Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A Review of BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE, & author Sheila Roberts answers some questions!

Hey beautiful people!

Look at the pic here - it says, "Better Than Chocolate." Is that even possible? That's the question I asked myself... and immediately was tickled pink to check this one out. Was getting ready to delve into that book (my first from Sheila Roberts!), when I got asked if I wanted to review this book and have the author on my blog.

Where do I sign on the dotted line? was all I asked. Seriously, the very name Sheila Roberts is a mark of romance and good reading, or so I'd gathered (not having read her books yet, I didn't know for myself. But I was determined to find out...)

But let's start first off by stating that never in the course of the communication asking me to host the author and review the book, was it suggested/implied/bribed/asked that I provide a glowing/positive review. Any and all opinions henceforth are mine and mine alone.

So let's get started, but first, an idea of what this book is about:

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they're about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank—and that would be a disaster, not only for the family but for the town of Icicle Falls, Washington. Can Samantha, the oldest daughter and new head of the company, come up with a way to save it?After Samantha does some brainstorming with her mother and sisters, inspiration strikes. They'll have a chocolate festival! Time's running out, but the Sterling women are determined and the town's behind them, so everything's bound to go smoothly….

Or not. Events seem to be conspiring against Samantha, and her mother's attempts to help aren't helping. To make matters worse, the fate of her company is in the hands of her archenemy, Blake Preston, the bank manager with the football-hero good looks. It's enough to drive her to chocolate. But Blake's also enough to convince her that (believe it or not) there's something even better than chocolate.

My Review:

I'm a goner for chick-lit. Everyone knows that. At least, I'm a goner for any story that features heavily on the life and trials and tribulations of the heroine/s in the book. Yes, if it's not chick-lit, you can call it women's fiction. Let's just say that Better Than Chocolate straddles that line between genres. No, there's no mention of shoes or shopping in it, but there are ample doses of chocolate. Enough to turn any woman into a raving chocoholic!

I loved this book. Though the focus wasn't much on the romance or the attraction between Samantha and Blake, Ms. Roberts had me enthralled. I cheered for Samantha and her sisters, Cecily and Bailey. I got angry at her mother, Muriel, and more than annoyed at the deceased stepfather, Waldo, the one who got them into the mess they find themselves in. These characters really felt like people you could know - their story a slice of life you're getting to witness.

And the chocolates mentioned (some of the recipes look easy!) - let's just say I'm kinda glad Sweet Dreams Chocolates don't exist for real, because, a) I'd rant that the goodies are available only in Icicle Falls, and b) none of my clothes would continue fitting me coz I'd be totally indulging in that kind of chocolate. *grin*

Little tidbits in this book made it even more interesting - sometimes sweet, sometimes hilarious. Yes, I have the "Mr Dreamy" contest in mind. Let's just say I totally would've voted for the man who won, because he was an absolute sweetheart.

If you love soap operas and that kind of character-driven drama, you're bound to enjoy this book. I know I loved it!

And now I cannot wait to delve into Merry Ex-Mas, Sheila Roberts' next book from Icicle Falls that'll feature characters we already root for in Better Than Chocolate.

And also - I'm praying Cecily gets her story! The battle between sweet widower Luke and bad boy Todd? Sign me up ASAP - I need to see that!

Now here's Sheila Roberts for ye all, peeps! She was lovely enough to answer some questions of mine.

Tell us about your Better Than Chocolate:

This book is the first book for my new series. In it you’ll meet the Sterling family – Samantha, her sisters Cecily and Bailey and their mom Muriel. They own Sweet Dreams Chocolates... so far. Sweet Dreams is in danger of getting taken by the bank. Samantha’s stepfather Waldo ran the company into the ground and now Samantha has to save it. The town of Icicle Falls isn’t doing much better than Sweet Dreams Chocolates due to a lack of snow and tourists. What they all need is... a chocolate festival! Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But for Samantha the road to chocolate success is almost as difficult as the one to true love.

In a few words:

      Your book

Is fun

      Your heroine

Is stressed

      Your hero

Really isn’t the bad guy

      You as an author

I’m fun, too!

Let's say BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE is a movie – which one does it most closely resemble?

“You’ve Got Mail”

What real-life actors are playing the roles?

Ryan Reynolds. Hmm, as for the heroine, help me out here. Any suggestions?

Oooh, yummy... Hmm, she's a bit young, but Leighton Meester would totally fit the feisty, determined picture I have of Samantha!

Now this movie needs a soundtrack – what songs/tracks best fit your book?

Hmmm. Let’s include “Sweet Dreams” by the  Eurythmics

Your characters end up in a world where everyone's a fashionista – how do they dress and what are they wearing?

Blake, Mr. Bank Manager, will have to be in a three-piece suit. (Don’t you just love a man in a suit?!) Samantha will be in Icicle Falls business casual – dark jeans, cool top, great jewelry.

The suit is lethal - I'll grant you that!

As writers, we are bombarded with ideas every minute of every day. What’s the idea behind this book, and how did it come about?

You know, I wanted to write about a woman needing to resurrect some sort of business – at first I thought maybe a B & B. But then I got to thinking, what business would be more fun to save than a chocolate company. And I went from there. I wanted the message behind this book to be about picking yourself up when life knocks you down. We all go through times like that, don’t we?

We sure do, and this book is a perfect message of hope!

Tell us a bit about you, and something we don't know/wouldn't expect about you.

I’m ridiculously social, love to hang out and play games with friends. And I want to go on Dancing with the Stars! Don’t you think writers can be stars?

Well, writers are readers' stars! I am still having a fangirl moment here, being able to ask you questions! *grin*

What’s your favorite moment of the day, and why?

When everything on my to-do list is checked off. Love that feeling!

Oooh, yes - perfect feeling!

You're a color – which one are you and why?

Magenta – because it’s warm and fun.

What unique factor do you think you bring to the book/story market?

Laughter and encouragement. I hope!

Best advice you've received, and that you'd want others to know?

Never give up.

Where can we find you and your books?

I hope you’ll find me on Facebook (Sheila Roberts, author) and check out my website,
Oh, and if you want to see me in action, check out “Merry Christmas Mama” on Youtube.

Thanks for the answers, and for coming over! I'm totally stoked to have you visiting J XOXO

Thanks so much for having me. Great fun!

One more time, I'll say: Grab this book! Hard to believe, but some things can be Better Than Chocolate - proof in this heartwarming story here.

From Mauritius with love,



Anonymous said...

Thanks for hosting me Zee. And for the kind words! By the way, I should mention that BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE has a coupon for $1.50 off on MERRY EX-MAS, my next book. :)

Zee Monodee said...

You are most welcome, Sheila! *fan girl moment to have you over!*

I cannot wait to get my hands on Merry Ex-Mas. You sure know how to tantalize your readers (after all, you rock chocolate in the story!).

Thank you for an awesome read! xoxo

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