01 December 2015

4* Review of Plenty by Teri Hicks - "I liked this story and how the writer developed the characters."

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I liked this story and 
how the writer developed the characters.There was a lot going on and a 
lot of domino effect going on in the book. Showing how small town 
corruption can lead to loss of life but also be over come by the 
community coming together. But mostly it is about a young lady turning 
her life around and coming out on top! Nicely done. - 4* Review by Teri Hicks

09 November 2015

5 * Review by sportzmomof5

" Wow....I enjoyed this dark thriller. This is definitely not in my favorite genre but I was intrigued. This book did not disappoint. I was given this book in exchange for an honest review." 

02 November 2015

5* Review by S. Terril (Librarian) aka librarynerdette

It was the coloring of the cover that first grabbed me on this book, but I’m so glad to have picked it up. Plenty was a fantastic mix of mystery and modern day heroes. There is a lot of darkness here, especially within the characters. Camille has endured some dark times, but is hell bent determined for that not to get her down.
I really enjoyed the time jumps within the story and thought that added a lot of dimension to the narrative. Everything came together really nicely, even by the midpoint of the book and continued to build from there. The pacing of Camille’s story is a big part of what had me frantically turning pages to find out what happens next.
This story is not shy when it comes to grittier moments, sex, violence and any number of elements that would not be suitable for younger readers.

16 October 2015

4 Star Review by Sorrel of longandshortreviews.com

"I spent a couple of days after I finished the the book thinking about how I was going to write this review.
Despite its marketing, this was nothing like the FSOG trilogy. It was a lot better.
Plenty…the name itself is strange but after reading the story I think it suits the plot.  The one thing I have to add is that I loved how the author gave names to each chapter. Some of the names were a little quirky but very understandable once you read it.
That being said, I think potential readers should be warned this story is not a soft or easy read. It delves deep in to the mind of a druggie trying to make a better life for herself. This is a hardcore story and not for the faint of heart. I had to read it in two sittings since I was crying so much I couldn’t see the screen.
Camille loves her grandma a lot. More than her parents. The book starts in the present but every now and then shifts into the future and this  really added to the story. It happens seamlessly and not too frequently.
I really loved that Camille does fall off the deep end when she meets Grant and starts going out with him. The situation quickly goes from bad to worse.  Although this is a fiction story, it draws from real life.  People in fact do use drugs and do go off the deep end when they allow themselves to be coerced by mates or friends or lovers. This makes this story so real and helped me feel for these characters.
The author did a great job weaving the story together. There were some grammatical mistakes which took some effort for me to ignore, which was a shame since the story is so solid. But the satisfying end made it all worthwhile..." 

Unabridged Andra: REVIEW: Plenty (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

"Camille was tough to really put your finger on. You really start to cheer for her during the beginning, but she makes a lot of poor decisions along the way that had me questioning her character and if I even liked who I was reading about. Eventually though, her quick wit and personality shine through and make you glad you are on her side. Grant on the other hand...He's kind of despicable. While there's a lot of saucy-sizzling scenes at play, I never really liked him or any of the guys here. 

 My favorite thing about this book was the feeling of tension and suspense that filled me during the entire experience. The plot moves at a quick pace, steadily building until you're more invested in it than in your own life for that brief moment in time. The rapid-fire action will keep even the most easily-bored readers with plenty to occupy their minds and time. 

Kelly writes with a distinct style that hints at visuals rather than explicitly states them. She paints pictures with metaphors and analogies well, that never detract from the flavor and tone of her own unique style. I'd read another Kelly K. Lavender piece any day.

4 Star Review by Romorror Fan Girl (Because there's nothing better than Romance & Horror): PLENTY BY KELLY K. LAVENDER - VIRTUAL & REVIEW TOU...

"The title of this book is pretty accurate, because there is PLENTY, plenty action, emotions, sex, violence, corruption and plenty twists and turns. At first is a little overwhelming, because everything happen in the first chapters, but the story kept me on edge all through until the end. I don't want to give up too much information, because it's really hard to put in words the emotions that I felt reading this story.
Beware!! The author uses a raw vocabulary and some situations are extreme, this is not a book for everybody.
So, are you in or are you out?"

4 Star Review by Liz Gavin

"This is the first book by Kelly K. Lavender that I read and can say it was a good story. There are twists and turns in the plot and a lot of action.
Judging by what other reviewers wrote, I expected more intense, graphic sex scenes but there aren’t that many. I obviously am not counting the violent one, only the consensual.
I also couldn’t find any connection to the Fifty Shades trilogy and wouldn’t classify this book in the erotica genre as it’s been described elsewhere and in this online store. Being an erotica writer, I was disappointed and that’s why I rated it a 4-star story."

