Tuesday, October 30, 2007

FAB Interview - Kristan Higgins, CONTEST continues!

I sent the FABulous Kristan Higgins an e-mail loaded with silly questions, and she actually took the time to answer them. Here's the kicker though - even though I already knew some of the answers because I've actually spoken with her, her answers still had me cracking up! Read on to learn more about this FABulous author, why she writes, her love for the four-legged types, her newest projects, and more. But don't expect to learn what her favorite drink is, because she just won't tell!

dee: What made you decide to become a writer? Was it craziness? A lifelong dream? A whim? Couldn't stand your day job?

Kristan: Um....yes? All of the above? I decided to become a writer because I'd been a stay-at-home mom since the birth of my first child and wanted to stay that way. But my younger child was facing first grade, and I felt I had to contribute financially a little bit (my husband is a firefighter and has a job on the side, so it would've been hard to just stay home and wax the floors, if you know what I mean). I'd always loved romances, especially romantic comedies, and it was hard to find the type I liked. So I figured there was a market for them...stories about regular people with normal issues, struggling to find their big love. I gave myself a year to write a book and another year to sell it, and the fates were kind, so here I am, still making lunches and getting the kids on and off the bus, but writing books while they're in school.

dee: Who are some of the authors that you really admire? What about them makes you like them? Their writing? The way they handle their career? The fact that they give back to the writing community?

Kristan: I love Jennifer Crusie and how she handles her fame, success and most of all, her fans. She's incredibly supportive to other writers. I'm not a Cherry, but I occasionally visit her ArghInk website. And I admire the way she's honest about getting stuck, changing paths, struggling to stay good. Elinor Lipman is my favorite writer for personal reading. Her voice is so kind and wry, sharply observant and quietly brilliant. As for handling careers, I had the privilege of having dinner with Cindy Gerard, a New York Times bestseller who shares my agent. She gave me a lot of excellent advice about negotiating through the community of writers, from publishers down to fans. In essence, she said, "You know where your talent is. Don't get distracted...get the job done and don't worry about the rest."

dee: What is the most interesting job you've ever held? The most demanding? The most rewarding?

Kristan: Aside from motherhood, you mean? I'd have to say the most interesting was self defense instructor. It was one of those classes where the male instructor wore padded armor, and so we could kick and punch as hard as we possibly could. It felt great, I have to admit, to just go to town on someone! Girl power! Most demanding...probably a waitress. I waited tables through college, and I think everyone should have that job at least for a little while. It really makes you appreciate how hard those folks work. Most rewarding is writing. Knowing you connected with a stranger, made them laugh at a hard time...it's really humbling.

dee: Since becoming published, have there been any cool things that have happened to you? FanGirlSqueeFest moments? Crazy letters of praise? Any hate mail? What do you do about them (both good and bad ones)?

Kristan: It's really odd, having your work out there for anyone to see, comment on, love, hate. Sometimes it's amazing...an author whom I've never met recently blogged about me, praising Catch of the Day to the high heavens. That was astonishingly wonderful. On the flip side, someone trashed me on Amazon, so that's up for all the world to see, and of course, I can't exactly write to the person. I was on an airplane and someone was reading my book, and I asked, "Hey, how do you like that?" and she said, "Oh, it's great!" And I started jumping up and down, saying, "I wrote it! That's my book!" like some nut.

I've had two hate letters, one because I had an 18-year-old use the F-word, one because she thought I was perpetuating a myth that the good people of Labrador still club seals...I'm still scratching my head over that one.

I write to everyone who writes to me, even the Labradorian woman and the one who condemned me for swearing. Overwhelmingly, it's a joy to hear from readers. When someone is mean (and it hasn't happened that much, to be honest), I try not to be bothered. I don't always succeed.

dee: You know I have to ask... what's the weirdest 'crush' you've ever had? Did you really crush on your priest?

Kristan: The weirdest crush I ever had was on a guy who looked exactly like my husband, so much so that when he walked past my office, I stuck my head out and said, "Honey?" And he stuck his head out of his office and said, "Yes, dear?" It was shocking how much they looked alike. Terence, my husband, was quite pleased that the one guy I've had a crush on during our 16 year marriage was his double. I guess I have a type, don't I?

