Sunday, December 30, 2012

Goddess Fish: "Keeper by Surprise" by Laurie Larsen Book Review/Guest Post/Giveaway (Ends 2/4) U.S./Canada

Keeper by Surprise
by Laurie Larsen



Life changes forever for Keith Hanson when his parents’ will declares him guardian over his three younger siblings. His new responsibilities are challenging, but he’s even less prepared to fall in love with Lisa Carle, a social worker with a devastating secret.


And later in that same scene where she discovers who he is:

“Hi, is there something I could do for you?”

Boy, was that a loaded question. To Lisa’s dismay, the mere sound of his voice caused a double-shot of female hormones to take a dive into her groin. It was deep and gravely, but polite. A touch innocent. She’d love to let his voice lap over her like ocean waves for hours at a time. She cleared her throat and attempted, probably failing miserably, a cool nonchalance. “Oh, don’t let me interrupt you. I’m here on business.” She commenced her determined trek to the front door.

He took a few steps toward her, then stopped. “I’m sorry? Who is it exactly that you’re looking for?”

She looked at him over her shoulder. He was gazing intently at her, his head cocked slightly to one side. “Uh,” she started, forgetting her name for a moment under the intense stare of those gorgeous … green! … eyes. Who would’ve figured him for green eyes?

He tore his gaze away from her and started looking around. He backed up a few steps to a piece of white fabric lying nearby in the lawn. He picked it up and Lisa saw it was a shirt. He slipped it on effortlessly, while she mourned the sudden and quite unexpected loss of her view of that spectacular chest.

He approached her then and continued his curious inspection of her. Lisa cleared her throat. God, she had to pull it together here. She was working, and she needed to continue to function, even in the presence of this hunk. “I’m here to see Keith. Keith Hanson.”

To her surprise, he smiled, his face lighting for a moment, like a lamp would brighten a dark room. “I’m Keith Hanson.”

Guest post by the author

I’d like to thank Ruth for hosting me today on my blog tour for my latest book, Keeper by Surprise!  Ruth has asked me to blog about A Day in the Life of the Author.

When we think of the writers of great fiction novels, we imagine their lifestyles to be like we see in the movies:  Kathleen Turner played romance writer Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone, living the exciting and romantic life of her fictional heroines.  Or how about poor Jack Torrance?  He was a famous novelist… in The Shining, played by Jack Nicholson.  Granted, he went crazy and became a homicidal maniac, but he got to take his family to a beautiful vacation resort to write his next novel!  Isn’t that what a day in the life an author is like?

Unfortunately, it’s not like that in real life.  Or, should I say, it’s not like that for the vast majority of non-millionaire authors!  And other than the few mega-super-star authors (I’m sure you can think of a few) who live a luxurious life solely on the income of their ample royalties, most of us have day jobs.  In my bio I say I have a “strenuous” day job.  That’s a nice way of saying that my job is difficult and challenging, taxes my brain for about ten hours a day, leaving me emotionally and physically wiped out.   And yet, I’ve managed to write nine books in the last fifteen years.  (Yes, I’ve been writing for fifteen years -- OMG, why do I feel so OOOOLD all of a sudden?) 

It’s important for an author with a day job to do everything she can to keep the writing regular.  When you’ve got a book in progress, it’s momentum that’s going to get you to THE END.  With great momentum, I wrote one of my books in six months.  On the other end of the spectrum, the book that I’m currently working on, I started over two years ago.  I’d highly recommend the former! 

I meet with a writers group once a month and we set goals to keep ourselves on track.  For my November goal, I wanted to kick start this book that had felt stalled for too long.  So I set a challenging goal of 30 pages in one month.  That would get me going again!  However, a wonderful thing happened.  I found myself with a free weekend, and I furthered challenged myself to write those 30 pages in ONE WEEKEND.  I wrote about 8 pages on Friday night.  I wrote 12 on Saturday.  Bleary-eyed, I came back and wrote the remaining 10 on Sunday.  Mission accomplished!  It felt so good!  I was so inspired I decided to take a week off work over the Thanksgiving holiday and I wrote 50 more pages.  I’m happy to report that I’m now within two chapters of THE END.  It’s an inspirational romance entitled Roadtrip to Redemption which I hope to be Book 1 of a 4-book series.

Before I close, I want to see if I can pique your interest in my new book, Keeper by Surprise, with a very clever reader review that was posted on Amazon:

Can you imagine being called home from college to learn your parents have been killed in a car accident and named you caregiver of your three siblings? That's what happens to Keith Hanson. But it's just the beginning of this warm, witty, and surprisingly real contemporary romance by Laurie Larsen. As Keith struggles to become a parent overnight, I came along with him, worrying for him and wondering if he'd be able to rise to the occasion. Of course he does, and the romance that blossoms along his journey is both surprising and refreshing. This is a great book to get lost in.

