Monday, August 29, 2016

How to Write a Romance

One thing I noticed reading my PitchWars subs this year (and talking to other mentors) was how many entries were submitted under the wrong genre. Personally, I was accepting both women's fiction and romance, so it's not the end of the world when an entry said the wrong one. However, I talked to some mentors who only were accepting romance, and they also got quite a few entries that said romance-but were really woman's fiction. I have a very general blog I wrote a couple of years ago with some tips, but that's mostly geared at identifying the manuscript you have. What I really want to talk about today is

HOW TO WRITE A ROMANCE*

Romance has specific tropes. People who read genre romance regularly should notice the same story structure, the same ideas, etc. Books that do not follow these basic guidelines generally are not a romance, no matter how romantic the subplot is.

Why does it matter? It's true, many editors who accept women's fiction or romance accept both. An editor who loves your book is going to help you edit it a certain way, and they're allowed to call it whatever they want after they're done. But you still need to know how to describe your book. For one thing there are a lot of agents who only accept one or the other. For another, WF queries are different from romance queries and your reader needs to know what to expect when they start to read your pages. So, let's take a look at these tropes, using examples from a book I just made up, Stella Wrecks Everything.
  1. The main characters meet early on. In recent years, this winds up being in Chapter 1 a lot of the time (sometimes on page one). That's not absolutely required, but if I get to page 50 of your manuscript and the main characters have not yet met, your book is probably not a romance.
  2. The first kiss occurs roughly within the first 25% of the book. It can be a short kiss, a stolen kiss, whatever. But romance means kissing, and the first time it happens should be in the first quarter of the book. I don't care if you put it on page 10, but it shouldn't be on page 100. (Yes, I'm aware that the main characters in ME BEFORE YOU don't kiss in the first quarter of the book. Do not tell me that book's a romance. Seriously. Don't. If you think it is, skip to #9.)
  3. One or two POV, the halves of the couple only.** Want to tell us what Stella's mom or dog or BFF or first grade teacher thinks of the relationship? That's fine. But the POV in a romance should only be the love interests. Because, again, you don't want the reader to be rooting for the wrong two people. (Yes, I know ME BEFORE YOU has a zillion POV. It's still not a romance.)
  4. Deep POV. What does this mean? FEELINGS. Lots of feelings. Use multiple senses, show physical symptoms of lust, but make sure your readers feel the sexual heat between your main characters.
  5. Every scene must further the romance. Does that mean they have to be together on every page? Of course not. It's okay to separate the characters and give them subplots that allow them to grow as people and ultimately become more ready to enter a serious relationship. But if Stella goes goes to work and spends 100 pages filing and dealing with an overbearing boss while Rex is nowhere to be found, your reader is going to forget the love interest exists and might not care when he finally turns up on page 237 carrying the aquarium he bought to surprise Stella because she never called him when her fish died.
  6. Each main character gets their own character arc. The readers love Stella. Stella's super well-developed. She's got the cutest dog, and funny things happen to her. Rex mostly stays in the background, except when Stella needs someone to carry her shopping bags. We never learn anything about his past. Rex is not a romantic hero. This book is not a romance.
  7. By the mid-point, your main characters should have a sexual encounter. Don't want them to have sex? Fine. Let them get interrupted. Have one of them get cold feet. But when I'm reading a romance and I'm halfway through the book, I'm going to get cranky if there hasn't been any nudity yet. I at least need some (very very hot) over the clothes action.
  8. Explicit encounters are reserved for the main characters. Sometimes, couples don't meet, fall in love, and get married in a linear fashion. That's fine.  But for the most part, if one of the main characters is getting it on with someone else, that's not detailed. It's not hot. Because the reader isn't supposed to be rooting for them.
  9. The main characters must wind up together. THIS IS NON-NEGOTIABLE. What used to be a required happily ever after (HEA) has evolved to include "happy for now" (HFN) endings. But if your main characters are not happily involved on the final page, you have not written a romance. 
Need more help? Those of you who subbed to me during this year's PitchWars can enter my feedback giveaway.

