March Reading Review Round-Up

Today I’m sharing a round-up of the books I read during March. Scroll on to find out which one was my favorite. Click the images below to read my reviews for each novel.

       

Books Read in March 2017

Books listed below in the order they were read

  1. New Attitude by Kathryn R. Biel
  2. Playing House by Laura Chapman
  3. See You Soon Broadway by Melissa Baldwin
  4. Perfect Girl by Michele Gorman
  5. Defining Her by Samantha March
  6. Wait for the Rain by Maria Murnane
  7. Bridges by Maria Murnane
  8. Plan Bea by Hilary Grossman

My favorite book read during March was…

All of them! I loved all of the books I read this month, that I can’t possibly pick only one favorite! They were all 5 star reads in my book, so I’m choosing not to pick just one.

What books did you read last month that you loved?

 

 

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Exclusive Guest Post & Review – Laura Chapman

Today I’m excited to share a review for a new release by one of my favorite authors in addition to an exclusive guest post written by the author herself!

Playing House by Laura Chapman

My Review:

I loved this story of Bailey. She starts off as an assistant designer on a reality TV show that is being filmed in Texas. Bailey slowly becomes an important fixture in the crew and in their lives. But things aren’t always how they seem. There’s little secrets that pop up along the way and Bailey wonders if she’s getting more than she signed on for.

One of the main themes of the story is family and the lengths we will go to protect the people we care about. At the end of the day, the most important thing is taking care of the people we love and its always in our best interest to be open and honest in what we do.

This novel was highly entertaining and I wish there was another one to follow in a series, but I believe it currently is a stand alone novel. Can’t wait to see what Chapman brings on next.

My Rating:  5/5 Stars

I received a complimentary review copy via the author. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.

Guest Post by Laura Chapman: Tour of My Office

In my latest novel, Playing House, we go behind the scenes of a hit home improvement TV show. In that spirit, I thought I’d take you readers on a tour of my favorite room in my house: my office.

This is the room I have put the most work and time into. Every piece has a purpose and a story behind it. I’ll share some of those tales. Incidentally, despite my best intentions, my office also tends to be the room in which I spend the least amount of time. Well, after the guest bedroom, which I primarily use to hide clean laundry from my cats before I fold it. I tend to be nomadic with my writing, which means my laptop, notebooks, and I roam the house rather than hanging in my beautiful office.

With that disclaimer, let me show you where the magic (theoretically) happens . . .

I was going to tidy up my desk a bit before I snapped this photo, but I figured this is more honest. Also, I’m in the middle of promoting my newest release and writing a new series. I need to cut out as many procrastinating distractions—like shuffling papers around—as I can.

When I moved into the house more than a year ago, one of my first steps (after shampooing the carpets and scrubbing every surface) was to paint this room. I went with minted lemon from Behr. A friend turned me onto their primer and paint and one, and it is truly a Godsend. It takes just one coat, which is about all I have the patience to do. I wanted something both comforting and classy, and I fell in love with this color right away. Even the woman who mixed it fell hard and made a note to remember it the next time she painted at home.

My furniture is a mix of a black desk and black and white office chair from IKEA paired with black bookshelves picked up at Target over the years. I assembled all of the pieces myself, because I need to use my pink tool-set for something.

The shelves are particularly important, because they hold my (alphabetized) collection of fiction novels as well as my writing resources and copies of my books sold at signings. Organization—when I can manage it—is crucial to my Type A-minus self’s sanity.

I also have a loveseat, which I bartered for with one of my dearest friends, who moonlights as one of my first-sight beta readers. I sanded it down, painted it white and sewed new slipcovers and pillows for the cushions with fabric ordered off of Fabric.com.

What really makes this room mine and inspirational—beyond those shelves of books—is the varying pieces of art and memorabilia throughout.

On the wall opposite my desk, above the loveseat, I have movie posters for Jane Eyre (2011) and Fifty Shades of Grey (2015). I bought the Jane poster as a 29th birthday present to myself. The Fifty Shades poster was a gift from one of my best friends. It’s actually a one-of-a-kind mounted piece, created by the studio for a promotional event and given to him—then passed on to me. He knew how much I liked this poster, and I had no words beyond “Oh my God, oh my God,” when it was delivered to my door. Both are book-turned-movies, which motivates me to (hopefully) one day write a book-turned-movie. Also, I really like to stare at Michael Fassbender’s face and Jamie Dornan’s back.

Other literary touches throughout my room include the Persuasion poster my sister gave me to celebrate The Marrying Type’s launch back in 2016. It sits next to a framed Emma quote given to me by that same friend/beta reader who traded me the love seat . . .

A quote from Three & Out designed into laugh-out-loud cuteness by my cousin . . .

A poster designed by Katie Nieland, the cover artist for The Marrying Type and Playing House . . .

And various other pieces I’ve picked up over the years that screamed “romance writer’s office” when I saw them.

The room was designed and assembled on a budget, but ultimately with the goal of being a place where I could celebrate my life as a reader and writer. Until I have a house big enough to install a Beauty and the Beast-replica library, this room is my literary heaven and haven.

