Thursday, February 21, 2013

Christmas in Wine Country by Addison Westlake

Image of Addison WestlakeA romantic comedy set in Northern California's wine country.

It's Lila's big debut as an event planner and the company holiday party is going to be her chance to shine. At a Tuscan-style vineyard near the Northern California coast in the perfect little black dress she's sure to impress commitment-phobe Phillip. What could go wrong? 

72 hours later with no job and no boyfriend, Lila finds herself with all kinds of answers to that question. Like mistaking the glowering Jake Endicott of Endicott Vineyards for the groundskeeper. Or a new video on YouTube featuring Lila pawing her way through drunken karaoke of "Hungry Like the Wolf." 

Solo on the romantic holiday getaway she'd booked for her and Phillip near the vineyard, Lila at least gets to visit with her old friend Annie who lives nearby in the coastal town of Redwood Cove. Drawn into the local bookstore with gleaming wooden floors and welcoming armchairs, Lila chats with the owner and impulsively accepts a job offer. 

Sleepy, misty Redwood Cove is the perfect place for Lila to take a break from her horrible track record with guys. The only one she finds even remotely attractive knows her as the holiday party crazy lady. Ranked in Bay Area magazine's 10 hottest bachelors, Jake Endicott is just the type Old Lila would have wasted years pining after. 

Join Lila on her year of comedy, adventure and self-discovery on the Northern California coast, with all kinds of ups, downs and misadventures and a full cast of small-town wine country characters. Thankfully, even the greatest misunderstandings can all be worked out with a little Frank Sinatra and mistletoe.

Addison Westlake

Image of Addison WestlakeI'm excited to share my new romantic comedy with you, "Christmas in Wine Country." It's the perfect read for this holiday season. Curl up with a glass of wine and get ready to laugh out loud!

I made my debut as an author around 13 years old rewriting Sweet Valley High books. In one version Elisabeth and Jessica Wakefield were younger and living in a British orphanage.
Later in my teens I launched into an unfortunately self-important Personal Reflection Phase with a lot of thought pieces, meditations on themes and poetry reflecting in sad words about sad things, sadly.

My 20s ushered in an even more self-important Political Phase with a lot of angry, partially informed commentary raging against the machine, the lever operating the machine and the guy funding the production of the lever and the machine.
I'm happy to say that I've now returned From Whence I Came! I'm back, baby, on the main quad of Sweet Valley High where hot guys drive hot cars and it only rains when you don't have a date for the prom. And then the sun comes out, anyway, because everything works out after all! Also, the only kinds of British orphanages now allowed near my writing are the ones where beautiful young girls with bright spirits triumph over adversity and end up marrying super well.
Guest Post

Why I choose to write romantic comedy
By Addison Westlake

I’ve always loved a good laugh. And I don’t need it to be highbrow. My mother says she can remember me at 2 years old rolling around with deep belly laughs as I watched Ernie on Sesame Street “clean” his room by throwing around his belongings. Bert didn’t find it as funny.

The romantic element entered the picture along with movies like Sixteen Candles and Say Anything. I still love the side plot with Lili Taylor, hopelessly in love with dumb, handsome Joe. “Joe lies when he cries.”

It wasn’t until after college that I stumbled across Jane Austen. Don’t ask me how I managed that. I was an English major at a liberal arts college that defined English literally: British literature, preferably written before 1930. DH Lawrence was about as modern as it got. But no Austen—until I discovered her at the Barnes and Noble on 82nd and Broadway in New York City.

Pride and Prejudice wastes no time. From the first sentence with its witty commentary on class and scheming mamas, you know you’re in the hands of a master: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Then there’s her remarkably light and forgiving touch with social satire and absurd characters. Remember Mrs. Bennett congratulating Jane on her engagement: “I was sure you could not be so beautiful for nothing!” And, of course, Mr. Darcy. To say nothing of Colin Firth. I just had to fan myself.

