Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Author Interview: Cat Lavoie

It's another stop on the CLP Blog Tour for Cat Lavoie's novel Breaking the Rules. Today's post features an interview with the lovely author herself. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did. I had fun learning that Cat and I have very similar tastes!

First, some fast and furious favourites (hey, that's pretty catchy. And alliterative. I like it!):

Books Etc.: Favourite movie?

Cat Lavoie: Love, Actually.

BE: Favourite author/book? 

CL: It's so hard to choose just one but Pride and Prejudice is definitely at the top of my list of all-time favourite books.

BE: Favourite (or dream) travel destination?

CL: London. I've been there twice already and I can't wait to go back.

BE: I know you currently live in Montreal so I'm curious about what made you decide to set Breaking the Rules in New York City and have one of the characters move to London?

CL: I've always loved New York City and—when I visited the Big Apple in 2003—it was my first time traveling outside Canada. The following year, I took a plane for the first time and went to London. Both cities are very close to my heart so I knew I wanted to include them in my novel.

BE: How much of yourself do you see in Roxy?

CL: We definitely share a passion for food and cooking—but, sadly, she's the only one with talent. I think we are both a bit insecure and—like Roxy—I've definitely had moments where I felt like my dreams were completely out of reach.

BE: How did you come up with the names for your characters?

CL: I have a book of baby names that I flip through for inspiration. Also, I like to scan the credits at the end of TV shows and movies in case an interesting name pops up. I really enjoy the process of finding a name that feels 'just right' for a character.

BE: Are you an outliner or a write by the seat of your pants author?

CL: Definitely an outliner. I like to know where I'm going before I start a chapter or a scene.

BE: Do you have a particular writing routine? A favourite place to write or time of day to get work done?

CL: I usually write in the evenings or during my lunch breaks at the office. I don't have a particular routine but, when I'm writing at home, the TV needs to be tuned to either a cooking show or a home improvement show. Even if it's muted, it needs to be on or—for some reason—I have a hard time focusing.

BE: How did you come up with the idea for Breaking the Rules?

CL: It all started with a conversation I had with a male friend. We were discussing whether men and women can be 'just friends.' I started thinking about what would happen to a lifelong platonic relationship if the fine line between friendship and love was crossed for a brief moment.

BE: What kinds of things do you like to do when you're not writing?

CL: If I'm not reading or writing, I'm usually either trying to cook without setting off the smoke alarm or watching way too much television.

Author Bio:
Cat Lavoie was born in the small town of Jonquière in Québec, Canada. At the age of nineteen, she packed up her things (mostly books) and moved to the big city of Montreal where she currently lives with her tempestuous cat Abbie—who is both adorable and quite possibly evil.
An incurable Anglophile since her university days where she studied English Literature, she can often be found daydreaming about her next trip to London. Since she’s an expert at the art of procrastination, Cat is easily distracted by cooking and home improvement shows—even though she’s not particularly good at either.
Cat grew up watching soap operas and legal dramas and—had she not decided to be a claims analyst by day and write chick lit by night—she would have probably become a designer suit-wearing lawyer. Or a character on All My Children (which is what she really wanted to be when she was twelve). Cat is not sure whether she’s a geek or a nerd—and is afraid she might be both. Breaking the Rules is her first novel.  

Connect with Cat:
Cat blogs about the writing life and posts adorable pictures of Abbie over at the Catenabi Chronicles. Come say hello at: and follow @Catenabi on Twitter.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Just Finished: Where We Belong

If you asked me who my favourite authors were, Emily Giffin would be one of the first to come to mind. It's no surprise that I have been anxiously awaiting her latest novel, Where We Belong. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and I devoured it over a weekend. I. Loved. It.

Here's the synopsis:
Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her. 
For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.
Have you ever had really high expectations for something and then it just totally lets you down? I was terrified that that was going to happen to me when it came to this novel. That wasn't the case, thank goodness, as I couldn't put this one down. I think I liked that it was a little different than some of Giffin's other works. There wasn't an overt/obvious infidelity storyline that's so prevalent in her other books which was a nice change of pace. Those plots can sometimes be really hard to read (Heart of the Matter anyone? Hoo boy, that was tough).

It was also interesting to read one of her books from the point of view of a teenager. Kirby was the kind of teen that I like reading about because she's smart and mature, even if her parents don't realize it. She's not obsessed with boys and make-up (or sparkling vampires) but she's still a girl and I loved reading her romantic storyline. So sweet! It was really great to see her come into her own and, well, figure out where she belonged.

I was surprised at all the lies that Marian had told throughout her life. I think she was completely justified in the reactions from some people when they found out about Kirby (no - I'm not going to give any of that away!) Also, it almost seemed like she was pretending to be someone else at points. Like she wasn't being true to herself, you know? I don't think she's as cold as you might think and I wonder if her boyfriend had anything to do with the way she was acting or if that's really the way she is. Writing this review I've realized that I couldn't really get a good read on Marian and that could be why Kirby stands out as my favourite character in this book. Hm. Interesting.

I'm desperate for a sequel and I know I'm not alone in that thought. I believe I even read something from Giffin herself saying that she was toying with the idea. Fingers crossed that she lets us know what happens next with Marian and Kirby because the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger! Even though we are left wondering exactly what's going to happen with all of the characters, I'm happy with how the book ended. I also think I'd like Marian more in the sequel!

Fans of Emily Giffin's other novels will love Where We Belong. I know I'm already waiting for what she comes out with next. And getting super excited to see her on Thursday! That's right - Emily Giffin is coming to Canada (Toronto, to be more specific)! Since I'm not too far from the city, I'm making the trek to see her at Indigo and I am SO EXCITED! I'll share pictures with you all soon :)

Happy reading :)

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the copy to review!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Guest Post: Cat Lavoie

On Saturday I shared my review of Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie. I'll give you a quick recap in case you missed it: I freaking loved it. LOVED it. Today, Cat was kind enough to write a guest post for Books Etc. Because I knew that Cat had published her novel with Marching Ink, which is run by the fabulous author Samantha March, I was curious to see what her writing journey was like. Read on to find out how it went for her!

