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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: LUCK OF THE DRAW by Rachel Renee Anderson

So, if you think I'm on a Romantic Comedy kick, you'd be right. And I swear to you I have a good reason. I'm researching. You're supposed to be well-read in your genre (um, have I mentioned this before or something?), so as I prepare to pitch my very own LDS romantic comedy, I'm reading everything I can to appear knowledgeable.

Guys. I'm serious. That's why.

Anyway. I'm going to ignore your snickering and continue with the review...

From Amazon: When Brighton's roommates bet him that he can't get three girls to go out with him at the same time, he has no doubt that he's up to the challenge. Besides, the prospect of an entire month of free laundry is just too enticing to resist. Of course, that's before he meets Dani--a girl who's never had a problem turning down a not-so-perfect guy. Soon Brighton realizes that winning the bet might mean losing what really matters most. This fast-paced modern romance is told with wit, sweetness, and a healthy dose of fun. It's a sure bet that Luck of the Draw will keep you laughing to the very last page.

Audience: Adult (Clean)
Genre: Romantic Comedy, LDS
Length: 214 pages

Rating: ***+

Review: I've been trying to pin down why I'm only rating this three-plus stars. I feel like maybe I should rate it four . . . mostly I'm not because it has to do with expectations. I expected something different from this novel. For me it felt . . . heavy? In the RomCom category anyway. And all the RomComs I've read so far deal with issues, but this one didn't quite keep the lightness in the mid-section as it dealt with those issues. It just sort of felt like it swung from RomCom to Romance (Drama) then back to RomCom. I still loved Brighton and Dani's relationship. Brighton is a fun hero that I enjoyed. I don't always have the best feelings for heroines who refuse to see the utter worthiness of the cool males we drop into these stories for them, so Dani and I didn't click so much, but she's still a fun character with gumption and get-it-done togetherness.

Disclaimer:  None.

Buy LUCK OF THE DRAW on Amazon.

Try something new: Do you like witty romances? Venture historical and read FRIENDS AND FOES by Sarah. M. Eden.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

When A Question's Asked

As an editor and a writer, there's something I always come across. A critiquer ... or I ... ask a question and the writer ... or I ... comment with the answer to the question, as though it should have been clear. ** I am SO, so guilty of this. I am. My crit partner, Kaylee, hears it all the time in emails.

Here's the thing: If a critiquer, a reader, an editor had to ask, it's not clear.

It probably is to you. You see the hints (and I'm talking about myself here too). You see the foreshadowing. You understand that the little nugget you dropped in chapter one leads to the answer in chapter ten. But a reader might not. They haven't planned the novel and read it twelve million times. So if they ask, it needs explained in the manuscript.

There. That's my rant ... er, lesson for the day. :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: DROPS OF GOLD by Sarah M. Eden

I often wonder why I review Sarah's books anymore. Are any of you expecting I'm going to come out with a review of one of her books at like four stars?! (I was going to put like two or three stars and I realized how ridiculous that would be...)

Still, Sarah writes a mean novel and you guys deserve to know how awesome each one is.

From Deseret BookWhen her father dies and leaves her completely destitute, Marion can think of only one thing to do--make a new life for herself. Commencing a life of duplicity, Marion transforms herself into Mary Wood--governess. In possession of a forged letter of recommendation and cloaked in the anonymity of her new identity, she enters a life of self-imposed servitude as teacher and caretaker of young Miss Caroline Jonquil of Farland Meadows. Her idyllic daydream vision of life at the Meadows is dashed when she finds a child desperately in need of hope and a cold and sorrowful home haunted by the past. With her characteristic sunny disposition, Marion casts her spell upon the household and slowly brings to life the long-forgotten joy of those within.
Layton Jonquil is a man tormented by the lies surrounding the death of his late wife, but he cannot deny his growing attraction for the beautiful governess whose goodness and optimism have touched his dormant heart. Their connection grows ever stronger, and despite the impropriety of harboring feelings for a servant, Layton's heart whispers that this is the woman he's destined to love. But when Layton's fears about the past become too much to bear and the falsehoods in which they are entangled threaten to shatter his and Marion's blossoming attachment, will true love conquer all?
Audience: Adult (Clean)
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: 191 pgs

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sometimes Saturday: 30 Closet Challenge Week 4

Final week! Wow. So I want to continue coming up with new ways to use my closet, but I won't be posting my outfits here anymore. :) If I remember to take pictures, they will go up at My Little Idea Box.

 I remember I spent one day this week entirely in my PJs. Well, that happens around her. :)

<-- Maurices Boyfriend jeans, light wash. Bella band. Downeast Basics crew neck white tee, gray long sleeve lace tee from Ola Mari, Bella Bird gray striped cardigan from Walmart.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Author Interview: Melanie Jacobson

I've followed Melanie for a while on twitter, but the first book of hers I picked up, NOT MY TYPE, I actually bought because I wanted to see how to write a good LDS Romantic Comedy, since at the time I had just finished one of my own. They say that to be a good writer you should be a good reader -- especially in your chosen genre, and since I knew Melanie was funny from twitter, I figured she was a good bet. And she was!

