Monday, July 30, 2012

My take on: Bloom

" I cried out that I wanted to leave her and run away. I wanted to take Lainey and my perfect world and this perfect love I had built with my two-year-old and our cupcake-baking days and our art projects and our beautiful bond and I wanted to run like hell. I wanted to be pregnant again. I wanted to be pregnant so bad. I wanted it to be the morning Nella was born, when I was happy and excited and when I wore the white ruffled skirt and black shirt and put it in the belongings bag knowing joy was to come. I wanted to go back. I wanted to go back. I wanted to go back." Pg. 17

January 22, 2010, was a life-changing day for Kelle Hampton. It was the day her her second child, Nella Cordelia, was born. The second Kelle saw her daughter for the first time she knew. Kelle knew her daughter had Down Syndrome. She wasn't sure how she should feel. Happy? Sad? Numb? Why can't she go back? When she was pregnant everything was hopeful. She had dreams for her unborn child. Will those same dreams come true now that her child isn't what she expected? Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected is Kelle Hampton's journey in coming to grips with Nella's diagnosis.

With her first child Lainey, Kelle didn't worry about how she was going to love her child. Lainey was healthy and beautiful. Lainey is acting like any normal two-year-old. She is excited about being a big sister. Her two-year-old brain isn't worrying about how the world will respond to Nella. But Kelle is worrying how the world will respond to Nella. Will people make fun of her? Will she be able to do all the things Lainey can do? And most important, can Kelle love her daughter the same way she loves Lainey? In those hours and days immediately following Nella's birth, all sorts of thoughts crossed Kelle's mind. She didn't want to think those thoughts.

A swarm of friends and family were constantly on hand to help soften the blow. Even strangers helped Kelle realize how lucky she was. Her child was alive when so many others in similar situations weren't. She has so much to be thankful for. She has two children, a husband, two stepsons, a nice home, and lots of support. She had friends and family who were willing to drop everything to comfort her. Not everyone is that lucky.

She's afraid of educating herself about Down Syndrome. She's afraid of learning all the potential health hazards. But she also seemed afraid of learning all the good things that can happen when raising a child with Down Syndrome. When she went to support groups, Kelle felt out of place. This wasn't for her she didn't belong, but eventually Kelle realized she did belong. But sometimes the book felt a little "woe is me." We hear mostly from Kelle. I wanted to hear more from her husband. He took it just as hard, but I wonder if he had the same thoughts as Kelle. Did he worry about loving Nella?

Visually, the book is very pretty to look at. The book is full glossy photographs of Kelle and her family. I think that's part of what kept my attention. At times the content didn't seem to go as deep as the photos. Kelle seemed to be wallowing in self-pity a little too much. But her honesty is refreshing. Yes she loves Nella, but how many parents would put their initial disappointment with their child in print?

Rating: Give it a try


Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (William Morrow) in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: The I have returned edition


As you might have guessed, I have returned from vacation. I was in Ghana for 10 days. I loved it and I will have a recap, with photos, in a couple of days. Being gone for 10 days, resulted in a lot of e-mails to return and ..... lots of books on my doorstep. Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Cindy of  Tynga's Reviews. Given my issues with The Story Siren, I decided to participate with this meme. It's all about sharing the books that you're adding to your shelves. Here is what was waiting for me when I returned:






- The Lost Button by Irene Rozdobudko and The Time of Women by Elena Chizhova are my first foray into Ukrainian and Russian literature.

- The Gap Year by Sarah Bird is a mother-daughter story.

- Justice at Cardwell Ranch by B.J. Daniels is a suspenseful romance.

-  The Nightingale Girls by Donna Douglas is about three young trainee nurses in 1930s London.

- The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson has been on my list for a while. I'm reading this as part of a blog tour.

- The Laugterhouse by Paul Cleave and Shunning Sarah by Julie Kramer are murder mysteries!! I'm a sucker for them.

- The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel is about family, lost love and baking.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My take on: Perfect Chaos

"I suddenly understand the true meaning of the word "situational." I know that I will no longer judge the "bum" on the street. It is not any more his fault that he hears voices than my fault for seeking pain. These people are true. This is them. This not an act. And it can happen to anyone." Pg 197

We've all done it, myself included. The "crazy" person on the street is talking to themselves or they're doing something weird. We look at the "crazy" person on the street with disdain. We wish they would go the other way or just get out of our way. You hope that they don't do anything dangerous. Sometimes it's hard to look at the "crazy" person as just a person. After reading Perfect Chaos by Linea and Cinda Johnson, perhaps I can look at them differently.

