try to see if they can be together.

5 out of 5 stars.  Not in the Script is a fun, clean book that you can give to your teens without worry.  I can’t wait for more from this talented author.

Author Interview

How do you know so much about the Hollywood scene?

I have a brother who has an amazing job: He works for Fox on their studio lot in Hollywood. Over the years, his behind-the-scenes stories about filmmaking have lit up my writer’s brain like bulbs on a Christmas tree, and one thing in particular that he said that inspired an important aspect of NOT IN THE SCRIPT. He told me about a film he was working on in which the villain of the story was played by one of the nicest guys he’d ever met (the actor would play basketball or just hang out with my brother during breaks, and he’d often talk about his family and friends), and the hero of the story was played by a skirt-chasing jerk with a filthy mouth. And then my brother said something like, “You wouldn’t believe how common that scenario is in this business.”

That’s when I went home and actually started writing. Additional concepts came into place quickly, but this was the spark that started a fire in me and became a central theme in the novel.

But I didn’t want to fake my way through the filmmaking scenes in the book. I needed to do some serious research in order to make things feel authentic. So on the production side of things, my brother gave me some amazing opportunities to not only tour dozens of sets, but to sit in on the productions of some of my favorite shows, such as Parks and Recreation and Parenthood. I have also been a fly on the wall during sound mixing for another of my all time favorite shows: Chuck! And I’ve also watched Foley artists work their sound effect magic for an episode of The Walking Dead. All along the way, I’ve asked countless (helpful!) crewmembers endless questions in order to get the technical details of NOT IN THE SCRIPT as accurate as possible. But it hardly felt like work. Every bit of filmmaking is fascinating, no matter which side of the camera you’re on. I can’t get enough of it.

And because I never like to do anything halfway, I also wanted to learn what acting was all about. For this, I went pretty hardcore and took lessons from an on-set acting coach who works with some of the largest studios. She is also an accomplished actress herself, having starred on a popular television show for over a decade. It was incredibly eye-opening, challenging, and entertaining. But I’ll definitely leave the acting to the professionals while I write in my quiet little corner!

Who was your favorite character to write?

Jake was probably my favorite character to write, because he entered my mind fully formed. Then I had to dream up a plot and a princess for him! Oddly enough, my connection to the male lead is always stronger in the novels I write, which is why I chose to write NOT IN THE SCRIPT in an alternating, first person point of view. Third person wouldn’t have felt close enough for me, and telling the entire story from Emma’s point of view wouldn’t feel true to the story, since it began with Jake!

While writing this book, was there a character that surprised you?

Two of them, actually. Brett and Kimmi both surprised me because I found a lot more depth to them with each revision of this story. It was almost like they were trying to say, “C’mon, Amy, you know I’m not that shallow. There’s more to me than you’re telling people.” I loved sticking them into any scene I could get away with, especially together.

How long did it take you to write Not in the Script?

After about a year of working on it, I finished my first draft in 2007. Crazy, right? This draft was just setting the bones down, and then I had to beef it up with more substance . . . but I also had trim it down, because the original draft was about 120k words. So that was a bit of tricky business. I also did a lot of my behind-the-scenes research after the first draft was completed; until that point, I wasn’t exactly sure which technical details I needed to know about filmmaking.

I also worked on several additional projects during the next five years. I would revise NOT IN THE SCRIPT, and then set it aside and work on something else so I would have fresh eyes when I returned to it. I did this many times over. But this was during the unusually-extended period in YA lit that was dominated by paranormal romances, so unless I had decided to make Jake spontaneously turn into a vampire, werewolf, dark angel, zombie, or fairy king, NOT IN THE SCRIPT would’ve had a slim chance of making it onto the shelves at that time anyway. So I just revised some more until publishers wanted contemporary romance again (:

What is next for you?

I’m currently revising what I hope will be the first novel in a historical fantasy series. The only “fantasy” element is that it takes place in a country that doesn’t actually exist, but I’m about to take my fourth trip to the UK where I’ve been doing some incredibly fun research for it!

Thank you, Amy!

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