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text 2018-07-31 13:04
Author interview with Johanne Levesque + "Trouble & Strife" Giveaway



We're happy to welcome Johanne Levesque and her debut novel Trouble & Strife. Keep on reading to get to know the author better, and win a review copy in the Trouble & Strife Giveaway


Trouble and Strife - Johanne Levesque


Trouble and Strife - Johanne Levesque  


Sometimes the smallest voices make the deepest impact.
Josephine Hadley, a 1930s Canadian housewife, fills her days looking after her children, her indifferent husband and a stream of Depression-era visitors. Her contribution to her guests is a bowl of stew and an open heart.
Her small world, however, is soon shattered by a tragic event which forces her to become the breadwinner. Can she run a business without sacrificing herself? And is it possible to act on a long-buried desire without remorse?
Johanne Levesque’s first novel, Trouble and Strife, is a poignant and heartbreaking look at a woman’s life in a fast-changing time. With intimate details and a deft poetic touch, Levesque has captured the spirit of an age where war and economic hardship altered the workplace, home and women’s lives forever.



What are you reading now?


Middlemarch by George Eliot

Middlemarch - George Eliot 



Was there one event that inspired your decision to become a writer?


Yes, it was the recession in 2008. My husband was a landlord and he lost a couple properties and he sounded like Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh. I told him, “I wonder what it was like for a landlord in The Great Depression. He challenged me to write about it.


Can you tell our readers more about your book Trouble and Strife, and who gonna love the story?


It is about a family with four children living in Toronto Canada during the Great Depression. The husband is a landlord and the wife stays at home to take care of four children and she find ways to help others during this financial crisis. Things get more and more difficult for the family and she struggles to cope under difficult circumstances..



How did the book story emerge?


Curiosity about what the Great Depression was like for people living in Toronto during the 1930’s. I riffled through archive newspaper for 10 years, going through microfiche to make the story as accurate as it could be with the historical events of the time included in the story.






You studied Psychology. Do you / How do you use your knowledge and experience from the psychological field to create your stories and characters?


Because I studied who what where how of human behavior I have a good grasp of motivation of my characters and why they act the way they do.



What are your writing plans?


I am in the process of writing the sequel of Trouble and Strife. The story will continue into the Second World War and we will see how the family copes during the difficult years of 1940-1945.



In your short bio we can read I only spoke French for the first 18 years of my life. I learned to speak English by reading One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest using a French English dictionary for most words. Does it mean literature was always important in your life and your life decisions?


Yes reading was my solace as a kid. Our house was filled with violence and chaos and my escape was books. Reading was my safe place where I could travel to other countries, immerse myself into a character and feel his or her thoughts and feelings. My only exercise was when I took my bike to the library and back. If I had to play dodge ball at school I placed myself where I could get hit right away so I could go back and read my books. I would get into a theme, like a whole series of books about a flight attendant and her adventures. I would read everything I could find about Apartheid, or Martin Luther King or the Holocaust before I was a teenager. I am afraid to say I preferred books over people. I am still a loner but I am much more social now...



Who are your favorite authors and genres? Have they influenced you and in what way?


I like the classics, Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Nathaniel Hawethorne, Gustave Flaubert, Wilke Collins, Louisa M. Alcott, Leo Tolstoy, Harper Lee. They have influenced me because I love the old English way of speaking and I feel it is a pleasure and an education to read such great works.



You mentioned running 7 marathons. What are you doing when not writing?


I injured my Achilles tendon twice now so I am retired from running long distance. I am lucky enough to have a beach walking distance and I try to swim for one hour 5 days a week. I have a 4 month old Doberman puppy that I walk three times a day and when he is fully mature I will take him on short runs and hopefully swimming with me. I take him to obedience classes and take him to all my book shows. When he turns one year old he will take a test with the Red Cross and if he passes, he will be a Therapy Dog and we will visit retirement homes together. I volunteer with the Alzheimer Society in a program called Minds in Motion where I facilitate a group of people who have Alzheimer to exercise physically and mentally through games. It is a lot of fun and I enjoy it tremendously.



Three titles for a holiday break?


In January we always go to Tanga, Tanzania to visit an orphanage which we have sponsored for the past 5 years. We make sure they can afford to go to school, have backpacks, uniforms, shoes, tuition money. When we have extra money we do repairs on their building. We take them out somewhere. Last year we took them to a resort to dance on New years eve. And we took them on a local safari.

The three book I have chosen for this trip is Drood, by Dan Simmons, Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.


Drood - Dan SimmonsDombey and Son - Charles Dickens,Jonathan LethemA Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens



Paper book or ebook?


