Nose in a Book Reviews: Trailer Trash: an 80’s Memoir by Angie Cavallari @Suburbtastic

Trailer Trash: an '80s Memoir

A nostalgic 80’s romp through Tampa trailer park living

“My Mother hated being cold.”  This is the opening line of chapter two, that leads you down the rabbit hole of Cavallari’s youth living in the impoverished ghettos of the American trailer park.

The story weaves the tale of Angie’s life as her parents uproot her family from the frigid Chicago winters and into the steamy swamp of central Florida.  After intense pressure from her Grandmother, Angie’s parents decide to purchase the Pelican Mobile Home Park, situated near the dilapidated remnants of the Godfather’s Lounge, a local watering hole for the downtrodden.   The tale is told through chapter-length vignettes, each more captivating than the last.  The cast of neighborly characters often feel so perfectly imperfect, they must be a figment of Cavallari’s imagination, rather than taken from her actual youth.  Her storytelling and descriptions transport you right into the story.

Cavallari’s life was difficult, with a narcissistic, bully of a mother and a childhood that was filled more with taking care of the trailer park than playing with children her own age.   She details her struggle with her weight when she was young and how it severely affected her psyche, all the while spinning it with a comedic undertone that leaves you shaking your head in wonder and fascination.

I enjoyed the liberal peppering of eighties pop culture nostalgia, as well as the musical references found throughout.  It was fun remembering my own youth during that same time frame and connecting with much of Angie’s childhood, even though I grew up in suburban western New York.

Check out this tale featuring the underbelly of Americana that is often joked about, but rarely detailed with such an intense magnifying glass. Remember to put on your seatbelt, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

 

AngieCavallariAuthor

Angie Cavallari is an assiduous writer who has been hammering away at the craft for over 20 years. She has authored thousands of blogs and articles with some of her work featured in Huffington Post, Healthline, The Reset, SF Bay Reader, among others. A transplant to a plethora of U.S cities including her current home, Denver, Angie grew up in Florida, then moved to NYC where she picked up her husband in a bar. In spite of her propensity for wanderlust, she managed to settle down long enough to have two extraordinary kids and build a solid life with her husband of 16 years.

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Nose in a Book Reviews: How Forever Feels by @LauraDrewry – @tastybooktours

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From USA Today bestselling author Laura Drewry comes a warm and witty new Friends First novel—perfect for readers of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery. How Forever Feels is a sweet tale about the one that got away . . . and the one that came back.

Maya McKay’s heart is as big as Jack Rhodes’s shoulders are broad. Their chemistry is out of control, but it could never work between them because Jack is more than just best friends with her cheating ex-husband—they’re like brothers. Maya, the sensitive, practical florist, has given up on love and is ready to settle for like. But now that Jack’s around again, he’s stirring up old feelings—and turning Maya’s fantasies into irresistible reality.

Jack blew his chance with Maya years ago when he stepped aside for his best friend, Will, and he’s still kicking himself about it. Maya was promised forever once before, and she got burned. But when Jack realizes that second chances aren’t going to fall out of the sky, he seizes the moment—and the woman he’s always loved—to show her how forever truly feels.

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4star

Sigh… I really have grown to love this author and this series. She consistently delivers on plot, characterization, and swoony men to swoon over. This book is no different.

This book is Maya’s story. Heartbroken, Maya is still reeling from her husband cheating on her a few years ago. After her divorce she hasn’t seen her ex-husband’s best friend, Jack in two years. Jack is one of those loyal and dependable people wrapped up in a tall hunky package, except he’s her ex-husband’s best friend. Will, Maya’s ex has all but given Jack the ‘Bros before Hos speech, making Jack miserable with trying to please both Will and his heart.

The story was extremely well told, with characters you want to root for, even with their flaws. I really enjoyed this from start to finish.

Want to read an except?  Check it out below!

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“So what brings you to town?” Ellie asked. “And if you mention Dickhead’s name in your next sentence, you’re buying a round for the whole room.”

“Thanks for the heads-up,” Jack muttered, giving the packed house a quick glance. “The company I work with is moving one of our offices up here, so I’m keeping an eye on things to make sure it all stays on track and we get going on time. I talked to the contractor the other day and it sounds like we’re on course, so hopefully—”

“Duh!” Groaning, Jayne thumped the heel of her hand against her forehead. “You’re Gamer-guy-Jack from TMJ! That’s why I know your name—Nick told me someone was coming to take over for Keith but I didn’t make the connection between you and him. “

“You know Nick Scott?”

