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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Count Down to Love Blog Tour

I'm happy to help celebrate the one-year anniversary of Count Down to Love by being a stop on its 2012 Blog Tour (visit The Book Bug for the rest of the tour stops). Today we have a couple of treats: an author interview AND a giveaway!

Interview with Julie N. Ford

Count Down to Love has quite a few similarities to the TV show The Bachelor. Are you a big fan of the show? If so, do you prefer The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, and do you have a favorite season?

Though I watch sporadically, I’ve never been a huge fan of reality shows. Then while doing my research for CDto L, I learned how producers cut and paste conversations and facial expressions to manipulate “reality” in order to make the show more compelling. Now I find myself second-guessing everything I see. That’s why I chose to focus the story more on Kelly’s journey than on the show. Originally, I had a chapter in the book that showed Kelly watching some of the episodes and comparing what was televised with what had really happened. Unfortunately, my publisher has word count limitations and this scene, along with a few others, were cut. Mostly, I prefer the Bachelorette to the Bachelor. As far as a favorite season, I liked Allie’s the best because she seemed more like a regular girl (no plastic surgery/didn’t appear to have an eating disorder) than most of the other bachelorettes.

Have you ever had a desire to be a contestant on a reality TV show? If so, which one, and what type of contestant do you think you'd be?

Oh good gracious, no. I can make a fool of myself just fine in privacy of my own community; I don’t see the benefit of extending the depth of my idiosyncrasies to national viewers as well. But I have thought it might be interesting to have a reality show where writers are all locked in a house, competing to write a short story or novella. They would have to endure critique groups, one-on-one’s with editors, etc. One contestant gets sent home every episode if their writing is not up to par. Writers often take their work so incredibly, emotionally personal that there would be no need for producers to create any drama. With fellow authors and editors ripping each contestant writer’s work to pieces, there would plenty of drama to go around. Winner gets a national publishing contract.
 
What do you like best about writing and having your books published?


I love it when the plot and/or words just seem to flow effortlessly as if being sent from a special place I have yet to discover. It truly feels like my own little miracle. I enjoy working with an editor and then how neat and clean the text looks when the process is done. It’s fun to see my book on the shelf at the store. But the best part is when a novel is complete, and off to press, because then it’s time for me to sink into another one ☺

Who is your favorite character in Count Down to Love, and why?

Dillon. His character sprung from my secret affinity for cowboys. Then the fact that reality dating shows often choose handsome and wealthy men, someone they think women will swoon over like money and physical appearance are all we ladies care about—as if—made me want to add another dimension. So, I made him a self-made millionaire with a mysterious past that would also give him some depth and an upbringing similar to Kelly’s.

What do you hope that readers will take from your books?

With Count Down to Love I hope my readers will be entertained and maybe even laugh a little. And by taking Kelly’s journey with her, every woman will see that she too can find her true self.

How do you pick the locations for your books?

I usually choose to take readers to places I’ve been, and enjoyed, like the skydiving scene. Except when I jumped, I did it alone, without being attached to an instructor. Very exciting! Or places I’ve always dreamed of going, or living as the case may be, like Dillon’s ranch in Wyoming.

What is your favorite book?

Just about everything written by Kristin Hannah. She is my favorite author. In fact, if I could die and come back as any author, it would be her. I tried to emulate her while writing my first two novels but in the end, both books just sounded like me. I guess that’s okay too.

Do you have any unusual habits while you write?

Hmmm, not really. I usually listen to music while I’m writing. Right now I’m listening to Thriving Ivory, Angels on the Moon. Tapping my foot seems to help me maintain a good writing rhythm. When I get stuck on a difficult scene, or plot-snag, and need to think, I’ll either go for a walk, do some yoga or head out my office door where I have a hammock.

Thank you Julie!

Count Down to Love was a 2011 Whitney Award Finalist in the Romance category. You can read my review here.
GIVEAWAY

One lucky Literary Time Out follower will win an eBook copy of Count Down to Love. To enter, just make sure you are publicly following Literary Time Out (via Google Friend Connect). Then, comment below answering this question by September 5th:

If you had to be on a reality TV show (or TV gameshow), which one would it be and why?

