Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: A Questionable Friendship by Samantha March

Title:  A Questionable Friendship
Author:  Samantha March
Genre:  Women's Fiction
Publisher:  Marching Ink
Release Date:  February 16, 2014
File Size/Pages:  647 KB/216 pgs
Source:  CLP Blog Tour

My Rating:  5/5

Summary:  Brynne Ropert and Portland Dolish have been best friends since being paired as roommates in college. Seven years later they are now twenty-five, married, and living in Maine–– but the two women couldn’t be more different. Brynne finds fulfillment in her life as a wife, mother and owner of a small cafĂ© and bookshop, but is struggling to expand her family. Portland is still coping with her mother’s death during her childhood, and her marriage is unraveling before her eyes. Portland envies her friend’s seemingly stable and easy life while Brynne doesn’t understand the growing distance between them and cannot begin to guess what secret Portland is hiding about her husband and crumbling marriage. While one woman feels shut out, the other enters into a web of lies to protect herself.

A Questionable Friendship explores what really makes someone a true friend, a support system, a sister. How much trust goes into a friendship and when is being a friend not enough? Brynne and Portland’s story will attempt to answer those questions, and show that happily ever after isn’t in the cards for everyone.

Review:  I received this novel through CLP Blog Tous in exchange for my honest opinion, and I absolutely LOVED this novel. As you all know, I'm a major fan of Samantha March's novels, and this novel didn't disappoint. When I began reading the prologue, it immediately sucked me in and I couldn't put the book down at all. The novel tells the story of best friends, Brynne and Portland, and their families. Not only were all the characters extremely realistic, but Brynne and Portland seemed as if they could be your friends in real life. There were secrets on both sides, but this novel really made me stop and evaluate my own friendships. Overall, this novel is a great read. This is definitely a "STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND BUY THIS NOVEL" read!

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Interview with Samantha March

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has three published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket and A Questionable Friendship. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

Q. What inspired the plot for your novel, A Questionable Friendship?

I got into a teeny tiny fight with a girlfriend about six months before writing the book, and as I left her house upset, my writer mind went into overdrive, thinking a lot of “What If” questions about her and us. That created the story, and I had a great time creating the characters to go with it! (Side note – we are no longer fighting!)

Q. Would you say you're more like Brynne Ropert or Portland Dolish?

Good question! I think I’m more like Brynne in some ways because I’m kind of the quiet friend, the one that wants everything to be always be okay. But in other ways I’m more like Portland – I know life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and I accept that.

Q. Describe your writing ritual.

I prefer to write in the mornings, before the stress of my day has time to set in! I always give myself a daily word count when I first start writing, typically anywhere from 2-5 thousand words. I try to keep that schedule going until the first draft is written, because I don’t like having large gaps in my writing time, as I feel it affects my characters’ voice.

Q. What are your writing goals for 2014?

My goal would be to finish writing book 4 and get it published, and start plotting and hopefully even writing book 5!

Q. What is your favorite thing to munch on while writing?

Oh you know – ice cream, jelly beans, Skittles...anything not healthy!

Q. What book(s) are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline – quite a page turner!

Q. If A Questionable Friendship were a movie, who would you like to see play Brynne and Portland?

Ooh fun! Hmmm, for Brynne, I do love Ginnifer Goodwin. For Portland, I think Ashley Tisdale could do a good job, or even like Emma Roberts.

Q. Out of all of your novels, which novel was the hardest to write? The most fun? The longest to write?

The hardest one was probably the first one, because everything was so foreign and scary to me. It was also probably the longest! I really think A Questionable Friendship was the most fun to write, because I really let myself go. I let myself be creative and let my mind take me to where I wanted the story to go and who I wanted my characters to be.

Q. What can your fans expect next?

A new book about a girl getting married – I’m a newlywed ;)

Q. As always, what advice can you offer to aspiring authors? In the past, you've given great advice on writing and publishing. Have anymore advice?

