Sunday, October 28, 2012

Paradise Hops by Liz Crowe

For Adult 18+ Readers

Hi all! Today we've got award winning romance author Liz Crowe with us. Liz's books are touted as being "Romance for Real Life". We're here to find out just what that means..and to learn a bit about the craft beer brewing and drinking author, herself.

We posed these questions to Liz and here are her sharp and very interesting answers. We think she may have done this before.

TSK TSK: You're happiest when---
Liz: there is a craft beer in my hand, I’m sitting in my Tap Room writing while simultaneously looking around at a packed house full of happy craft beer drinkers.

TSK TSK: What's on your iPod right now? (Top 5 songs)

Liz: I’m more a Spotify girl and the songs I tend to listen to most lately are:
Madness (Muse)
Some Nights (Fun)
Live and Die (Avett Brothers)
Payphone (Maroon 5)
Paradise (Coldplay)

TSK TSK: Describe your writing style.

Liz: Crisp, straight forward, realistic, dialogue heavy, character driven, snarky at times, devoid of the words: “purple,” “Pulsing,” or “mushroom shaped.”

TSK TSK: What are 3 things you have to have for an overnight trip?

Liz: My Mac Air, my Iphone, six pack of craft beer (preferably mine)

TSK TSK: What was the last book you read? Tell us something about the story.

Liz: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn—I am more of a mainstream reader and lately have been alternating highly recommended mainstream fiction like this one, a classic (just finished Of Mice and Men again), a young adult (YOU GOTTA READ: The Fault In Our Stars by John Greene—amazing!), and my own genre but I don’t read paranormal. The last one of those I read was by Sylvia Day. 
Gone Girl is a very fascinating story of marriage between two fairly narcissistic people that goes very very bad. The character development is fabulous but the ending did not work for me. I would recommend it as a loaner, from the library or a friend.

TSK TSK: Finish this sentence: I have never-- 

Liz: read a book with the word “Harlequin” on the cover.

TSK TSK: Tell us something only your best friend would know.

Liz: Well…then it would no longer be a secret now would it? How about this:  I am sick addicted to karaoke and am a ringer. It’s the show off in me I guess.
Oh, here’s another one: I got arrested by the Turkish Gendarme.

TSK TSK: Oh now, we would love to hear that story. Maybe next time *wink*

TSK TSK: Who is your favorite author?

Liz: I come at this question this way: What author’s books will I read no matter what? As in I’d read a shopping list he/she scratched on a restaurant napkin?
Margaret Atwood, John Irving and Jonathan Franzen
If you want me to name authors in the “erotic romance” genre that would be Lauren Dane and Shayla Black but only the contemporaries, no vamps or shifters please and thank you very much.

TSK TSK: Name a food you refuse to share with anyone.

Liz: Homemade Mac and Cheese….just back away from me very slowly…..

TSK TSK: What's the one thing you can't live without?

Liz: Tie: craft beer and great music

TSK TSK: Can you share a favorite quote or passage from Paradise Hops?

Liz: A short passage when Lori meets her anti-hero, Eli for the first time:
Lori wrestled open the back brewery door, ears already ringing from the curses that echoed through the large, brightly lit room. The brewery boys and three second brewers stood in a line, like they were in a marine barracks all looking as nervous as mice observed by a very hungry cat.
"And, who the fuck," boomed a voice, "might you be? No one told me there was a girl brewer in this place."
As a reflex, Lori looked around, seeking out the female who'd pissed off the faceless angry voice that must belong to Eli Buchanan their new master brewer. She'd been instrumental in convincing her father to hire the guy. He was a brewing celebrity, a genius, temperamental, and prone to quit perfectly good breweries if the mood suited him. He was exactly what Brockton needed. They had to get past their staid, complacent attitude in a rapidly changing craft beer environment.

"Yeah, I'm talking to you. The one who showed up fifteen minutes late for my morning staff meeting." She flushed, frowning at the line of men, many of whom had worked for her father for years, as they shuffled their feet and wouldn't meet her eyes. "Who the hell are you, and why are you on my brewery floor?"

She cleared her throat, squared her shoulders, and channeled the anger building in her chest. "I'm Lori. Lori Brockton. This is the first day of my brewery rotation." She hated how thin her voice sounded.
"Your brewery rotation eh?" She stumbled back at the vision that emerged from between towering stainless steel fermentation vessels. "What is this? Brewing Day Camp? I'm supposed to babysit the Brockton kids?" He glared at her, making her blink in the glare of his bright, steely blue gaze. Eli Buchanan was larger than life. At least six foot five, with long blonde hair held back by a small piece of leather. Clad in light blue jeans and a Brockton Brewing grey T-shirt, the span of his shoulders and definition of his torso forced an exhale from Lori's lips. He kept quiet as her eyes took him in, from rubber boot clad feet to the light red hair covering his jaw. "Well? See anything you like?"
"Uh, no, I mean, it's not camp. I mean, you are…I'm…." she stuttered, then stopped. The man remained stock still, still holding her gaze as if challenging her. She stood up straighter. "I'm here for the next six months to learn this part of the business. You know, so I can be your boss someday." He frowned at her. She frowned back.
Then he tilted his head back and laughed, stepped into her personal space and smacked her ass so hard she yelped. "I look forward to that day girl Brockton. Yes, I do." A couple of the men started forward as if to protect her, but she waved them back. This asshole had another thing coming if he thought she'd be intimidated by him. As much as she felt she should have been, something about him was as non-threatening as Garrett, but in a different way—a much more spine-tingling way.