Always paper. I love the smell, the touch and feel of a book, I have to say I mistreat them, they are earmarked, highlighted, water stained and food stained, I use and abuse them.



Shelfie time! Please share your home library photo. And your writing spot, as well :)


My library is in an unfinished basement and my books are in boxes right now. My husband will build me a library but in the meantime there is not much to see. I work on a recliner in my living room also unfinished. Sorry no pics this time, maybe in the future...


But I can give you a picture of my husband and I with the orphans. My husband and I with the orphans. We do a fundraiser on Go Fund Me before we leave every year and make sure each child can go to school. Even the ones who got older over the years we pay for their college too. One is studying to be a nurse and one to be a teacher. We pay for their tuition plus all things related to school.



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text 2018-07-27 20:28
Author interview with Olga Goa + Romance Giveaway


Today we have a real pleasure to present you an interview with Olga Goa, a romance books fan and a romance books writer! Read the Q&A to get to know Olga a little bit better and request Olga's debut book FATEFUL ITALIAN PASSION in our giveaways



What are you reading now, Olga?


Quintessentially Q by Pepper Winters 

Quintessentially Q - Pepper Winters 



Tell us a few words about yourself - whatever you want to share about your personal and professional life.


I was born in Russia, Moscow. I was always too attached to literature in my younger years, and my big dream was to share my creativity with a lot of people. I like to read romance and especially dark romance where things are so close to real life and make the readers sympathize with the book’s heroes. Such genre inspired me to write my first dark romance novel FATEFUL ITALIAN PASSION that I published in August 2017. It became the hardest and the most emotional work in my writer’s life. But I am happy that I did it, and I am totally satisfied with it. It’s my most favorite labor to which I dedicated my soul and heart.






In my free time, I like to listen to music or watch movies, play the piano, read books, and enjoy walking in the forest. Especially the last one inspires me to write about a lot of things. It’s a big inspiration for originality—a source of obtaining the best ideas of what to write. I also enjoy traveling around the world, because a new place makes me fantasize and create new plots for upcoming books. I am so passionate about my works and plan to create a lot of stories, even in Teen Fiction or maybe another genre like Thriller.



Was there one event that inspired your decision to become a writer?


I suppose it was the books that I read. I said to myself, “Why not try to write down the ideas in your mind and share them with people?” And I was happy to see that readers on Wattpad liked my books and some of them reread them when they have a free minute.



Can you tell our readers more about your books and series you’re writing?


Now I am working on continuing the series of my first novel that I mentioned before: “FATEFUL ITALIAN PASSION” (FIP) and my new novel “CLUB DRUNKEN CHERRY” (CDC) that I published recently, in March 2018. My second book “HOT SHORT STORIES” (HSS) 1st Collection came out in November 2017, and I also have some plans to publish the continuation of HSS – 2nd Collection.


FATEFUL ITALIAN PASSION: Dark Billionaire Contemporary Romance (Veneziani Family Book 1) - Olga GoaCLUBHOT SHORT STORIES: 12 Steamy and Naughty Blowminded Stories - Olga Goa,Sanaullah Sayem


FIP is a part of Veneziani Family Series I planned to start a long time ago, Spring 2013 precisely. I really attempted to narrate the story about a broken man and an orphan girl who were abandoned by their parents and didn’t experience true love. They lived in a grey world not seeing any bright colors until they met each other. They don’t know what will happen to them and how they will solve their problems, but they are really liked each other. Readers must find out for themselves: do my characters love each other? Didn’t they cross that line where people cannot really live without their soulmates? These series show the difference between LOVE and PASSION, and at the same time show how hard is it to live with a man who has a mental disorder. I gave a hint to readers about the character’s state, but I didn’t let the cat of the bag. I want my readers to be puzzled about the reason why one of the main characters behaves that way and also find out for themselves the key to his emotional temper. I do hope that readers will see what I try to tell them between lines and will be attentive to my own reasoning about LOVE and other events that happen to the main and minor characters as well.


CDC is a part of Fighters with Darkness Series that open the most gloomy world of the mafia, their deeds, and their power. I tell a story about the sex club where everyone can do what he wants and ONLY if a member of this club breakes the rules would he answer for his deeds. This book shows the most disgusting and at the same time scaring facts of our life, things that we don’t want to know because they are so terrible. This story also explains how the education of a little boy can influence his own life and how important it is for parents to love and be mindful of their attitudes towards their child. Some people don’t ponder over this but think that their children don’t need a good education and other good things in life at their youthful age. Life is a complicated thing, but we have to teach our kids how to survive and not to show them cruelty or indifference. I am absolutely sure that without love and support, kids will never choose the right way, only some of them will if they have the strength inside. I also continue the theme of love and hate in these series as I did in FIP. But here you can see how people can sacrifice their own lives to save other people, how sinners want to be righteous men and how secrets can destroy or damage our lives.


