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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Review and Author Interview: Take a Chance on Me by Jennifer Dawson

Title: Take a Chance on Me
Author: Jennifer Dawson
Format: ARC
Publisher: Kensington
Publish Date: February 4, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "When Maddie Donovan runs out on her high school sweetheart moments before walking down the aisle, she ends up at a bar in the small town of Revival, Illinois, with only the wedding dress on her back, fifty dollars to her name, and her "good girl" reputation in tatters. Not ready to return to Chicago and face the music, she accepts hot bartender Mitch Riley's offer to stay at his place. But sharing such close quarters is driving Maddie insane with desire.

Mitch thinks he's seen it all—until Maddie strides into his bar in full wedding attire and downs three shots of whiskey. Though the gorgeous knockout seems tough as nails, he also senses her vulnerability. With a troubled past of his own, Mitch has no interest in ties of any kind—yet he can't help falling for Maddie. Now he's got to find a way to convince her to give love a second chance."

My Two Cents:

In "Take a Chance on Me," Maddie runs away from her own wedding to her high school sweetheart, who she never really knew how to end things with. She finds solace in Mitch, a small town bar owner, who come to find out is running away from his own issues. This is a sweet romance with a pinch of hotness thrown in for good measure and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This book was perfect for when I was looking for a little bit of a mental vacation from all of this terribly cold weather that we've been having. Sometimes you just need to get lost in a really fun book and this definitely fit the bill for me.

I did wonder a little bit about Maddie's and Mitch's initial relationship. Maddie just ran away from her own wedding and doesn't seem to really care about the consequences (she only cares about whether or not she gets found). I wanted to know more about her motivation for falling for Mitch. Was it simply because he was there? The romance definitely grew on me by the end of the book though. You can already see that Maddie and Mitch are going to be helpful to each other when it comes to taking the steps that they need to take in order to deal with their individual situations!

Author Interview: 

I am very excited to welcome Jennifer Dawson here to A Bookish Affair today!

1. Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind "Take a Chance on Me?"
Funny enough, Take a Chance on Me started out as a short story.  My original idea was one night of passion that ends with Maddie going out on her own to find herself.  Once I started writing Mitch and Maddie they caught my attention so completely I knew that a short story wasn’t going to be enough to satisfy them.
2. Do you have a favorite character in this book? Who is it and why are they your favorite?
It’s hard to pick a favorite, but if I have to name one, I’d pick Gracie Roberts, Mitch’s next-door neighbor.  As soon as I started writing her she jumped off the page with her warm personality.  She’s larger than life and says whatever she thinks, which makes her a lot of fun to write.
3. What was the hardest part of writing this book? What about the easiest part?
The hardest part was coming up with a plausible motivation for Mitch to bring Maddie home with him, and why she’d stay in Revival.  I think convincing motivation is one of the biggest challenges in writing contemporary romance. In our modern world we have so many options, so why does the character choose this action over another? And how do you sell that motivation to the reader in a way that doesn’t feel contrived?  
The easiest part was Mitch and Maddie’s chemistry.  From the moment they met they just had a very natural chemistry and never seemed at a loss for things to talk about.  It was the reason I abandoned the short story idea.  I just couldn’t get them to stop talking and start getting busy!
4. Can you give us any clues as to what's in store for the characters in the next books?
The second book in the Something New Series will feature Shane Donovan, Maddie’s brother and Cecilia Riley, Mitch’s sister. Shane’s used to being the boss and taking care of everyone and Cecilia’s an independent, cool career woman going through a professional and personal crisis.  I also tie up some loose ends I left hanging in Take a Chance on Me. You can find the first chapter at the end of Take a Chance on Me.
5. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. Writing is not an instant gratification profession; it takes time, perseverance and a thick skin. Every writer gets rejected and criticized, but you can’t let that stop you.  Just pick yourself up and start again.  
Also, trust your process.  There are tons of books and people out there that will tell you the “correct” way to write, but the truth is there is no right way to write a book.  Do what works for you and supports getting your butt into that chair, pulling out your computer and putting the words down on paper.    
6. What was the last really good book that you read?
I try and read as much as possible but the last book I read I couldn’t put down and stuck with me for a long time after I read it Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  It was a book I’d heard a lot about and saved for our family summer vacation and I basically stopped talking to anyone until I was finished. I love imperfect, flawed characters and her writing is phenomenal.  Since I read it I haven’t found anything else that quite satisfies me.
7. If you could choose any three fictional characters to bring with you to a deserted island, who would you bring and why?
This is a hard question, there are so many fictional characters to choose from it’s almost impossible to narrow it down but I will give it my best shot.   

  1. Phineas T. Tucker, the hero from Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie.  This is an old book, but I’ve probably read a hundred times and never get sick of it.  Over the years it’s become a comfort read and Phin is probably my all time favorite romance hero.  I’d take him with me because he’s smart, loves to read and is very… creative.  
  2. The BBC’s Sherlock.  I’m assuming being stranded on a deserted island would become rather dull and, like this rendition of Sherlock, I have a hard time being bored and tend to get restless.  I’m going to need someone to keep my brain stimulated by inventing elaborate puzzles to keep us entertained.  
  3. Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. On a deserted island we’re going to need to survive and Daryl is the master.  He can hunt, track anything, is level headed and cool under pressure. He makes tough choices but still maintains his humanity. He’s a must have. The fact that he’s easy on the eyes and looks awesome all scuffed up is an added bonus.


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