Bio: Donna VanLiere is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author and gifted conference speaker. She has published ten titles including The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing, both of which were adapted into movies (starring Rob Lowe, Kimberly Williams-Perry and Neil Patrick Harris) and garnered big ratings for CBS television. LifetimeTelevision adapted The Christmas Hope (starring Madeline Stowe) and premiered it December 2009 to stellar ratings as well. Donna’s non-seasonal novel, The Angels of Morgan Hill, has captured the same warmth as her Christmas books and continues to please loyal and new fans alike.
Donna is the recipient of a Retailer’s Choice Award for Fiction, a Dove Award, a Silver Angel Award, an Audie Award for best inspirational fiction, a nominee for a Gold Medallion Book of the Year and was recently inducted into the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges Hall of Excellence joining such luminaries as Coretta Scott King, Hugh Downs, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Senator John Glenn. Donna is an in-demand conference speaker having appeared at countless women’s and family events, including select Women of Faith and Extraordinary Women conferences.
Currently: Donna lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, Troy, and their children, Grace, Kate and David.
Christmas Titles: The Christmas Shoes, The Christmas Blessing, The Christmas Promise, The Christmas Hope, The Christmas Secret, and The Christmas Journey.
See my review of The Christmas Journey
Bio Retrieved from donnavanliere.com
In My Mailbox: Week of January 30, 2011
Title: Just Friends With Benefits
Received: From Meredith Schorr
Synopsis: When a friend urges Stephanie Cohen not to put all her eggs in one bastard, the advice falls on deaf ears. Stephanie’s college crush on Craig Hille has been awakened 13 years later as if soaked in a can of Red Bull and she is determined not to let the guy who got away once, get away twice.
Stephanie, a 32-year-old paralegal from Washington, D.C., is a 70’s and 80’s television trivia buff who can recite the starting lineup of the New York Yankees and go beer for beer with the guys. And despite her failure to get married and pro-create prior to entering her thirties, she has so far managed to keep her overbearing mother from sticking her head in the oven. Just Friends with Benefits is the humorous story of Stephanie’s pursuit of love, her adventures in friendship, and her journey to discover what really matters.
Author: Nicky Schmidt
Received: From Sam Lown @ Prospera Publishing
Synopsis: Following on from her debut novel, Nicky Schmidt’s “Marrying out of Money” is the story of a coffee shop heiress who is determined not to marry an aristocratic cad in an arranged marriage. In order to extricate herself, she decides to make herself as undesirable as possible, but things go awry when she finds herself falling for a man who repulses her.
Title: Wanna Get Lucky?
Received: From Cassie Ammerman @ Tor/Forge
Synopsis: A young woman plunges from a Las Vegas sightseeing helicopter, landing in the Pirate’s lagoon in front of the Treasure Island Hotel in the middle of the 8:30 Pirate Show. Almost everyone writes her off as another Vegas victim.
But Lucky O’Toole smells a rat. She’s head of Customer Relations at The Babylon, the newest, most opulent mega-casino and resort on the Strip, so she’s got a lot on her plate: the Adult Film industry’s annual awards banquet, a spouse-swapping convention, sex toy purveyors preying on the pocket-protector crowd attending ElectroniCon…. Still, Lucky can’t resist turning over a few stones.
When a former flame is one of the snakes she uncovers, Lucky’s certain she’s no longer dealing with an anonymous Sin City suicide. To top it all off, Lucky’s best friend Teddie—Las Vegas’ finest female impersonator—presses to take their relationship to the next level. Leave it to Lucky to attract a man who looks better in a dress than she does.
Lucky must manage the Babylon’s onslaught of outrageous festivities, solve a murder, and struggle to keep her life and libido from spinning out of control… not to mention keep her balance in six inch heels.
The Christmas Journey by Donna VanLiere relieves the story of Mary and Joseph and their journey to Bethlehem. It is a very thin book, with water colorings by Michael Storrings. It took me about an hour to read, and I found it interesting to find a story that made Mary and Joseph seem very real. The emotions were evident, the journey was heartwarming, and I think readers can enjoy the story, even not around the holiday times. VanLiere makes Mary and Joseph very human in the modern world, and lets us remember what the Christmas spirit is all about.
Bio: Lou became associated with the book world by starting out as an assistant in the Managing Editor’s Department at Bantam Books. He began his first publishing imprint, Bantam Spectra, and published his first New York Times bestseller with that imprint a year later. Lou also launched the Bantam Crime Line mystery imprint, and the Bantam Fanfare romance imprint. He has worked for the Berkley Publishing Group, Avon Books, and The News Corporation. Lou now devotes his time to The Fiction Studio, and is a novelist and non fiction writer. He has also written novels under the name Ronald Anthony.
Titles under Lou Aronica: Blue
Bio Retrieved from fictionstudio.com
Bio: Originally from Annandale, Virginia, Shelley Stout resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she enjoys spending time with her two grown sons. She also enjoys volunteering at a local homeless shelter. Shelley has been a contributing writer for two Charlotte area magazines, and her award-winning fiction has appeared in anthologies, The Storyteller Magazine and online at WordRiot.
Titles: Radium Halos and Celebrities for Breakfast
See my review of Celebrities for Breakfast
Bio Retrieved from smahswords.com
Bio: Beth Orsoff did not always know she would one day want to be a writer. She graduated from the University of Florida with a B.A. in English/Film Studies, and then her plans stalled. Unsure what to do next, she got a job as a lifeguard. Though she enjoyed the tan and blonde hair from the career choice, her parents were not pleased. They paid Beth to take the LSAT prep class, and after she scored in the top 1% on the exam, she decided she needed to go into law. She moved to California, enrolled in USC Law School, and set out to be an entertainment lawyer. It was sometime into between there and taking the California Bar Exam that Beth decided she wasn’t meant to be a lawyer. She started attending the UCLA Extension Writers Program workshops, and decided to quit her job at Warner Bros. Theatrical Legal Department and work on writing a novel.