TSK TSK: Ah, Eli, he sets a tone doesn't he? You simply have to meet this tough guy yourself. 

TSK TSK: Name 5 famous people you would love to have dinner with (dead or alive).

Liz: Bill and Hilary Clinton
John Irving
Eleanor Roosevelt
Sam Calgione (founder of Dogfish Head Brewing—he’s hawt and we have had drinks together before….)

TSK TSK: Oh to be a fly on the wall at that little gathering.

TSK TSK: What is one thing you hope readers feel when they finish a Liz Crowe book?

Liz: As if they would like to go back and read it again, immediately, after they call all their friend to tell them to read it.

TSK TSK: The last line of your autobiography would be?

Liz: The cable series based on her novels is still the top rated download on Hulu. Liz and her current boy toy split their time between her homes on the southern coast of Turkey and Las Vegas.

TSK TSK: Love it!

TSK TSK: What's next? 

Liz: Continuing the Stewart Realty series with a releasing and book signing in Ann Arbor on November 4 (Escalation Clause, book 6). Then finishing Mutual Release (book 7) and working through the final book, Good Faith.
Finalizing the first 3 books of the Black Jack Gentlemen Series, an off shoot of the realty series that are planned for early 2013 release.
And I have a couple of more mainstream projects in mind for 2013.  In His Shadow will be the story of a young woman conned and subsequently abused by a man posting a “Dom,” her journey of self-discovery when she escapes and reclaims her life.  Also, “Precious Vessel” is the working title of a very long project about, ostensibly, women’s reproductive rights in the US when it is discovered that American women have suddenly become unable to either get or to stay pregnant.  It is set in the vague far away future but is not science fiction or “dystopian” other than in its reflection of the misery of women who are made important by their value as vessels.  It’s a bit of a Handmaid’s Tale/Hunger Games/Logan’s Run mashup with some Children of Men thrown in.  I’m looking forward to diving into it.

And finally for 2013 my Brewing Passion series will be re-written an re-released with Tri Destiny publishing late in the year.

TSK TSK: To say Liz is a busy woman would be...well, ridiculous. She's a nonstop writing machine, yet she lives a full-bodied life in the craft beer world.
Yeah, we're wondering how she juggles it all too.'s almost as if she lives a double life. Perhaps we should have asked her.
Perhaps- next time we will...
We sure enjoyed getting to know Liz Crowe, and look forward to more from this Real Life Romance author. As soon as our hearts have recovered. We hope that all of you will try a sample of Paradise Hops- and be sure to check out her other titles as well.
Now...To thank you for stopping by for our author spotlight, Liz has offered an ecopy of Paradise Hops to one lucky winner.So, make sure you scroll below to enter.
Thanks so much to Liz Crowe for indulging our "need to know" neurosis. Thank you also for the opportunity to review Paradise Hops for you.
GOOD LUCK, Readers!  We're off to our next adventure...Ta ta for now...

...HAPPY READING!!! Kathryn and Shelley

A brutal attack left Lori Brockton convinced she was damaged goods. By the time she emerges from hiding two years later, ready to run her family's famous brewery, she's determined to be independent--never rely on anyone ever again. Nearly a year of working in every corner of Brockton Brewing Company, from warehouse to pub, front office to kitchen, teaches her all she needs to know about the business. Then, she comes face-to-face with masculine perfection in a suit and her world is rocked in more ways than one. Garret Hunter is the new Brockton business manager who takes one look at the beautiful, sad young woman and his entire existence coalesces around winning her heart.
But standing between Garrett and what he believes is his true love, is a six-feet six-inch blond-haired bad boy brewer.
Eli Buchannan is a craft beer rock star, recently hired by Brockton to drag the company into the 21st century. He brings innovation and attitude plus a prima donna ladies’ man reputation. But he's sworn off anything resembling commitment, personal or professional, after getting burned at his last job on both fronts.
Garret Hunter is “The Perfect Man” -- handsome, successful, stable, eager to settle down. Eli Buchanan... is not. Compelling, smoking hot, creative and elusive, he represents everything Lori Brockton should avoid. But just as she makes a difficult choice, a drastic life-changing shift occurs, and nothing is ever the same again.

Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town.  Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse, plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry), has prepped her for life as erotic romance author.
When she isn’t sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.
Her groundbreaking romance subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” has gained thousands of fans and followers who are interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”)
Her beer blog is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high-powered real estate offices.  Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.

OMG!! Paradise Hops is one of those books that grabs you instantly and then decides to through some huge event in there to completely knock you on your rear.  
I was so caught up in Lori's world and her struggle with the two great guys in her life that I was utterly shocked that Liz Crowe threw in this plot twist to turn everything upside down.  With such wonderful writing, great character development, I immediately knew who my favorite guy was going to be.  To top it off, we see a broken Lori in the beginning of this tale and by the end we see such a strong woman that has overcome so much that even though the "shocker" happens, you can accept it and be happy for Lori.  
With three true main characters to meet and fall in love with, Lori, Garrett, and Eli weave us through Paradise Hops , causing discord, joy, heartache, hot steamy relationships, and just an overall intrigue in to their lives. Rooting for certain events to happen, upset when certain decisions are made, and just floored when the emotional twist rips through...
I also want to add, that I thoroughly enjoyed how Liz Crowe set Paradise Hops in a brewery.  Learning about the factory and just little details in what goes in to the everyday process of brewing lagers was extremely fascinating to me.  AND...this also added to so much of the storyline throughout Paradise Hops...
So, to leave with you parting words on this steamy, fast-paced, emotional book, go and check it out...Buckle yourself in and be ready for the exhilarating ups and downs of this ride!!

This has one of the most difficult reviews for me to write. Typically when I struggle, it's because I can't seem to find the words to truly convey my thoughts. With Paradise Hops- it's more that the story brought back feelings I fight so hard to keep in check.
Ghosts from the past that plague your every day life- causing you to be less yourself out of fear and humiliation. To avoid what you crave the most in life, in order to sidestep rejection, pain and ridicule.
On this level I connected so wholly with Lorelei Brockton. On the surface, she's strong, smart and driven. In reality, she's a scared, scarred, people pleaser, too broken to take a chance on anything resembling intimacy. Liz portrayed her perfectly. So much so, it brought those wounds of mine to the surface and I immediately felt for Lori. Wanted her to open up her heart and mind to the possibility of real love. And willingly followed her into the arms of Garrett.
Oh, Garrett. What can I say about Garrett. He's near perfect- near. He's a bit of a control freak, but by learning his back story, it's easy to understand how he's become that way. Despite that, he's beautiful, strong and quite possibly just what Lori and Brockton Brewing Company need. She finds herself drawn to him and what he represents. There's a strong attraction, a spark of hope.
So does she take the leap? Give Garrett a chance?
Ah, wouldn't that be grand...and too simple- far, far too easy. And really, as a reader of romance, how long would it hold your interest? What is a love story without conflict and confusion?
As often happens, once you open yourself up, the universe provides more opportunities, and Lori finds herself caught between a man she thinks may be "the one" and the notorious bad boy who should be kept at arms length.
Eli is Garrett's polar opposite. He doesn't care what anyone thinks. Talks down to everyone, throws his weight and knowledge as Brew Master around. He also has a reputation that proceeds him. This should be a red flag to Lori- and yet he also sparks something in her she thought was lost forever.
And so the lustfest is now in full effect- and we're in for one hell of a ride.
This story is well written. Liz has an easy flowing style that grabs your attention and keeps you glued to the page. Having it all take place around a brewery made it fun. Coming from a family that harvested hops, and living in an area known around the world for it's craft beers, I enjoyed the atmosphere Liz created. Her love for, and knowledge of the whole process of brewing are so evident and made it easy to see what Lori also loved about this way of life. It's hard and satisfying work.
As events unfold we learn more and more about each of these characters, and I found that I loved them all. And though the side characters aren't strong in the storyline, I liked Lori' s father and Mrs. Anderson, the office assistant, very much. They provide needed perspectives (as in back story) and influence. And while their parts are small, they help to paint a complete picture of life inside the walls of a brewery. And Mrs. A is quite funny and endearing when she comes to Lori's rescue and defense.
As I mentioned before, this is an emotional roller coaster. If this story doesn't move you, well, you're a heartless shrew.
Now to another difficult part. Since I connected to the characters and became emotionally invested in them, I was thrown by certain turns of events. And Lori's world spins upside down and out of control.
I wasn't prepared anymore than Lori was. It was so left of field, I was shocked- and angry. How could Liz do this to us??? I'm telling you- I was mortified. I wanted to put the book down and never return to it.
Extreme? Maybe. But I continued on. And though it was a struggle, I carried on with Lori, and found that love comes in all shapes and sizes and shades. There is no one perfect love. And truly- though you never completely get over the pain, you can endure and make the most of what you are given.
Does Paradise Hops have a HEA? Well, I can't really tell you that. I fully expect you to go through it all as I have. Your experience will be very different than mine, but I'm sure I can guarantee this book will be a gut wrenching, thought provoking,entertaining, beautifully written tale.
Make sure you have plenty of tissues handy, your phone set to speed dial your bestie for consolation, and water to rehydrate after yourself after your watershed. You think I'm exaggerating. Ha!
I found no faults with Liz's storytelling other than one sequence I felt carried on a bit longer than necessary- though it carries a lot of meaning. Otherwise I highly recommend Paradise Hops to anyone that enjoys realistic romantic fiction. If you like heart pounding erotic scenes, your nerves set on edge and your faith tested- then this book is for you. But be warned: Paradise Hops is not a light, easy read. Hold on to your heart and your seat- but don't be afraid to feel. After all, LOVE is a feeling.

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