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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Any Way You Dream It by Monique McDonell (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Any Way You Dream It by Author Monique McDonell!

Author Guest Post

Have you ever been to your high school reunion? 
By Monique McDonell 

I’ve been to a couple of mine. Actually to be exact I’ve been to three now. In Any Way to Dream It Lucy gets bullied into going to her high school reunion and she accidentally invents a fake fiancé to take along with her, after her high school nemesis says she can “bring a friend, even a girl.”

The very idea of high school reunions fascinates me. They bring so many emotions in to play. Who we were in high school competes with who we wanted to be and who we thought we were. Did people have us all wrong back then, or worse, did they know exactly who we were and did we just wish we’d been different?

The first of my high school reunions I went to was my ten year. It was held at a function hall and as is often the tradition when you go to an all-girl’s school, we didn’t take dates. My remaining best friend from high school was living in London and insisted I go to get all the gossip and to see if everyone was talking about her (they were not!) I went alone and getting in the door was a huge act of courage.

It was nice and sort of strange. You had to go up a flight of stairs to get up to the event and I didn’t make it much further than the top for quite some time. Every time I’d looked down there’d be a green looking person standing at the bottom deciding if it was too late to make a run for it. I would call down to them.

“It’s okay once you get up the stairs. Don’t worry I’ll talk to you.” And then they’d come up, relieved to have met a friendly face.

I discovered that people were there for the following reasons; they loved high school and wished it had never ended; they hated high school and needed to prove they were not that girl anymore or their friends dragged them along and they weren’t quite sure.

What was interesting to me was how many people wanted to find that girl (no boys of course) that they’d been friends with and lost. They wanted to say they were sorry it ended badly. A few others remembered being mean to someone, often repeatedly, and they wanted to apologize. It kind of restored my faith in human nature. We make mistakes as kids and we wish we could fix them. Of course some people were completely unchanged still self-absorbed, obnoxious or rude , it wasn’t a total fairy tale.

At the next reunion I went to I reconnected with my closest high school friend who I’d fallen out with the year after we left school (over a boy of course). We’re now back in each other’s lives but I still regret that she wasn’t at my wedding, or I at hers, that we missed the birth of each other’s children, that we can’t get those years back. Still the reunion gave us the future, so that’s something good.

I channeled a lot of that into Lucy’s story in Any Way You Dream It. The idea of finding old friends and putting ghosts to rest runs through the story quite strongly. I wanted to have Lucy’s experience be realistic but I wanted her to learn as well that just because we thought we were alone, sometimes we really weren’t.

Her reunion definitely gets her a happily ever after. Maybe I’ll call the girls organizing our next one and suggest we bring dates…maybe Hugh Jackman will be free that night.

About The Author

monique mcdonell

I am an Australian author who writes contemporary women's fiction including chick lit and romance. I live on Sydney's Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter, and despite my dog phobia, with a dog called Skip.

I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards I was busy working in public relations I didn't write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!)

When I began to write again I noticed a trend - writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since.

I have been a member of the writing group The Writer’s Dozen for eight years. Our anthology Better Than Chocolate raised over $10,000 for the charity Room to Read and helped build a library in South East Asia. I am also a member of the Romance Writers of Australia.

I have written five stand-alone romantic comedies and Any Way You Slice It, the first book in the new Upper Crust series.

To learn more about Monique McDonell and her upcoming books please visit her at

Author Website
Author Blog
Amazon Author Page

Book Review

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Any Way You Dream It by Monique McDonell
Book 2: Upper Crust Series
Publisher: Redfish Publishing
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Format: eBook - 196 pages
               Kindle - 560 KB
BNID: 2940151923538
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:
Barnes & Noble

Buy The Series: Upper Crust Series
Book 1: Any Way You Slice It
Book 2: Any Way You Dream It
Barnes & Noble

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

Book Description:

Sometimes when life throws you lemons, you create a fake fiancé. That’s exactly what Lucy does when her high school nemesis calls. She didn’t mean to lie. Really, she didn’t. But with nowhere to live and a car that has just decided to die on her, the thought of attending the reunion alone is one she can’t contemplate. 

Cherie thinks arrogant, wealthy and way too handsome Chase is the answer to her friend’s dilemma and for reasons Lucy can’t fathom, Chase agrees. The man is too good to be true – he fixes her car, takes her to stay at his place – more castle than house – and seems to find her fascinating. 

Life hasn’t been easy for Lucy and she has a hard time accepting anyone would believe Chase would be with her. Still, he turns out to be the perfect choice and in the month leading up to the reunion makeshimself an indispensable part of her life, which may be the biggest problem of all. 

Lucy knows life is not a fairy tale – she’s living above her place of work, her sister has run off leaving her with three kids and, when the weekend reunion begins, she has to go back to a town where her greatest humiliations took place. 

Will her ‘romance’ with Chase be turn out to be the answer to her dreams or will the whole sham turn into just another nightmare? 
Book Excerpt:

Any Way You Dream It Excerpt 

Chapter 1

I couldn’t believe that my car had spluttered to a hot, steaming stop on Piper and Aaron’s street. At least I had made it for their engagement party and wasn’t stranded somewhere miles away, in a broken-down car loaded full of all my worldly possessions.

I got out of my car and Cherie, Piper, and my friend—who was also the woman responsible for setting up the happy couple—came strolling past.

“Lucy, your car is on fire.”

“I think that’s steam, not fire,” I replied. I sure hoped so.