I have had a crush on a priest. My cousin. I had a crush on him long before he joined the priesthood, but him becoming a priest made it worse, because he had to be even nicer to me, no matter how much of a pain I was. But after Catch of the Day was bought, I rejoined my local Catholic church (I'd been going to a different church out of town) and I met with the new priest. And he was really nice and (ahem) very cute. So imagine me having to say, "Oh, and by the way, Father, I just wrote a book...we'll laugh about this, I think...woman has a crush on her priest. Just wanted to get that out there..."

dee: What is your next book? When does it come out? Tell us a bit about it. And the one after that, if you want... :)

Kristan: My next book is called JUST ONE OF THE GUYS. (My title was ONE OF THE GUYS, so I feel pretty triumphant). It's about Chastity O'Neill, daughter of a firefighter, sister of two firefighters, a cop and a chopper paramedic. Chastity is six feet tall, a jock, a veritable force of nature, and her blessing and curse is that she is indeed one of the guys. She's been in love with Trevor, her brother's best friend, since she was a kid, and they had a brief fling in college, but since then, nada. Problem is, she's still stuck on him, she's just moved back to her hometown, and she's having trouble acting normal around him. This book is due out this summer.

My current WIP is called THE PERFECT MAN (right now, anyway), and it's about a woman, Grace, who pretends to be dating someone in order to get out of a sticky situation. Her fib takes on a life of its own, because she uses a real guy's name. I'm writing the first draft of this one right now.

dee: Have you always been a dog person? Have dogs helped you through rough spots in your life, like Colonel did for Maggie?

Kristan: Yes, I am a dog person. I can't walk down the street without stopping to pat a dog, and my voice changes into this embarrassing weird accent..."Oh, look, there he is, Mr. Handsome Super Dog of the World! Hello, Super Dog! You are beautiful! I love you! I do!" Then, mercifully, my husband tows me away before the owner can call the police.

Dogs have indeed helped me through sad times. Colonel is based on a dog I had named Brendan, a Golden Retriever I bought from the pound. My father had died the year before, and his Goldie, Clyde, basically died of a broken heart six months later. When we brought Brendan home, he used to sit on my lap if I cried. When we brought our daughter home from the hospital, he lay down in front of her crib like he was guarding her. My son was a preemie, only four and a half pounds when he came home, and Brendan used to put his head on my lap when I was holding our son and just gaze at the tiny baby.

Dogs have a tenderness in them that I think is unique in the animal world. I love and faithfully serve my cats, but the dogs get my heart. (note from dee - the pic at the top is of Kristan with her current four-legged love, Digger.)

dee: And finally...When you are away at a writer's conference, what is your favorite drink to order at a bar? :)

Kristan: See, this is how you get into trouble...one drink at one conference with one nutty website person, and the reputation begins. No comment!

Somehow, I just knew she wasn't going to answer that last question! ;)

Big thanks to the FABulous Kristan Higgins for putting up with us yet again this year, for answering our questions, and for giving away signed copies of her books to one of our lucky CONTEST WINNERS. Please remember to enter the contest so you have a shot at winning the SINGED copies of Kristan's books. And remember, if you add the book cover and the BCC to your own blog and link back here, I'll give you FIVE FREE ADDITIONAL CHANCES TO WIN!

Good luck!

Keep Turning Those Pages!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


This review has been a LONG time coming, hasn't it? We've had some things happen in the past few weeks, including some personal issues with DEE and some internet issues with dee, that prevented us from being able to post. Please keep Dee and her family in Kansas in your thoughts and prayers. And hopefully I can control my iTunes spending and not get banned from upORdownloading for days on end anymore. Yes, iTunes was partially responsible for me not being able to post this Dish sooner.

I know we promised you a DoubleDish, but you guys are stuck with me. Sorry! Maybe after things have worked themselves out in Kansas, Dee will add her seven cents to this Dish and it will be complete. We are hoping that Kristan Higgins, the FABulous author, hasn't totally given up on us, and will stop by sometime this week. We've got an interview with Kristan, and at least one contest for a signed copy of CATCH OF THE DAY to give you guys this week.

Without further ado, I give you the long awaited Dish of the newest release by Krsitan Higgins, CATCH OF THE DAY...

From the BCC:

Sparks will fly, but this catch of the day could be the dish of a lifetime!

First Date a la Maggie

Take one lovelorn diner owner (me)
A generous helping of nosy local gossips
A dollop of envy at married sister's perfect life
A splash of divine intervention (my matchmaking priest)

Combine ingredients and add one strong-but-silent lobsterman with a hidden heart of gold.

You guys already know what I'm going to say, don't you? This isn't my favorite BCC, mainly because it seems kinda light and fluffy, and not really in keeping with some of the deeper stuff in the book. But, OTOH, it does sound exactly like something that Maggie would have written, had she written out a recipe for a first date. Maggie loves to laugh, even if she's laughing at herself, so this might very well be the perfect BCC if you're assuming it's written by Maggie. The BCC is balanced by the Front Cover, and I gotta tell you - I just LOVE that puppy! You can read more about the dogs here. So, overall, both covers, including the BCC, get a solid B+.

