That Boy

That Boy

That Boy is part of a series, usually when I am reviewing a book from a series I review all the books from the series so far. However, this time I am only going to review the first book, That Boy. When you read the review you will understand why. I will review the second book in a few weeks when you have had a chance to read this one!

They say a girl and a boy can never really be just friends. So when a Jaydn James Reynolds has two best friends and they are both boys, this couldn’t possibly be right! Could it?

Phillip MacKenzie and Jaydn have been best friends forever. Their parents are best friends so they have always been in each others lives. They are almost like brother and sister…almost. One day Jaydn looks out her window and see’s a new boy playing football .Danny Diamond. When she meets him she finds he doesn’t want to play with her, just Phillip, girls can’t play football he says. A comment he was soon regretting.

In no time at all the three of them are best friends, inseparable. They start growing up, meeting other boys and girls – getting jealous of other boys and girls. Danny leaves to play College Football and though they visit loads its back to just being Jaydn and Phillip. When Jaydn’s parents tragically die in a car accident she needs both her boys to get her through and they become closer than ever.

Soon Jayden and Phillip join Danny at College and they all live together in the house Jaydn has bought with inheritance money, and things start to get even more interesting.

I think Jilian Dodd says it best herself

One boy will give me my very first kiss.
One boy will teach me to make out.
One boy will take me to prom.
And finally, one boy will ask me to marry him.
They will both be my best friends.
But only one of them will be the boy I fall in love with.
Only one of them is That Boy.

I think it is hard to write a synopsis of this book without giving it away, so I would imagine I have failed miserably at it! I absolutely loved this book. It was real life, I love reading about things that can and often do actually happen, that aren’t far-fetched or to fantastical to believe. There are good times, not so good times and down right awful times. These are the bits that made me laugh and made me cry. There are parts of the book that have reminded me of great moments in my own life, bringing a smile to my face, and parts that reminded me of more horrific times that brought more than a tear to my eye. That’s what a good book should do isn’t it? Stir up the emotions and give you something to think about.

I think all of us who have read this book had a soft spot for one of the boys, be it Phillip or Danny. I think for me it was Danny. Why? I loved his cheeky sense of humour, and he didn’t look too shabby – well it’s all about the imagination isn’t it? Either way though, no matter who she had picked – she was laughing! Two amazing boys, surely its only right to test drive them both? Show me a girl who doesn’t like to have her cake and to eat it too! There is no point having cake if its only there for decoration.

The story starts at the end, I loved it, you knew it was going to end in a dramatic scene, but you didn’t know which boy was in that scene. Then it will transport you back to when they are little kids and you develop a relationship with each of them and have your own hopes and wishes for them. It’s always a sign of a great writer when you can transport yourself into the life of a character and feel what they feel. I loved this book, it was easy-going and it was no great effort to read it and with that I lost myself in it for hours. Jaydn fell in love with her best friend, the boy next door, but which one?

When I was finished I wanted more, good job No. 2 – That Weddingwas waiting for me.

There is no need to take my word for it either! Check out reviews on Goodreads

That Boy is available to buy on Kobo, Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble

Visit Jillian Dodd on her Website, Facebook page and Twitter

How lucky am I that the super busy Best Selling Author that is Jillian Dodd took time out to grant me an interview? Not ony that but it was returned less that 24 hours after I sent it! Someone up there likes this blog!

Jillian Dodd

Who is Jillian Dodd?

Jillian Dodd is a mom, a painter, and a dreamer. She makes up stories and loves to write.

I loved the 2 books in the That Boy series so far, when can we expect No. 3?

Probably more of the same. Some things that make you laugh. Some things that make you cry. Friendships that stand the test of time. That Baby will have something different in it though. There is something pretty sad that happens in the story, so instead of being told from Jadyn’s point of view, it’s told from Danny’s POV. And that part is sad, but also pretty cool, because it causes him to remember some major scenes in their lives and you get to understand what he was thinking then. The party in the cornfield. Prom. And the hammock. The decisions that he made had an effect on their lives. And it’s cool to hear why he did what he did.

Jaydn was best friends with 2 boys, which boy would you have chosen as your boy? (not giving anything away of course)

Well, I’d say that in real life, I chose a Phillip. And in real life, my best guy friend is more of a Danny personality. When we used to hang out in college, we tended to bring out the worst in each other. We had a whole lot of fun, but I’d say the whole opposites attract is very true. When someone isn’t just like you, you can balance each other out in good ways.

Did you get emotional in the writing of That Boy? I sure got emotional reading it.

My family laughs at me. My husband will come in my office and I’ll be at my computer in tears. Even when I’m editing. And he’s like why are you crying? You already know what happens! So yes, I’m emotional about my characters. My new series, The Keatyn Chronicles, the main character is younger and it makes me cry every time she does something that shows her growth. It makes me proud.