My Journey to Publication

When I stop and really think about it, my journey to publication began with a single blog post. I was in the throes of major writer's block at the end of November 2009 and I felt as though I couldn't write another word of Breaking the Rules. That's when I decided to start a blog—Catenabi Chronicles. I knew that I had to keep writing in order to get out of my funk. My other 'trick' to beat writer's block—stepping away from the computer and taking a break—had backfired because I stepped away for far too long and found it more enjoyable than sitting in front of my computer. So if I couldn't write my novel, I had to write something. So I used my new blog to post pictures of my cat Abbie and chronicle my attempts to finish the first draft of Breaking the Rules by midnight on December 31, 2009. Blogging actually helped me beat the block and I made my deadline with only ten minutes to spare.  

With the first draft done, I thought that the hard part was over. All I needed to do was whip that draft into shape. The rest had to be easy, right? Wrong. What followed were several months of querying agents and editors and those months quickly turned into two years of relentless rejections. Some rejections were quick and surprisingly painless. Others were long and drawn-out in a series of emails and—even though there was a bit of interest—every time I thought my foot was in the door, it eventually led to disappointment. At one point, I thought Breaking the Rules was destined to line the bottom of a drawer. I started working on a second novel and—even though I liked where it was headed—I couldn't get Breaking the Rules out of my head. I decided to self-publish it. During that process, I met fellow author Samantha March who told me about the publishing company she'd started, Marching Ink. I was really overwhelmed by her reaction to Breaking the Rules and her subsequent offer to publish it through her indie press. I was so happy to connect with someone who loved this story as much as I did and who wanted to work with me and send this novel out into the world. Signing with Marching Ink felt right; I knew Breaking the Rules had finally found its happy home.

A few months ago, I got to announce the news I'd been waiting so long to post on the Catenabi Chronicles. My novel had a publication date and cover art and it would be a real book instead of a pile of marked-up pages on my desk. That post was the exact opposite of the very first post I'd written a few years back. Instead of a rant on writer's block and tons of self-doubt, I was able to celebrate some of the best news I've ever had to share. And even though the journey was bumpy at times, I was able to look back and be thankful for the rollercoaster ride that brought me to that moment.

The fact that I can now hold a physical copy of Breaking the Rules in my hand feels extremely surreal. And I'm happy that—after more than two years of posting adorable pictures of Abbie on the Catenabi Chronicles—I was finally able to post a picture of her being adorable… next to a pile of my novels.

Isn't she sweet? I love this picture. Thanks for sharing it - and this post - Cat! Stay tuned for an interview with Cat coming up on Books Etc. on Wednesday!

Happy reading :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

CLP Blog Tour: Breaking the Rules

Prepare yourselves. I am about to make a bold statement. Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie might be one of the best books I've read this year. I'm so happy I decided to take part in this CLP Blog Tour!

Here's the synopsis for this fabulous novel:
When twenty-seven year old Roxy Rule’s best friend and roommate accepts a glamorous new job overseas, she expects their relationship to continue as it’s always been—carefree and easy—until they share a heart-stopping kiss moments before his departure. Overcome with mixed emotions, she fights the urge to over analyze the situation and resumes back to her normal life in New York City, working for an intolerable boss at a dead end job, creeping further and further away from her own dreams of becoming a professional chef. 
While things become more complicated between her and Ollie, Roxy is sure that nothing can come between two lifelong best friends—not even mild jealousy over a thriving career or a silly little kiss that meant nothing. In fact, it was such a meaningless and forgettable kiss that she convinces herself that it’s not even worth mentioning to her fiancé, although it is all she can think about. 
Roxy’s already topsy-turvy life only gets more complicated when her sisters Steffi and Izzie suddenly become her roommates. Steffi is six months into a pregnancy she refuses to discuss and Izzie is in the throes of a premature midlife crisis. Roxy tries to take control of her career, her love life and her sisters – but can she really handle it all? And can the Rule family keep it together – or break under the pressure?
I did not want to put this novel down. I was sucked into Roxy's world and I loved reading about her life. Her life had hit an interesting rough patch and it was a lot of fun to read about what was happening and trying to figure out how she was going to handle everything.

I'm also a bit of a sucker for the "girl and boy are friends and suddenly one realizes they have feelings for the other" stories - as long as they're original in some way or another. Or at least fun and well written. I felt like this novel had both. There was also a crazy twist at the end that I was not at all expecting. Though I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. It's borderline too strange to wrap my head around but I realize that it's sort of a reflection on families these days and it's really not a deal breaker for me in any way. Yes. That is all very vague. Read the book and you'll understand :)

I loved all the characters that showed up in this book. Except maybe Roxy's boss. Oh, and Ollie's girlfriend. They're both kind of crazy but that just added to the fun! :) Steffy and Izzie, Roxy's sisters, were great and really helped Roxy through everything, just as she was helping them through their issues. She has some awesome friends and, I admit, I may have a little bit of a crush on Ollie!

I don't know if I can really put my finger on what I loved so much about this book. The writing was good, the story was great, the characters were fun. I guess the main thing is that everything worked well together. Sometimes I pay too much attention to the way things are worded, the writing style of the author, and so on. Usually I know a book is great when I don't necessarily pay attention to those things. It means I've gotten sucked into the story and that's what I love about reading. I want to be 100% involved in the story and the character's life. If I feel too disconnected or if I'm thinking too much about how I'd edit or change the book then I'm not loving it. I didn't find myself critiquing anything with this novel. I was able to become completely immersed in Roxy's life without worrying about anything else.

And can I just say how much I love the cover? So cute and fun and bright and wonderful! :)

Like I said earlier in this post, I'm so glad that I was able to take part in the blog tour for Cat Lavoie's debut novel Breaking the Rules. I think that any chick lit lover would love it just as much as I did and I can't recommend it enough. I can't wait to see what Cat comes out with next!

Stay tuned for a guest post and interview from Cat next week!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guest Post: Anne Kemp

Welcome to another stop on the Rum Punch Regrets tour hosted by CLP Blog Tours! Today author Anne Kemp was kind enough to stop by Books Etc. with a guest post. Anne writes a blog and a column along with fiction so I was curious to see what she thought about each type of writing. I hope you all enjoy this post as much as I did!

When I focused on writing again, after a many-year hiatus, I never thought I would end up wearing so many different hats. Some days it’s a precarious balancing act, but it’s worth it. With social media and the internet having created a society where we need to know now and get our information justhisfast, writers in 2012 have more on their plates these days than just penning a book.

Me? I write the Abby George Series, I have my column, Anne In Progress, and run a blog…well, I actually run three, but who’s counting? Each format offers something different not only for me but for readers as well.   

