Wednesday, February 27, 2008

FAB - Joshilyn Jackson contest reminder, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


Yes, today is Joshilyn's birthday. Won't you stop by her site here and wish her a very happy day? And while you're at it, remind her how pretty she is!

Just reminding y'all that the contests are both over on Thursday at midnight EST. So.

If you want to blog about Joshilyn Jackson's newest book, THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING, be sure to put the .jpg (selflessly hosted by Joss here) and the inside cover copy (found on this post here) on YOUR blog. Then drop in here on any post that has the words "FAB" and "JOSHILYN JACKSON" on the title and leave me a link. I'm not picky where you put it, as long as you tell me somewhere that you've linked to my site.

If you want to enter the other contest, just tell me about your most intense celebrity stalker experience. Again, any post will do.

Also, as I mentioned, Joshilyn has agreed to answer questions from my blog-reader friends this week. If you have a question for her, just leave it on THIS post, and she'll drop in and answer it for you.

I will announce contest winners on Friday or Saturday, when I post the FABulous interview with Joshilyn. I'll be out of town over the weekend, but will have my computer with me. Be sure to stay tuned!!

Keep Turning Those Pages!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Make sure you read all the way to the end of this post, ok? There are a few things that might be of interest to you down at the end. I'd say more, but what I really want to do is talk about this month's FABPick, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, by the FABulous Joshilyn Jackson.

From the Inside Cover Copy:

Laurel Gray Hawthorne hasn't seen a ghost in the thirteen years she and her husband have lived in the beautiful gated neighborhood of Victorianna. keeping her head down, she's managed to make a good life for her beloved daughter and husband while working on her nationally acclaimed art quilts. But in the dog days of a Florida August, she wakes to find a dead girl standing by her bed. It's the ghost of her daughter's best friend, Molly, who leads the way to her own small body, floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Now, with police on her lawn and neighbors peeking over the fence, Laurel's carefully constructed existence cracks, and her past seeps through.

Laurel and her sister, Thalia, grew up in what appears to be a typical blue-collar home, but the Grays have long been hiding a very literal skeleton in their closet. While Laurel built her pretty, pleasing life in the suburbs, Thalia became an actress with a capital A, about as unconventional as they come. She's the walking definition of mess, and no longer fits in Laurel's tidy world. Yet Molly can't rest until someone learns her secrets, and she has opened a door to the past that Laurel can't close alone. She turns to her wild and estranged sister, though asking for Thalia's help is like jumping into a hot frying pan protected only bu a thin layer of Crisco. Together they set out on a life altering journey that will reveal their family's buried history, the true state of Laurel's perfect marriage, and what really happened to the girl who stopped swimming.

Doesn't that make you want to read the book? Well, it should, because that is actually a totally accurate example of cover copy. It's so correct, I can't say a single word about it...except "YES!"

As for the actual story... Whew! I don't even know what else to say, but I'll try.

Like Ms. Jackson's previous two novels, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is a thrilling roller-coaster of emotion. From the opening paragraph, I was pulled into the story of Laurel Hawthorne and her almost crazy Southern family.

The plot was tight, the pacing was superb, and the characters seemed to step right off the page. And the voice? Well, if you've read a Jackson novel already, then you know about the voice. If you haven't (and what HAVE you been reading, if not one of her books?!?), then let me give you an example...

Thalia had stared up at Daddy's face as if it were more interesting than any thousand fairies, but Laurel had peered hard out at the fireflies and seen the curved body of a girl, slim as filament, glowing in the heart of every light.

Isn't that beautiful? Have you ever heard fireflies described quite like that before? If not, then you've obviously skipped your portion of Jackson this year.

I can't really say much more about the book without giving something away, and trust me, there's plenty to give away. It's one of those books that you will suck up fast, because it keeps rolling. But then you'll have to re-read it, almost as soon as you finish, because the way it all ties up makes you want to go back and experience it all again.

I can remember the first time I read it, just a few weeks ago. I blocked off an entire day, because I knew that once I started I wouldn't be able to put it down. And I didn't. Not for food, not for movie night, not for anything. I held my breath at least a dozen times. I rushed to the end, because I had to find out what happened to that girl in the pool, and to Thalia, and to Laurel. When I finished, I put the book down and walked downstairs, the tears still seeping out of my eyes. I sat down in my chair and my husband and oldest daughter just looked at me. "Are you ok?" they both asked. My reply? "I just need to figure out how to breathe again." Once I figured it out (which took about half an hour to do properly), I was fine. I headed back upstairs and started reading it all over again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Telling you to read this book just isn't enough. I really should post a warning with my recommendation: IF YOU BUY THIS BOOK, PLAN ON READING IT OFTEN. <--- said in my public announcer's voice.

