A single mother with a secret past. A Hollywood star who's life is anything but hidden. Will the past deprive them of a future? Or will they dare to dream a dream for love?
Author Lisa Belcastro's new novel, A Dream for Love, is available today!
When the gavel hit the wooden block at the Possible Dreams Auction, Laurel Simmons sat in stunned silence. Her sister had lost her mind, purchasing a week's vacation stay for two at actor Ryan Crandall's beach house on Martha's Vineyard. And then Tammy announced that she was giving the "dream" to Laurel as an early birthday present.
A month later, Laurel and her four-year-old daughter Gracie arrive at the luxurious house on Squibnocket Beach ready to swim, play, picnic and enjoy the peace and solitude together.
Laurel's dream vacation quickly turns into a nightmare when Hollywood bad boy Ryan Crandall shows up to escape his latest tabloid headlines. Ryan wants the woman and her child gone. Laurel wants him gone. Fate will bring them together for reasons neither one of them expected, but fate will also drive them apart.
Laurel has a past she needs to keep hidden. Her life and Gracie's depend on it. Ryan has a past, and present, that's been food for public consumption for over a decade. Will the past deprive them of a future? Or will they dare to dream a dream for love?
This was a fun romance novel with some suspense and mystery thrown in. I immediately liked Laurel and her daughter, Gracie. Both are very real characters that I could relate to. I was excited for her dream vacation and felt it was something that Laurel was more than due for.
Gracie, especially, kept me smiling. I have a four-year-old daughter myself and she and Gracie could have been twins. Every time I read about something Gracie did or said, I found myself nodding because that's exactly how my daughter would have reacted. Loved it!
I enjoyed the way the author introduced Ryan and gradually worked to help the reader get to know him. She managed to remind us of his ties as an actor but didn't focus on his time on set, which I liked.
I felt like the first couple of chapters were a touch slow, but the book was worth it. The story moved along well and I liked how the author developed the personalities and backstories of Laurel and Ryan as they get to know each other.
While I had some suspicions as to what might be going on in Laurel's past, the author still kept me holding my breath until the end.
If you enjoy a good romance novel with a great story line and well-developed characters, you'll be glad you read A Dream for Love.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.
I was given an advanced reader's copy for my honest review of this book.
About Lisa Belcastro
Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha's Vineyard. She loves chocolate, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, laughing, reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat, Ben, who keeps her company while she spends hours working at the computer.
She was inspired to write Shenandoah Nights, the first book in the Winds of Change trilogy, while chaperoning two Tisbury School summer sails with her daughter, Kayla, aboard the schooner Shenandoah. The weeklong adventure, sans electricity, Game Boys, iPods and modern conveniences, kindled her imagination to dream of an altogether different voyage.
In addition to writing Shenandoah Nights and Shenandoah Crossings, Lisa currently pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style magazine. She has worked as a staff and freelance reporter and photographer for The Chronicle of the Horse and as assistant editor at The Blue Ridge Leader. She has written articles for USA Today, Dressage (London), USA WEEKEND Magazine, The Blue Ridge Leader and Sidelines.
When she's not at her desk, Lisa is living in paradise, volunteering at her daughter's school, serving in her church community, planting and weeding her numerous gardens, trying to run a marathon a month, or walking the beach looking for sea glass.
How would you like to win a digital copy of
A Dream for Love? Enter the contest below for your chance!
It's Monday morning.
How many of you are starting out with a large to-do list already? I know I sure am. Monday is the busiest day for me, personally, because it's the only day I don't normally need to go somewhere.
Now, one might think that very fact would lead to a more relaxed day. But in truth, it means I start out the week with a mental list to accomplish as much as I possibly can today because it gets harder to do so as the week goes on.
So here I am, at 7:30 on a beautiful Monday morning, already feeling behind.
That's not the way to start off a new week and that's only setting myself up for feeling flustered and stressed.
Today, I'm going to approach Monday differently. What if I think about all of the things I'm thankful for as much as I do all of the things I need to get done? What if I don't keep one eye on the time in an effort to not "fall behind" and just enjoy or do my best at the activities or chores that I do tackle?
What if I let it all go? What if I give God a chance to fill my heart and mind with the joy and peace He has for me on this Monday morning?
Today, I'm going to do just that.
If you're struggling this morning, I challenge you do do the same thing.
Come on - Let's let it all go and see where this beautiful day takes us!
In my quest to grow as an author, I'm constantly finding new things that help me better my craft. Sometimes they are fantastic articles online and other times they are suggestions from author friends who have been at this longer than I have.
One of the biggest challenges a lot of authors face is the ability to accurately portray their character's thoughts and emotions to the readers. This is an area of writing that I continue to strive to improve in.
It's easy enough to use words to tell our readers what a character is doing or saying. But if we can show how a character is reacting to an emotion, the words we use become much more powerful.
Let's take a look at some examples. Here's a case of telling the reader what the character is going through:
Sally walked back and forth across her studio, her heart beating wildly with fear. What if the intruder found out where she was? There was a sound on the other side of the door and she jumped. Was it him? She prayed the lock would hold until help arrived.
Sure, we know what's going on with Sally and we know that she's scared. Who wouldn't be in a situation like this?
But as writers, we can do so much better. We can wield words to help the reader feel what the character is experiencing:
Sally paced the floor of her studio, her legs weak. She shook her hands out as her heart galloped in her chest and the sound of blood rushing through her body filled her ears. She gulped back a breath as her eyes flitted from the window to the secured door. A scratching on the other side made her jump. Sally's mouth went dry and she tried to swallow past the lump that formed in her throat. What if the intruder was outside? She prayed the lock would hold until help arrived.
Which paragraph paints a better picture? I would much rather experience a situation with the character than be told how I should react.
As an author, showing instead of telling isn't always easy. I'm definitely getting better with practice. I've also found that there are some amazing tools out there that have made a difference in my writing.
One of those is the book The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. If you haven't taken a look at this book before, I strongly urge you to do so.
Inside, you'll find a number of emotions listed from Anguish to Dread, from Gratitude to Love. With each emotion, the authors give a definition followed by very specific information that can be crucial to helping you describe a situation that your character is facing:
Cues of acute or long-term responses to the emotion
What the emotion might escalate to (a stronger emotion)
Cues of a suppressed emotion
A writer's tip at the end
I keep this book on my desk and I pull it out numerous times per writing session. I can't recommend it enough. I usually buy my books in digital format. My wonderful husband bought this one for me in paperback and I'm incredibly glad that he did. There's something about being able to reach for it and flip right to the emotion I need in seconds.
If you struggle with showing rather than telling in your writing, maybe a book like this could be of use to you as well. If you're an author who has a good grasp of this skill, the book can still be a wonderful source of different responses you can have your character experience.
Either way, The Emotion Thesaurus is a reference I think all writers can benefit from.
What kinds of references do you find helpful during the writing process? I'd enjoy hearing from you!
I'm so excited to announce that today is the day Finding Hope is finally released on Kindle and in paperback! I hope that you all enjoy reading Lexi's story.
Crystal Walton was so kind as to let me visit her blog today and share about Finding Hope. She also read and reviewed it. Please stop by!
Franky A. Brown is hosting me on her blog today. Check it out to read an interview and more!
If you do read Finding Hope and would like to read a review, that would be fantastic. Reviews are more than welcome on Amazon, Goodreads, and on Barnes and Noble (or all three if you have the time).
Thank you for being such loyal readers!