Monday, June 8, 2015

Meant To Be By: Jessica James {Book Review, Author Interview & Giveaway}

Adult Suspense, Mystery, Romance
Publication.Date  June 6th 2015
Published By:  Patriot Press
AuthorJessica James

Meant To Be on Goodreads
My review copy:From the author in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:,%201

It started as a chance encounter on the beach, and ended 24 hours later when they parted to go their separate ways.

Or so they thought.

Actually it was just the beginning.

WHEN LAUREN CANTRELL said goodbye to the guy she had just met on the beach, she had no way of knowing their paths would ever cross again. But fate had another unexpected meeting in store for them—this time in a place where danger was part of the culture and the stakes were life and death.

THE LAST PERSON in the world Rad expected to see at a special ops briefing in Afghanistan is the girl he met at the beach two weeks ago—the one he can’t stop thinking about. 

From the sundrenched beaches of Ocean City, Md., to the snowcapped mountains of Afghanistan, this thrilling tale of espionage and intrigue takes readers on a spellbinding journey into the secret lives of our nation’s quiet heroes—and answers the question: 

What do you do when the person you most want to protect is the one risking everything to make sure you survive?

In her line of work, Lauren had learned to spot people who were capable of being physically dangerous--the way they carried themselves, their build, a certain look in their eyes that revealed a complete lack of fear. The man strolled toward her possessed all that and more. 
Lauren wasn't the type of person to rush headlong into anything, but neither was she the type to run away from something that alarmed her. She actually enjoyed the thrill of the unknown. And when the unknown came in the form of a tall, dark, handsome stranger, it seemed perfectly natural she should take a slight leap of faith. 
The thought made Rad wonder what Lauren would think of his career choice. Would she be appalled if she knew his typical workday could involve blasting into a quiet house in the middle of the night in a country whose language and culture were foreign to him? And would she be shocked to know that he often had no way of knowing if that house contained a family of four sleeping on the floor--or fifty armed insurgents opening fire? 


Welcome to Bookish, Jessica. I absolutely loved your book. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
 I began making a living as a writer in my mid-twenties as a newspaper reporter, so I’ve been a writer for quite some time. Making the change to creative/fiction writing came much later—in my forties. It’s a completely different part of the brain from linear news reporting so it was quite a transition.

How long does it take you to write a book?
 I’ve always been a slow writer, but I’m starting to pick up the pace. My first novel took ten years of on and off writing. Now I’m writing a book a year—which is still slow by today’s standards.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
 I write best in the morning, but if I have a clear schedule, (which doesn’t happen very often), I forget to eat or come up for air. That’s the main reason I have a part-time job—so that I don’t become completely rooted to a chair.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
 I don’t know if it’s a quirk or not, but I heard once that being able to gaze out a window engages a different part of the brain and helps creativity. I have a butterfly bush, a birdfeeder and a hummingbird feeder in my sightline every time I look up. (There’s always something to see). Even though it seems like a distraction, the brain continues to work in the background to figure things out. When I come back to writing after watching butterflies flit around, words flow again.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
 Everywhere. I get images or snapshots of scenes from something as simple as a television commercial. My favorite place to go hunting for great names is old cemeteries.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
 I started my first book (a contemporary romance), when I was in my early twenties, then put it aside to write historical fiction. It just so happens that the book I started way back then is the one I just pulled out again and plan to publish early next year. It’s about a homicide cop and a reporter, and is tentatively called, “Deadline.”

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Horseback riding and gardening are the two main things. I also work part-time as a stagehand to help me stay in shape.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your books?
When I was writing historical fiction, it was downright eerie how often I would write a scene, and then while doing research, run across a similar event that had happened to someone in real life. There were times that I got goose bumps because it didn’t seem possible that something I had made up in my head had actually happened.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
 “Meant To Be,” my newest release, is my fifth novel. Picking a favorite child is hard! But I would say it’s between my first book, “Shades of Gray” (published before the OTHER Shades), and “Meant To Be.” I still get a lot of feedback from “Shades,” about how it touched readers emotionally. I think they will feel the same way about “Meant To Be.”

