My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Taking Chances by Loni Flowers
At age twenty-three, Alex has had a hard life. His parents died when he was quite young, leaving his grandparents to raise him. Right before his high school graduation, his grandparents passed on too, leaving him all alone. After losing everyone he's ever loved, Alex turns to the streets in a self-destructive pattern until he finally ends up in Springhill, where he tries to make a new life for himself.
Clair’s childhood was normal until age thirteen, when her father left the family and she never heard from him again. Consequently, her mother went into a deep depression, forcing Clair to grow up quickly. After finishing high school, Clair’s heartache over her father’s absence as well as her unbearable mother drive her to strike out on her own. But having nowhere to go and no family to speak of, Clair wanders aimlessly from town to town, homeless, and without purpose. Looking for work wherever she goes and living hand to mouth on the streets is tough, Clair discovers, but living with her mother is worse.
Now twenty-one years old, Clair has found her way to the last place she and her family took their final vacation as a family--Springhill. While in town, she crosses paths with Alex and their ensuing relationship grows faster than expected. Soon Clair wonders if coming back to Springhill and meeting Alex was the best decision or the worst decision she ever made.
I really enjoyed Loni Flowers writing, Taking Chances is her debut novel; Loni’s writing is good, the story was easy to follow, character descriptions were great. This is a good romance novel and I have to say the author’s writing makes you feel for both of the two main characters. It’s one of those books you cheer for Alex and Clair hoping it all ends with a Happy Ever After ending.
Alex and Clair meet under some disturbing circumstances, and Alex bring home Clair and invites her stay till she can find a safe place to live. Clair has been living on the streets moving from town to town. Alex also came from the same kind of background but someone gave him a chance and now he is doing well for himself. Knowing how hard life can be Alex offers to help but of course being independent and not wanting to trust or owe anyone Clair leaves. When offered a job and a place to stay Clair decides to hang out for awhile.
This is a romance novel of two people who grew up in similar situations both having to depend on themselves and deep down not trusting anyone. This novel is about two young adults learning to trust, deal with some difficult issues and learning to love again.
I really enjoyed this novel, and I have to say Loni Flowers has done a terrific job writing her debut novel. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoy romance and loves to read a good story. I have rated it a 4 out of 5 and would say go purchase Taking Chances now!
DISCLOSURE – Please place somewhere in the post for all reviews!
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*
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Now, enjoy the interview!
1. Did you always want to be a writer? And what inspired you to write?
Never! Shocking I know. Until about two years ago, I would have never considered it. I was never a reader. I hated it in school with a passion. There was something about being made to read stuff you cared nothing about, it was never my cup of tea—and then found my love for books after a friend convinced me to read the Twilight and Harry Potter series. I know, I know, I’m a late bloomer. I’m so thankful they did though. My life wouldn’t be the same without words. My love of writing came with reading, moved to blogging book reviews, and then later my own novel.
2. How would you describe Taking Chances?
I believe my friend, L.J. Kentowski, quoted it best, “Taking Chances is a heart-warming novel about learning to love unconditionally after overcoming life's hardships.”
3. Which character you had most fun writing?
Without a doubt, Alex! He’s the sweetest, most caring man. He has a caring soul and is always trying to do what he can to lend a hand. He’s loyal, but not afraid to stand up to someone who is doing him or his loved ones wrong. He’s my ultimate good-guy dream. *sigh*
4. What was your main source of inspiration for the story?
I was driving home from work one day and saw three homeless people (two guys and a girl). My thought process gets crazy when I start letting my mind wonder. I started thinking...
“how do they make it on their own”... “is the girl dating one of them”... “Oh my God! What if she gets pregnant!”
See, I go way off the deep end once my mind starts going. So I ended up with a homeless woman trying to make it on her own, finding help from strangers.
5. What should readers expect from Taking Chances?
You’ll find unexpected twists and turns as we watch Clair overcome her internal obstacles and learn to take a chance on life.