Let's start with Maggie, shall we? You already know that I think the name MAGGIE is one of the four most perfect girl's names in the world, right? It has NOTHING to do with one of my four lovely daughters being named Maggie, ok? I really have always loved that name, since the first time I heard the Rod Stewart song. So I already liked the heroine here, before I even read the first sentence. But that first sentence? Check this out...

Falling in love with a Catholic priest was not my smartest move.

Maggie goes on to explain about how she fell in love with Father Tim, including this little snippet that Kristan could have stolen straight from my diary...

And he’s from Ireland, the icing on the cake, because ever since I was sixteen years old and first saw U2 in concert, I’ve had a thing for Irish guys. Yeah, seriously, that is SO me!

Maggie is in love with her priest, and the whole town knows it, and loves to tease her about it. Maggie can laugh at herself, remember? So she laughs about it as well. She laughs about all of her dating foibles, actually. And there are quite a few that cause laughs.

In an attempt to find a more suitable man than her priest, Maggie goes on a variety of arranged dates. From the man at the bowling alley to the much more mature gentleman, and a few in between, Maggie learns that finding a mate as perfect for her as her twin sister's husband is for her twin is not an easy feat.

Along the way, Maggie gets to know Malone, a strong, silent lobsterman. Malone is nothing like the man that Maggie pictured for herself. He's quiet, seems secretive, and refuses to eat anything she cooks. As the owner of a diner, not wanting to eat her food bothers Maggie as much as anything else. She constantly questions her budding relationship with Malone, to herself, her sassy older neighbor, her twin, and even her beloved dog, Colonel.

With Malone, Kristan has written a man that had me intrigued from the first mention. He doesn't waste words, he keeps to himself, he has a past. Beyond that, he's sensitive to Maggie and others in the town without being obvious about it. He rescues Maggie physically from a bicycle wreck, socially from a botched blind date, and emotionally when tragedy strikes. Yet he refuses to be one of her projects.

Going through Maggie's dating woes, as well as the hilarious situations that she finds herself in, had me hooked for over a month. (Remember, this was the book I chose for my Book Diet, so I read it almost 40 times.) Maggie deals with slight envy of her twin sister, a mother that truly tests the term 'motherly love', an infatuation with a very forbidden man, a personal crisis, a wacky group of locals bent of laughing at her every mis-step, and her own twisted version of "50 First Dates". Every relationship is written true to life, every situation, no matter how crazy it initially seems, feels authentic. I sympathized with Maggie, laughed with her, laughed at her, hoped for her, felt for her. Even when she made unfounded assumptions or drew off-the-wall conclusions, I knew exactly why. Basically, Kristan wrote a character that I connected with, cheered for, and even loved. And it only had a tiny little bit to do with her name. ;)

This books gets a BIG THUMBS UP from me. It's an enchanting read that will have you laughing, crying, and cheering for the characters. Written in First POV, CATCH OF THE DAY is a wonderful find. Pick it up at your local bookstore, grocer, super-mart, or online here. It's one CATCH you don't want to miss.

Be sure to check back later this week for an interview from Kristan. Oh yeah - and THE CONTEST...
POST the cover and the BCC on your own blog. Remember to link to THIS post.
Tell me, on YOUR blog, about your craziest crush. It can be on a rock star (like Bono!), your dad's best friend, your boss, or your priest. Just share those stories.
If you don't have a blog, just post your stories here, in the comments to THIS post.
One lucky winner will get signed copies of BOTH of Kristan's books, CATCH OF THE DAY and FOOLS RUSH IN.
Good luck!

Keep Turning Those Pages!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

FAB Pick - CATCH OF THE DAY, Kristan Higgins

Have you ever gone on a BOOK DIET? Let me tell you, it sounds brutal. I decided to do this so that I would finally have the motivation to put the finishing touches (and by that, I mean a few THOUSAND words. And "few" is stretching it a bit, ok?) on my very own WIP, tentitively titled Almost Southern. The thought was that if I was not allowed to read any books, I would have LOTS of time to actually get some writing done. Remember that I am a true READER, ok? My book habit is generally upwards of 30 a month. No, I'm not kidding.

So, the plan: Stop reading and start writing. Good plan, eh? However, I know me. And, knowing me as well as I do, I knew I had to allow myself to have at least ONE book to be able to read during the month I'd set aside for myself to finish up all the bits and pieces of my own story. So, the search was on for that ONE book. I checked lists, I searched author's websites, I asked around at bookstores, trying to figure out which ONE book would capture and hold my attention for 30 solid days.

Then I got an e-mail from Charity. "Hey, you know Kristan's book comes out in a few weeks, and I got a copy already, and it's FABulous!" Wuh?!? She got a copy? Why didn't *I* get a copy too? So I whined a tiny little bit and one magically appeared in my mailbox.