I always say you have to write, because you can’t expect to be published if you don’t. Read a lot, take notes about the style of writing you like, even write down sentences you think sound so great. Join writing groups. Get on social media and find others like you and talk and bounce ideas off each other. I belong to several, and they really are so helpful.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review: The Right Design by Isabella Louise Anderson

Title: The Right Design
Author:  Isabella Louise Anderson
Genre:  Chick Lit
Publisher:  Chick Lit Goddess
Release Date:  March 8, 2014
File Size/Pages:  1228 KB/173 pgs
Source:  Isabella Louise Anderson

My Rating:  5/5

Summary:  Interior designer Carrie Newman could not have envisioned a more perfect life for herself. She had a great job doing what she loved, wonderful friends, and a close relationship with her sister and brother-in-law. Add in an amazing man who she’d hoped would soon become her husband, and her life was perfect. Until one devastating decision ruins her relationship and changes the course of her life.

Determined to make a new start, Carrie leaves Texas and heads to Palm Beach to pick up the pieces of her shattered and broken life. The last thing she expects is to find herself attracted to her first client at her new job—Brad Larson, who has proven himself time and time again to be cad.

But there’s something beneath the surface of Brad’s arrogant exterior that keeps her craving more of him—something almost sweet that Carrie can’t seem to resist.

Is Carrie ready to take another chance on romance? And will this new design of her life prove to be the right one…?

Review:  I received this novel in exchange for my honest opinion, and I absolutely LOVED this novel! The story begins with our main character, Carrie Newman, who has everything:  the perfect job as an interior designer, the perfect boyfriend, the perfect life...until their anniversary! After Carrie's shocking discovery, she moves in with her sister and brother-in-law for a brief second. After her decision to move to Palm Beach, things start to look up for Carrie. Once she moves to Palm Beach, she begins to find herself attracted to Brad Larson, but not only is he a little arrogant, but he's also Carrie's first client. I absolutely loved the characters that were in this novel...they were created so vividly, and I felt that I knew them in real life! Overall, this was a wonderful story, and I was completely honored to read this novel. I'm so proud of Isabella and what she has accomplished and will accomplish. I can't wait to read more stories by her!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Interview with Isabella Louise Anderson

Isabella grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and has been featured on several blogs. While Isabella doesn't blog a lot, she focuses her time on featuring other writers, along with writing and editing.

Isabella Louise Anderson created Chick Lit Goddess to share the love of the following genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Romance, and Romantic Comedies! She loves featuring authors and their books.

She lives in Dallas with her husband and cat. She enjoys spicy Mexican food and drinking margaritas, and can be found spending time with family and friends, cheering on the Texas Rangers, and reading.

Isabella's short story, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, was featured in Simon & Fig's Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright, in November 2013. The Right Design is her first novel.

Q. What inspired the plot for "The Right Design"?

Participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was my inspiration for creating “The Right Design.” It was my first time to try to write a book in 30 days, and while I knew it was a challenge, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. For this book, I was a definite panster, and didn’t have an idea of where the book would take me. I’m fortunate that my family has a home in Palm Beach that got my creative juices flowing.

Q. Who would you cast as Carrie, Roger, and Brad if The Right Design ever became a movie?

Great questions! I’d love for Katherine Heigl to play Carrie, and Josh Holloway to play Brad.

Q. Do you think you're like Carrie, or are you the exact opposite of her?

Carrie and I are very much alike. We’re both close to our sisters, love to please people, and work very hard for what we want.

Q. At what age did you realize writing was something you wanted to pursue?

Somehow, I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but didn’t seriously pursue it until I started taking writing classes at Gotham Writers’ Workshop, in 2010. Since I was a newlywed at that time, I envisioned seeing my new last name on my books, which motivated me to take more classes. Now that I’ve published “The Right Design,” I love how my name looks. J

Q. What is the most rewarding thing about being an author? What is the most challenging part?

The most rewarding thing about being an author is knowing I’ve made my dream finally come true. While I only have a few reviews right now, it makes me so happy that people have bought and enjoyed “The Right Design.” As for the most challenging part, it’s definitely the marketing part. I’m a very shy girl, so asking people to review and feature me and my book is difficult. I’m hoping that it gets easier.

Q. What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading, “Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink” by Kim Gruenenfelder, and “In the Mirror” by Kaira Rouda.

Q. If there was any book you could read over and over, what would it be, and why?

For about a year or so, I was obsessed with historical romances. I read several books by Philippa Gregory, but after reading “Wideacre,” I wanted to read it again and again! While it is a controversial book, I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a touch of history, with a lot of naughtiness, this is the book for you!