“Is that any better?”

“It’s not worse,” I said, but really, I wasn’t certain that was true.

“Well, on the bright side, you made it and you look lovely.”

I was wearing tight black jeans and a loose, lacy red top. My blonde hair, which spent most of its life under a hairnet in the work kitchen or in a ponytail, was loose and flowing down my back. I had a leather jacket over my arm and stiletto black boots on my feet, a change from my regular sneakers. I didn’t look like a supermodel, but I also didn’t look like I was going to sleep in my car, so that was a win.

Cherie had on a skin-tight color-blocked dress in many shades of neon. Her hair was Jersey-Shore big, and her heels put mine to shame. She linked her arm through mine and gave me a grin.

“You know I’m the matchmaking genius behind this, right?”

“You’ve told me several times, Cherie.” I shook my head.

“All I’m saying is, I’ve got my eye on you, Lucy. You’re my next project.”

“Fine.” I unlinked my arm and faced her. “First of all, I’m not sure you possess the matchmaking gift you think you do, but if you do, please keep your evil eye off me.”

“It’s not an evil eye. It’s a cupid’s arrow.”

“Well, aim that sucker elsewhere. I’m not in any way, shape or form in the market for a boyfriend.”

“A fling?” she asked, hopefully.

“Not even a fling.”

“You do know what they say: when you’re not looking….”


It was at that moment that my phone rang. I should have checked caller I.D but I didn’t. “Hello?”

“Hello, Lucy. It’s Patty Lewis.”

Great. On the list of people I least liked in the world, Patty would be on top. Patty was my high school nemesis and now she was married to my hometown sweetheart, Jacob.

“What can I do for you? But more to the point, how did you get my number?”

“Your mom gave it to me, of course,” she said in her saccharine voice. “And I’m calling because the high school reunion is in two weeks and I haven’t got your RSVP. I assume you’re coming because your mom says you’re doing really well in Boston, and only people with something to hide stay away from reunions.”

“I don’t have anything to hide,” I snapped. Well, apart from the fact that I was living in my car, not talking to my sister, and terminally single. “I’m just not sure with my work schedule that I can make it up to New Hampshire.”

“You can bring a date if that makes it less awkward for you. Even a girlfriend.”

I read between her lines: If you’re desperate and dateless and too scared to come back to town without a friend, then bring one, chicken.

That’s when I said it. The words were out of my mouth before I even thought about what I was saying. “Can I bring my fiancé?” I didn’t add my imaginary fiancé, of course.

“Your mother didn’t say anything about you being engaged.” Her voice held a very suspicious tone. I couldn’t blame her—considering that I was lying—and my mother would not be able to keep that secret. If I had a fiancé that my mother knew about, my entire home state would know it, too.

“I haven’t told her yet. It’s a secret. Naturally, I want to tell her in person. Don’t spill the beans yet, please?” I tried to sound all perky and conspiratorial.

“Well then, you’ll absolutely have to come, so you can introduce your fiancé to your mother and the whole town. I, for one, can’t wait to see you. I’ll put you down for two tickets.”

The phone went dead and I wanted to die. Cherie was eyeing me suspiciously.

“Wow. I had no idea you were engaged, Lucy. No wonder you don’t want me to set you up. Have you been holding out on me?” She knew darn well I was a big fat liar.

“Shut up. Let me get inside and get a drink, and then I’ll tell you the whole, woeful tale.”

All of a sudden, sleeping in my broken-down car wasn’t the worst part of my day.

My Book Review:

If you are looking for a lighthearted chick lit romance story to wile away a lazy summer afternoon, then Any Way You Dream It is the book for you.
Author Monique McDonell weaves an entertaining tale that follows the story of hard working but down and out Lucy, who gets more than a break when wealthy Chase steps in to be her "fiance" at her high school reunion ... but can he become her permanent knight in shining armor, and make all her dreams come true?
Any Way You Dream It was a delightfully sweet romance story to read. It had just the right mixture of fun, humor, drama, and romance that every Chick Lit / Romance fan enjoys reading. You can't help but get drawn into Lucy's life story, and when you add Chase's support, and their unexpected budding romance, you will get a warm fuzzy feeling that will leave you with a smile on your face!
Any Way You Dream It is the second book in the Upper Crust Series.

Contest Giveaway

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Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

June 29 - Sinfully Good Reads – Excerpt 
June 29 - Chick Lit Plus – Review 
June 30 - CarolineFardig – Guest Post 
June 30 - Celia Kennedy – Review, Q&A & Excerpt 
July 1 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt 
July 1 - Polished and Bubbly – Review 
July 6 - Living Life With Joy – Review & Q&A 

CLP Blog Tours


  1. This seems like a light fun read! I enjoyed the review as well as the guest post. I was supposed to go to my 10 year reunion, but chickened out. I had gained quite a bit of weight since high school and didn't want to face everyone. It also kind of felt like I didn't know these people anymore; everyone seemed to have changed so much (according to what I saw on Facebook) and I thought it would be too awkward to talk to them again. Part of me regrets not going though. Anyway, going to add this book to my ever growing TBR list!

    Lucky Devil Reviews

    1. Hi Jamie! Thank you for stopping by my blog, I appreciate it. I chickened out of going to my HS reunions over the years, guess I figured we all moved on in life, and knowing my Scorpio personality I didn't want to deal with possible fakeness. lol :p Hope you enjoy the book, it really is a fun read. :)