Review: "Corliss" by VC Andrews

"Corliss"
by V.C. Andrews
Publisher: Pocket Star Ebooks
Release Date: June 12, 2017

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Flowers in the Attic and My Sweet Audrina series, now Lifetime movies, comes a haunting new novella featuring a mysterious, highly intelligent teenaged girl as she struggles to survive high school and understand her place in this complex, sometimes dangerous world.

Corliss is not like other girls at her Los Angeles high school. Incredibly intelligent, shy, and a loner, she has difficultly in fitting in. What’s worse, a clique of girls is out to get her after she refuses to take drugs with them, leading to a violent confrontation. When Corliss is unknowingly drugged, her entire life is turned upside down and no one—not even the handsome valedictorian who had agreed to go out with her—looks at her the same way. Will she be able to return to her high school or is there another path she can take? And where will it take her?
My Review:

I enjoy a good VC Andrews book, they're a nice guilty pleasure. Nothing too hard to digest here, but also a lot of dark, gothic fun for an afternoon read. Yes, some awful things happen, but the way that it's written, it never feels hopeless. It may be a tale that his been told before, high school girl is bullied, but it's told in that special VC Andrews way.

This ebook is very short, but that works great for this short tale. Anything else would have felt dragged out. This ebook is  part of a four part prequel for the Andrews' book "Bittersweet Dreams." I haven't read the full novel yet, but I believe I would have enjoyed Corliss even more if I had.

The novella ends with Corliss being accepted to Spindrift, the school for special teens. I think the book serves as a great teaser for "Bittersweet Dreams," or as complementary reading for those who have already read the novel. For me personally, it made me want to read Bittersweet Dreams so I can find out what happens and who Corliss will meet there.
 
Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 3.5/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: I found the story quite interesting, and I think it will appeal to fans of VC Andrews' work. I will definitely be reading "Bittersweet Dreams" and the additional four "Girls of Spindrift" novellas.




Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"In The Cowboy's Arms" Guest Post from Author Vicki Lewis Thompson



IN THE COWBOY’S ARMS
By Vicki Lewis Thompson

Harlequin
May 23, 2017
$5.75 US; 224 pages
ISBN: 978-0-373-62352-5

Matt Forrest was born to be an actor, but grew up at Thunder Mountain Ranch as a cowboy. So when things go haywire after shooting his first Hollywood movie, he retreats to his childhood home where he knows his parents and foster brothers can help him figure out what he really wants out of life.

But PR agent, Geena Lysander, isn’t about to lose one of her best new clients—so she follows him. And things get complicated because she’s attracted to Matt, and not just for his handsome, movie-star good looks. As she gets to know the man behind the cowboy, their professional relationship becomes passionately personal. Could Matt’s next big role be as Geena’s leading man?


VICKI LEWIS THOMPSON is a New York Times bestselling author who worked as a journalist and a high school English teacher before deciding to become a romance novelist. She was the recipient of Romance Writers of America’s Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, and has published more than 100 books.


And now a guest post from Vicki Lewis Thompson! Welcome to In the Hammock, Vicki!

How-to Tips for Aspiring Writers by Vicki Lewis Thompson:

Tips for those looking to get their work published/break into the industry.
1. Be an artist and a businesswoman. A myth persists that all you need is a great book and minions will appear to do the rest. A great book is a good start, but it will languish unless it’s shepherded through the process by an educated author who’s studied the market and researched her publishing options.
2. Turn in clean copy. Pleasing a reader is the goal, whether the reader is your mom, an agent, an editor, or the stranger who plunks down money for your book. No one deserves to be handed a story riddled with typos and grammatical mistakes unless that person has agreed, for love or money, to help you make it presentable.
3. Study story structure. Commercial fiction is more than a random collection of scenes. Many excellent books have been written about story structure if you’re hazy on the concept. Even if you think you understand it, brush up on the topic to be sure.
4. Read and analyze bestsellers in your sub-genre. They’ve achieved what you’re aiming for and it’s extremely valuable to figure out how and why they’re reaching a large audience. If the answer seems elusive, keep looking. It’s there.
5. Find your tribe. Writing is a solitary pursuit, but with all the communication tools we have, you should be able to locate your peeps. If possible, funnel down from the general category of writer to fiction writer, then to romance fiction writer and finally to the specific sub-genre(s) you’re targeting. Building a network of those who write what you do will help with your plots, your sales and your sanity.


