Hope in Liverpool is a stirring historical romance novel following a dejected young woman who finds renewed hope in a handsome stranger that provides the prospect of a better life. But that life has its own set of obstacles.
Hope Bennett is an intriguing character and could be described as a woman with a gentle soul and a heart of gold, but don’t let that fool you because once you hit a nerve she can be as feisty as ever. This dynamic character is really brought to life by T N Traynor’s sharp writing.
This emotionally charged love story showcases the hardships that women go through on a daily basis, yet somehow they are able to soldier on and continue being the anchors in their home while also being their own pillars of strengths. Traynor takes this novella beyond your typical romantic love story and makes it a book that shows the strength of a woman while adding a twist of romance. The story is a deep but subtle exploration of dysfunctional families and through this it shows the true value of forgiveness.
As a young woman myself I was able to empathize with, if not relate to, Hope as she felt authentic and the writing really places the reader in her shoes. This is a melodramatic love story, but it’s melodrama done right. It brings all the emotions of family drama and love to the forefront and probes them throughout the story in various ways that ensures the reader is always entertained. Although this is a love story it still displays the imperfections of people and choices.
When I read through the prologue I thought this was going to be a stuffy historical fiction novel, but stick with it because after chapter one I was fully engaged with the story.
Hope in Liverpool is a stimulating historical romance novel with a well-conceived and thoughtful protagonist that was a delight to follow. This a compelling romance novel that will appeal to anyone looking for a quick but riveting love story.
Pages: 210 | ASIN: B091B8LYNP
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Backup Offer follows a restaurant owner who’s abandoned by her contractor in the middle of a renovation and seeks help from an old love. What was the inspiration for the setup to your stirring romance novel?
In an earlier novel, Blair attended culinary school in Paris for a few years, as did her father, and she always was his helper in the kitchen growing up. So when she had to leave her home behind in order to force herself to stay away from Brandis, her dad helped her find a kitchen to work in and get more experience which she used to write her own business plan to open her place. It’s so successful, she’s in the middle of an expansion to the place when the novel opens but the contractor bolts and leaves behind a big mess, she automatically reaches out to the man who can help her, since he owns and runs a construction company back in her home town. The catch is, he is also the reason she left town in the first place.
I’ve worked in restaurants, owned and ran a bar for a few years, and sold beer and wine to restaurants so I’ve seen and worked in all sorts of kitchens and behind many kinds of bars. They are places chock full of drama, but also places where friendships and other relationships are formed based on common passions for food, drinks, and creativity. Owning a restaurant in particular is, in my opinion, always a passion since it is brutally hard work, with long hours and many times small rewards.
This is the 9th book in your Stewart Realty series. Did you know you would take the series this far? What has surprised you the most about the series up to this point?
I started this series in 2008 and the first editions of the first 3 books (Floor Time, Sweat Equity, and Closing Costs) were published in 2010-2011. They’ve since been revised and re-published. I wrote the first 8 books between 2008 and 2014, and thought I was done but something about the way I left Brandis and Blair–the second generation of the saga–bothered me so I wanted to provide them with a happier ending to their love story.
What were some ideas you wanted to explore in Blair and Brandis’s relationship?
The biggest thing they have to cope with is a doozy for any relationship–addiction. Brandis Gordon spent his teenaged years playing football, being the golden boy to all around him, and developing addictions to alcohol, pain pills, and sex. These aren’t always topics you’ll find in romance novels but I set it up this way in the book prior to Backup Offer. Good Faith (book 8) is not a romance but a deep dive into relationships between the first generation and second. The first gen is well-established from books one through seven and by that time, they have kids. These kids then grow up and develop their own personalities and relationships, not all of them good. Blair is an enabler, as many of us are without realizing it. She’s so passionately in love with Brandis from a young age, she believes he can do no wrong, even as he is doing a lot of wrong to her, and the rest of his family.