Q. Describe your writing ritual:

A writing ritual, what’s that?! I really wish I had one, but I don’t, but I do have a timer I carry with me. While I know I could use one on my smartphone, it helps keep away any distractions, which keep me focused.

Q. What is your favorite thing to munch on while writing?

Anything salty…chips or almonds are the best!

Q. What can your fans expect next?

I just finished the second draft of “Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop.” It’s about a woman (Khloe) who owns a florist looking for love, and takes orders from four other characters: a cheating husband (Richard) who can’t decide between his devoted wife and his mistress, an older woman (Gabriella) who finds love online after her husband dies, a middle-aged woman (Connie) who sends herself flowers at work each week, claiming that their from an imaginary boyfriend only to gain attention from her co-workers, and a young man (Curtis) who dates a health-obsessed nut, only to find himself falling in love with Khloe.

Q. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

While it’s easier said than done, the words “just keep writing” are true. No matter how bad a draft can be, just getting it down is the first step.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Review: Natural Beauty by Leslie DuBois

Title:  Natural Beauty
Author:  Leslie DuBois
Genre:  Romance
Publisher:  n/a
Release Date:  February 13, 2014
File Size/Pages:  463 KB/188 pgs
Source:  Bought

My Rating:  5/5

Summary:  Over the next year, can Mahogany Brown learn to love herself … and her hair?

Damaged. Stressed. Out of control. Those words could describe not only Mahogany’s hair but her love-life. When she realizes that she has spent the last seven years being someone she’s not in order to please her man, she decides it’s time to take control and find out who she really is. Join Mahogany’s journey of self-discovery … through her hair.

This novella blends fact and fiction as it relates real-life advice and tips for the newly natural sister.

Review:  I'm usually not one to read novellas, but I couldn't wait to read this one for two reasons:  one, because Leslie DuBois is one of my all time favorite authors and I would read anything she published, even if it was only five pages! Two, I'm currently in the process of transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, it's the best hair decision I've ever made! Anyway, the novella tells the story of Mahogany Brown and the journey she goes through with her hair and discovering herself. After her break up with her boyfriend of seven years, Mahogany chops all of her hair off, which she regrets the next morning. Throughout the novella, as Mahogany hair starts to grow out, a piece of herself starts to grow as well. Aside from the characters, one thing I absolutely loved about this novella were the names of the chapters. I also enjoyed the tips as well. As someone who is in the early stages of transitioning, I can definitely relate to Mahogany's love/hate relationship with her curls. Overall, I thought this novella was really cute and helpful. Thank you, Leslie DuBois for writing such an amazing story...and for writing again! I seriously wouldn't be able to function without your novels!!

Review: Addicted to You by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Title:  Addicted to You
Author:  Krista & Becca Ritchie
Genre:  New Adult
Publisher:  K.B. Ritchie
Release Date:  December 21, 2013
File Size/Pages:  535 KB/324 pgs
Source:  NetGalley

My Rating:  5/5

Summary:  She's addicted to sex. He's addicted to booze...the only way out is rock bottom.

No one would suspect shy Lily Calloway's biggest secret. While everyone is dancing at college bars, Lily stays in the bathroom. To get laid. Her compulsion leads her to one-night stands, steamy hookups and events she shamefully regrets. The only person who knows her secret happens to have one of his own.

Loren Hale's best friend is his bottle of bourbon. Lily comes at a close second. For three years, they've pretended to be in a real relationship, hiding their addictions from their families. They've mastered the art of concealing flasks and random guys that filter in and out of their apartment.

But as they sink beneath the weight of their addictions, they cling harder to their destructive relationship and wonder if a life together, for real, is better than a lie. Strangers and family begin to infiltrate their guarded lives, and with new challenges, they realize they may not just be addicted to alcohol and sex.

Their real vice may be each other.

Review:  I received this novel from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion, and I absolutely loved this book. Lily Calloway and Loren Hale are best friends, but for three years they have been pretending to be in a relationship to fool their families and hide their addictions. Lily is addicted to sex and has been for some time now. Loren is addicted to alcohol to the point where he drinks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When I first read the description for the novel, I knew I was going to like it, and I wanted to know how their addictions would affect each others' addictions and their friendships. I knew eventually things would crumble for them, but I was rooting for them the entire time. I think Becca and Krista did a marvelous job creating each character and focusing on their addictions. This is a series I definitely look forward to finish reading!