About the Book

Title: Playing House

Author: Laura Chapman

Published: March 9, 2017

Book Blurb: She’s a work in progress . . .

Bailey Meredith has had it. As an assistant at a prestigious interior design firm, she’s tired of making coffee and filing invoices. She’ll do just about anything to get out from under the paperwork and into the field for real experience. Then she sees an ad for a job that seems too good to be true.

He’s a fixer upper . . .

Wilder Aldrich knew she would be perfect for the crew the moment he saw her. His hit home improvement show only hired the best, and Bailey had potential written all over her. It isn’t just her imaginative creativity and unmatched work ethic that grabs his attention. There’s just something about her.

With chemistry on screen, it’s only a matter of time before sparks fly behind the scenes as well. But with Bailey’s jaded views on romance and a big secret that could destroy Wilder and everyone he cares about, are either of them willing to risk it all for love?

Book Links:

Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Excerpt from Playing House

Keeping a close distance, she followed Waverly up the cracked path to the house. Bailey took quick mental notes of her surroundings. The exterior needed a lot of work. The sagging roof missing gutters made her think they’d find the inside in similar disarray. They stepped through the front door, nearly tripping over Wilder Aldrich, who was measuring the entryway.

“Hey!” He sprang to his feet and out of their way. “What did I tell you about waiting until I gave you the all clear?”

“You were taking for-frickin’-ever, and some of us were freezing our tits off.” She pursed her lips and took on a warrior stance, seemingly daring him to say something else.

Conceding victory to her, Wilder turned and flashed an apologetic grin at Bailey. “Hey.” He offered a hand. Warmth permeated through the thin material of her glove. “Welcome to Casa de Waverly.”

Giving him a smug grin, Waverly sipped her coffee and faced Bailey. “Do you have a smart phone?”

Bailey stared blankly for a second, still dazzled by seeing Wilder up close. But she quickly snapped to attention and dug her phone out of her coat pocket.

“Good,” Waverly said after inspecting it. “While you’re on the job, I’d like you to snap some photos for our social media accounts. I’ll want to vet everything before we post it, but we need to start building the buzz for the next season while we’re filming. In exchange, we’ll cover your phone payments to take care of your data usage. Understood?”

“I can do that.”

“Good. Now . . .” She pulled out her own phone. It was the latest model that had come out on the market a month ago. With all of its reported bells and whistles, it put Bailey’s poor phone to shame. “I’m going to make a quick call. I’ll be back in a few minutes, and we can get started on,” she gestured around her, “this mess.”

She spun on her heel and waltzed out of the room, cooing into the phone.

Wilder cleared his throat, and Bailey turned to give him her full attention. She estimated he was only a couple of years older than herself—maybe in his late twenties or early thirties. He looked younger in real life than he did on TV. He was leaner and a little shorter—though she still had to crane her neck a little to meet his gaze.

He was also more handsome. Not the GQ model, your tongue-sticks-to-the-top-of-your-mouth kind of sexy. But he was hot in the same way the guy you sat next to in Chemistry was. It was enough to distract you from formulas and Bunsen burners every so often, but not enough that you’d ever set the lab on fire or forget to finish your final exam.

So far, he seemed much more serious. Where was the guy who scared Waverly with a stuffed dummy in a closet in the last episode she’d watched before calling an end to the marathon?

He was, she realized, studying her every bit as closely, with those hazel eyes speckled with green. Noting that, she didn’t feel quite as rude taking mental notes on the man in front of him.

At least she looked good. She’d laid out three outfits that morning in the hotel room. The first was a long, silky turquoise tunic that she’d paired with a pair of black leggings and knee-high boots. It was similar to the clothes Waverly favored on screen—only hers weren’t name-brand knockoffs. Then she had the casual jeans, a gray T-shirt that she could dress-up with a navy blue blazer. And there was option three: dark-wash, fit jeans, a chambray shirt, and a scarf. It was an ensemble that fell somewhere in the middle. It was the one that looked the most like her when she inspected herself in the mirror.

It was the one that felt most like her now in the middle of the foyer.

She wondered what he saw when he looked at her. Did he see a confident young woman ready to tackle major projects adeptly? Or did he see someone who was desperate to create, no matter what happened? Both were correct, but which one shone through right now?

Like a light switch, that triggered something in her. She offered her hand again. “We haven’t officially met. I’m Bailey Meredith.”

About the Author

Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, Going for Two, Three & Out, The Marrying Type, and Playing House. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. She loves talking to readers. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also get the latest news from her website, blog, and monthly newsletter.

***Giveaway***

This month, during the Playing House blog tour, you can enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of 1 free Audible copy each of The Marrying Type, First & Goal, Going for Two or 1 $20 Amazon gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Arielle Joy

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Review – THREE & OUT

Today I’m thrilled to tell you about a new book that was published this week by one of my favorite authors, Laura Chapman. Scroll on for information on her new novel Three & Out, my review, an excerpt of the novel, AND a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!