* I'm talking about genre romance, not romantic comedy. Romantic comedy sits pretty firmly in the realm of women's fiction, meaning that it tends to be solo POV, told from a woman's perspective, and deal with multiple issues in her life. The romance is often a subplot that only comes to fruition near the end.
** I'm currently reading a book that has four POV, but it's also very neatly split into two couples. Each has their own plot, and the two rarely intertwine. It's really two separate love stories occurring at the same time in the same place.

Friday, August 26, 2016

PitchWars Feedback Giveaway!

This year, I narrowed my wish list for PitchWars pretty significantly to help target submissions more toward my interests. I expected this would lower the total number of entries that I received - and it did, but not by much. At the end of the day, I wound up with more than 70 entries that are exactly my cup of tea (I also wound up with several that were not on my wish list, but let's not talk about those).

You all made the decision extremely difficult. There were easily 20 more entries with compelling premises and well-written first chapters that just weren't what I was looking to mentor right now. I'd have loved to have requested more from everyone, but it didn't seem fair to ask for more when I already had my heart set on something else. What I'll connect with is very hard to predict. I found myself desperately loving two very different manuscripts, and there were three or four more I happily would've taken on if I had unlimited mentoring time.

I'm doing my best to send feedback to everyone whose full manuscripts I requested. But I unfortunately just do not have time to send detailed critiques to everyone who entered this year. I wish I did, but life has a way of overtaking things, and it's not fair to you if I promise feedback to everyone and then take four months (or longer) to send it out. 

So..... I'm doing a FEEDBACK GIVEAWAY. Enter from now through September 1. I'll pull THREE winners on September 2 at 8:00 EST. I thought about leaving the giveaway open for another week, but this is the only way to ensure that I'll be able to send the winners their feedback before PitchSlam starts on September 8.

Winners will receive, in order:
  1. A first chapter and query critique.
  2. First chapter critique only. (If you win this and would prefer a query critique, please let me know.)
  3. Query critique only.
***You must have submitted your manuscript to me to enter*** 

I'd love to open the giveaway up to everyone, but really I'm looking to do something nice for those who listed me as one of their 4 or 6 entries. I'll be happily giving away feedback on first pages and pitches once PitchSlam opens. For anyone who would like to book a critique instead, I'm offering full critiques of the first 50 pages (with line edits and big picture issues) for $100, or $100 off reader reports. Use code #PitchWars when you request a quote


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Thursday, August 25, 2016

FAITHFUL Cover Reveal and Giveaway!!





Today Michelle Hauck and Rockstar Book
Tours are revealing the cover for FAITHFUL, book two in the Birth of Saints series which
releases November 15, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win a SIGNED copy
of book 1 GRUDGING!

On to the reveal! 









Title: FAITHFUL (Birth of Saints #2)


Author: Michelle Hauck

Pub. Date: November 15, 2016

Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse

Formats: eBook

ISBN: 9780062447173

Find it: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Goodreads


Following Grudging--and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall--religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck's Birth of Saints series!




A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.




Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?




On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.




What they find instead is an old woman.




But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.




A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.

Exclusive Excerpt!

Not for the first time, Claire reconsidered her decision to stay when Ramiro had asked her. She’d lingered out of curiosity—and truthfully because it felt good to be needed—but they didn’t need her now with the Northern army defeated. She could return to the swamp and away from so many people. Despite her hopes of friends and community, she felt awkward here. Reason said she’d get used to their ways, but being around so many folk made her want to hide. Everything pressed down. The walls of the tent shrunk, pinning her in, and smothering her. It became hard to breathe.
She reached for a fresh strip of cloth, only to have her hand shake. She snatched the material and began to roll it, trying to shut out everything else, including her own doubts.
Before she could find a semblance of peace, though, someone shouted. Ladies screamed. Claire looked over her shoulder at the noise. A brown-bearded man in a poncho and a floppy hat ran in her direction. “My family is dead, because of the evacuations. Because of you.”
Claire gasped. He seemed to be talking to Beatriz, then his gaze found Claire.
“Witch!” His outstretched hand suddenly held a long butcher knife. “Witch! Stay away from us! Murderer! Abomination! Die!”
Fronilde dropped to the ground, but Claire couldn’t move. Surprise robbed her brain of a Song to stop him. Even the words of the Hornet Tune, which she knew as well as her name, deserted her. The man closed as everyone scrambled out of his way. Then Beatriz sprang from her chair to stand over Claire, holding up her hand. The tall, black-lace mantilla atop her head waved like a flag. “Stop.”
Something about the authority in the First Wife’s voice—or maybe her simple resistance instead of cringing or scrambling away—brought the man up short, making him pause for a moment. Just the moment the bodyguard needed to crush the lunatic to the floor and overpower him, wrestling free the knife. More guards came running from outside.
Breath rushed back in Claire’s lungs. Beatriz sniffed and touched a spot on her chest over her heart and then her forehead and stomach areas. “Imbecile. He didn’t know who he was dealing with.”


