Today I welcome author and friend Beck Anderson to the blog to review her latest release Trouble Me (Fix You #2) and ask her about her intriguing series titles!
Stick around to the end to read an excerpt from Use Somebody (Fix You #3).
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Love Lasts Through Life's Troubles
Beck Anderson's debut novel Fix You was a 5 star read for me. I wasn't the only one who loved the story as evidenced by its nomination for two RITA awards. Its sequel Trouble Me keeps up the humor and depth, even adding in a suspense element, as Kelly and Andrew's relationship progresses.
Boise was an unusual setting for book one, and in this story we visit the raw, rough Oregon coast as well as more urban settings like NYC and LA.
When movie star Andrew drives his girlfriend Kelly and her two sons to Oregon, he feels choked up by emotion:
I feel full to bursting. I have a family. A beautiful family. I have this girl, this glorious woman to the right of me now, who let me into her life when I probably least deserved it.
The abundance almost makes me scared.
I've never had so much to lose before.
That's a great setup for what's to come. And at that point Andrew doesn't know he'll have even more to lose when his family expands.
Meanwhile, Kelly continues her passion for running, which led her to meet Andrew in the first place.
Whenever I go on walks or runs, I stake out the neighborhood, figure out which house I'd claim as mine.
I TOTALLY do that! There's one house in a nearby neighborhood I've stalked for years.
One of my favorite parts of the story is the marriage proposal running gag. After a lame first attempt, Andrew decides to make it fun:
He pulls out the twist tie from the hot dog bun package. It's twisted in the shape of a ring. "Kelly Reynolds, will you marry me?"
I laugh and hold out my hand. "Where's the Eye of the Tiger?"
"I've arrived at a brilliant idea. I'm going to propose multiple times -- so many times you can't stand it. And you won't be able to tell which is the official, last, 'real' proposal."
As his father says, "Andrew never can do something without a production. We knew from the time he was five he'd be an actor." Ha ha.
The proposals are clever and funny. Perhaps a subtitle for this story could be "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)".
I also laughed at the incident in the trailer when Andrew and Kelly pull a prank on a mean actress. When the trailer's rockin', don't come-a-knockin'!
Things get more serious when somebody obsessed with Andrew tries to kill him. I had a good inkling who Crazy was from the get-go, based on the strangeness of conversations between the characters. The ending was quite suspenseful.
I love the idea of titling the books after songs, and the title I heard for book three sounds great!
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And now we hear from Beck about her book titles!
Why I picked the song titles I did:
Fix You – The idea that someone needed to be “fixed” after she was broken was intriguing to me, and the song is basically how Chris Martin is trying to fix his grieving lover after the death of a loved one. I think the key is that he says, “I will try to fix you.” Everybody wants to make things better for another person, to fix it for her when she is struggling or for him when he is struggling. But what became kind of a central theme for me in the book Fix You is that all people are broken and flawed in some way. That’s the human condition – that’s what life does to us. Life’s not easy. But how you move forward is not by being fixed, but by loving someone. So that’s where that song came into play. It just really seemed to speak to the theme of the novel but in an unexpected way.
Trouble Me – Another song title that maybe feels like it means one thing initially but also means another. In conversation it means “can I trouble you for some help” – can I bother you? And the song, by 10,000 Maniacs, basically takes that meaning a step further – lean on me, trouble me and burden me with your problems when you need help. I really liked that because in a relationship that deepens, like Kelly and Andrew’s does in book two, you have to lean on each other, and you can’t keep your troubles from the other person. You have to be brave enough to be vulnerable, to be “needy.” The other connotation is that there will be trouble in Trouble Me, and I liked that, too, because things get complicated, dare I say, dangerous, in the book.
Use Somebody – There’s a theme going on here. When I first heard this song by Kings of Leon I thought it was about a total jerk who “used” women up and cast them aside. But if you listen to the lyrics, it’s actually someone who could “use somebody” in his life – he needs someone. The lyrics are actually really sweet. The person works hard to be someone who the other person could “use,” too, i.e., be the kind of person this woman would need or want in her life. Not surprisingly, I feel like this play on the phrase is PERFECT for this story, because it centers on Jeremy, Andrew’s agent, meeting a woman when the boys are on a “man-cation” flyfishing in Eastern Idaho. Is Jeremy simply “using” the person he meets or could he really “use” someone like her?
Since we’re talking about Use Somebody, here’s a sneak peek:
My name is Jeremy King, and I am one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood.
I may or may not have a best friend. I may not have any friends past that at all.
Don’t feel sorry for me, or I will kick you in the balls.
This may be why I have no friends.
But let me tell you what I do have.
I own a Tesla Model S, white. I paid cash for a house in the Hollywood Hills that Bela Lugosi built and Ava Gardner lived in. If you don’t know who these people are, you are a dumb ass and should go look them up right now if I am supposed to put up with you for the rest of the book.
I’ll wait for you to put some of their movies in your cart on Amazon. You can watch them later.
I mean, really. Ava Gardner was married to Frank Sinatra, for Christ’s sakes. Please don’t tell me you haven’t heard of him.
You should stop reading now, too, if you have any illusions that in finding any kind of love, I will change in some way and sprout a heart of gold. The only gold I have is on my wrist – Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, thank you very much.
I am a loyal friend. I take care of people who take care of me.
I am fierce, and I am the fiercest in my field. Do not cross me.
And I have everything I want.
Go away if you think I’m going to have one of those scenes where I look out at the ocean and feel all hollow and run through the rain to knock on some chick’s door and profess my love to her.
I rep movie stars, but never once for a minute have I ever thought that life works the way movies do.
Wow, I can't wait! Sounds awesome. Thanks, Beck.