Dislcosure: I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for this post.

"Their Pretend Amish Courtship" Blog Tour and Guest Post

THEIR PRETEND AMISH COURTSHIP
By Patricia Davids
May 23, 2017
$5.99 US; 224 pages
ISBN: 978-0-373-62278-8


Fannie Erb isn’t looking for a husband – especially if it means she has to leave behind her beloved horses to go find one. What she needs is a way to assure her parents that she’s not hopeless when it comes to love. And her family friend, Noah Bowman, might just be her solution.

A fake relationship would free them both from unwanted matchmaking plans, but how could Fannie predict that pretending to date the handsome boy next door would awaken genuine emotions? By summer’s end, they’ll be free to go their separate ways, but Fannie’s growing feelings are transforming her neighbor into the only man who might ever reign in her adventurous heart.


PATRICIA DAVIDS is a USA Today Bestselling author who grew up in Kansas. She began her career as a nurse, and put her dreams to write a book on hold as she raised a family and worked in the NICU. After forty years, she began writing seriously in 1996. Today, she enjoys crafting emotionally satisfying romances where love and faith being two people together forever.


GUEST POST

Now, I would like to welcome Patricia to In the Hammock Blog as she shares a little about herself with my readers. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your shorty, Patricia!!


Summer Hobbies by Patricia Davids

In the summer of 2015 my mother passed away and it quickly became clear that my elderly father couldn’t cope on his own. I made the decision to return home to the family farm located south and east of Abilene, Kansas and become a live-in caregiver. In doing so, I have had the joy of rediscovering the farm life I’d left behind more than forty years ago.

The farm is a working farm and cattle operation run by my youngest brother Gary and his son Kyle. They raise wheat, soybeans, milo and cane. Cane is grown primarily for our own use as cattle feed. Each year my brother and my dad purchase close to 500 head of young steers that are pastured over the summer in the Flint Hills and sold to feed lots in the early fall.

My father’s frail health keeps him off the tractors and out of the fields, but my brother regularly consults Dad on farming and cattle issues. When it became too much for Dad to attend cattle auctions in person, Gary showed us how to pull up the live auctions on the computer. I love him for his compassion. He makes Dad feel he is still an important part of the business he spent his life building. I know Gary could do it all and do it as well without Dad’s input but he is wise enough to listen to Dad’s advice before making his own decisions.

One thing I did not count on when I moved back home was the fact that everyone on the farm has to do their share of the work. I became a cook for harvest crews and delivered the meals to them in the fields. Eating lunch under the shade of a tree at the edge of a field of golden wheat is as much fun now as it was 45 years ago. I have hauled farm equipment, helped check the herds of cattle for sickness or injury, helped with range burning and even done my part at branding time although I don’t get to use the branding iron. I just prod the reluctant steers into the branding chute. A job that is sometimes much harder than it sounds.

Tasks that I did on horseback as a kid are now done from a four-wheeler, but I do get to spend a lot of time outdoors. I can’t believe how thankful I am for this opportunity to get to know my brother better and to take care of Dad. When the work is done, we all enjoy the same summer pastime. Fishing down at the creek.

You should see the size of the large-mouth bass and channel cats we’ve got in there.


Dislcosure: I received a digital copy of the book in exchange for this post.

"Always My Baby" by Martha Kennerson and Song Playlist

ALWAYS MY BABY
By Martha Kennerson
Published by Harlequin
April 18, 2017
$6.50 U.S.; 224 pages
ISBN-978-0-373-864997


China Edwards is an ambitious environmental attorney who pursues every goal with drive and dedication, and having a baby is no different. No husband? No problem. She’ll find the perfect donor. Then, after one spontaneous and passionate night with bachelor Alexander Kingsley, these two longtime friends are left with an unanticipated benefit that throws China’s future plans into turmoil.
China’s bright, legal mind and friendship are indispensable to Alexander and his multi billion dollar oil firm. However, the possibility of her moving on makes him realize just how deep his feelings actually run. After their all-business relationship takes a wildly erotic detour, Alexander is drawn into a company scandal that rocks his life. With trust in tatters, can an unplanned bundle of joy lead them to become the family they never expected?


