RNAA Rose Rating – Four Roses
Title: Call It Chemistry: A Golden Grove Series Small Town Sweet Romance
Author: D.J. Van Oss
Genre: Small Town / Sweet Romance
Is it ever too late for a second chance?
Kate Brady never thought she’d set foot in her hometown again. After all, Golden Grove was the scene of the biggest embarrassment of her life, back when she was “Katie Braces,” the high-school art nerd. But if she’s going to climb the corporate ladder at her demanding Chicago design firm, she has to take on a re-branding job for Nitrovex, the big (and boring) chemical plant on the outskirts of her Iowa hometown. And to do that, she’s going to need the help of her old next-door-neighbor, Peter Clark, the cute guy she’s never really gotten over.
Before he lost his dad, Peter Clark had planned on a prestigious career as a chemical engineer doing cutting-edge science. Now here he is, still stuck in his small hometown, teaching chemistry at his old high school. The last thing he expected was seeing his childhood crush, Katie, back in Golden Grove. But when one trip turns into multiple visits, he wonders if this is a chance to heal old wounds – and maybe more.
Will Kate be able to get the job done while enduring all of these heart-thumping distractions from Peter? And will Peter take a chance on finding love with the girl he once let get away?
What I Loved About this Book:
The plot involved actual chemistry, which I thought was rather clever. Katie and Peter were engaging characters with fully-developed stories and backstories. Former friends and nearly high school sweethearts, the two connect years later when Katie returns to her hometown on business. Peter is a high school chemistry teacher and is the perfect person to help Kate with her important advertising account for the town’s chemical company. The side characters were engaging, too, if slightly pushy and annoying. Then again, haven’t we had pushy and annoying neighbors and other characters in our lives??
What Could Have Been Better:
I found the plot engaging and enjoyable to read, but this was one of those books where the central plot was set up in the beginning without much new information being introduced. Perhaps it could have benefited with a little more conflict or maybe some new developments being scattered throughout.
Sexual Content: None. The book is billed as a clean romance, and delivers on that promise.
Overall: A clever, engaging story about romantic and actual chemistry.
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Okay, so this article is book-related, but not romance-related. This was one of my most popular posts from my old writing-related site, and I couldn’t help but want to share it here. It’s as true today as it was when I first wrote it.
Buckle up – it’s rant time…
I (STILL) HATE WILLIAM FAULKNER
As an English major, I had to take an entire class on William Faulkner. I hated him then and I hate him now. Before taking this class I had read some of his short stories, which were halfway normal. Nothing to write home about but nothing to get all up in arms about either.
Then I was introduced to his novels. It wasn’t long before I started referring to him as the Dark Leader of Literature. I wore all black clothes and listened to the Darth Vader theme music on the way to class (I really did. It was like my own inside joke and helped me get through the misery).
I really really hated him.
If you’ve never read any of his books…you’re luckier than I am! Haha, I kid.
No I don’t. I wish I’d never heard of the guy… Anywho, in case you had nicer teachers than I did and you were never subjected to his work, Faulkner’s novels are written in some kind of wacky, stream-of-consciousness, incomprehensible way that lots of people think is brilliant but I think it just reads like old Willy was sniffing glue. Half the time you can’t figure out who the hell is talking and you can’t decipher what they are prattling on about.
Seriously, reading his books is like trying to solve a math problem. Not exactly fun to cozy up with in bed with a cup of tea. I was too busy throwing the book at the wall and shaking my fist at the sky (when I should have been shaking it at the ground. At least that’s where he should have ended up after putting me through a whole semester of torture.)
It just annoys me when people go on and on about how brilliant Faulkner is and about how his wonderful books are a superb commentary on the South and all that. I’m sure there’s some brilliance in there SOMEWHERE, but I’m too busy trying to figure out what the hell is going on. It’s hard to lose yourself in a story when you can’t even tell which character is talking and you find yourself fantasizing about setting the book on fire and slowly watching it burn….
I confess it’s been eighteen years since I took that class. I’m older, wiser, and have written five novels and ten screenplays as of this writing (Fun Fact: William Faulkner was a failed screenwriter. Hahahahha! Sorry…back to the blog…) I’ve read a lot and written a lot since then. Perhaps I should go back and read some of his work as a mature adult to see if my opinion has changed.