You can earn extra entries by sharing the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, and/or your blog. Leave a comment for each extra entry with the link(s) to your post(s).

The winner will be posted on September 6th.

You can up your chances of winning Count Down to Love by entering the Grand Prize Giveaway too!

Grand Prize Giveaway

As part of the tour, Julie is generously offering a grand prize giveaway of a hard copy of Count Down to Love, a CD of the band Due West, and a copy of the single, “Who I Am”, which Julie and Due West wrote and recorded specifically for the book. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post or any of the other stops on the tour. (Visit the tour page for the full tour schedule.) The more stops you comment on, the more entries you have into the contest!

Book Description

Abandoned at the altar, Kelly Grace Pickens finds herself left holding not only the bouquet but also the exorbitant bill for an A-list wedding. Homeless, a once promising singing career floundering, and her life bearing an uncanny resemblance to one of her country music ballads, she reluctantly accepts a last minute offer to appear on a reality TV show akin to the bachelor. Pitted against silicon-enhanced supermodels in four-inch heels, Kelly feels confident that she will be among the first would-be fianc├ęs to be excused. Only, when the mysterious bachelor from New York City, Dillon Black, invites her to stay, Kelly finds herself thrust into the vortex of a game she doesn’t have the first idea how to play. Nursing her hopelessly broken heart while avoiding the foils of her fellow contestants, Kelly is oblivious to Dillon’s affections as she wades through hurt and betrayal to discover, in the end, that she has landed firmly on both feet.
 

Leaving behind Nashville’s Music Row for the majestic Grand Teton mountains, Count Down To Love takes readers on a journey from duplicity to sincerity as Kelly discovers that being true to oneself is the first step in finding happiness and everlasting love.

Author Bio

Julie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in English Literature from San Diego State University. In addition, she earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. She has worked in teaching, childbirth education and family therapy. Besides writing, she spends many hours working along side her husband at their UPS Store franchise, but hopes to re-enter the Social Work field someday.

She is the author of three women’s fiction novels, The Woman He Married (March 2011) and No Holly for Christmas (November 2011), published by Whiskey Creek Press. The third, Count Down to Love (July 2011), published by Bonneville Books.

Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters and one very feisty fish.

You can follow Julie on her website, her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Purchase the Book

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

At the Water's Edge

Annela grew up in Helsinki feeling alone and unwanted. Now she has decided to begin a new spiritual life. In her heart, she knows that this new path will lead her to the happiness and peace she desires. But shadows from her past keep reappearing, stalling her progress and making her ultimate goal seem unreachable. First her boyfriend, Tommi, pledges his love, all the while acting in ways that destroy her faith in him. Then her mother, Helena, keeps a dark secret from her that could change Annela's life forever. Then Kenneth appears in her life, but during his brief stay in Finland, will he help her find the love and happiness she’s looking for, or will he prove to be one more complication?

I recently won a copy of this eBook (YAY for free books!). Although At the Water's Edge is not as polished as Lyon's more recent novels, it is a good story with lots of depth.

I was pulled in as I followed Annela on her journey breaking away from the life she was familiar with to a new life that held much more purpose. She had constant battles, but was able to push forward.

I haven't read many books that include abusive relationships. That aspect of this story was eye opening. Especially the look that Lyon gives readers at why the women weren't running away.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The 13: Fall

When former black ops specialist turned CIA operative Jonathan Keene is summoned to the White House, he’s not sure what to expect. And neither is FBI agent Megan Taylor. Together, they learn they’ll be working with former military chaplain Boz Hamilton to track down a man claiming to bear a message from God about the imminent downfall of the United States. But Keene isn’t buying the hype surrounding the so-called Prophet and would prefer to track down the terrorist alone.

As the three of them traverse the country and the globe in search of the Prophet, they’re led deeper down a path of deception and dead ends. Then news of the sudden disappearance of law enforcement officers along the US–Mexico border surfaces and casts a disturbing light on recent events. Suddenly they’re called to join a battle against an enemy no one saw coming.

As the US is pushed into a situation it hasn’t seen since its inception, a conflict awaits that will test the foundations of the country. . .and force Keene to face a past and faith he’d rather leave buried.


