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, June 19, 2013

Crime & Passion by Chantel Rhondeau (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Crime & Passion by author Chantel Rhondeau!

Author Guest Post

Chasing Tough Dreams

Motivation is a tricky beast. When life throws tough stuff at us, it’s easy to give up, to move on to something easier. Although needing to keep motivation high applies to many situations, I often get asked how I keep motivated to continue writing. Being a self-published author, it’s not as though I have a publisher and a strict deadline. I’m my own taskmistress. However, I’ve learned to be tough on myself, because that is the only way to accomplish things.

In my day job, I’m a medical transcriptionist and I am only paid for the work I get done, so self-motivation has always been important. I set a goal every day of how much work I need to get done, and then race to do better than I did the day before. I’ve been working as a medical transcriptionist for ten years, so when I started writing fiction seven years ago, I already had knowledge of what it took to push myself to complete projects.

That’s not to say it’s always easy. My first book, Always & Forever, took quite some time to write because it was about abuse and healing from that, and some scenes were so emotional for me that it took some time to recover. Crime & Passion also had many emotional scenes, but it is a different tone and also a mystery. I had no motivation problems with it because I couldn’t wait to figure out what was going on in the mystery and who the actual ‘bad guy’ was (I don’t pre-plot, so this was a surprise to me).

My current work in progress presents more problems. I’m starting over on it for the third time (which means I’ve thrown away 40,000 words in total). When it’s that hard, part of me whispers, “Give up, do something else.” My muse pitches ideas for newer, easier stories. However, I really believe in this project and I know it can be wonderful. If all things in life were easy, we’d all be great at everything. It’s time to dig in with this book, set some goals, and the most important element, believe in myself.

Insecurities kill motivation, no matter what you’re trying to do. My most favorite quote ever is from Audrey Hepburn – “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible.’” I try to live my life this way. When things look the bleakest, I tell myself that I can do it, if I want it bad enough. Giving up is very rarely an option for me. When I compare my challenges to other people’s, I’m so blessed in my life with my family, friends, great readers who I love chatting with—I can’t let myself give up. People count on me to deliver what I promised with my fiction writing, same as my boss counts on me in my transcription job. I suppose being a people pleaser helps my motivation.

Optimism is key for me. Sometimes life gets us down. Bad things happen, we get overwhelmed, and we want to give up. The trick is to look for the silver lining in any situation. Failure is a part of life, but anything worth having is worth working for. To stay motivated, believe in yourself and know that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. I believe persistence is the key to getting whatever we want. That knowledge keeps me motivated to chase my dreams.

Always remember, nothing’s impossible!

About The Author

Chantel Rhondeau once thought a great mystery or fantasy book with strong romantic themes was the highest level of reading bliss. After reading her first romantic suspense novel, she never looked back. Before long, the need to create her own stories took over. She spends her daytime in the clinical profession of medical transcriptionist, but her passion is in the blissful hours she spends with her characters in the evenings.

Chantel lives in the western United States. When she isn’t writing, she loves playing cards with her family, bowling, or snuggling with her lazy kitties.

Crime & Passion by Chantel Rhondeau ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Book Review

Crime & Passion by Chantel Rhondeau
Publisher: Self Independent Publishing
Publication Date: March 11, 2013
Format: Paperback - 324 pages / Kindle - 591 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 1482547473
Genre: Romantic Suspense 

BUY THE BOOK: Crime & Passion

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

A decorated police officer, more intent on justice than following the letter of the law, lands in trouble when a schoolteacher finds a dead body on the beach. 

Officer Donovan Andrews knows how to have a good time—ask any woman in town. But when it comes to men abusing their wives or children, Donovan takes it upon himself to make them regret it.

Madeline Scott is unlucky in love. All she wants is a quiet place to heal, away from cheating, womanizing men. However, her life is far from peaceful once she stumbles across the body and witnesses someone fleeing the scene.

Terror spreads in Pleasant View when the small community hears a killer is on the loose. All evidence points to Donovan, and he realizes someone is trying to frame him. When troubling suspicions from his past surface, even fellow officers believe he’s guilty. Madeline might be the only person who can clear his name, but first he has to win her trust.

The body count rises and no one is safe. The murderer makes it clear Madeline is next. Soon, Donovan’s whole world is focused on protecting her and keeping himself out of prison. The more time he spends with her, the harder it is to fight his growing attraction. Since she’s been burned by love, convincing Madeline he’s interested in something more than hot sex may prove harder than keeping her alive.

Book Excerpt:

Brandon grabbed her around the waist before she could turn. “At least give me a proper kiss goodnight.”

Madeline shoved him away from her, irritated by his aggression. She had known it was a bad idea to go out with him, but she’d been upset to learn the truth about Donovan and made a rash decision. “I’m sorry if you expected more, but that’s not happening tonight.”

Footsteps sounded in the hallway behind her. At least the little gossips would be able to spread around the fact that she didn’t let every stray man into her apartment. Though apparently having Donovan there before did enough damage to her reputation.

