Friday, August 7, 2009

Sia McKye's Book Reviews: Mr. Charming

Jennifer Sumner is a single mom with a secret past. At the request of her brother, lead investigator on the case, she takes in a wealthy playboy who is pretending to be dead. Jennifer walks a fine line as she struggles with the press, who can expose both the playboy and her troubled past, the playboy who threatens her lonely heart, and the killer who now wants them both dead. Can her brother catch the killer before her hard earned life come crashing down around her?

I enjoy reading verious genres, I've made no bones about the fact I love romance. I've always been a reader and a voracious one at that. One the perks of having a blog about writers and authors, is the joy of reading their books.

I recently had the opportunity to read an ARC of Nancy Parra's Mr Charming. I loved it and read it in a day. Her writing has a way of not only capturing your interest but keeping it. I kept thinking, okay, I'll just finish this chapter and then I'll go start the laundry and clean the kitchen. Let me tell you, the kitchen and laundry did not get done until the afternoon. As soon as my chores were done, dinner fixed, and I fed my family, I went back into my office and read the rest of the book.

My take on Mr. Charming:

  • Wonderful storyline, strong, believable characters a reader can connect with. The dialog was good and realistic; the story was fast paced, had a well developed element of suspense, and a satisfying ending. I liked the fact Nancy had as a secondary character, a child and one who reacted true to his age with his dialog and line of thinking.

  • Jennifer and Kane are both strong characters and both comes with past betrayals and have issues of trust. I like the twist of Jen being a relationship advice talk show host, and the fact she is a very private person and guarded of her past, with a strong reason to distrust the press. Kane is a very successful businessman, and a playboy with an deadly enemy. Kane deals with the press all the time; it comes with the territory of his life. He's in protective custody and is staying with Jen. Their internal and external conflicts are authentic and they react to those conflicts realistically. No quick or pat solutions. You see their growth and their growing love. Their story reminds the reader that love is strong and well worth fighting for. She also reminds us that falling in love has moments of laughter as well as passion. This was a fun and engaging read.
Here's an excerpt of Mr. Charming:

“Why do you keep touching me?” The words were soft and breathless. Jennifer wanted to take them back the moment they were out.

“I’m a tactile guy,” Kane said simply. “I like to caress what I find beautiful.”

Surprise filled her, scattered across her face. She was thirty five with a kid. Definitely not the type of person he usually dated.

“Yeah,” he said, breaking her stunned silence. “I find you beautiful.” He stepped as close as he could without touching her. He took the mug away from her trembling hand and planted it beside them on the counter. Then he held her face in his hands and smiled down at her. “I’m the kind of man who appreciates beauty in its purest from.”

“I told you, I know what kind of man you are,” she whispered. “Don’t you see? For my own good, I have to reject you.”

“Then I’m afraid we’re at odds, sweetheart, because I have to have you.”

She had promised herself just moments before to do her best to stick to the truth. “I’m not playing games with you.” Her whole body shivered in traitorous anticipation. He drew her to him, surrounding her with male heat and strength.

“Me neither,” he replied.

She put her hand out to keep him away. Her palm hit silky warm skin spattered with just the right amount of hair to make it intriguing. She swallowed a gasp and kept her hand firmly planted on his bare chest. The last thing she wanted was for him to know how electrified she was by the feel of him. “Just keep your distance. I know you’re bored and I’m simply a distraction. It isn’t fair.”

He took her palm and raised it to his lips. His dark gaze captured hers and sent shock waves through her body. “Haven’t you heard, sweetheart? All’s fair in love and war.”

  • I know in the past you've published western historical romances, what made you want to switch to romantic suspense?

I have to admit that Nora Robert's hooked me with her JD Robb series. My imagination was intrigued by romantic suspense. But you're supposed to write what you know and here I was a stay at home mom working part time while my kids were at school. What did I know about suspense? And so, Jennifer Sumner was born...a working mom in the suburbs.

  • For someone who didn't know about suspense, I'd say you did a great job. :-) So, How did you get the idea of her being a radio talk show host working from the studio in her basement?

