Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stardust Summer - Lauren Clark Blog Tour

Title: Stardust Summer
Author: Lauren Clark
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Number of Pages: 280

Single mom Grace Mason doesn’t believe in miracles, magic, or love at first sight. She likes the quiet life, complete with her eight-year-old son, their tiny house, and her teaching job. For Grace, happiness means that nothing much ever changes in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
Then, one thousand miles away, tragedy strikes. A massive heart attack leaves Grace’s estranged father comatose in an Upstate New York hospital. While a team of doctors fight to keep Henry Mason alive, Grace and Evan rush to his bedside to say their final goodbyes.
Henry’s passing brings little closure for Grace, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to her new surroundings. What begins as a short trip results in an entire summer spent with Henry’s second wife, Kathleen, and her next-door neighbor, Ryan Gordon, the town doctor. When a series of unlikely events lead to Evan’s disappearance, Grace must face her worst fears to find her son and bring him back home.
Stardust Summer explores the complexities of forgiveness, what it means to be a family, and the fabulous possibility of falling in love—again

First thoughts after...
What an amazingly sweet story! I'd like to know what happens next! ;)

How distracted did I get?
Stardust Summer is a wonderful story about grudges, forgiveness, love of family and romance.  Grace has been hurt too many times and doesn't trust people not to leave her.  I love her story and character.  She's had a rough life and emotionally there's a lot to get through.  I did not want to put this story down.  I was up extremely late one night reading this and still read while cooking and would stop cleaning to "rest" and read!

I give Stardust Summer.....

5 Baskets!!!!

Guest Post
What Makes a Leading Man HOT?

There's just something about romance that makes the pages of a good novel turn a little faster. I can't wait for the heartbeat flutter I feel when the story's main character meets her potential love interest. I'm almost giddy when the first innocent flirtation is exchanged.

I adore the sidelong glances, the skin that shivers from an accidental touch. There's the first disagreement or problem, which just adds to the tension. And...oh...the first kiss! I love the anticipation that builds while I wonder how or when that special moment might happen. Most importantly, though, I have to find out if there's a happy ending—and how it all turns out.

When it comes to romantic stories, I have my share of favorite leading men (Take your pick ... Daniel Craig, Ryan Gosling, or Bradley Cooper) and it's so fun to gush about chiseled jaw lines and six-pack abs while these actors are on the big screen. But movie actors aside, there's something about a novel that I believe adds MORE to the imagination and the story experience.

In Stardust Summer, as with my two previous novels, I tend to shy away from describing my leading men down to the last bicep muscle or shoe size. I like to draw broad strokes—including eye color, build, and complexion—so that readers can fill in the rest of the tiny details.

Are his shoulders broad? Does he have dimples? Freckles? Is his smile perfect or a little crooked? Is he testosterone-charged or all-American boy? How does it sound when he talks? When he laughs out loud?

When I can decide the answers to those questions, especially in the first few chapters of a novel, it's easier for me to connect with a story's love interest. And I know that this might sound strange, but I firmly believe that what makes a leading man HOT is much more than window dressing.

For me, a leading man's personality and actions speak volumes.

Is he strong and protective, yet gentle on the inside? Does he let his defenses down just a little? Is he well-liked by others? Is he sensitive to others' needs? Does he solve problems without being overbearing? Is he smart, spontaneous, and fun?

In Stardust Summer, part of Dr. Ryan Gordon's appeal is the fact that he changes and grows so much during the course of a story. He's a dedicated, talented physician who let his career get in the way of his first marriage. He spent a few years denying any fault in the situation, but has a complete turnaround when he meets Grace Mason and her son Evan.

His selfless actions and heroic nature melt Grace's heart and defenses. In the end, they both change each other for the better.

So....what's your take on a leading man?  Do you need brawn and brains? Lots of description or some left to the imagination? What makes your ideal romantic hero HOT?

Author Bio
Lauren Clark writes contemporary novels sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets. A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends.

Lauren is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association, the Mobile Writers Guild, and a monthly contributor to Parents & Kids Magazine's Mississippi Gulf Coast Edition.

Where to find Lauren:

Buy Links:


  1. A great post, Lauren! You've given me some food for thought as to what it is about male characters that attracts me. I think it can be looks, humor, charm, actions, or all of the above! Interesting that you say you don't get detailed with your male character descriptions. I felt like I had a really good picture of Shug in my mind's eye when I read Dancing Naked in Dixie, but maybe my imagination was filling in some blanks! :)

    I look forward to reading Stardust Summer!

    1. Thank you Tracie! You're so sweet and we've certainly had some fun discussions about men and what makes them attractive!!! (LOL)

      I wanted to tackle the topic from a different angle ... I so agree that humor and charm need to be high up on that list!

      HUGS! Lauren

  2. Congratulations on the launch, Lauren! Awesome cover and am intrigued by the blurb. How do I like my leading men? Handsome, but ruggedly so and not perfect; witty, smart, caring but with the occasional flaw; strength isn't essential but nice strong arms for holding his leading lady are. Great guest post, rock on! X

    1. Nicky - I adore a ruggedly handsome man who's not perfect. Witty and smart are definite must-haves! It's nice to have a well-read man, too .... goes well with those nice strong arms for holding his leading lady!

      Thank you for stopping by Tobi's fabulous blog!!!!!!!

      xx, Lauren

  3. Tobi - Thank you so much for having me on your blog and for reviewing Stardust Summer! My blog tour wouldn't have been complete without you being a part of it!

    I am so glad that you were able to be an early reader for the novel :) It really means so much with as busy as you are with the kids, husband, and your blogging!

    Much love, Lauren