Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Book Review and Interview with Kelly Hashway

Most of you who know me know that I'm a sucker for a good YA contemporary romance. Not only do I love to write YA romance, but I love to read it as well. And Ashelyn Drake's Our Little Secret did not disappoint. With a secret crush turning into stolen kisses which results in a covert relationship and a betrayed best friend, this book was a recipe for success.

Becca has had a crush on her best friend's popular and good-looking twin brother for as long as she can remember. But her friend Tori has a very strict hands-off policy when it comes to friends dating her brother Toby. But when Toby begins tutoring Becca in Math, it appears the attraction goes both ways. Between fake study sessions and secret meetings, Becca is in over her head but doesn't know how to tell Tori, without ruining their friendship, that she's falling for her brother. But, of course, no secret is safe forever, and in the end, Becca is forced to choose between the perfect guy and the perfect friend.

I was sucked in at the first page. Kelly truly does have a command of the ultimate teenage voice and the angst of crushing on someone you think you'll never have a shot with. It was a lightning quick read with the perfect amount of romance. The characters were easily likable and extremely relatable. The only character that I sometimes wanted to smack was Tori for being so stubborn about Becca dating her brother, probably because I just wanted Becca and Toby to be together without anyone standing in the way. But even Tori has secrets of her own, including the real reason why she doesn't want her best friend dating her brother.

All in all, I thought Our Little Secret was a great read. I give it five stars and would recommend it to anyone who likes YA contemporary romances and super-quick reads. 

And wouldn't you know it, the author of Our Little Secret, Ashelyn Drake aka Kelly Hashway, was nice enough to stop in and answer a few probing questions. On to the interview!

Interview with Kelly Hashway/Ashelyn Drake

I recently read Our Little Secret and loved it. What was your inspiration for the novel?

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this book was inspired by an episode of Victorious that I was watching with my daughter. In the episode, they sang a song called “My Best Friend’s Brother” and I thought that would be such a great book to write. So of course I dove right in.

I love that story! What are you currently working on?

I’m in the middle of edits on my YA trilogy, Into the Fire, which releases spring 2016 with Limitless Publishing. I’m also drafting an adult thriller and polishing up an NA romance.

Wow, you are one busy woman! You write YA and NA romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. What prompted the decision to use a pen name?

When I decided to branch out and write romance, I wanted to keep it separate from my Kelly Hashway books, especially since I write picture books and middle grade novels. I don’t want young readers stumbling on my romance novels and thinking they are appropriate for them to read simply because my name is on the books.

That's a great point and makes perfect sense. As a busy mother, writer, and editor for Leap Books, how do you balance all the areas of your life?

I’m a huge believer in multi-tasking. I’m always doing two (or three) things at once. I also work (writing and editing) every minute my daughter is in school so I can help her with homework and play with her in the afternoons and evenings.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer? Fall? Winter? Spring?

I love swimming and playing tennis with my daughter in the summer, being outdoors and catching leaves in the fall (because I love the smell of the air), and reading by a fire in the winter. (Can you tell I don’t like the cold?)

I love the smell of fall air too! What takes you out of your comfort zone?

I take myself out of my comfort zone all the time by writing different things. I constantly say things like “I’ll never write for adults,” and then guess what? I’m writing an adult thriller. ;)

Never say never, right? :) Okay, sweet or salty? Mountains or beach?



If you were to create a slogan for your life, what would it be?

If you’re not weird, you’re boring. (I tend to do weird things and I think it makes life more interesting.)

What a great slogan! :) If you could spend the day with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be and why?

My daughter. She’s my favorite person in the world and we always have fun together.

Aw, that's so sweet! With Christmas coming around the corner, I have to ask… What was your favorite toy when you were a kid?
Oh, I’m dating myself here! I’d have to say the Jem backstage. I was obsessed with Jem and the Holograms. I still have the backstage and the dolls, and my daughter loves to play with them.

Lol. I remember Jem and the Holograms! That is so awesome that you still have yours and your daughter can play with it. :) Thanks so much, Kelly!

Thank you for having me, Kristin!

Kelly Hashway fully admits to being one of the most accident-prone people on the planet, but that didn’t stop her from jumping out of an airplane at ten thousand feet one Halloween. Maybe it was growing up reading R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books that instilled a love of all things scary and a desire to live in a world filled with supernatural creatures, but she spends her days writing speculative fiction for young adults, middle graders, and young children. Kelly’s also a sucker for first love, which is why she writes YA and NA romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she’s not writing, Kelly works as an editor, and also as Mom, which she believes is a job title that deserves to be capitalized. She is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.


  1. I'm a sucker for YA contemporary as well (obviously, since I write it, ha ha). This one looks great!

  2. I really liked that song, My Best Friend's Brother! I have it on my ipod. =) I love finding out fun facts like these behind the books.

    1. Lol I'm so glad I'm not the only adult listening to it. ;)

  3. LOL! If you're not weird, you are boring. Awesome.

  4. Thank you so much for reviewing Our Little Secret and for interviewing me, Kristin. :)

  5. Salty Beach, I so agree. Great interview and review!

  6. One of my fellow Simon & Schuster authors says she watched Disney Channel shows with her kids and is surprised how often she gets book ideas from those shows. It makes me think maybe I should give it a try!

  7. Sounds like a sweet YA romance. Nice to meet you, Kelly!

    *waves to Kristin*

  8. Great interview! Our Little Secret sounds like such a fun read. And wow, I'm amazed by all the projects she's able to juggle at once. Impressive!


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