Yeah. Not gonna happen.
If I’m not getting graded and I don’t have to write a paper on it, I’m not going near Faulkner’s books.
On the plus side, Faulkner’s dead so he can’t write any more books!
Sorry, that was mean. But I’m okay with it.
If you wanna talk classic literature, this guy is way more my speed.
“My books are water; those of the great geniuses is wine. Everybody drinks water.” – Mark Twain
Suck it, Faulkner.
P.S. I wrote this article several years ago and I am happy to state that nothing has changed. I STILL hate William Faulkner, and have enjoyed my Faulkner-free years with much verve and gusto.
I was in Barnes and Noble a few years ago and, just for funsies, I took a look in the fiction section to see where my books might end up should I ever get traditionally published. Looking under the FAU fiction section, it dawned on me that my books would be smack dab right next to my good buddy Faulkner.
As a self-pubbed author, my work isn’t exactly on the shelves of Barnes and Noble. However, my debut novel *is* on the library shelves:
I get a huge kick out of the fact that my rainbow-colored novel about gay equality, QUEEN HENRY, is nestled snugly next to Faulkner’s “classic” novel, THE SOUND AND THE FURY.
I don’t know if Faulkner is chuckling or rolling in his grave, but this sure made me smile…
This was a truly engaging read with engrossing characters and several sweet romances. It is a standalone novel, which was very refreshing. This was different from what I normally read, and I’m glad I gave it a chance. Terrific, engaging writing and a clever story.
The book is available on AMAZON
Visit the author’s WEBSITE
This was a terrific story, but NOT for the faint of heart. Personally, I’m used to reading much lighter fare but I decided to give this a try. Not gonna lie…I almost quit on this book as the beginning is pretty violent and very depressing (some readers love that, so who I am I to judge?) I’m glad I hung on and stuck with it, because this turned out to be a terrific, page-turningly good read. There of moments of violence and sadness, but also romance and hope. Overall, a great read.
Find the book HERE.
There are a lot of talented, creative writers out there who are great with all that left-brained, complicated, technological stuff.
I am not one of those writers…
As an indie author, I still have to deal with graphic design for book covers and advertisements, formatting for eBooks and paperbacks, and lots of other icky techy stuff like that. I’m serious about self-publishing, so I’m doing my best to attack that kind of thing head-on, rather than try to avoid it. I truly believe that embracing the business side of self-publishing means the difference between success and failure.
I am generally a fairly patient person, but when it comes to dealing with technology, it takes precious little for me to absolutely lose my damn mind. I am just no good at it! Give me a cooking recipe, I can follow it and make a delicious meal. However, if you give me plain, step-by-step instructions on how to use a computer program, I just do not get it. Not the first time. Not the second time. Sometimes not even the third or fourth of fifth. This usually results in a lot of yelling things like “I am so STUPID!! I just CAN’T DO THIS!”
Believe it or not, I’ve found that completely flipping out and screaming doesn’t usually make me understand the technology any better. However, I have developed some coping mechanisms that I have found helpful, and maybe you will, too.
- Give Yourself A Damn Break – If you’re like me, you’re just not good with technical stuff. Well, guess what? You’re not good at it, and you’re tackling it anyway. Good for you. Good for me. Anybody can do what comes naturally to them, but it takes hard-working folks to master things that are difficult. Give yourself a cookie and a pat on the back.
- Decide You Can Do It – You already know it’s not going to be easy, but you need to make a conscious decision that you can and will do it.
- Baby Steps – Yes, you should decide that you can do it, but you shouldn’t give yourself a super-short timeframe. My recent frustration was in learning how to do a Facebook Ad. I really wanted to sit down for an hour or two, learn how to do an ad, and have it up and running before I got up from my desk. It didn’t quite work out that way… I needed, once again, to remind myself that this is tough for my airy-fairy right-brainy self. It works best for me to learn anything technological just one or two steps at a time.
- Ask Yourself – Do I Know More Today Than I Did Yesterday? If the answer is yes, give yourself another cookie. Sometimes my baby-steps learning sessions still end in tears, but I’ve learned to ask myself that question. It’s incredibly frustrating to spend an hour trying to learn how to do something, only to run out of time before you get it figured out. Still, I take a deep breath and ask – do I know more than I did when I started? The answer is almost always YES, even if I only learned what didn’t work.
