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Featured Author Friday – Jamie Farrell

featured author friday

I’m so excited to have Jamie Farrell as my first author for my Featured Author Friday. Over the last two years, I’ve not only had the chance to get to read all of Jamie’s books, but also gotten to know her as a friend. I found out about Jamie’s writing through my college roommate, Jen, who knew her when they were stationed together as military wives. One of the things I love the most about her writing is her wacky sense of humor (which also occurs in real-life – I mean, how many people do you know would read the world Buffaloaf as Butt-loaf in the middle of a restaurant!).

jamieInterview with Jamie

Dee: Are you a writer that likes to plan and outline or do you have more of a ‘let it flow’ style?
Jamie: My voice is most raw and true when I just let it flow, but I’m not a natural plotter, so I tend to write myself into corners from time to time. I’ll have an idea of a plot point or two, and I’ll know a few things about my characters, but they tell me things in that first draft I never dreamed would happen. This also means that I do a lot of re-writing to get all the kinks worked out (because sometimes rainbow-spouting were-dragons appear randomly in that first draft of my feel-good contemporary romances, and those need to be edited out, sadly enough).

Dee: Are you working on another book right now? What is your writing schedule like? Do you write everyday or when you feel like it?
Jamie: I’m currently working on two books. One is a novella in the Officers’ Ex-Wives Club series, which will appear in the Small Town Summer anthology coming in July. The other is The Battle of The Boyfriends, the second book in my Misfit Brides of Bliss series.

I try to get up at 4 AM to write every day before my kids are up, except for weekends, and I will also sneak away to a coffee shop for a Sunday afternoon writing session at every opportunity. With three kids between 2 and 7 years old, and with the number of snow days, sick days, and weather-induced school delays, this has been a tough winter. But I still make progress, even when it’s slow. The business side of writing takes a good bit of time too!

Dee: Do you remember the first romance novel you ever read?
Jamie: Compared to my colleagues who were sneaking their moms’ Harlequins at young ages, I came “late” to the genre. I fell in love with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series in late college, and one afternoon, browsing the book store, I stumbled across a little sign that said, “If you like Janet Evanovich, you should try Jennifer Crusie!” I think my first true romance was Getting Rid of Bradley. I discovered Susan Andersen’s Marine series soon thereafter, and I was totally hooked.

Dee: What do you do when you get stuck on a scene or a storyline?
Jamie: I sleep on it, or sometimes I’ll take a shower. Showertime is thinking cap time. I like to play the “what if?” game, imagining various possibilities for what could happen, or I’ll analyze if my characters are properly motivated and defined. I’ll often discover I don’t know my characters well enough, so I’ll dig a little deeper into who they are and what makes them tick. If those tricks don’t work, I pick up the phone and I call Maria Geraci or Kelsey Browning. They’re my critique partners, and they always bring a fresh perspective and help me see things that I can’t, either because I’m looking at the story sideways or because I’m too close to see the big picture.

Dee: Chocolate or Bacon?
Jamie: GAH! Seriously? This is the meanest question ever!!! I love them both! Can I pick chocolate-covered bacon? No? Sheesh, Dee, you drive a hard interview. ;-) Okay. If I have to pick, I’ll take bacon, but only because nutritionally speaking, it’s both protein and fat, whereas the chocolate is mostly sugar. (grumble, grumble) (Also, *sob*! I think this means I’m finally admitting to being a responsible adult.)

Find Jamie on Social Media:
Website
Facebook
Pinterest
Twitter

Buy Links for Jamie’s Books:
Southern Fried Blues (The Officers’ Ex-Wives Club Book 1)
Mr. Good Enough
The Husband Games (Misfit Brides of Bliss Book 1)
Smittened (Misfit Brides of Bliss)

And because it wouldn’t be an interview without a giveaway – I’m gifting one lucky commenter an ebook choice of one of Jamie’s books (must be able to accept gifts from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble) or a print copy of Mr Good Enough. Please make sure you leave your email address in the comments. The giveaway will close next Friday (the 10th of April)

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Featured Author Friday

 

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Review – Seducation and Snacks – Tara Sivec

seduction snacksSeducation and Snacks
Author: Tara Sivec
Series: #1 in the Chocolate Lovers series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Claire is a twenty-something, single mom that grudgingly helps her best friend sell sex toys while she attempts to make enough money to start her own business to give her foul-mouthed, but extremely loveable (when he’s asleep) toddler a better life.

When Carter, the one-night-stand from her past that changed her life forever, shows up in her hometown bar without any recollection of her besides her unique chocolate scent, Claire will make it a point that he remembers her this time.

With Carter’s undisguised shock at suddenly finding out he has a four-year-old son and Claire’s panic that her stretch marks and slim to none bedroom experience will send the man of her dreams heading for the hills, the pair will do whatever they can to get their happily ever after.