I hope you’ll give it a try!  Available in paperback, as well as all ebook formats!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For a story that begins as a nice, little college romance, it sure covers a vast amount of serious topics.  Laurie Larsen is an excellent author who has developed some very believable characters who go through some harsh circumstances.  They grow and learn as a result, and they all end up growing in ways they never dreamed possible.

I did grow tired of the profanity, but thankfully the bedroom scene was not too detailed.  I was even impressed that some of the characters were committed to remaining virgins.  I also liked seeing the change that occurred in Dana and the twins.  And Keith was finally willing to accept the responsibility he was given.  I would have preferred a less cheesy ending.  Don't get me wrong--the book ended as it should have.  But during the last twenty pages or so, cheesiness made it appearance.  Some of the book seemed a little bit too unrealistic, but I guess true romantics would love these pages.

I liked the fact that the author was able to introduce some elements into the book that were not entirely predictable.  I can't imagine ever having to deal with something like Keith did, but it's good to see that adversity can build character, sometimes even when you don't want it to.  I am pleased that the author emphasized the conscience and making sure one always does what is right.  While I do not share all the morals that these characters do--I go much further to the right than they do--it was still nice to see characters that truly had principles.  Oh, and the unprincipled characters got what was coming to them.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

Laurie Larsen is the EPIC Award-winning author of Preacher Man, Best Spiritual Romance of 2010. To date, she has published seven books in the romance and women’s fiction genres, including one Young Adult romance.  Keeper by Surprise is her latest release.  She lives in the Midwest with a strenuous day job, a husband of more than two decades, two amazing sons and Gracie the Wonder Dog. To keep up with Laurie and her books, visit her at , on Twitter or Facebook.


Author co-op:


Laurie will be awarding promo items to random commenters at every stop, and the choice of a basic Nook or Kindle to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US/CANADA ONLY).  Be sure to follow the entire blog tour for even more chances to win!


  1. Hi Ruth! Thank you for hosting me today! I look forward to hearing from some of your readers.

    1. Laurie,
      I am sorry I initially forgot to attach the guest post. It was awesome, and I overlooked it. Blessings! It's there now!

    2. Well Ruth I'm just taking over your site today aren't I? Ha ha. Thanks for updating with my guest post!! So nice to be your guest today.

  2. This looks like a great book! I've put it on my GoodReads "To Read" list and I'm following the author there, too. I can't wait to read the book!

  3. Hi Karen! And thank you so much. I hope you enjoy Keeper when you get a chance to read it. Thanks for stopping by today.


  4. One can forgive a possibly "cheesy" ending if there are some good, interesting twists getting there.

    1. Ha ha! Hi Catherine and thanks for weighing in on the "cheesy debate!" :) Personally, I consider anything with cheese on it a wonderful thing. But I'm not sure that applies to novels. But seriously, a romance has, by nature, a Happily Ever After Ending, and that generally means a reconciliation, a forgiveness for past wrongs, a big ole kiss and more often than not, a marriage proposal. It accompanies a goose bumpy "ahhhh" feeling in the reader. That may be considered cheesy but that's how a romance normally ends. I hope my HEA ending is well done and leaves the reader feeling satisfied.

    2. Cheesiness is truly not a big problem with romance novels. Sometimes I am one who wants more action before the cheesy ending, but that is just a personal preference. I am one of those people who doesn't always like things to work out so perfectly, but when a book has a good message, cheesiness is not a big problem.

  5. It's not quite midnight here in my corner of the world and I just drew my winner of the week: KAREN GREENBERG!! Karen, I've sent you an email to redeem your prize.

    Thanks again to Ruth for hosting me, and to everyone who commented. It was so much fun and great to hear your thoughts.

    Make it a super New Years!

    1. Whooo Hooo! What a way to start the new year. Thank you Laurie! I didn't get an email from you, so I think it may have gotten lost somewhere in cyberspace. Please let me know what I need to do to claim my prize. Here is my email again, just in case:
      Thanks again! I am so excited to be the winner.

  6. Thank you for the great recommendation. It looks like a book I will love. I am just finishing up a very inspirational/spiritual novel, "Quest for the Lost Name," by George Makris, but am moving on to your book next.

  7. I've just begun this book and I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the review and the honesty about your thoughts :)

  8. This book looks like something I would enjoy. I like to read books about families and I like to read adoption and foster care books. Wow, 9 books, while holding down a 10 hour a day job. Sounds like the author may need a vacation. I am interested in looking into Ms. Larsen's books.

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