“Sorry.” Maya laughed. “Let me try the introductions again. Jack, this is Jayne Scott, Nick’s wife, and if he’s doing the work, you’ll have no worries about staying on track.”

“Good, because the lease we have right now is up in mid-November, so we’re already pushing our luck.”

“Nick said you work out of Seattle,” Jayne said. “So are you going to stay when the new place is finished or are you just here on loan?”

“Just a loaner,” he said. “Until Keith’s back.”

“And are you staying with”—Jayne stopped and winked at Ellie—“He Who Must Not Be Named?”

“No.” Jack blinked past Jayne and shrugged. “That hotel by the golf course gave us a good deal, so—”

“Us?” Ellie asked. It was only one word, but it covered a lot of territory.

He turned his grin to Maya. “Me and Pete.”

“Pete’s with you?” Maya cried. She’d never considered herself much of a dog person until she’d met Pete. “How is he?”

“Still the same; big, brown, and a little bit pathetic.” Jack pulled out his phone and flashed a couple pictures of his chocolate Lab, starting with the one of Pete as a chubby nine-week-old puppy and ending with a recent one of him with two tennis balls stuffed in his mouth and his right ear flopped back.

“How old is he now?” Maya asked. “Eight?”

“Coming up next month, yeah.”

They were all still gushing over him as Ellie continued to pepper Jack with questions.

“You married?”

“No.”

“Ever been married?”

“Sorry, Jack,” Maya muttered. “Ellie, the Queen of Tact, doesn’t believe in beating around the bush.”

“It’s fine.” He chuckled but Maya knew it was forced. “And no, never been married.”

“Got any kids?”

“Nope. It’s just Pete and me,” Jack said, tucking his phone away again. “I told you, boring.”

“I don’t believe that,” Ellie said, watching him through narrowed eyes. “You don’t look like the boring type.”

There was never a day that went by when Maya didn’t know how lucky she was to have these three women as her best friends, but nights like this made her appreciate them even more. Following Ellie’s lead, they spent the next hour or so dragging all kinds of stories from him; everything from him being the tall, skinny awkward kid at school, to the craziest date he’d ever been on—the girl showed up in a leopard-print catsuit complete with tail and ears—to the time he literally ran into Thor at Comic-Con.

“He’s a big sonuvabitch, that one.”

“Looked in a mirror lately, Jack?” Regan laughed.

“Yeah, easy for you guys to laugh about it,” he said. “But I wound up flat on my ass surrounded by security.”

“Way to make an impression,” Maya snickered. “There goes any chance you might have had to get him to voice one of your games.”

A slow smirk spread across Regan’s face as she sat up straighter. “If it’s voices you need, why don’t you get Maya to hit up her new boyfriend, Griffin Carr?”

“Griffin Carr?” Jack’s eyes bulged. “You mean . . . no . . . Griffin Carr? Like just-started-filming-the-next-Bond-movie Griffin Carr?”

“One and the same.f” Ellie nodded, but Maya was already shaking her head.

“He’s not my boyfriend. We’ve been out a few times, that’s it.” Okay, it was a little more than that now, but she couldn’t exactly tell the girls about it with Jack sitting there staring at her.

“Sorry, Snip, you’re going to have to give me more than that. Griffin Carr?

It took her a few seconds to say anything else, partly because she was in mid-sip of her wine and partly because she was dragging that sip out as long as she could.

“He’s been filming up here a lot in the last few years and likes to use Regan as his stylist.”

“And?”

“And a few months back, he and Regan made a deal where she’d be his stylist for an indie film he was doing if he’d agree to play on our slo-pitch team in a charity game, which is where he and Maya met.”

Jack nodded. “Right, I remember Will saying something about the game.”

Ellie nodded pointedly. “I’m guessing Dickhead neglected to mention that Griffin was all over Maya like white on rice.”

“But she was playing hard to get,” Regan added. “Because she thought he was a sleazeball.”

“And I already admitted I was wrong,” Maya said, forcing a dry laugh. “And that I shouldn’t believe everything I hear or read about him, so can we get over that, please?”

