Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sandwich With a Side of Romance by Krista Phillips (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Krista Phillips, author of Sandwich With a Side of Romance!

Author Guest Post

Writing A Book: A Family Affair

Being a mom of four and an author isn't simple.

One of the ways I manage is by making writing a family event. I try to involve my kids and husband as much as I can. My characters even become part of our dinner conversation when I'm deep in the throes of character development. When I'm writing, my kids have been known to come up to me and ask, "Hey how's Jenny doing today, Mom?" or "What's Maddie up to now?"

In fact, I credit my eldest daughter for helping me brainstorm my debut novel, Sandwich, With a Side of Romance, in the parking lot of a grocery store. While my husband ran in to grab a gallon of milk, I pulled out a notebook and said, "Hey, Kara, wanna help me write a book?"

The answer was an ecstatic ... YES!

She loved the name Madison. Mommy shortened it to Maddie.

She decided that Madison cut hair for a living. Mommy decided that she should be really new to the job. 

Mommy told her that it was important for something bad to happen right near the first that would create conflict, which meant something that made the character really upset. 

She decided maybe that she cut someone's hair bad?

Mommy agreed ... and made that someone the eventual hero who was a little too obsessed with his hair. 

She named the hero too, but a week later, I was talking to my husband about my story that was beginning to form, and that I'd decided it'd be a fun story to set it in my birth town of Sandwich, IL.

My husband replied, "Honey, the guy's name is Reuben. That is the ONLY name you could give him if it's going to be in Sandwich." 

I thought for a moment, afraid it was too hokey, but in the end, agreed. I am SO glad I did! 

And thus was born Sandwich, with a Slice of Romance.

It takes a village to raise a child. And it took a family to brainstorm a book! 

About The Author

Krista Phillips is a debut author and owner of the popular blog, One Woman's Dream. She lives with her husband and four daughters in Middle Tennessee.

Her latest book is the Christian fiction romance, Sandwich With a Side of Romance.

Krista Phillips' Sandwich With a Side of Romance Virtual Book Tour Page On Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours

Book Review

Sandwich With a Side of Romance by Krista Phillips
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Format: Paperback - 320 pages / Kindle - 484 KB / Nook - 455 KB
ISBN: 1426745923
ASIN: B0093A3ZY6
Genre: Christian Fiction / Contemporary Christian Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Sandwich With a Side of Romance

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Book Description:

She moved to Sandwich, Illinois, in search of a new life, but ended up in a giant pickle.

Sandwich represents hope for twenty-year-old Maddie Buckner and Kyle, the eleven-year-old brother Maddie wants to spring out of foster care. Then she loses her new job after less than a day. It 's all Reuben-the-Jerk 's fault, and she 's determined to make him right the wrong.

He does so, reluctantly, by giving her a job at his restaurant, The Sandwich Emporium. Then crazy things start happening at the restaurant, and Kyle 's foster parents apply to adopt him. To stop it all, Maddie must learn the art of humbling herself and accepting the help God has arranged, risking her heart to Reuben in the process.

And she'd rather eat a million corned-beef on rye sandwiches than do that.

Book Excerpt:

God, is it against the rules to want to strangle one's boss?

Even though she was still very new to the whole Christian thing, six months yesterday to be exact, Maddie Buckner was fairly sure that thoughts of murder, even in jest, wouldn’t be condoned by the Almighty.

Maddie bit the side of her cheek to keep from saying something not-quite-Christian as she swept the broom across the salon floor for the fifteen-billionth time. She hadn’t driven an hour from Chicago with nothing but her clothes and a few hundred bucks to end up as a janitor.

But it seemed on her first day at the Sandwich Cut N’ Style, that was all her new boss would let her do considering it was already afternoon and she’d yet to cut a single strand of hair. She was supposed to be given walk-ins, but her boss refused her the few they’d even had, saying they were too “important” to risk on a newbie.