Backup Offer is his redemption arc, in a way, as he and Blair have spent 10 years apart when the novel opens, working on themselves and their careers, and in Brandis’ case, rebuilding his relationships with this sisters and father. Neither of them have had a romantic relationship during that time so when fate brings Blair back to her hometown when her best friend needs her help and she lays eyes on Brandis for the first time in a decade, she tried to avoid her feelings and hold him at arms length. But he rushes to her side to help after the contractor disaster, bringing his rescue dog–something that I really enjoyed portraying–and ends up staying at her house.
Most real relationships require work and effort, and these two are wary about hurting each other (and themselves) by reconnecting. But they do, and honestly, it has to be one of the most satisfying happily ever afters I’ve written. They put in the work and reap the rewards, but I make it clear that living with alcoholism and other addictions is a daily, hourly battle. But Brandis will fight it, if it means he and Blair can be together.
Do you have more books planned in the Stewart Realty series, or do you have another series idea?
This series is finished. I have several other series published and will be returning to one of my other successful ones soon: The Love Brothers series, which is about a large, boisterous family with 4 brothers and a sister. I have some ideas about expanding it and plan to do so in 2022.
I’m also developing a series about a fictional soccer team set in Detroit that will release in late 2021.
An ex-boyfriend, his massive dog, her house, and no hotel room in sight. What could go wrong?
After Blair ended things with Brandis, she was determined to get away–and stay away from him for good. She put family, friends, and the life she knew in Michigan in her rear view mirror and started over. As owner and head chef of her own place in Louisville, she stays plenty busy, especially since “Blair’s Kitchen” is the darling of the restaurant scene. She’s managed to avoid Michigan for almost a decade, but when her best friend needs her help, she drops everything and heads home.
Brandis has spent the last ten years coming to terms with addiction, personal tragedy, and the loss of the woman he loved. He’s now the third generation to run his family’s construction business, and he’s managed to reconstruct tattered relationships with his family. He’s even adopted a dog, thanks to some donated renovation time spent at an animal shelter. He’s got everything he needs—except a for one thing.
When the contractor she paid to build her restaurant’s expansion vanishes, leaving her with a giant mess, Blair only hesitates a moment before calling Brandis for help. But when he rushes to her side to evaluate the crisis, there isn’t an available room in a twenty mile radius. So they settle in to a routine—her, her one-time boyfriend, and his giant, slobbering dog in her small house. It doesn’t take long for the temptation of close proximity to give way, and while Blair tries to keep it all physical, Brandis has other ideas.
The end of the Stewart Realty saga brings the second generation full-circle in ways many never expected, and no one regrets.
Posted in Interviews
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Ariessy was just shy of her 18th birthday and navigating life with more challenges than the average teenager. She was a Seivar, a race of magical beings who existed to protect Mother Earth, working at a school to help young Seiva harness their sorcery, and also dealing with the anguish of seeing her father grow sicker each day with no explanation why. Suddenly, the death of an old family friend sets off a series of events that turns Essy’s life even more on its head as she’s forced to face truths about her family and the people in her community she thought she could trust. For Essy, nothing was ever going to be the same again.
In Ariessy of Midgard, L.B. Arthur weaves an enchanting tale of various ancient races, living their lives on Earth and existing secretly alongside humans. The Seiva and the Verrulfa both serve different purposes, with the former protecting the Earth and non-humans and the later protecting humans from the Seiva. At the start of the book, it seems like the story might be a little similar to Harry Potter, albeit from a teacher’s point of view, but it quickly turns into a fantastic combination of magic and mythology. The beauty of the Welsh countryside provides a captivating setting for the intrigue of Norse legends as Essy’s preconceptions are challenged and changed with an alarming quickness. Arthur captures the essence of a late teen exceptionally well, presenting Ariessy as a young woman who regularly straddles the line between a child’s emotional maturity and an adult’s responsibilities. She still sees her family, and her own interests, as a number one priority despite learning about her place and obligations in a much larger world.
There is an alluring romantic aspect woven throughout this novel as well, but it’s not the central point of the novel and so feels uncritical. Ariessy’s is an emotive and engaging character who is headstrong and intelligent, but ultimately needs to be saved. But even with this I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the story and had a hard time putting it down. The blend of existing mythology and the magic system created by Arthur make for an riveting story.