They offer options. 

I think that’s why I like switching up and wearing so many other hats. How can anyone like “just one?” In my life, it’s all about options. I guess it’s something I want other people to revel in as well. I can commit to writing a full-length novel because I know I have a story that just has to get out of my system, or I can sit down and crank out (that’s a technical term, by the way) a column for my readers. If I have small bits of information I want to get across or share, I can create a blog post around a topic and use that platform for spreading the word.

Is it frustrating? Sometimes, yes. There are days I’d rather just work on my book, and honestly if I could just dream up blog post ideas all day and not always write them, that’d be swell, too. However, in the end? I love writing. It’s mine and everyday I wake up and I have the option to write whatever I want. At any given moment, all day long. Even to-do lists.

I also love social media because (again) we’re faced with options. Options for marketing ourselves to an audience much bigger than we ever imagined, options for different outlets and platforms of social media and outreach. For instance, I really love Twitter, crafting a tweet and getting it out there. Sometimes when I go to post on Facebook, I get stumped.  In steps Twitter! Or maybe I have a photo that works well with my mood, but I don’t want to make a big deal out of it. I’ll use Instagram. Don’t even get me started on that rabbit hole they call Pinterest – love it! 

See? Options.  

That’s all a girl truly needs. I love the days when I feel like I’m juggling precious china plates; prepping a blog, organizing my tweets to go out, answering folks on Facebook and outlining my next book. Multi-tasking in the midst of something you truly love, in the midst of balancing your passion, is the most priceless experience ever. And I’d take that option over never being able to write again or having to pick just one.

Cause I like having the option.

And in case you missed it - my review can be found here!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books I've Read Since November 2010

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme created by the lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish. They created it because they're "particularly fond of lists" and since I also enjoy lists, I've decided to participate in this fun feature. 

That's a pretty specific title up there, isn't it? That's because this week's list is "Top Ten Favourite Books You've Read During the Lifespan of Your Blog" and November 2010 is when I started Books Etc. It's crazy to think that I'm coming up on my two year blogoversary! I've read A LOT of books since I started this blog - way more than I ever thought possible - so it was difficult to pick just ten of my favourites. I gave it my best shot and have compiled a list of faves for you all. I've listed them from oldest read to newest and all links (where available) are to my reviews.

Don't forget to check out their blog for a full list of everyone participating.

Witches, magic, history, libraries. All sorts of good stuff was in the first book of the All Souls Trilogy. The second, Shadow of Night, was just as good!

I was hesitant about this one since it took place in a time that I didn't have much interest in but I absolutely loved this novel.

This story grabbed me and I loved reading about the friends as they all went through challenging times in their lives.

It was bittersweet to read the final book in the Traveling Pants series. I'll miss those girls but this was an almost perfect ending.

Great story, awesome character. What more could you want?

Loved loved loved this one. Fantastic story.

What would you do if you woke up and couldn't remember the last decade or so? That's what happened to "Kate" and Wardell delivered another amazing novel.

The title is sweeter than this story about two estranged friends who are thrown together again in the most unlikely of circumstances. A really good read.

I was obsessed with this series, to put it mildly. I didn't want to put the books down.

10. Breaking the Rules - Cat Lavoie
A fabulous debut novel (that I will be reviewing on Saturday) that every chick lit lover should pick up.

What are some of your favourite books?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

CLP Blog Tour: Rum Punch Regrets

How much fun is this cover? As much fun as the story inside it, let me tell you! The brightly coloured cover wasn't what convinced me to sign up for this CLP Blog Tour but it certainly didn't hurt :) Rum Punch Regrets by Anne Kemp was entertaining and sweet, and I really liked reading it.

Here's the synopsis:
In just a few short weeks, thirty something Abby George has endured the death of her mother, was dumped by her fiancé, and got laid off from her job. 
Stunned and seeking a shoulder to cry on, she turns to her perfect older sister, Leigh. But instead of comfort, Abby receives a surprise: Leigh needs her in the Caribbean to help with some mysterious personal business. 
While assisting in the sale and repair of a bed-and-breakfast, Abby uncovers a few huge family secrets as she juggles an unexpected roommate, quirky locals, and nasty centipedes. 
Abby's world is further complicated when two potential suitors enter her life. Can Abby get beyond her own pyscho drama long enough to open her heart to someone new? Or will she neurotically make her romantic life worse? 
Packing nothing but her suitcases and a sense of humor, Abby George travels down an unfamiliar road, but it's all she can do to hang on for the ride... 
Or will she wake up with "Rum Punch Regrets?"
Rum Punch Regrets is actually the second book in the Abby George series. The first, All Fruits Ripe, is a novella and, as far as I can tell, explains a bit further how Abby gets herself in this crazy situation. While it wasn't exactly necessary for me to read the novella first, I sort of wish I had. Not because I felt like there was much missing but because I don't want to go back to the beginning of Abby's story now, I want to keep going with it. Does that make sense? I am looking forward to the next Abby book that Anne told me (via Twitter) is due out in September!

This doesn't have much bearing on what I thought of the book overall, but I could not see why Abby was so quick to help out Leigh. She does not treat her well at all. Leigh still sees Abby as the little, irresponsible, and immature sister, even though I couldn't find any evidence to support the fact that Abby's never done what she said she's going to get done. I also think it was kind of harsh for Leigh's husband to be so upset about what she kept from everyone. If anyone wanted to kick Leigh out of the house, I'd think it would be Abby. And the other person involved in the mystery (didn't think you'd get it out of me, did you? Silly.) Anyway, all this didn't really change my opinion of the book overall but I just needed to talk about it!

There were a couple of big twists in this book and I loved how Kemp kept me guessing. She dropped a few hints and I was almost able to figure out the one out but I didn't realize the depth of the secret. The other one I did figure out pretty early on - but that was ok by me. I just had to keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and for Abby to clue in as well!

I'm really looking forward to the sequel because I'm so curious to find out what happens next in Abby's life. I need to know what she learns from a character that I can't tell you about because that would ruin one of the surprises in the book. As well as what happens with the two men in her life!

Rum Punch Regrets is a great, quick, fun read and I definitely suggest Anne Kemp's novel to others. It's got a good mix of humour, romance, and family drama - all set on a gorgeous Caribbean island! What's not to love?

Happy reading :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Guest Post: Jenn Flynn-Shon

I'd like to thank author Jenn Flynn-Shon for taking the time to write a guest post for Books Etc. I was curious to find out what it was like for her to self-publish. I hope you all enjoy it! And don't forget to check out the review I posted earlier in the week.

Why Self-Publishing Fit with My First Novel

When I first decided to self-publish I had no idea all I’d be getting into but the learning process in birthing the baby that is Ripple the Twine was the most exciting part of stepping into the world of becoming an indie Author. I’d been writing since I was twelve years old and made a foray into blogging in 2007. The choice to blog was primarily fueled by my desire to start getting my words out into the world, to connect with other writers. When I wrote the book in 2009 I had similar feelings about wanting to share it with a wider audience and connect.

Two years later when the first draft of my manuscript was complete, I started researching the writing industry. I began my search in the realm of traditional publishing. I researched Agents and Publishing Houses, I read books on the subject, and I started crafting query letters. After many rejections my family and friends asked if I had ever considered the option of self-publishing.

I didn't know much about the ways to self-publish either and it seemed smart to investigate all the options. I immediately fell in love with the benefits of being an indie Author.

While it seemed that traditional publishing offered an Author some level of security and relief in marketing efforts, I discovered that most Authors were doing a healthy bit of the marketing on their own anyway. With two blogs and growing number of self-published articles under my belt it finally hit me that I’d already been self-publishing for almost five years.

Learning the ins and outs was a challenge, I couldn’t seem to find the end-all be-all guide to self-publishing. So I learned as I went. Bits and pieces of how to bring it all together started to fall into place – how to format, how and where to do print-on-demand, how to use cover art, how to write jacket copy and a synopsis, etc. I joined some writer’s groups and sent my book to a friend (and some family) for editing suggestions. I wrote and re-wrote a number of times. Then in early 2012 the manuscript was finally at a point where I was happy with it. I set a mental date for the book’s release.

For me the discipline of sticking to that date, fit with my personality. I liked being the one in control of the process and the pride in being able to say I did it myself. That’s when my own Publishing House, Writesy Press, was born.

For a first time self-published Author of a full length fiction manuscript I wanted to have the comfort of owning my own House. I was able to hire my mom, a professional Photographer, to create my cover art and set things up the way I wanted to see them laid out between those covers. The entire time I spent learning and formatting my only question to answer was ‘would I read this book if it wasn’t my own?’

Turns out, the answer was a resounding yes!

I know my novel isn’t perfect, it may have flaws or mistakes that traditional publishers would point out but I have never read a book that didn’t include at least one spelling mistake. Even those released from the big Houses. I let go of caring about perfection of the final product and spent my energy on trying to make the story and characters the best they could be instead.

While self-publishing isn’t for everyone I wouldn’t change a thing about releasing my first novel this way. For me it was exciting to learn the entire process of how a book is created and when my first copy arrived, it was the ultimate thrill to see my full name, title and logo on the spine. If I were to go a traditional route in the future I would be able to go in armed with the knowledge of the ins and outs of the entire publishing process. To me, that learning was priceless.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

CLP Blog Tour: Ripple the Twine

Hello and welcome to a CLP Blog Tour stop for Ripple the Twine! I really enjoyed reading this novel by Jenn Flynn-Shon.

Here's what it's all about:
A Tomboy-meets-Townie love story and tale about how friendship can save your life.
Sara Quinn is a Sportswriter from Boston and over the past year she has started to earn major respect in the local market. In the process, however, she abandoned her personal relationships and put her emotions in the box. Regardless of her self-imposed timeout, a friend introduces her to Ben. With blue eyes, black hair and a brogue, he's her ultimate triple threat. But they connect just as Sara learns that her friends are facing heavy emotional crises. She starts offering advice, becoming a rock for everyone else, and in the process Sara unearths her own long dormant insecurities. But a bag of peanut butter cups and a hockey game won't fix her issues. She's got to move past her emotional past without hiding behind her career for once. She needs her friend's support as much as they need hers and the four will quickly discover that, when they stick together, their offense is virtually unstoppable.

This was one of those books that I loved while reading it and didn't want to put it down. It wasn't until afterwards that I started seeing a few issues. For one, there was way more description and less dialogue than I liked. There were whole (albeit short) chapters that didn't have a single piece of dialogue. Instead of conversations I got descriptions. I think that it made the story just a little bit less personal.

I also didn't really feel like there was much drama. That's not to say the story was boring because I really did enjoy it. I just felt like there was something missing - particularly in the romance between Ben and Sara. Did it bother me because I'm so used to drama filled stories? Or did I feel like I needed a bit more excitement because I was putting in the time to read the book? I'm not really sure but I don't think this is a deal breaker, just something to think about.

All that being said, I really liked reading this one. I was interested in Sara's life - particularly when it came to her job. It was fun to see how her life as a freelance sports writer worked. I'm a sports fan and a pretty laid back female, like Sara, so I really connected with her. This definitely increased my appreciation for this book!

I loved how close Sara was to her friends. Even though she had realized she had been a bit distant because of work (and honestly, that happens to all of us at some point or another), she is always there for her friends when they need her. And boy do they need her in this book. I feel like they had way more issues than she did in the novel and that she always had to be there to pick up the pieces. I'd definitely want her for a friend.

Overall, I really liked reading Ripple the Twine by Jenn Flynn-Shon. There were some minor issues but nothing that really deterred from my enjoyment of the book. I think many other chick lit lovers would enjoy this novel as well - even if they're not sports fans.

PS If you're curious about what "ripple the twine" means, like I was, it relates to hockey (no surprise there). It means scoring a goal!

Happy reading :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Just Finished: That Dating Thing

Let's start things off with a simple statement: I loved That Dating Thing by Mackenzie Crowne! It was a great short story that left me loving the characters and wishing there were more stories about them.

Here's the synopsis:
An irresistible attraction to a sexy assistant district attorney threatens the only daughter of Wall Street’s most notorious stock swindler with exposure and ruination.

Dog trainer, Rylee Pierce has perfected the art of flying beneath society’s radar. Prosecutor, Cooper Reed is a threat to her carefully hidden truths, but how is a woman supposed to resist a man capable of handling a psychotic Great Dane while charming her out of her panties before she has the chance to blink?
This was a long short story (is that an oxymoron? Hm. No matter.) at around 125 pages and I loved the pace of it. Normally I find that short stories have to rush through things to have the story all wrapped up nicely by the end. That wasn't the case with this story, thankfully. Everything happened at the right time and I felt like I was getting all the information I needed. Of course, I would love to see this expanded into a full length novel but I feel like everything was resolved by the story's conclusion. I just wanted to spend more time with the characters!

The romantic storyline in this story was great. After they meet, Rylee and Cooper eventually agree have a "dating thing" - after much deliberation on the part of Rylee. She's so closed off and is always worried about what her father's past will mean to the guys she dates. This proves to be a valid concern. I thought Cooper was being a bit of an idiot when it came to her past but (and this is a very minor and vague spoiler) she should have been up front with him in the first place. But, before things even get to that point, there's a very sweet and sexy relationship between them and it was fun to read about.

I was really happy with Mackenzie Crowne's That Dating Thing and I will definitely be looking out for what she writes next. I think any romance lover would enjoy this story. It's fun and sweet and all around enjoyable.

Thank you to Still Moments Publishing for the copy to review!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Olympic Readathon Wrap Up

One of my favourite shots of the London 2012 Closing Ceremonies
Another Olympic Games has come to an end. Sigh.

I admit that I didn't think I was going to become that obsessed with London 2012. I wrote in my initial Readathon post that I wasn't as into the Summer Games as the Winter Olympics - in part because Canada is much better with winter sports. I apparently proved myself wrong as I was in front of my TV every night as soon as I got home from work until 11pm when the primetime coverage ended on CTV. And when I wasn't watching I was constantly on Twitter or the CTV Olympics site so I could be up to the minute when we won a medal. If I was away from all of that, for some reason, one of my closest friends was even more obsessed than I was so she would always let me know if we won something. So, I shouldn't be surprised that I'm feeling a little lost now that the Games are over.

Overall, Canada did alright. I don't think we quite made our goal but we still did ok. As in Beijing, we got 18 medals. This time our athletes won one gold, five silver, and twelve bronze. We may not be at the top of the medal standings but we're still so proud of our athletes. Bear with me as I chat a bit about them...

This is Rosie MacLennan - our golden girl. She won our sole gold medal of the Games for trampoline. Who knew we had stellar trampolinists? (Is that even what they're called?) Our other Canadian competitor, Karen Cockburn, is a veteran and finished just shy of the podium at fourth.

Speaking of fourth place finishes, we had a few of those, too. There were also quite a few fifth place finishes, including a notable fifth in the men's decathalon. Obviously we've got some awesome athletes, they just couldn't quite make it to the podium.

We had a few heartbreaks as well. There were some questionable reffing calls in the women's soccer match against the US and Canada ended up losing. Happily, they came through and beat France to win the bronze medal but it was still hard to watch the women lose a game that they had put their heart and soul into. A few medal favourites failed to make it to the podium. Simon Whitfield, who was our flag bearer in the opening ceremonies, crashed spectacularly in the men's triathlon. Paula Findlay finished last in the women's triathlon with tears streaming down her face and mouthing "I'm sorry." Man, I'm starting to tear up just thinking about it.

My very favourite reaction to winning a medal?

That's a shot of Mark Oldershaw just after he realized he won bronze in the canoe sprint. He's the fifth Oldershaw to compete in the Olympics and the first to win a medal. Doesn't that just warm your heart a little bit?

I could go on and on and on about our medal winners but I'll spare you any more details :) Let's just say that we are all so incredibly proud of our athletes.

Now. To the point of this post! Random House of Canada came up with the brilliant idea to have a readathon during the Games. We were to set a page goal for ourselves and try to get to it by the end of the Olympics. My goal was 1,300 pages and I met that goal by the 7th. It's a good thing too, since I didn't get any reading done over this past weekend (I was playing tourist and visiting friends in Ottawa!). By the end of the Readathon I had read 1,464 pages. Yay! I wanted to try and break 1,500 but sightseeing won out over reading. I had a lot of fun with this and was glad to have the extra motivation to get as much reading done as possible, since I'm so incredibly busy with reviews right now!

To close, I want to congratulate all the athletes on a fantastic showing at these Summer Games. London 2012 was fantastic and I'm so glad I got to take part in a small way (watching constantly on TV counts as participation, right?). Now I will anxiously await Sochi 2014 - but not the time difference...8 hours! - and Rio 2016.

Happy reading everyone!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Guest Post: Cindy Roesel

I reviewed Cindy Roesel's debut novel last week and enjoyed it. (You can see the review here.) Since I knew she was an Emmy award winning journalist I was curious to see how much of her own life snuck into her novel. So, this was the question I posed to her:

Your novel has some autobiographical parts to it. Was that easy or hard for you to write? Did you want to include as many references to your own life as possible or did you decide to just use the basics and let the character's own story come through?

I have to thank Cindy for a great guest post. I hope you all enjoy it as I did!

I want to thank you Kaley and your blog, Books Etc. for having me as a guest.  This whole blog tour-thing is totally new to me and quite exciting!  In fact this is my first novel and I’m thrilled beyond words.  I’m meeting new people every day and for me, that’s what it is all about!  This whole social media/internet thing is fabulous!  Think about it, you’re in Canada and I’m in Miami, Florida and we’re talking to bloggers in two countries, perhaps all over the world. We get to meet people we’d NEVER come across. I, for one, am making some good friends, too!  This whole experience is a blessing.

Thank you for reviewing my first novel, VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED.  I understand you reviewed it on Thursday, so that’s given your bloggers the opportunity to read the book or at least read your review over the weekend.  So hopefully everyone knows the main female character Charlize “Charley” Thomas.  Well, here’s a tip: if you haven’t read Kaley’s review, go back and read it before you read my guest post.  It’ll just make reading this post a better experience.

So Kaley, you along with many people probably assume because I’m an Emmy Award-winning journalist who has schlepped all over the United States ending up in Miami, just like Charley, that this means VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED must be autobiographical?  Let me say yes and no.  The one trait Charley and I definitely share is loyalty.  I saw that come up time and time again throughout the novel.  She backs her staff no matter what, and I’ve always been the same way.  What is right isn’t always popular, but you have to be willing to do it, and hopefully someone will have your back, too.

I was in the television news industry for twenty-plus years, so I speak from experience when I write about what goes on in the newsroom. I really didn’t worry whether or not my personal life showed up in the characters, particularly Charley, when I was writing because I felt the characters had been well-developed and were so removed from who I am.  But I happen to really like plain M&Ms, so Charley enjoys them, and she also shops at a local mall I happen to love in the Miami area.  It was very important to me that the characters didn’t remind people of anyone specific and I believe I accomplished that goal.  Because I had been in the media, when the novel first came out there were many people, especially in the print media thinking it was a tell all.  I had to often reinforce VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED is a novel, that it’s fiction and not a gossip column.

I’ve studied and written fiction for several years and it’s really interesting to be a part of a character’s creation.  As the author/writer, you are putting words to paper, but there are times one wonders, at least I do, where they are coming from.  I often take long walks with my Shih Tzu, Sassy, and work out character and plot developments but until I sit in the chair and start typing I really don’t know what’s going to come out of my head and on to the paper.  And then of course, I’m sure everyone has heard this and it’s true that writing is rewriting.  My novel looks nothing like it did in its first draft.  I hated the first time I heard that, but it is THE TRUTH! Writing is rewriting!  Here’s a great book for any writer who wants to learn about writing well.  I often refer to it, because it’s just so brilliant.  It’s Ann Lamott’s, BIRD BY BIRD.

Thank you Kaley, Books Etc. and of course my new BFFs, your blog followers!  This has been a blast.  I hope you’ve had a great time as well and that you enjoy VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED.  There’s still a lot of summer left, so don’t forget the sunscreen!  Feel free to contact me anytime on Facebook or my website

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August Chick Lit Challenge Read: Barefoot

There's no better time to read a novel set at the beach than in the summer, am I right? I confess to having Elin Hilderbrand's The Island on my bookshelf where it's been for about a year. Her novel intrigued me so when my boss offered to lend me her copy of Barefoot I gladly accepted it. And subsequently devoured it over the August long weekend. :) It turns out this is an office novel as my other co-worker just finished reading this one a few weeks ago - and also really enjoyed it. This was my August read for the Chick Lit Challenge hosted by Chick Lit Plus, which I'm loving. It's giving me a chance to read those books I've been meaning to get to that aren't a part of all the tours I'm participating in! 

Here's the synopsis:
It's summer on Nantucket, and as the season begins, three women arrive at the local airport, observed by Josh, a local boy, home from college. Burdened with small children, unwieldy straw hats, and some obvious emotional issues, the women--two sisters and one friend--make their way to the sisters' tiny cottage, inherited from an aunt. They're all trying to escape from something: Melanie, after seven failed in-vitro attempts, discovered her husband's infidelity and then her own pregnancy; Brenda embarked on a passionate affair with an older student that got her fired from her prestigious job as a professor in New York; and her sister Vickie, mother to two small boys, has been diagnosed with cancer. Soon Josh is part of the chaotic household, acting as babysitter, confidant, and, eventually, something more, while the women confront their pasts and map out their futures.
I fell in love with this story from the start. I was just as intrigued as Josh when the three women came off the plane in Nantucket. Who were they and what were they doing there? I was really happy that Josh played more of a role than I initially thought. I knew he would have to be involved somehow but I wasn't expecting him to become the babysitter. (No, I didn't read the synopsis before reading this one.) It was so sweet to see him in that role and embrace looking after two little people for a summer. Maybe I was a little in awe of him, too. There's no way I would have agreed to babysit a toddler and a baby for a summer - no matter how intriguing I found their family! :) It was great seeing Josh grow as a character, and a man, through the course of the book.

What I liked about this book was the relationship between the three women and how they were all dealing with their own problems - they were huge problems, too. It was interesting to see how they adjusted to each other over the course of the summer and how they helped each other, even when they weren't meaning to.

I didn't really find myself as interested in one of the women as much as Josh. I wonder if it had to do with the fact that I was reading as though I was in Josh's position - observing the women and feeling what he was feeling as opposed to being in the women's shoes. Does that make sense? That's not to say they weren't good characters, because they were. I guess I just liked watching and learning about Vickie, Brenda, and Melanie instead of trying to put myself in their lives.

I admit that I did find myself tearing up in a couple of parts. This was an emotional story and I was really worried about the outcome to everyone's story. I don't want to give specifics away but here comes a general spoiler-esque comment - there are happy endings.

I'm really glad I got the chance to read Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand and I will definitely be checking out her other novels!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

CLP Blog Tour: Viewer Discretion Advised

Welcome to a stop on the CLP Blog Tour for Viewer Discretion Advised by Cindy Roesel! I found this novel to be an entertaining read.

Here's the synopsis:
LIVE FROM MIAMI! The sensationalism shown on television can only be topped by the drama that happens behind the camera! After being fired from her job in Los Angeles, Charlene "Charley" Thomas moves to sizzling Miami and begins working as news director at a local television station. While getting used to her new gig, Charley wakes up to the fact that her station manager, Jonathan Lefton, is the boss from hell who will do anything for a story no matter who gets hurt in the process. When nude pictures of noon anchor, Miranda Andrews, are discovered in the men's room of a Key West bar, all hell breaks loose. They end up on Lefton's desk and he promotes her over the main anchor, sparking off a firestorm. Miranda's quickly thrown into the mix and assigned special reports. Charley finds herself overseeing an investigation that could shine light on the guilt of a dirty cop. Real life begins to mimic the drama of broadcast news when station personalities face life and death all for rating and Emmys! VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED is a modern day "Sex and the City" meets "Broadcast News."
I've read other novels that take place in the newsroom so I was interested to see how Charley's story played out. I found the behind the scenes look pretty interesting. I liked seeing how the anchors treated each other and what that competition could be like. It was also amusing to see how the reporters (the "real" journalists) treated the anchors (the "talent"). I liked reading about the dynamic between all of the staff and seeing how breaking news would play out. I knew that Roesel knew what she was talking about as she's an Emmy award winning journalist so that definitely helped the realism factor in the newsroom.

I liked Charley but I have to say that I wasn't as invested in her as I would have liked. That being said, there's a stressful situation at the end and I was definitely twisted into knots as I was reading because I was worried about what would happen to her. I think I was just missing a little something with Charley...or perhaps her personal story was being overshadowed by the crazy drama happening elsewhere in the newsroom. I found that there was maybe too much going on and links between stories weren't as strong as I would have liked. Also, some of the minor characters were not as developed as they could have been and the relationship between them and Charley were hard to really understand. I was particularly thrown off with Charley and Oz's relationship.

I do have to say that Charley does show awesome character when she gets fired. She doesn't spend any time feeling sorry for herself and immediately starts working her contacts to find another job. Happily, it does work out for her. I loved that she was a strong female and stayed in control of her situations. That was really great to read.

Overall, I was interested in the Charley's story but I think I wanted just a little bit more from Viewer Discretion Advised. I'll definitely check out what else Cindy Roesel writes in the future.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - A Reflection of Me!

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme created by the lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish. They created it because they're "particularly fond of lists" and since I also enjoy lists, I've decided to participate in this fun feature. 

This week's list is "Top Ten Posts On Your Blog That Would Give The BEST Picture of YOU". It's a mouthful, but basically I've picked ten of my previous posts that really give you, the reader, a glimpse into my life. They won't necessarily be focusing on my reading tastes but there might be a little story or revelation in the post or review that really shows what I'm like. All titles link to the original post and the order is chronological, not which ones I liked most. Hopefully you all like what you read :)

Don't forget to check out their blog for a full list of everyone participating.

This post was about my new tv show obsession: Being Erica. This is notable because it's a Canadian show and I take great pride in being Canadian. I love (or at least can appreciate) anything that's from my country. We're so inundated with American media that it's great when something stands out that's came from us. I think this is a very underrated show and I hope many more people discover it and become hooked on it like I did!

I chose this one because it was written at a time when I was making a change in my life - no more part time retail job! In this post I reflected on what I actually enjoyed about that job. I talked about the best parts about working in a bookstore and what I was going to miss. 

This one was less about the review and more about the fact that the book took place in Scotland. I have fairly recent ancestors that came from Scotland and I have a very iconic Scottish last name so it was awesome to read a series that took place in that country. And no, I haven't been able to travel there yet. Someday!

I picked this review because it signaled the end of an amazing series. I love the Traveling Pants girls. Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget grew up together and I'm not close to any of my "best friends" from when I was really young so I was always envious of their friendship. 

5. Vacation Reads Challenge: The Perfect Man
This one got chosen because this review helped my grandma decide to send my sister and I on a cruise. Yep. My grandma is pretty wicked awesome. The main characters in this book were sisters and went on a cruise together. I mentioned in the review that my sister had thought about working on a cruise ship but had never actually been on one. Cue my overly generous grandmother gifting us with a vacation and we were off on a four day cruise to the Bahamas and three days in Universal a few months later. (Bonus post: a wrap up of my trip with some of the highlights and some pics!)

6. Sarah Dessen Rocks my World
I have mentioned multiple times on this blog that Sarah Dessen is my favourite author. This posts details the experience I had when I got to see her last September. I actually won a contest and my best friend and I got to meet her. It was awesome. (Fun fact: I found out about the above vacation and winning this contest in the same evening. I was sure I was going to pass out from the excitement.)

7. My New Obsession: The Hunger Games
You know when you read a book or series and are just so incredibly into it that you don't want to leave that world? Yeah, that was the Hunger Games series for me. I had what some people call a "book hangover" where I could not think about wanting to start a new book. I loved them that much.

8. Just Finished: Forgotten
It was difficult for me to pick which Catherine McKenzie post to share but I think my review of Forgotten was my favourite. I love all her books and was particularly proud of this review.

9. All Hail the Queens of Chick Lit
May is International Chick Lit month so I decided to write a post all about my favourite chick lit authors. Emily Giffin and Sophie Kinsella feature heavily.

10. Just Finished: The Tall Book
I am tall. 6' to be exact. So when I found out there was a book all about my people, I had to read it. I loved it and it was so much fun to learn tidbits about tall folk.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

daily book pic - a final look

I'm a little behind the times on this final wrap up post but I've had a few others posts scheduled for this week and then my internet started misbehaving. Woot. Anyway. I had so much fun doing this from the awesome bookish photo a day project (started by Cassandra at Book Riot). It was neat to see the pictures other book lover's put up! Without further adieu, here are the final three pictures

Day Twenty Nine - Autographed Book

Looking at this picture makes me so happy. These are four of my Sarah Dessen books that I was able to get signed by her when I got to meet her last September. She's probably my favourite author so meeting her was one of the best things I've ever been able to do. Having these books as proof that I met her makes it that much better :)

Day Thirty - Book to Movie

I decided to go all out for this one and pull out every book that I had that had been made into a movie, and every movie that I have that was adapted from a book. Turns out I have quite a few! Being the nerd that I am, I even organized them - sort of. Starting at the top left of the all movie pile: non-fiction adaptations, Nicholas Sparks, random fiction. Top right: just books (mostly kids/teen, and fantasy to boot), Jane Austen, then the adaptations that I had both book and movie. Can you see any of your favourites in there? 

Day Thirty One - DNF (Did Not Finish)

When I still worked at the bookstore I had many girls tell me that I should give Shiver a try, so I did. Oh. My. God. I could barely stand it. It may be great for teens (think the younger end of the Twihards) but it really wasn't enjoyable for a twenty-something. Great YA, in my opinion, is when it's relatable to pretty much anyone. I know Harry Potter isn't actually YA but that's something that is appealing to all ages. It was unfortunate that I didn't end up liking Shiver but you can't win 'em all!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Guest Post: Maria Geraci

I want to say a big thank you to author Maria Geraci for stopping by Books Etc. today. She's got a fabulous guest post and I hope you all have fun reading it. I sure did!


First off, thank you to Kaley and Books, etc, for inviting me to blog here today. I’m excited to talk about my new release, A Girl Like You. In the opening to my story, my main character, Emma, overhears herself referred to as “the ugly friend.” Yikes! That’s a lot for a girl to take in. On the outside, Emma remains cool and collected. But overhearing that one careless remark sets her on a journey that changes her life forever. I loved writing this book and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

Like any novel, A Girl Like You went through numerous rough drafts before I finally got the story “right.” And by getting the story right, I mean finding the correct ending. I always knew the story would end happily (as all my books do) but I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to give Emma the ending that not only felt right for her, but was right for the other characters in the book as well. It wasn’t until I was almost three fourths through my first draft that I knew how my book would end, which means I then had to go back and make sure the ending I came up with seemed logical from the first page. Which meant more rewrites.

Every time you rewrite a scene or update a draft of your novel, it leads to potential bloopers. Those little details that don’t get added in, or those little things that no longer make sense because your rewrite doesn’t need them.

I thought it would be fun to share a blooper from A Girl Like You.

Set up: My main character, Emma, goes to a bar to meet her friends.

Page 2, original sentence:
I signal the bartender. He ignores me and moves to another customer.

What’s so bad about that, you ask? Well, on the very next page, this happens:
“We invited your sexy boss to go out with us tonight,” says Torie. “He should be here any minute.”
This seemingly benign statement causes my beer to go down the wrong way.

See the problem?

How can Emma be drinking a beer when the bartender never took her order?

Of course, a reader could assume that somehow Emma was given a drink, but I hate details like this that don’t make sense. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch this blooper until the final galley stage when it is nearly impossible (and expensive) to make corrections. Luckily, I was able to add in a few words to the original sentence to allow it all to make sense:
I signal the bartender. He ignores me and moves to another customer before finally taking my order.

Whew! Scene saved.

Maria Geraci writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction with a happy ending. The Portland Book Review called her novel, The Boyfriend of the Month Club, “immensely sexy, immensely satisfying and humorous.” Her fourth novel, A Girl Like You, will be released August, 2012 by Berkley, Penguin USA. For more information, please visit her website at

Just Finished: A Girl Like You

I loved reading A Girl Like You by Maria Geraci. The novel was sweet, fun, and heart-warming.

Here's the synopsis:
Every ugly ducking is a swan in waiting... 
Emma Frazier is smart, hardworking, and loves her job as a journalist for a Florida lifestyle magazine. Emma knows she’s no great beauty, but she’s pretty certain she has a shot with her handsome new boss, Ben Gallagher—until Emma overhears a mutual acquaintance refer to her as the “ugly friend.” In an effort to reclaim her battered self-esteem, Emma decides to impress Ben at work by promising an exclusive interview with NASCAR legend, Trip Monroe. 
Emma and Trip went to high school together and although it’s been fourteen years since they’ve spoken, Emma is certain she can score an interview with the elusive super star. But connecting with Trip turns out to be harder than Emma imagined. Her quest for the interview leads her back to her tiny hometown of Catfish Cove, where old secrets and a new romantic interest shake up Emma’s views on life and teach her that maybe the key to finding true love is as simple as accepting yourself for the person you were always meant to be.
I really liked Emma. She was a flawed protagonist without being completely broken or beat down. She didn't have a huge personal issue to overcome but she still had a realization by the end. Sometimes main characters are so troubled that it can be hard to follow and it can result in a plot that's just too heavy. With this novel, it was nice to read about someone who was pretty normal and who could easily be one of my friends!

It seems like I tend to favour books that have main characters who are writers - whether it's a journalist for a newspaper or magazine, a blogger, or a travel writer. Not sure what that says about me but the main point is that I seem to enjoy their stories more. Emma's job had quite a bit to do with this book. She's in love with her boss and is trying to impress him with getting a great story. It was interesting to see how everything turned out.

I like that this book had a little taste of everything. It wasn't strictly a career focused plot as Emma also had to come to terms with being called the "ugly friend." She had that personal issue and she had some excellent friends to help her through. She also had a strong family support system with her two moms. As in most chick lit, there was a romance - but with which guy? I loved that Geraci kept me guessing on that front. And the book was funny! Emma was clever and got herself in a lot of entertaining situations.

Overall, I really enjoyed A Girl Like You and think many other readers would as well. I didn't want to put it down! I've had another of Maria Geraci's novels, The Boyfriend of the Month Club, on my shelf for awhile and it will be moved up on my to-be-read list because I enjoyed this one so much!

Thanks to BookSparksPR for the copy to review!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Guest Post: Shelly Bell

This week I reviewed A Year to Remember by Shelly Bell (you can check out my review here if you missed it). Shelly was kind enough to stop by Books Etc. with a guest post as part of the CLP Blog Tour. This is the question I had for her:

Your novel has some autobiographical parts to it. Was that easy or hard for you to write? Did you want to include as many references to your own life as possible or did you decide to just use the basics and let the character's own story come through?

Thank you to Shelly for writing this post for my blog! I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

I was on my way to see a documentary about primates at the Henry Ford Museum when the story for A Year to Remember downloaded in my head. That’s literally what it was like. By the time we got to the theater, I told my family to go on ahead while I jotted down an outline in the lobby. An hour later, I had a skeleton synopsis, including character names, events, and the ending.  It wasn’t something I had considered writing.  But once I started, I couldn’t stop and I temporarily shelved the paranormal romance I had been working on.
They say an author’s first book is the most autobiographical. Mine is no exception. The process of writing it went rather quickly; I think it took less than three months to write because the voice of Sara was so loud and insistent. There are pieces of me in the main character, Sara, as well as her best friend, Missy. Sara and I are both compulsive overeaters, and when I was twenty-nine, I was “in the food.” Writing the book helped me process some of the events that transpired in my twenties and see it from a different perspective. For example, my younger brother did marry before me. I was in my late twenties and when I gave my toast, I had a slip of the tongue and admitted I was jealous! At the core of my book is not just my story, but the story of women I know. My friend Miriam and I went on several disastrous blind dates. Most were too horrific to even make the book.  Sara’s dates are a combination of dates that Miriam and I suffered through in our late twenties.  Like Sara, I spent a year throwing everything I had into finding a husband. I spent a thousand dollars on a dating service, tried speed dating, and went on several dates with men I met through JDate. Most of time, there wasn’t a second date. Adam and Caleb are completely made-up characters. But the issues that Sara faces in regards to religion and marriage were issues that Miriam and I both faced. Without giving the book away, the real outcome of those issues differed.
After I gave up my search, I met my husband through a different Jewish online dating site.  He emailed me on a Friday, we met on Sunday, got engaged four months later, and married six months after that. I knew the moment I read his name on the email that I’d marry him.
The hard part of writing a book is having people read it and assuming everything is autobiographical. It’s fiction!  I had to convince my mom that I never had a crush on any of my brother’s friends. And no matter how many times I tell her Sara is not me, she maintains she knows too much about my sex life.  I would never put such personal information down on paper for the world to read. What happens in my bedroom stays in my bedroom.
Yes, Sara and I are a lot alike. I used the book to try and educate people on compulsive overeating in an entertaining way. I hope that at the minimum, the reader gets a couple of chuckles from it!