During her struggles with mental illness, Linea Johnson developed a deep understanding and empathy for others like her. However, it was a long and painful road to reach that epiphany.

Preparing for college was supposed to be the best time of Linea's life. She was going to a college in Chicago, thousands of miles from her family in Seattle. It was her time to really be an adult. She can make decisions for herself. She can do what she wants. It should have been a happy time. It was at first. She was thriving at school. She went out with friends and partied. But Linea's mind was chaotic. Feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide were beginning to take over her mind.

Is this a real problem? Or is this somehow normal for a young woman living away from her family for the first time. Initially, Cinda Johnson wants to believe her daughter is Ok. She wants to believe that whatever is wrong with Linea can be solved with love. If the family can show Linea how much she is loved, then everything will be fine. It seems like such a natural reaction. Who would want to believe something is wrong with their child? Linea grew up with both parents. She has a great relationship with her older sister. She is a gifted musician. Sure there were moments when Linea felt overwhelmed. In high school, Linea had a full plate with music performances and sports. Sometimes she felt a little anxious by all the work. She experienced some depression in high school, but it wasn't debilitating.

On the outside everything seemed perfect, but that's the image Linea wanted to project. She wants everyone to believe that everything is Ok. She can be a great student and a great musician, despite the mess in her head. But there reached a point when Linea couldn't control the mess anymore. Her parents couldn't ignore the mess anymore. But finding the right treatment for Linea proved difficult.

Linea was lucky in that her parents could afford medical care, but unlucky in finding the right treatment. Not all medications are created equal. What worked for someone else didn't for Linea. Some medications lulled her thoughts of suicide, but would make her feel sluggish. What kind of life can you have if you walk around like a zombie? Also, Linea wasn't always the model patient. She would stop taking her medication, all the while projecting an image of perfection. When the time came to discuss Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or as it is more commonly known electro shock therapy, I thought that's barbaric. I mean isn't ECT when you strap someone to electrodes and zap them with painful bolts of electricity? At least that's the image portrayed on television. I realize how wrong that is because ECT is often portrayed as a joke on TV and in movies. After reading this book, I know ECT is not barbaric. It is a very helpful form of therapy for someone who is suicidal. It can rewire a person's brain, and it is done humanely.

There is so much in this book, I could go on and on. It's told from Linea and Cinda's perspective. I love their honesty. Linea wasn't afraid to write what was on her mind, not matter how much it might hurt someone. She criticized her friends and family. I really felt like I was in Linea's head. I was believing her when she said she wasn't suicidal. In her mind, she was just trying to quiet the thoughts in her head. With Cinda, you could feel her helplessness when Linea was really sick and her hopes for the future. It's a very powerful book, one that I'm sure will help a lot of people struggling with mental illness.

Rating: O.M.G. !!!


Notes: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (St. Martin's Press) at the request of Wunderkind PR in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gone Fishin' !!!


No not literally!! I actually find fishing to be gross. But I will be out of town for a while. This will be my last post for the next two weeks. Sorry!!!! I will tell all about it when I come back and post pictures!!! I am taking several books with me, including the ones I've been reading for several weeks (Bloom, The Orchid House, Objects of My Affection, Perfect Chaos). The aim is to finish those while I'm on vacation, and post the reviews when I come back. I have 10+ hours of flying to look forward to.

I did my best to finish my reviews with a specific date. If I promised a time frame but not a specific date, I will write the reviews as soon as I can.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Please welcome Caitlin Rother


True-crime author Caitlin Rother is guest blogging today about her latest book Lost Girls.