HSS was created just for fun on Wattpad. I never thought that these series could garner 2 million views. It was really not expected. In making this collection, I wish people can forget about their problems and just enjoy hot steamy stories that can paint the stressed days off with love, explicit games, and even laughter. You can imagine anything with the heroes of HSS, and be anyone you want to. I think these series is a good therapy for our mind and body. 



Your titles are all about romance. Why have you chosen to write in this genre or did the romance genre chose you?


I started studying psychology and philosophy a long time ago while I was in the school. I was interested in human relationships and enjoyed to explore more things about them. I read a lot of articles about people’s emotional state and was glad to study it myself and explore. I was never fond of science, fantasy and other genres that could make me start a book based on them. I think Romance will always affect people minds because a man consists of a body and a soul. Without the soul we are nothing, we are unable to live. That’s why people are always curious about that genre. We get used to sense adrenaline and hyper emotions. This is our nature, and we cannot deny it.



I have also thought about writing a horror story someday. But I am not sure if I won’t add romance to it. The romance was and will always be my favorite genre.





Do you consider changing the genre or will you follow the writing path?


Never say never – the great proverb of humanity. So I think someday I may change the genre if I will discover all the themes of psychology that bother me nowadays.



Do you have any writing tips on how to write a perfect love story?


Yes, but I think every author chooses the best ones for himself because it depends on his experience and his personality.



My main tip on how to write a perfect love story is TO BE A UNIQUE AUTHOR. It means: do not copy other stories or copy scenes even because it won’t speak well of you if you are a writer. This idea of writing will not give you more fans because they will compare you with bestseller authors that have already written stories like you did and they wouldn’t see your originality. Although if you picked the same theme that another author discovered in his story, but you decide to show it from another point of view, such an idea can be a ticket to reach more readers and gain popularity. But I think that a good story is only born when an author knows what he wants to say to his readers. He must know WHY HE’S WRITING HIS NEW BOOK. If he doesn’t have any purpose why he needs to write? I suppose it’s better not to write anything at all if he has no message to convey. A great story must impact on the people and makes them participate in a thinking process. Readers must be immersed in a plot that forgetting it after reading won’t be so easy. The best story is the story that makes people reread the book, again and again, searching for verities on how to live and even how to love.



Who is your favorite bookish love couple?


I cannot reply. This is such a hard question that came as a puzzle me at the moment! Ha-ha! I have a lot of favorite couples that could be taken from the books by Sylvia Day, Pepper Winters and much more. Even from classic – Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, etc.



What are you doing when not writing?


Sleep! This reply can be really weird lol, but writing takes a lot of time in my life. Anyway, of course, If I have free time – I watch the movies, listen to music, walking, traveling around the world (if I have the money) and relax.



How do your love stories emerge? Where do you get your ideas and inspirations from?


Basically, from my head. They emerge like a movie that has no “stop” button. I put the main details of the stories on a paper because our memory sometimes can let us down. You know it yourself. My fantasy helps me to write my new stories and give me more ideas. I am like a director of a movie that wants to create a masterpiece. Stories that my friends narrated also help me in my writing, plus I might have got a big inspiration from what I watched already or would see. Other inspiration may come from books, music, video clips and movies. All of them have such a good emotional base that anyone who can feel it can create as many stories as his mind can imagine. There’s one thing you must have – endless fantasy!



What are your writing plans?


BIGGEST! I plan to finish FIP series because I have already made sketches of the continuation of Milano and Veronica love story that has a working title “INDIAN LOVE.” That book will also be a part of Veneziani Family Series. Another new book comes after “Indian Love.” I would round off CDC series this year but, I don’t know what my readers would want from me – the end or another book in that series; we shall see. I will finish HSS this year (I HOPE SO because writing three books at the same time is not an easy thing). I may continue HSS collections if I have more original ideas and a strong urge from my readers. Soon I will publish the story that I wrote a long time ago, but it’s awaiting its time to see the light. It will be a mix of fantasy and dark romance, so I am fascinated to show it to my readers. I have a plan to finish other sketches of the new stories; these are some of my secrets for now. I want to impress my readers so much that they couldn’t imagine what I will invent and present before their eyes. I like to shock them in a good way ;)



Who are your favorite authors and genres? Have they influenced you and in what way?