When you started writing did you know which boy would be ‘That’ boy?

Yes, That Boy started from three dreams I had with the same characters. The strip football scene at college. The party in the cornfield. The engagement party.

I loved how the ending was the beginning, was that always the plan or is that something that happened after?

That was always the plan.

Are you a big Football fan?

I am a huge football fan. I grew up in Nebraska, where there is not a professional team and only one major college. So I’ve been a Nebraska Husker fan for as long as I can remember and have fond memories of watching the games with my dad when I was a kid. We live about 10 hours away from there now, but we still have season tickets and I try to get to as many games as I can each fall. And any that I don’t attend, we have a watch party at our house.

Here in Ireland we really don’t get the whole College Football thing, is it as big a part of the culture in America as it seems?

I’d say football is a lot of fun. The tailgating. The eating. The spending time with your family and friends. College football is a really fun tradition.

At this point i had to email Jillian and ask the following question..

I have never understood. .. what is tailgating?

Tailgating is basically a party in the parking lot before the football game. Lots of people have pickup trucks. They have a tail gate that folds down that allows you to load stuff in and out of the back of the truck. Lots of people fold that down and sit on it. That’s where the term came from.
Now it’s a whole new level. People set up tents, tables, bring televisions, games, all sorts of food and drinks. Also at college football games, you can’t have alcoholic beverages in the stadium, so people eat and drink before the game.

People here tailgate before most sporting events. NASCAR, Professional Football, College football.

Do the names of any of you characters hold any special meaning to you?

Phillip’s last name is Mackenzie, which is my daughter’s first name. One of the boys Jadyn dated in college was named Jason O’Connor and my son’s name is Connor.

Do you find it difficult to name characters?

Not at all. I go through baby name sites and try to make them fit. All the character’s names, other than Jadyn’s are very basic, relatable, Midwestern names. In my new series, the characters have more unique names. Unique spellings.

What is you favourite TV Show?

Gossip Girl. But I also got addicted to Say Yes to the Dress and My Fair Wedding when planning That Wedding and I still watch them. I also love decorating shows on HGTV. But I really don’t have much time to watch television.

Who would play the roles of the lead characters in a movie?

I’m not really sure. I’m working with a small production company right now about the film options for That Boy, so it will be fun to see. I have dream cast boards on my website. They give you an idea of how I picture each character looking.

What is the best piece of advice you ever heard?

Both of my favorite pieces of advice from my own grandfather are in That Boy. He used to tell me, “Walk in the place like you own it, and people will think you do.” Which is all about confidence. If you look and act confident and like you belong. No one will question you. I tend to do this and am usually able to get in places that surprise people. My husband worked at a bank many years ago and his floor was “secure” I showed up in his office one day and he was like, How did you get up here? They didn’t call me. And I was like, I don’t know. I walked in the place like I owned it. No one stopped me. The other one, also from my grandfather, which is also in That Boy: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” And because of my creative mind, I’m fairly good at the bullshit side of things.

Anyone who knows me would agree this is a motto that i live by, i’m full of bullshit and can talk myself out of quite a bit!

What would you say to other authors chasing their dream?

Write. Keep writing. Don’t give up on your dream. Don’t wait around for someone to make it happen for you. Make it happen yourself.

If you have read That Boy, join us on our Facebook page to discuss it. Or just join us to talk about any book of your choice. I look forward to seeing you there!

Tanya Farrell – WLR FM – The Big Breakfast Blaa Interview

It’s Tuesday February 19th 2013, 9.30am and a milestone has been reached. It was the first airing of my slot on WLRfm. It was just the introductory piece, where I was recommending a book for listeners to read for the next time. What did I recommend? Well it would have to be one of my all time top favourites, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. Enjoy!

Look who i bumped into today!

me and carmel

I had lunch today with none other than the wonderful Carmel Harrington. The lady kind enough to give me my first interview to go along with my review of Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, which you can find here.

I spoke to Carmel about what is happening with her at the moment. As you may remember she had just signed up with the Trace Literary Agency when i first blogged about her, and at the moment her agent is just starting to send Beyond Grace’s Rainbow out to publishers. I have no doubt that we will be seeing it on the shelves in the near future.

Carmel was also filling me in on her next book, which just sounds amazing. The title is a work in progress, she thinks she has it nailed down but just isn’t certain if maybe there isn’t a more perfect one out there, so I am not going to publish it and will give her a chance to think about it. Though that’s maybe an exclusive she would like to keep for her own blog anyway! The book is about a mother, with an AWOL husband, who has a special gift. Sarah is psychic and has visions about people around her and she needs to use these visions to try to change a particular course of events, without people thinking she has gone nuts. Carmel assures me that the book has lots of twists and turns and the unexpected is always around the corner.