Current Titles: Romantically Challenged, Honeymoon for One, and How I Learned to Love the Walrus.
See my review of How I Learned to Love the Walrus
Bio Retrieved from bethorsoff.com
Los Angeles publicist Sydney Green needs to save her job. With a few recent flubs and a bitch in waiting to steal her clients, Sydney makes a desperate plea with her boss. She gets the go ahead to produce a documentary filmed in Alaska for the Save the Walrus Foundation. She figures she’ll head up to Alaska for a few weeks- a month tops, enjoy a vacation, save her job, and make her client/boyfriend look like a celebrity activist. Everyone wins. But when Sydney gets to Alaska and realizes it will be no vacation for her (sleeping in tents and no modern conveniences) she starts to doubt her project- and herself.
How I Learned to Love the Walrus by Beth Orsoff is a light chick lit novel. There are some funny scenes while Sydney is trying to survive in Alaska, and the romance between two characters can be captivating at times. Orsoff can definitely write, there is no question of that, but I wasn’t sure what the point of the story was. I never got invested in the characters or the plot, but I did laugh a few times. If you are looking for a light read, I would recommend How I Learned to Love the Walrus, but if you prefer books with a bit more substance, I would pass.
Debut Novel: The Hating Game
Talli contacted me via email asking me to give her debut novel a review. After reading the synopsis and learning it was about reality TV dating shows, I had to read it! I am a reality TV junkie, so much so, it’s a little embarrassing. But Talli and I are on the same page there- her blog quotes her as saying if she were “forced to wax anyone’s hairy chest it would have to be Simon Cowell.” I enjoyed reading The Hating Game, and watching the producers do whatever necessary to bring more drama into the dating show. Here is a clip of my four star review:
“The Hating Game by Talli Roland has romance and scandal, along with likeable characters and fast plot points. The reality TV spin calls for some hilarious twists as the producers of the show try to inject more drama among the contestants. I liked the main character and the fact she wasn’t whining and complaining throughout about her love life. Instead she was a tough chick, not letting her ruined romance get in the way of her business and success.”
The Hating Game is currently available as an Ebook only, but the paperback version will be for sale in March of 2011. Be sure to check out Talli’s website or blog for more news from this London author, and to get your copy of The Hating Game.
Mattie Johns can really only be described as a man-eater. She is no nonsense, in control, yet has a sense of vulnerability that is rarely on display. She let herself succumb to love once, and that bit her in the ass. Now she is focused solely on her business and trying not to go bankrupt. All thanks her no good cheating ex-boyfriend, who stole all her clients away from her. When Mattie is tapped to appear on a reality dating show, she thinks it could be her only chance to avoid financial disaster. The money being promised is enough to get through a few dates with some loser guys. But the tables are turned on Mattie when the contestants turn out not to be strangers, but four ex-boyfriends, all with a very different motive to being on the dating show.
The Hating Game by Talli Roland has romance and scandal, along with likeable characters and fast plot points. The reality TV spin calls for some hilarious twists as the producers of the show try to inject more drama among the contestants. I liked the main character and the fact she wasn’t whining and complaining throughout about her love life. Instead she was a tough chick, not letting her ruined romance get in the way of her business and success. My only dislike is that I just read a story similar to this one not that long ago- reality TV contestant set up with a bunch of ex-boyfriends. So it didn’t make this story real original, but it was still funny and entertaining to read.
In My Mailbox: Week of January 23, 2011
Title: The Boyfriend of the Month Club
Received: From Maria Geraci
Synopsis: This sexy, funny new novel asks: Can a woman find a modern-day Mr. Darcy in Daytona Beach?
At thirty, Grace O’Bryan has dated every loser in Daytona Beach. After the ultimate date-from-hell, Grace decides to turn her dwindling book club into a Boyfriend of the Month Club, where women can discuss the eligible men in their community. Where are the real life twenty-first century versions of literary heroes such as Heathcliff and Mr. Darcy?
Could it be successful and handsome Brandon Farrell, who is willing to overlook his disastrous first date with Grace and offers financial help for her parents’ failing Florida gift shop? Or maybe sexy dentist Joe Rosenblum, who’s great with a smile but not so great at commitment? Unfortunately, like books, men cannot always be judged by their covers…
Author: Jane Lovering
Received: From Caroline @ Choc Lit Team
Synopsis: Jemima Hutton is determined to build a successful new life and keep her past a dark secret. Trouble is, her jewellery business looks set to fail – until enigmatic Ben Davies offers to stock her handmade belt buckles in his guitar shop and things start looking up, on all fronts.
But Ben has secrets too. When Jemima finds out he used to be the front man of hugely successful Indie rock band Willow Down, she wants to know more. Why did he desert the band on their US tour? Why is he now a semi-recluse?
And the curiosity is mutual – which means that her own secret is no longer safe …
Author: Noelle Chua
Received: From Noelle Chua
Synopsis: Harvard literature scholar Audrey Lee’s perfect life loses the plot when her brand new boyfriend, the dapper MBA Paul Chang, gets down on one knee and of all the silly and ridiculous things, proposes marriage! Suddenly Audrey is fairy-tale trapped and wed-locked into a life she never wanted, that of an expat wife and home-maker in her hometown Singapore. And that’s when a number of attractive men pop up all interested in her, enough to make Audrey feel she may indeed be the Singaporean Madame Bovary or Lady Chatterley. With Paul too absorbed in his career to care plus a few mishaps making marital mayhem, Mrs Mis-Marriage is starting to feel that perhaps she is destined to live unhappily ever after.