Dark Romance is my favorite genre of literature, so I enjoy reading books by Pepper Winters that I already mentioned. I adore her creativity and her writing’s style; it is so captivating and intriguing. I have read books written by Silvia Day, E.L.James, Christina Lauren, Sylvain Reynard, J.E.Malpas and much more that have influenced my style as well as my plots. It ’s so hard to name them all; they are so unique and unsuppressed, so I am afraid to miff them.

I love classic and modern literature. I enjoy reading books by my author friends that I met on Twitter and Facebook. Some of them influenced my writing as well, and their advice helped me to see myself from their point of view.



Please tell us about your day and your writing habits. Do you write every day, and for how long?


My day is full of job and writing. Sometimes I even forget to eat three times a day, but if I do, I will certainly eat at night. I am so devoted to writing that sometimes I think – it’s total madness! I cannot sleep if the scene came to my mind; I must finish it. Maybe that’s why I sleep about 5-6 hours in a day. But I am aware of the need to relax when putting the finishing touches on my books. This calls for a celebration for me, and I do buy something tasty and appetizing to please myself so that I will have fun in full. When I decide to rest from writing, it could be between 1-2 or 3 weeks. I need to come back to my stable in a relaxed state to start writing a new story. I think this is a good vacation for my brain.


I write in my free time between 1-2 hours in a day. Sometimes when I don’t have much work to do the next day, I could write up to 5-6 hours. I am a freelancer, following this routine helps me to be in form and to relax when I want. I don’t have plans on how and when to write, because whenever I compel myself to write, things don’t always turn out so good. Books would become boring, and this is not my way of doing things because it demotivates me. So I write when the inspiration comes.



You’re Russian. Can you please recommend top 3 Russian books to our readers.


Of course I can. If it is Classic – I can recommend Mikhail Bulgakov “Master & Margarita,” Leo Tolstoy “Anna Karenina,” Alexander Pushkin “The Blizzard” (Or Snowstorm) (Metel in Russian). These three books will really blow up your mind and heart. I love them.


The Master and Margarita - Mikhail BulgakovAnna Karenina - Leo TolstoyThe Blizzard / Metel [Annotated] (BRC collection (the best of Russian classics)) - Alexandr Pushkin,BRC collection


From modern writers, I can recommend Sergey Minaev “Duhless,” Boris Akunin “Turkish Gambit” etc.


The Turkish Gambit - Boris Akunin,Andrew BromfieldДухless. Повесть о ненастоящем человеке - Sergey Minaev,Сергей Минаев


Three titles for a holiday break?


Sleep, music, sea.



Paper book or ebook?


Paperback is the best. It gives you more emotions when you hold the book in your hands; it would seem like you are touching ‘eternity.’



Selfie time! Please share your home library photo. And your writing spot, as well :)


Well, I recently carried out some repairs in my apartment, and all my books were taken to different places. My sincerest apologies for that. Maybe later I will put them up on display in my blog ;)

This is my writing spot! ;)



 Thank you, Olga! 


Olga Goa's books on BookLikes:

HOT SHORT STORIES: 12 Steamy and Naughty Blowminded Stories - Olga Goa, Sanaullah SayemCLUBFATEFUL ITALIAN PASSION: Dark Billionaire Contemporary Romance (Veneziani Family Book 1) - Olga Goa



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text 2018-07-24 07:50
New release: Author interview with JD Lasica & free copies of "Biohack" ebook


Today we have a Q&A with J.D. Lasica, author of the new genetic science thriller Biohack. He is making the ebook edition available for free on Amazon for this week only. He’s doing so in the hope of receiving additional short, honest book reviews so don't hesitate, click HERE and grab the book, read, and write what you think!



Tell us a bit about yourself.


I’m originally from New Jersey but have lived in Northern California for the past 25 years. I lead a double life as an author of high-tech thrillers and as CEO of a cruise vacation tech startup. And I've given talks at the United Nations, Harvard, Stanford and on four continents.



Why did you decide to write a near-future thriller?


Thrillers have always been my first love, and I wanted to tackle a big subject. Michael Crichton was a major influence, and I tried to follow his lead in weaving in some cutting-edge science without slowing down the action. There’s a Tom Clancy international vibe with scenes set in New York, L.A., Miami, Dallas, Rome, France, Belarus, and more. And you’ll find touches of a technothriller, crime thriller, science fiction, medical thriller, and even legal thriller weaved in.


Download a free review copy (Kindle ebook)


What is your book about?


Biohack is a story about the dawning era of reproductive technologies. It’s Brave New World in reverse – instead of the government deciding your genetic destiny, the free market prevails.


