Tag Archives: books for the beach

Sara’s Smile Novella a Romantic Happy Read for a Day at the Lake

Sara’s Smile, a novella by the romance writer Sandra Bunino, was such a fun read. Having no idea at first that it was a novella, I began reading it one night when I couldn’t quite sleep thinking I’d just start on it. I couldn’t stop reading it (it was very good) and sure enough, I completed it before I knew it. I was looking for more to happen, like maybe a crisis or something.  But it was just a good happy ending, which was so refreshing. And here I am wishing and hoping to read more on this couple, because I wasn’t ready for it to end.

The characters were so engaging and well-drawn out even with it being such a short novella. It’s totally worth buying if you want a something romantic to read one day while your kids are building a sand castle at the lake. For anyone that had young love and dreams of one day being reunited, this read is about you. I am not wishing for that myself, but it still made my heart feel good to read about a little happiness and love when we are so surrounded by chaos in our lives. Sometimes our decisions lead us to bad choices and we misinterpret people or miscommunicate, but when it comes to love you’ve almost always got to lay your heart on the line for happiness to pay off, right?

I loved how the author features her main character as a restorer of older homes, as the author presents to us a “restored” love. Very light, romantic, soft and fun novella that anyone can enjoy.

Here is the Synopsis for Sara’s Smile:

As an architect who specializes in restorations, Sara Wiley is a genius at returning neglected structures to their former glory. But when it comes to her own life, she has no idea how to reclaim the ruins, which are all that remain of her first true love.

When the biggest opportunity of her career and a sexy contractor comes her way, she’s thrilled…until she learns that the client is the long-ago boy who captured her heart and continues to invade her dreams. Is it a bittersweet coincidence or might there be a chance, after all, for Sara to revisit the mistakes of her past and build the future she has wanted for so long?

Author Sandra Bunino, Bio

Sandra Bunino began a love of romance stories while penning a creative writing assignment in high school. The story ended with the heroine receiving a long stem red rose in her locker on Valentine’s Day. Since then, all of her stories feature the hero presenting the heroine with roses. Sandra is constantly searching for different ways to achieve a heart-pumping, stomach-flipping, breath-catching reaction from her readers.

These days, Sandra lives on a wooded mountaintop not far from New York City with her family. She always looks forward to hearing from her readers and she may be contacted at sbunino@gmail.com. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@sandrabunino).

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Mandy Baggot Offers Romance Fit for Summer Reading with Novel Taking Charge!

If you’re a fan of contemporary romance of the light variety, then Mandy Baggot’s books might make a great summer read for you while you’re relaxing with the kids by the pool. Her current book, Taking Charge, was just published by Sapphire Star Publishing, but she has at least four other books under her pen (instead of belt. Ha!).

Mandy Baggot’s writing is fun, simple, and clear. The characters in Taking Charge, especially the main romantic couple of Robyn and Cole, struggle with everyday crazy life issues, regrets, and emotions that make us laugh, shake our head, cry, and relate.

Robyn may seem a little over the top to some readers, but really…many of us know the type. High-strung, talk a lot, controlling, managerial, stubborn, and ironically, quite hilarious when you roll it into one young woman trying to understand her life and where she fits. She’s dealing with past hurts that harden you to people and make you not able to bond, especially to men. However, through all her toughness, she becomes quite endearing as well.

When she meets Cole for the first time at the airport, she is immediately drawn to him like she’s never been drawn to anyone. The immediate romance (woah, her timing on the first kiss made me say “what?”) that ignites as they end up in the same town, and in three days in the same house, may seem quick to some. However, for those that truly understand love at first sight, or wish to have it, it will seem amazing and you’ll be pulling for them to overcome their past emotional baggage.

The book is light romance and by that I mean it’s not over sexual or erotic in nature as many romances can be. It is sweet and endearing with focus on the romance of the heart, instead of in the pants. Myself, I prefer that. Maybe some won’t, but I like reading their story without feeling as if I’m spying on them in the bedroom. I don’t need the heat.

It was a quick read for me and one I’d recommend to anyone who likes contemporary romance full of emotional romance and drama. Also, since a lot of the book focuses on Robyn’s rebuilding her dad’s ice hockey team and roadhouse, it’s a plus if you like sports like me. Robyn is a bit of a tomboy. Cole is just the sweetest man on the face of the Earth and a wish for any woman.  I really felt the characters emotions through the writing. A few annoyed me, but most connected to me.

A few mishaps with British versus American English, but most of them they pre-edited into Robyn’s character as her own struggle with coming back to her hometown in Michigan from England.

If you are looking for a light, simple romance for the beach or poolside, then this one is for you! It deals with some heavy life issues, but Mandy Baggot does a great job of keeping the book’s tone airy and focuses on her characters overcoming anything that life throws their way. You’ll never feel heavy reading this book, you’ll just root for the characters (and the hockey team)!

Taking Charge Synopsis:

Is going back Robyn’s only way forward?

American-born Robyn Matthers is going home. With her dad in hospital, his roadhouse in ruins and the ice hockey team slipping down the league, she needs to take charge. But does she have the strength to do it?

Cole Ryan is a hockey player on a personal mission. He’s tall, dark, hot and Robyn’s noticed! But can she trust her feelings – or his? And what will Cole do when he finds out the truth about her?