So go ahead. Dive into The Girl Who Stopped Swimming. But be forewarned: Once just won't be enough.

Keep Turning Those Pages!!

Oh yeah, about those extras...
Don't forget to enter one of the contests for a chance at winning a signed copies of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING.
- For one contest, simply tell me about your most intense or bizarre celebrity stalker experience, in the comments of this post.
- For the other contest, copy the .jpg and the ICC (that's the picture of the cover of the book and the inside cover copy, in purple near the top of this post) and paste them onto YOUR blog, with a linkback to this blogpost. Please also add in the comments here where your post is, so I can add you up in the sidebar.

And, just to make things more interesting, the FABulous Joshilyn Jackson is going to give away some extras. Don't believe me? Check out her website here (2/24 post) for more details. I told you she was pretty!

Can you get any more FAB than that?

Ummm.... No.

Stay tuned for more Joss, all week long!

Friday, February 22, 2008

FAB - Joshilyn Jackson is PRICELESS!

First of all - isn't she just PRETTY? I mean, she's beautiful, right? She is. And the cool thing? She's just as pretty on the inside. Well, I guess the blood and guts might give you pause. But her spirit? Her soul? Very, very pretty. You'll get to see that over the next few days, as I share some things about her books, and you read the interview that she granted. Also, Joss has agreed to answer questions. So if you have a question for her, please leave it in the comments section of ANY post that has FAB in the title this week, and she'll be along to answer it. Just remember that she's on BOOK TOUR for her newest release, THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING, and the replies to your questions and comments may take a day or two. But she will answer. :)

Today though, I'd like to talk about Ms. Jackson's debut novel, gods in Alabama. It just happens to be one of my favorite books in the entire world. And evidently, I'm not the only one that feels that way.

You see, gods In Alabama was one of the initial 100 books on this list. Then people voted, and gods actually made it into the Top Ten. It has the chance to be "THE" book to talk about in 2008. You can help it achieve that goal by voting for it. But why vote?

(from the author's website)

When Arlene Fleet headed off to college in Chicago, she made three promises to God: She would never again lie, she would stop fornicating with every boy who crossed her path, and she'd never, ever go back to her tiny hometown of Possett, Alabama (the "fourth rack of Hell"). All God had to do in exchange was to make sure the body of high school quarterback Jim Beverly was never found.

Ten years later, Arlene has kept her promises, but an old school-mate has recently turned up asking questions. And now Arlene's African American beau has given her a tough ultimatum: introduce him to her family, or he's gone. As she prepares to confront guilt, discrimination, and a decade of deception, Arlene is about to discover just how far she will go to find redemption - and love.

Here's what I had to say about it after I read it the very first time...

To anyone that has ever lived in the South, especially in the Deep South, or in any small town, really, the first paragraph of the book swallows you up whole. You know, or remember, those gods that are mentioned, or you have your own slightly different list of gods from your own town. Maybe it's a high school hockey goalie instead of a quarterback. Maybe it's fast cars instead of pickup trucks. But really, you know the gods of which she speaks. You revered them. You worshipped at their shrines, just like I did. They still have a hold on you, even though Jesus may or may not have a bigger hold now. In your heart of hearts, you know there are gods.

Arlene/Lena knows this as well. "There are gods in Alabama..." This is her mantra. She has a secret, she's made a deal with the big "g" GOD, yet she still practices this refrain in her head for the better part of ten years. When a person from her past shows up in her very Yankee new life asking questions about something Arlene has tried unsuccessfully to forget, the power of those gods is unleashed all over her poor, guilty, Southern soul. She hightails it back home to Alabama, thinking her journey will be anything but sweet.

Those gods have some surprises up their sleeves though. See, Arlene did a Bad Thing when she was younger. That Bad Thing prompted her to make that deal with God. She kept up her end of the deal, but I think she was always scared that He might not keep up His end. When her past shows up on her doorstep, she's pretty sure that He has called off the Deal, and she must now face up to that Bad Thing.