On one level, Biohack is a full-on pulse-pounding thriller with a hero who’s up against a villainous biotech company CEO who’s running a next-generation fertility clinic with the goal of ushering in the era of the New Enhanced Family.


Employees are told sex is for fun, not for making babies. It’s set in the mid-2020s when genetic science has advanced to the point where a lab can not only screen for genetic diseases but add “positive influences” and “genetic enrichment” to a pre-embryo. It gets darker than that: The bad guys begin to steal the DNA of Hollywood celebrities, and they start planning a grave team operation to steal the genetic remains of the most famous legends in history.


But It’s also a very human story with a protagonist who searches for her birth mother, a mom who lost her toddler in a swimming pool accident, and a 10-year-old girl who’s caught up in all this.


It really is a rollercoaster of a science thriller, and I’m happy to see the reception it’s getting – more than 60 five-star reviews on Amazon in two months.



Did that require a lot of research?


I spent three months doing research, reading up on the latest advances in CRISPR and other forms of gene editing, and came away thinking, wow, this is amazing stuff and society isn’t ready for what’s just around the corner.


I wanted to keep it in the realm of near-future science rather than science fiction. I had the feeling that the novel would be more disturbing if it hewed as much as possible to what labs are able to do today or by 2025, and then let readers wrestle with the morality of it all.



What was the most fun part of writing the book?


I loved researching the action scenes that amount to cinematic set-pieces. The opening scene takes place along the Roman Street of the Dead in the catacombs beneath the Vatican. Bringing that to life was just awesome.



What was the most challenging part?


The world building was hard to pull off. I wanted a solid layer of verisimilitude to undergird the story so I relied on a number of experts to get the science right. 


For example, I created this elaborate campus where clients of the biotech company, Birthrights Unlimited, are able to “trick out” their test tube baby with all the latest enhancements, ranging from eye color, hair color and skin color to height and optimal body mass index or BMI.


What they can’t do by the mid-2020s is to greatly increase intelligence or life expectancy. So a lot of the early enhancements are superficial, like the identical twin boys who look exactly alike, except one has blue eyes and one has green eyes. Do I think that can or will happen? As the uncle of identical twin boys, yes, absolutely.


The second challenge was appealing to the heart as well as the head. So I spent a lot of time creating strong emotional hooks to make sure readers would care deeply about the main characters.


Biohack: A high-tech conspiracy thriller (Gender Wars Book 1) - J.D. LasicaBiohack - J.D. Lasica  


Free review copies July 23 - July 27, 2018 

What would you give for a second chance? Valerie Ramirez, a special ed teacher haunted by her toddler’s drowning accident, faces a fateful decision when she’s admitted into a secretive program run by a biotech company. 
Kaden Baker, an elite hacker who dabbles in covert ops, finds her life turned upside down when she discovers her parents were imposters. Where does she come from? Who’s been financing her high-stakes secret missions? 
The answers lead back to the same mysterious biotech firm. As Kaden and Valerie become allies, they make one startling discovery after another about the company’s dark intentions. But each step closer to the truth puts their lives at greater risk. 
The stakes couldn’t be higher—for Kaden’s freedom, for Valerie’s fate, and for the future direction of humanity itself.


You’ve done some inventive things offering readers a freebie to go along with the book.


Right. I created a free 36-page full-color handout called The Hacked Celebrity Files that readers can download for free if they join my Readers Circle. It lays out a dozen grave team targets of famous legends, as well as detailing some of the genetic enhancement techniques on the horizon.


I also created a tripping futuristic fertility clinic website that gives readers a peek at where reproductive technologies may be taking us very soon. Check it out at BirthrightsUnlimited.com.



I keep coming back to one of the main conceits of the book, that one can extract DNA from bodies that have died decades or even centuries ago. Is that really possible?


Absolutely. DNA doesn’t care if you’re dead or alive. All that matters is that the DNA needs to be fairly intact. Look, they’re working on bringing back the woolly mammoth based on skeletal remains that’s 4,000 to 10,000 years old.


Think about what this could soon mean for all of us: A drop of blood, a fleck of skin, a trace of saliva left on the back of a stamp—any reasonably intact genetic material is sufficient for a capable laboratory to stitch together a person’s complete genome. For whatever purposes they choose.



Do you think people will want to take advantage of this new reproductive tech?


Certainly, selecting the gender of your child will be popular. Breast cancer survivors who want daughters without the BRCA mutation. Parents who are self-conscious about everything from big ears to red hair and don’t want to pass those traits on to their child. And even parents who want to clone a child that they’ve lost. It’s certainly within the realm of what science can do today.