At my part time job, there was a guy whose wife was a voice over artist. She had a studio in her basement so she could work and be home with the kids. Cool, huh? I thought Jennifer needed to be more controversial-so I made her a talk show host.

  • Very cool. I loved it. Did it take a long time to get this story published?

Truthfully? The story was on an editor's desk during 9/11- they loved the book but ultimately rejected it because in the story the hero's private plane is blown up. It was a tough subject then. But also proof that a good story can stand the test of time.

  • What advice would you give someone who is starting out in writing?

I would tell them to read, read, read and then write a story like the ones they love to read. It was my love of romance that got me started writing. I love happy endings.

  • I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next one to come out. When's your next book come out? (Not that I'm eager or anything, lol!)

LOL Dream Man, my next romantic suspense, will be out in January 2010. It is the story of a sleep doctor with a client who might hold the answer to a thirty-year-old missing person's case. Cue the sexy FBI agent, the mafia, and family secrets...until the truth bubbles up, death threatens and love prevails.

  • Ohhh, I like the premise. Oh yah, I'll be looking for it and of course, I'd be more than happy to read the ARC, just sayin'... Nancy, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to read fun story like Mr. Charming and letting me interview you as well.


Nancy J. Parra writes romantic suspense and sweet western historical romances. Hailed as a rising star of romantic fiction, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism but turned to writing fiction when she discovered it was more fun to interview the people in her head.

She lives in the Midwest with her family, a mutt named George Bernard, and bichonpoo, Gracie Lu, nicknamed "boo, boo." George and Gracie keep her entertained and warm in the winter-Gracie likes to sit in her lap, and George, who weighs in at 80 pounds, rests on her feet while she works.

Nancy's blog:

Nancy's website:

Publisher website:


~Sia McKye~ said...

Nancy, welcome to OVER COFFEE. I'm so glad you could be a guest today and not just a regular commenter.

Help yourself to the coffee and home made goodies.

What a wonderful book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can recommend Mr. Charming to anyone who loves a good story. :-)

Kat Sheridan said...

Good morning Nancy! I flat out love romantic suspense and will be looking forward to adding you to my list. And wow, tough about trying to sell this when 9-11 struck. But I'm glad you perservered and got this out there! I've been hearing there's a trend toward "older" heroines (older being a subjective thing--35 to me is still a dewey eyed youth!). But do you find editors looking more for the over-30 heroine?

Nancy J. Parra said...

Good Morning, Sia- Thanks for having me! I really enjoy following your blog and I'm so glad you liked Mr. Charming. Jennifer and Kane are dear to my heart. What a time I had writing their story.

Hi, Kat- Great question. I think there is a strong market for "older" heroines. Jennifer is in her thirties. I think editors really understand that women today enjoy reading a variety of ages-from first love, to long lost love, to love the second time around-all wonderful and entertaining possibilities. The best heroines aren't perfect princesses, but real women who grow and learn. Women we readers can identify with... don't you think?

Thanks for commenting!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Nancy, I think that stories that present women as more than sweet innocence are always more interesting to me as a reader. I enjoy heroines that are strong, that have walked through the fire and survived and don't remain 'victims'. They move on, they learn to laugh, love, and enjoy life. By the time women reach their 30's they've faced a measure of trials. They aren't perfect--who is? They have problems, kids, faced divorces, and heartbreaks. I prefer to read about women like that and how they still can find their HEA.

VA said...

Nancy I agree, "older" heroines have so much more ground to play with simply because they aren't dewy eyed. Let's be honest, love has no age limit. Some are lucky and find it when they teens others have to wait until their fifties, but it is just as sweet whatever the age.

Besides I think the publishers would be stupid to ignore a devoted fan base, those reading romance for 20+...30+ years or more. I know my stepmother in her eighties likes romances but finds nothing in the youth market books so she has drifted more and more to what I call "light suspense". At her age she doesn't really want a gruesome read and medical thrillers? Not so thrilling.

Nancy the dialogue is crackling between your protags. I love the premise and look forward to pick up a copy at the bookstore.

Thanks Sia, again. Btw. are there any scones left?

