Tag Archives: new romance books

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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Romance Time with Rhiannon Ellis: Bonded in Brazil and Dark Wolf Protector Reviewed

Bonded in Brazil, Contemporary Romance

Bonded in Brazil, by Rhiannon Ellis, looked so good I could hardly wait to whittle away a sleepless night with it. Normally, I’m not the romance book type, unless it is historical and/or paranormal first and foremost but Ellis’ book called out to me.  Its voice certainly didn’t disappoint, as the cross-culture and society romance found a place in my heart as quickly as I could turn the pages. This was one romance I couldn’t put down as the clock ticked later into the night.

I loved the emotions emitted by both the main characters, Eliana Menino and Hale Forester. I loved how Eliana helped to heal Hale from his loss and loneliness with her vibrant personality and love of life. You could just picture what a gorgeous couple they would make, even as they fought through their attraction, sometimes giving in to desire and sometimes putting up walls. I loved how this book didn’t throw cheesy sex scenes at me that made me feel like I was intruding, but yet revealed their passion for each other slowly.

While reading it, I was reminded of one of my favorite romantic movies, A Walk in the Clouds (the romantic movie with Keanu Reeves). It was probably the strong female character, the hot male character, the lure of a beautiful vineyard of grapes, and the dance of would be lovers.  It wasn’t until later that I found out that the movie was partly Ellis’ inspiration for the book.

In Bonded by Brazil, Eliana’s family owns a vineyard in Brazil which is having financial difficulties and unable to pay back a loan secured by her father through Hale’s business. They are in fear of losing their heritage, the grape fields and Eliana goes to work as a maid for Hale in order to pay it back so her family can keep their vineyard. 

As they both struggle with deep emotions, each is too proud to let the other know how they truly feel.  Their love grows amid a backdrop of a beautiful Napa Valley estate and is surrounded by a cast of characters that assist in taking the story through a puzzle of deceit, drama, confusion, hurt, passion, and stubbornness. All of her characters are so vividly detailed and you’ll feel so intwined with them.

As the story ended as a happily ever after, I still hoped for a sequel to not only see what happens in the lives of Eliana and Hale, but of Eliana’s brother and the new love he also finds during his visit to the estate. My wish has been granted as Ellis has a sequel that is due to come out next year tentatively called Harvesting the Heart.

I love Ellis’ play on the theme of a vineyard and the caring of grapes, tying it to how we can nurture and tend love in our hearts. Her romance is one that melted my senses and I can’t wait to read the sequel. I recommend reading Bonded in Brazil on one of the upcoming chilly Autumn or Winter evening and definitely while enjoying a glass of wine by the fireplace or candlelight.

Buy this book:  http://www.amazon.com/Bonded-Brazil-Rhiannon-Ellis/dp/1603818464/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1301592162&sr=8-1

Dark Wolf Protector, Paranormal Romance

If you’re in the mood for a hot and sexy paranormal romance novella with handsome men, aka werewolves, then Ellis also has another romance you might like called Dark Wolf Protector. It has a strong-minded beautiful native american heroine, a handsome werewolf hero and set in the sultry South. 

But you gotta like it HOT, because this romance is much more steamy than Bonded in Brazil. Maybe it is the animal magnatism (hehe), but the scenes in this book are much more detailed. I don’t prefer these kind of scenes in my romance novels which are always so quick to arouse women right off the bat, but Ellis’ creation of characters and plot far outweigh these instances. I liked how real and strong-willed  Jaci Waters, the main character, is and her emotional journey from normal life into the paranormal.

Jaci is Tall Oak’s resident animal protector and rescuer, but when the people of the trailer park community cry out against the animal that is frightening them, she works even harder with the Sheriff to persuade them not to kill the wolf. Only she knows she dhas even more of a motive than animal rights.  She is allured by tall, dark and handsome Tall Oaks visitor Dolton Freye.  Dolton has come to Tall Oaks to protect Jaci, but someone else is hanging around too….and in the meantime, she finds out a mystery from her past as well as a secret of her own.

