L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat. Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards. She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.
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Kennedy Ryan is a Southern girl gone Southern California. A Top 100 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy writes romance about remarkable women who find a way to thrive even in tough times, the love they find, and the men who cherish them. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Georgia families living with Autism, Kennedy has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other outlets as a voice for families living with autism.
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A contemporary romance author running on coffee and sticky kisses from my rowdy four little boys. From Indiana, I’m a true Mid-Westerner. Life, for me, is about family, faith, and food. When I’m not running my kiddos around or having a lunch date of fajitas with my husband (and high school sweetheart), you can find me outside. I love a good sunny day almost as much as I love candy, random quotes, and steamy bad boys in fantastic books. I’m on nearly every social media platform. Please find me on the ones you frequent – I love chatting with readers.
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Mandi Beck has been an avid reader all of her life. A deep love for books always had her jotting down little stories on napkins, notebooks, and her hand. As an adult she was further submerged into the book world through book clubs and the epicness of social media. It was then that she graduated to writing her stories on her phone and then finally on a proper computer. A nursing student, mother to two rambunctious and somewhat rotten boys, and stepmom to two great girls away at college, she shares her time with her husband in Chicago where she was born and raised. Mandi is a diehard hockey fan and blames the Blackhawks when her deadlines are not met.
I write romances with flawed characters, characters with artistic hearts: builders, poets, and writers of various makes and models. I love to write book lovers; those who have found refuge, companionship, and escape in books, much as we do in real life. I like realism, honesty, authenticity in storytelling. I love to write about enduring love, soul-deep love, in as real a setting as I can make, but with big smooshy HEAs. I believe in diversity, open-mindedness, and inclusion. I like sweetness mixed with steam, love conquering all, and above all, hope. Love always wins.
We are a duo of an international best-selling author and a blogger who teamed up to write the taboo, thought-provoking stories we want our audience to have--without filters. Both Charleigh and Rose are committed to giving you witty, sexy, intelligent novels that will leave you wanting more.
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When she’s not writing, Ella indulges the gypsy in her blood and travels the country. Ella loves reading, movies, music, buying make-up, reading Tmz, Twitter and pedicures… not necessarily in that order. She has a wild sense of humor and loves to laugh. Her favorite thing in the world is hanging out with her family and watching comedy movies.
Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte’s, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.
A BLONDE AT HEART Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped. Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking. Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!
Kate Stewart lives in Charleston, S.C. with her husband, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. A native of Dallas, Kate moved to Charleston three weeks after her first visit, dropping her career of 8 years, and declaring it her creative muse. Kate pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance as well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense because it's what she loves as a reader. A lover of all things '80s and '90s, especially John Hughes films and rap, she dabbles a little in photography, can knit a simple stitch scarf for necessity only and does a horrible job of playing the ukulele. Aside from running a mile without collapsing, traveling is the only other must on her bucket list. On occasion, she does very well at vodka.
Rochelle Paige is the Amazon bestselling author of nineteen books. She absolutely adores reading and her friends growing up used to tease her when she trailed after them, trying to read and walk at the same time. She loves stories with alpha males, sassy heroines, hot sex and happily ever afters. She is a bit of a genre hopper in both her reading and her writing. So far she's written books in several romance sub-genres including new adult, contemporary, paranormal and romantic suspense. She is the mother of two wonderful sons who inspired her to chase her dream of being an author. She wants them to learn from her that you can live your dream as long as you are willing to work for it.
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Book Title: The Sandcastle Empire
Author: Kayla Olson
Narration: Andi Arndt
Genre: Dystopian | YA
Setting: A Mysterious Island
Source: Audiobook (Library)
⇝Add to Goodreads⇜
Main Characters: 3.7/5
Secondary Characters: 3.2/5
The Feels: 3/5
Theme or Tone: 4/5
Flow (Writing Style): 3.5/5
Backdrop (World Building): 4/5
Book Cover: 5+/5
Ending: 3.8/5 Cliffhanger: Nope.
Total: 3.5/5 STARS - GRADE=B-
The Sandcastle Empire was both languid and quick moving. Sort of like everything is draped in a heavy fog. The writing and Andi Arndt's narration gave most of the book this warm, fluid, and free-flowing feel. Until an action scene and then I found it difficult to keep up and comprehend the quickness of them. The dystopian world that this depicts has the potential to be so complex but isn't really fleshed out enough and neither were the characters, unfortunately. Mostly, it just left me feeling like I wanted more than what I got.
I've read that this is being made into a movie…it's possible, with the LOST-like island and its many pitfalls, that it might do well on the screen.
⇝Will I read more from this Author⇜ This is her debut, I believe, so I might. Especially, if they have such breathtaking covers…they pull me in every time.
This novella is set between the first and second books in this series and starts up right where the first book, Night Fires in the Distance, ends. Laura and Cecelia are heading north after the disaster that laid waste to the prairies, hoping to start over. They have no plans, just a grim determination to get away from their former life and the sorrows they left behind there. They eventually decide to try their luck in Minnesota, where the loggers are destroying nature for profit. Where's Treebeard when you need him? *clears throat* Anyway, things don't go as planned and they have yet more troubles to face as winter comes on. And Laura and Cecilia finally get to have some sexy times. <3
This still needs an editor, but other than that, I really enjoyed this. I did see in reviews for the second book, One Nation Afire, that it ends in a cliffie and focuses more on Laura's daughter Rachel, so I'll hold off reading that one until book 3 is out.
3.75 stars, rounded up
Death, depression, cancer (side character)
I wouldn't classify this as a romance, though there is a love story. It's more about two boys becoming friends and helping each other through some tough times. Well, it's more Adam helping Ryan through some tough times, but they both fulfill something that's missing in the other's life, as Ryan provides Adam with a surrogate family. Their friendship is wonderful and often put a big grin on my face.
It's first-person POV and present tense, which I know some readers may have issues with. I'm not one who cares about that normally, and while it mostly doesn't bother me here, I did find myself often wanting to see Adam's side of things. This was especially the case in the one brief scene we have with Adam's foster father.
The fact that Adam was in one foster home for three years should tell him that his foster parents are dedicated to him, because that's not very common. And his foster father seemed almost desperate to get to know one of Adam's friends and find out more about him. So why exactly was Adam keeping his foster parents at such a distance when he so readily accepted Ryan's family? And also, why did he so quickly go from "I don't like being touched" to initiating hugs with Ryan?
It almost felt like there was something else going on there than the brief explanation that we got, so the choice to do this in first-person does limit how much we get to know about Adam. I also wanted Ryan to figure out his feelings for Adam a lot sooner than he did.
I was not prepared for the turn this story made at about the halfway mark. It was very emotional and while I hated what happened, it was beautifully written. The writing throughout the story flowed nicely and I liked seeing how these characters cared about each other and how they "adopted" Adam to their family and helped each other when things got rough.