The yet to named book is just awaiting the final edit and then will be sent off to Carmels agent. Naturally after the great success of her debut book Carmel is nervous that she is a ‘one hit wonder’. I have it on good authority that she has nothing to worry about, that this book may be even better that Beyond Grace’s Rainbow!

I cannot wait to see it on sale. Good luck Carmel, and I owe her a giant piece cake so we will have to do it all again!

Hopeless

hopeless
Be not afraid, the title of this book could not be further than the truth in relation to the content of it. Hopeless spent 3 weeks in the No 1 spot of the New York Times Bestsellers! So, you don’t have to take my word for it – this book is Awesome!

There is something that sets Sky Davis back from the other 17-year-olds in her school. Senior year will be the first time she has gone to high school. Sky’s mother is a bit quirky. Well she is her adopted mother, but Sky would say she couldn’t have done better if she had picked her out herself. Sky has been home-schooled up until now but she wanted to have the experience of high school and get a taste of the real world before going off to college. She also has no cable television, mobile phone or access to the internet, meaning no Facebook, Twitter or Google. Of course she was meant to be experiencing senior year with her best friend and neighbour Six, only she has gone on a foreign exchange. This gig isn’t exactly going to plan! When she arrives at school she finds she had inherited Six’s reputation (well, you lay with dogs you come up with fleas, not that I’d ever dream of calling Six a dog but you get my drift). Lets just say Six is a bit on the loose side, if you know what i mean and while Sky has made out with plenty of guys she hasn’t gone there with any of them. The completely bore her truth be told but she is good at keeping up appearances.

Then she meets him, the guy that attracts her and repels her at the same time. She knows he is bad news, she knows she should run, he has a temper – she has seen that and the stories about him scare the hell clean out of her. There is just something about him though, she is intrigued, wants to know more – she can’t stay away! When a chance meeting has him become her running partner, with Karen’s (the mother) blessing there is no avoiding him.

She is drawn to Dean Holder like a moth to a flame. It seems the stories she has heard aren’t all true. Some are but have earned a fair bit of embellishment along the way. It seems when someone doesn’t know something or the story isn’t gritty enough they just make it up to suit themselves. There is something he isn’t saying though, he gets upset with her for reasons she can’t fathom. He tries to stay away from her, she tries to stay away from him but it just isn’t working. They are again pulled together.

The problem is that Holder knows a truth, a truth that Sky doesn’t know exists. She doesn’t know the truth exists because she doesn’t realise there is a lie. Not just one lie but a whole tally of them. When this truth starts to unravel Sky doesn’t know who she can trust, who she can turn to and where she can run. How is she going to get to the bottom of the mystery that is her life and who is still going to be around when she gets to the other side?

Wow, there is nothing that I write that can even begin to do this book justice, Colleen Hoover is quite simply amazing! The books screams intensity right from the front cover. Everything in it is gripping, front he story line to the characters and the ending – well you will just have to read the book to find that out for yourself. Again WOW

My poor children were seriously neglected the day I read Hopeless. Yes I do mean the day. I usually leave my reading until they are in bed, but I had started it late the night before and only got a chapter read, I couldn’t wait until the next night. I woke at 6am to get up to one of the kids and said to myself I would read a few pages to get myself back to sleep. Ya right, I couldn’t put it down until it was finished. Then I was disappointed cos it was gone, I felt bereft and wished I had savoured it. Imagine my excitement last night when I hear that we are going to get Holder’s version of the story! I can’t wait to find out what is going on inside his head!

I have read a lot of books already since the beginning of the year, I love intense books and just can’t get enough of them. Hopeless if firmly secured in my top three books this year alongside Rebecca Donovan’s Reason to Breathe and Barely Breathing, which is on top? It depends on the day!

I will guarantee you, stake my reputation on it, if you read Hopeless you will be enthralled from the very first word and unable to put the book down. The bad thing about this book? There isn’t another one yet to dive straight in to!

You can buy Hopeless on Amazon, Kobo, iTunes and anywhere else you normally buy your eBooks.

Colleen Hoover, busy and all as she is was generous enough to answer my interview questions. I hope that you enjoy them!

Colleen Hoover

How would you describe yourself in 5 words?

Disorganized. Procrastinator. Ninja. Positive (despite being so disorganized). Happy.

How did it feel to see yourself as No 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers?

Surreal. I’m still in shock that the book hit number one and even more in shock that it stayed for three weeks in a row.

Do you have a preference to whether you write a series or a stand alone?

I don’t. It really just depends on the book. However, I will say that I’m not a fan of cliff-hangers, so I’ll try to never leave a book hanging.

I loved the ‘Butterfly effect’ in Point of Retreat. I often see reference to it on your Facebook page. Did you think it would stick?