Why I felt compelled to write LOST GIRLS
By Caitlin Rother

First I have a confession to make. After writing Body Parts, a book about serial rapist-killer Wayne Adam Ford, I really didn’t think I’d ever be able to stand getting into the head of another man like him, let alone one who had molested, raped and killed teenagers. I also have a standing rule: I cannot and will not write stories about young murdered children. I just can’t stomach it.
But on March 4, 2010, the day after John Gardner was arraigned for killing Chelsea King, and the same day he quietly told his attorneys he could lead them to Amber’s body (which remained a secret for six weeks), I got an e-mail from an editor from The Daily Beast, asking if I’d be interested in covering this case for them.
I said yes, and spent fourteen hours researching and writing the first article. The following week, I wrote a second one, which was difficult because District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis had issued a “gag order” e-mail, and the judge had also put an actual gag order in place. But, after watching my own community reeling from the emotional fallout of this case, I was feeling it too. I felt in my gut that I really wanted to tell this story – both sides of it, and very much in-depth.
For me to move forward and get past my own rule, I had to convince myself that Chelsea and Amber weren’t children, even though some folks might disagree. Still, because of their age and out of respect to their families, I knew I had to be extremely sensitive and thoughtful about how I wrote this book.
Following my usual methodology, I read every article and collected every piece of information I could, trying to determine if I could go further than the mainstream media. With the crazy amount of coverage, I was a bit worried at first. However, after a long series of calls and e-mails, I was able to persuade John Gardner’s family to open up to me. They were paid no money for telling me their story, they did it because they wanted it to be told accurately and in full detail, not in sound bites, and not taken out of context by the media.
Knowing that I could tell the back story of how Gardner evolved into the man who could commit these heinous acts, I felt I could go deeper than any reporter had gone before me. And despite the dark subject matter, the investigative passion of revealing new facts energized me. I felt this book was more important than some of my earlier works because people are so scared of losing their children to sexual predators, and I felt we could all benefit from knowing why this happens. We, as a society, seem to have so little understanding of these men and how to deal with them. For some, I believe, it is just too repulsive and difficult a subject to ponder, but burying our heads in the sand won’t stop these crimes from occurring.
The Gardner-Osborn family and I share a hope that this book will help educate people by delving into all the factors that contributed to making John Gardner into a man who could not control his sexual and homicidal compulsions, and by casting a spotlight on the flawed system that allowed him and predators like him to roam free to prey on children, teenagers and grown women.
Although they’ve since become pessimistic that anything they say will help, I’m still hopeful that the idealism that drove me into journalism years ago was right and true, and that this story will give unprecedented insight into all the facets of a sex offender like John Gardner—the sweet, nurturing, loving and goofy guy his family once knew, the guy who seemed friendly and normal to people at the dog park, as well as the angry, manipulative and violent man who brutally killed these poor girls.
I hope that we, as a society, can find ways to help people like him before they get to a breaking point or to stop them from doing harm after they’ve reached it. And I hope that with this book, we can learn something that will help protect us and our families from falling to the same fate as Amber Dubois, Chelsea King and Gardner’s third victim, Candice Moncayo, who lived to deliver a powerful victim impact statement to him during the sentencing hearing.
I did try to speak with Candice, as well as Chelsea’s and Amber’s parents, so I could pay a more personal tribute to each victim by hearing their stories directly rather than piecing them together from other sources, but they chose not to be interviewed. (I can’t tell these stories without writing about the victims and their families – they are why we tell these stories in the first place.) Instead, I respectfully crafted their stories from their own words in public comments to the media, public records and details I collected from interviews with law enforcement and other sources.
I understand that this was an enormously traumatic event in these families’ lives, and I hope they will understand that I had only good intentions in writing this book, that my goal was to educate people and to help prevent tragedies like this in the future. Some victims and their families have cooperated fully with me in my previous books, they have told me they found relief in doing so, and they have thanked me for my sensitive approach. I can also see that others might find it too painful to do the same. I’m sure these events are still fresh in their minds and that they are still grieving.
I think we all want to change the system in a positive way, to save lives and to keep this from happening again. This is my way, and I hope they find some peace and success in theirs.
About the Author:
New York Times bestselling author Caitlin Rother has written or co-authored eight books, including Poisoned Love (Kensington, December 2011), Dead Reckoning (Kensington, February 2011), Twisted Triangle (Wiley, 2009), Body Parts (Kensington, 2008), Deadly Devotion (Simon&Schuster/Pocket, July 2011), NYT bestseller My Life, Deleted (HarperOne, October 2011), and Naked Addiction (Dorchester, 2011). Her latest true crime project, Lost Girls (Kensington, July 2012), chronicles the rape and murder of two innocents, teenagers Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, by sexual predator John Gardner. Rother, a Pulitzer-nominated investigative journalist with more than 270,000 copies of her books in print, has also been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and The Daily Beast. She has done dozens of TV and radio appearances as a crime expert on Nancy Grace, the Jay Thomas Show, E!, the Oxygen Network; Greta Van Susteren’s “On the Record,” Investigation Discovery, “America at Night,” American Radio Network, XM and numerous NPR/PBS affiliates. Rother also works as a book doctor/editorial consultant and teaches journalism and creative writing at University of California, San Diego Extension.
To get your copy of LOST GIRLS by Caitlin Rother: http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Girls-Caitlin-Rother/dp/0786022183/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325862088&sr=1-1
To get your e-copy of LOST GIRLS by Caitlin Rother at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Girls-ebook/dp/B00746OUGS/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1339950947&sr=1-4
To view all books by Caitlin Rother: http://www.amazon.com/Caitlin-Rother/e/B001JS87ZC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
To learn more about Caitlin, go to her website: http://caitlinrother.com/
Visit Caitlin Rother on Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/CaitlinRother
Like Caitlin Rother on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Caitlin-Rother/190361197708434
About the Book:
The desperate search for two lost innocents, Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, led authorities to a brutal predator hiding in plain sight: John Albert Gardner, a convicted sex offender who could have been returned to prison several times over. Pulitzer-nominated writer Caitlin Rother delivers an incisive, heartbreaking true-life thriller about a case that galvanized its community, first by grief and goodwill, then by anger and injustice, as it came to grips with a flawed system that failed … and adopted a law that will forever change how we keep our children safe.(Kensington/Pinnacle, July 2012)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My take on: Burn Mark