THREE & OUT by Laura Chapman

New from Laura Chapman, the third installment of her fantasy football romantic comedy Queen of the League series . . .

threeout

After rushing to the altar and moving across the country, Harper Duquaine (or is it MacLaughlin, now?) is in uncharted territory. What once seemed like a promising opportunity to advance her husband’s career while giving her some much-needed independence and adventure has proven to be a bust. By the time fall rolls around again, she’s back in a boring job by day and overstocking her inventory of crocheted scarves by night. Not even the prospect of a new football season holds much excitement.

At least that’s what she thought. Harper suddenly finds herself the manager of not one but two fantasy football teams—each with its own set of drama. Between the added pressure of her new marriage, an unexpected career prospect, and the hiccups created by people from her past and present worlds, Harper quickly finds herself going from bored to over-whelmed.

Can she hold up under the pressure, or will Harper learn the hard way that the turf isn’t always greener on the other field?

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

My Review

threeoutbook

Three & Out Recap: Team Chapman pens another winner!

I loved the continuation of Harper and Brook’s story. This novel finds them newly settled in Seattle after moving for Brook’s new coaching job. Things start off slow for Harper and as fantasy football seasons progresses, she finds that she’s got too much going on to handle it all. She continues to grow in her relationship with Brook, and although they have their drama and situations, they always work it out in the end. That’s part of what being married is all about, being on the same team, supporting one another, and working together to make it work.

J.J’s role in this novel adds a comical layer and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of the situations the characters manage to get themselves into. This story was entertaining and funny and captured my attention from the first page to the last. I doubt I’d ever be interested in being on a fantasy football team, but it was fun pretending to immerse myself in it by living vicariously through Harper for a few days while reading this novel. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series to see where life takes them next!

5/5 for another win from Team Chapman

I received a complimentary Advanced Review Copy from the author. My review reflects my own opinion 100%.

Connect with the Author – Laura Chapman

laurachapmanLaura Chapman is the author of First & GoalGoing for TwoThree & Out, and The Marrying Type.  Her holiday novellas Making Christmas and What Happens at Midnight will be released on November 8, and are now available for pre-order. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Connect with her online on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube and on her website at www.laurachapmanbooks.com.

Read an Excerpt from Three & Out

“You have to talk some sense into J.J. He’s freaking out about this whole redraft thing.”

I roll my eyes at the irritation in Wade’s voice. How like sweet, lovable, but basically helpless Wade to want me to save the day and soothe everyone else’s nerves. Even though I’m two time zones away. It’s my own fault. Back when we all worked together at the car dealership in Lincoln, that’s what I did. I fixed things. Not to brag, I was good at it. Too good, apparently.

I start the brisk walk toward campus. After looking around town, we’d settled on a tiny walk-up a few minutes from campus rather than going for something more spacious in the suburbs. What we pay for in extra rent, we make up for in gas and time savings. Plus, every work day starts and ends with cardio, which is how I’m able to rationalize skipping the gym. I’ve always been bad about going, but now I can do it guilt-free.

“What are we going to do?” Wade asks. “He’s out of control.”

“In his defense, it was a pretty big pain in the butt to find a time when we were all available to draft in the first place. Things are complicated now that we’re on the West Coast and Gio is on the East—”

“It’s not a matter of time zones.”

I imagine myself flipping Wade the bird. “No. I suppose it isn’t.”

“You’re not here every day. You don’t get it.”

Now I have to fight the urge to throw my phone into the street. The only reason I don’t is because I don’t want to have to replace it. Especially not until I back up my music and photos. I have a bunch of pictures of Blitz and my latest crocheting projects on my phone. I can’t risk parting with them in a wave of misplaced fury. I take a deep breath and remind myself that I like Wade. Most of the time. Plus, I have to be patient with him. He’s married to Brook’s sister now, so he’s family.

“What else is going on?”

“It’s hard to explain.”

“Try.”

“Well . . .” Then Wade launches into something that’s a mixture of rant and useful information.

Apparently, J.J. hasn’t been handling the changes to his environment well. First, Brook and I moved in February. Aside from the few months he spent playing in an arena league, J.J. hasn’t been away from his former practice squad wide receiver since they were freshmen in college. Then in May, Gio transferred to the flagship store in Schenectady, New York, so the owners of the dealership—the Donaldsons—could enjoy early retirement and a second honeymoon.

With his most stable influences gone, J.J. spent the summer in a free-for-all binge. There’s more drinking. More one-night stands. More shoving matches with strangers in bars. More illegal substances. It’s all of J.J.’s vices, only on a bigger level. He’s Deluxe J.J.

“Why are you just telling me this now? If it’s been going on all summer, why—”

“I thought we could take care of it. Contrary to what you might think, I usually try to handle things on my own.” I can almost imagine Wade tussling his cropped brown hair on the other side of the line. “But this morning, after we got our messages about the botched draft, J.J. lost it. He threw a chair at one of the cars in the lobby.”

I gasp and nearly run into a woman walking her dog in the other direction. Recovering quickly, I dart an apologetic grin and mouth, “Sorry.” “What did Anderson do?”

“Nothing.”