Ariessy of Midgard is an emotional fantasy adventure story that expertly hits all the right notes for young adult fantasy fans looking for an easy story with a unique blend of Norse mythology to get lost in.
Pages: 290 | ASIN: B08YR7TKCZ
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After an age-old creature—buried deep underground—rises from years of peaceful slumber to feast on humans, it attacks Jena McCain—a young artist who has the ability to speak with the dead—and infects her with a curse. As the virus spreads through her body, Jena has one hundred and one days to resist her newly found urges for human blood. If she succumbs to the bloodlust, she will become the thing that has cursed her. While Jena heals in the hospital, her thirst for blood rises. Desperate for help, she confides in her best friend Angie, realizing time is running out. Surprisingly, Angie has a few secrets of her own. What she reveals to Jena goes beyond unbelievable. Not only is Angie not human—born with the ability to shift into a wolf—there is a secret species of supernatural beings called the Breedline. Now that Jena’s reality has slowly shifted into a bizarre realm, she must come to accept the unbelievable and trust her friend before it’s too late. But unknown to all, the immortal creature will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants—to seduce Jena and make her his bride.
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Seventy Times Seven, by Doralyn Moore, is the story of a young woman who leaves an abusive situation and learns the power of forgiveness. Merisela lives in Mexico with her brother, mother, and stepfather. After an encounter with her stepfather, Merisela leaves Mexico and travels to Canada, where she hopes her aunt still lives. Leaving her home is only the first step in Merisela’s journey.
The main character flees her home in Mexico, after she believes her stepfather’s sexual abuse is worsening. Merisela arrives in Canada on her aunt’s doorstep seeking help. She encounters many obstacles while figuring out how to make a life for herself. Throughout the book the point of view switches to some other minor characters, which helps to develop various character backgrounds, while still intertwining them with Merisela’s story. Merisela meets Michael and a blossoming relationship is formed that kept me engrossed in the story. Michael helps Merisela find her faith and forgiveness, which helps her obtain closure in dealing with her past.
Author Doralyn Moore discusses mature topics throughout the book, but the underlying themes woven in the pages is faith and forgiveness. Though Merisela has had many trials, she learns to accept that God has a plan and no matter how many times you have been hurt you must learn to forgive. This is an emotional story with engaging characters that really drive these points home in authentic and relatable ways.
The writing style throughout the book is light, and Moore changes the tone so that each character’s point of view is in their own voice. Although the chapters sometimes switch in the point of view, the story is told in full and the variety of voices bring great emotional depth to this contemporary romance novel and colors Merisela’s story.
The characters and voices were written so beautifully. Moore created a novel bursting with relatable characters and prudent life lessons. This book contains mature content, but it is delivered in a thoughtful way that sheds light on the dark topics while still making it easy to process. Seventy Times Seven is a poignant romance novel that will appeal to anyone looking for an emotional Christian fiction story.
Pages: 306 | ISBN: 152558409X
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Blair Freitag is the owner and head chef of a farm to table restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. She has plans to expand the restaurant and buy a farm of her own, but everything is put on hold when she returns to Michigan to visit her friend after a medical scare. Blair has not been home in ten years, after a painful breakup. Her ex-boyfriend, Brandis Gordon, a former addict, now runs his family’s construction company. Once Blair is back in Kentucky again, she finds that the contractor she hired to complete the renovation on her restaurant has vanished with the money she paid him and the job only half done. Not knowing where else to turn, she calls Brandis for help. They realize that they still love each other. But can they get past the wounds of their past?
Backup Offer is an emotionally-charged family saga that’s the 9th book in a series, but this book can be read as a standalone story. But for anyone who has read the other books in the series, you’ll see many of the previous characters reappear in Blair and Brandis’s story and have plenty more depth added. I liked that the book had a happy ending, which is great for anyone looking for a feelgood story. After everything Blair and Brandis suffered through while he struggled with the demons of addiction, it was good to see how he was able to turn his life around, and that she was able to forgive him for the mistakes he made in the past. Blair had an interesting occupation as the owner of a farm to table restaurant, and I liked reading the part where Brandis came to Louisville to help her when her former contractor disappeared in the middle of the job.