Imagine being burned at the stake just for being different? Sounds horrible doesn't it? In Burn Mark by Laura Powell burning witches is the norm. If they step out of line or commit a crime, they risk paying the ultimate price. Even worse everyone gets to see you on television in that moment. Every one gets to point the finger at the big bad witch. The London Street gangs have been replaced by covens. Instead of Parliament we have Inquisitors, who make it their mission to rid society of the bad witches.

Yet another book outside of my comfort zone. I'm so used to contemporary books, it almost feels like I'm reading another language when I see the words "fae" and "witch." If you read a lot of books like this, you understand the terminology/mythology. I felt a little out of my element. Burn Mark isn't completely another language, because I found a lot of real-life situations in the book.

Fifteen-year-old Glory is just beginning to understand her powers as a witch or fae. She isn't very powerful yet, but she wants to be. Despite a recurring dream of being burned alive, Glory knows it's part of her destiny to lead the coven.

Lucas is "normal" by society's standards. His father is the top prosecutor for the Inquisitors. Like Glory, Lucas is also on a path to meet destiny. Lucas relishes a chance to see a witch go up in flames. He's supposed to follow in his father's footsteps. But that plan is derailed when Lucas develops the tell-tale mark. The mark of a witch. He's scared and confused. He has to tell his father, right? In this society witches are branded with cuffs, which detail the limits of their power. Lucas is much stronger than he realizes. Like any teenager he wonders about the consequences of being different. What will he do with his power? Will his father reject him? Will his friends still be his friends after they know?

The book alternates between Lucas' and Glory's point of view. Even after they band together later in the book, I connected more to Lucas. Glory is confident in her abilities. She is a strong character. She knows about the world witches live in. Everything is all new for Lucas. He's learning what it's like to be different for the first time in his life. Despite being one of "them," it's hard to get past his prejudices against witches.

Reading this book reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale and The Crucible. Burn Mark and The Handmaid's Tale are totally different, but both society's are so far from what is considered "normal." In both, everyone is split into specific groups. Some of those groups have privileges and some don't. I also saw Burn Mark as a paranormal take on the Salem Witch trials described in The Crucible. Just the mere suspicion of being a witch can ruin your life. The book was a little long for my taste (400+ pages), but there are still some good elements in the book.