“Come on,” Brandon begged in a low voice. “Just one little kiss?”

“I think you should leave,” she said. “Goodnight, Brandon.”

Suddenly, Madeline felt a presence behind her as someone loomed over her shoulder. She knew who it was without looking. A delightful shiver passed through her as the heat from his body pressing against her back elevated her pulse.

“I think the lady wants you to leave,” Donovan said, his breath puffing against her neck. “Looks like the date’s over.”

No matter what her betraying body wanted her to do, Madeline refused to melt against Donovan. She stiffened her spine and turned the key in the lock, opening the door and stepping inside. She looked at the two men facing off against one another on her doorstep.

“Why are you here, Donovan?” she asked. “Did you have to leave the restaurant because they didn’t have a sippy cup for your date?”

Brandon laughed. “I think you’re the one who’s not wanted here.”

Donovan glared at Brandon. “I’m here on official business, and I do believe Maddie asked you to leave.”

“My name is Madeline!”

Memories of her father came crashing in. He’d lovingly called her Maddie McFatty her whole life, never knowing how much her weight bothered her, or how it crushed her when he said that. She worked hard to lose the extra weight once she reached adulthood, but the breakup with Cameron had not been easy.

Her mom’s life theory was ‘chocolate cake solves all problems.’ Madeline had solved her problems to the tune of twenty extra pounds and only managed to work ten of those off so far. Did Donovan see a fat girl when he looked at her?

Donovan was staring at her, and Madeline realized he had spoken to her. “What did you say?”

“I need to talk to you about some things. Can I come in?”

Uncertainty gripped her. If he only wanted to scold her again about her dating habits, she didn’t want to deal with that.

“It’s about the case,” he said when she hesitated.

“It’ll have to be quick.” Madeline stepped back and swept her arm toward the living room, indicating he should go there.

“Wait,” Brandon protested. “He gets to come in?”

Donovan stepped past Madeline, a smirk on his face as he headed for the living room.

My Book Review:

Thirty-three year old Madeline Scott has moved from her childhood home in Utah to the small coastal town of Pleasant View, California after calling off her wedding when she discovers her fiance in bed with her Maid of Honor. Seeking peace and quiet, and a time to heal, Madeline loves to walk the beach ... but her life is once again turned upside down when she discovers a man's dead body on the beach and sees the killer jogging away from the murder scene.

Forty-Two year old Pleasant View Police Officer Donovan Andrews is the first to respond to the murder scene. When he recognizes the dead man's face, he knows that the murder will cause him trouble. He has a problem with men who abuse their wives and children, and it looks like his past has caught up with him as someone frames him for the murder. Donovan is known as the town's womanizer, he is not the marrying type, and has cycled through every available women in town, including the Police Chief's daughter.

When Madeline and Donovan meet there is mutual attraction, but Madeline has trust issues and avoids dating men after her failed wedding. Donovan's player reputation doesn't exactly help him woo Madeline, but when he is framed for the murder of Frank Johnson, a known domestic abuser, Madeline comes to Donovan's defense. When a second murder occurs and Madeline becomes the next target for the killer, Donovan will do anything to protect her, and together they search for the real killer while learning to trust each other and fall in love.

In Crime & Passion, author Chantel Rhondeau weaves a riveting and dramatic suspense story written in the third person narrative that interweaves murder, mystery and romance. This fast paced whodunit captivates the reader's attention from the beginning, and leads them on a thrilling adventure along with Madeline and Donovan as they search for the real killer. It is a dramatic action packed story full of suspenseful and romantic twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing who the real killer is among a town full of suspects, all the while watching as Madeline and Donovan navigate the murky waters of building a love relationship.

I loved that the author interweaves the murder mystery with a love story, she engages the readers with a balance of both that flows seamlessly throughout the story. I really enjoyed Madeline and Donovan's banter and romantic development, it was sassy, flirty, passionate, and down right humorous. I loved that the love story featured a woman who has been previously burned in love and has to learn to trust again, while the man has to overcome his troubled past and womanizing ways in order to find true love. As a huge fan of suspenseful murder mysteries, I really enjoyed how the author engaged me to guess who the real killer is with an intriguing list of suspects, and the riveting twists and turns kept me on my toes until the conclusion.

With an intriguing cast of characters; witty dialogues; suspenseful and dramatic interactions; and a two-fold storyline that features a richly detailed and descriptive murder mystery and passionate tale of finding true love; Crime & Passion is one heck of an entertaining romantic suspense novel that lives up to its title.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

June 17 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
June 18 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
June 19 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
June 19 – Musings From an Addicted Reader – Review
June 20 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review
June 21- Dr. Pepper Diva – Guest Post
June 24 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Q&A


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me on the blog tour! I really appreciate your review as well, and I'm pleased you enjoyed Crime & Passion.

    1. Hi Chantel! I loved the mixture of mystery and romance in Crime & Passion! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event.:)

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Samantha! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.