Regan popped a couple peanuts in her mouth and grinned. “I’m telling you, Jack, that game was one of the best things I’ve ever witnessed; we had Griffin putting the moves on Maya for all the world to see, and we had Dickhead and his skank with front row seats to the show. It was beautiful.”

Maya was sure Will’s scowl that day had little to do with the fact that Griffin was hitting on her and more to do with the fact that Stella spent the entire game the same way every other woman—and a few of the men—did: drooling over Griffin and doing whatever she could to get his attention.

A better person might not have found any satisfaction in Will’s misery, but Maya never claimed to be that good of a person.

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Displaying Laura.jpegUSA Today Bestselling author, Laura Drewry had been scribbling things for years before she decided to seriously sit down and write. After spending eight years in the Canadian north, Laura now lives back home in southwestern British Columbia with her husband, three sons, a turtle named Sheldon, and an extremely energetic German shepherd. She loves old tattered books, good movies, country music, and the New York Yankees.

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Nose in a Book Reviews: The Story Guy – Blog Tour & Giveaway!

Today, Nose in a Book Reviews is participating in The Story Guy Blog Tour.

We have a guest post and giveaway at the end, so check it out!

First up, a little blurb of this lovely novella.

In this eBook original novella, Mary Ann Rivers introduces a soulful and sexy tale of courage, sacrifice, and love.

I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only.

Carrie West is happy with her life . . . isn’t she? But when she sees this provocative online ad, the thirtysomething librarian can’t help but be tempted. After all, the photo of the anonymous poster is far too attractive to ignore. And when Wednesday finally arrives, it brings a first kiss that’s hotter than any she’s ever imagined. Brian Newburgh is an attorney, but there’s more to his life . . . that he won’t share with Carrie. Determined to have more than just Wednesdays, Carrie embarks on a quest to learn Brian’s story, certain that he will be worth the cost. But is she ready to gamble her heart on a man who just might be The One . . . even though she has no idea how their love story will end?

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My swoony review is up next.

The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Genre: Romance / Novella

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this fantastic book in return for an honest review.

I loved this book. I read it in one sitting and just loved Mary Ann Rivers’ writing style.

The story is about lonely librarian, Carrie West. She loves her job, but is frustrated by her lackluster love life. One insomnia filled night she stumbles across an ad for a Wednesday only date at a park. The only stipulation is that they will kiss for the entire time, and if either person stops coming on Wednesdays then the ‘relationship’ is over. No fuss, no muss. Drawn in by the handsome profile photo of the mystery man, she responds, hoping it might be the spark she needs to liven up her life.

When Wednesday finally arrives she meets Brian at the park and within moments they are kissing with wild abandon. Carrie has never felt such a kiss in all of her life and after another Wednesday date decides she needs more from her weekday kisser. This of course breaks all the rules Brian has set up to keep women out of his busy life. Carrie doesn’t understand and he refuses to let her in until one day Brian’s secret unexpectedly comes out.

I LOVED how lost Carrie was. Mary Ann really did a fantastic job with her characterizations. I know Carrie, shit, I WAS Carrie in my mid-20s. So lost and eager for love. I had a couple of Story guys in my past, and it is true, I remember my time with them fondly.

I thought Brian’s burden was palpable. My heart broke for him and the weight of the world that was so firmly placed on his shoulders at a young age.

An incredible read. Can’t wait to read more from Rivers.

View all my reviews

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Lastly, a little guest post by the amazing, Mary Ann Rivers! 

How has anonymity on the Web changed the search for romance?

 I’m not certain that the internet is genuinely anonymous, at this point, and to approach it that way is an exercise in frustration. I think of it as a public space, Iike a city, and just like a city you can sometimes get lost in it, feel alone, but you’re never truly anonymous. When Brian uses the city’s internet personals to reach out, he believes he can maintain his anonymity by putting extreme limits on his human interaction with Carrie. He does just enough to make her feel safe—gives her a clear picture, meets her in the wide open public, will tell her where he works—but withholds what he believes will keep him safe—how he spends his time outside of the single hour, once a week that he will give her.

The internet is like that. We use it and reveal no more than what makes us feel safe—whether those revelations are in dating profiles, tweets, status updates, or blogs—and then we withhold everything else. I think this is true in face-to-face human interactions, as well, it’s just that as people, we take advantage of what IS lost on the internet—body language, for example. Carrie intuits that Brian is holding in and hiding a great deal by the way he moves his body, by his closed-off body language, and this motivates her to get behind his walls. If their relationship had stayed virtual—say in emails or cybering—she might not have gotten as close.