Rating: Give it a try


Note: I received an e-galley of the book from the publisher (Bloomsbury) as part of a blog tour.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My take on: With My Body

I have to go there and bring up a certain book!!! Simply because I have nothing else to compare it to. Fifty Shades of Grey is all the rage in the book world. I've been tempted to read it........but I read an excerpt on Amazon and was appalled!! Not by the sex, but by how bad the writing was!! If I'm going to read a book with graphic sex scenes, it would be nice if the writing was actually good.

The writing in With My Body by Nikki Gemmell is actually good. Her writing style does take some time getting used to. The "chapters" are really lessons for a middle-aged woman who has lost herself. The lessons are very short and to the point. It's also written in the second person, which isn't my favorite. I'm so used to books in the first person. I'm just torn on the book as a whole.

The story is one that a lot of women can relate to. A middle-aged wife and mom of three is stuck in a passionless marriage. The former attorney is now a stay-at-home mom, reduced to petty spats with other mothers on the P.T.A. She and her doctor husband, Hugh, have stopped communicating. She gets herself lost in a sea of laundry, cooking, church, and shuttling the children to school. Pieces of her psyche are locked away. The pieces that once desired sex and passion. In a way Hugh has already served his purpose, he gave her three children.

In her youth she seemed confused about sex. Long after her mother passed away, her father married a woman who wanted nothing to do with her stepdaughter. She's made to feel like an outsider in her own family, and her father let it happen. She knows her father loves her, but there is something missing in her life. She needed guidance. Her first sexual experience, at age 14, TOTALLY creeped me out. It was with an older man, who in my opinion preyed on her. She feels sensual and empowered by him, which I found GROSS!!! A 14-year-old shouldn't feel that way with someone who is old enough to be her father. I don't know if it was Nikki Gemmell's intent for this section of the book to be erotic? Or for readers to see this man for the pedophile that he is? She continues to explore that side of herself before she's even turned 18. By the time she is a married woman that sense of empowerment is gone. She becomes a bit of a whiner.

A lot of women will be able to relate to the themes in this book. The main character has lost herself in motherhood, putting herself last on the list. But.....finding comfort in a pedophile is just icky!!! I wonder if this book is semi-autobiographically or based on someone the author knows. If there is some truth to the story maybe the author is highlighting how naive and vulnerable teenagers can be. If you're offended by graphic sex scenes, then this book isn't for you. I'm a newbie to the genre and I'm not offended. I'm just a little confused by the book.

Rating: Give it a try. (It was so close to being Superb!!)


Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Harper Perennial) as part of a blog tour with TLC Book Tours.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

One Breath Away Scavenger Hunt!!

Hello all!! Today it's my turn to host the Scavenger Hunt for One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf ....

"…but for some reason I’m the only one who has figured this out and I’ve only lived here for eight weeks and everyone else has lived here for their entire lives. Except for maybe Milana Nevara, whose dad is from Mexico and is the town veterinarian."

For the next stop on the tour visit: http://booktrib.com/booktrib-blog-tour-nyt-bestselling-author-heather-gudenkaufs-one-breath-away-one-school-one-gunman-your-child/ 


And......be sure to check out Heather Gudenkauf's live chat....


My take on: One Breath Away

In the small town of Broken Branch, Iowa, everyone knows each other. There is a routine to life in Broken Branch. For Will Thwaite it's running his farm and looking after his grandchildren, Augie and P.J. For Meg Barrett it's a career as a police officer and a life as a single mom to her daughter Maria. For Evelyn Oliver it's a career as a third-grade teacher. But in an instant, life will change for the entire town in One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf.

In the midst of a snowstorm, a lone gunman stalks through the school, eventually taking Mrs. Oliver's class hostage. The action starts right away. Holly gets a frightening call from her daughter Augie. The call that no parent wants to get. Augie is being held hostage and she is calling her mother to profess her love. She's calling to say goodbye, something Holly refuses to accept. Holly is in the hospital recovering from burns suffered in fire. The only thing keeping her going is her children. Once she is out of the hospital, Holly and her children can be a family again.

Just reading the first few pages, I could picture everything in my head. It was like a suspenseful movie being played out. Holly is just a teenager but is already faced with her own mortality.

As the news slowly spreads across the town you feel the vulnerability of all the characters. Meg is fortunate that her own daughter was out of school that day. But a rumor that someone close to Meg is the gunman. She doesn't want to believe it. I didn't want to believe it. His name was thrown out there with several others. Everyone tells law enforcement a different story, demonstrating how hard it can be separate fact from fiction in situations like these. No one wants to believe it can be someone they know. It has to be an outsider. Only an outsider could break the harmony in Broken Branch.