When Arlene gets to Alabama with her boyfriend/pretend husband Burr by her side, she has to start facing her past. That past is rolled up in a family that includes a crazy momma, a perfect cousin, a sweet uncle, and the steeliest aunt anyone familiar with steely Southern aunts has ever seen. I've known my share of steely Southern aunts. I have two of my own. But really, Arlene's Aunt Florence has them beat hands down. Her past also includes her unapologetically racist family, though they are really just mentioned, not heard from. And it includes the kudzu. We can't forget the kudzu, ok?

I fell in love with Arlene. I liked Lena, her Yankee all-grown-up self, too, but really, I loved Arlene. I could feel her shift from Lena, self-assured Deal-keeper, to Arlene, guilty little Bad Thing doer, as soon as she waved goodbye to Tennessee and hello to Alabama. Arlene has a quiet strength, a vulnerability, and a crazy streak, that would seem fake in any other character. It works for her. I felt her pain, her rage, her joy, her guilt, her passion, her jealousy, her indignation, her love. I became her for the day. It wasn't hard to do, Joshilyn made it virtually painless to slip into her skin.

I loved the alternating timelines of the chapters in this book. It starts in present day, then it eases you back in time 17 years. During those flashback chapters that aren't really written like flashbacks, you get to know Arlene as she was at 15. You get to live, every other chapter, inside her head, seeing everything that led up to the Bad Thing. You already know what the Bad Thing is. You find out at the very beginning of the second chapter, even though its pretty well spelled out in the first. It's not a secret anymore, because Joshilyn puts it right out there at the beginning. It's almost as if Joshilyn is saying,"This is my story, and she is my girl. She did this Bad Thing, I'm telling you that right now. But you may not judge her just yet. She's lived with the guilt for a good many years, and you will hear her out, every last word of her story, before I allow you to sit in your stifling glass house and pass judgement on her."

And that's exactly what I did. I sat there, transfixed, as the drama played out around me. I breathed in that fertile Alabama soil, I slurped that sweet tea (really, is there any other kind?), and I listened to all of the things that Aunt Flo didn't say, until I'd heard every last word.

When it was over, when it was just me staring at that very last page, I sat very still and could think of only one thing: There are gods in Alabama. And they bestowed a gift on Joshilyn Jackson. And I will praise them forevermore.

If you
really need me to say it, I will say it for you now. GET. OUT. OF. YOUR. CHAIR. AND. GET. YOUR. BUTT. TO. YOUR NEAREST. BOOKSTORE. AND. GET. THIS. BOOK.

The gods will smile down upon you when you do.

And now, after a year and a half, I still feel the same way. If you haven't read it yet, do so. Then be sure to go vote!

Don't forget to enter the contest(s)!! Just put the TGWSS .jpg and info on your site and linkback for one contest, or tell me your Famous Person Stalker Story for the other. Great prizes will be given out for both contests.

Keep Turning Those Pages!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

FAB is here - and so is JOSHILYN JACKSON ( and a contest!!)

Eek! It's here. I've been waiting for this week since about July of 2006. No, I'm really not exaggerating!

Most of you already know the history between me and this month's FAB Pick - Joshilyn Jackson. We have been total BFF since forever ago, ok? Don't believe me? Case in point - I once drove hundreds of miles to see her, then she invited me to have lunch with her, AND we got our picture taken together and she posted it on her website. I don't think you can even be more BFF than that. Unless you count that I blatantly, I mean - borrowed- her idea and framed that picture of us and wrote in pink and purple glitter puffy paint "dee and Joss - Best Friends For-evah!" on it, and it now hangs on the wall in my bedroom. Yes. It does.

But we're not going to discuss my stalker tendencies, ok? Because stalking would be bad. And this month, there is nothing bad about FAB.

Joshilyn is, obviously, one of my fave authors. Has been for a few years now. With award-winning books like her debut novel, gods In Alabama, or her follow-up - Between, Georgia, both hitting the #1 spot in some list or another, I'd be really surprised if you haven't heard of her by now. Besides, she's got one of the funniest blogs on the entire web. Don't believe me? Check it out here. Scroll down and read around a bit. She's hysterical.

And she's got a new book that's hitting stores in just a few weeks. It's called THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING, and, well - it's so totally FABulous that of course I have to tell you all about it. I'm going to tell you all about TGWSS, her blog FASTER THAN KUDZU, her other two books, and some other stuff over the next week. There will, of course, be an interview at the end of the week. And a surprise.