The story was pretty intense, and the interaction between the team members was great. There is a lot of action, especially near the end (which isn't the end of the story-this is the first book in a series). At times the details about the military equipment was a bit much, but overall I enjoyed the story. The idea that as a country we've lost focus on what is truly important was quite thought provoking. The references to previous presidencies and what they'd done to the country was also interesting.

Thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Books for the opportunity to read this ARC.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sharing Time

It has been a crazy, busy week with school starting. We went from a very laid back summer schedule (oh, let's be honest, no schedule) to a packed schedule that requires everyone up and moving much earlier than our bodies are used to. But, it has been a good week. Just not one conducive to book blogging. :)

Here are a few things I wanted to share:

First, Misty Moncur has posted book six in her Daughter of Helaman Series on Wattpad. It is called Brothers in Arms and it's wonderful (as per usual with her writing). I highly recommend this series.

I'll be part of a couple of blog tours and a spotlight coming up in the next few weeks. This includes giveaways! Be sure to visit my Blog Tours / Launches page for more details.

Don't forget about the contest author Josi S. Kilpack and her publisher are doing in conjunction with the release of her latest culinary mystery, Tres Leches Cupcakes. To enter, you just have to leave a comment on my post, and you can enter on any of the participating blogs (by September 16th). Easy, easy entry for an awesome prize pack for a great series!

Through the end of the month Bethany House Publishers is offering some free ebooks. This is one of the "safe" publishers I've found (free from profanity and sex). Head on over to see if any of their August Specials interest you.

Have a great week!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Refuge

I found the Refuge ARC on Netgalley, and the blurb caught my attention.

Laney Lowell moved across the country to escape her past, not to fall in love. But when she becomes friends with Gabe, a handsome artist plagued by a mysterious disease, she'll have to decide between facing his dark truth or walking away from him forever. This thrilling romance is full of twists that will keep you guessing to the last page.

While I enjoyed aspects of this story, it definitely didn't keep me "guessing until the last page." The mysterious disease was pretty obvious early on, but it took Laney most of the book to figure it out. There was a lot of buildup followed by a very rushed ending.

At one point Laney is thinking about her appearance, and says she wouldn't have stood out in Salt Lake with her multiple piercings, pink streaked hair, and tattoo. I'm pretty sure she'd stand out anywhere looking like that, but especially in Salt Lake City, Utah. That issue aside, Laney's explanation about her appearance was eye opening. I wonder how many people out there have sentimental reasons for their seemingly rebellious attire?

The best part of the book was the relationship between Laney and her aunt and uncle. It developed at a realistic pace, and it was moving to learn about their pasts and see them overcome some of their obstacles.

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Lucky Stars

After reading (and loving) Captive Heart, I was excited to read another novel by Michele Paige Holmes.

My Lucky Stars is very different from Captive Heart. The writing is still very good, but this is contemporary and directed at an LDS audience.

High-powered, highly pampered Tara Mollagen couldn't imagine a worse start to the holidays than boarding a crowded plane. A stolen wallet and lost suitcase later, she finds herself stranded in unfamiliar territory,Salt Lake City, after being rerouted to avoid a Colorado blizzard. With her temper running as wild as her red curls, Tara realizes her only option out of town is with Benjamin Whitmore, her reluctant knight in shining armor, er, overalls. For being a nice guy, Ben is rewarded with one aggravating situation after another with sassy, spoiled Tara. While doing his best to bring her pride down a notch, he begins to see another side to her, and a side of himself he's not overly fond of. When tension between them reaches a crescendo, he takes matters into his own hands and Tara into his arms. Unable to forget her experience with Ben, Tara returns to Seattle and long-time friend Jane, who offers possibilities Tara had never even considered. But change is difficult, and she's not so sure she has what it takes to make that leap of faith, or if she has the courage to leave her old life behind.

Tara's character is very entertaining. Her airplane experience at the beginning drew me in, and I enjoyed following her on her journey.

Ben was sort of complicated, but his presence made the story for me. Tara and her transformation take up the bulk of the story, and when Ben wasn't around I felt a bit antsy.