29 September 2015

Plenty – The Research and the Messages

Some recent comments posted about my novel warrant a response. “…I also don't believe any research was done into rape survivors and the blatant disregard for that aspect of this book when fashioning Camille and Jennifer is just disgusting…”

 To set the record straight, a close family member survived a rape, and I extensively researched the crime to support her efforts to heal. I stand-by my treatment of the subject and the reactions of the characters involved. People process trauma and shock differently - some women blame themselves for an error in judgment and some keep the secret locked away for years. Some feel dirty, some feel shame and some shower as if to erase the event and memories. Some women disassociate during the act as a means of survival. I know that it’s an event that can bleed the joy, the sense of safety, control and security from a woman’s life, even more reason to acquire defensive skills. Long term, depression, PTSD, sexually transmitted diseases and Disassociation can become part of a survivor’s daily existence. According to RAINN, Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 68% of sexual assaults are not reported to police. Even sadder, 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail or prison.  Furthermore, RAINN reports that 4/5 of the assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.

In March of this year, The Huffington Post reported that pop star Madonna never reported her rape or pressed charges. “You’ve already been violated, she said. It’s just not worth it. It’s too much humiliation. In December, Lady Gaga revealed that she endured rape at the age of 19 by a man decades older. She didn't tell anyone for seven years. Given the highly publicized skepticism about and scandal surrounding Bill Cosby’s alleged actions, the tendency to submerge the trauma, hurt and rage prevails in order to soldier on. Given my close affiliation with this crime and the statistics, I remain resolute about my treatment of rape. I don’t view the subject lightly. I would call it enlightened and in no way cavalier. I’ll never forget the two questions Dr. Phil asked a survivor -“Did you want it?” and “Was it okay?” These two questions helped provide a lot of clarity and closure for my relative. 

Re: Joy, a 13-year-old gun and archery aficionado, her parents cultivated these skills at an early age to empower her and to safeguard her.  My husband said, “If you know a subject well enough to teach someone else, you really have a solid grasp of it.” And I believe he’s correct.  Joy not only teaches someone else, but she practices her skills at her home in a rural setting. She’s doesn’t practice surrounded by clowning friends but by herself. Parental concern not an issue because Joy rehabs animals injured by hunting. Her awareness about firearm destruction, danger and safety have been galvanized by her education and life experiences. In the South, many teens raised in rural and semi-rural areas learn about gun safety and shooting at an early age. Especially in farm and ranch settings, gun skills become an essential way to protect livestock from predators and rodent-eating cats from coyotes. Of course, a gun can be an invaluable tool to protect people, pets and livestock from poisonous snakes. My husband owned his first shotgun at 8 years old. Chris Kyle, aka American Sniper, also a native Texan, owned his first rifle at age eight. Target shooting, not specifically hunting, represents a recreational competitive activity for families. Without a doubt, for Joy and for other girls, I believe defensive skills are important, especially given the fact that 1 in 5 girls is the victim of sexual assault, per the National Center for Victims of Crime. Whether it’s mace, pepper spray, a bow and arrow or deadly force, females should have tools and know-how. As a native Texan, both born and raised, I stand by the storyline.

Re: policy and procedures of first responders, I talked at length with first responders about car accidents and the ensuing medical aftermath. I also interviewed Department of Public Safety about road rage.  Why? Because to begin to change attitudes and behaviors about road rage, the gory details must be revealed. Think about it. The evening news doesn’t report that the back seat of the SUV slammed into the front seat and crushed the child’s chest, and understandably so, out of respect for the families. My many questions for first responders centered on raising awareness, through medical details, about road rage to impart a sense of patience and tolerance when driving. Discussing standard first responders’ policy and procedures in the rural setting of Prosperity would be completely extraneous. Within Sheriff Gordon’s realm of influence, policy and procedures take on a sinister, obviously evil meaning, that’s the focus not what procedures should be.  By the way, a goggle search of Sheriff Hodge in Kentucky reveals that Sheriff Gordon’s actions may seem tame. I researched that too.