We're also going to have a contest. Or two.

The first one is really easy. All you have to do is put this .jpg and this info ABOUT THE BOOK (found below) on your own blog. Once it is there, come over here to Friday's post (dish of TGWSS) and leave me a link. You can also post about FAB week on your favorite group or loop, and come here and comment to me about it. Plus, if you send people this way, you'll get some extra entries. Lots of ways to enter, lots of ways to win. The prize is a personalized, signed copy of the new release, THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING. The contest runs from 2/22 - 2/28. Don't forget to enter, starting tomorrow.
About the book (from the author's own website)

Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother make sure the very literal family skeleton stays buried or turning scraps of fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class niceties. While Laurel's life seems neat and on track--a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna--everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 14-year old neighbor Molly Dufresne.

The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is inexplicable--an unseemly mystery Laurel knows no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Only her wayward, unpredictable sister is right for the task, but calling in a favor from Thalia is like walking straight into a frying pan protected only by Crisco. Enlisting Thalia's help, Laurel sets out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about her family's guarded past, the true state of her marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.

So I said TWO Contests, didn't I? The second one is a bit more personal. Here's all you have to do. Tell me, either in the comments here on this post, or on your own blog, what the most extreme thing you've ever done to meet a famous person is. You can use my story about my BFF Joss, or any one of the hundreds of other stories of mine, as a jumping off point if you want (something like - "I'm not nearly as nuts as dee when she drove all the way to SC to see Joss for the second time and made her real life friends go with her". Oops. Sorry. I'm getting ahead of myself. THAT story will happen NEXT week. More info to follow.). I've driven literally thousands of miles in pursuit of a signed book or chance to shake the hand of authors. I've worn certain clothes, I've said certain things, I've shared hotel rooms with certain people, all to meet a person that wrote a book, because as you know - authors are my rock stars. But maybe you just like Rock Stars. That's ok too. Whoever your famous stalker experience is, tell me about it. This contest begins today (2/21) and ends next Thursday (2/28) as well.

So. Two contests. A dish of a brand new book. Chat about previous books. Links to all sorts of places. An interview that will have you smiling. What more could you possibly want?

Keep Turning Those Pages!

Friday, February 15, 2008

FAB is coming!

And you're not going to believe who is going to be here for it.

And *I* am not telling.

Well, I'll give you a little hint.

Be on the lookout for FUN, starting next week. I'll have a dish of this author's newest book, a quick re-cap of the previous books, and a wonderful interview.

And a contest.

Just to get you in the mood for the contest, I'll give you a little preview of the prize...

and it's going to be SIGNED. By the AUTHOR (not by me!). And you even have the chance to win SIGNED COPIES of the previous books as well.

Are you ready?

Sure hope so!!

Keep Turning Those Pages!

PS- yes, I know it's blurry. I did that on purpose. If you want to see what the pristine and pretty cover looks like, you'll just have to click the link.

Monday, February 11, 2008


First of all, I'd like to send up some prayers for all the people, families, and communities affected by the storms and tornadoes over the weekend. Having spent many years living in Tornado Alley, I know that fear and devastation that can change your world in an instant. My thoughts and prayers are with you if you live in any of the areas that were affected.

Second, Chari-Dee has decided not to continue to be a part of this site. I am sure that she did not come to this decision lightly. However, she feels the need to go in different directions and concentrate her time in other areas. While she will be greatly missed, most especially by me, I understand her need to take an indefinite leave from this blog.

While we both love reading and bringing you our opinions of the books that we read, it can be exhausting and very overwhelming. Over the past few years, we have both felt the need to take breaks and let the other carry the load for a while. This is one of those times, though it's doubtful that she will return any time in the near future. I have been assured, however, that she will continue to do occasional reviews on her own personal site. That site will be linked here in the sidebar so that we can all keep up with what she has to say.

To say that she will be missed here is the utmost in understatement.

With that in mind, I'm asking for just a few days to get my thoughts and plans together here. I still have a FABPick to bring you later this month. That will begin on 2/22, with a contest included. I've also got some DoubleDishes coming up this month, with Pearl and t.c. helping me out. (On a side note, Pearl and t.c., could you please send your addresses along to me at so that I can get your books in the mail this week?) Pearl and t.c. are going to be dishing 'gods behaving badly' and "The Crazy School" with me. I still need someone to dish "Beginner's Greek". If you're interested, send me an e-mail to the above gmail address.