Carrie muses a lot about things like dating sites and why they’re unsatisfying, why it is she might be drawn to the kind of arrangement Brian advertises for. She’s looking for human connection, and she’s at a point in her life where she’s willing to let go of control to get it. And if the engaging with the internet has some advantage, it may be control—at least for a little while.

Do you want to get your hands on a copy of this novella?  

Click on the link below to be entered to win.

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THE STORY GUY on Goodreads
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About Mary Ann Rivers
Mary Ann Rivers was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals and leading creative-writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a nurse practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients. Now she writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line. Mary Ann Rivers lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son.
Connect with Mary Ann:  Website  |  Twitter |  Facebook

Cover Reveal and Giveaway – Mountain Charm by Sydney Logan

I have been a fan of Sydney’s for quite some time.  Her first novel, Lessons Learned made my top ten reads of last year.  And her holiday novella Mistletoe Magic, warmed my heart.  I’m happy and privileged to reveal the cover of her new book, Mountain Charm.

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Mountain Charm

by Sydney Logan

“True love and sweet whispers, till death do us part;

Send someone to love my Appalachian heart.”

At the age of thirteen, Angelina Clark followed in the footsteps of her ancestors by casting an Appalachian love spell, which promised she would blossom into a beautiful and gifted woman who would find her true love. A young Angelina had been thrilled to participate in the sacred ritual, but through the years, her father’s untimely death and her mother’s failing health have shaken Angelina’s magical faith to its core. As her twenty-first birthday approaches, she refuses to practice her supernatural gifts and no longer believes in the love charm.

That is, until Dylan Thomas arrives on her front porch.

Dylan, a Nashville writer, travels to the mountain town of Maple Ridge to unearth the family’s supernatural secrets. While her clairvoyant mother is convinced that Dylan is her daughter’s soul mate, Angelina refuses to see the nosy reporter as anything more than a nuisance.

Despite their constant bickering, sparks fly.

Dylan admits he feels strangely drawn to Angelina and is in no hurry to leave Maple Ridge or publish his magazine article. Fearful that his emotions are being influenced by the spell, a stubborn Angelina struggles to fight her own budding attraction to the reporter.

The two inevitably grow closer just as her mother’s health begins to deteriorate, and Angelina is faced with the possibility of selling the family’s music shop to pay the mounting medical expenses. Desperate to help the woman he loves, Dylan explores his own family tree and finds support from an unlikely source. Can he finally prove his love is real—spell or no spell?

A story filled with love, friendship, family, and just a hint of Appalachian magic, Mountain Charm will leave you spellbound.

Title: Mountain Charm

Author: Sydney Logan

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Paranormal

GR Link: Mountain Charm on GoodReads

 

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About the Author:

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Sydney Logan is an Amazon bestselling author and holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. With the 2012 release of her first novel, Lessons Learned, she made the transition from bookworm to author. Sydney has a very unhealthy obsession with music, and her iPod is filled with everything from Johnny Cash to Eminem. She is also the author of two short stories: “Mistletoe Magic,” available exclusively on Amazon Kindle, and “Stupid Cupid,” which is featured in the Romantic Interludes compilation. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her front porch at her home in East Tennessee with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat.

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A Moment with: Sydney Logan

Today we are chatting with Sydney Logan.  Her debut book, Lessons Learned, launched just yesterday.  I took a moment to speak with Sydney and ask her a few questions about her, the book and her writing process.

Lessons Learned

My review of Lessons Learned

What inspired you to write Lessons Learned?

This story has been in the back of my mind for a while now.  I love books that make you think, and I love a good romance that’s realistic.  I’m a teacher, and they say to “write what you know,” so I decided to combine my loves in this novel.  I was also inspired by the recent school shootings and how common they’re becoming.  I’m a pretty open-minded person, so to see this level of hatred in society is upsetting.  I wanted to write a story that showed that it’s possible to be kind to a person, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.

How long was your writing process from start to finish?

I began writing Lessons Learned last September, and the first draft was completed by March. Then the editing process began, and that continued through June.

Were any of the characters loosely based on people who you know/knew in real life?

