Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rachelle's Review & Giveaway of Pickup Games by Marcia Mickelson

I was lucky enough to be selected to read Marcia Mickelsen’s new book Pickup Games and now you’re lucky enough to read what I thought about it and enter to win your own copy.

Here’s the blurb about the book:

When Mick Webber gets a new job hosting a college basketball show, he is less than thrilled to learn he will be co-hosting with Cara Jones, a pretty brunette trying to get over her failed engagement. From the start it is clear the two will not be playing nice, and work soon turns into a battlefield. But as the season progresses and the two are forced to work together more closely, they begin to see that first impressions can often be deceiving. In this riveting story about the game of love, you ll find yourself holding your breath to see what the scoreboard says when the clock runs out.

About the Author: Marcia Argueta Mickelson was born in Guatemala but grew up mostly in New Jersey. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University and lives in Texas with her husband and three sons Omar, Diego, and Ruben. When she s not writing, Marcia enjoys playing at the beach, reading, blogging, watching movies, and making train layouts for her boys. She is the author of Star Shining Brightly and Reasonable Doubt.

My thoughts:
I enjoyed this book. It was light, funny, and entertaining. The banter between the main characters, Mick and Cara, kept things lively and I read with a smile and a giggle at some of the things they did and said.

I love college basketball and so this was a treat to read about some favorite and not-so-favorite Utah teams. I’m a TRUE BLUE AGGIE so of course I would’ve loved to see a little more on USU, (especially for the NCAA Big Dance) but I’m biased. Really anyone who enjoys basketball would get a kick out of this book. It scores extra points for the deep emotions Mick deals with as he changes as a person.

My nitpicks: There were parts of the inner dialogue which were hammered home a little too heavy. I think several of these could have been edited out, specifically the nature of Mick's battle of emotions between Cara and Avery was repeated several times. This is a common nitpick for me, finding the balance which gives your reader credit without becoming vague on the important issues.

Marcia did a great job and I look forward to reading more from her. She was kind enough to answer some questions for this review.

What gave you the idea for this book?

Marcia: I stopped following basketball a few years before I began writing. I wanted to write a book that would incorporate my prior love and knowledge of basketball. I've enjoyed following March Madness each year and thought it would be fun to write a book centered around it.

I wrote this book alongside my previous one, Reasonable Doubt. In Reasonable Doubt, we meet Mick Webber as a man on trial for the murder of his fiancee. As I was writing about the investigation into the murder, I was also writing about his life 5 years later.

Do you like to play or watch basketball or both?

Marcia: I used to watch a lot of basketball years ago before I had kids. I would watch NBA games and BYU basketball games. I even played fantasy basketball way back before there was such a thing online. A group of friends, my husband, and I kept a league going for a few years. Then, we all got busy with having kids and stopped playing. I never played basketball on a team, but I do enjoy it even though I'm really bad.

Any hints as to what you're working on next?

Marcia: I'm finishing up a book about a woman helping to raise her autistic brother.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Marcia: After you finish your first novel, read as many books as you can about the writing and publishing process. Then, go through your book to spot all the things that are wrong. Then, set it aside and start your next one. Use your first book as a learning process to help you in writing the next one. At least for me, my first book was so bad I won't let anyone read it, and it is nowhere near being publishable, but I learned so much from it.

Fun Tidbits:
Marcia: In the book, Mick and Cara have an ongoing game of Overtime or No Overtime. This game originated with my husband and I. Early in our marriage (before kids) we watched a lot of basketball games. When a game had a close score toward the end, we would turn to each other and ask: "Overtime or No Overtime." Whoever lost had to do the dishes or some other chore. It was a fun way of dividing up housework and other undesirable tasks.

Thanks again Marcia!

Would you like to win a free copy of Pickup Games? This giveaway is open to residents of the contiguous United States and will end July 17, 2009 at 11:59pm.
The winner will be chosen by using the generator at Random.org and announced Friday afternoon. The winner has one week to claim the prize by emailing me his/her address at superfelt AT gmail.com. If the prize isn't claimed within that time, a new winner will be drawn.

How to enter:Contest Closed
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Contest ends July 17, 2009 at 11:59pm. Be sure to check back and see if you won!

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