There will be a few cosmetic changes around here as well. I might hang some new pictures, or even paint the walls. If you have any decorating ideas, send them along. And your patience during this time will be greatly appreciated.

Please take the time to wish Chari-Dee all the best in the comments section. She has put quite a bit of herself into this site, and I know that she's going to miss being around here. Let's let her know that she will be missed very much, and that we wish her the very best in the new direction she's taking.

Keep Turning Those Pages!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

FAB winner announced, and dee needs help!!

Whew. My week ends today, and I can't wait to sleep in tomorrow. Will someone please make sure to e-mail my baby and let her know that Mommy needs some rest? Thanks.

I've got a FAB winner to announce. This person is getting a signed copy of Liza Palmer's FABulous book, SEEING ME NAKED. So could I please have


contact me at deeanddeedish at sbcglobal dot net with your name and address, and I'll forward it on to Liza. Please put SMN FAB WINNER in your subject line, so you don't get lost in our inbox. Also, this book isn't coming from me, it's coming straight from our FAB author. As with most authors, she's already hard at work on her next book. So please, be patient about getting your book mailed to you, ok?

Now, here's where I need some help. I've had books sent to me over the past few weeks that I've already read and need to get dished. But I would like to do some Double-Dishes. If you'd like to Double-Dish with me, please leave your comment on this post, telling me what book you want to dish. I'll pick some Double-Dishers at random and mail off the book to you. When you get it, read it and then I'll e-mail you some Double-Dish guidelines.

The Crazy School
, by Cornelia Read
Gods Behaving Badly, by Marie Phillips
Beginner's Greek, by James Collins

If I don't pick you this time, don't worry. Whenever a book gets sent to me by someone other than the author, I will ask for a Double-Dish volunteer, so I can get your input as well. Everyone will have plenty of chances to help out (and get free books!). This doesn't apply to books that I buy though. Most of the ones I buy are keepers for me.

One exception to the above Double Dish thing will be my FAB for February. I received a book in the mail and actually squealed!! And I knew right away that it would be FAB. Yes, I know Chari-Dee is right in the middle of a big Promo for AuthorIsland (again!). Yes, I know that I just had a FAB in January. But I'm having another one at the end of this very month. I must have the winner's name by 2/29/08, so they can get a very special prize. I've already read the book about 5 times, sucked it up every single time, too. So get ready for a steady week of something very special. (Hint: if you visit here often, you know who some of my top-ranked authors are. One of them has a release in just a few weeks, and I'm going to catch her on book tour, where I will purchase books for the FAB winner.) Look for the FAB stuff to begin around 2/22.

Keep Turning Those Pages!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Warrior by Kinley MacGregor

Before I dive into today’s dish. I want to remind everyone about February With Author Island going on here at dee & Dee. There are several ways to be entered for prizes this month, 1 – comment on any of the posts that are about Author Island Authors. 2 – Join the Author Island Tiki Hut Forums and chat it up. 3 – Get your recipes ready, we’re going to be collecting a few of those as well! And speaking of recipes, don’t forget that the Author Island Chatters Cook Blog is now public, so you can search out some great recipes from both readers and authors.

And now without further ado…

The Warrior by Kinley MacGregor

Trust No One…

Lochlan MacAllister was born to lead. Ruthlessly groomed to take control of his clan, he has given his life to his people. But when he learns that the brother he thought was dead might still be alive, he embarks on a quest to find the truth.

Catarina wants a life of freedom. But now Catarina’s royal father wants to use her as a pawn to ensure a treaty between conflicting lands. So much so that he’s willing to kidnap his daughter to force the issue. But when she escapes, fate throws her into the path of a man she loathes.

Lochlan is stunned to find the shrewish Cat being hauled away by unknown men. Unwilling to see even her suffer, he frees her only to learn that she has her own demons to fight. When their fates intertwine, two people who know nothing of trust must rely on each other, and two enemies who have vowed their eternal hatred must find common ground, or see their very lives shattered.

This really isn’t the best of BCC’s. It’s good to a point, but severely misleading there at the very end. It does a great job of grabbing the attention, and while I understand that’s the reason there even is BCC, I still don’t like the feeling of being tricked.

That said. I really enjoyed this book. Lochlan and Catarina have met before, in fact Lochlan’s brother is married to Catarina’s cousin. However, Lochlan doesn’t really care all that much for Catarina and her smart mouth, and Catarina doesn’t really like Locklan’s arrogance.