About Michelle: 




Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling
metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons
help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children
by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A
book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for
any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.



She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat and Nightmare on Query
Street, and Sun versus Snow.



Her epic fantasy, Kindar's Cure, is published by Divertir
Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The
Elephant's Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer's Double Edge.
She's repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.






Giveaway Details:
2 winners will receive a signed  of
GRUDGING, US Only.





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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

FROSH: SECOND CHANCE blog tour and review!

Today I'm excited to be reviewing FROSH: SECOND CHANCES by Mónica Bustamonte Wagner. I received a free copy of both books in the series in exchange for this honest review. But before we get to that Mónica wanted to share her playlist for this book.
Hi! Thanks for inviting me to this blog today. : )

I’m here to share a playlist for each of the main POV characters on Frosh: Second Chances.

Ellie: Set Fire to The Rain and Rolling in the Deep – Adele. Can't Remember to Forget You - Shakira ft. Rihanna.

Grant: The Scientist (Nobody Said it Was Easy) – Coldplay. Misery – Maroon 5.

Charlie: Are You Lonesome Tonight – Elvis Presley. I Will Wait – Mumford and Sons.

Devon: Fancy - Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX. Work Bitch - Britney Spears
Thanks so much for reading!

Mónica
In FROSH: First Blush, Ellie, Grant, Devon, and Charlie spent their welcome week falling head over heels for each other--before totally falling apart. Now, in FROSH: Second Chances, they'll have to pick up the pieces.

Frosh: Second Chances CoverAfter ruining Grant's football career (and her own reputation), Ellie has been trying to lie low--which means not making more enemies. But some students still want her to pay for what she did, and now, Ellie's determined to fight back--and fight for Grant.

Grant is adjusting to his new reality: no more football means no more free passes in class, and definitely no more distractions; especially from Ellie, whom he misses even after she destroyed his world. Can he find a way to move on without her--and without football?

Devon finally has it all: her brother's sober and her boyfriend is an adorkable genius. But when her parents threaten to tear her and Charlie apart because he doesn't 'fit' into their high society, she will go to dangerous lengths to prove that nothing--nothing--can defeat Devon Connors.

Charlie's never questioned who he is: pre-med science geek, and now, Devon Connors' boyfriend. But when he discovers a secret about his past, Charlie isn't sure of anything--especially whether he can trust Devon with the truth.

Perfect for fans of Cora Carmack and Colleen Hoover, Monica B. Wagner's sexy New Adult series follows these four characters all the way to winter break--when the only thing they'll want more than first love is a second chance.

Things I Liked:
  1. Wagner's crisp writing helped me sink back into these couples' stories the way you pick up with you BFF as if it hasn't been a month since you last spoke. I loved seeing the way Devon and Charlie's relationship grew between the books.
  2. Grant's grown a lot in this book, and I'm excited to see what happens to him next. Excellent characterization for all four of the main characters, for all I hated seeing them go through hard times. 
  3. The pacing is spot-on. It's a quick, fun read. 
  4. Randomly, I think "mac n cheese sex" is my all-time favorite phrase. I get it.

Things I Didn't Like:
  1. This stupid book ripped my heart out and smashed it into little piece and made me feel things AND I HATE THAT. I literally put down the book at one point and went to go get some ice cream because I couldn't stand all the emotions. It takes some pretty stellar writing to get me pissed off about how much I'm feeling.
  2. There's not enough sex. One of the things that makes FROSH: First BLUSH work so well is that by juxtapositioning the storylines, Ellie can hold onto her virginity but the reader gets lots and lots of steamy sex with Charlie and Devon. In SECOND CHANCES, Devon and Charlie have their own problems, so there's no sex at all for most of the book.  The sex scenes we get are HAWT, but I still wish there were more of them.