In the two books of hers I've read so far, online dating has played a big role -- which makes sense considering that's how Melanie met her husband. And she made me curious about it. (I married my college sweetheart as soon as he got home from his mission, so obviously no experience for me there...) Especially since my little sister has recently decided to try it out. So I figured I'd pick Melanie' brain for some good advice for her and some fun for the rest of us:

* Online dating plays a role in both NOT MY TYPE and THE LIST. You met your husband online, right? Do you care to share your love story?

I met my husband when I was looking for books. I was using an LDS networking site that was more like Facebook than a dating site, and one night I found myself looking for something new to read. So I was searching other people's book lists and his came up. I was super impressed with how well read he was, but his picture was scary. He looked like a biker rock and roll dude. (It turns out he was the lead singer in a rock band but not a biker!). Anyway, the message just said, "Nice book list. Cool profile." His had said he was looking for a girl who he could take to a downtown speakeasy for bluegrass one night and a Shakespeare play the next. I thought, "Well, I'm that girl, but I don't think he's my type." When we eventually did meet, I discovered that he very, very much was. And then we got married a few months later.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: THE LIST by Melanie Jacobson

Once I read an author and LOVE them, I will always go back. AND usually buy everything they've written. Fan for life. That's how I am with Sarah M. Eden -- that's how I feel now about Melanie Jacobson. 

From DeseretBook.comAshley Barrett doesn’t want to get married. At least, not anytime soon. She doesn’t care how many of her friends and family members and fellow churchgoers had weddings before they finished college — the last thing she needs in her fun-loving twenties is the dead-weight of some guy. And that’s why she created The List. By the time she completes all twenty-five goals — from learning a language to skydiving to perfecting the art of making sushi — she’ll be more ready to settle down. Maybe.
This summer in California is a prime time for Ashley to cross two items off the list: learn to surf (#13) and have a summer romance (#17). And Matt Gibson, the best surf instructor in Huntington Beach and the most wanted guy in the singles ward, is the perfect man for the job. Ashley hatches a plan to love him and leave him before heading off to grad school in the fall (#4, get a master’s degree). But when Matt decides he doesn’t like the “leaving” part, Ashley’s carefully laid plans are turned sideways. Now Ashley faces an unexpected dilemma: should she stick to the safety of The List, or risk everything for a love that may tie her down — or might set her free?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sometimes Saturday: 30 Closet Challenge Week 2 & 3 and The Easiest Cinnamon Rolls You've Ever Made

It's Sunday again. I know.  I was gone all day yesterday again, AND I have to put two weeks in since I missed the week before. Basketball. Again. :)

Okay, so first off, I have almost no clue which days are which. They're all out of order this time.
 (Left) Top: Yellow stripes, Walmart $3 on clerance. Undershirt - Downeast Basics white cap sleeve. Jeans: American Eagle boyfriend jeans. (I think this shirt is going to get a makeover in the near future because I think the sleeves are really funky.)

(Right) So the funny story about this outfit is I only wore it about ten minutes, but I loved it. I ended up not needing to wear a skirt, so I quickly donned jeans, a t-shirt and a comfy cardigan. But anyway, I wanted to include it. Have I mentioned how in love I am with lace lately? It's a problem. Seriously.
Tops: Undershirt - Downeast Basics Pink Long sleeve tee. Grey lace layering tee, Ola Mari bough on Ebay for $12. Black cardigan from Pamida clerance rack $5. Skirt: Downeast Basics black tiered maxi skirt.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

From the Cheap Seat

Well ... kind of. Every once in a while I like to post tips to writers that are inspired by the editor side of me. Recently, I've had the fabulous and fun opportunity to dabble in acquisitions and some of the things I'm learning are too good not to pass on to you guys!

For instance, you all know things you should do, like write a great query, but do you really know why it's so important? I'm going to tell you, from the Cheap Seat.

Writing a GREAT query
Photo from FreeDigitalPhotos.net (c) anankkml

THIS is drilled into writers time and time again. And sure, you know, on the surface why it's important to get across that your work is good. But, why ...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: DUTY by Rachel Rossano

I've never mentioned how neat it is to know people in the biz, have I? It is. I first did some work for Rachel editing WORD AND DEED for her (and the cover of that book? Still LOVE.) I was immediately impressed with her work, so when she contacted me about reviewing her latest novel DUTY, I said yes right away.

From Amazon: 

Duty to King

Tomas Dyrease, the newly made Earl of Irvaine and the village of Wisenvale, owes his good fortune to his king and the recent civil war. When his benefactor demands Tomas marry the cousin of a noble, he obeys. However, no one warned him that she wasn’t a typical noblewoman.

Duty to Others

Brielle Solarius struggles to keep her village from starvation under the new Lord Wisten, her cousin. The men rode off to war and never returned. The remaining women and children face a dire winter if they do not find a solution soon. When she learns her cousin sold her into marriage to save his life, she isn’t surprised. However, she is taken aback by Lord Irvaine’s unpolished ways. Was this man a noble or a foot soldier?

Duty to Each Other

Bound by the words of their vows, they face a rough future. They must forge a marriage while battling betrayal, accusations of treason, and villains from the past. Survival depends on their precarious trust in each other. Failure could mean death.

About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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