I stumble again. “He did—”

“Well, not nothing really. He told J.J. to cool down and check our Internet sales. He said it in that voice of his that scares the crap out of you.”

I’m all too familiar with it. “That was it?”

“Well . . . then he asked Dylan to take the car back to maintenance.”

It makes sense. He’d want to make sure there wasn’t any damage to the body. He’d also want to take care of the dents with as little fuss as possible before ripping J.J. a new one.

“Then he asked you to call me? So I could set J.J. straight.”

“Pretty much.”

That figures. It all does. However, understanding the source for this request doesn’t give me any clear ideas on what I’m supposed to do to help. It’s not like I can hop on a plane and smack some sense into J.J. I’m already flying back in October, and I can’t take off that much time from work. A phone call will only do so much. There’s also the chance I could say the wrong thing and make it worse.

It’s not a good situation.

“Look, Wade, I don’t know what I can—”

“Just think of something. Anything. Give him a call and talk some reason into him. He listens to you.”

“Yeah, right. You mean he listens to Brook.” Which is who Wade should have called, come to think of it.

“Brook is my next call if you won’t help. But you’d be surprised by how much stock J.J. puts in you. I know I’m asking a lot—”

“You’re asking for a miracle.”

“Maybe, but please.”

The way he says it—his voice so wistful—is more than a request. It’s a last-ditch plea. Like Princess Leia telling Obi-Wan he’s her only hope. And, man, I need to make some less nerdy friends if that’s the first analogy to come to mind. I’m practically a female version of any given member of the league these days. My heart pings as I think about those guys. They’re more than my buddies. They’re my family. Not just the one’s I’m related to by blood or marriage.

Family comes through when you need them.

“Okay. I’ll talk to him.”

~~~

*** BARGAIN ALERT *** To celebrate the new release, for a limited time, you can pick up the first two stories in the series for only 99 cents each. E-Books First & Goal and Going for Two are available for only 99 cents each. ***

chapman

In Laura Chapman’s Queen of the League series, Harper Duquaine joins a fantasy football league to prove she can hang with the guys. Only problem: she doesn’t know a sleeper from a keeper (or any of the other lingo thrown her way). Her competitive streak soon emerges, and she catches the interest of her top two competitors. With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.

First & Goal CoverFirst & Goal
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Click the photo to read my review!

 

 

Going for TwoGoing for Two
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Click the photo to read my review!

Enter the Giveaway HERE for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!

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Arielle Joy

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway – Going for Two

Today I’m excited to share my review of Laura Chapman’s second novel in the Queen of the League series in addition to an excerpt of the novel. Once you’ve read through, don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win 4 print novels by Laura Chapman!

Going for Two by Laura Chapman

Going for TwoPublished: January 27, 2016

Book Blurb: Harper Duquaine is back for another season of fantasy football! This time she’s a year wiser and prepared to dominate the league. But while she finally seems to have her fantasy life in order, reality proves more challenging.

Her plans to peacefully play house with her boyfriend come to a halt when the high school suddenly names Brook its head football coach. The promotion comes with more responsibility on the field and less time at home. It also unexpectedly means more work for Harper, who already has her hands full helping a friend pull off the perfect proposal (while dodging questions about when she and Brook are going to get hitched already). Plus, a new development at work could leave her—and half of the fantasy league—jobless.

With the complications of her career and being “Mrs. Coach” adding up, Harper wonders if she’s committed to the life she’s already building or if there is something else out there.

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Review

Going for Two is the second book in the Queen of the League series by Laura Chapman. If you need another classic example of why I love Chapman’s writing, then you’ve got it right here. Her writing is clever, witty and downright entertaining.

In the second novel we continue Brook and Harper’s story. At this point in time, their relationship has progressed and they’ve moved in together. Can they accomplish domestic bliss when they’ve got new drama and chaos in their lives? And all on top of another season of fantasy football on their hands? To overcome last year’s season, Harper has thoroughly done her homework and flawlessly creates a total kick-ass team. Will her practically perfect team be enough to make the cut to the playoffs and bring home a win?

One of my absolute favorite things about this story is the idea that they’re a team. Their relationship may not be perfect and they’ve got things to overcome and big decisions to make, but they’re doing it together. It’s so spot on and relate-able and at the same time extremely entertaining. This novel kept me entertained the whole way through and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series when it comes out!

5 stars for another win by Chapman

Enter the Giveaway here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author – Laura Chapman

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Goodreads | Blog | Website

Headshot1Author Bio:

Laura Chapman is the author of Going for Two, First & Goal, The Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work also appears in Merry & Bright, A Kind of Mad Courage, and the holiday collection All I Want For Christmas from Marching Ink. She loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Laura makes her home in Nebraska, where she is penning her next novel. Be sure to check her out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Excerpt – Going for Two

The quarterback claps his hands once, then twice. He takes the snap and steps back. He

pitches the ball left to the running back and runs toward the end zone. The defense descends on

the running back, who has only taken a few steps forward. He can’t go any farther. If he does,

he’ll be tackled behind the line of scrimmage, and the clock will run out.

I cover my face, but peek through my fingers. I can’t watch, yet I have to see what happens.

With a hulking player lunging at him, the running back throws the ball straight to his right into

the waiting arms of a wide receiver. The game clock ticks down to zero as the wide receiver

pulls back and throws the ball into the waiting arms of the wide open quarterback.

Oh. My. God. That was one of the most ridiculous trick plays I’ve ever seen. It’s like

something from one of the epic football movies or TV shows Brook made me binge-watch with

him over the summer. And it worked.

While the crowd around me roars, I set my sights on the sidelines once more. Brook jumps in

the air and rushes out onto the field with the rest of the players and coaches. One of the offensive

linemen pulls him into a hug that lifts his more than six-foot frame off the ground for a moment.

The quarterback, who has finished his celebration in the end zone, turns on his heel and makes a

run for the celebrating crowd. Brook never has a chance to prepare for the impact when the QB

throws him to the ground. A bunch of the other players join in the pileup.

I wince through my laughter. “He’s going to hurt in the morning.”

Major MacLaughlin’s lip twitches. “Probably so, but he’ll say it was worth it.”

“I wish they’d be a little more careful with him.” Mrs. MacLaughlin darts a worried glance at

the field. “He’s not wearing any pads, and he’s not as young as he used to be.”

“He’s practically geriatric.” Amelia winks at me. “I’m surprised the AARP even lets him out

on the field.”

“I’m not saying he’s old—”

“You don’t have to.” Amelia’s face sobers, but her eyes sparkle. “I’m pretty sure I heard him

complain about an ache in his hip that bothers him whenever the weather turns cold.”

Mrs. MacLaughlin’s face grows concerned, and her husband intervenes—sending a warning

look at Amelia—assuring her that Brook is fine.

One by one the players roll out of the dog pile and spring to their feet to greet the waiting

parents and fans. The quarterback is last to stumble up. He offers Brook a hand to help him

stand. Limping up, Brook’s face is flushed but beaming. Leaning his forehead against the

player’s helmet, he says something and pats the top of the player’s head. A lump lodges in my

throat, and my eyes sting.

What is it about a great football comeback story that always makes me cry?

The ruckus on the field cools to handshakes and hugs. Brook glances up at the stands.

Amelia’s daughters, Marley and Ellery, jump around waving their arms and screaming his name.

A grin spreads across his face, and he waves back.

I’m making a resolution right now. Every time I feel the slightest ebb of jealousy or

annoyance about how much time he spends on his job, I’m bringing myself back here, to this

moment. I’ll remember the pure joy on his face, the joy swelling in my heart. And I’ll understand

why he puts in the early mornings and late nights.

His eyes scan past the girls and Amelia, past her boyfriend, Wade, and his parents until they

land on me. The grin turns up a watt just for me. He covers his heart then points at me. My

breath catches, but I manage to mouth “I love you, too” back. For a few seconds, it’s just us. Him

and me. Like we’re in a bubble, and everything around us fades away. Yeah, I’m definitely

saving this memory for later.

~~~

 

Check out the other stops on Laura’s tour…

GFT Tour ButtonFebruary 22- Chick Lit Club Connect – Excerpt

February 23 – A Southern Girls Bookshelf- Review  & Excerpt

February 24 – Chick Lit Goddess – Excerpt

February 25 – Living Life With Joy – Review & Excerpt

February 26 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Excerpt

February 29 – Annabel and Alice – Review

March 1 – A British Bookworm – Excerpt

March 1 – Around the World in Books – Excerpt

March 3 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review

March 4 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

March 4 – Whispering Stories – Review & Excerpt

March 7 – Chick Lit Plus – Excerpt

Check out Laura’s other novels…

First & Goal

First & Goal CoverPublished: September 9, 2015

Set your lineups and pull out the old game tape—football is here. This year, you can experience fantasy football vicariously through (or commiserate with) Harper Duquaine in First & Goal by Laura Chapman.

What begins as a way to make nice with her new co-workers soon becomes an obsession for Harper as she navigates the ups and downs of managing a fantasy football team. Add in a pair of meddling brothers, a crew of quirky colleagues, and a league-mate who makes her toes curl, and Harper’s football season has plenty to keep her interested.

This new romantic comedy is now available from Marching Ink on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Join in the fun and cheer Harper on as she takes on the old boys club.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Then beat them.

About the Book: When Harper Duquaine’s no-nonsense approach to work unintentionally ruffles the wrong feathers at her new job, she joins her co-workers’ fantasy football league to prove she can hang with the guys. Only problem: she doesn’t know a sleeper from a keeper (or any of the other lingo thrown her way).

Embroiled in a world of lineups, stats, and trades, Harper’s quest to make nice topples when her competitive streak emerges. And her promise to herself that she’ll be a strong, independent woman and leave the drama and heartache behind is seriously tested when she catches the attention of her two biggest competitors: J.J., a local celebrity determined to win a fantasy championship, and Brook, the mild-mannered coach who seems too good to be true. Both threaten her resolve to remain single… and, more importantly, her chances at winning the prize pool.

With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.

Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads | Kobo

The Marrying Type

24766966Published: February 24, 2015

About the Book: Always the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it).

With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress.

Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future.

Check out my review on the novel here and my interview with the author here!

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsKobo | Marching Ink

Hard Hats & Doormats

18753707Published: December 11, 2013

About the Book: Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion–-because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsKobo | Marching Ink

Guest Post & Book Excerpt | Laura Chapman

I recently read a fabulously funny novel called The Marrying Type. Check out my 5 Star book review and interview with the author, Laura Chapman. More recently, I was given the opportunity through Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours to share a guest post written by Laura, in addition to an excerpt of her novel. Today, I am excited to share that post with you, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! ❤

Guest Post – written by Laura Chapman

It’s fun to imagine how characters you’ve created would act in certain situations. It can be a helpful tool for plotting out a novel, because story is what happens to character. And doing this was a big part of my writing process for The Marrying Type. Some of those scenarios make it into the book, like when I imagined what would happen if the main character accompanied one of her bride’s to a strip club during a bachelorette party. Others don’t, but they still help you shape your character.

Today I thought I’d share something that didn’t make it into the novel, but is pretty telling: What would some of the characters in The Marrying Type most want on their bridal registry?

Elliot, is a wedding planner and has seen her fair share of registries over the year, but when it comes to her own registry, she would be pretty simple with her own gift requests. She hates to even ask, because she really doesn’t need anything, but she’d really like her father to let her have her Grandma Lynch’s pearl necklace and maybe the matching china tea set. Her sister, Libby, didn’t want them when she married a few years ago, and Elliot hopes it isn’t a problem.

Eric, Elliot’s former flame who struck technological gold in Silicon Valley, asks guests to make a donation to his charitable organization, or a foundation of their choice. He has more money than he ever imagined, and would want to pass the blessings on to others.

Smyth, Elliot’s college buddy and a fellow wedding planner helping her out for the season, wants matching his and his chenille bathrobes. While he doesn’t care what color, monogrammed with his and his future husband’s initials would be a cute touch.

Heloise, a childhood acquaintance of Elliot’s, comes from lots of money, and loves the finer things, wants 14-karat gold napkin rings encrusted with Swarovski crystals (view it here). She saw them on the registry for Kim Kardashian’s marriage to Kris Humphries and thought they were super classy and a steal at only $3,000. And while the marriage may not have stuck, Heloise wouldn’t fault Kim K if she kept this gift.

Sadie, Eric’s little sister and Elliot’s client, and her fiance Adam registered at a couple of place with varying price points to accommodate the diverse economic backgrounds of their guests. While she’ll be happy to have a few matching sets of bath towels, she admits she’s pretty excited about the sterling silver Christmas ornament from Tiffany’s that her in-laws insisted she add to the list. It’s so over the top, and totally unnecessary, but it would look great on their first Christmas tree (view it here).

What would be the number one item on your wedding registry if you were getting married? Or if you’re engaged or already hitched, what’s your favorite item?

Thanks so much to Arielle for having me on Living Life with Joy, today, and for all of her support!

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Now that you’ve had the chance to read a bit from Laura, see below for an excerpt from her novel, The Marrying Type.

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Excerpt: The Marrying Type

Finding the bride curled up next to a toilet changed Elliot’s priorities. A rogue florist and brawling mothers paled next to a sobbing bride. Even having Libby bail last-minute meant nothing compared to this disaster.

Elliot kept her tone soft and light when she approached the bride. “Honey, let’s get you off the floor.”

The bride answered with a muffled sob. She didn’t budge. Elliot said a little prayer for strength, hoping her proximity to a chapel outweighed her distance from a toilet in God’s eyes. Elliot ignored the urge to gag—and her fear of ruining a pair of black slacks—to gingerly kneel beside the young woman.

She barely had time to prepare for the impact as the bride flung herself into Elliot’s arms. They sat in silence for several minutes, rocking back and forth. Elliot held the hysterical woman while she searched for any clues of what might have set off the bride. Unfortunately, her vantage point didn’t offer much.

The bride’s sobs turned into hiccups. Accepting a tissue, she blew her nose and murmured, “I’m late.”

“We have plenty of time.” Using one of the wipes from her wedding emergency kit, Elliot blotted the woman’s tear-streaked face to survey the damage. “We’ll call in the makeup artist and hairstylist to touch you up. You’ll be gorgeous and camera ready with plenty of time to spare.”

“No,” the bride said firmly. “I’m late.”

Elliot nearly repeated her words of comfort when she spotted an open pregnancy test on the counter. Paired with the bride’s sudden and mysterious stomach bug, and the constant stream of tears, she made the connection.

Oh, God. “You’re pregnant.”

The bride sniffed. “Maybe. Probably. I haven’t checked the test yet.” Her hiccups picked up. “My mother’s going to kill me. She says pregnant brides are tacky.”

She burst into a fresh set of tears. Murmuring comforting words, Elliot craned her neck to read the test results. A smiley face. Did that mean pregnant or not pregnant? She sighed. Of course it meant pregnant.

“Do you want to talk to your fiancé?”

The bride shook her head, sniffing and fighting back hiccups. “It’s bad luck to see him before the wedding.”

Elliot counted to ten before speaking. “A woman makes her own luck.”

“Telling him would only make him nervous,” the bride said.

“Maybe I can pretend this is a honeymoon baby . . .”

Elliot knew she should try to talk sense into the woman. The groom was smart enough to do math. Their parents and everyone else would be able to crunch the numbers, too. But facts wouldn’t save the bride’s wedding, or make her feel any better. A fresh coat of waterproof mascara and some hairspray might.

It only took Elliot five more minutes to comfort her client. Still puffy eyed, the bride pulled herself together for another hair and makeup session to repair the damage. Leaving the cosmetologists to their work, Elliot closed the bathroom door and leaned against the frame to draw a breath.

“Crap.”

Much as she would have liked to hide behind a pew in the chapel, Elliot pushed away from the door. She had a wedding to run.

Rounding the corner, she found the TV show’s camera crew following the ongoing battle between the mothers of the bride and groom. She said a silent prayer of thanks they’d missed her situation with the bride. Unless they’d picked it up on her microphone, which was possible.

“Crap. Crap.”

If the bride wanted to convince her family and friends she’d conceived a baby on her honeymoon and not before the wedding, having the truth broadcast on The Marrying Type would undoubtedly blow her cover.

Elliot still couldn’t wrap her brain around how quickly the show had come together. What surprised her most was how fast the network released advertisements for the show. They weren’t even done filming the first episode, but ads were running every hour.

Elliot snagged Claire, her assistant, as the young woman walked by. She needed an update on the florist, who was more than an hour late.

“I haven’t heard anything,” Claire said, her attention focused on the fight brewing across the room.

“Get them on the phone. We wanted the bouquets an hour ago.”

“But . . .” Claire gazed longingly toward the more exciting issue at hand.

“I’ll handle the moms.” Elliot played with the pearl pendant on her necklace while she considered her various crises. “Call the florist. And grab the bride a bottle of water and some crackers from my emergency stash.”

“Want me to take her some champagne?”

“No champagne.” Claire raised an eyebrow at her terse response. Elliot cleared her throat and plastered a smile on her face.

“She’s sensitive to alcohol. One drink, and she’ll be stumbling down the aisle. We need a sober bride for the ceremony.”

Connect with the Author – Laura Chapman

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

laura-chapmanAuthor Bio:

Laura Chapman is the author of The Marrying Type, Hard Hats and Doormats and the Autumn and Tuck series, which appear in Merry & Bright and A Kind of Mad Courage. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Until she fulfills her dream of landing a British husband or becoming a Disney princess, you can find her in a bar penning her next novel.

The Marrying Type by Laura Chapman

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

The Marrying Type Cover

Book Blurb

Always the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it).

With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress.

Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future.

Buy Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboMarching Ink

the marrying type button

Book Review | The Marrying Type

The Marrying Type by Laura Chapman

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

The Marrying Type Cover

Book Blurb

Always the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it).

With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress.

Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future.

Buy Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboMarching Ink

My Review

We’ve got a fun-filled wedding novel on our hands here people! The Marrying Type is a hilarious romantic comedy and I highly suggest you go get yourself a copy. This is the first novel I’ve read by Laura Chapman and I have to say that upon finishing the novel, I immediately added her to my list of go-to authors.

Elliot Lynch specializes in organization and excellence in all aspects of her life. She works for her family’s [wedding] event planning company called Engagements. She’s very clever when it comes to fixing problems and soothing raging bridesmaids, mothers and brides.

When Elliot realizes the unfortunate financial state that her father has left the company, she has no other option than to participate in her cousin’s latest reality TV project called The Marrying Type. The premise of the show is to follow wedding planners around and get an inside look at the hard-work and major drama that happens behind the scenes to make a special day run smoothly.

The drama gets even more interesting when Elliot meets her next client and realizes that she knows the girl’s brother. No one else knows that the two knew each other and it leads to some interesting dynamics. Throw in a witty and fabulous gay friend, a nightmare girl that keeps ending up in wedding parties and a few family secrets, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for some serious laughs. Who would’ve thought there could be so much drama involved with wedding planning and reality shows?!

The Marrying Type is a fun and entertaining story about learning from our mistakes and not being afraid to let love into our lives. Everyone makes mistakes but it’s how we deal with them that matters most. We can’t let fear of the unknown keep us from living our lives and being in love. It’s important to remember that there are never guarantees in life, but that that’s no reason to not live our lives to the fullest. This novel was a sweet take on second chances in life and love. 5 stars for this fabulously fun wedding story!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Laura provided me with a free copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review. Receiving novels free of charge in no way reflects on my honest opinion and no monetary compensation was provided for my review. I encourage you to write reviews and share them on sites like Goodreads and Amazon!

Connect with the Author – Laura Chapman

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

laura-chapmanAuthor Bio:

Laura Chapman is the author of The Marrying Type, Hard Hats and Doormats and the Autumn and Tuck series, which appear in Merry & Bright and A Kind of Mad Courage. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Until she fulfills her dream of landing a British husband or becoming a Disney princess, you can find her in a bar penning her next novel.

Author Interview | Laura Chapman

laura-chapman

 

Today I’m extremely excited to share an interview with author Laura Chapman. Her latest novel The Marrying Type is released today and it’s a keeper! It’s a fun novel filled with love and laughter and chances are high that you’ll enjoy this story. I was lucky to have the opportunity to interview Laura and found out more about who she is as an author and what she enjoys doing in her free time. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did! ❤

Interview with Laura Chapman

1. Hi Laura, a huge, warm welcome to Living Life With Joy! Thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourself?

My name is Laura Chapman, and I am an author of women’s fiction. My second novel, The Marrying Type, is being released today by Marching Ink. My debut novel, Hard Hats and Doormats, was published in December 2013, and I have two novelettes featured in the anthologies Merry & Bright and A Kind of Mad Courage. A Nebraska native, I love football, Netflix marathons, and my cats, Jane and Bingley. Until I fulfill my dream of landing a British husband or becoming a Disney princess, you can find me in a bar working on my next novel.

2. Can you tell us a bit about your latest book and the inspiration behind it?

The Marrying Type tells the story of Elliot Lynch, a young woman working for her family’s high-end wedding planning business. After her father’s sloppy business management leaves the company facing bankruptcy, she signs up to participate in “The Marrying Type,” a reality show that shines the light on the people behind the scenes of flashy weddings. When the one who got away ends up being one of her new customers–as a bankroll for his sister’s wedding, not as a groom–she’s forced to confront a lot of emotions she’s buried for years. She also has to deal with a competitor trying to encroach on her turf, an irritating bridesmaid who keeps making reappearances at various weddings, and lots of work drama. Back in college, I started jotting down notes about a man and a woman who reconnect years later at a wedding. After reading Jane Austen’s Persuasion, I was inspired to turn my story of a modern day wedding planner into a re-imagining of the classic novel. It’s amazing how quickly my story outline came together after getting that idea in my head.

3.What is your favorite thing about writing romance novels?

I’ve been a sucker for a good love story ever since I watched The Little Mermaid when I was three years old. Love is such a personal yet universal experience, which makes it incredibly fun to write about. There are few things I enjoy more than throwing two people–or a family or a group of friends–together and making them realize that love can help them get through anything if they truly listen to their hearts.

4. Is there one book that stands out in your mind that you wish you’d written?

It’s a toss-up between The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves, Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella, and Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. All three are books that I couldn’t put down once I started reading them, and I’ve always admired people who can create something so enticing that a reader has to keep turning the pages as quickly as he or she can.

5. Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?

I like to leave a little mystery about my works in progress until I have a publication plan, but I can tell you that my third novel is the first in a series. It is set in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, and it allowed me to use some of the experience I’ve gained as a lifelong Husker football fan. I finished the first draft in October and I am in the editing process right now. I’m happy to report how much I have enjoyed revisiting these characters and this story, which is great, because thy gave me a little trouble during the first draft.

6. Where is your favorite place in the world?

In a previous job I was fortunate enough to see a lot of the world–22 states in four years–and I saw and experienced so many wonderful places here in the U.S. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but my top locations would probably be watching the ships and ferries set sail from Port Angeles, Washington, the drive through the Adirondacks in Upstate New York, and seeing the leaves change in Massachusetts each fall. Internationally, my favorite spot is Westminster Abbey in London. There’s so much beauty and history packed into one place that it left me feeling totally awed.

7. If you could plan the perfect holiday, what would it be?

This changes depending on the time of year and my mood–I’m a whimsical dreamer, particularly when it comes to vacations–but right now I’d love to go on a Mediterranean cruise. I’m a fan of beauty and history in my travel destinations, and touring that part of the country would be a great way to see both. If I can really dream big, I’d want to backpack Europe. I sketched out a plan for doing it in eight or twelve weeks when I was in college, but I unfortunately haven’t been able to take that trip. It would be a dream to do it.  

8. What’s the most important life lesson that you’ve been told or learned?

There are no free lunches. I learned that during one of the economics classes I had to take in college. While those were probably my two worst grades in my entire academic career, I did leave with a lot of good lessons, the most important being this one. While I’m sure my instructors meant “no free lunches” in the terms of someone has to pay for the ingredients and the time even if it doesn’t come out of your pocket, I’ve come to realize how true this is in other parts of life. If you want to become an author, you have to work at it. No one will write, edit, format, distribute, sell, promote your book without hard work and dedication on your end.

Thank you so much for participating in this interview, I’m delighted to have you on my blog and truly appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions!

About the Author – Laura Chapman

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Laura Chapman is the author of The Marrying Type, Hard Hats and Doormats and the Autumn and Tuck series, which appear in Merry & Bright and A Kind of Mad Courage. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Until she fulfills her dream of landing a British husband or becoming a Disney princess, you can find her in a bar penning her next novel.

The Marrying Type by Laura Chapman

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

The Marrying Type CoverAlways the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it).

With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress.

Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future.

Buy Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboMarching Ink