I felt that Blair and Brandis spent too much time apart throughout the book. Living in two different states, I felt they didn’t have much interaction until almost halfway through the story. And after Brandis helps Blair with her restaurant in Louisville, they are apart again when he returns to Michigan.
There are a few loose ends by the end of the story but, as with any good saga, you are left wanting more and desperate to read the follow up book for answers. Backup Offer is an impassioned contemporary romance novel that feels authentic and keeps things grounded, which makes the drama so much more engrossing.
Pages: 212 | ASIN: B096G5DBGL
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Blast from the Past starts with Kieran O’ Neill, who is on a break from his fast-paced military life when he receives a call about Sophie Tyson, a name he had not heard in ten years. We’re then taken ten years into their past, when Kieran was still an eighteen-year-old boy who had just joined the army and we get to see how he met Sophie Tyson, who by that time had already divorced her abusive husband, Simon. This riveting military romance novel follows their emotionally-charged journey of love, loss, and survival.
The story explores many important themes such as violence and domestic abuse, but what I liked most about this story was how those things are intermingled with contemporary issues that soldiers face like PTSD and their experiences in Afghanistan. The story adds a lot of depth to its characters while weaving a complex portrait of military life that goes beyond the strategy, shooting, and death we often think of when reading action novels. Don’t get me wrong, the novel has plenty of action, but I appreciated the subtle but thoughtful commentary on the human condition found within this story.
The plot is well constructed and is easily engaging right from the prologue. With a fluid style of writing I was easily engrossed in the story. This is a character focused story, leaving the background and scenery up to the readers imagination, which is helpful in keeping focused on the emotional aspect of the novel.
This is a unique story for me because it plays with being an action novel and a romance novel. The blending of the two, along with the engaging characters, ensures readers will be thoroughly entertained with the story. The alluring relationship between Kieran and Sophie is what kept me coming back to this novel again and again.
Blast from the Past is an engaging story that explores a haunted past and a heartfelt relationship in unique ways. The military theme of the novel will certainly appeal to anyone looking for an action oriented romance story with captivating characters.
Pages: 328 | ASIN: B08L5D2WQF
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Beyond Sunlight tells the riveting tale of Melanie and her normal human life that gets flipped upside down when she meets a mysterious stranger in a jazz club. Although impressed by his musical talents and chivalric nature, she could have never guessed what he would tell her that night. Suddenly, her peaceful life is shattered as she learns about her imminent death from cancer. Matters get even more complicated when Martin, the handsome stranger, confesses he belongs to an ancient species called Urtama and is a vampire.
The story is presented to us in the form of journal entries, and the the narrative flows casually from the first person point of view. This invites readers in and helps them relate with the protagonist and sympathize with her situation. Melanie is faced with many hard decisions while navigating her new life as a nightwalker. She displays grit and efficient survival skills which gives her an edge that kept me rooting for her.
Unlike other vampire novels, Melanie is not a damsel in distress waiting for her knight in shining armor to save her from the perils of the big bad world. She is independent and adept at not only defending herself, but also protecting those she cares about. She doesn’t tolerate any kind of disrespect aimed towards her or her loved ones. In fact, she values family bonds and it is this faith in kinship that dictates her behavior. The best thing about Melanie is that she questions everything, choosing to work out her options and evaluating them before finalizing. This also helps readers follow the story and understand everything that’s happening.
It is also important to note that there is no unnecessarily long and dramatic love triangle in the story which is often featured in most supernatural romance stories. Instead the story focuses on building the lore and details of the legend behind the Urtama race and the justifications for the need to dispose of human food consumed by night walkers. This keeps the story grounded and engaging.
Beyond Sunlight is a thrilling supernatural thriller that deftly building an intriguing backstory. I recommend this book to readers who are interested in dark fantasy stories with a formidable female lead.
Pages: 478 | ASIN: B095BL2GSJ
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