Blog Tour Stop: "Over the Edge" by Suzanne Carroll

Today, I'm hosting a blog tour stop to celebrate the release of Suzanne Carroll's Over the Edge.

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In six weeks Zoe Harper will marry Dan Costi in an over-the-top Sydney society wedding, complete with fire-eaters and belly dancers. But when she receives an unexpected gift from her future mother-in-law, Zoe realizes she’s making a huge mistake. In a blazing sidewalk argument, she breaks up with her fiancé, and his mother—who has joined the fight via conference call.

Following the advice of friends and co-workers, along with some inspiration from late-night-television self-help guru Dr. Pam, Zoe sets out to find the life she thinks she should be living. Always a planner, she makes a list of goals: travel, career, tattoos, and no romantic entanglements. It’s all carefully laid out, until she meets Angus Creed.

Angus is supposed to lead the opening waltz at a charity ball in New York City. Only problem is the handsome billionaire construction magnate with the tabloid past can’t dance. Not one step.

Tainted by gossip and with a well-publicized failed engagement behind him, Angus has become a master at keeping an emotional distance. Until he meets Zoe.

What starts as dancing lessons, slowly becomes something more. Angus begins to let down his guard and open his heart, even when his past makes an unexpected and unwelcome return. As Zoe discovers the real man behind the headlines, she questions where her new choices are taking her. Her goals look good on paper, but are they what she really wants? And by the time she realizes where her heart lies, will it be too late?

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My review:

I should start this off by saying I don't usually read comedy. Or books written in first-person. Or present tense. Suzanne Carroll may have changed my mind about that.

The first-person narrative, and the use of present tense, was perfect for this novel, which is not only a story about a woman falling in love, it's also a story of a woman finding herself again.

Zoe has lost herself when the novel begins. She's engaged to a slyly manipulative man who has completely taken over her life. His mother is just as bad, and the pair of them have bullied Zoe into compliance with their choices. Dan has given over the planning of his wedding to Zoe to his mother, and the novel begins with Zoe's frustration and despair when she discovers Dan's mother has taken away the sole choice Zoe was allowed to make: her wedding cake. But Dan thinks since his mother is paying for the lavish circus, Zoe should stop being so stubborn and ungrateful.

Later that night, she finally breaks.She and Dan had picked out a house, but Dan's mother has bought them a wedding present. An apartment. In her own building. When Zoe protests, Dan accuses her of being selfish and ungrateful, and chastises her for wanting to see him slave away the rest of his life to pay for the crummy house she chose... As I was reading, I was picturing Dan's mother sitting in their apartment every day, demanding Zoe fold clothes her way and buying them a new vacuum because Zoe doesn't sweep properly...

The camel's back finally snaps. Zoe has a ferocious argument with Dan, finally seeing him for what he is. She walks away a free woman, not really having an idea of where she's going, but reveling in the freedom none the less.

While Zoe is recovering her sense of self and trying to work out what she wants to do with the rest of her life, her path crosses that of Angus Creed, the owner of the company where she works. Both of them are very cautious because both of them have been wounded before. Theirs is a slowly unfolding relationship, friends evolving into lovers.

Angus is what I like in a romance hero: sweet, considerate, and willing to communicate. He's grounded and hard-working, a perfect foil for Zoe. It's hard for him to trust, but you get the sense he realizes rather quickly that Zoe is worth it. Most importantly, he gives her the respect she's been missing for so long.

It was a charming love story and I look forward to seeing more of Suzanne Carroll's work in the future.

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A question for the author...

Seeing that this book revolves around dance, what music inspires you to write... and get your groove on?

It’s not usually music that inspires me to write, it’s more likely to be something I see. Like a guy walking along the street carrying a bunch of flowers. Or a picture of an empty beach in someone’s holiday snaps. Those sorts of things start me thinking. A friend has a photo from a trip to Europe - it’s a picture of a young guy in Paris and he’s riding a vesper with a huge smile on his face. The Arc de Triomphe is in the background. It’s a great image, and makes me wonder where he’s going, and why’s he smiling…and a story could really grow from there.

But I do love music. All sorts of music. The Clash. Katy Perry. Clannad. They Might Be Giants. Pink. The problem is, if I have it playing while I write I end up dancing in my chair and singing along and the writing doesn’t happen. Yeah, I’m easily distracted like that.

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Author Bio:

Suzanne lives in Sydney with her husband and children.  By day she works in an office where she sneakily scribbles plot ideas on yellow sticky notes and hopes they don't accidentally end up on the departmental monthly report.

One such sticky note has turned into her first novel, Over the Edge.

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