About Spies, Lies, and Allies: A Love Story by Lisa Brown Roberts:
Summers are supposed to be fun, right? Not mine. I’ve got a job at my dad’s company, which is sponsoring a college scholarship competition. I just found out that, in addition to my job assisting the competing interns, I’m supposed to vote for the winner. Totally not what I signed up for.
My boss is running the competition like it’s an episode of Survivor. Then there’s Carlos, who is, well, very distracting––in a good way. But I can’t even think about him like that because fraternizing on the job means instant disqualification for the intern involved.
As if that’s not enough, an anonymous informant with insider intel is trying to sabotage my dad’s company on social media…and I’m afraid it’s working.
Much as I’d love to quit, I can’t. Kristoffs Never Quit is our family motto. I just hope there’s more than one survivor by the end of this summer.
And now… on to the Q&A!
What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?
Pride & Prejudice (both the Kiera Knightley movie and the Colin Firth series)
Falling in Love at Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic Isn’t Easy
In my novel, By a Charm and a Curse, Emmaline King is suffering from a curse that has petrified her skin, rendering her unable to feel anything except a brutal cold. One of the conditions of the curse is that she’s now tied to the carnival, unable to stray too far from its confines.
Benjamin Singer has traveled with and worked for the carnival since he was five years old. And though he knows better than most the benefits of the magic that keeps the carnival performers and workers safe and happy, he’s tired. But he and his best friend have a plan – they’re going to leave the carnival behind and strike out on their own.
Amber Hart, author of WICKED CHARM, stops by the blog to answer our questions on all things romance! Let’s dive with in…
What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?
I adore Sweet Home Alabama. I’m a sucker for southern allure and this movie is full of it. The accents. The sweet tea.The sprawling plantation houses. I love the main character—her spunk and how she grows into herself. She ends up accepting where her heart is meant to be, but not without digging her heals in and fighting it first. Aren’t we all a little like that sometimes?
Blue Crush is all about the waves and sun and beach, but also the unbreakable friendship of three women, and the unyielding determination to pick oneself up after falling. Sure one of the characters finds a man, but I really respect that her real love is surfing, the passion that fuels her.
Pride and Prejudice is an all time favorite of mine. The romance is swoon-worthy, and I can’t help but fall for a man with a rough exterior, but who’s really soft inside, and a woman with a fiery spirit.
I love that Twilight is all about firsts. First time at a new school. First time making lasting friends. First romance.
The Proposal is so incredibly funny. The characters, the unusual situation they get themselves into—needing to fake a marriage so that she can stay in the states—makes for a great real love story.
Describe your favorite scene from each one (you can include a Youtube clip if you want as well).
Sweet Home Alabama: “Well for starters, you can get your stubborn selfdown here and give me a divorce.” This part cracks me up. It shows her spunk and determination to head straight into her past with a will of lead.
Blue Crush: There’s a scene where she’s in the ocean, lying on a surfboard, facing a giant wave. Time seems to slow down. She knows this is it—the acumination of her fears and dreams. She has a choice. She can turn around…or face it. She jumps on her board and goes for it, not knowing what the outcome will be. Scared and hopeful. She risks it. To me, this is what it means to truly live. To head right into it bravely.
Zoey Handler is ready to put an end to her decade-long rivalry with Gordon Meyers. They’ve traded top spot between valedictorian and salutatorian for years, but all that’s over now. Right? But after a crazy graduation speech prank gets out of hand, suddenly their rivalry turns into all-out war. Time to make peace with a little friendly payback. Step one? Make him believe they’re now friends. Step two? Show him the time of his life at an epic graduation party. Step three? Don’t fall for his tricks. Step four? Absolutely, positively, do not kiss him again. So what if he’s cute? (Okay, hot.) So what if he’s charming? (Heaven help her, tempting.) So what if he apologizes? (That has to be fake.) She knows the real Gordon. And no matter how much her heart begs her to stop, there’s no turning back.
Today we have Molly E. Lee, author of LOVE BETWEEN ENEMIES, on the blog to answer our burning romance questions! Let’s get started. Molly, what are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements? What’s your favorite scene from each one?
The love Wade has for Vanessa is amazing. This scene—this one look he gives her…I strive to write that look. He does this various times throughout the movie. He’s basically just being a total swoon-worthy anti-hero throughout it, and I have a weakness for sexy anti-heroes (I’m equally obsessed with Loki). Wade has one thing he values above all others (even immortality) and that is the woman he loves!
Last of the Mohicans
This is one of my favorite movies of all time (my adult series is Adventure Romance, so a lot of that can be related to movies like this). The relationship between these two characters is intense, undeniable, and totally sparking with chemistry! The added stakes of a volatile historical period only up the pace and flesh out the relationship! LOVE IT!
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows part 2
Seven years! It took seven years of friendship and fights and trails before Ron and Hermione finally succumbed to their love! LOL I love this scene! And they are a huge inspiration for any friends to lovers trope, much like book one in the Grad Night series—Love in the Friend Zone.