Oh, I didn’t think anyone would read the book…much less did I think it would stick. I wrote Point of Retreat immediately after finishing SLAMMED, so I had no readers at that time. Once the books started taking off and I would see the references, it was really awesome.

Who were your easiest and hardest characters to write for?

Lake and Will’s relationship was the easiest and funnest. Holder was really hard to figure out. I wanted him to be an enigma to the reader, but he ended up being an enigma to me as well. I had to

Your favourite band, The Avett brothers featured quite a bit in the Slammed series, was it easy to fit the quotes in so well with the chapters?

It was hard, because they have so many great lyrics that fit. The hard part was picking which ones to cut.

Hopeless was AMAZING and it up there as one of my all time best reads, You think Griffin Petersen (yum) would make a great Holder, who do you think would make a great Sky?

I have no idea. I’ve had a lot of people say Jennifer Lawrence, but I never picture the characters in my head when I write. But after readers pointed out Griffin, he definitely fit what I could see as an image for Holder.

Far from being run of the mill Romance, your books have tackled heavy issues yet you managed not to make the reader feel weighted down, what was your inspiration behind both the Slammed series and Hopeless?

Entertainment is always my only inspiration. I don’t write to education, inform or impress. I just write to entertain and I feel that even with tackling heavy issues, the read should be given lighthearted, fun moments as well.

What can we expect next from you?

I never talk about what I’m writing next. I have started many books that never get finished, so I don’t want to give readers an idea that something is being released when there’s a good chance I’ll change my mind. I find it much easier to release when it’s all complete.

(Since giving this interview Colleen made a very excitement announcemet on her blog http://www.colleenhoover.com about what is coming next!)

Are you living the dream?

Absolutely.

Ok a few random questions now

If you could pick a random guy out of a book to have all for yourself who would it be?

Probably Lucas from Tammara Webber’s Easy.

You are only allowed 3 luxury items for the next month, what are they?

Cell phone, laptop, and a butler.

Do you prefer sweet or Savoury?

Sweet.

Tell us a joke

Two muffins were sitting in an oven. One muffin turns to the other muffin and says, “Man. It’s hot in here.” The other muffin screams, “ARGH!!!!! A Talking Muffin!”

What is the most important lesson you have learned in life?

Never regret.

How the hell did we end up here?

A little under a year ago, I like a lot of the worlds female population (not to mention a few men) got swept up in the Fifty Shades of Grey frenzy. For a long time I heard people talking about it, saw jokes on Facebook and headlines in Newspapers. I had no interest in it, then my friends were reading it and women being women, they were talking about it. Jokes about cable ties, Red walls and lip biting were flying, and as they were they flew right over my head. I didn’t like it, not one bit. See if you know me you will know I like to talk. To be left out of every conversation was not good! I downloaded the Kobo app, bought the book. Then the next one and the one after that. They were so good I read all three in eight days – TWICE. My hubby remarked that there hadn’t been a thing done in the house in 2 weeks.

See I hadn’t read a book in quite a while and those that I had read previously were more your everyday Romance where the worst language used would have been a scorned woman screaming at her husband calling him a cheating bastard and sex was more often than not alluded to rather than being talked about in a blow by bow (pardon the pun) account. The FSoG trilogy opened up a whole new world of reading for me, and more like me. One friend mentioned how she had looked for books like this before and she couldn’t find one (days pre eReader) and now she can’t walk into Tesco without them slapping her in the face. Women are not only open to reading these books but talking about them aswell. And in great detail. While the women of the world are reading the men of the world are thankful. I have seen many posts on authors Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that say – ‘My husband says Thank You’, I have recommended many of these books to friends who have often thanked me (and I didn’t even write them) and told me ‘I owe you a drink’. Careful ladies I could do with a night out and i may collect!

While FSoG opened up this new world of reading to me, which I am rather enjoying, it is most certainly my eReader that facilitates it! I went for a Kobo myself but there are many of them out there. While I happily read on the bus, train, in a cafe, at the bus stop or in the college canteen I do so happy in the knowledge that no one has a clue what I am reading. I am rather shy you see (;)) and I would be mortified if anyone knew what was going on Behind my Coral book cover. Though I am sure I spare a few blushes that may just give me away! I couldn’t imagine reading Bared to You or Backstage Pass with the world knowing I was reading an erotic novel!

It’s not just the Erotic stories I am enjoying, it is the whole New Adult Genre. My top 3 are continuously switching and swapping with each other, depending on the day and the mood and of the following could be in my Number 1 spot:

Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire
Hopeless – Colleen Hoover
Reason to Breathe / Barely Breathing – Rebecca Donovan ( I read these back to back and I honestly couldn’t choose between them)

It would be a pretty special book to knock any of these of the top 3, and I am enjoying my quest to find it!