Tag Archives: romance


The Selkie Spell
by Sophie Moss
Seal Island Trilogy #1
Publication Date: November 6, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance
Purchase from: • AmazonNook
Add to Goodreads.

Winner of the gold medal for Best Romance/Fantasy, 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.


American doctor Tara Moore wants to disappear. On the run from an abusive husband, she seeks shelter on a windswept Irish island and dismisses the villagers’ speculation that she is descended from a selkie–a magical creature who is bewitching the island. But when a ghostly woman appears to her with a warning, Tara realizes it was more than chance that brought her to this island. Desperate to escape a dark and dangerous past, she struggles against a passionate attraction to handsome islander, Dominic O’Sullivan. But the enchantment of the island soon overpowers her and she falls helpless under its spell.

Caught between magic and reality, Tara must find a way to wield both when a dangerous stranger from her past arrives, threatening to destroy the lives of everyone on the island.


My Review:

I read all three Seal Island Trilogy books, devouring each one. The audiobook completely lived up to the expectations. Ms. Moss chose a narrator with a soothing voice and a talent for portraying individual characters. I downloaded The Selkie Spell onto my smartphone and listened to excerpts during long walks to and from work. A two-hour walk felt like two minutes as I got caught up in the story all over again.

Whenever I recommend the Seal Island Trilogy books to readers, I always emphasize this: Sophie Moss has managed to do something that many romance writers haven’t yet figured out. She creates male protagonists who don’t push their women around or dominate them, yet the men retain all their masculinity. None of the women are “saved by a man,” but that doesn’t neutralize the potency of the male character. In fact, this is a non-issue. There are no smothering and overly feminist ideals here; it simply is what it is, portraying strong women and strong men within their own story. I wish more writers could figure this out.

Everything about this series is beautiful. From the flowing prose and engaging characters, to the vivid imagery, and even the front-to-back formatting done for Ms. Moss by Blue Harvest Creative. Both print and eBook are stunning and complement the superb writing style that Sophie continues with Wind Chime series.


The Seal Island Trilogy

01_Selkie_Spell-(LG-2500-x-1563) The Selkie Enchantress (Seal Island Trilogy #2) The Selkie Sorceress (Seal Island Trilogy #3)

Author: Sophie Moss

Sophie Moss (Color)

Sophie Moss is an award-winning author of four full-length romance novels. Her stories are featured consistently on Amazon Kindle Bestseller Lists. Known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heartwarming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings, her books have appeared twice in USA Today. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Vermont and she is a long-standing member of Romance Writers of America. Sophie currently lives in San Diego, California, where she is writing her next novel. When she’s not writing, she’s walking the beach, volunteering at the local Humane Society, or working in her garden. Visit Sophie at her website at http://www.sophiemossauthor.com.

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Lara Hays – Oceanswept

I owe a lot to Lara Hays, author of young adult romance, but she didn’t know it until recently.

Last year, I received a Nook for my birthday. New to the world of e-readers, I didn’t know what to download until a friend of mine posted on Facebook about her sister’s new release, Oceanswept. Because of this friend, I felt an instant connection to an author whom I had never met. I downloaded the book and started reading. Two sleepless nights later, I finished it. I brought my Nook to my husband and showed him what this author did, self-publishing her own work on an e-reader and suggested I could do the same. The journey began.

Lara Hays has recently released the sequel to OceansweptUndertow, the second of the Oceanswept Trilogy. She has also released two short stories in the Oceanswept Chronicles: “Stowaway” and “Intruder in the Brig”. These young adult stories feature high romance on the high seas, with swashbuckling pirates and fine English ladies. They are clean books, appropriate for young teens. You can click on the pictures to find the Amazon links to her books.


 I had the opportunity to interview Lara and loved her answers:

1)Tell me about yourself.
I am a writer, a mother, a wife, a animal lover, an adoption advocate, traveler, and reader. I work full-time as a marketing copywriter. I blog (though the frequency has died down quite a bit) about nothing and everything, with an emphasis on adoption. I adore New Girl and have an long-term and rather illicit love affair with junk food.


2)Tell me about the Oceanswept Trilogy.
The Oceanswept Trilogy is a young adult historical fiction trilogy set in 18th century following 17-year-old Tessa Monroe who has moved with her father from England to the fledgling British colonies in the West Indies. Her ship is sunk by a hurricane and she manages to be rescued—by pirates. With a future of slavery in the offing, Tessa joins forces with Nicholas Holladay, a charismatic sailor ready to break free from a life of piracy. Mutiny is in the air. Tessa and Nicholas will either win their freedom or earn a spot at the gallows.