I’m in love with this movie, but one of my favorite things is the multiple times Steve steps aside so Diana can do her thing. He never falters to defer to her as the stronger of the two, and that is a huge step for a male lead. It makes his character totally endearing, and I absolutely try to convey that in my stories—writing male characters who are capable of handling strong, independent women. Zoey, in Love Between Enemies, is incredibly smart…so smart she intimidates most of her peers. Not Gordon. He is her match, even if they are always battling.
Crazy Stupid Love
I love this dynamic between these two characters. She puts him in his place, and he’s totally blown away by her. They make each other laugh and that is a quality I value in my books. The couple has to be able to laugh with each other and at each other!
If you could only read five books for the rest of your life, what five books would they be, and why?
Harry Potter (especially if they created one massive tome with all seven books within one binding), and that’s because every time I read this series, I learn something new about craft, storytelling, character development, pace, etc. Also, it’s just an incredible story. One I never get tired of.
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. Derting is an instant click author for me—I don’t even need to see the blurb—but I’d pick The Body Finder because it was a book I picked up while my husband was deployed, and it offered me such a sense of escape and comfort in a high-stress time in my life. If you suffer from stress and anxiety, take a look at this full list of salves here on this website and get much better with natural medicine.
House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday. I love the way he uses rich language and culture to breathe life into these pages.
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sara J. Maas. Because I’m totally obsessed with this series right now, and I’ve already re-read this one twice. It’s just a great read and it offers an awesome escape.
On Writing by Stephen King. This is my absolute go-to when I need inspiration for writing or a brush-up on craft.
Who are your book boyfriends? What do you like about them? What characteristics do they share with the hero from your latest release?
Rhys from A Court of Thrones and Roses is my current Book Boyfriend. ☺ He’s confident, strong, compassionate, and challenging. I love male leads who are able to not only love their strong female counterparts, but push them when they need it. Gordon from Love Between Enemies is definitely not afraid to push Zoey when she needs a shove, and he’s also the first one to support her when she starts doubting herself.
FIRST ROMANCE (AKA My First Time):
What was the first romance novel you read?
Oh, this is so hard. I’m not 100% sure, but I do remember the first non-college assigned reading that got me back into the obsession of buying books like they were going out of style. All the heavy assignments killed that for me for a couple years because we were being tasked with reading nearly five to six books a week, plus the other class load. I loved it, but it ate away at my pleasure reading time. BUT—the first one I read once I had free time was Twilight.
What do you remember about it?
I remember reading it and thinking “wow, I’ve missed paranormal romance.” I’m pretty sure I read it in once sitting and was devastated I couldn’t immediately read the next one. It sent me to the bookstore, though, where I picked up three more young adult novels to devour.
What did you like most about it?
I liked the hot, broody immortal going after the totally awkward girl.
What did you like least about it?
That I had to wait so long for the next book 😉
Have you ever reread it? If you did, how do you feel about it now?
I have done a couple re-reads on the series. It’s always fun to go back and catch things you missed because you were trying to read it as fast as possible. I still feel the same way about it as I did then. I’m grateful that it got me back into focusing on reading just for me.
Darcy or Wentworth?
Christian or Gideon?
Rochester or Heathcliff?
Spock or Kirk?
Han Solo 😉
Sunrise or sunset?
Angst or humor?
Gah! Both! I NEED both! LOL
Tea or coffee?
Wine or beer?
Cake or pie?
Scruff, beard, or clean-shaven?
Blue-collar or white collar?
Doesn’t matter as long as the person behind it is genuine
Jeans or a suit?
Car or motorcycle?
Thank you so much for having me! It was so fun chatting with you!!
About Molly E. Lee:
Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her debut novel EDGE OF CHAOS, and as a mentor at Pitch Wars – a program which connects promising writers to established authors in the community. Molly writes New Adult and Young Adult contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves watching storms from her back porch at her Midwest home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.
Zoey Handler is ready to put an end to her decade-long rivalry with Gordon Meyers. They’ve traded top spot between valedictorian and salutatorian for years, but all that’s over now. Right? But after a crazy graduation speech prank gets out of hand, suddenly their rivalry turns into all-out war. Time to make peace with a little friendly payback. Step one? Make him believe they’re now friends. Step two? Show him the time of his life at an epic graduation party. Step three? Don’t fall for his tricks. Step four? Absolutely, positively, do not kiss him again. So what if he’s cute? (Okay, hot.) So what if he’s charming? (Heaven help her, tempting.) So what if he apologizes? (That has to be fake.) She knows the real Gordon. And no matter how much her heart begs her to stop, there’s no turning back. Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two rivals who discover maybe they could be something much more…if only they’d stop fighting long enough to notice it.
I have. A. LOT. of book boyfriends. And it was hard to choose a favorite. But here they are, the top five, and I’m listing them from my fifth favorite to my absolute #1 favorite.
WARNING: I tried hard not to give away spoilers, but it was hard to say what I loved about my book boyfriends without doing so. Though I tried to be as vague as possible, read at your own risk!