See, you have to go back in history a bit to understand this. I met Charity over on the Cherry Forums, remember? We found each other through a love of Jennifer Crusie books. We started our personal blogs around the same time. We also both started reviewing books around the same time. Then I started this offshoot blog, just for reviews, and asked her to join me. It works, as we're both "D/dee", and we love to dish about NEW authors, as well as our tried and true faves. Over the past year, Charity has introduced me to many books and authors, and I am so thankful! She was responsible for me finding Joshilyn Jackson, and I travelled to meet JJ last summer.

Then last fall, Charity found Kristan Higgins' book, Fools Rush In. As you saw on the previous post, Kristan was really responsible for what you know as our "Fabulous Authour/Book Pick of the Month", where we spotlight a breakout book or a wonderful new author, and introduce you to them. We LOVE when we find a book worthy of the FABPick title. And all of the authors that we've spotlighted have been so gracious, starting with Kristan.

Kristan answered questions, exchanged e-mails, and even offered signed copies of her book to contest winners. So, on top of her FABulous writing skills, she also turned out to be a really cool e-mail-friend. Then, I got to meet her in Dallas, and it just blossomed. I realized that not only is she a FABulous author and really nice on the other end of an e-mail, she's FUN, and FUNNY, and WITTY, and KIND as well. She mother-henned me through my first RWA National conference, and introduced me to so many people my head was swimming. But it didn't stop there. She actually checks in on me to make sure I'm still writing. How cool is that?

But I'm worried that you'll think we only picked her FABulous new book, CATCH OF THE DAY, because we know her and like her as a person. Well, I want you to know that had I never met her, I'd still be THRILLED to have picked COTD as my ONE single book, for my Book Diet. It was everything that I expected, and more. I've read it no less than 32 times, and feel like I've actually spent a month with Maggie and Father Tim and Malone and the rest.

And I'm still not sick of them.

If that doesn't tell you something, I don't know what will. Except maybe you should check back this week for the actual DoubleDish of CATCH OF THE DAY, and an exclusive interview with Kristan. She may even answer YOUR questions, if you leave them in the comments section. So stay tuned for more on this FABulous book, and this wonderful author, all week long!

Keep Turning Those Pages!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

FAB Kick Off With Kristan Higgins

That's right, today I'm kicking off FAB, and I'm pleased to announce it is with the author that was the inspiration behind FAB in the first place! When I picked up Kristan Higgins book Fools Rush In last year, I had no idea I was picking up a new addiction. Higgins is, bar none, at the top of my favorite authors I'd like to stalk if I had the nerve list. I'm re-posting my dish that started it all today, and then dee and I will be doing a Double Dish of her newest release CATCH OF THE DAY (and can I just say, I think I actually love the new one best - just don't tell FRI because we've had a thing going). We'll have a contest and an interview. Trust me, this is a week you do NOT want to miss. And before you read the dish that started it all, dee has asked me to announce the winners of her mini-contest - SO, if you are





send an e-mail to deeanddeedish at sbcglobal.net (you know, without the spaces and with the @ thingy) with the subject line "dee's COTD winner", dee will be sending you each a brand new copy of CATCH OF THE DAY by Kristan Higgins. Congrats ladies.

Fools Rush In by Kristan Higgins

Millie Barnes is this close to finally achieving her perfect life...

Rewarding job as a local doctor on Cape Cod? Check. Cute cottage of her very own? Check. Adorable puppy suitable for walks past attractive locals? Check! All she needs is for golden boy and former crush Joe Carpenter to notice her, and Millie will be set.

But perfection isn't as easy as it looks-especially when Sam Nickerson, a local policeman, is so distracting. Sure, he needs a friend after being dumped by Millie's fortune-hunting sister, but does she really need to enjoy his company that much? He is definitely not part of her master plan. But maybe it's time for Millie to start a new list...

The cover of this book is what caught my eye, it looked fun and flirty and I loved the dog laying between the man and woman's legs. I picked it up, and read the BCC, which still amazes me, I mean, I never used to read the things, and now that I have made such a thing about them on my reviews, I'm addicted to the BCC's. I am my own victim. That hasn't turned into such a bad thing though, because lately, they haven't been bad at all. And when I analyze the BCC on the blog, I'm always wondering what the author thinks of it. Well, for once, I have my answer. When I asked Kristan what she thought about the BCC, she said, "I loved what my editor, Abby Zidle, wrote for the back cover. Millie is an organized list-making type, so this summed up her attitude toward life perfectly. She thinks all she needs to do is follow directions and she'll land Joe, but there's Sam, constantly distracting her, though she's not quite sure why."