And then, all around me blossomed the Golden Era of chick lit. Remember walking into a bookstore (I could just stop there. No disrespect, bookstores, I love you guys but my Kindle is sitting next to me and it’s so handy) and seeing tons of bright pink books with high heels on the covers? Confessions of a Shopaholic? Bridget Jones’ Diary? Something Borrowed? I ate those up like zero-calorie deserts.

Which finally gets me around to answering the question—why write romantic comedies? Because they’re my favorite. They’re in my DNA. They’re the books I choose to re-read, the movies I’m thrilled to discover when channel-surfing. Because what’s better than a good laugh and falling in love all at once? Your peanut butter and your chocolate, mixed together. The books I love to read—and the books I love to write—are the ones that make you smile.

My Review:

While belting out "It's Raining Men" during a Karaoke session at the company's Christmas party, Lillian's life took on a life of its own, never turning back to see if she had bothered to jump on board.

"Lila pulled the blanket over her head. But, still the memories found her. She and the intern had gone down with the karate kick. Her stiletto heel hadn't. It had sailed smack into the forehead of the CEO of a hot new Silicon Valley tech company, leaving a dark, red welt."

"I'm sure it wasn't as bad as all that." "I kicked my shoe off into a guy's forehead." At this, even Gram had to pause. "Did he need stitches?"

"On the counter her iPhone made a little chirp. A new text message. It was from Alison, her friend from work: "OMG U R on youtube!!!"

If I were to write a book that I would enjoy reading, this book would be it. It has "sipping chocolate" and a hunk who owns a local vineyard;  80's music and a hunk who owns a local vineyard; and a quaint book store to work in and a hunk who owns a local vineyard. , and the best part is that it located on the coast of California. How many times did I just wish I could hop into the pages of this book - let's just say many. 

"Annie's profile was lit warmly as she deftly maneuvered a large chef's pastry tube to fill oval moulds with dark chocolate. A luscious aroma of vanilla, hazelnut and chocolate filled the air and Lila knew she would happily follow it into a candy house in the forest, even after having read Hansel and Gretel."

"...Annie snapped her fingers in front of Lila's glazed eyes. "No mooning in here! This is a place of chocolate. Show it proper respect."

This was the first book I've read by Addison Westlake and Christmas in Wine Country was a delightful quick read full of humour that made me laugh out loud. The characters were everyday people that we might have in our own lives, it might even be us. 

Lila, after a disastrous attempt at taking over the planning of the company's Christmas bash, finds herself out of a job and minus a boyfriend. The upside is, she still has her best friend, and she eventually winds up in a lovely little ocean side town where that best friend, Annie, lives. 

Lila ends up with the perfect job in a quaint little book store not far from the chocolate store where Annie works. Annie introduces her to "sipping chocolate" and the friendship quickly rekindles over chocolate. There are loads of mishaps and odd people (the bookstore geek, the obnoxious party planner, the yoga instructor) throughout the book which make it a fun read. 

"Annie would arrive at the store tomorrow morning and turn on the lights to find Lila guiltily bathing in a big vat of sipping chocolate."

"All Lila wanted was a quiet little job in a quiet little book store and a whole lot of sipping chocolate. That couldn't be too much to ask for, could it?"

Technically speaking, I thought the book had a good story line and the characters were wonderfully eccentric people. The author incorporated the local flavour of the area into the book and painted the scenes so that you felt you were visiting the little town of Sonoma. The comedy in the book was well written and had me laughing at the antics of Lila's friends. It was charming and witty and while the book was a quick read, the story meandered just enough to allow you to enjoy the scenery. 

Purchase Christmas in Wine Country by clicking the icon below:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Sipping Chocolate

What Is SippingHow It Works

What Is Sipping Chocolate?
Generally, chocolate drinks are flavored with cocoa powder or syrup, often overly sweet, and lacking personality. Sip brings a different experience of indulgence through a dose of pure dark chocolate concentrated in a rich, sipping drink. Imagine chocolate shaved into its purest elements, loaded with flavor and a special texture that your palate has never experienced before. Mix these heavenly shavings with your favorite type of milk and your sipping chocolate is born. You've never experienced chocolate quite like this!
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