In closing, as I’ve mentioned in my advertising, my book isn’t about a naïve virginal young woman who allows a handsome wealthy sadist boyfriend to achieve sexual satisfaction by using her as a submissive in exchange for an over the top fantasy existence replete with cars, big homes and gifts. What smart, self-respecting, well-educated woman wouldn’t trade her body, free choice, peace of mind and dignity for financial gain, pain and oh yeah love? Right…  Of course, a legal contract has to be part of the mix. Eventually, the pain feels good, and a new car lessens the sting and makes for a coveted ride. The thought nauseates me as much as a news story about an ex-prostitute whose pimp would beat her up and have sex with her afterward.  Twisted, titillating and romantic, huh? I can only imagine what first or second generation feminists would think of the popularity of the Fifty Shades series and the trickle down effect on trafficked teens and battered women. That’s scary and horrifying, not a well-educated, trustworthy, semi-supervised, empathetic 13-year old aiming at a target with a bow in the back yard of her country home solo.

One of the most important messages in Plenty - a quote by M. Gandhi, “My life is my message.” I write books about women who rescue themselves and the men who love them. Plenty covers important topics like accident avoidance, surveillance tools, sex kitten training, road rage, tools for empowerment and tolerance.

By the way, to the same Fifty-loving critic who labeled my novel an “…epic fail”... I suggest you do some research, proof your writing and then reflect before indulging a knee jerk reaction. Everyone has an opinion, but a factual educated perspective commands more attention and respect. Oh, and by the way, I’m a she, not a he. 

17 August 2015

The Antithesis of Fifty - Anchored and Meaningful Plenty

Why do I tout my book as the antithesis to Fifty?  For a number of reasons: plot, message, pace, merit and genre. Plenty de-glamorizes sex kitten training, and strips away the fairy tale sheen, a theme popularized by Fifty. Plenty chronicles the dark, ugly, gritty side of contract intimacy with a dominant male and shatters glossy Pretty Woman perceptions. Plenty can’t be categorized as an endearing “acceptable” romance novel between an injured dominant male and a naïve female. Moreover, it doesn’t encourage a submissive female and dominant male dynamic. Plenty doesn’t begin with a stumble but with a shudder. To some readers, the pace of the story may be jarring but to an adrenaline junkie who watched jolting intense James Bond movies for decades, it's a perfect fit.

Finally, in contrast to Fifty, merit knits the threads of this suspense thriller together. Merit drives the plot in many ways via car crashes, impulsive decisions and opportunities for empowerment through friendship and skills training. First, car crashes in the book drive the plot forward but also impart important messages about driving and tolerance. Merit weaves its way throughout the plot through Mark’s mantra, the horses, the bees and conversations about road rage. Merit eventually galvanizes acceptance plus understanding of an unconventional but well-matched loving couple. 

While, ultimately, Plenty doesn’t popularize, encourage the objectification of women or glorify sex kitten training, it does focus on a wounded woman secure male dynamic that holds many fascinating surprises for the reader. Other plot differences include the rural versus city setting, the number of suitors involved, education and family life separate the female protagonists - Anastasia and Camille, the gender of the teacher/trainer, the boyfriend’s agenda and the sex scenes from Chapter one to the final chapters. In fact, all represent major differences between the two books. 

For readers seeking a sleepy, slow, romance story about a wealthy man who plucks a sexually inexperienced young woman from a life of obscurity to become his well-trained plaything/princess, I suggest another story besides Plenty, the powerful, feminist, flip side of Fifty.

In closing, as the mother of a son, probably slated to be a mother-in-law one day, I think often about the life partner he may choose. I hope that he chooses a loving, kind, good-hearted, strong woman who rescues herself, a woman who values her ability to function independently in the world like my niece who recently graduated as a Marine officer. By the way, she dates an Army Ranger. So proud of my family's military service and ties. So proud to live in an era when female empowerment, exempliary and exalt belong in the same sentence. 

25 July 2015

Proud of Plenty

For fiction-loving feminists, for adult readers who enjoy suspense thrillers and for readers who enjoy fiction with merit and for the scores of women who didn’t enjoy Fifty, I suggest Plenty.  D. Donovan, Senior Book Reviewer for Midwest Book Reviews, had a lot to say about Plenty

When you become involved in a group effort, sometimes you don't quite know what drives that effort, as Camille discovers when she volunteers for a small town youth outreach program, only to discover that its leaders are overseeing criminal activities and that her affair with the sheriff's son who co-presides over the program has landed her right in the path of danger.

Plenty is a novel about love and corruption, friendships and salvation, the descent into hell and the effort to survive: as such, it's not for those seeking either a romance story or an easy leisure read. Indeed, readers who expect a novel filled with positives (an innuendo perhaps provided in both title and the fact that the small town is ironically named 'Prosperity') will find it abundant, instead, with conflict, sexual and psychological angst, and the efforts of two women to change the course of their lives.

