The Millionaire’s Forever by Sonya Weiss – Review and Interview with the Author
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There are two sides to every Gemini guy…and one of them is red-hot.
Olivia Carter has a handsome, millionaire boyfriend. She’s madly in love with him. The hitch? He doesn’t actually exist. She told the lie to save Forever, her wedding design shop. And it worked—almost too well. As the media attention increases, so do the demands for Olivia to produce her “boyfriend.” With both her reputation and career in jeopardy, Olivia is desperate enough to do almost anything…
Which is exactly what millionaire Mason Parker wants. Thanks to Olivia and her father, Mason went through hell during his teen years, and now it’s time for a little payback—starting with the announcement that he’s her one and only. Now the sexy Olivia has no choice but to do what Mason wants. But none of his plans for vengeance included falling in love with the woman he planned to ruin…
The Millionaire’s Forever by Sonya Weiss is the third installment in the Men of the Zodiac series. As with the other two books, its cover is another eye-catching “wowzer.” That’s almost enough to keep me coming back for more. Each book in this series is a complete standalone with no relation to the others.
Since I’m not one who favors the retelling of a story by the reviewer, I will refrain from giving many storyline details. The synopsis for this book is sufficiently generous and intriguing enough that readers will get the gist and be hooked. I truly believe that a book is best enjoyed when a reader is allowed to experience all its surprises, twists and turns on their own.
My thoughts were running towards a light and fluffy read when I first approached this book. However, a very pleasant surprise awaited me. Although the story follows often used plots, this one took on a more serious tone with complicated issues to address. Add in a nicely balanced mix of sexy and smart, sassy quick-witted humor, along with captivating characters, and I quickly became emotionally invested not only in these characters, but found myself immersed in a story that was much more than I expected.
Nothing ever comes without a price and, like the old adage says, “you’ve gotta take the good with the bad.” So when Mr. “Bad,” who’s looking for revenge, walks through her door gorgeously dressed in a suit and tie, it could be a disaster in the making, or a fairytale dream come true, for the girl who told the little white lie!
Cash Mason Parker was her high school heartthrob; Olivia Carter was his forbidden fruit. He was the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks with a reputation for being a troublemaker. Her father was the Chief of Police, who made it known in no uncertain terms that his “perfect” daughter was completely off limits to a guy like Mason Parker. No matter, there was still an ever-present attraction between them. And then one fateful night stole any chance they may have had for even a friendship between them – much less a serious relationship.
In the intervening years, both Olivia and Mason have faced adversity head-on to overcome major difficulties in their lives. Each has worked hard to become successful. These are two very proud, strong and determined characters. They are very likable both as individuals and as a couple, and I had no trouble cheering them on. Even years later, secrets and tangles from their past are yet to be unraveled. They are both struggling with loyalties to family and friends pulling each of them in different directions. But there still remains an intense connection between them that sparks an uncontrollable passion. And those feelings might be the stronger force that wins in the end.
That magical formula for all those “feels” that romance lovers insist upon for a successful romance — heat, humor, and heart — was certainly present and packed with pure pleasure and indulgence. A well-crafted revenge trope, where one of our characters is determined to get revenge for being wronged in the past by the other, gave this story added intensity for a more notable read – and it just happens to be one of my favorites. Running alongside was also a forced “relationship of convenience” between Olivia and Mason that hoisted the level of tension, antagonism, friction, and passion another notch.
Readers will find some delightfully fun scenes between our main characters. One of my favorites is a baking escapade between Olivia and Mason when they set about to whip up a batch of chocolate-chip cookies. It takes baking to a whole ‘nother level as they join forces. The sassy and snarky banter leads to some rather sexy and sweet drool-worthy sizzle and burn, along with a burst of laughter.
Honestly, I wanted to love this book. At times I even felt it would be a 5-star read. It hooked me from page one setting my hopes high that I had struck gold, but as I read further the shine dimmed a shade. After starting with a slow strong build, the story slipped into a fast-paced rush to the finish line leaving some dangling ends behind. Suddenly, I’m looking at one of those situations where it could have/should have/would have been – if only.
The hero’s favored endearment for his lady love, “Sweet Olivia,” played repetitively and the cloyingly sweet overdose finally took its toll. Without a doubt, I love tender and loving nicknames but too much of a good thing ruins the overall effect and just becomes rote.
Another issue and probably the biggest where I’m concerned, is that the first time Mason and Olivia fall into bed together there’s no condom readily available. But that didn’t stop the fireworks from going off. Ignoring the fact that they haven’t seen or spoken to each other in years, they proceed with just verbal claims to one another that each is clean as a whistle and she, of course, gives a nod to the use of birth control pills. Sorry – this type of risky behavior just doesn’t play well with me.
There were several other places where I had a hard time stretching my imagination far enough to sink my teeth into falling hook, line and sinker for everything as the author presents it. There were some plot holes that dropped the story out of sync with reality. Mason’s strong need for revenge against Olivia’s father lost steam altogether and fell away without a clear resolution. A little more depth in the main characters’ earlier history screamed for more page time in my opinion. Some of the secondary cast, namely Olivia’s best friend Beth, as well as Mason’s three buddies, who shared in his quest for justice, deserved a little more fleshing-out to add some depth to that part of the story. I might have nudged myself once or twice as a reminder that this is, after all, fiction. Still yet, I found a lot to like.