- Stop When You’ve Hit a Brick Wall –There were many times when I was trying to figure out how to put together an ad that I got to a point when I was totally stuck. I just didn’t know the answer. I’ve learned that that is the time to stop for the time being. Now is the time to ask for help. If you don’t have a technology expert in your house, ask fellow writers on KBoards, Facebook groups, message boards, or reach out to tech support. Yes, you might have to wait a few hours to get a response, but it’s likely that somebody else has a quick answer, thus saving you hours of frustration. It’s not admitting defeat to admit you need help. It’s a lot wiser than banging your head against that brick wall.
- Don’t Give Up – This is simple, not easy, advice. It’s great to say Rah-rah! You can do it! But it’s hard to keep going when you feel like you’re never going to get it. If you give yourself reasonable time to accomplish a goal, ask for help when you get stuck, and just keep going until you get it, you really can do it. You’ve worked so hard on your books, and you really owe it to yourself to master the business side so you get the word out about your stories.
Remember, each time you master something, you own that knowledge forever. Be sure to take ample notes – notes in plain language that you can understand – so you can refer to them time and time again. It’s taking me forever to figure out the tech aspects of preparing a Facebook ad – but once I master it, I will use that knowledge for every book I write and publish. Plus, the more I master techniques that once seemed impossible, the more confident I become.
What’s most difficult for you? What are some of your coping techniques?
This was a sweet, sexy story about two guys finding their happy ever after while dealing with problems concerning family and society. This was the second book in a series, but it flows perfectly well as a standalone. I didn’t even realize it was part of a series until I finished it. Well-written story, tender and poignant.
Get the book HERE.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable romance with several surprising twists. Terrific romantic leads. The ending felt a bit rushed, but overall an excellent, romantic read.
Get the book HERE.
Readers who sign up for the Romance Novel Addicts Anonymous list will receive 1-3 emails per week featuring free and discounted books, as well as new releases. This list will be helpful for romance authors to reach readers directly and offers several benefits that other email lists do not, including:
- Listing your book is FREE for authors. Breaking into the book selling market can be tough, especially when you are on a limited budget, and I want to do all I can to help writers make their dream come true!
- There is NO minimum review requirement. It’s tough for new and even some established authors to get reviews for their books; this is especially true for new releases. Therefore, it is not required that you have any reviews before having your book listed with RNAA.
- NO exclusivity or price requirements. This means there is no rule against offering your book on other lists at the same or lower price. Many other platforms state that the book cannot be offered at a lower price in the last 30 or even 90 days.
- The RNAA list is romance ONLY, so only romance readers are targeted.
- Pre-orders are welcome.
- You can provide a link to your author email list signup page in addition to (or instead of) your sales book link. For instance, Book One in my Gettysburg Ghost Series is both available for sale and is available for free to readers in exchange for an email list signup. On the RNAA list, you are permitted to post either or both links if you like
Simply send me an email at Lindafausnet@gmail.com with the following info:
- Please use the subject line – RNAA List Submission. In the body of the email, please provide:
- All link (s) (Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc.) to the book you would like me to feature, and include the link to your email list signup page if you would like that promoted as well. Please indicate if your book is available in Kindle Unlimited and I will be sure to promote that as well.
- Price of the book and on what days the book will be on sale (if applicable). Permafree books are welcome. Most of the books featured are either free, 0.99, or regular-priced new releases.
- Note if there is a specific date you would like the book promoted, but I can’t make any guarantees.
Though not a requirement, I request that you join the email list HERE as a courtesy. In addition, it would be wonderful if you could help spread the word about the RNAA email list to your own author list and in your social networking sites. Remember, the more readers we have on the list, the more useful the list will be for authors!
As a general rule, I will review the first chapter of the book. If there are notable problems with editing or formatting, the book will be rejected. One or even two typos may not automatically disqualify you, but if it is clear that the book needs more editing, I will have to turn it down. In addition, the book must be properly formatted. I have noticed that a lot of authors who format their own books have an extra space between paragraphs (among other issues). This is not standard formatting practice, and unfortunately I will have to reject those books as well. I will send you a quick note to let you know why your book was rejected, and I am happy to reconsider your book in the future if the problems are fixed.