Overall:

Honestly, the book was a bit of a letdown for me after reading FIRST BLUSH. I came to know and love all four of these characters, and then mostly bad things happened them for most of the book. Also, HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILER ***I also was expecting a complete story, so I was a little disappointed to find a cliffhanger at the end.*** END

4 out of 5 stars. The writing is solid, but the plot didn't deliver quite what I hoped. 

Buy on: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Don't forget to check out the first book in the series!


Frosh: First Blush Cover

During welcome week at Hillson University, the FROSH will hit the fan.


Type-A aspiring journalist Ellie plans to take freshman year by storm. But hell-bent on breaking a huge on-campus scandal, she risks becoming one herself—and getting the mysterious, heart-melting QB in serious trouble.

Grant, star quarterback and charismatic chick-magnet, is hiding a life-altering secret. The last thing he needs is an overeager (absolutely adorable) journalist asking questions. He’s got a reputation to protect.

High-society legacy student Devon is ready to catch the football hottie of her dreams. If the tabloids feature her with the “it” boy on her arm, her tainted past will be buried—or so she thinks.

Charlie, pre-med, is done being the sweet and funny geek that girls like Devon ignore. But if he tries to impress her with a new edgy, spontaneous attitude, will his heart end up in the emergency room?

FROSH intertwines the stories of Ellie, Grant, Devon, and Charlie in Mónica B. Wagner’s sexy NA debut series, about falling in love and falling apart.

Buy on: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Monica Bustamonte Wagner
Mónica was born in a Peruvian city by a snow-capped volcano. Growing up, books were her constant companions as she traveled with her family to places like India (where she became a vegetarian), Thailand (where she *almost* met Leonardo di Caprio), France (where she pretended to learn French), and countless other places that inspired her to write. Now, Mónica lives in Chile with her husband, three boys, eleven hens, and stray dog. Keep up with Monica and follow her on Twitter @Monica_BW or visit her website: http://monibw.blogspot.com. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

America's Next Reality Star COVER REVEAL!

Today, I'm excited to share the cover for AMERICA'S NEXT REALITY STAR by Laura Heffernan, which being published March 7, 2017 by Kensington's Lyrical Shine Press.

SEEKING THE SMART ONE

Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.

Luckily The Fishbowl is all about puzzles and games, the kind of thing Jen would love even if she wasn’t desperate. The cast checks all the boxes: cheerful, quirky Birdie speaks in hashtags; vicious Ariana knows just how to pout for the cameras; and corn-fed “J-dawg” plays the cartoon villain of the house. Then there’s Justin, the green-eyed law student who always seems a breath away from kissing her. Is their attraction real, or a trick to get him closer to the $250,000 grand prize? Romance or showmance, suddenly Jen has a lot more to lose than a summer . . .

Without further adieu, here it is!



AMERICA'S NEXT REALITY STAR is available for preorder now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Google Play. Click here to add it to your Goodreads shelves.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

GUEST POST: An Agent’s Perspective on Pitch Wars and Other Contests

I'm so excited to have this guest blog from Jennifer Johnson-Blalock today. You all know I'm a total contest junkie, and I talk them up all the time. An agent has a very different perspective from me, both when I was a writer and now that I'm a host/mentor. Read on for some valuable insights.

Ah, August. As much of the publishing industry runs away for one last summer Friday adventure, writers and mentors are hard at work in the early days of PITCH WARS. I won’t get to jump in the excitement with you until November, but I already have one eye on the Twitter feeds. But as the enthusiasm ramps up, I know the anxiety does, too. Contests have their advantages and disadvantages—here are a few thoughts, from an agent’s point of view: 

On the writers’ side…

PRO: Contest acceptance provides validation that you’re on the right track.

Writing a book is HARD, am I right? And for much of the process, you’re tucked away in your writer’s nook, maybe sharing the book with a few critique partners and friends, but not having any real idea of whether your hard work will pay off. With such a long, tough process, it’s important to celebrate every milestone, and getting into a contest is definitely an accomplishment. It lets you know that someone out there thinks your work is good. That’s awesome! 

CON: It can be demoralizing if you don’t get accepted into a contest or don’t get as many requests as you’d hoped.