6. How did you come up with the title of your book?
I actually didn’t come up with it. My friend—who I mentioned above— helped. She’s a writer too and we are always sharing our work, brainstorming ideas. She came up with a list and so did I. When I saw Taking Chances, I knew it was perfect. It fits this story perfectly.
7. What books have most influenced your life most?
No particular book really. I read such a variety of genres it’s hard to nail down just one.
-Stefne Miller- She writes with passion and purpose. Her stories are full of life’s lessons
and I always feel inspired to do more with my life after reading one of her stories.
-Maggie Stiefvater- She writes beautiful prose. When I read her writing, I’m in love by the way it seems to flow lyrically across the page.
-J K Rowling and Karen Marie Moning- Two different genres, one’s Young Adult and the other adult. Their storytelling abilities blow my mind. To evolve a series, weave multiple storylines within its series—while each book tells its own story—and still managing to wrap it all together in the end… it’s a skill of writing I can only dream to possess some day.
8. What are your current projects?
Currently, I’m working on another Contemporary Adult Romance which could be geared toward the older young adult audience. But that could change; it all depends on how steamy I’m going to make particular scenes. (I’m not a fan of skimping on the details.)
9. Do you see writing as a career?
I would love to! But right now, it’s a hobby and a part-time job (without the money). If I were thankful enough to sell a mass amount of books that would compensate my 40 hour day job—I would do it in a heartbeat! Until that time comes, I’m just thankful for those readers I do have who have spent their time reading my book.
10. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Ooo this will be an interesting list. They are so different from each other and quite comical when I think back about everything I was determined to be. I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian, a teacher, an oceanographer, a lawyer; a psychologist, cosmetologist, and a computer programmer... just to name a few. Oddly enough, “writer” was never on my list.
11. When and why did you begin writing?
I only began writing about two years ago. I had always been amazed at the way an author could carefully craft a story out of their imagination. I wondered what it would be like to hold the powers to create a whole new life for people you don’t even know, but come to love over the course of writing. I never thought I could do it. I don’t have much imagination… or at least I thought I didn’t. An idea struck at the weirdest of times and I wrote it down. With a lot of encouragement, I issued the challenge to myself to at least try to write a novel. What harm could come of it? Nine months later Taking Chances was born.
12. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Not too much. My book hasn’t been out that long, so unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to get it into a lot of people’s hands. The readers that I have heard from have given me a great deal of feedback and compliments. When they’ve told me they cried, I think it’s about the best compliment I can get from a reader. It tells me that I connected them to the character. They felt and sympathized with them. I did my job... what more could any author ask for than that!
13. Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
I really hope to expand on the paranormal romance idea I have brewing in my head. I‘d like to try changing up the genre and challenging myself to write something different.
14. What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
Seeing the finished product in my hands and being able to hold what I’ve been working on for so long is a feeling like no other. Whether I sell one or thousands, seeing what I’ve put so much effort and time into is an accomplishment that nothing else will compare to.
15. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your book?
I knew writing wasn’t going to be a glorious walk in the park. When you’re a reader and/or blogger (which I still am today) you read a book, 6-9 months later the next one comes out and you never really consider the work that an author put into getting it into the hands of their readers. Writing my own book and being self-published has allowed me to flip the tables on myself.
You give your blood, sweat, and tears—yes, paper cuts count too—over your novel. There is no “Easy Button.” As fast as your readers want your book and as quickly as you want to be finished… its work and it takes time.
16. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Everything! They don’t write themselves. For me, it’s finding the time and concentration to get the words down on the page. But the one aspect of writing that I dislike the most is the synopsis. To condense your story down without giving away any major plot points and make it enticing enough for the reader to pick up… it’s a pretty tough job!
Any last thoughts or words of wisdom you would like to share with the readers?
This has been my first interview as an author. I may not be on the cover of a popular magazine, but today, you’ve made me feel like a star! Thank you so much for having me.
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