Do you have any suggestions to help other writer's? If so, what are they?

The best advice I’ve ever heard about writing is really simple and straight forward and will honestly help anyone become a great writer.

It’s A – B – C. Attach Butt to Chair. And you can add a “D” for Daily.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
 I do hear from readers, and it’s a wide range of folks—men, women and school children as young as the eighth grade. The most common comments are that they stayed up way too late to finish, or their house is dirty because they couldn’t it down. Others write to tell me they can’t get the book out of their mind after finishing the last page. When I hear from men it’s usually that they don’t read romance, but really enjoyed the history and action mixed with a poignant love story.

Favorite author? Book?
When I go to my bookshelf, it’s mostly books written in the mid-1800s or military non-fiction, but one book that sticks out in my mind is “Northwest Passage” by Kenneth Roberts. His vivid descriptions of scenery and the way he developed characters was unlike anything I had ever read. Another book that stands out is “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara. That was the first book I read that made the pages of history come alive by making larger-than-life men like Robert E. Lee appear human.

Lauren and Rad met by chance on a beach right when the sun was rising but even more weird is that even though they didn't know each other at all, both only had twenty four hours left till they had to be back to their jobs. They  both had trouble trusting but for some reason they trusted each other almost on first sight. They didn't know each other at all this they met that morning, but the next twenty four hours would test them both and make each one realize just how love begins.

I fell in love with Lauren almost immediately. She has a tough exterior but inside she is just as emotionally damaged as the rest of us. Lauren just wanted to spend her time by herself in the place she calls home before she leaves the US on the mission of a life time. She never expected to fall for someone she met the day before she leaves but Rad is not just anyone, he is strong, funny, sexy and brings her to places in her heart she has never visited before. Why does she meet him the day before she's leaving?

Rad is instantly attracted to Lauren. He finds her tough exterior heart-warming and wonders where she's been his whole life. Cheesy I know...but this book just gave me all the feels. Rad doesn't know why Lauren hides so much about herself but he knows he can't let her go. Rad keeps Lauren from her quiet reflection when he asks her to spend the day with him. They walk the boardwalk, do running races and Lauren even agrees to meet some of his buddies at a night time bonfire party. By the end of the day, both Rad and Lauren can't believe it's over. They can't believe their time together is ending. But....does fate have other plans?

Once they say goodbye, they both think of the other as they try to go on with their respective lives. Lauren is going into danger and Rad is boarding a plane to who knows where.

Jessica James did such a great job with the main characters in this novel. She also draws you into some of the supporting characters as well. I loved that we got to see Rad through the thoughts of his best friend Wynn. A skilled author, James usually writes historical fiction. I read one of her first novels "Shades of Grey" which was very well received. This novel is a completely different writing style than that one but she still weaves the characters through the ploy effortlessly. A Reader can not help but fall in love with this novel.

An engrossing, page turner this reader just can't seem to stop thinking about, you should download it right now and go read it. Seriously, why are you still here? Five perfect stars from me.

About the author:
Jessica James is the first two-time winner of the coveted John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction. She is a history buff and historical fiction author who resides in Gettysburg, Pa.

In addition to winning the Cooke Award, her novel, Above and Beyond, hit #1 on the Amazon bestseller list in the Christian historical fiction category on its first day of release. It was also a finalist in the Fiction/Religious category in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards contest and in the Next Generation Indie Award contest.
Her Civil War novel, Noble Cause, won the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction in 2011, as well as the Indie Next Generation contest in the Best Regional Fiction category. The novel was also a Finalist in both the Romance and Historical Fiction categories.
Noble Cause was also a bronze winner in Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year Award contest in the Romance category.
James is featured in the book "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading," released in 2010.


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