MARTHA KENNERSON is a bestselling and award-winning author who believes her current blessings are only matched by the struggle it took to achieve such happiness. She has enjoyed a successful career in executive management for more than 20 years and lives in Texas with her family.



Song Playlist: A prepared playlist of songs that embodies the book’s characters and their love story.
Baby Hold On To Me by Gerald & Eddie Levert
Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
In My Mind by Heather Headley
All of Me by John Legend
Stay With Me by Sam Smith featuring Mary J. Blige
Like I’m Gonna Lose You by Meghan Trainor featuring John Legend
Let It Go by James Bay
Exceptional by Babyface
Share My Life by Kem
Our Love by Natalie Cole



disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publicist in exchange for this post.

"Lucas" by Delores Flossen Blog Tour and Song Playlist


LUCAS
By Delores Fossen
Published by Harlequin
April 18, 2017
$5.75 U.S.; 256 pages
ISBN-978-1-335-720955


A Texas Lawman will do anything to protect his son – even if it includes reuniting with the boy’s on-the-run mother…

Lucas Ryland has always had a way with the ladies. That is, until Hailey Darrow dropped him after a single night of passion. Then he discovered her unconscious body in a wrecked car with a fake ID and enough money to disappear. Unbeknown to him, the one who got away was leaving town with his baby…

Now Hailey is out of her coma, but still in danger. However, hiding her at his Silver Creek ranch ignites old passions and introduces new threats. Lucas must use every protective instinct in his arsenal to keep Hailey and their infant son safe. And to keep his body from remembering how good it felt to hold her in his arms.

DELORES FOSSEN is a USA Today bestselling author and an Air Force veteran who has sold millions of copies of her novels. She’s received the Booksellers’ Best Award for romantic suspense, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and was a finalist for the prestigious Rita. She’s written more than 50 books and has nearly 100 short stories and articles published in national magazines.




Song Playlist: Delores has prepared a playlist of songs that embodies the book’s characters and their love story.
Austin - Blake Sheldon
Come a Little Closer - Dierks Bentley
Let's Be Us Again – Lonestar
Don’t Cry - Guns N Roses
Blue Ain’t Your Color - Keith Urban
You're The Love I Want to Be In - Jason Aldean
I Won’t Give Up - Jason Mraz
Stay - Rhianna


disclosure: I recieved a copy of this book from the publicist in exchange for this post

"Guardian" Blog Tour and Movie Star Cast




"Guardian"
Terri Reed 
April 21, 2017
Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense


 Summary from Goodreads


PROTECTING THE SINGLE MOM
When a fellow FBI agent is kidnapped and a protected witness vanishes, Leo Gallagher will stop at nothing to find them both. So when he discovers a link between the case and a single mother in Wyoming, Leo and his trusty K-9 partner rush to question Alicia Duncan. Could she be the key to locating the missing persons? Not if a killer has anything to say about it. Someone is determined to keep Alicia from talking, so Leo and his chocolate Lab must keep her and her little boy safe on their family ranch. With danger lurking around every corner, Leo must work overtime to not lose another person who's important to him.


 Author Terri Reed


Movie Star Cast: Terri Reed has chosen movie stars to play the characters in "Guardian" in a movie.


For my hero FBI agent Leo Gallagher, I would cast Jason Lewis. There’s something about his chiseled jaw and bright eyes that is captivating.


My heroine, Alicia Duncan, would be Zoey Deschanel. She has such an interesting look. A mix of innocence and sensuality. She could play the fiercely protective heroine quite well.


Thanks so much for stopping by, Terri! Great movie cast, I'd love to see that movie!

disclosure: I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for this post.

"Finding Our Forever" Blog Tour and Writing Tips from Brenda Novak




"Finding Our Forever" 
Brenda Novak
March 21st Harlequin Special Edition
Summary from Goodreads:  


New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak welcomes readers to the town of Silver Springs, where surprises wait around every corner!

The search for her birth mother brought Cora Kelly to the New Horizons Boys Ranch. Getting a job there was easy enough, but confiding in Aiyana, the ranch's owner, that she's really her daughter? Cora's not sure she can do that, not unless she's confident the news will be welcomed. And once she gets to know Elijah Turner, Aiyana's adopted son and ranch manager, that decision becomes even more difficult.