Review:
What can I say about this book that I didn’t like, little to nothing. This book has it all a great mix of vulgar language, one night stands, sex toys and of course chocolate. This book is so well written I can say that you laugh so much you may end up with a twat tap if you laugh to hard in public.

Claire is by far one of the women you find yourself instantly connected to. Claire takes everything in stride. She does have a few moments of break down. No one is perfect. Finding out that you may be pregnant after a one night stand with a guy you don’t know and have no clue if he remembers you. She ends up back home and putting her life on hold her dreams of opening up a business with her long time friend Liz. That was a no go.

Carter is searching for the girl he slept with 5 years ago at a frat party the girl that haunts his dreams. Every time he smells chocolate he thinks of her. He cant seem to get her out of his head. The question is, is she just a dream? He spends the first part of his 5 year with his crazy ex who ends up cheating on him with his neighbor while watching well that I will leave for a surprise because I laughed so hard I about peed.

This book is full of surprises but it’s also very straight forward so you can see it coming. The characters are easy to connect with and they leave you with a happy ending. I know there are more books to this series, however, I was very happy with the way this book ended and have not found that I needed to read the others.

If you are looking for a funny, quirky romance with a touch of awe moments in it then this is the book for you.

I found these quotes to be the ones I love the most. Just a sneak peek into the craziness that is this book

Quotes
“Its a pain you forget all about once you have that sweet little baby in your arms.” Bull Shit. I CALL BULLSHIT.

“You know, I think its time i turn my vagina into an Arby’s Beef and Cheddar (minus the cheddar) and saddle myself down for a minimum of eighteen years to someone who will suck the soul and will to live right out of my body.”

“Give me a cat over a kid any day. You can open up a bag of Meow Mix, Plop it down on the floor next to a bucket of water, gone on vacation for a week and come home to an animal that is so busy licking its own ass that it has no idea you were even gone.”

Seriously you couldn’t go wrong with this book for me it gets a 4 out of 5!

I hope you pick this one up it’s a seriously great read.

~Kristin

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Down and Out in Bugtussle – Stephanie McAfee

bugtussleDown and Out in Bugtussle: The Mad Fat Road to Happiness
Author: Stephanie McAfee
Series: #3 in the Mad Fat Girl series
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Run Time: 9hrs 43 minutes

Review Copy Provided by Tantor Audio

Description:
When her dream life in Florida with her now-ex-fiancé goes south, so does Ace — she moves back home to Bugtussle, Mississippi, and into her late Gramma Jones’ little house. But even though her best friends, Lilly and Chloe, are thrilled that she’s returned home, not everything is smooth sailing. Ace wants her job back as art teacher at the high school, but the beautiful Cameron Becker has no plans to relinquish that position. Although Ace wants to run Miss Becker out of town, she accepts a job as a substitute teacher. On top of her job woes, Ace’s friends keep setting her up on blind dates when all she really wants is for people to stop meddling in her love life.

In her quest to find inner peace, Ace takes up gardening and discovers old love letters in her grandmother’s well-worn gardening book. With her faithful chiweenie, Buster Loo, by her side, Ace is determined to get to the bottom of her Gramma’s secret life, all while hoping her own doesn’t implode.

Review:
Ok, I’ll admit it – I primarily requested the audiobook because of the word Bugtussle in the title…it just made me giggle. Unfortunately for me that book didn’t live up to the humor that I was expecting. I don’t know if it was because I hadn’t read (or listened) to the previous 2 books in the series and didn’t know/previous read about the characters or what – but it just didn’t quite work for me. One of my first gripes was with the subtitle – the Mad Fat Road to Happiness – i honestly expected someone who was happy with their body and being big (although, you never find out how big Ace is), but through-out the book, there were many instances where there was almost an unhappiness with her life and her body – comments about clothes not fitting, how she looked in clothes etc. It didn’t exactly sound happy to me…

For me, Ace also just seemed fake – a lot of her humor felt forced and not natural. It just felt like there were supposed to be funny interactions between Ace and her friends, but it was just like listening to nails on a chalkboard. I will say that Ace and her interactions with Stacey Dewberry (substitute teacher stuck in the 80’s both clothing, make-up and car wise) – were probably the most entertaining and I liked Stacey the most as a character.