An addition to the three-novel trilogy, I have written (and plan to write more) a couple of short-stories that take place in the Oceanswept world with the same characters. These short stories are called Oceanswept Chronicles. They aren’t necessary to the story of the trilogy, but just fun extras.

3) Who is your favorite character, and why?
My favorite character is actually Captain Black. His role is smallish in Oceanswept and practically nonexistent in Undertow, but he is hugely significant in the third book and he is a fascinating character. I also love Nicholas. Who doesn’t? Daring and handsome and brave, but there is a lot to him under the surface.


4) What was the hardest scene to write, and why?
The hardest scenes for me to write are often the transition scenes between dramatic events. Keeping the pace, keeping things interesting and realistic, yet still being able to connect the dots between all the dramatic events to make a big picture.

5) Are any characters or scenes based off of real life events/people?
No, not directly. One of my character’s names is very symbolic, based off a real person and what they mean to me. I have traveled to the Caribbean twice and pull from my experiences with the ocean and the islands. There are a few small things that are based off real events. There’s a small scene in Undertow when Tessa is watching the sunrise and when the sun crests the horizon, she listens to hear the sea sizzle because her father taught her that—even though she knew the sea doesn’t sizzle. My father taught me the same thing and to this day, if I am by the ocean during a sunrise or sunset, I listen for the sound of the sea sizzling.

6) Why pirates?
I love stories about redemption because it’s something everyone can relate too. Pirates—aside from creating an adventurous backdrop—represent “evil” and we have Nicholas and even Tessa to an extent navigating that world of evil and trying to get out of it and redeem themselves. It’s a metaphor that’s popular in many novels, movies, and TV shows. Think of all the vampire stuff that’s so popular now. It’s the same story. Redemption. Plus, I’ve always been fascinated with sailing and with the ocean, so if I am going to spend countless hours researching and writing, it might as well be about something I enjoy!

7) I read Oceanswept and would definitely let my 12-year-old read it. What is your target audience? What would you say to parents who are hesitant to introduce their preteen daughters to the romance genre?
“Romance” is such a tricky word. We automatically think of those steamy bodice rippers at the grocery store. I honestly prefer to classify it as a Young Adult Historical Romance for that reason, but the romance is what everyone loves about the story so we can’t leave that out! My intended audience is females 13+. I leave the + there because I think more adults have enjoyed my books than teenagers! I would tell parents that it is a clean romance. All virtue remains intact. All thoughts are pure! And remember, most all books no matter their genre incorporate love interests and romance in some way. So this is a great way for teens to experience a love-story that is going to be clean.

8.) Is Oceanswept the first book you’ve ever written? Please describe the writing process.
Yes, it is. I don’t even know how many books I have started, but Oceanswept was the first I finished. I think in the past I was too concerned with coming up with a book that others wanted to read, or that would garner critical acclaim or something lofty. This time, I decided to write a book that I would want to read. I got the idea in a meeting and created the entire outline in that meeting. I began writing in my spare time and I was obsessed. Every waking minute that I could spare, I was writing. I finished the first draft in three weeks.

 9) What lessons have you learned from publishing?
Format as you go! If plan A doesn’t work, go with plan B, plan C, plan D, whatever. Don’t give up and don’t let others dictate your dream.

10) What are your future plans for the Oceanswept Chronicles and other books?
I am working on a young adult book right now about a teenage boy whose recently divorced mother purchased a hospice and his new home is living among dying people as he struggles to shape his own life in the midst of a broken family. It is definitely a departure from swashbuckling adventure and teen romance, but I hope my readers will take the leap with me. I have an outline of the final book of the Oceanswept Trilogy and that will hopefully be available in about a year. I am also planning to continue to supply more Chronicles—I don’t know how many of those might crop up. They’re just fun and people love little “director’s cuts” of the stories. So I don’t necessarily have a limit on them. I have even taken requests on what extra details readers want.

Lara Hays

My author website is larahays.com, though I need to be better about updating it.

You’ll get the most updates from me at Facebook.com/LaraHaysAuthor

And you can read my personal blog at pocketfullofprose.blogspot.com

The Seal Island Trilogy


“Selkies?” My husband leaned over my shoulder and peered at the computer screen. “Isn’t that pretty much a were-seal?”

Without turning my head, I nodded to the tone of, “Yes, what’s your point?”