Lochlan discovers that a brother he has long thought dead could still be alive, and family is very important to Lochlan. He would love nothing more to have his brother back with him, after he strangles him for lying to them all of these years, of course. So, leaving the clan behind in search of his lost brother Lochlan sets out only to come across men rough housing a lady. But it isn’t just any lady; it’s the smart mouthed Catarina that he really cannot stand. But, worse than his dislike for Cat, is his dislike for bullies. So to the rescue he comes.

Cat has had it. She finally gets away from her captures only to have them ask the town for aid in keeping her. When a rather large man comes at her, she prepares herself for defeat, only to find that he is sticking up for her. Too bad it’s Lochlan MacAllister, a man she loathes. But, he does save her, and for that she’s thankful. That is until she lets him know that her father is the King, and Lochlan says he’s taking her back to him. Cat doesn’t want to be married to some stuffy man who treats her as though she is property.

Lochlan decides he will help Cat find her uncles that have always looked out for her, but first, he must get to a tournament where a man is that may know of his brothers fate. On their journey, Cat and Lochlan face the kings men who want her back, an old enemy of the MacAllister clan, and their own insecurities of their past. Lochlan’s father was not a kind man, and not only does his past misdeeds follow Cat and Lochlan on their journey, they could eventually be both of their downfalls.

MacGregor also writes as Sherrilyn Kenyon, and as you know I really love Kenyon’s books and that’s how I came to read her books under the MacGregor name. When I first got The Warrior, I was thinking it was one of her Knights of Avalon books, so I was a bit disappointed when I realized it wasn’t and I was going to be reading a book that was one of a series when I hadn’t read the previous titles. However, I had no problems jumping right into the story, and any information I would have needed MacGregor gives throughout the book.

There were a few problems with the book, mainly MacGregor’s affinity for head hopping, but I’m used to that by now, and she actually does it in a way that doesn’t lose the reader. There were also a few points that sort of get mentioned that I felt were going to be a big part of the plot and they just got dropped.

The love story gets wrapped up fairly easily, and that also bothered me just a bit. It all seemed out of character for the King to just let these two be together, but the action throughout was amazing, and I could not put the book down. In fact, I’ll be going out and buying the other books in the series, just because I enjoyed this one so much.

Also, the very end has a bit of a surprise for fans of this series, and it makes me wonder if we may be getting a new Dark Hunter book that ties into this series. I know I sure wouldn’t mind reading it (hint, hint Sherrilyn, hint, hint).

All in all, for all of the little things wrong about the book, there were so many things right that I had the book read in less than three hours. Filled with action, steamy love, and a fair bit of suspense, The Warrior is a treat for any fan of Kenyon or MacGregor, and also an excellent way for new readers to join the Brotherhood.

Take Care

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Trick My Truck but Don't Mess With My Heart by LuAnn McLane

I want to remind everyone that this month is February with Author Island! The prizes are still a secret, but know there will be several. Don't forget that the Author Island Chatters Cook Blog is now public, so if you're looking for some great recipes, head over there click the name and you'll see some great search-able recipes. Every month Author Island will have a recipe exchange chat, and all of the recipes will be added to the blog, so it will be an ever expanding place to find good food. Also, you can be entered in a contest for joining up over at the Author Island Tiki Hut Forums. It's brand-new and we're announcing it here first, so this is truly a way to be on the ground floor of something so fun! New members and Chatters will be entered to win some contests. LuAnn McLane is an Author Member of Author Island. That means that from time to time you'll see contests for LuAnn's stuff (along with many other authors) over at the home page. And now, without further ado...

Trick My Truck but Don't Mess With My Heart
by LuAnn McLane


When Candie Montgomery reluctantly leaves a good job in Chicago to help save her family's failing used-car business, she's shocked to find that the townspeople of Pinewood, Kentucky - all 876 of them - are shunning her. Rumor has it that Candie's to blame for the broken engagement between her twin sister, Sarah, and her close frined Nick. But how can she be the otehr woman without even knowing it?


With the family business, her reputation, and her relationship with Sarah on the line, Candie needs a boyfriend - pronto- to put a lid on the gossip. Damage control comes in the sexy form of Tommy Tucker. It was supposed to be a quick fix, but Candie might just be in it for the long haul.