On the flip side, not receiving that validation is obviously tough. And even if you participate in the contest, when you get to the agent round, you may not get as many requests as other entries, or those requests might not lead to representation. Even though you know there are plenty of other agents out there, rejection always stings. 

PRO: You KNOW agents are looking at your work. 

There’s a myth that I can’t seem to eradicate that agents don’t actually read our queries. It’s true that once an agent gets to a certain level in her career, she usually has someone else look at the queries first. But most of those agents are still reading manuscripts and signing people from their query inbox. And every newer agent I know and I are all reading our queries personally, hoping to find our next project. But for those of you who still aren’t convinced, with a contest, you get the reassurance that agents are going to come and take a look at the entries. 

CON: You don’t choose the agents who participate. 

When you query, you do research (you should be doing research): you look at agency websites, individual agent’s Twitter feeds, #MSWL. When you enter a contest, you research the contest, but then it’s up to the organizers to find agents. So you may get requests from agents you haven’t heard of or who aren’t at the top of your list—though ultimately, you have control over whether you sign with them.

PRO: Contests may expose you to great agents. 

While there are more tools for agent research out there than ever before, there’s now so much information that it may take you some time to locate the perfect agent for you. An agent who requests your work may not be on your list yet (maybe they’re a newer agent eager for clients!), but do your research—she might be a great fit. 

Special Pitch Wars PRO: You get feedback on revisions! 

Pitch Wars can be particularly beneficial because you get a mentor who spends a great deal of time making sure your manuscript is in the best shape possible—truly, an enormously valuable resource. Always keep in mind, though, that while your mentors are talented, successful people, they aren’t the Grand Emperors of the Publishing World. As with any critique or editorial situation, it’s a dialogue. 

On the agents’ side…

PRO: Contests provide curated content. 

At any given point, my query inbox contains numerous queries for things that just won’t work—they’ve been previously published, the story doesn’t fit the genre, the book hasn’t gone through enough revisions. With a contest, I know every entry has met certain standards, and people whom I trust think that the work is ready for an agent to take a look.  

CON: The content isn’t *specifically* curated for the agent.

They have yet to create the Jennifer Johnson-Blalock’s Personal MSWL contest (a girl can dream), so even though the entries are agent ready, that doesn’t mean they’re right for me. Many will be in genres, like SFF, that I don’t represent. And my opinion of a work often comes down to quirky individual preferences that there’s no way a third party can filter for. When I sign on to a contest, though, I’m agreeing to make at least one request, preferably more, so I may take a chance on things I wouldn’t if I’d gotten a query for it. 

CON: Contests can be competitive among agents.

I know exactly how many other agents have asked for something when I request a contest entry, so I feel more pressure than I do with regular queries to read quickly. This can be tough if I have other things—existing client work or just, you know, life—that keep me from reading immediately, so sometimes I feel rushed or miss out on a project. 

PRO: But contests can also be exciting!

While the other agents do create pressure, they also generate excitement. This can be a challenging, lonely business on the agent side as well. It’s fun to see your peers getting enthusiastic about manuscripts—and sometimes a little incentive to work harder or faster isn’t a bad thing. 

The bottom line…

As an agent I participate in contests whenever I feel like I have the time to carefully consider the entries and read promptly. I’m thrilled to be a Pitch Wars agent for the first time, and I can’t wait to see the entries. 

But at the same time, I’m also excited about manuscripts I request through the regular query process. While I may read contest entries slightly faster out of necessity, they don’t get any bonus points when it comes to content. Contests are just one tool I use to find new clients.


And that’s how I’d recommend you look at contests as writers. Definitely enter—they can be a great way to find representation. But know that they’re only ONE way to find representation, and rejection from a contest doesn’t mean rejection from publishing. If you’re an aspiring Pitch Wars mentee, I hope you find the mentor of your dreams and that I get to take a look at your work in November. But if you don’t, check out my Manuscript Wishlist, and think about sending me a query! I promise I’ll be happy to see that, too.


Jennifer Johnson-Blalock joined Liza Dawson Associates as an associate agent in 2015, having previously interned at LDA in 2013 before working as an agent's assistant at Trident Media Group. Jennifer graduated with honors from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in English and earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Before interning at LDA, she practiced entertainment law and taught high school English and debate. Follow her on Twitter @JJohnsonBlalock, and visit her website: www.jjohnsonblalock.com.

