Monday, September 19, 2011

Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour Review & Guest Post- Until the End of Forever by: Shannon Hart

ReadingNook Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Sarah Matthews has what most people would call a perfect life; the perfect marriage; perfect kids; a beautiful and warm home, and friends that stick by her through it all. But when Sarah starts to feel somethings missing and questions her happiness does her world really begin to turn upside down. Was she really unhappy or did she just need to take a step back and see what she's had right in front of her along? Will this quest to find happiness lead her in the right direction or will her so-called medicore life come crashing down around her, and will her "perfect" life be a thing of the past?

This story was a really fun, and entertaining story. I felt like I was flying through the pages and I loved the relationship between Sarah and Rob, I mean seriously how amazing is Rob? he's like super husband and handsome to boot!! 

The reason for the 3.5 star rating for me (and trust me that dosn't mean I thought the story was bad by any means, I really enjoyed it) was because for me, I felt like something was lacking, certain parts of how the story panned out kind-of fustrated me. I wish Sarah came home on her own accord and not because of a death of a close-family friend. I also wish she did more self-discovery in Paris, seeing that's what her whole trip was about, and my last little pet peeve was that she kept saying, "There's something wrong with me, I need to see a therapist", which towards the end of the book made me want to shake her silly and tell her TO JUST GO ALREADY!! 

Now with that being said, I did really enjoy the book I loved all the characters, although Sarah at times fustrated me. The story was fresh and something that most married couples can relate too, that even "perfect" relationships can get stale and monotonous and sometimes need some freshing up. I think the story had a few really great messages, and the Romantic Rob made me swoon more then a few times.

Overall, You guys should go check this book out, although a couple things fustrated me, nothing was a deal-breaker and I still really enjoyed the story. 

Guest Post with Author Shannon Hart:

Second Time Around

There is a common assumption that when you’ve done something once, the second time is easy. For me personally, perhaps this is true, but for things like riding a bike or traveling. If you’ve been to Paris once before, you’d already know that the airport is massively large, traffic into the city in the morning on weekdays is packed, and that it costs roughly Euro 55 to 65 for a cab ride to get from the airport to somewhere like Opera or Place Vendome.
But when it comes to something like writing, I can’t say I found it easy the second time around. In fact, if anything, it was more challenging than before.
Why, you ask? Well, for a number of reasons actually. Like for one, it’s because I wanted to manage expectations. See, when my first manuscript was ready and before it was published, I had already shared it with a few trusted friends who I knew would be able to give it to me straight. For the ones that loved it, I felt like they had high expectations for the second one. Before I even started writing the second one, they were already asking me when they would see a second one and whether it would be as good as the last, so disappointing them was the last thing I wanted to do.
In order to succeed in doing that, my go-to strategy was to make it different. If it was different than the last, how were they going to be able to compare it? So I did exactly that – my second book (yet to be published) has a younger line-up of characters, a single-but-in-a-complicated-relationship kind of storyline, and has a big focus on friendship.
The other issue I had was tone and manner. I’m the type of person that you can read like an open book. I say whatever is on my mind, my facial expression gives me away all the time, and I normally write my main characters the way I speak. My challenge was, if Sarah already spoke like me in Until the End of Forever, I obviously couldn’t write my new heroine like me too, right?
The key to managing this and avoiding my two characters to sound way too similar was to profile my new heroine, and set her profile next to Sarah’s. I had pictures pasted into a sketchbook that I thought looked like the Sarah I had in my head as well as my new character, along with jotted down profile notes like where they were born, where they grew up, what kind of upbringing they had, their career choice or major, how they ranked academically, and a bunch of other factors that may affect one’s personality, choice of words and choice of references. I basically created “real” people, in order to get the tones right. It was a lot of work and a lot of nitty-gritty details, but I thought it worked out well.
I could name a few other issues I had that contributed to the challenge of a second novel, but I don’t want to crash Laura’s blog J. What I will add though, is that besides the challenging parts, I have to say there was one thing that made a big difference between writing the first and second manuscripts: confidence.
Having already finished one book before and having more than one person actually enjoy it and say it was good helped build a confidence level that I didn’t have when I was writing the first one. Heck, when I was writing Until the End of Forever, halfway through chapter 17, I wasn’t even sure what my ending was going to be like! I had no idea what was going to happen with Rob and Sarah’s marriage, and there was a short period of time that I was worried I’d never know, and thus would never finish. I was already imagining the script just collecting viruses in my computer never having been finished.
But the second time around, I knew I had the ability to finish it. Confidence worked like creative trigger for me. It was like some sort of self-motivating therapy because the more I told myself I could, I really could. The selected few who have read the finished manuscript even noticed that there was a more confident and bold feel to it – exactly what I was going for.
Of course, not everyone is the same. I might have gone through things that other writers have not encountered at all – and that’s perfectly okay too. Everyone’s writing experience will be different. The important thing is that we do write. If writing is your passion, no matter what challenge or obstacle you are presented with, just never stop writing. It keeps you sharp, it keeps you creative, and it keeps your passion alive and burning, which is the way it should be.
One very last thing that is similar between writing the first and second book: I always get very excited and anxious to share it with everyone! So do stay tuned!


  1. Thanks for the review Laura! Loving the guest post from Shannon too :)

  2. I bought a copy of this one recently, just trying to find the time to read it. :)