Two years ago Candie Montgomery left Pinewood and headed to Chicago to make her own way. But, her daddy's had a heart attack and the family needs her help in running (saving) their car dealership. So back to Pinewood she heads, only to find out she's being shunned. Turns out her twin sister Sarah (who although a twin couldn't look more different) has told the entire town that Candie is the reason for Nick breaking off their engagement. Nick and Candie used to be best friends, and Nick misses that friendship. And while he loves Sarah, he also wants to have a friendship with her as well.

In order to get the town to quit shunning her, and in turn help with the saving of the family business, Candie gets herself a fake boyfriend. Tommy Tucker, a few years younger, and one fine looking cowboy happens to volunteer to do just that, all Candie has to do is say she'll play on his sand Volleyball team. The only problem is, this fake boyfriend of hers sure ignites some major feelings and trying to ignore them turn out to be impossible.

With a new guy in town running his daddy's car lot that used to sell the trade-ins to Dapper Dan's (Candie and Sarah's family car lot) business is a lot harder to come by. Thankfully, Candie has an idea that could save the business, but will hers and Sarah's hearts be able to stand the path it will put them on?

As with Dancing Shoes and Honky Tonk Blues, McLane captures what it's like to be a small town southern gal. With insecurities about our past, fears of the unknown and coming to terms with the curve-balls life throws us. McLane touches on real life topics with heart and humor. "I'm just not cut out for this stuff. In truth, I'm a pretty simple girl too." I shake my head. "I feel like I'm caught up in a redneck soap opera."

There are books in our lives that find themselves in our hands at exactly the right time, and TMT is one of those books for me. Candie finds herself dealing with how short life can be. Seeing her once strong and invincible (in her eyes anyway) daddy sick, helps Candie see that life doesn't always turn out how we plan. Today, I found out that my daddy, is not as invincible as once I thought, either. Daddy stopped by to tell me he's having surgery on Monday. Yeah, as in two days from now. We're a close family, so why am I just now finding this out? Because my daddy didn't want me to worry. Well, DUH, of course I'm gonna worry. Like Candie, I never though my strong, take-charge daddy would ever be sick. But - he is, and we have to deal with that. I can't tell you how glad I am that McLane's book will be in my hot little hand while I do.

Candie, Sarah, Tommy, and Nick also have to face the hard truth that we are what people expect us to be. You have to understand, that small town life defines a person. In a small town, a mold is set for us early on. We are either pretty, smart, athletic, or doomed to failure. Very rarely are we allowed to be anything else. Candie found a way to help herself and those she holds closest realize that we don't have to be what we once were, as long as we expect people to expect more of us, they will. The mold that was set for us, doesn't have to hold us, but it's up to us to shatter it.

Trick My Truck has it all. Humor, Romance, and Personal Journey. When life runs too fast and too hard, it's nice to know that you can reach for a book by McLane to lighten the mood and leave you with a smile in your heart. To take you to the small town South, where life seems just a big friendlier than our own. Written in First Person, Candie takes us on her personal journey that she takes with many, and sucks the reader right into her world. I didn't want it to end.

I have a ton of notes written for this book - passages or pages that caught my attention, so I thought I'd share just a couple, because I know once you read them, you are gonna go right out and buy the book yourself!

When Candie and Sarah decide to egg the competition for the car dealerships car.

- "Or maybe you were vandalizing my car."
"Yeah, and maybe your trouser monster is hanging out."
"So you didn't throw the egg at my car?"
"I most certainly did
not. Oh, and by the way, when you call the police I want you to explain why you tackled an innocent jogger and showed me your trouser monster."

When Candie decides to flirt a bit with Tommy and pretend she's tough and gonna head-butt him in the gut. (I love this one because this is me to a T.)

" He's right of course. I especially wouldn't want to ram my head into his rock-hard abs but I narrow my eyes and he takes a step back, looking kind of nercous. Jusr for fun I decide to take a couple of steps backward and then act as if I'm going to head-butt him as threatened. The operative word here is
act but the toe of my shoe catches on a raised crack in the sidewalk (I swear there's one there) and I go airborne like a chicken trying to fly. Well, we all know that chickens can't fly, so I find myself flopping forward in an odd almost slow motion tumble."

Another one that's me.

-"I finally fell asleep. I kept going over my incident with Nick and then my date with Tommy in my head and ended up having a weird dream that I was a mermaid."

Go get this book. You won't be sorry.

Take Care