For the most part, The Millionaire’s Forever is a well-edited and entertaining read that leads to a fairly predictable outcome. Readers will be happy to find that they are treated to a nicely wrapped happily-ever-after seven years down the road in an Epilogue that brings this standalone delightfully to an end.
Reviewed by Anne
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
TRC: Hi Sonya and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulation on the release of THE MILLIONAIRE’S FOREVER.
Sonya: Thank you for having me, Sandy. It’s a pleasure to be here, and thank you!
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Sonya: I am constantly writing. I write to entertain myself and I always have a story circulating in my imagination. I can draw and always wanted to take art classes to help develop that, but never did. Maybe one day.
TRC: Many authors develop their love of writing at an early age. What or who was the catalyst that started you on the road to publication?
Sonya: I did develop a love of writing at an early age, but I kept it to myself. I wrote novels, short stories, fan fiction. I wrote constantly, even making up book blurbs for books I hadn’t even written yet, LOL. Then, I joined a group of writers online. This group had an e-zine. Someone suggested I submit a children’s short story I’d written to the e-zine. I did, never thinking it would sell, but to my surprise, it did. Then I won a Harlequin writing contest so I would say it was actually those two events.
TRC: If you had a choice, which career, other than writing, would you like to attempt?
Sonya: I’d either be a veterinarian or a doctor. Or an artist.
TRC: Your bio states that you are a ‘ghost writer’. Will you please explain to us what a ghost writer does and why?
Sonya: A ghost writer is a writer who writes something and doesn’t get the byline for that work. It can be any type of writing work. The why is because it can be fun, interesting, and most of it pays well. There are a lot of people who want to write but don’t think they have the time or the experience, so they’d rather pay someone else to do it.
TRC: THE MILLIONAIRE’S FOREVER is your March 31, 2015 release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
Sonya: Mason Parker is a millionaire determined to get vengeance for what he suffered through as a teenager. Falling in love with the woman he believes is partly responsible for his suffering wasn’t part of his plan.
TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading roles in THE MILLIONAIRE’S FOREVER, which models or actors would match your ideal image?
Sonya: For Mason, it would be Chris Hemsworth with dark hair. For Olivia, it would be Reese Witherspoon.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story?
Sonya: I did a lot of research on juvenile detention facilities as well as research into speech affected by a stroke. I didn’t really have a lot of difficulties. Just things I had to keep checking to make sure they could actually happen.
TRC: Are the storyline characters based in reality or a culmination of fact and fiction?
Sonya: All the characters are a product of my imagination.
TRC: Cole and Jake are Mason’s best friends. What plans do you have for their continuing storylines? Will we read more about Mason and Olivia?
Sonya: I do plan a continuing storyline, even if it’s just for me and never sells. I already know Jake’s story. I don’t know yet if I’ll have more about Mason and Olivia.
TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Sonya: I try to keep everything grounded in something that could actually happen.
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Sonya: It depends on the character. Some characters will let me shape them while other characters will act in ways and speak in ways that I would never do. They’ll make decisions that are part of who they are and when I try to force these characters into a certain direction, they just won’t go.
Those are my favorite characters to write.
TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the storyline direction? Characters?
Sonya: Yes. It doesn’t influences the story direction or the characters, but rather helps the characters internal thoughts and feelings to be expressed easier. One of my favorite quotes about music is “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” ~Victor Hugo.
I have a playlist for The Millionaire’s Forever HERE
Song 1 is Mason’s, the second one is Olivia’s. Number 7 is when Mason realizes what he’s feeling and goes after Olivia.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?
Sonya: I think the writer has to go deep into the character and show the emotions and the imperfections just like people have. I think that experiencing emotions with a character go hand in hand with having felt those same emotions. We all know love, hate, fear, excitement, and so forth.
I don’t know about other writers, but I know where I’ve failed in that endeavor are the times I pull back because the emotion can sometimes be difficult to feel. For example, in the story, Olivia references her late mother and the the mother-daughter things they would never get to do together. I wept as soon as I reread what I’d written because my mother passed away. The realization hit me that the mother-daughter experiences were forever over for me.
TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?
Sonya: I hate writer’s block. For me, it’s usually linked to a story problem. Once I work through the problem, then I can move on. Or, I put it aside and go work on another story. What also helps when I feel blocked is brainstorming with other writers.
TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?
Sonya: I’m a big fan of movies, but don’t really like animated movies that well.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Sonya: I usually have more than one project going on. Right now, I’m working on a contemporary romance for The Stealing the Heart series. I’m also working on another young adult novel.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Sonya: If there’s anyone interested in writing either nonfiction or fiction and has some questions, they can feel free to contact me.
Favorite Food: Sweet and sour chicken
Favorite Dessert: cheesecake
Favorite TV Show: One Tree Hill
Last Movie You Saw: If I Stay
Dark or Milk Chocolate: Milk
Secret Celebrity Crush: Chris Pine and Matthew Fox
Last Vacation Destination: the beach!
Do you have any pets? Always. I’m in the process of getting another dog.
Last book you read: Take Me On by Katie McGarry
Pet Peeve: Mean people.
TRC: Thank you Sonya for taking the times to answer our questions. Congratulations on the new release and best of luck with your future storylines and release.
Sonya: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure!