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Friday, October 5, 2012

Blog Tour - Made the Grade: Flirting To Win by Natalie Anderson | Interview, Review, & Giveaway

Today I'm turning my blog over to Natalie Anderson, who I interviewed about her latest anthology "Flirting To Win!!"

ALSO -- Be sure to check out Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post to be able to sign up for this blog stop's GIVEAWAY!! [Blog Tour will run from September 6 - October 19, 2012]

My Q&A with Natalie Anderson :

Jess : What books did you enjoy reading while growing up?

Natalie : I loved Paddington Bear, moved on to Trixie Belden, the Bobbsey Twins, anything by Arthur Ransome, "Bridge to Terabithia" always sticks out as does "To Kill a Mockingbird," by the time I was into my teens then it was Agatha Christie classics and my first Mills & Boons along with Lynne Reid Banks and what girl didn’t read Judy Blume???

Jess : Tell us about your "Flirting To Win" Anthology.

Natalie : This is a trilogy of novellas. The stories themselves are not intertwined—they’re three separate tales involving some complex, fun and hot(!) characters laughing and learning to love. They’re all set in summer in London—there’s muesli, flashmobs and a mad dog... so they’re definitely fun, but I think they’re also emotional reads :)

Jess : Which of your characters would you most & least to invite to dinner, from which book and why?

Natalie : I’d love to meet them all! I think all three heroines, Lexie, Nina and Libby would be such fun to have a girly chat with... and the guys??! It might take me half an hour or so to be able to speak around the guys... they’re all a bit gorgeous... but I think Luke would be very funny, Eduardo very intense and Jack would definitely be compelling. It’d be a great night!

Jess : Please describe your heroine, from "Bargain in Bronze," in one to two sentences.

Natalie : Libby has been alone for a while having put herself into isolation—with the best of intentions but it’s so wrong for her really. She’s too soft-hearted and she should be part of a big, loving family… but don’t be fooled into thinking she’s a pushover, she knows how to stand up for herself and certainly gives as good as she gets to Jack!

Jess : What is the most romantic thing one of your characters, from "Seduction in Silver," said or did?

Natalie : I think it would have to be when Eduardo totally breaks his reserve and does a one-man Flashmob for Nina on the Tube—totally embarrassing both him and her but neither care. I love the laughter in that scene and I love a guy who doesn’t give a damn about what anyone else might think of him—not when he’s on a mission to do something important for the woman he loves!

Jess : If "Gamble in Gold" was to be made into a film, who do you see playing the main characters and why?

Natalie : Oh golly – I always find ‘casting’ characters really hard. I know many writers do use pictures of actors and models when writing their books but this has never worked for me... but, if you insist ;) I think I’d love Emma Stone as Lexie—mainly because I just love Emma Stone and have a total girl crush on her ;) for Luke, I need a guy who’s completely gorgeous and who comes across as light-hearted and laidback – maybe Chris Hemsworth?! (Ok, I admit it, I just went for the buff factor!)

Jess : Which usually comes first for you, the character(s) story or the idea for the novel?

Natalie : Usually it’s the characters. I’ll hear them talking and then the scene develops in my mind—sometimes it’s a cute-meet but sometimes it’s an argument! Then I develop the characters as much as I can before drafting as the characters drive the plot, so I really need to know who they are and what they’ve been doing so I can understand what decisions they’d make when I put some nasty big obstacle in their way!

Jess : Is there one particular scene in "Bargain in Bronze" that you’re dying for readers to read? Can you tell us anything about it?

Natalie : I love the scene in the commercial kitchen where Libby is trying to make her stuff and Jack is trying to concentrate on work and neither really can because they’re so totally drawn to each other... I love those early stages in a relationship where the characters are trying hard to hide their fascination with each other but at the same time keep revealing it in their actions and speech—its fun!

Jess : If you had to describe Nina & Eduardo (from "Seduction in Silver") in one word, what would it be?

Natalie : I’d say Nina is sparkle and Eduardo is true.

Jess : What sparked the idea for your most recent novella, "Gamble in Gold?"

Natalie : I really wanted to do a high-school-crush story and here in New Zealand a number of very lucky students get to go on foreign exchange for a few months. I thought it would be fun to have a heroine who’d gone on an exchange a few years ago and never gotten over the eldest son of her host family... then she meets up with him in London and so badly wants to show him that she’s not the ‘useless’ and awkwardly shy kid she was when she’d seen him last... I love those stories where the heroine is trying to be something ‘more’ only to finally learn and accept that the hero loves her for exactly who she is—she doesn’t need to be ‘more’ :)

Jess : How many books have you written? Which is your favorite and why?

Natalie : I’ve written 24 novels and novellas and nope, I can’t name one as a favourite! That’s just impossible – they’re like children ;) But I’m always totally in love with the next idea, that’s the real favourite—the one I’m just about to start :)

Jess : Do you have any other projects in the works? If so, can you share a little of your current work with us?

Natalie : I’m just finishing up a novella duo—there is a little twist to these two that I can’t share just yet—you’ll have to wait and see! After that I’m launching straight into a new full length contemporary. I’m hoping to do the first draft of this in NaNoWriMo this year—I love the energy of that month!!!

Jess : What do you normally eat for breakfast, or do you skip it and get straight to work?

Natalie : I’m a smoothie girl – banana, raspberry, rolled oats and pineapple juice whizzed up – yum!

Jess : What book are you reading now? How do you like it so far?

Natalie : I’m currently reading "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman with my daughter—we’re just up to the second to last chapter and we’re loving it!

About the Author :

USA TODAY bestseller Natalie Anderson writes fun, frisky, feels-good contemporary romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon and Entangled Publishing. With over twenty books published, she's also been a Romantic Times Award nominee & a finalist for the R*BY (Romantic Book of the Year).

She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand with her husband, four children and what feels like a million ducks.

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Kindle Edition - File Size: 503 KB | Release Date: August 20, 2012 | Publisher: Entangled Publishing : Indulgence | Obtained: Entangled Publishing

"Flirting to Win" by Natalie Anderson

"Bargain in Bronze" [Flirting to Win Anthology, Novella 1]

My Story Summary : Libby was hired by Tom, an Olympic rower, to come to his house and make her special muesli---a popular breakfast meal based on uncooked rolled oats, fruit and nuts---for him since her company is not operating for the moment. While there Tom's older brother, Jack, arrives and is very suspicious of her intentions towards his brother. Once their intentions are made clear, for Tom's sake at least at first, Jack helps Libby with her business. Yet spending every day together makes their passions fly high, and soon they both realize the instant chemistry that passes between them as they get to know each other more. However, will old wounds keep them from turning their attraction into something more?

My Story Review : 3.5 out of 5 stars. This feisty duo will keep you on your toes! Jack & Libby were great together and I loved how they played off of one another. However, the plot fell a little short for me towards the end. =0/

Story Teaser :
“Why cut by hand?” He pointed out the industrial food processor.
“It’s better chopped by hand. One too many presses of the pulse button of that machine would make it pulp rather than bite-size pieces.”
“But it takes so much time.”
“I have time.”
Really? When she worked full time and ran her business on the side? “Then how do you fit in time for—” He broke off, temporarily blinded by the dangerous glitter in her eyes.
He got the no kisses rule, but did that mean personal talk was a no go area too? “Your commitment to the circus,” he finished slyly. “Knife throwing and stuff with strong Serge.”
She almost smiled. “I’ve retired from the circus.”
Had she now? Serge too? ~ within Chapter 6

"Seduction in Silver" [Flirting to Win Anthology, Novella 2]

My Story Summary : Nina is excited because in a week she plans on traveling around Europe during the time that the Olympics are going on. It's also a way for her to avoid seeing some of her old "friends" as much as possible while they are visiting London during the games. However, an unexpected meeting with Eduardo, the guy she has been crushing on for the past few weeks, while on the tube changes her life. Especially when he asks her out to help him through a difficult family dinner in trade of him helping her out through her quick meet up with her old "friends." They instantly hit it off and soon find that they are willing to spend her last week in London together. The question is will only one week together be enough for them?

My Story Review : 4 out of 5 stars, you will gobble up this seductive novella!! It's vivacious, funny, hot & steamy, with a whole bunch of charming plot thrown in! I couldn't get enough of these characters and wish there was more to the novella so I didn't have to stop reading about them!

Story Teaser :
“Why don’t you bring your little finger this way,” she teased, glowing inside with confidence and desire and for the first time feeling free to declare her every desire. Hallelujah and thanks be to Shakespeare.
“’Little finger’?” He knelt back onto the bed, straddling her. “I object to that.”
“Thorn? Bugle? Dart of love?” She spread her hands wide on his hips. “How about instrument?”
“Of pleasure or torture?”
“Both,” she answered playfully, running one hand up his abs, bringing the other to encircle him.
“All right, you asked for it.” ~ within Chapter 4

"Gamble in Gold" [Flirting to Win Anthology, Novella 3]

My Story Summary : Lexie and Luke met when they were in teenagers while Lexie was staying with Luke's family during an exchange program. During that time, both were attracted to each other but Luke broke Lexie's heart by kissing her and then becoming distant. Now about seven years have passed leaving them both to believe they've overcome their infatuation with each other. Only to come face-to-face with each other again to find that instead of leaving their infatuation for each other has grown. Nevertheless, will they be able to give into their lust and still be able to be friends? Can they find a way to have their relationship grow into something more? Or will old hurts and wild pasts get in the way of something special?

My Story Review : 3 out of 5 stars! Old passions ignite in this fast-paced novella! I liked Lexie and Luke together, especially getting to read how they fumbled through their private reunion. I just wish Lexie didn't leave the way she did, because it just didn't play out in a way that I could support. Even though I'm happy with the way it ended, I just hoped it would have turned out better.

Story Teaser :
“Why do you do it?”
He sat back and breathed a long sigh out. “The chance to help someone reach their goal? Achieve something they’ve always wanted to?” He shook his head. “That’s an amazing feeling.”
“But what about you? You just said you wanted to win. You were an amazing runner at school.”
He laughed. “I’m good, but I’m not that good.” He stretched out his sore leg. “Helping Kate was the best thing I could do with what talent I have. Helping her win is how I get to win.”
Okay, so he was totally Mr. Perfect. And so damn easy to fall for. The trouble was that so many women fell for him. ~ within Chapter 5

My Book Review : For the full book I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars! Even though I feel that the "Seduction in Silver" novella really won the gold medal out of these three, I did truly enjoy reading them all!

I would recommend this anthology to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary romances!

Author's Anthology Extras : Winning the Gold - with Natalie Anderson | Kicking off the “Flirting to Win” Blog tour!

For more information on this book and/or any other books by Natalie, then please check out her website.

My Giveaway!! :

  • An ARC e-book copy of "Flirting To Win" to one randomly drawn person from the Rafflecopter entries
  • An kindle copy of "Bargain in Bronze" Novella 1 to one randomly drawn person from the Rafflecopter entries
The Fine Print -- To Enter :
  1. This contest ends on October 12th 2012.
  2. This contest is International!!
  3. You must be 18 years-old or older!!
  4. It's the author/publisher's responsibility to ensure that the winner gets "Flirting To Win," not mine.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ALSO -- Be sure to follow the tour around the other blog sites!

Find Natalie Anderson :


  1. Thanks so much for having me on your blog and I'm so pleased you enjoyed the stories :)

    1. You're welcome, Natalie! Thank you so much for stopping by! I loved "Seduction in Silver" and the other novels in this anthology! Plus, I enjoyed reading your answers to my interview ... your smoothie does sound yummy. =0)


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