Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Review of “Hometown Girl” by Michele Ashman Bell

Hometown Girl is a delightful romance full of humor. When Jocelyn moves into the home she inherited from her grandmother, the laughter begins. One thing after another happens to her while fixing up the home, which is in need of great repair. When a couple birds find their way into the house, she tries chasing them outside with a tennis racket. But they end up chasing her outside, screaming with her hands flailing in the air erratically and still holding her racket. Quickly the scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds comes back to her as she screams in fear. It’s a hilarious scene. But you laugh even harder when Jocelyn finally settles down, turns around, and finds Jack, the hero of the book, parked in his truck and watching her with amusement.

Humor isn’t the only element in this story. With a house falling apart, loneliness, frustration, and mysterious nightmares, Jocelyn learns what charity really is and learns to accept her trials. She also has a deep secret that she has kept hidden for fourteen years that seems to haunt her.

Jack is a fun character. He’s a good-looking young man who owns his own repair shop. I love his description. He’s a “scruffy bearded, pony tailed man wearing a plaid flannel shirt.” I loved him right away. Even though he and Jocelyn don’t hit it off at first, I knew this couple would get together eventually. Between these two characters, Michele has her readers thoroughly entertained. This is an excellent novel. Bravo, Michele! I would recommend this book for teens and adults. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Michele travels to the places she writes about so she can immerse herself in the history, landscape and culture of the area. Her goal is “to provide an accurate reflection of people and places and provide the reader with an armchair vacation.” This intrigued me, so I asked Michele where she got her inspiration for her novels. This is her reply.

Before A Modest Proposal came out I held a contest and asked for people to submit their proposal stories.  The contest was posted in several newspapers and even put in a publication through BYU, so I got tons of response (too many actually - made the decision so hard).  I was so impressed with so many of the variety of approaches to proposing.  Some were very romantic and sweet, some were crazy and unbelievable, and some were so touching and emotional.  This winning proposal was by far the most creative and amazing because of the timespan it covered and the way it all worked out.  Part of the prize for winning was having the story put in a book.

I think writers are constant observers of life; listening, watching and learning about everything around them. To a writer, everything has potential to become a plot line, a character, a quirk, a detail in a setting, or the whole basis for a book. You can tell what's going on in my life by what I write. I put a lot of myself into my stories, but try not to make it personal--mainly because I'm just not that interesting. It's more exciting living through my characters.

My books are driven from three sources; a setting, a character or a situation. 1) I've written books about places I've visited or am intrigued with and then the challenge is coming up with a story that takes place in that setting. (Finding Paradise and Love Lights the Way are books I've written from settings) 2) I've written many books about people who are facing challenges that I think will connect with readers and that I feel passionate. (Without a Flaw, Perfect Timing, The Butterfly Box series are examples of books inspired from this) 3) And some of the books I've written based upon interesting situations that go along with the genre I'm writing at the time, i.e., romance, suspense, mystery, etc... (Timeless Moments, Without A Flaw).

Michele Ashman Bell grew up in St. George, Utah. Her passion for books and her love for keeping a journal helped her develop an understanding for the power of the written word, not only to express feelings and imagination, but to touch others and move readers. Once the writing bug bit, it took ten long years of submissions, rejections, workshops, critique groups, and community education classes, before her first book: An Unexpected Love. Michele is the author of 18 books and 4 Christmas stories. She is married to her college sweetheart and is the mother of four children and has one granddaughter.

Visit Michele’s website: www.micheleashmanbell.com
Visit Michele’s blog: www.micheleabell.blogspot.com
For a $50.00 gift card, go to Michele's blog and enter.

47 comments:

Mozi Esme said...

I'd love to read this - it sounds like a fun book!

We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings: http://winningreadings.blogspot.com/2010/08/hometown-girl.html

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

fredamans said...

I love humorous women's literature, so would love to read this book. Pretty cover too! Thank you for the chance.

freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

cheryl c said...

This sounds like a delightful read! Thanks for a chance to win a copy.
castings at mindspring dot com

Darlyn said...

I've never read any of her books but I've heard a lot of good reviews on her books. This one sounds pretty good. I would love to read it ;p

darlyn225 at gmail dot com

Lesa said...

This book sounds really good. I think if I don't win a copy I will add it to my list of books to buy.

leese88@live.com



Be sure to check out my Book Review of the Week weekly meme

http://endofstorynextbook.blogspot.com/2010/08/book-review-of-week3.html

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Heather said...

Great interview! I would love to read this, I love books with lot of humor!

heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

brendajean said...