Friday, August 5, 2016

SIX MONTH RULE review and Giveaway!

Six Month Rule Tour Banner

Six Month Rule

by A.J. Pine
Kingston Ale House #2
Publication Date: July 18, 2016
Genres: Adult, Entangled, Select Contemporary, Romance


Six Month Rule Cover
Synopsis: She created the game, but the rules are about to change.

Taurus: Hold fast to your single-minded nature today—no matter how long her legs or how lush her red lips.
Gemini: You were a shining star last night, but reality can be a real—well, you get the picture. Just remember: Tall, dark, and British equals no corner office for you.
Will Evans never wanted a reason to stay.
Holly Chandler wants nothing more than for him to go.
But neither one is prepared for what can happen in six months. Because it doesn’t matter what you want when what you need walks out the door.
Holly’s been busting her butt to make partner at Trousseau and there’s no way she’s going to let some stuck-up British arsehole get in her way—no matter how drop-dead gorgeous he is. But that doesn’t mean she can’t have a little fun in the process. She has a six-month rule: date just long enough for the honeymoon phase to wear off, then walk away before anyone gets hurt. If they both know the rules up front, walking away will be a piece of cake. Or maybe not…
*SIX MONTH RULE is a stand alone book in a connected series.


REVIEW:

Initially, I want to say that I requested this book from Netgalley, because I've read and loved Pine's other books. She's got a knack for creating characters with unstoppable chemistry and putting them in situations where I'm desperate to see what happens. So I had a good idea what I was getting into with this book, and SIX MONTH RULE didn't disappoint. 

WHAT I LIKED:

1. Holly and Will's relationship unfolded naturally, from the initial meeting to the last page. I loved watching these characters grow and change together.
2. The pacing is spot on. Scenes flow seamlessly from one to the next, with every scene deepening their bond or giving insight into the characters. Even the conflicts made perfect sense within the context of the story.
3. All the characters are interesting and well-rounded, not just Holly and Will.
4. The plot contained some interesting twists. Nothing earth-shattering, but I always appreciate when an author does something unexpected that works. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:

1. Trying to fit Kingston Ale House into the book seemed a little forced. Who has a business meeting to discuss a high fashion show in a pub wearing jeans? It didn't detract much from my enjoyment of the book, and I get that this is a series, but it struck me as odd. The other visits to the restaurant seemed more natural.
2. Holly's paid so little that she always shops the sales racks and buys off-season clothes, but she takes a taxi to/from work every day - despite owning a car? I understand the frustrations of city parking, but that's financially irresponsible, and it bugged me. At the very least, let me see her taking public transit if she doesn't want to lose her space.
(Am I nitpicking? Absolutely. The book is excellent, so there aren't any major problems.)

OVERALL:

A quick, fun read. I was a little annoyed when my plane landed early, because that meant I had to wait an interminable hour before seeing how it ended. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance. Five stars.

***I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***

BUY:


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Six Month Rule Teaser 4

DON'T MISS THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, THE FIRST BOOK IN THE KINGSTON ALE HOUSE SERIES!

The One That Got Away Cover

Synopsis: How far will one man go for the woman he's loved since high school?

Jamie Kingston has been Brynn Chandler's best friend since middle school. Only once was their friendship tested—when Brynn gave Jamie a single kiss. Since then, they've had an unspoken agreement never to cross that line again, and she’s ready to let go of the past and move on.

But Jamie has loved Brynn for as long as he can remember, and now that he's ready to tell her, she has her sights set on someone else. Knowing this is his last chance, he asks Brynn to go on a two-week road trip. But their time alone brings old hurts to the surface, and Brynn has to decide if the one that got away lies at the end of the journey or if he's been by her side all along.


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BUY:



ABOUT A.J. PINE

AJ Pine
AJ Pine writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend them with a happily ever after. As an English teacher and a librarian, AJ has always surrounded herself with books. All her favorites have one big commonality–romance. Naturally, her books have the same. When she’s not writing, she’s of course reading. Then there’s online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes) and, of course, a tiny bit of TV where she nourishes her undying love of vampires and superheroes. And in the midst of all of this, you’ll also find her hanging with her family in the Chicago burbs.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Six Month Rule Giveaway Graphic