It’s an entertaining, deep south type of romance. It does contain explicit language and detailed sex scenes, but some of you love that (wink). It was a fun read; a paranormal escape with hot sex scenes–a steamy romance for a day at the beach or a rainy day where you want to curl up and be entertained.

Buy this book at: http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/darkwolfprotector.htm

Rhiannon Ellis, author

I’ve got to know Rhiannon a little bit and I just LOVE her! She is such young, vibrant, hilarious lady who is a busy mom fitting in her writing as she can. I hope you enjoy her writing and connect with her. From my observation, she loves her children, her husband, writing, and football!!

Rhiannon Ellis turned a hobby into a career in 2008 when she wrote her first novel. Less than three years later, this stay-at-home mom has had two romance books published and there are more in the works.

She is a writer of romance, paranormal romance and mainstream fiction. She is a voracious reader and researcher. Her debut novel–Bonded in Brazil–was released in March of 2011 from Camel Press. She is represented by literary agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency.  Rhiannon’s paranormal romance–Dark Wolf Protector–was published shortly after from Cobblestone Press.

Rhiannon says, “WhenI tell people that I’m a writer, they envision me sitting at a computer all day and late into the night, typing away as my muse has my full attention. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’m a mom and my days are for my children. Time to write is sparse and comes sporadically, so I’m constantly throwing my writer’s hat on and off throughout the day.”

Rhiannon resides in Columbia County, Wisconsin, with her husband of eight years, Chad, and their two young children, Cameron and Dane. She is also the proud stepmom of thirteen-year-old Taylor.

Catch the interview below and connect with her on her website or online–those contacts are also below.


Q: What is your day job?

A:  I’m a stay at home mom to my 3-year-old son and 5 (almost 6 in a few weeks)-year-old daughter. I spend my days like most moms with young kids—cleaning, cooking, battling an endless pile of laundry—and cherish every second of it. Well, except for the laundry. I could without that. I love being at home with my kids and feel very blessed that I’m able to do so when so many moms cannot. My “day job” is something I don’t take for granted.  I’m now homeschooling too, so that throws another interesting element into the mix.

Q: What is the most challenging part of the writing process?

A:  Finding time that is quiet and uninterrupted–and I think most moms can relate to that. When I’m working on a story, I try to write every day, though it usually comes in spurts as I revolve writing around my sometimes-hectic household.

Q:  Did you experience writer’s block?

A:  When I wrote simply for fun, yes I did. Now that I write for fun and career purposes, I don’t. My mindset is this is something that has to get done—like laundry, ugh—so just do it. This works for me.

Q:  What is the biggest misconception about writing a book?

A:  The biggest misconception is that writing is the hardest part. Yes, writing is work and takes skill as well as creativity, but landing an agent and/or publisher is the toughest part. I’ve read dozens of self-published books and have been shocked that these books were overlooked by publishers. There’s a lot of talent out there, but a novel gets turned down if it’s not marketable enough for publishing standards. I feel very blessed to have had agent and publisher interest—sometimes humbled because I wonder why I deserved it more than some other authors I’ve run across.

Q:  Oprah has famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer?

A:  I’m leaning toward agreeing, based on my own experience. I have to wonder if the “opportunity” part is mostly luck, though. I feel like I’ve been given many great opportunities throughout my life in general, whereas others have not. Is this luck? Have I created these opportunities for myself? I truly don’t know. But I’m grateful, whatever the cause.

Q: What do you pledge to your readers?

A:  With every book, I promise to create dynamic, genuine characters and heroic women. I will also place these characters in exciting locations that will take you–the reader–away from the everyday of your own life and offer escape into a world with exotic fragrances and flavors–a metaphorical room with a view.

Thank you so much for sharing a little of yourself with my readers, Rhiannon. It has been great getting to know you. You are a very real example of a young mother with a writing dream, making her vision come true! Keep on the look out, readers, as Rhiannon will be back soon guest blogging here about the life of being a writer/full-time mom!

Contacting Rhiannon Ellis

Website: www.rhiannonellis.com

Facebook page: (Click Here)

Twitter page: (Click Here)

Blog: http://rhiannonellis.blogspot.com/

FOR MOMS: Rhiannon contributes regularly to MomsEveryday.com–a great place for moms!


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