You know, IVF and test-tube babies were once seen as morally repugnant in some quarters, and now we take that for granted. If left purely to market forces, I think we’d see the same thing with reproductive tech.


James Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA double helix, said, 

“If scientists find ways to greatly improve human capabilities, there will be no stopping the public from happily seizing them.” And I think that’s true.



So the book’s message has a warning for us?


I think historians will look back at 2012, when CRISPR was discovered as a gene editing tool, as the beginning of the Age of Genetics.


And I’ll definitely be opting for cremation.



What’s next?


I’m working on Book 2 of the Gender Wars series.



Where can readers connect with you?


I’m all over social media and the Web:

Facebook author page

Author website

On Twitter

On Instagram

By email

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text 2018-07-20 11:35
#47 Follow Friday with book bloggers: JL's Bibliomania


Hello Friday! Hello Follow Friday with book bloggers! Today let's meet Julie. You need to keep on reading to see those shelfies! :D


Follow JL's Bibliomania on BookLikes: http://jlsbibliomania.booklikes.com/



What are you reading right now? How do you like it?



I’m reading three things as I write these responses:


Heaven's Queen by Rachel Bach, which is the concluding volume of a lighthearted romp of a Space Opera featuring a girl and her big gun.


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which is the story of how Marie- Laure, a blind French Girl, and Werner, a German Orphan, converge in the French town of San-Malo near the end of the 2nd World War.  Slower moving, especially as an audiobook.


The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions by Thomas McNamee, which is the current selection for the Flat Book Society.  OK so far, but recently I’ve been struggling with sustained attention to non-fiction.


Heaven's Queen - Rachel BachAll the Light We Cannot See: A Novel - Anthony Doerr, Zach AppelmanThe Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee




However, I expect that by the time this is published, I will have finished Heaven’s Queen and moved on to another piece of fiction



When have you discovered you’re a book lover?


If this question is asking when did I (first) discover I was a book lover the answer is: When books were replacing my non-existent friends in Elementary and Middle School and I was devouring a book an afternoon.



Why reading is important to you?


Because I like how reading fills the spaces in my head. Because I crave the escape it offers.


Follow jlsbibliomania.booklikes.com



Which books are you most excited recommending to your followers?


I’m currently excited about The Hate U Give, which is getting a lot of buzz, and does a great job personalizing the questions behind the Black Lives Matter (Movie due to release in October)


I discovered Maggie Stiefvater relatively recently and loved The Raven Boys and the sequels as an audiobook.  


I read them a long time ago and the details have faded, but I think Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay is essential reading.  


I also love CJ Cherryh’s work.While a bit older, I particularly like how the Faded Sun Trilogy and Forty Thousand in Gehenna wrestle with the idea of being the “Other” and of becoming the bridge between human and alien.


The Hate U Give - Angie ThomasThe Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater,Will PattonTigana - Guy Gavriel Kay

The Faded Sun Trilogy - C.J. CherryhForty Thousand in Gehenna - C.J. Cherryh



In your bio you write: “Daughter of a Bookaholic. Wife of a Bibliovore.  Mother of 2 Bibliophiles” Did your family had an influence on your reading passion, and how do you encourage your kids to keep on reading?


My parents really didn’t watch television much and were always reading, particularly my Dad who always has a book or 3 going, typically Space Opera or military SF.  My parents definitely had an influence on my reading passion by always having books around, and nurtured my love of SF by handing me Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong when I was in Jr. High and complaining that I was bored and out of things to read.


This is going to sound trite (or like stock advice), but when my kids were little my husband and I read to our sons, always had a rotating stock of library books around that were age and reading-level appropriate geared towards their passion of the moment, and modeled reading because we often had a book of our own with us. We were lucky. My older son dove into Richard Scarry partway through kindergarten, my younger son got lost in the Warriors series in 3rd grade and we really haven’t had to do much to encouraging since.  


Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? - Richard ScarryWarriors #1: Into the Wild - Erin Hunter



Do you read one book or several at a time?


As you can see by the answer to question 1, I typically read several books at a time.

- 1 fiction in print or ebook,

- 1 audiobook for the car,

- and sometimes a non-fiction. 


But the print book and the audiobook have to be different genres for me to keep track, which is fine because I like to mix things up.


BookLikes Shelf



Do you review all books you read? How does your review process look like?


I don’t review everything I read.  I write when I have something to say and when time permits (and as you can see by the fewer and shorter reviews recently, time has recently been in short supply so I haven’t been as active). 


I’m more of a book diarist than a book reviewer.  I started tracking on Goodreads and blogging about books to help myself remember what I’ve read.  I consider what I write to be book reactions rather than truly reviews, which is why many of my entries are a short paragraph or less, and I almost never include a synopsis of the plot. I try not to look at too many reviews before I read a book, but often look at the book page here and at other book-review sites after I finish.  I typically dash off a draft over the weekend, ask my husband to copy edit it, then post the following day.  



Your Shelf presents many audiobooks. Do you experience the book differently while listening to it instead of reading?


I do experience stories differently when I listen to them. Listening to an audiobook forces you to move at the narrator’s pace, which means that you can’t read too fast and miss details.  Sometimes that’s an advantage, and sometimes that leads to tedium.


I’m also not one who easily builds a concrete picture of what the characters look like, or imagines what they sound like.  The audiobook narrator often fills in that gap for me, especially the recent productions that turn books almost into audio plays by using multiple readers.


The experience of reading an audiobook is also different for me because I mostly listen to them in the car, while I’m driving. A story is different when experienced in 15-30 minute chunks, and with distractions.


2018 Reading Challenge Page



A library or a bookstore?

Definitely a library!


While my husband and I spent many pleasant hours in used book stores as a teen and young adult (hence the collection in the basement), we almost entirely stopped buying books as part of the financial adjustment after buying our first house. We are lucky to live in an area with good libraries and I get more than 90% of what I read from the local county library consortium. 



Your favorite genres are fantasy and sci-fi. Why are they so special?



SF and fantasy were initially appealing to me because of the escapism. If you’re not happy in mundane reality, SF and fantasy provide ample opportunities to imagine being a heroine elsewhere. 


Now I find that SF and fantasy are special in the way that they pose questions about what makes us human.



What are your three favorite book covers?


I'll admit that I hate the share 3 book-covers question since doing most of my book “shopping” in the online library catalog, the cover isn't really something I pay much attention to. However, there’s a strong tradition of SF-related artwork. So instead of book covers I’d like to share 3 of the signed, numbered SF-related prints that I’ve bought at conventions over the years. 


Menolly by Robin Wood, originally included in The People of Pern http://www.robinwood.com/Catalog/Prints/PrintPages/Menolly.html



The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Virginia Poyser.  Victoria is currently working under her married name of Virginia Lisi and no longer focusing on SF-related art.  I couldn’t find a good copy of this picture online, but her website is https://victoria-lisi.pixels.com/



A Stitch in Time by David Cherry (brother of  CJ Cherryh)

https://davidcherryart.com/prints/a-stitch-in-time/  I don’t believe this piece is connected to a specific book, but it appealed to me as someone who occasionally stitches.




A paper book or an e-book?


When I’m home, I’m a traditionalist and prefer paper.  When I’m travelling, or when the library only has the ebook, I’ll happily reach for the e-reader for novels. I dislike non-fiction and graphic novels as e-books. 



Three titles for a holiday break?



Did I say that I hate giving recommendations?


Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach  and the sequels (though it looks like others who tried it here on BL haven’t liked it much)


When Dimple Met Rishi – light realistic fiction YA – definitely recommend the audiobook.


The Rook by Daniel O'Malley. Suggested in honor of the Summer of Spies.



Favorite quote?


My absolutely favorite quote is

Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.

(Often misremembered as – Life is short, Eat dessert first)

And when I was in college I spent several years doing just that.


Despite coming late to canine ownership, my favorite bookish quote is

Outside of a book, a dog is man’s best friend

Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read


Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)


The first two pictures are of the two bookcases in the living-room, which contain cookbooks, religion reference works and library books. Life has been so much easier, with many fewer desperate searches for the overdue or missing books since we cleared off shelves a shelf for me and a shelf for my sons to keep our library book in the right hand case.



The last picture is of a few of the 13 bookcases in the basement library.  We’re in the middle of re-sorting/re-shelving/trimming the collection as we recently decided to store all fiction alphabetically by author and to stop trying to sort by genre.  And while the basement is mostly fiction, there are 2 ceiling high cases full of my husband’s history references.





Thank you! 




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text 2018-07-11 18:36
Debut: Author Interview with Nikki Mays & "Surrender to you" Romance Giveaway


Hello and welcome to BookLikes blog. Today we have a real pleasure to talk to a debut author whose first novel is out in July. If you love romance books and looking for new reads to your TBR pile, keep on reading! :)


Nikki also agreed to give away an e-book copy of her debut novel. Read more and REQUEST HERE


Surrender to You by Nikki Mays  

Surrender to You - Nikki Mays


JULY 10 - JULY 18, 2018


"The day that I saw you was the day that other women stopped existing for me. You were all that I thought about and still are."