Augie is an outsider. Life in Arizona with her mom and P.J. was so much easier. She doesn't want to live on a farm and she doesn't want to like her grandfather. Her mother filled Augie's head with stories of how hard farm life was. P.J. on the other hand loves life on the farm, and loves his grandparents. In Augie's mind, she and P.J. are just killing time in Broken Branch. But Augie puts her teenage angst aside, to search for her brother. Twice Augie has a chance to escape, but doesn't take it without trying to rescue P.J. That redeemed her character for me. She spends too much time hating her grandfather and his lifestyle. She suddenly becomes a vegetarian because he breeds cows. She won't say I love you. She won't show him any small measure of kindness. Being mean to Will is her idea of loyalty to her mother. But whenever P.J. is in danger or just needs help, that selfishness goes away.

There are lots of interesting subplots, but most of the suspense takes place in Mrs. Oliver's classroom. The chapters alternate between the point of view of several characters. Every time Mrs. Oliver took over the narration, I devoured those chapters. Mrs. Oliver is like a mother bear protecting her cubs. Internally, she is scared but doesn't want the kids to know. She stands up to the gunman at every opportunity. If she can get the gunman to focus his anger solely on her, then the kids might make it out alive.

By the end I was anxious to know who the gunman was. What is his motive? Why take children hostage? Just when I thought I knew who he was, it was just another red herring. The identity of the gunman seemed to come out of nowhere. He's a character in the book, but my mind didn't think "killer." I loved the book as a whole, but I was a little disappointed at the conclusion. However, if this gets made into a movie I will be first in line!!

Rating: Superb


Note: I received a copy of the book from Media Muscle as part of a blog tour.

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's Monday, what's on the cover?


Hello fellow readers!!! I know it's been awhile since I posted, but I'm aiming to get on track in the next few days. So, it's Monday, what's on the cover?

First up on the list is One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf. A gunman has take a school hostage, leaving the small town of Broken Branch in turmoil. The child on that cover has an air of innocence. She could be anyone's child. There is no hint of trouble ahead. She looks normal, like on any ordinary school day. That's how her face should always be. I've actually finished this one. A review and an excerpt will be posted tomorrow.


The latest book craze right now is Fifty Shades of Grey. Well......I refuse to read it. I've read and heard too many bad things about it. But I'm not against the genre (and you know which I'm talking about!!) as a whole. I can't be because I've never read any erotic literature. With My Body by Nikki Gemmell offered me a chance to step outside of my comfort zone. The woman on the cover seems rather playful with whoever that is behind her. I'm not far enough into the book to have an opinion on it. But what I will say is that the book so far is rather tame. A review will be posted on July 12, stay tuned!!!


Now, it's back to true crime! Lost Girls by Caitlin Rother details the murder of two teenage girls. The cover is rather ominous when you think about it. A lone girl in a field and she is heading toward the storm. No one is there to protect her, just like so many innocent victims. A review will be posted on July 16.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Please welcome Anita Hughes !!

Here a few questions I had for Anita Hughes, author of  Monarch Beach.


1. Where did you get the idea for Monarch Beach? Did you take any inspiration from your own life? I actually live with my family in a villa on the grounds of the St. Regis, Monarch Beach. Everywhere you look there is beauty: the ocean, the golf course, flowers, fountains, pools. I thought: If something devastating happens to you and you travel somewhere breathtaking, do you feel better? Or do you carry your grief wherever you go?

2. Andre's character gives French men a bad wrap. Is his character based on any experience you had? Andre has terrible flaws but he is also handsome and charming. I'm sure most women have fallen for an absolutely gorgeous man who just sweeps them off their feet. I know at times I have been susceptible to sexy foreign accents.

3. By the end, it seems like Amanda's story is just beginning. Would you ever consider a sequel? I would love to write a sequel! I have actually written a ten page synopsis and I am happy with my characters' direction. I have two more books coming out next year - MARKET STREET in April and LAKE COMO later in the year. Perhaps a sequel to MONARCH BEACH will follow.

4. In three words how would you describe your book? Heartbreak and hope.
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