Very loosely, but yes.  I’m very much Sarah, in that I preferred records to dolls when I was growing up and that I have a very live-and-let-live approach to life.  Ferris Bueller is also my favorite 80s movie. 🙂

I really loved Lucas, but he almost seemed too perfect.  If you had to think up one major flaw of Lucas’ what would it be?

I’ve heard several readers say he was a little too perfect, which isn’t something I planned.  I just don’t think there are enough kind-hearted men in contemporary romance.  I’ve always written stories where the man really adored the woman in his life, so it didn’t dawn on me that I was making him too perfect.  But, if I had to pick a flaw, I’d say that maybe he was a little too patient.  Perhaps that wasn’t very realistic.  Most guys (and girls) probably would have jumped on the Internet to find out the secrets they were keeping, but that would have made for a really short story, so . . . 🙂

Which character was your favorite to write? or the one that you could visualize the easiest?

Sarah, for sure, was the easiest to visualize—probably because there’s so much of me in that character.

Did you have an amusing or frustrating story about something that happened while you were writing this book?

Since it’s my first novel, there were many levels of frustration.  My self-confidence wasn’t the best, just because this was a new adventure and I had no idea how it would turn out.  I worried about every single word, every single comma, and I agonized to the point that it didn’t even sound like me anymore.  Needless to say, the finished product doesn’t resemble the early draft, which is a good thing, because it was much too formal.

If your book ever became a Hollywood motion picture, who would you cast as Lucas, Sarah and Matthew?

What a great question!  When I was imagining physical characteristics for my characters, I envisioned Natalie Portman for Sarah. I had trouble putting a face to Matt, but I think perhaps Cody Linley. Zachary Levi was always my Lucas.

Sarah / Natalie Portman

Matt / Cody Linley

Lucas / Zachary Levi

Since this is your first published work, do you have any advice for aspiring authors like myself about the publishing process?

Check the submission guidelines of whichever publisher you’re interested in and do what they say. Don’t cut corners, because that’s how your manuscript ends up in the slush pile. Also, be willing to listen to your editor’s suggestions, but don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and your story.

If you had two sentences to get readers completely hooked on your story, what would they be?

I’m not sure which two sentences I’d choose, but the prologue seems to resonate with readers and attract them instantly. Until you read further in the book, you don’t really understand who’s actually in that scene.

What’s next for you?  Do you have another book in the works?

I do. I’m working on the second book in the series (all based in fictional towns in Appalachia). It’s tentatively scheduled for release in September 2013.

Thanks so much for your time!

And in other news…

I’ll be giving away a free e-book of Sydney’s debut novel, Lessons Learned.  Just comment on this post and you’ll be entered into the drawing.  If you follow my blog, please let me know that in your comment, and you’ll be entered an extra time into the drawing.  When commenting, please be sure to let me know how to reach you if you win.  The giveaway will be open from Friday, September 7th until Sunday, September, 9th.  I’ll notify the winner on Monday morning.  (The comment button is at the top right of the post)

Author Bio: Sydney Logan lives in the hills of East Tennessee. She has spent her life educating children and has recently made the transition from bookworm to author. She has a very unhealthy obsession with music, and her iPod is filled with everything from Johnny Cash to Eminem. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her front porch with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat. Her debut novel, Lessons Learned, will be released in September 2012.

Sydney can be reached via:

Twitter @SydneyALogan

Sydney Logan’s website

Sydney on Facebook

Buy Lessons Learned

Don’t forget to visit the last stop on the blog hop.

September 8 –  http://saritadreaming.wordpress.com – Character questions, review and giveaway.

Thanks & chat with you soon,

Michela

September’s Writing Challenge

I’ve decided to try to post a little story between 100-500 words every weekday for the month of September.  Because I have little kids, I won’t really be able to do this during the weekends, but during the week, I will do this.

I will randomly choose a picture or a word and write whatever that prompt inspires me to write.

I hope you’ll stick with me for this little self-imposed exercise.  Of course constructive criticism is always welcome – and heck, if you feel like writing your own story based on the prompt, add it to the comment section of that story & I’ll post my favorites at the end of the day.

My first four prompts:

Tuesday, September 4 

Wednesday, September 5

Thursday, September 6

Friday, September 7

In honor of being a part of Sydney Logan’s blog stop for the launch of her book, Lessons Learned on this day, I’ve decided to use her book title as inspiration for the prompt.

Word prompt: Life Lesson