Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A Questionable Friendship - Samantha March

I've been involved in several blog tours for CLP Blog Tours so when I heard Samantha was touring her latest book I jumped at the chance to join in.

About the book...

Brynne Ropert and Portland Dolish have been best friends since being paired as roommates in college. Seven years later they are now twenty-five, married, and living in Maine–– but the two women couldn’t be more different. Brynne finds fulfillment in her life as a wife, mother and owner of a small café and bookshop, but is struggling to expand her family. Portland is still coping with her mother’s death during her childhood, and her marriage is unraveling before her eyes. Portland envies her friend’s seemingly stable and easy life while Brynne doesn’t understand the growing distance between them and cannot begin to guess what secret Portland is hiding about her husband and crumbling marriage. While one woman feels shut out, the other enters into a web of lies to protect herself. 
A Questionable Friendship explores what really makes someone a true friend, a support system, a sister. How much trust goes into a friendship and when is being a friend not enough? Brynne and Portland’s story will attempt to answer those questions, and show that happily ever after isn’t in the cards for everyone.

Buy the Book! Amazon / Barnes & Noble – eBook / Kobo – eBook

About the author...
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has three published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket and A Questionable Friendship. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

My thoughts...
This book revolves around the close friendship of Brynne and Portland and their respective husbands. The girls became friends at college with Brynne dropping out of college to marry her college sweetheart and Portland leaving college and moving to the same area to be close to Brynne.

They work together in Brynne's business EJ's Bookstore and coffee shop and spend all their spare time together.  You'd think that they would know and tell each other absolutely everything about themselves and what was happening in their lives but it turns out not to be the case.  Both have their own problems and try to deal with them alone putting a 'face on' for their friends.

It's funny how close the two girls were and yet how guarded they both were with what was happening in their own lives - both feeling the need to hold back, not wanting to shatter the others illusion of their 'perfect' marriage.  Both thinking their marriage was the lesser and the other having a more perfect relationship.

This book demonstrates how friendships and relationships no matter how strong can be quite superficial. How many times have we all smiled and said 'I'm alright' when we're peddling like mad below the surface. Not wanting to share our problems either for fear of upsetting the friend or having an opinion of ourselves altered. I think it is built into us to cope alone and often we only confide in a friend once we know what path we are taking and have worked out a solution for ourselves. The problem is when we are smiling and saying everything is fine - those close to us know the truth and can read it in our face.

I had to keep reminding myself that both girls were only 25 in this novel, fairly young to be dealing with the issues that they had faced and were facing now - both came across as well developed strong characters that were likeable from the start.  I liked the fact that Portlands dad and girlfriend came into the story, completing her picture for me but I would have liked a bit more about Brynne and feel there is still a story to be told there.  So many times I thought there was a sub plot emerging and 'something' was going to happen for it to just move on.

I reached the end of the book and was a little disappointed - 'what, how can it just end like that?' Then Samantha pulled a genius ball out of the bag with the epilogue.  All in all this was an enjoyable read that I only put down when I had to and I thought it was a very insightful look into friendships, trust and the image we portray - so very true to life.  It highlights insecurities and shows that if we can scratch the surface the picture underneath is not always the same. I defy anyone reading this book not to see a little bit of themselves in the way they are a friend or the friends they have.

I gave this book 4/5 stars
Guest Post - My Juggling Act

I wear a lot of hats. Like, a lot. Let me count them: in my personal life I’m of course a friend, daughter, sister, aunt and cousin, as well as wife and mom to a six month old puppy. In my professional life, I am book blogger with Chick Lit Plus, blog tour coordinator with CLP Blog Tours, published author of three novels, owner of the independent publishing company Marching Ink, a freelance editor and book marketer, and am a book marketing manager with BookTrope Publishing. Oh yes – and I work a full-time job for a hospital. Some days I wear all the hats throughout the hours. Some days I only wear two or three.

I get asked a lot how I juggle my schedule. The honest answer – it’s easy for me because I’m doing what I love. Books are my thing, plain and simple. I don’t feel like I’m working when I’m coordinating a tour or plotting my next book. I don’t find it tedious to write 5,000 words in a day or have a phone chat with an author that I’m working on a marketing plan with. I choose to work with books, so I wouldn’t make that decision if I didn’t like what I was doing.