“You still missed some, Madison.” Karen, her Nazi-of-a-boss, crossed thick arms over her ample chest and nodded toward two short brown specks in the corner. “And when you’re done, the waiting area needs straightening up. I’m running to Art’s, and I expect it done by the time I get back. Got it?”

The front of the salon was indeed a mess due to the five-year-old terror who’d just left. He’d thrown every magazine out of the rack and banged on each toy from the basket while his mother got a perm. Oh, the joys. And since Art’s Supermarket was directly across the street, she’d have to book it to get done before Her Majesty returned.

Maddie swept up the two errant hairs then headed for the front. While she stuffed a Good Housekeeping magazine back into the rack, the bell over the door jingled and a fine-specimen of a man walked in.

Hello, Mr. Gorgeous. Shaggy-blond hair, tan arms, a slight stubble on his chin. The old Maddie would have thrown herself at him to get a date. The new Maddie wanted to run away.

The guy leaned against the oak reception desk and ran a hand through his shoulder-length hair, then looked at his watch. “Cyndi gonna be much longer?”

Miss Agnes, their gray-haired receptionist-slash-manicurist, nodded. “Sorry, Reuben. Cyndi’s four o’clock is taking longer than she expected. It’ll be another ten minutes or so. You okay to wait?”

The man eyed his watch again. “I need to get back before the dinner rush. Is there anyone else who can do it?”

“Only Karen, and she stepped out for a few minutes. If you really don’t want to wait, we’ve got a new stylist who just started today.”

Hunky-guy glanced at Maddie with a frown. “She looks a little young. Is she any good?”

Did the guy think she was deaf? Plus, Mr. GQ didn’t look to be much over twenty-five himself.

Miss Agnes tisked. “Now Reuben, be nice. Maddie came highly recommended.”

Only the prospect of her first client and a subsequent tip persuaded her to ignore the man’s rudeness. Plastering on her best fake customer service smile, Maddie straightened up from where she’d been putting blocks back in the bin. “My name’s Maddie. I’d be happy to do your cut if you’d like.”

Cyndi waved from the sink where she was removing perm rods from Mrs. Emerson’s hair. “Maddie’ll do a great job, Reuben.”

Reuben crossed his arms, looked at Maddie for a moment, then nodded. “That’s fine.”

As she showed him back to her station, nerves did the hula in her stomach. Her first real, paying haircut. She’d been a natural at school and had cut her little brother’s hair for years. But having her livelihood depend on it was an entirely new experience.

Jesus, please don't let me mess this up!

Grabbing a cape and towel from the rack, she forced another sugar-sweet smile and twirled the chair around. “Have a seat.”

He nodded and sat down. She spun the chair toward the mirror and tucked the small towel around his neck line. “So what did you have in mind? Just a trim?”

“No, I want a perm.” He rolled his eyes. “Of course a trim. Same style. No need for a shampoo.”

Maddie bit the side of her cheek to keep from retorting with a rude comment of her own. “Not a problem, sir. I’m guessing to take off maybe a half an inch?”

He shifted in his seat, his brow creased in a worried line. “Listen, if you have to guess, then maybe I need to just wait for Cyndi. I don’t really care to be a practice mannequin today.”

Maddie turned around and grabbed her comb so he wouldn’t see the darts she hurled at him with her eyes. Her first customer had to be not only a male, but a demanding pig of one too. But still, she needed a good tip. “No sir, I was just making sure that was what you wanted.”

When he didn’t reply, she turned and saw him sitting, eyes closed, his fingers rubbing his temples. Maybe Reuben-the-jerk had a headache. She should not be gleeful at the thought. Lord, forgive me.

She walked behind him and ran her fingers through his hair as she assessed his current style. An ultra modern, long shaggy cut parted an inch to the right and layered to chin length with a chic “messy” look to it. The back curled out, giving evidence of a little natural wave. It was an attractive haircut, especially for his boyish, square face, but seemed a bit longer than it should be. He was cute now, but when she was done with him, he’d be positively swoon-worthy.