Marcus from The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Marcus was my book boyfriend all throughout high school and college. I’ve since progressed in my thinking, and looking back, he’s not really that great. I remember even while I was reading the series (all 10+ times I’ve read it!), there were some red flags in the way Marcus acted, but since my reading was limited in my Christian high school, I just thought that was the way men were, and had a right to be. Plus, this is a historical fiction, and the controlling way Marcus acts probably lines up with the way the culture was in Ancient Rome, where women didn’t have any rights. THAT said, apart from his controlling, condescending nature, Marcus is all shades of swoonworthy. Attractive, humorous, rich, and with a lot of power in society. And those four features are what I used to fashion Kalen Rydell with. Fun Fact: Kalen used to have the exact same characteristics as Marcus, but like I said, I’ve since progressed in my thinking and transformed him into what a real gentleman should look like. 😉
Maxon from The Selection series by Kiera Cass. Who else likes the innocent boy who’s never touched a girl? I love Maxon’s innocence, and I love how he doesn’t expect the women to fall all over him, even though he’s the prince and they’re at the palace for him. Like Maxon, Kalen is in a high position in society, and women basically throw themselves at him, yet when Lark, a slave, enters his estate, he doesn’t expect her to act like that at all.
My love affair with paranormal romance started, as it always does, with a few talented women. To know when it all started, we’d have to go back… way back to 2005.
Nope wait, I think we need to go back even further. To 2001 when a little-known Canadian author named Kelley Armstrong published her first Women of the Otherworld book called “Bitten,” which was turned into a TV show a few years ago. It was really my first introduction to an action-packed, paranormal-being populated world with a female lead and a really incredible hot male hero. She had the best forum for writing on her website, and I visited often and got a lot of advice and information there. Kelley even blurbed my first published book “Hell Kat,” which Kensington Publishing published in 2005 under my pen name Vivi Anna. I think Kelley is one of the most underrated authors out there.
In the peaceful seaside town of Cape Bonita, wicked secrets and lies are hidden just beneath the surface. But all it takes is one tragedy for them to be exposed.
The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she’s next. All the victims so far have been linked to Penelope—and to a boy from her physics class. The one she’s never really noticed before, with the rumored dark past and a brooding stare that cuts right through her.
There’s something he isn’t telling her. But there’s something she’s not telling him, either.
Everyone has secrets, and theirs might get them killed.
Now onto the Q&A with Pretty Dead Girls author, MONICA MURPHY!
FIRST ROMANCE (AKA My First Time):
What was the first romance novel you read?
A long time ago, Silhouette (now Harlequin) had a teen line, and it was called First Love from Silhouette. The book I absolutely 100% adored (I don’t know if it was my first romance, but it was the most memorable) was called LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Elaine Harper.
In a small town like Culler, South Carolina, you guard your secrets like you guard your cobbler recipe: with your life. Georgia Ann Monroe knows a thing or two about secrets: she’s been guarding the truth that her best friend Will is gay for years now. But what happens when a little white lie to protect him gets her into a fake relationship…and then the boy of her dreams shows up?
Enter Beau Montgomery: Georgie’s first love, hotter than ever, and much too much of a southern gentleman to ever pursue someone else’s girl. There’s no way to come clean to Beau while still protecting Will. But bless their hearts, they live in Culler—where secrets always have a way of revealing themselves.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a hilarious “fakeship,” a scorching-hot impossible relationship, and a heartwarming best-friendship that will make you want to call your best friend right here, right now.
We had Danielle Ellison, author of THE SWEETHEART SHAM over to the blog to answer our burning questions about all things love & romance. Now, on with the Q&A!
I have always been a reader. On vacations, a significant portion of my suitcase was books, and I always blew through those so fast that I’d start pleading with my parents to take me to a local bookstore. I was voracious, and I tended to jump genres a lot once I branched away from the children’s section of the library. Romance, however, didn’t enter my reading world until years I was in my mid-twenties.
The way I moved through sections of the bookstores and libraries I frequented seemed like a natural progression at the time, but looking back on it, I can see how my younger self was heavily influenced by the tastes and actions of the people around me.My dad was a fan of mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy, and when I first got bored with the children’s section of the library, it was his books I borrowed. My mom didn’t have a lot of time to read, and when she did she preferred non-fiction that didn’t tend to interest me, so I stuck to dad’s shelves and piles. When school friends brought in romance novels stolen from their mom’s bookshelves, those stories were treated like something lurid and forbidden, and they only ever read aloud the most explicit of the sex scenes they found. To baby me, there was no appeal in a book revolving solely around sex. Since I didn’t have any romance readers in my life to correct my misconceptions, I didn’t pick up a romance novel until after I graduated college when I began working at Borders.
Over the two and a half years I worked at Borders, I held a lot of positions—bookseller, training supervisor, merchandising supervisor, and inventory supervisor. By necessity, I had to put my hands on almost every book in the store and recommending titles and authors in the romance section. I had to read the backs of the books so I knew what was available and what authors to start with if someone was looking for contemporary vs. shapeshifter paranormal. It was only a matter of time before something caught my eye strongly enough to intrigue me to buy a copy and take it home. The first to hit that mark was What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.