One of Plenty's many strengths is that the female protagonists are anything but helpless, the situation anything but hopeless. The reigns of control and domination are fluid and move steadily between oppressors to oppressed. Satisfying twists and turns of story line keep readers guessing, while underlying thoughts and psychology are realistically depicted as characters come to grips with the evil they are facing and their own part in events: "Her body trembled as the unmistakable truth tore away her protective shield of confidence. With each breath, she felt the stinging, choking sensation of ammonia inhaled. The more she breathed, the more she stressed. Moments filled with silence quieted the room. Camille paced and cried as the truth trampled her self-perception."

At times readers feel they are in an emotional meat grinder; at other times, protagonist strengths come to rescue. No easy or light read, Plenty is a vivid, revealing story recommended for any who would absorb two women's methods for regaining power in their worlds, and uses compelling, thought-provoking devices to bring this atmosphere to the forefront of attention. Female readers seeking an antithesis to Fifty Shades of Gray with more dynamic, powerful female characters will find Plenty more than fits the bill.

In contrast, one reviewer called it a “Hot Mess.” But unfortunately, she misrepresented the plot – video cameras are in place. There’s no interruption by people to put them in place. Additional scenes lead up to the dreadful shower scene.  After reading her summary of the action in the first couple of chapters, I have to say that I’m even more excited about this novel which hits the ground at an exhilarating full gallop, not a leisurely lope or canter. 

Truly proud of Plenty which deals with the fight for empowerment, acceptance, self-actualization and happiness after being buried in a hellish abyss, created by a horrible upbringing and bad choices. Many prisms of color shade this book – red, black, blue, green and gold. And like other books, trudging through darkness may lead to the light of day. 

As many authors do, I draw from true stories and commit to research to craft my novels. As with Beautiful Evil Winter, many threads of truth bind this book together. “Truth is stranger than fiction” as someone said. One of my favorite quotes is “Life isn’t G-rated.”

Thanks to my well-educated developmental editor, Sara Kocek, and skilled, seasoned, tested copyeditor, Melissa, from noteworthy Editceterra for helping me find the center and balance of the novel. Happy that I found the spine myself.  Thanks to Damon Za for a killer book cover that mirrors the thrilling intriguing plotline.

Finally, if the silver glint of a gun and an R-rating, for language, sex and violence, offend you, please pass on my book, even if it’s free, because there will be no appeal. I don’t write about G-rated worlds. I write books about resourceful, strong, resilient women who rescue themselves and the men who love them for it. What to expect from an author who adores Tiffany Maxwell and Silver Linings Playbook?  Maybe, hopefully, one hot mess.

10 June 2015

Lower the Convertible Top and Cruise to Favorite Destinations

Some people complain about predictable plots, and I have to smile because some of the most memorable, most popular stories-Pretty Woman, Misery, The Hangover, Gone with the Wind, Skyfall and any other James Bond movie, The Sound of Music, Mr. and Ms. Smith, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Silver Linings Playbook, 17 Again, The Proposal and Freaky Friday, to name a few, include foreseeable scenes/chapters and endings. Would I watch any of these movies again for a 10th time? Inevitably—always yes because the story resonated with me in some way, it made me laugh, made me cry, it made me nervous, but above all, it made me care about the characters. But love for a story or book begins with a mesmerizing journey that leads to the much hoped for yet sometimes obvious ending. The journey enchants, horrifies or captivates the reader. My best advice, don’t skip the trip if the ship travels to a known port of call—Romantic Comedy, Suspense, Drama or Action Adventure—because the potential to be entertained, to be inspired, to be enlightened, to be surprised, to be shocked or to be awe-struck awaits.  

Having said all of that, I recommend a voyage to one of the most dangerous countries in the world to adopt a child, to become a target of an angry Russian Mafioso, to stand in a Russian court and to find the escape door back to the US. Step into the shoes of a childless couple determined to succeed at any cost. Multi-Award-Winning Beautiful Evil Winter, which earned honors for “…writing of significant merit…” as well as a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award-Suspense, may be the next “predictable” story to add to a long list of unforgettable exotic adventures. For an equally exciting, equally startling, equally engaging read, consider my just released novel, Plenty, a haunting story infused with chills, thrills, spills and razor-sharp suspense. Most of all, Plenty, doesn't merely pushback but, punches back at Fifty Shades of Grey. See my website www.kellyklavenderauthor.com for more information about both books.