After starting My Lucky Stars I learned that this is the third book in a series. Although it sounds like the books stand alone pretty well, I think I might have enjoyed the middle of the book a bit more if I'd been more familiar with some of the minor characters.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yesterday's Stardust

Journalist Dani Gallagher finds a tattered diary written in the Roaring Twenties—and clues to a lost treasure. Chef Nicky Fiorini helps unravel the clues, and attraction ignites, but Dani is hiding her own secret. In hopes of a great story, she’s using questionable means to gather information on a local teen gang. Just as she and Nicky are on the verge of solving the mystery, internal fighting breaks out in the gang. Dani is caught the middle, and Nicky is furious. Then the diary leads to a hidden room and a shocking discovery, but have they missed the real treasure?

Yesterday's Stardust moves between present day and the 1920s, and in the present we get both Dani and Nicky's perspectives. At times the jumping around was a bit much, but overall I really liked the story.

Dani was brave, bordering on foolish at times, but I liked that the risks she took were much more for helping the girls that were sucked into gangs than for her career.

The romance was a bit complicated, but the realistic pace was somewhat refreshing.

I'm not sure how accurate the gang life was, but it was eye opening.

I'm definitely interested in reading more of Becky Melby's books.

Thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for giving me the chance to read the ARC.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

To Write a Wrong

To Write a Wrong (A Justice Seekers Novel) To Write a Wrong was one of several Christian novels I requested via NetGalley after being assaulted by a few trashy novels. Although a little preachy at times, To Write a Wrong takes the reader on a suspenseful ride that is free of profanity and sex. Thank you Robin Caroll for keeping it clean.

In Angola State Penitentiary, a man is serving time for a crime he didn't commit. Riley Baxter is an eager reporter desperate for a story to make a name for herself. When she stumbles upon the daughter of the incarcerated man, Riley sees a little too much of herself in the teen, and vows to help prove her father's innocence.

At the same time, Hayden Simpson has his hands full with keeping his little sister in line, worrying about his job as Police Commissioner, and dealing with his past emotional baggage. The last thing he needs is someone blowing the lid off his emotional bucket. But when Riley Baxter storms into his life, struggling to understand why God would let bad things happen to good people, Hayden has no choice but to follow his heart.


Now, Riley and Hayden must work together to uncover the truth of the past . . . before someone shuts Riley up for good.
 

I loved the fight for justice. Riley had her own interests in mind at times, but she really did want to prove Armand's innocence. Hayden and Riley were a good match.

There are some nasty crimes, but Caroll didn't go overboard with the gory details. The suspense was well done, and it took awhile to realize who the bad guy was.

There are verses of scripture at the beginning of each chapter. They aren't from the King James version, so the different wording was a bit of a distraction to me.

This was an intense story with great characters. I'll keep my eye open for other novels by Robin Caroll.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tres Leches Cupcakes Release & Contest


I received the following GREAT news today:

In conjunction with the release of Tres Leches Cupcakes the author, Josi S. Kilpack, and the publisher, Shadow Mountain, are sponsoring a contest for free books. To enter, leave a comment in the comment section of this blog before September 16th, 2012. Winners will be announced and notified September 17th 2012.

For additional ways to enter, go to www.josiskilpack.com.

This series is so much fun to read. You get great writing, quirky Sadie (middle-aged baker extraordinaire who dabbles in solving crimes), humor, mystery, suspense, and excellent recipes. I've read all of the books in the series (up to this one), and I own a couple them. This contest is so awesome (with the chance to win at least three books in the series, and more based on the number of entries to the contest). I am so excited to read Tres Leches Cupcakes.

For Sadie Hoffmiller, going undercover as an informant for the Bureau of Land Management on an archeological site in Santa Fe, New Mexico, seems like the perfect way to stay safe and busy while a threat against her life remains unresolved. Sadie’s days are spent digging up artifacts in the middle of nowhere while also digging up information on her fellow “dirt geeks.” With the help of her baking prowess—no one can resist those amazing dulce de leche bars—and Pete’s cousin, Caro, who takes to the detective work wholeheartedly, Sadie is finding herself again.

But the bright Southwestern sunshine only serves to illuminate the danger that lurks in the shadows. When recent burials are found on an ancient site, Sadie finds herself in the middle of an unexpected—and unwanted—investigation. The more she digs for the truth, the more secrets she uncovers—secrets that people would kill to keep hidden.

