Lessons in Letting Go (Study Abroad #3) by Jessica Peterson – Review, Interview & Giveaway
Lessons in Letting Go
Study Abroad #3
by Jessica Peterson
Release Date: December 12, 2016
Genre: new adult, contemporary, romance
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 12, 2016
“Ten minutes ago, I was just an American student studying abroad in Spain. But now? Now I’m a professional soccer player’s muse. His good luck charm…”
Soccer star Rhys Maddox’s recovery from an injury isn’t going well—until one night with a beautiful American and a few terrible pick-up lines changes everything. With Laura at his side, he plays smarter, runs faster, and fights harder than he ever has on the pitch. She’s just the good luck charm he needs to turn his flailing career around.
Laura Bennet begins her semester in Madrid with plans to ditch bad habits and worse boyfriends. But when she unexpectedly gets caught up in Rhys’s A-list life, her plans are put on hold. Who wouldn’t skip class to fly on a private jet with a studly Welsh footballer? It’s a no brainer, or so she thinks. Turns out Rhys’s glamorous lifestyle hides an obsession with appearances—an obsession that makes her totally miserable. Determined to take back her happiness, Laura decides to dump Rhys and tackle a “Spain Bucket List” on her own.
But Rhys isn’t letting his good luck charm go without a fight. He’s spent his entire life trying to earn his way into the big leagues, and he’ll do anything to win—even risk his carefully crafted image to help Laura with her bucket list. Will he be able to let go of his ego? Or will he and Laura ultimately let go of each other?
REVIEW: Let’s all be honest, we all have inner demons and hang ups in our lives. Whether we let those inner demons and hang ups control our lives is up to us. Whether it’s a past we are trying to leave behind or a fear that constrains way of living, we all have our inner demons and hang ups. In this story we have the beautiful yet bright student Laura who wants to shed her people pleasing skin to be more emotionally free to have more fun and to stop caring about her weight so much to enjoy real food. And then we have rising soccer star Rhys who came from a very poor family in Wales who puts so much unnecessary pressure on himself to provide for his family. He is always constantly fighting his inner demons that he doesn’t want to repeat his father’s mistakes. Will Rhys and Laura let go of their demons and hang ups to really live their lives and find love in each other’s arms?
I really enjoyed how likeable Laura was but what I really appreciated was how relatable her issues were. Being a people pleaser and being overly concern about weight are very relatable issues many women have. I also enjoyed reading about Rhys letting go of his inner demons as well, that just because he deviates from his rigid schedule and routine doesn’t mean that he’s going to end up a washed up failure at soccer like his dad. The character growth and development were elements of the book I really enjoyed. Laura was able to enjoy real food and not get upset over the slight weight gain. She was able to do things for her and not for others, she was even able to assert herself to do the things she wanted. Rhys was able to free himself of letting his father’s mistake rule his every action. I truly enjoy reading Laura and Rhys’s journey to emotional freedom.
I really liked this book. The book was tastefully sexy but had literary substance to it. You would think all the hangs ups and inner demons concept would bring down the mood of the book but doesn’t. The book has an uplifting and encouraging tone to it that is refreshing. I enjoyed this book so much that I went ahead to purchase the rest of the series. Another plus, the book can read alone with no issues of missing parts of the previous books. I highly recommend this read I really do.
Copy supplied for review.
Reviewed by Xtina
TRC: Hi Jessica, and welcome to The Reading Cafe.
We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Jessica: Hi there! First, thank you very much for having me; I’m so excited to be here! So I’m a thirty-something writer living in North Carolina with my husband, Ben, and our smelly Goldendoodle, Martha Bean. My STUDY ABROAD series is based on my own experience studying in Madrid, Spain, more than ten (!) years ago.
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
Jessica: Great question. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but it took me a while to finally sit down and write a book. I started out writing historicals, but after I read the likes of Elle Kennedy and Kristen Callihan, I knew I had to write some smexy contemporary romance. It’s been a lot of fun!
TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?
Jessica: Oh, wow, lots. I started out writing historicals for a traditional publisher, but they did not renew my contract for a second series. I was totally crushed and didn’t know where to go next with my writing. I wasn’t so sure about the indie thing, but once I started, I found I was a much happier writer–a much BETTER writer–and that I enjoyed the process so much more. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s a struggle sometimes not to get discouraged when everyone around you seems to be selling millions of books and you’re not, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I still get goosebumps every morning when I sit at my computer and read what I wrote the day before. It’s a dream come true for sure!
TRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of LESSONS IN LETTING GO?
Jessica: Sure! This is my first sports romance I’ve ever written, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the sports angle…maybe because I enjoyed googling shirtless footballers WAY too much. I pitch it as a hot, tortured Welsh footballer + ambitious American student + orgasm-heavy bucket list. Totally delicious!
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series? Can each book be read as a stand alone without any difficulty?
Jessica: While LESSONS IN LETTING GO is the third book in the series, it can absolutely be read as a standalone–so can the previous two books in the series, SPANISH LESSONS and LESSONS IN GRAVITY.
TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Jessica: So plotting is definitely not my strong suit, and I look to my editor for a lot of guidance there. I’m a “pantser”, meaning I don’t outline before I write (I just get bored). My method is labor intensive–edits can be a total beast–but I’d like to think it works!
TRC: Are any of the characters or scenarios based in reality or from people you know or met?
Jessica: None of the characters are, but this book is basically the fantasy I had when I studied abroad that I’d meet a cute footballer and he’d fall in love with me (ha!). That never happened in real life, so of course I had to write a book about it.
TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?
Jessica: Not necessarily. It certainly doesn’t for me. I read a lot of romance blogs and am active on Twitter and Facebook; if people are raving about a book, I’ll usually buy it and check it out, regardless of what the cover looks like.
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Jessica: The characters definitely direct the writing. It’s all about internal and external conflict–those drive the characters, which drives the plot.
TRC: Many writers bounce ideas with friends or other authors. With whom do you bounce ideas?
Jessica: My editor is AMAZING and we work really well together when it comes to plotting. When I’m stuck, or I’m brainstorming, I’ll usually give her a call and we’ll talk for, like, four hours about how to make the book work. I usually have the characters, and she has the plot ideas.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the story line 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?
Jessica: I think it all comes back to the characters. You have to understand in them–you have to believe them and what they’re after. I think it’s especially to get the hero right in romance. I took Elizabeth Hoyt’s workshop on the hero a couple years ago at RWA, and her message–that if you get your hero right, you’re in a good place–has stuck with me.
TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the story line direction? Characters?
Jessica: I usually can’t listen to music when I’m writing, EXCEPT when I write a kissing or sex scene. Then music is essential. By the time I finish a book, I usually have a playlist of songs I’ve played hundreds of times. It captures the tone/mood of the story for me.
TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?
Jessica: That writing is easy or enjoyable! Sure, I’m chasing down my dream job, but that doesn’t mean that I sit down at my computer with a smile and happily type away until the book is done. Most days are boring, lonely, and HARD. But then you get that one day where the plot comes together or you write a scene that gives you chills and you’re so happy you want to cry. THAT is what keeps me coming back, page after page.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Jessica: I’m currently working on what was supposed to be a novella (STUDY ABROAD #3.5), but apparently I’m incapable of writing anything shorter than 60,000 words. So this next book will probably turn into a full-length novel. I’m kicking around the idea of using it to create a spin-off footballer series. We’ll see!
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Jessica: Thanks again for having me–this was so fun!
Favorite TV show: right now, THE CROWN on Netflix. Love anything to do with royalty!
Last movie you saw: DR. STRANGE. God I love Benedict.
Favorite Food: Right now? A great cup of coffee first thing.
Favorite Dessert: Definitely cake. Preferably from a box, with icing from a can. YUM.
Dark or Milk Chocolate: Milk chocolate all the way! Reese’s are my favorite.
Favorite Celebrity Crush: Right now I’m digging Sergio Ramos, a super hot Spanish soccer player. Google him. You won’t be sorry.
Last Vacation Destination: Colorado for some skiing.
Last book you read: EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID by Molly O’Keefe. So.damn.good.
Do you have any pets: Yes! Last year we got a Goldendoodle puppy named Martha Bean. Now I’m that crazy dog lady who treats her dog like a human. She’s the best writing companion ever!
Thank you Jessica for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of LESSONS IN LETTING GO
Jessica Peterson is graciously offering an ecopy of LESSON IN LETTING GO-book 3 in her Study Abroad series to three (3) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe.
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