Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review: Sleeping with Paris by Juliette Sobanet

Charlotte Summers is a sassy, young French teacher who is two days away from moving to Paris with the love of her life and from fulfilling her dream of studying at the prestigious Sorbonne University in France. But when she discovers her fiancĂ©’s online dating profile and has a little chat with the busty red-head he’s been sleeping with on the side, she gives up on committed relationships altogether and decides to navigate Paris on her own.

Determined to stop other women from finding themselves in her shoes, Charlotte creates an anonymous blog on how to date like a man in the City of Love—that is, how to jump from bed to bed without ever falling in love. But, with a slew of Parisian men beating down her door, a hot new neighbor who feeds her chocolate in bed, and an appearance by her sleazy ex-fiancĂ©, she isn’t so sure she can keep her promise to remain commitment-free.

And, when Charlotte agrees to write an article for a popular women’s magazine about her Parisian dating adventures—or disasters, rather—will she risk losing the one man who’s swept her off her feet and her dream job in one fell swoop?

What a delightful debut novel from an amazingly talented author, Juliette Sobanet. I adored the characters in this novel. From the heartbroken and clearly scared Charlotte to her wacky girlfriends to the very charming Luc. I loved how their stories wove together and their strengths and weaknesses are wrote with so much passion you feel you are part of the story being told. Paris is brought to life in your mind as the author takes the time to describe the scenery without going overboard. I did wish that Charlotte had gotten the chance to tell off the truly awful Madame Rousseau, but there truly isn't anything that can be said other than do yourself a favor and read this book.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interview with Nancy Volkers

Thank you so much to Nancy for graciously answering some questions. It was so much fun having you on my blog!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, definitely. I started writing stories when I was 4 or 5, and really got into it in 3rd grade. I was a writing minor in college and actually applied to several MFA programs for fiction writing, but never enrolled in a program. I also kept a journal off and on for about 28 years… gah, that’s a long time.

Who are some authors that inspired you along the way?

As a kid… Roald Dahl, CS Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, Lois Lowry. As an adult… Tana French, Shakespeare, Stephen King, Bill Bryson, Anne Lamott,

Have you been to Scotland? And was there a real life Ralph there?

I’ve been to Scotland twice, back in the 1990s. I did not meet a real-life Ralph either time. ;-) There may be one there, however – I’m not discounting that possibility. Ralph came straight out of my imagination, and while I’ve been told that men like him don’t exist, I can happily confirm that those people are wrong.

The ending of "Scotland by Starlight" was extremely different than I thought it would go. Not to spoil those that haven't read the book, but was that where you always planned to take the story?

No, it wasn’t. But stories take on lives of their own. The ending came to me well before the book was finished. I sat down one day and began writing in Ralph’s voice. It wasn’t what I expected, but once I started writing it, I could see that it would have to end that way. I can’t explain why, though I have been asked many times by many people!

My favorite question to ask, who would you cast in a movie of either or both of the books?

Fun question! I imagine Ralph as sort of a Richard Gere/Kevin Costner/Sam Neill type. Gerard Butler has always been my go-to guy for Ralph, but if others have suggestions, I’d love to hear them! For Cassie, I’ve thought about Ellen Page (Juno) or maybe Carey Mulligan or Amy Adams… Cassie is harder to cast, I think. There are so many beautiful actresses, and while Cassie is attractive, she’s not drop-dead gorgeous (though Ralph would beg to differ with me on that one). But she is intelligent and a bit neurotic, and that’s not always easy to play.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write as much as you can. Read whatever you can get your hands on. And don’t listen to people who try to bring you down.

What are you working on next?

I have a novel in progress about a 30-something woman at a crossroads in her life, who meets someone who isn’t what he seems. I have a list of ideas for other books, as well. And I’d love to write the screenplay for A Scottish Ferry Tale and Scotland by Starlight; I see them being combined into one film. However, 2011 has been a year of huge changes for me and I haven’t gotten much writing done at all! I’m planning to carve out some time in 2012, though. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but publishing another novel is definitely on my agenda!

And did I mention, is there a real Ralph in Scotland? I'm ready to go now.

There just might be! But even if Scotland is Ralphless, it’s a gorgeous country with friendly people and cute sheep. Definitely worth a visit!

Thank you to Samantha with CLP Blog Tours for including me in such a wonderful tour.

Click on the link and leave a comment to be entered to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

** If you purchase your copy of Scotland by Starlight before February 6 and send your receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, you will get five bonus entries! **

Come interact with Nancy at the following:

Nancy's Website

Nancy on Goodreads

Nancy on Twitter

Buy the book:

Barnes & Noble (Nook only)



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: Scotland by Starlight by Nancy Volkers

Last May, I did a review for A Scottish Ferry Tale by Nancy Volkers and the book was just perfect. It was the right blend of romance that appealed to me and had me wanting more of the story of Cassie and Ralph. I was excited to find out there was a sequel and thank you to Samantha with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours for asking me to be part of this tour.

From Goodreads:
Cassie Wrentham is on her way to Scotland again... but this time it's not vacation. She's moving in with Ralph Macnair, the charismatic Scotsman who stole her heart. But Cassie wouldn't be Cassie without doubts. Will she find a job in a tight U.K. economy? Would marrying Ralph now be only for convenience's sake? Will she fit in, make friends, make a life there? Or will it all fall apart? Bursting with a lively cast of characters, all with their own stories and challenges, Scotland By Starlight follows Cassie and Ralph from the new beginnings of their intense relationship to a conclusion like no other.

Nancy Volkers wrote two of the most interesting characters. Cassie continued to exasperate me here and there with her indecisiveness and her putting up roadblocks, but the character of Ralph was wrote with so much love for Cassie that even when he became unsure it was evident that they loved each other. As the issue of age came up again and again, I started to have a sense of dread fill me. But the relationship continued to grow and the inevitable wedding takes place. However, there is an epilogue to this book and while I won't spoil it for you, my heart broke and I cried through the remaining pages of the book. So much emotion in this book and one that you will not want to put down when you start reading it. Nancy has proven to be a remarkable storyteller and hopefully we get something new from her soon, carrying on in this tradition.

I highly recommend this book, but please be sure to read the first one to get the whole magical love story.