Before Sadie knows it, she’s arrested for starting a bar fight (which was totally not her fault), her new friend is missing, and she’s worn out her welcome in Santa Fe in more ways than one. A trip to the annual hot air balloon fiesta in Albuquerque is supposed to give her a break, but before long, she learns that when you’re dealing with the black market antiquity trade, you’re not really safe anywhere you go.

Comment below to enter and be sure to visit Josi's website for the other ways to enter this awesome contest!

If contests aren't for you, you can pre-order Tres Leches Cupcakes on Deseret Book and Amazon.

Seaweed

Dori Seward can’t wait to get out of Eastcove, a sleepy fishing village on the border of New Brunswick and Maine. She bides her time by hanging out with friends, attending swim club, and holding her biggest competition, Colby–who wants more than just friendship, at arm’s length.

Then Tor Riley comes to town and he has everything Dori dreams of in a boyfriend–looks, athleticism and mystery.

But Tor also has a tantalizing secret and Dori is determined to find out what it is. The truth is crazier than her wildest imaginations and more dangerous, too. Dori has new enemies, and they will do anything to get to her.

Her life, her dreams and her love for Tor are all weighing in the balance. Will Dori risk it all in order to have it all?
 


Seaweed is the second book I've read by Elle Strauss. While I didn't enjoy it as much as Clockwise (the other book of Strauss' that I've read, and highly recommend), it was still an enjoyable story. Some of the mystery was predictable, but if you are looking for a fast and easy read, give Seaweed a try.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Turning Pages

Turning Pages by Tristi Pinkston is a modern-day re-telling of Pride and Prejudice.

Addie Preston has been struggling since the recent death of her father, but at least her job at her beloved library provides stability in her life. At least it does until Blake is hired for the position she was promised, and major changes are announced for the library. There is instant bad blood, but working together forces them to get to know each other, and Addie comes to realize that not only is Blake handsome, but he really is a nice guy.

At times Addie seemed a lot younger than her 19-20 years, but she was very likable. The story reminded me a little of the job I had at a library during my college days.

This was a fun, fast read. I was able to read the full book on Wattpad (if you haven't checked Wattpad out yet, you are missing out).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paige

This third book in the Newport Ladies Book Club series is my favorite so far. The writing in all of the books has been excellent, but I found myself more drawn to Paige than the other characters. I think this is because of our similar ages, number of children, and religion.

Thankfully, our similarities end there. Paige's husband was unfaithful, which lead to a divorce. She's raising her two young boys on her own in a new state. There are so many changes in her life that she's learning to adjust to while being bogged down by bitterness toward her ex and his new wife.

Although this book has its share of downers, I really enjoyed how Paige finds so much happiness through new friendships, her boys, and even some romance. I liked how she was able to look at what was making her happy, and realize what was most important in her life, even if that meant some temporary unhappiness for a better long term result.

Don't forget that you can meet the author, Annette Lyon, this Saturday at the Fort Union Deseret Book from 1:00-3:00 for the Paige launch party.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Choosing Charity Blog Tour


I'd like to thank Lexi at The Book Bug for including me in the Choosing Charity Blog Tour.

I was intrigued by the book description:

When Kit learns that her biological mother wants to meet her, it seems her perfect life is about to come tumbling down. With a new job, a husband she adores, and friends all around her, can Kit possibly be expected to risk everything for a woman who left her in a dumpster to die?

It's hard to imagine all of the emotions that a person would go through being contacted by someone who had literally thrown them away (especially after we learn the reason for the contact). Choosing Charity takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride that explores the need to forgive and move forward.

I was a little hesitant to start a series with the third book, but Choosing Charity stands on its own very well. I wasn't lost and felt that I was given just the right amount of backstory. The only aspect missing for me was a new romance. Kit and Adam have a great relationship in Choosing Charity, and I imagine the buildup to that would be enjoyable to read about (a good reason to go back and read the rest of the series).

Although the writing style wasn't my favorite, the overall message of Choosing Charity is very good. There are also some great characters. My favorite was Charity. She was fighting such a huge battle, and she did an excellent job of being positive even though the outcome didn't look promising.
 