“It works,” I said while trying to read at the same time. “She’s taken the concept and run with it. And it works.”

When I asked my husband to help me read and review books, he said he would do it as long as he didn’t have to read any romance. He likes fantasy, and he enjoys a little romantic resolution at the end. But if the author lists “romance” as the genre, he’s not interested.

I admit to a secret soft spot for romance. It’s a secret because I pretend to be a tough broad, and romance is famous for its sap. I can’t just read any romance, though. I don’t want a boring, contemporary setting. It has to have a fantasy element. It can’t be what everyone else is reading. It can’t be cliché.

What constitutes cliché? Vampires within a love story now count as cliché. Ms. Meyer took that last horse and rode it until it collapsed. Even if someone else wove a fabulous tale with some new gimmick, I’m not interested if vampires fall in love. Quickly becoming cliché are Greek gods, angels, and demons. As soon as a few more authors figure out how to write zombies as sympathetic characters, those join the list.

Common Seal, Glengarriff

What, exactly, is a selkie? In Irish mythology, a selkie is a seal that can shed its skin and walk on land as a human female. She’s powerful, similar to a siren. However, if a human male finds her pelt, she must obey him unless she can reclaim it. I had learned about selkies when I read a book about fairies as a preteen. I’d never seen the concept used in a story. So, when Sophie Moss offered The Selkie Spell as a free download for St. Patrick’s Day, she caught my attention.

Currently, Ms. Moss has two books available in the Seal Island Trilogy: The Selkie Spell and The Selkie Enchantress. Her third, The Selkie Sorceress, is due to release on April 25th. You can learn about these books on her blog.

In The Selkie Spell, American doctor Tara Moore arrives on a little Irish island as she runs from her abusive husband. She meets Dominic O’Sullivan and works in his pub. Events and details unravel about the island’s legend, and Tara has to face her husband in addition to answering the legend.


The Selkie Enchantress starts about three months after the prequel ended, where Caitlin has fallen in love with Dominic’s brother, Liam. When a mysterious woman and her child arrive on the island, trapping Liam in a spell, Caitlin unravels a second legend of which she is a part. After fragments of her past return, Caitlin has more to fight for than just Liam.


Alright, it’s review time.

I enjoyed these. They contained an appropriate amount of sap, for they are romance first and foremost. The sap did not run intolerably sweet, though, and the books avoided many pitfalls for which romance is criticized. First, she did not use a bullying, overbearing and abusive alpha males as protagonists. Both Dominic and Liam are strong and masculine, but they don’t push around their women. They don’t control them or demean them. The controlling men are antagonists, such as Tara’s ex-husband. The “saved by a man” motif isn’t an issue, for the women are the heroes in these books. They do the necessary saving. As far as the heroines’ demeanors, they have goals aside from falling in love. Their relationships do not define their lives, and though Caitlin has a little remorse for some of her actions, they don’t compromise themselves for the sake of their men.

Rating: Grownup. Really, this depends on what level of cursing and sex you consider tolerable. I say these are grownup because many of my friends, grownups included, want a squeaky clean story. Both of these books contain a few F-bombs and a few sex scenes. The cursing is minimal, though, and the sex doesn’t dominate the story. As the author is careful to make the scenes tasteful, she manages to stay a step above most sex scenes in today’s romance novels. Some readers were bothered by the violence in the first book, but I found it appropriate for character development without becoming graphic. So, if you want super soapy clean reading, you’ve been warned. If you’re fine with a few F-bombs and sex scenes, they won’t be an issue.

Credibility rating: Escapist. If you want a serious epic story with earth-shattering denouement, take a moment and read the genre: Irish Fairy Tale/Fantasy Romance. This is a fun read. It’s not going to define your life, and it’s not going to become the next movie blockbuster. Wait… I retract that. I never expected a vampire and a mopey girl to define the next level of teen entertainment, either. So you never know. Anyway… the storyline of The Selkie Spell was a lot more realistic, interweaving the fairytale into a very real problem of domestic violence. The Selkie Enchantress jumped right into fantasy. All antagonists were magical in some way. The main conflict itself existed on paper rather than emulating real life. Is this a problem? Again, read the genre. If you’re looking for a realistic romantic story, you’re in the wrong e-aisle.

Satisfaction rating: Salivating. For the third book. Arrgghh, come on April 25th! Until then, I’ll sample some other worthy indie works to keep me company.


P.S… you can download her books here…
Selkie Spell
Selkie Enchantress

Happy Birthday, Sophie Moss!