That being said, I didn’t mind Cassandra Campbells narration. I thought that she did a good job of distinguishing between the characters and making them all unique. But unfortunately, good narration couldn’t improve on my lack of enjoyment with the book. Overall, I gave Down and Out in Bugtussle 2 stars and likely won’t be checking out anything by the author in the future. I would recommend if people try the books, to maybe go with book 1 first, i don’t know if that would have improved my experience or not, but now its too late to find out.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Audiobook Review

 

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Review – Edie and the CEO – Mary Hughes

edie and the ceoEdie and the CEO
Author: Mary Hughes
Release Date: 4 February, 2013

Review Copy Provided by the Author

Description:
Edie Rowan is passionate about workers’ rights, wanting her Sixties protester grandparents to be proud of her. But championing the little guy gets her in trouble with sexy CEO Everett Kirk. Kirk is Mr. Ultra-Executive with his expensive hand-tailored suits and his eyes the steel blue of a finely tempered sword—but for the intriguing contradictions of his neat ponytail and square workman’s hands.

Edie’s latest disaster, a teambuilding exercise gone facepalm wrong, leads to a knockdown drag-out with rival manager Bethany “The B”—or add the “Itch”—Blondelle. The incident is the last straw for Kirk. He sends Edie to management camp and to her shock, announces he will drive her there himself. She wonders why he would want eighteen hours of enforced intimacy with her, even as she’s dazzled by his sparkling white smile and killer dimple.

Everett walks away from the confrontation with a headache. For years he has protected Edie from the fallout of her righteous crusading, but this may be the last time. A corporate backstabber is trying to eject Everett from his job. Even so, he’s looking forward to spending time on the drive with Edie, attracted to her sunny red curls, fiery personality and fine dark eyes.

Then a snowstorm forces them to seek shelter in an empty mountain cabin. Edie thinks she will take the lead in wilderness survival but Kirk proves more durable than his Italian loafers and silk sweater would suggest. The extended stay rubs them together in all sorts of ways, kindling emotional and physical flames. But when their corporate shells burn away, what secrets will be revealed?

Review:
Pretty much since I joined Goodreads in 2009, I have heard various friends talk about Mary Hughes books – they gush their love for her Biting Nixie series and say that it is completely insane. Yet, for some reason, I have been dragging my feet on reading them – maybe because I’m afraid they will be too hyped up and disappoint – I don’t know. Anyways, one of my friends contacted me and said that Mary was looking for reviewers for her newest contemporary romance and would I be interested – since I hadn’t heard much about it, I jumped at the opportunity (since ultimately, contemporary romances are for the most part my guilty pleasure).

Anyways, from the get-go, I was laughing out loud at Edie’s antics in the office – working with some of the people I do, I’m amazed that stuff like that hasn’t happened yet. She is the kind of manager that I would love to work for – dedicated to the mission and yet caring of her people at the same time – able to walk that fine line between hard work and over work (which is hard for many people to do, I know that I struggle with it).

And then there was Kirk, or Everett – since she referred to him as Kirk through-out most of the book, its hard for my brain to process and flip back/forth between the two (I also had images of Captain Kirk stuck in my head for most of the time that I was reading the book).

I could apparently continue to gush over this book, but I’ll save you guys from that – but I do recommend it and would give it 4 stars. It is also a relatively quick read at about 34k words (about 115ish pages – give or take).

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – My Bluegrass Baby – Molly Harper (@mollyharperauth)

My Bluegrass Baby
Author: Molly Harper

Review Copy provided by Pocket Star and Edelweiss

Description:
Sadie Hutchins loves her job at the Kentucky Tourism Commission. Not only could her co-workers double as the cast of Parks & Recreation, but she loves finding the unusual sites, hidden gems, and just-plain-odd tourist attractions of her home state. She’s a shoo-in for the director’s job when her boss retires at the end of the year…until hotshot Josh Vaughn shows up to challenge her for the position.

Josh is all sophisticated polish while Sadie’s country comfort, and the two have very different ideas of what makes a good campaign. So when their boss pits them against each other in a winner-takes-all contest, they’re both willing to fight dirty if it means getting what they want. But it turns out, what Josh and Sadie want could be each other—and Josh’s kisses are the best Kentucky attraction Sadie’s found yet!

Review
Three things, I had never considered prior to reading My Bluegrass Baby by the fantabulous Molly Harper – that I could claim programing my Tivo on my resume (I’m sure that parlays into something workplace related), the number of cartoon characters who run-around with no pants on (aka, the Pantless Pantheon) and Squirrel genitalia (as my friend Toni would say, its all about the nuts ; ) But when I reading Molly Harpers newest contemporary romance, all three of those things, plus many more were mentioned. There is just something quirky about the way she writes, that makes you feel right at home with the characters. I loved how she managed to work so many weird and wonderful facts about Kentucky in the book (but don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil the surprise for anyone, since you guys need to have a chance to read it). I do have to admit that I’m normally not a fan of workplace romance type books, it is just a trope that I normally don’t enjoy, but I think that Molly did a great job balancing the line between funny and the awkwardness that so often ensures in situations like that.