Robyn returns to Michigan and things aren’t quite the same. Her best friend has grown up and is thinking about marriage and babies, the ice hockey team is no longer the life blood of the community and her father is engaged!

When Robyn’s twin cousins drag up past events that hold painful memories for her, she and Cole are forced together. But are either of them ready to start something new?

 With an ill father, a trailer trash almost step-mom and ex-boyfriend Brad desperate for another chance, does Robyn have time to contemplate a relationship? Does she really want one? And is it physically possible for two people to fall in love in just three days?

 Interview with Author Mandy Baggot

Hi Mandy, it’s so nice to meet you! Thank you for stopping by Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I hope we can chat a little bit about you and your books.

Thank you so much for having me on your website, Erin!

Erin:  You’ve written several novels in the romance genre. How would you describe your books to prospective readers? What type of romance do you write?

Mandy: Well, I always tell people I write strong contemporary romance and characters you’ll fall in love with and I think my readers will agree with that. I write romance set in the present day with characters usually in their twenties or thirties who live quite ordinary lives until something happens to shake that up a bit. It might be an urgent situation they’re thrown into or it might just be the two lead characters meeting that makes them question the way their life is heading.

Erin:  What is the best thing you like about writing romantic literature?

Mandy: I love creating that chemistry between the lead male and the lead female. I love writing their dialogue, showing the readers who they are by what they say and hopefully creating a bit of magic.

Erin:  Do you think you’ll always write romance or do you hope to try out other genres?

Mandy: I will always write romance, it is what I’m passionate about. I like to write about things that could happen to any one of us. We all know what it feels like to fall in love and be in love and I adore writing about that. Having said that, the latest project I am working on could probably be classed as a romantic thriller. There are guns, secrets and lies and kidnappings.

Erin:  How did you start writing?

Mandy: I’ve written since I was at school – all romance! Then in 2008 I took part in a scheme supported by the Arts Council of England to produce books and get new writers into the marketplace.  Excess All Areas was my first novel and I self-produced three other books after this, Breaking the Ice, Knowing Me Knowing You and Strings Attached.

Erin: What are some positive experiences you’ve had during your writing career?

Mandy: I try and treat every experience as a positive one – having great reviews from readers is one of the things I like best about being a writer. But two great things that have happened to me this year are signing my contract with Sapphire Star Publishing and being named one of the Rising Stars of UK Romantic Fiction for 2012.

Erin: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced while writing and marketing your books? What about with publishing?

Mandy: Writing, editing and marketing all take time and you have to make time to ensure the success of your books. I’ve had lots of rejections from agents and publishers but I’m passionate about what I do and I know it isn’t just luck that makes you succeed, it’s hard work, determination and persistence!

Erin: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Mandy: Just keep writing! I have lots of aspiring writers talking to me in bookstores and emailing me telling me how much they admire what I’ve done and asking my advice. Just keep your love of writing going, realize that the road to publication can be a long and hard one, but never give up.

Erin:  I know you are from theUK. Have you always lived in theUK? What do you like best about it?

Mandy: Yes, I’ve always lived in theUK. I’m lucky to live in the countryside too and that’s where I’m most at home. I like the quiet and the space. It’s nice to be able to come home to a haven but know you’re not too far away from the town. I mean I would miss those karaoke bars!

Erin: In your newest book, Taking Charge, your main character comes back the U.S. after living abroad. How difficult was it to infuse American culture and language into your novel?

Mandy: Well of course I thought this was easy and I had it all down – until I met the lovely people at Sapphire Star Publishing! My dad lives in theUS, in fact he lives in Portage, MI, where the novel is set. When I went out to visit him I stayed a month and really embraced everything about it. There are many language and cultural differences and I have to say I had so much fun learning US English and teaching UK English to Sapphire Star.

Erin:  How do you formulate your characters for your novels? What gives you inspiration?

Mandy: My novels always start with the lead male and lead female and they just evolve as the story takes shape. I get to know them while I am writing and often they write traits into their characters that I hadn’t even considered. Of course the lead male always has to be hot – that’s a given!

Erin: What’s next on the writing horizon for you, Mandy?

Mandy: Well I am about 35,000 words into my latest manuscript and it’s called ‘Security’. It’s about a pop star called Autumn Raine and her bodyguard and ex-Special Forces soldier Nathan Regan. Autumn is due to perform at the International Music Awards but she’s received kidnap threats. Who’s behind it? Who do you trust?

Erin: How can fans get in touch with you? Please list as many outlets as you’d like.

Mandy: You can follow me on Twitter @mandybaggot or friend me on Facebook or join as a member on my website www.mandybaggot.webs.com. I also have a profile on Goodreads.

Erin: Where can interested readers find your books?

Mandy: All my books are available on Amazon!

Thank you, Mandy, for stopping by my blog to chat today! I hope you have amazing success in the future.

Thank you for having me, Erin – they were great questions!


Mandy Baggot, Author Bio

Mandy Baggot is a self-confessed Twitter addict who likes to sing on YouTube. She regularly guests on book blogs and is a featured author on the innovative website loveahappyending.com. Taking Charge is her fifth novel. Mandy lives near Salisbury,Wiltshire,UK, with her husband and two daughters.

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