Millie Barnes is about to turn the Big 3-0, she has just finished her residency, so she's ready to start her career as an official Doctor, she has a cute little cottage on Cape Cod that her grandmother left her, great friends, and a rock solid plan to finally get the attention of the man she has crushed on for 16 years.

Joe Carpenter The Carpenter, will be Millie's, she knows it. She has studied, okay, if you want to get technical, she has stalked, this man for most of her life, she knows him. She knows he is kind, loves dogs, does good deeds for the elderly, and he likes women. She knows where he lives, she knows his phone number, his work schedule, she even knows where he likes to eat and when. All she has to do is make a few physical changes, and when he sees her, he will finally see the other half of his soul.

Sam Nickerson is Millie's newly made ex-brother law. Although her sister left Sam a year ago, the divorce has finally been made final and Sam is dealing with his feelings about this and raising his 16 year old son Danny. Sam is good looking, a local cop, ex-Notre Dame football star (just mentioning this made my husband take interest in the book), and all around good guy. Millie loves Sam, he has always been kind to her, and was probably one of the only people she never felt like the ugly duckling around. Millie has always wondered how her self-centered older sister landed such a great guy, and seeing him hurting makes Millie hurt. So she has decided it's up to her to get Sam through this tough time in his life.

So, while Millie puts her plan into action to get Joe, she also starts a plan to help out Sam. Why is it then, that when she finally gets Joe, it isn't what she thought it would be and she can't quite keep her thoughts away from Sam? Well, I think Kristan does a lovely job at answering just that question, "Like most of us, Millie has qualities about herself that she loves and tries to focus on, but when she's feeling low, her old insecurities come back and kick her right in the old ego. With a beautiful, ultra-confident older sister, Millie is constantly measuring herself against Trish. While Millie is confident and happy on a professional and personal level, it's the romantic part of her life where she's a bit lost. It's no fluke that when Joe finally does notice Millie, it's when she's at her best self, completely focused on the task at hand, not trying to be anything more than the kind, competent person she is. And it's no fluke that Sam has always seen her this way."

Millie's story is one I won't soon forget. I absolutely loved Millie and her warped sense of self and worth at the beginning of the book. Millie, smart, kind, loving, and selfless is the epitome of every insecurity a woman could have. I think I've mentioned before that when I sit to read a book I will review (every book I read) I make sure to have a pad and paper at my side. I like to write down particular quotes and passages that I enjoy (or don't) and when I cracked Fools I had that same pen and paper handy. I got as far as page 13 before I made a notation and I'm going to piece together some of it for you here (I'm always wary of quoting books. I mean, how much is too much?) - "I didn't have any illusions about myself. I was a smart, nice person. Caring. A fine friend...But in terms of physicality, I was short, chubby, with long, lank hair that I pulled into a ponytail more often than not...Overall, rather plain and ordinary. Being cursed with an extremely beautiful older sister had certainly not helped my self-image over the years....though I had definitely mastered the pasty skin/dark circles/unshaven legs look...
While I didn't imagine that I could become a swan, I was determined to become at least, oh, I don't know, a Canada goose? They're nice, right? Nothing wrong with a Canada goose."
Now, there are a couple of reasons I loved this passage. The lesser of those being that it is fularious (I'm censoring here, we have younger readers and I don't want to offend Gret) and the greater being that truer words have never been spoken. In today's society we see our most beautiful assets as nothing more than trivial if we don't have the external beauty to go with it. Why is it, that it takes a book sometimes to show you that when we are at our inner bests, is when we achieve true beauty? This is one of things that Fools made me realize. Like Millie, I may never be a swan, but I make a perty darn good Canada goose.

Unfortunately, that was the first and last notation on my trusty paper I made. I became so engrossed in the words on the page, I forgot that I had a responsibility to my readers. I know, bad reviewer, but I am a reader at heart.

Now the first words of the book are, "I'm a stalker. The good kind." And then Millie goes on to relive some of her stalker moments on her quest to land Joe Carpenter. Now, I'm not ashamed to admit this (okay, maybe a little ashamed) but I too, have been a good kind of stalker. Really, who hasn't. I never really carried it to the lengths that Millie does/did, but I could relate nonetheless. But I had to know, was the author a closet stalker? The ideas were just too far fetched to be etched in make-believe. "Regarding the stalking, let's face it, a lot of us have stalked our quarry! That was another universal element I wanted to include, having arranged more coincidences that I care to admit to. Millie is often a fool for love, and it was an absolute blast to write about the lengths we women will sometimes go to in order to get our men." Now, I know she's only admitting to "arranged coincidences", but you read the book and tell me, could some one really have made all that up?

So what happens when Millie finally catches the eye of Joe? Well, our perception of people we really do not know (and some we think we do) are oft wrong, and life never easily hands us these lessons. "When I wrote FOOLS RUSH IN, I wanted to capture an experience that a lot of women (including myself) have had. We become fixated on an early impression of someone and shape everything we see to match what we've set in our minds. As reality butts in again and again, Millie has to constantly shift her expectations and rewrite everything she's thought about Joe." But to be honest, I felt that Millie really had to rewrite everything she thought about her life and the people in it, not just Joe. I cried with Millie in this book. I laughed with Millie in this book. And yes, there were even a few times I wanted to die of embarrassment for Millie. I was reminded of the first time I ever watched
Anne of Green Gables a few times while reading Fools. I remember when Anne smashed her slate over Gilbert's head, and I felt my cheeks blush and felt the embarrassment for Anne. It amazed me that I could feel for a character so much and it has been a rare thing since that time for me to sympathize with a fictional character. But it was as if Millie and I were the same person and what she felt I felt. It was wonderful.

When I turned the last page of Fools I cheered for Millie, but I wept for myself. I wanted MORE! And as a writer who has yet to complete a novel, I wondered what it must be like to create some one as special as Millie and the people and events in her life. If I had such a hard time saying good-bye as a reader, what did Higgins feel as the author? Well - "Every time I type the words "The End," I find that tears are running down my cheeks. It's hard to become so engrossed in your characters' lives, follow them through their journey, and then just leave them there. I find myself imagining what comes next for them, writing their life stories well past where the book stops...until I become engrossed in another story, another character." Um, Kristan? Could I have those continuance stories please?

I just cannot express to you how much I enjoyed this book. Never has a debut novel grabbed me like this, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book by Higgins. So, even though she
has an excerpt up , I wanted to hear how she describes her next book, "CATCH OF THE DAY is also a romantic comedy, and also focuses on a universal experience--falling in love with the unattainable man. In Maggie's case, the man is Father Tim, a Catholic priest, and if there's a more embarrassing crush to have, I don't know what it is, and it makes for some really, really fun scenes. And before you ask, yes, I've had a crush on a priest, and he was also my cousin, so it was doubly forbidden, embarrassing and mortifying.

In CATCH OF THE DAY, we see Maggie struggling to find the kind of relationship her identical twin has. This juxtaposition between sisters is a constant reminder to Maggie of what she's missing. But like Millie, this heroine is happy, confident and fulfilled in just about every area except romance. When she meets Malone, Maggie has to learn to scrape the surface and stop comparing him with Father Tim. "
You want to read it now too, huh?

Okay, I've gushed enough for one review, and think - it only took me a week to finish! But seriously, if you don't have this book, get it! And please, let me know when you finish. I just don't see how you can be disappointed. I also want to thank
Kristan Higgins for taking the time to answer some of my questions. This is one author to look for. This debut was fabulous and I expect her wit is just going to get stronger as she enjoys a very long career!

Take Care

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Winner announced!! (And a Mini-Contest!)

We have a winner for the FABulous books by Michele Bardsley! So if your name is:


you need to send us an e-mail with your address, so we can get those books mailed out to you. Please send the e-mail to deeanddeedish AT sbcglobal DOT net (remember to take out the spaces!). Please be sure to put "FAB WINNER" in the subject line of your e-mail, so we can easily identify it.

Also, we'll have a new contest posted very soon. Chari-Dee has been reading lots of books lately, and keeping you guys updated on them. *I* have only read ONE book in the past few weeks. That's right. I said ONE book. I've been on a "Book Diet", in order to finish my own book lately. But that one book? OhMyBob, it's just FABulous. And we are BOTH going to Dish it this week.

And let me ask a question here, ok? This is just a little mini-contest that I'm running on the side, so you all feel free to enter as many times as you want. If you only had ONE book to read for a month, which book would it be? Tell me which book you'd pick, and why. I'll pick THREE winners at random, and I'll send you a copy of the book that has been keeping me from going through massive word-withdrawal. It's just that good.

This mini-contest will run until Friday, so enter as often as you wish. Each entry counts separate, so don't feel you have to put all of your faves in one comment. But really, the point is to find out which ONE book you really would enjoy reading if it was all you were allowed to read for THIRTY DAYS.

Also, please be sure to send get well wishes to Chari-Dee's son, Bear. The little guy isn't feeling so well, and needs some extra love these days. Feel better soon, kiddo. Your Aunt dee in VA is sending you BIG HUGS!!

Keep Turning Those Pages!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Coming Undone by Susan Andersen

Before I start in with the dish I need to take care of some business, or as dee puts it, "housecleaning". I have not yet heard from the winners of the CRAZY IN LOVE contest. Click here to see if you've won, because those two never-been-read copies that are signed are sitting on my entertainment center just waiting to be mailed. If I don't hear from you by Thursday at noon I will be drawing two more names. On Thursday I will also announce the winner of the Michele Bardsley contest for the first two books in her Broken Heart Vampire Books, so click here to enter that one. And why, you may ask, am I putting a deadline of Thursday for these things? Simple, I have yet another contest to announce Thursday! I know I've been doing a lot of those lately, and it won't always be so, it's just that we had a very busy summer and dee & Dee were quiet while we took care of life, and I have some catching up to do. Plus, this is the time of year where a lot of great books start to come out, and we love to share great books! And now, without further ado...

COMING UNDONE by Susan Andersen

On the Steal the Thunder tour,
the real show's offstage

It's supposed to be the biggest summer of Priscilla Jayne Morgan's life. She's on the brink of country music superstardom, yet she had to fire her crooked-manager Mama, and the tabloids are having a field day. Now her record label's hired a watchdog to escort her on her massive summer tour. And not just anyone, either - they sicced Jared Hamilton on her, the guy she once idolized more than anyone in the world.

Well, she doesn't care how hot he is. It's been too many years and too much water under the bridge, and she'll be damned if he gets to tell her what to do now.

Jared remembers exactly how headstrong P.J. can be and he knows she's going to be a handful. Problem is, he'd love to have his hands full of her. But he's cool. He's professional. And he's always in control.

He'd better be. Because for five long weeks he's stuck in close quarters with the wildest girl in show business.

As far as the BCC goes, I really don't think it's too bad. I actually didn't read it until I typed it above. I have been waiting for this book. BUT, had I not been waiting for the book and had never read Andersen before, the BCC would have been enough for me to give it a try.

I was so looking forward to this book. I love Susan Andersen. I've dished her before and sung her praises. But, Ms. Andersen let me down in a big way with this one. Jared and P.J. are introduced in Andersen's book HOT & BOTHERED. Jared is a very rich boy who didn't get along with his father and ran away when he lost his temper with his dear old dad and his father turned up murdered. Jared being the prime suspects hit the streets. P.J. is younger than Jared, and does not come from a family with money. P.J. is kicked out of the house by her mother and her current boyfriend. The two meet on the streets and form a friendship based on survival. They are found by Jared's family, P.J. is taken back into her mother's home, Jared is cleared of all charges and they never speak again.

Until now. Jared and P.J. are all grown up. Jared is working as a P.I. at his brother-in-laws investigation firm. P.J. is tearing up the country music scene. But when P.J. finds out that her mother, who has been acting as her manager, has embezzled funds, she fires her and hires new management. The problem is, P.J. doesn't want the embarrassment of the entire world knowing her mother has never loved her or saw her more than a cash cow.

With the tour coming up and the stress over everything else, P.J. decides she needs a bit of a break and takes off for some alone time. Unfortunately, her record label doesn't like that P.J. seems to be acting unpredictably and so, not knowing the story behind her actions, they hire an investigator to find her and stick close making sure she makes it to all of her tour dates.

The investigation firm they hire is none other than the one Jared happens to work for. Jared is assigned the job and even though he is excited about reuniting with P.J. he knows she won't be happy about the reasons for the reunion and will try and make things as difficult as she can for him. He would be right.

P.J. doesn't want Jared there, does everything she can to get him gone, not only because she doesn't like being babysat, but because the sexual tension is just about to kill her. Just when she gets Jared to see things her way and he is going to leave, P.J. starts to receive threats for a fanatic. Now Jared is staying, but not as a babysitter, but some one who wants to make sure P.J. stays safe from harm. The sparks fly between the two and old feelings of friendship and betrayal come to the surface.

Like I said, I was a disappointed in the book. I loved how P.J. and Jared interacted in H&B, and I thought P.J. was a tough cookie with a heart of gold. In this book however, P.J. was more annoying than tough. She seemed to be very immature and acted just wrong. I think that the line between being strong and being bull-headed can be a very thin one to walk, and P.J. just seemed petty in this one.

There was a nice subplot between two members of P.J.'s tour crew, and I actually liked that a lot better than the romance between Jared and P.J. The adversary in the form of a crazy fanatic also didn't work very well for me. It seemed forced, like there needed to be a reason to keep Jared around and this seemed like the most likely scenario.

I don't know. I think I expected far too much, and if I would have gone into this as a new Andersen reader I probably would have loved it. As it was, I felt Andersen could have done so much better, as she has done in the past. So all in all, not a bad read, jut not par for what I would consider Andersen's course.

Take Care

Monday, October 1, 2007

Interview With The FAB Michele Bardsley and A Contest!

Michele Bardsley is one very busy lady. When I asked her to be my FAB pick this summer, we had no idea things would go crazy like a daisy on her at the same time I kicked off the week. And in fact, we started the FAB week during the middle of an oil spill/flood in my town, and the same oil spill threatened Michele's drinking supply as well. So, as you can imagine, things got off kilter but fast. Well, Michele is so awesome that when she sent me the interview, she felt bad about the delays that she wants to make it up to you! So, we have yet another min-FAB contest for you today! What's up for grabs, you ask? Well, dig this, Michele is offering one more lucky reader the chance to win two signed books! That's right, you could win a signed copy of I'M THE VAMPIRE THAT'S WHY and a signed copy of DON'T TALK BACK TO YOUR VAMPIRE. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. It can say "hey, enter me," or it can say, "Charity, you are gorgeous." Seriously, as long as you're not slammin' me any ole comment will do. Also, I have yet to hear from my winners of the signed copies of CRAZY IN LOVE by Lani Diane Rich, so please click here to see if it was you and if so, send me your address so that I can get those out to you this week. New winners will be picked on Friday if I don't hear from you. And now on with the interview.

About the Broken Heart's Books:

Chari-Dee: Can you describe the premise behind the books in five sentences or less?

Michele: Vampires take over a small Oklahoma town. In order to save eleven single parents ravaged by a mysterious beast, they Turn them all into vampires. That's right. PTA vampire moms.

CD: Where did the idea for the Broken Heart Vampires come from?

MB: I read an article by Charlaine Harris. In it, she discussed the process she used for coming up with her Southern Vampires series. She asked, "What do I know about?" Then combined the answer with the elements she wanted for her books. I did the same thing. My answer was "small towns and motherhood." So I mixed those up with vampires and werewolves.

CD: In so many series, it seems that lead characters often mimic each other greatly. However, Jessica and Eva, while the same in respects to the love for their children, were completely different people and I absolutely loved those differences, especially seeing how they interacted as friends. Was this difficult to do?

MB: Yes. I channeled Jessica, who acts the way I wish I could. I can be a smart ass, but I'm not nearly as tough. Eva was the writer part of me ... the woman who loved words. But Eva was harder to write, at least at first, because she wasn't Jessica.

CD: Eva and Tamara love words and the word of the day game they had is great. Is this something you and your children do as well? Is a love for rarely used words something you have in common with Eva?

MB: No, that game was Eva and Tamara's. I love words. A friend gave me a thesaurus that had the greatest words I'd never heard of. LOL.

CD: Eva often remembers her mom in this, things she would say, and I bookmarked several of them because I absolutely adored the way her mother thought. Were these words of wisdom some people have told you?

MB: Eva's mother was loosely based on my grandmother, who steered me so often through my life. She didn't offer the exact advice, but the spirit of her words was the same. I remember her telling me "child, you have too many irons in the fire" or "if you pray for potatoes, honey, then you better grab a hoe." She passed away while I was writing the book and for that reason, DON'T TALK BACK TO YOUR VAMPIRE remains very special to me.

CD: Can you tell us whose next and a little about her story?

MB: Patsy Donahue. Readers may remember her from I'M THE VAMPIRE, THAT'S WHY. She's the owner of "Hair Today, Curl Tomorrow." She's very down-to-earth, has a problematic sixteen-year-old son named Wilson, and destiny that not even she believes in.

CD: Will Ruadan get his own story?

MB: I hope so. I have to be careful with the Ancients since they have a lot more baggage and issues than typical vampires. LOL.

CD: There are lycans in these books, as well as the newly introduced Romas. Will any of these characters get a book?

MB: Gabriel Marchand is Patsy's match in every way. He's a very special lycanthrope who comes to Broken Heart seeking sanctuary. He thinks he's an integral part of a prophecy that involves Patsy.

On Her Writing And Other Work:

CD: What's your writing process? By that I mean are you an outliner or do you fly by the seat of your pants? I'm always fascinated about the route my favorite authors take to get to THE END.

MB: Seat of my pants. Good thing I enjoy re-writing.

CD: You write in many different genres, do you have a favorite? What are some of the challenges (if any) that you face when/if you are writing two books at once in a different genre?

MB: Paranormal. I love it. When I wrote FANTASYLAND, my November release, I wrote everything in a contemporary setting. No demons or vampires or witches. It was weird. LOL.

CD: Any advice for those that may want to write one day?

MB: Sit down and do it and quit waiting for "one day." Submit, submit, submit, and never give up.

CD: And finally, would you please share (just for fun) Three fun facts that may not be widely known about you?

MB: I watch "Trick My Truck" on CMT. I once met Dana Plato. I have five cats, two dogs, and two guinea pigs.

I want to give a HUGE thanks to Michele for taking the time to sit down and answer all of my nosey questions! The contest will run until Friday morning when I will announce the winner. Ready set enter!

Take Care