Giveaway Info

As part of the tour, Terri is generously offering a grand prize giveaway of the Faith, Hope, and Charity trilogy, including hard copies of Finding Faith, Having Hope, and Choosing Charity. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post or any of the other stops on the tour. (Visit the tour page for the full tour schedule.) The more stops you comment on, the more entries you have into the contest!


The official launch party for Choosing Charity will be held on August 11th from 3-7 PM at Seagull Book in The District in South Jordan. Terri will be joined by two other authors: Diony George and Carla Kelly. Prizes and refreshments will be offered so come join the fun!

Author Bio

Terri Ferran grew up in a small Colorado town that offered little in the way of entertainment. She escaped through reading (and later on a Continental Trailways bus), and although the town didn't have a library, she eagerly anticipated the coming of the Bookmobile and would check out stacks of books at a time.

She moved to Utah as a high school senior where she joined the LDS Church and met her husband, Tod. She dreamed of being a writer but took the safe route of becoming a CPA. She finally got brave enough to quit working in the world of numbers to pursue her dream of writing and also to spend more time with her children. Her first book, Finding Faith was published in 2007 and she is excited to be living her dream of writing in real life.

Terri still loves to read, but she can usually be found writing, doing laundry, dishes, running errands, napping, eating chocolate, or exercising (not necessarily in that order).

Purchase the Book

Monday, August 6, 2012

Paige Launch


Paige, the third book in the Newport Ladies Book Club series, is now available! (I'm reading it right now-review to come later this week.)

There will be a fantastic launch party this Saturday, August 11th, with the authors of the series. It will be from 1:00-3:00 at the Fort Union Deseret Book store. You can learn more about the launch (and a CONTEST) over at the NLBC blog.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Erasing Time

It's Friday and that means that today is the last day of my Janette Rallison week. I hope you've enjoyed reading about Janette and a few of her books.

Janette (as C.J. Hill) has a new book coming out on August 28th. It's called Erasing Time. Here's the blurb:

In this high-action and romantic futuristic adventure, there is no escape from the future for two contemporary girls pulled out of their own time.

When twins Sheridan and Taylor wake up 400 years in the future, they find a changed world: domed cities, no animals, and a language that’s so different, it barely sounds like English. And the worst news: They can’t go back home.


The twenty-fifth-century government transported the girls to their city hoping to find a famous scientist to help perfect a devastating new weapon. The moblike Dakine fights against the government, and somehow Taylor and Sheridan find themselves in the middle. The only way to elude them all is to trust Echo, a guy with secrets of his own. The trio must put their faith in the unknown to make a harrowing escape into the wilds beyond the city.


Full of adrenaline-injected chases and heartbreaking confessions, Erasing Time explores the strength of the bonds between twins, the risks and rewards of trust, and the hard road to finding the courage to fight for what you believe in.


Janette has posted the first page or so of the book on both her blog and her C.J. Hill blog. You can pre-order Erasing Time on Amazon.

Thanks again Janette for participating this week, and for writing great books. Keep up the good work!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Double Life

Ever since Kira Kingsley became a famous rock star, Alexia Garcia has been told how much they look alike. But Alexia's upbringing has been anything but privileged. It's no wonder that she jumps at the opportunity to be Kira's stunt double (not to mention she'll finally get the chance to meet her father).

Alexia's eyes are opened to a whole new lifestyle. She brings her intelligence and heart into her new job, but her journey to discover who she really is is more than difficult due to pretending to be someone else.

Another entertaining Rallison story complete with laughs and the importance of family and honesty.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend

Sometimes a title does a great job of telling what a book is about. That is the case with How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend. Giovanna dumps Jesse when he chooses to help with the popular boy's campaign instead of her twin brother's campaign. This is an obvious breach of loyalty. However, Dante (her twin) doesn't seem to be bothered by the misaligned loyalty, and it doesn't take long for Giovanna to realize that she wants Jesse back.

I was hooked with the first paragraph:

"I bet you Cinderella didn't get along with Prince Charming's friends. Oh sure, the knight and barons probably put up with her on account that she was pretty and has such dainty feet and all, but you know every duchess and countess in the kingdom hated her guts. That's how women are when someone encroaches on their turf."

Cliques, politics, horrible blind dates, dissected frogs, a wicked step-mother, and several misunderstandings make for a fun story.