Anyways, i could probably amble on for hours about how much I enjoy Molly Harper’s work – but I won’t ;) All I can say is that if you haven’t read (or listened) to any of her stuff yet, then you really need to. If you are looking for lite funny PNR or entertaining contemporary romance, she has something for you. After reading this, she has pretty much sealed her spot on my auto-buy/auto-listen list. Now I can start stalking her for new work. Overall, a solid 4 stars. Oh yeah, and I totally have a new saying, I’ve been known to comment on my lack of a brain mouth barrier, but I think atrophied verbal filter sounds soo much better!! (Thanks Molly!)

Thanks to Pocket Star for approving my review request and Edelweiss for providing the opportunity.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself – Alan Alda

Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself
Author/Narrator: Alan Alda
Run Time: 6 hours, 1 min

Book Description:
On the heels of his acclaimed memoir, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, beloved actor and bestselling author Alan Alda has written Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself, an insightful and funny look at some of the impossible questions he’s asked himself over the years: What do I value? What, exactly, is the good life? (And what does that even mean?)
Picking up where his bestselling memoir left off–having been saved by emergency surgery after nearly dying on a mountaintop in Chile–Alda finds himself not only glad to be alive but searching for a way to squeeze the most juice out of his new life. Looking for a sense of meaning that would make this extra time count, he listens in on things he’s heard himself saying in private and in public at critical points in his life–from the turbulence of the sixties, to his first Broadway show, to the birth of his children, to the ache of September 11, and beyond. Reflecting on the transitions in his life and in all our lives, he notices that “doorways are where the truth is told,” and wonders if there’s one thing–art, activism, family, money, fame–that could lead to a “life of meaning.”

Review:
I’ve always liked Alan Alda – I grew up watching MASH re-runs on TV, and to this day, it is a comfort show for me. 99.9% of the time, I have already seen the episode, but there is the odd-occasion where one that I don’t remember ever watching pops up. So when I was browsing the shelves at the library one day and came across this audiobook, I jumped on the chance to list. As with the Ellen DeGeneres one, it is narrated by the author, and after listening to it, I don’t know if I could have named anyone better suited to do it.

Each chapter in the book is based around one of the various speeches that he has been invited to give over the years – at college graduations; for various professional societies and the events in his life that have influenced what he talks about and how he came to give the speech. So in and of, itself there is a lot of personal memories. But it also has his known sardonic humor that many of us probably remember from his role as Hawkeye (I mean, who can forget him making gin in his tent…).

The production of the audiobook was good, although, the CD’s when I listened to them, you could tell that they were a bit older and there were a few jumps here and there – but it didn’t distracted me too much. I’m def. going to be checking out Alda’s other memoirs in the future. 3.5 stars.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review – Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs – Molly Harper

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs
Author: Molly Harper
Series: #1 in the Jane Jameson series

Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Run Time: 9 hours and 24 minutes.

Book Description:
Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children’s librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that’s sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she’s mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood.

Jane is now the latest recipient of a gift basket from the Newly Undead Welcoming Committee, and her life-after-lifestyle is taking some getting used to. Her recently deceased favorite aunt is now her ghostly roommate. She has to fake breathing and endure daytime hours to avoid coming out of the coffin to her family. She’s forced to forgo her favorite down-home Southern cooking for bags of O negative. Her relationship with her sexy, mercurial vampire sire keeps running hot and cold. And if all that wasn’t enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What’s a nice undead girl to do?

Review
I’m going to preface this review by saying I came to Molly Harper’s writing later than many other people who have read her stuff. And, I read/listened to her Naked Werewolf series prior to listening to Jane Jamison which were her earlier works. So I think I went into Nice Girls with higher expectations because I had previous enjoyed her works. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, I just didn’t love it like I was expecting to.

From the get-go you could tell that this was one of her earlier works and if you read later books, you can see how her writing style has improved (it is still the same quirky that I enjoy, but the Naked Werewolf books were a bit tighter writing, which made them flow better). However, I did enjoy Jane’s antics (because there really is no other way to describe them). Although, I did solve the mystery element fairly early on (or rather, I had a pretty solid idea of who is was, so the reveal didn’t add that much to the story for me). But I will be looking forward to checking in on Jane again in the future (and luckily for me, I have 5 other books in the series to read!)

Amanda Ronconi, the narrator, is probably one of my top 5 that I have discovered in the last year, along with Xe Sands. I know immediately picking up anything narrated by her, that she is going to hit on the quirky/humorous nature of the writing without too much difficulty. While her male voices, are occasionally, only so-so (but they grow on you), I love her female ones and feel that she had a good range to work with. I’ll be watching for more stuff narrated by her in the future.

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs (Paperback)
Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs (Kindle)

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Book Review

 

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