Loved the interview. Michele is a literary genius:)

bchild5@aol.com

Mary (BookHounds) said...

I would love to read this one. Please enter me.
Maryinhb at gmail

I posted this on my blog!
http://maryinhb.blogspot.com/2010/08/new-giveaway-linda-weaver-clarke.html

Lu said...

I love the cover and I would really like to read this!!

Please enter me :)

chidoryx AT hotmail DOT com

Audrey said...

This book looks really good. Thanks for the chance to win!
twigerina[at]hotmail[dot]com

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great book!
iii.141592653589793238462643383[at]gmail[dot]com

PoCoKat said...

Would love to win..sounds like a great book!

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Melissa said...

Sounds interesting. Count me in. I'll be posting it on my weekly giveaway blog on 8/25, so check back: http://chicklitcentraltheblog.blogspot.com
Thanks!
Melissa
mbamster0720 at gmail dot com

Susanne Drazic said...

Great review. The book sounds very interesting. I like the cover. It was nice to learn more about the author and her work. Thanks for sharing!

smdrazic(at)yahoo(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I would love to read "Hometown Girl". Romance with humor sounds like a great read.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Andrea I said...

This looks like an entertaining book. I would love to win it.

andrea.infinger@gmail.com

A Musing Mother said...

I'd love a chance to win this book!

ntaylor228 at yahoo dot com

bestjlb said...

This sounds like a great book! I would love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway and for the chance to win!

best3sons@insightbb.com

Martha Lawson said...

I would love to read this one. I love books that humor in them!! Please enter me for this one.

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Bakersdozen said...

This book sounds like a lot of fun. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

Michelle V said...

This book looks wonderful!

Blessings
Michelle V
michellevasquez2001[at]yahoo[dot]com

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

This sounds terrific. I'd love to win!

je2kids(at)yahoo(dot)com

msdarcy said...

I love books with humor. Please enter me:)

msdarcy22@aol.com

baileythebookworm said...

Sounds like a great read! I'd love a copy :)

baileythebookworm[at]gmail.com

Anthony, Valerie & Tate said...

Sounds like a fun read! I can't wait.
avhuynh@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I would to read this one. It sounds very funny.



CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Mutti said...

This sounds like a delightful and fun book to read. I would love to read it. Thank you!

Mutti said...

Forgot to add my e-mail address. BadurekL@gmail.com

☼Míñdÿ☼ said...

I would love to read this. Thanks for the giveaway.

mmgilley104 at gmail dot com

Cass (Words on Paper) said...

This sounds like a fun book! Thanks for the review + giveaway.

cc932005 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

This sounds like such a fun read!

headlessfowl at jteers dot net

Melissa said...

Here's the post which includes your giveaway:

http://chicklitcentraltheblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/winning-wednesday-august-25th.html

Pink Panther said...

I always fall for books that have humor and wit in a big fun mix! Any additional elements are a plus. Hometown Girl sounds exactly like my type of books! Thanks for the lovely review!

Thanks so much for making this international and you can reach me at luvpinkpanther@gmail.com

JHS. said...

Sounds like exactly the kind of thing I enjoy reading . . . I always like something light, fun, with a little romance thrown in because I have such an intense profession. I need to unwind with a good book at the end of a long, stressful day.

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

Margie said...

Sounds like a fun read!
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

apple blossom said...

sounds like a good book. Love to be included in the drawing

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

jc said...

This books sounds very lighthearted. I'd like to win this for my daughter. She's having her final exams in a couple of months and feels totally stressed out. This fun book will help her relax and unwind. Thanks for the lovely giveaway.

yumihamano@gmail.com

avalonne83 said...

Great giveaway! I'd love to be entered.

Please count me in. Thanks.

avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

elizabeth said...

Sounds like a great fun book!

scrappygolden(@)gmail(.)com

Tamsyn said...

I'm in love with the blurb already! I love books with humour and this one sure sounds like a winner!
tamsyn5@yahoo.com

Carole said...

Sounds like fun. Sounds like the kind of book I'd enjoy. Anything that makes me laugh is good.

mom2girls said...

I love reading, and this book looks great, I would love to know more about her dreams :) I live in a 120 year old house and can relate to things going bump in the night and fixing everything in sight :)
tracyschultz@yahoo.com

Ruthie said...

Sounds like my kind of book. Please enter me, thanks.

ruthiekb72@yahoo.com

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Apple Blossom! I know that you will love this book. I know I did. It was fun to read, not only the humor in the book but the serious stuff, too.

BRN2SHOP9 said...

Sounds like a great book!