A quirky coffee shop owner finally lands the SWAT office who leaves her hypnotized. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy for them. Someone is willing to go to great lengths to keep them apart, including murder.


(for Kindle users only)


Let's get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. 


Hi everyone, my name is Nikki Mays.



Where are you from?


I live in a small town in New Jersey, about fifteen minutes from Princeton University.



A little about yourself (i.e.,  your education, family life, etc.).


I am a stay at home mother of three rambunctious boys, who I lovingly refer to as my little hellions. My husband and I just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary but have been together for well over a decade. When I'm not writing or trying to keep my tiny humans alive, I love to cook and bake.



Tell us your latest publishing news.


I currently have Surrender to You out and am working on finishing up the second book in the series. I'm hoping to have it out around September but probably later.


When and why did you begin writing? 


I started writing a few years ago. I woke up one day and was just tired of only being "mommy". I needed something that was just for me and loved being able to hop into a different life when I needed a break. Or when I started to consider selling my kids on Etsy after a long day of tantrums.


When did you first consider yourself a writer? 


I've actually always loved to write. Even in school when everyone would groan over an essay assignment, I would smile to myself. It always came a lot easier than having actual conversations with people. You can change things on paper to make anything sound amazing...not so much in real life.



 (for Kindle users only)


What inspired you to write your first book?


It was a quote by Toni Morrison actually. The quote is:

"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."

It just seemed like really good advice.




How did you come up with the title for your latest novel?


Michelle from Kingston Publishing Company helped me come up with it. We brainstormed and liked Surrender to You the best.


Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?


I'm not sure that I have a specific writing style. I do like to make my female leads quirky. I also want them to have their own mind. No one likes a doormat. The thing that I find somewhat challenging is writing love scenes. I keep questioning whether I should add more or less. In the back of my mind I'm always like: "Crap. What if mom and dad  read this and start thinking that Billy (my husband) I have some weird sex life."


How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?


I think that the relationships in the book are very realistic. I feel like these would be people that I would really want in my life. I am also addicted to coffee and would actually love to own my own bakery/coffee shop.



Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why? 


Mellie is definitely my favorite character. She is so awkward at times that she would make me cringe. But then she also has this kick butt side of her, that I feel males her a great female lead. I think that a lot of women can relate to her very well. Her relationship and banter with her brother makes my day when I write them together in a scene.



What is your favorite book of all time? 


The Wall of Winnipeg and Me - Mariana ZapataThat's really tough! There are so many amazing books in this world. But if I had to pick one that I have read several times, I would have to say, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me By Mariana Zapata. I adore all of her books but Aiden Graves will probably always be my favorite book boyfriend.


To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process? 


Not really. With three small boys it's hard to even get to the store. But my husband will try to give me one day a week to sneak out to a café for a few hours. Those tend to be the most productive.


Who designed the covers?

Crystal Green at Kingston Publishing.



Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?


Just that an awkward introvert can get the hunk. I'm kidding...a little. I like to try to make the relationships as real as possible. I know some women want the fantasy but I'm a realist. Even if you get the man of your dreams, it's not always going to be smooth sailing. Some days you might adore them, while others you're wondering how difficult it is to dig a hole. I also like having a woman who knows her worth. A girl who can talk smack while hanging with the guys.


Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?


As I said, I love Mariana Zapata. I love her build up and how it's not insta-love. My second favorite would be Bijou Hunter. I crack up reading her books! Junkyard Dog had me laughing so much my husband kept giving me weird looks.


Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.


Author MA Foster has been supportive of me from the beginning. She was one of the first writer friends that I have made. I appreciate her support so much!


Would you please recommend three titles for a holiday break? 


I would say the Billionaire Boys Club by Jessica Clare. There's more then three books in the series, but they are perfect! Especially this time of year when you want to be at the beach on a fabulous island but can't. You get to pretend you're Bronte on a tropical island with a handsome stranger. I think that this series is the perfect getaway.




Nikki Mays is a wife and mother, who lives in a small town in New Jersey. She has been with her husband for close to a decade. She began writing as a creative outlet after becoming a stay at home mom. She decided that she needed something exclusively for herself, not just being mommy. She has two crazy boxers who are way too loving towards the children that use them as horses. She is addicted to coffee and chocolate. She considers coffee, chocolate and naps to be a perfect trifecta. Besides writing and spending time with her little hellions, she enjoys cooking/baking. She has recently taken up gardening and made her loving husband plant her a mini fruit tree orchard.

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