Helen Ginger said...

I love it when the reviewer says things like, the characters were true to their age and the dialogue is realistic. Plus, the fact that you did not want to put down the book is a great recommendation. I'll keep this one in mind.

Straight From Hel

Nancy J. Parra said...

VA- thanks for the compliment on the dialog. I agree that women of all ages love to read romance. I know my grandmother does!

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Helen, yes, Sia gave Mr. Charming a wonderful review. It's so nice when that happens.(Thank you, Sia!) I hope you get a chance to read the book.


Debra St. John said...

Hi Nancy! I love checking in with these blogs and learning more about my fellow Chicago-Northers. I can't wait to read "Mr. Charming"!

Sheila Deeth said...

I really enjoyed this. Is it 'cause I like reading everything that I end up writing too many things at once?

Carolyn Brown said...

Hey, Nancy,
Sounds like another best seller to me. Sounds like Jennifer is my kind of woman!
Carolyn Brown

Jill Lynn said...

Hi Nancy,

Great excerpt! A spicy little nibble that really whet the appetite for more.

I loved the "body shivered in traitorous anticipation" line. One of those "why didn't I think of that line?" moments for me.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Oh my gosh- I've been checking all day and no comments...suddenly comments have popped up. Must be my browser! Hi Everyone! Sorry I'm behind...

Hi Debra, good to hear from another Chicago Norther-and Wild Rose Press author~ thanks for stopping by.

Hi Sheila, I have trouble writing in one place, too. LOL. It's all good as long as you're reading all over the place.

Hey Carolyn! Good to see you here. Can't wait to read your next book-out next month, isn't it?

Hi Jill- *blush* thanks for the compliment on the excerpt. Kane and Jennifer are a great couple- sparks just fly.

Thanks for stopping by- hopefully the internet won't be slow any more. Cheers~

Netti said...

Heya Nancy & Sia!

Sounds like a fantastic book! I can't wait to get my hands on it now!



Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Netti~

Thanks for stopping by, Sia provided a couple of links to help you find the book. I hope you enjoy!

Marin Thomas said...

Nancy--congrats on the release of Mr. Charming--I've got the book and can't wait to read it. What a wonderful reviews!!

Marin Thomas
Samantha's Cowboy *in stores now*

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Marin! I LOVE your cowboy books. In fact I just picked up Samantha's Cowboy today. Hope you like Mr. Charming!

aries18 said...

Hi Sia, Nancy,

Great interview and I loved the excerpt! This one is added to my TBR list already. It sounds terrific.

Thanks for bringing another new (to me) author, Sia. You always have the best guests.


Joelle said...

Hi Sia and Nancy,

Thanks for the interview! And Nancy congrats on your release and thank you for the great read. I was excited to finally buy the book!!

Joelle Charbonneau

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi aries18- thanks for stopping by and reading. I agree, I love Sia's blog.

Hi Joelle- I can't wait until next fall when your book comes out.

Thanks everyone for stopping by, commenting and saying hi! I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Good morning Sia and Nancy,

I brewed my coffee, poured a steaming mug full and sat down to browse OVER COFFEE. So glad I did.

Sia, what a wonderful review. Because of your powerful words, I will head right back to the bookstore today to get my copy of MR CHARMING. It's a rainy stormy day here. Couldn't ask for a better day to set back and enjoy a good book!

Can't wait to sounds like a great one. Chicago Norther? I've never heard that term but seeing as I live just north of Milwaukee, can I steal it and become a Milwaukee Norther? LOL.
Seriously though, congratulations on your release. I'm excited to read it and loved the small excerpt Sia shared with us.

Barb writing as Elle J Rossi

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Barb, LOL Chicago-North is a chapter of RWA (Romance Writer's of America.) People from all over the country are members- it's a great group that meets twice a month and is known for group critiques. If you ever get down that way, you should check them out. They have Wisconsin members.

Hope you like the book!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Barb, how nice to see my favorite sisters! It'a a good book, let me know what you think.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Nancy, I've enjoyed having you Over Coffee. I'm hoping you'll stop by again when Dream Man is released.