Minus, of course, his snake-like personality. Nothing she could do about that.

“What are you doing?” The man stared at her in the mirror.

Maddie withdrew her fingers from his hair and bent down, pretending to look at the back of his head. “Trying to make sure I get the cut right. Should be good to go now.”

Note to Maddie: Don't fall in love with a client's hair and spend several minutes running your fingers through it. Awkward moment will surely follow.

Ignoring his brooding stare, she grabbed her scissors and began to work. The slivers of dusty blond hair floated to the ground as she snipped with a steady hand. She was doing it. Her first haircut at her first job. Her father’s words echoed in her brain. "You'll never amount to anything, girl. Just like your mom."

She was proving him wrong, along with every other man who thought she was nothing but an object to be manipulated and manhandled. If only they could see her now. But, then again, Maddie would be thrilled if she never laid eyes on any of them again. Especially her father.

As his hair began to take the proper shape, her confidence boosted. She was a success, and soon she’d have enough money to rent a little house and bring her brother home where he belonged.

While she trimmed the back, she glanced in the mirror. Was Reuben-the-jerk asleep? His head drooped, and his eyes were closed. At least he couldn’t act like a spoiled brat while he slept.

She moved to the right and began to trim the front. The layers in his bangs started at the base of his ear and ended below his chin. Maddie combed the first swatch of hair and positioned her scissors to make the cut, but Reuben’s head jerked further down then up as she began her cut, causing her hands to slip.

Maddie gasped. Dread curled itself around her stomach and squeezed. In her trembling hand she’d caught four full inches of his hair. On the side of Reuben’s forehead was a one-and-a-half-inch dusty-blond stub.

My Book Review:

Twenty-year old Maddie Buckner hasn't had an easy life, but along the way she finds Jesus and becomes a Christian, and she tries her best to make changes to get her life back on track. She moves to Sandwich, Illinois in order to gain custody and provide a stable home life for her eleven year old brother Kyle, who is currently living in a foster home. Kyle's foster family has the option of applying for adoption, and with the clock ticking down, Maddie has to secure a job and prove that she could take care of Kyle before it's too late. The only problem is that Maddie can't keep a job, after getting herself into a pickle and losing two jobs in one day, restaurant owner Reuben Callahan feels bad for her and offers her a job as his personal assistant ... but that's just the start of Maddie's trials and tribulations. With many hurdles to overcome, along the way Maddie learns that faith, trust, forgiveness, being humble and accepting help from others can make all the difference in her life ... and may even give her a chance at finding romance too!

Sandwich With a Side of Romance is a delightfully warmhearted Christian romantic comedy with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments that will keep you in stitches. In her debut novel, author Krista Phillips weaves a inspirational tale of faith mixed with a touch of humor and romance. Written in the third person narrative, the reader follows Maddie Buckner's journey to make a new life for herself and her brother. Wrought with humorous trials and tribulations, Maddie learns to deal with real life issues that the reader can easily relate to. The author has a wonderful creative writing style that blends humor, inspiration, and romance into the storyline that makes it an enjoyable and compelling read.

The author has created a cast of characters who are realistic, quirky, down-to-earth people who have flaws and real life issues and struggles. These lovable characters draw you into their lives, and you can't help but embrace them and cheer them on as they learn to overcome their issues. I love Maddie's personality, she's rough around the edges, but has a realness that I can relate to. I admired her honest and open way of expressing her new found faith, and how she tried to maintain it as she struggled with her past. I really loved Reuben, I found him to be a real and caring man who had his own personal issues that he was dealing with. Maddie and Reuben are opposites, and you know when opposites attract sparks fly, and I really enjoyed the development of their relationship.

With a great supporting cast of characters; engaging dialogue and interactions; and a storyline that is full of substance and depth; Sandwich With a Side of Romance is an uplifting and lighthearted inspirational story that will leave you smiling.


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