While I love what I do, it does take a lot of planning and self-motivation to get my work done in the allotted hours that I have. I make a to-do list every week day, and let myself have a bit looser schedule on the weekends, so I don’t get burned out or frustrated with my schedule. I work a lot of nights because of my day job, and I luckily have an amazingly supportive husband who cooks dinner and plays with the pup when I have to be in the office all night. I’m busy, but I’m busy doing what I want to do, and that is worth the long nights and hectic days. I think many people are always searching for their “thing,” for what makes them happy in life, and I’m happy and proud to say that I have found it.
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has three published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket and A Questionable Friendship. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

An Interview with Samantha March
You don many hats - author, editor, publisher & blogger.  Where did it all begin and which of your many roles do you enjoy the most?

It all began as a simple book blog. I wanted to do more with my love of reading, and a blog sounded like a good idea. I could have never guessed it would lead to so many different things, and really change my life! It’s hard to pick which I enjoy most, because I love all of it! It helps to have a lot going on, because that when I feel burned out on writing or reading, I can focus on something else to help keep my stress levels down :)
Some authors carry their characters through each of their novels. A Questionable Friendship is your third novel.  Is it a stand alone book or are there any links/characters that cross over between all three?
My first two books are set in the same town as one another and a few locations from the first book are mentioned in the second, but A Questionable Friendship is all on its own. Though in my fourth book, a few characters from AQF are mentioned again :)
Where did you get your inspiration for this story line - is it part fact or all complete fiction?
It’s really all fiction. I actually got into a teeny tiny fight with a girlfriend about six months before writing the book, and as I left her house upset, my writer mind went into overdrive, thinking a lot of “What If” questions about her and us. That created the story, and I had a great time creating the characters to go with it! (Side note – we are no longer fighting!)
Do you have a sister? Where would your loyalties lie - with your sister or with your best friend?
I do have an older sister. I think loyalties would lie with my family first, even though I’m not super close with my sister (we are eight years and two thousand miles apart). Family is special. They always (fingers crossed!) have your back.
What do you hope for when your readers have finished reading your novels?
I hope they leave thinking about something – their own life and their decisions, playing “what if” with themselves over a circumstance in the book, but most of all – I hope they leave feeling something – anything. Happiness, comfort, frustration, disgust – I want to bring out an emotion in my readers.
Describe a typical day for you ‘juggling all the balls’.
Oh boy! I get up around 6 and work for about two hours on emails and posting links on social media for CLP Blog Tours and Chick Lit Plus. I login to my full time job at eight and when I take my first break I hop back onto social media and check email. I work through my lunch, typically either editing or writing or reading query letters, whatever is on my plate at the moment. On my next and final break from my full time job I’m back on social media and checking email. Once I’m done working for the day (for one job!) I work on all my BookTrope Publishing tasks – reading books, online chatting with authors, creating marketing plans, pitching books, etc. I try to always eat dinner with my husband, and after that I workout – either a Yoga class, on the treadmill, or pop in a workout DVD. From there, it’s making sure my to-do list is done for the day – I have my required reading done, all posts for all my websites are scheduled, emails are caught up to a suitable amount, no one from BookTrope is left hanging, etc. I try to get to bed around midnight, though sometimes it’s later! 
Do all of your friends expect free copies of your books?
A lot do. I don’t think everyone understands what they are asking for when they ask for a copy. They don’t understand all the time and effort and money that went into writing and creating your book, and I don’t think people understand that it’s not a “free” copy – I have to pay someone to print that book and ship it to me. And what is $5-10 when it comes to supporting someone you love? 
Do you read and write in the same genre and who is your favourite author?
I tend to focus on the same core group of genres – chick lit, women’s fiction, new adult. Romance and mysteries are also high on my list.  My favourite author is so hard to choose, because I meet and connect with so many fabulous authors on truly a daily basis!
If you were to be granted one writing wish what would that be?
That I could do it full time. 
What do you do to relax?
LOL. I don’t have too much time for relaxing, but I like to workout, and playing with my puppy is always fun! 
Thank you so much for visiting my blog and answering my questions.
Thanks so much for having me Dawn! 


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