In August 2011 I was able to read "Count Down to Love" by Julie Ford. I received an electronic copy via Netgalley. I later went out and purchased my own. I was happy when the opportunity came to share this book with you a second time. How could I resist, it was a five star book for me?
I am going to re post my review after the guest post. The original was posted on August 19, 2011. You can find it HERE.
Here is what Julie has to say.
Count Down to Love: The Untold Story
As you already may know, Count Down to Love is about a washed-up country singer, Kelly Grace Pickens, who is deserted at the altar by her manager/fiancé and then ends up on a reality show akin to “The Bachelor”. While nursing her hopelessly broken heart, Kelly, the daughter of a rural Baptist minister, finds herself pitted against silicon-enhanced supermodels in four-inch heels as she accepts one unexpected invitation after another to stay on the show.
What many readers don’t know is that taking a plot behind the scenes of a modern reality show, and keeping the content to a PG rating, can be more difficult than one might think. Though Squeaky Clean Reads rated this novel acceptable for sixteen and above, the original manuscript contained, well, let’s say . . . more “colorful” dialogue between the contestants plus a touch more fire to the “heated” scenes. Unfortunately, Count Down to Love has been criticized by some readers for lacking a certain authenticity and I’d have to agree. On the other hand, I was excited that this book would be appropriate for all ages and faiths.
Since Kelly is a country singer, readers can assume that this story contains a strong element of country music but I bet y’all didn’t know that before living in Nashville, I’d never been a fan of the country genre. Shortly after our move to Tennessee, I attended a concert with my husband where Due West and a few other bands were playing. Socializing more than listening, I wasn’t paying much attention to what was going on up on stage until Tim Gates along with Matt Lopez and Brad Hull began to sing. And that was when I really started to listen. I leaned over to my husband and said, “If all country music sounded like this, I probably would have become a fan a long time ago.” When I came to the point in my writing where I needed to decide who Kelly’s favorite country band should be, there was no question that it would be Due West. Then, when I asked the trio for their permission to include a cameo of the band in my novel, they all agreed with the exception of Brad—he said yes, but he wanted a stage dive. And because I’m a generous kind of person, fictitious-Brad crowd surfed as well.
As the story unfolds, I thought it would be fun to have Kelly writing a song that echoes her journey and feelings through her music. Together, with Brad Hull from Due West and singer/songwriter Aaron McBride, we created a ballad titled, Who I Am. Tennessee must put something in the water because after only three years in the Music City, I’m now a registered BMI songwriter.
Visit my web site, JulieNFord.com, to hear the song.
We used to get calls for a James Pickens . . . all the time. One evening while I was sitting at my computer, trying to decide what Kelly’s last name would be, wouldn’t you know, I got a call for James Pickens.
Amidst all the folly and sappy kissing scenes, this story has an important massage. In a society where a woman can be anything from a stay-at-home mom to the Secretary of State, why do we often feel the need to confine our identity to some “cookie cutter” definition of who we think we should be? At some point in every woman’s life she has to stop and take the time to map the road to her future—what she wants from life, who she wants to become—not just professionally but individually as well.
As Kelly slowly starts to see herself, and the path her life is taking in a new light, she discovers that she is neither a rugged country girl, nor a glamorous D-list celebrity, but someone in between. And that being true to oneself is the first step in finding happiness and love.
I want to say thanks to Lisa for allowing me to write this guest post and to all of you have read, or will read, Count Down to Love.
Count Down to Love by Julie N. Ford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I think this will become my go-to book whenever my friends ask for a good romance book to read. I started this book this morning and finished it at about 9 PM. I couldn't pull myself away from it.
My favorite part were the scenes between Dillon and Kelly during the making of the "reality" show. They were a hoot to read. I loved their interaction and that they had so much in common.
Kelly however was having trust issues because at the beginning of the book she was left waiting at the alter for a groom who was a no show. I couldn't imagine the trust issues in falling in love with someone knowing he was dating and kissing other girls.
Anyway..... this is a clean and fun romance book. I give it my highest recommendation. I only give five starts to books that grab my attention so much that I literally do not care about a dirty house, kids running loose in the neighborhood, etc. I just need to read and find out what happens next.
About Julie: Julie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in English Literature from San Diego State University. In addition, she earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. She has worked in teaching, childbirth education and family therapy. Besides writing, she spends many hours working along side her husband at their UPS Store franchise, but hopes to re-enter the Social Work field someday.
She is the author of three women’s fiction novels, The Woman He Married (March 2011) and No Holly for Christmas (November 2011), published by Whiskey Creek Press. The third, Count Down to Love (July 2011), published by Bonneville Books.
Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters and one very feisty fish.
Website / blog / facebook / twitter
Giveaway details: As part of the tour, Julie is generously offering a grand prize giveaway of a hard copy of Count Down to Love, a CD of the band Due West, and a copy of the single, “Who I Am”, which Julie and Due West wrote and recorded specifically for the book. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post or any of the other stops on the tour. The more stops you comment on, the more entries you have into the contest! To see all of the tour stops, click on this LINK.
Where can you purchase the book?
Amazon Count Down to Love / Barnes & Noble