Although Elijah can't deny his deep attraction to Cora, he's always struggled with trust. Anyone with his past would, and there's something about the ranch's newest employee that isn't exactly as it seems. But if the feelings she awakes in his guarded heart are any indication, she might be just what he's long been waiting for.




How-to Tips for Aspiring Writers: Tips for those looking to get their work published/break into the industry.
Ten Things Every Novel Needs By Brenda Novak

The beautiful thing about any creative endeavor is that there is no one “right” way to accomplish it. Everyone’s imagination works differently, and that’s what provides such great variety in art and literature. Just when someone thinks there’s an easy formula or “recipe” that must be followed if a book is to be “good” or “successful,” some author will invariably break one or more of the “rules” and wind up with a blockbuster. That said, there are certain elements that help to make one story better than another. These are the ten I believe to be most important.

  1. A great hook. These can be really fun to come up with. I got the idea for THE SECRET SISTER, which was nominated for the presitgious Rita Award, from an episode of Dateline. I was mesmerized as I watched a brother and sister, now adults, talk about the vague memories they had of another child. They were certain that child had been a sibling, but their mother claimed otherwise. They decided to dig deeper, and I was hooked! I wanted to know where that child was and what had happened to her—and why the mother had lied. Then I wanted to write a story that explored the same premise (although my book develops and ends in a completely different way than the incident that inspired it).

  1. Layered characters. What’s interesting about characters is that they can’t be “too” real, or they will seem fake. I know that’s a paradox, but real people are too inconsistent to make believeable characters. On the other hand, flat, two-dimensional characters are unengaging. So finding that middle ground can make all the difference, and that often involves creating characters who are flawed—because that’s what makes them sympathetic.

  1. Tension. In almost any kind of book it’s tension, created from conflict, that propels a story forward. Without something to conquer, something to overcome, there is no journey, no reason to read on.

  1. Solid Research. In a way, an author has to be a “jack of all trades.” Although she may have only limited experience with certain things (like the adoption process and what it takes to unravel a closed adoption such as what I wrote about in FINDING OUR FOREVER), it becomes encumbant on her to do enough research to be able to write with authority, which is what makes the book convincing. A single error can throw the reader right out of the story with the thought, “That could never happen!”

  1. Pacing that fits the style and genre of the book. While a romantic suspense novel might need to move fast, a contemporary romance seems to have a relatively moderate pace and a straight historical novel or a literary novel might be able to withstand even more introspection. Either way, the pacing must be appropriate to the story.

  1. Chapter/scene hooks. An author who builds her chapters and scenes such that she ends on an an up beat, instead of a sense of denoument, propels her reader into the next chapter—and the next and the next and so on.

  1. Active writing. Avoiding passive verbs like had, has, was, seemed and looked, and using stronger verbs in their place, will help bring the story alive. We’ve all heard, “Show, don’t tell.” This is part of the same thing. You want your readers to actively experience the story, to live the story, and that won’t happen if you’re standing back, telling them what’s happening from a distance. You need to bring them close in order to ignite their imagination and emotions. Then they will be right there with you, participating in every event.

  1. Tone. Hold to a sense of mystery as your tale unfolds. I never thought much about tone until I read a book that was light and funny at first (just like what was promised on the cover and blurb), but suddenly turned dark and angry. The change so unexpected and so sudden it nearly gave me whiplash, and it made me slightly angry. I felt like the author had broken her contract with me, the reader, which made me realize that holding fast to the correct tone as a writer is important.

  1. Unanswered questions. Why is the heroine doing this or that? Will she escape? What will the hero do when he finds out? Are they going to make it? What’s going to happen next? Knowing how much information to convey—and when—is key. Posing such questions will build a sense of urgency that should escalate through the novel to the black moment, making the “big finish” that much more exciting and satisfying.

  1. Subtext. Sub-text makes everything richer, more intriguing. According to fellow author Alicia Rasley, “A layered conversation is always more interesting than a simple one. Make it obvious that your characters are really saying more than what is on the page. That engages the reader’s thoughts and imagination as they try to puzzle out the subtleties.” I wholeheartedly agree with her!





Thank you so much for stopping by, Brenda!! Enjoy the book, everyone!


disclosure: I received an e-copy of the book in exchange for this post