Review & Giveaway: Dancing Naked In Dixie by Lauren Clark

Posted June 6, 2012 by Sophia Rose in Book Tour, Excerpt, Reviews / 42 Comments

Review & Giveaway: Dancing Naked In Dixie by Lauren Clark

Review & Giveaway: Dancing Naked In Dixie by Lauren Clark
Dancing Naked in Dixie

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Genres: Contemporary Romance
Released on May 15, 2012
Pages: 322
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour Provided

Get it at: add to goodreads

After reading this delightful book, I am so immersed in Southern culture that I have a hankering for an RC Cola and a moon pie with a decided tendency to open my mouth with ‘y’all’ and ‘bless your heart’.  No I am not poking fun not even a little since I love the Southern lifestyle and relate a smidge since I am from Western farm and ranch country.  The story mentions such corollaries as ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and that is not far off for relating to this tale.

It is the story of a NYC journalist for a travel magazine who has let her work (and life) get slip-shod since the death of her mother.  Upon returning from an assignment, she finds a new editor in charge who delivers an ultimatum.  She has one more chance to keep her job.  He is sending her to a small community in Alabama to cover the attractions of the area that are highlighted by the Christmas Pilgrimage (dinner and a tour of historic homes and places around the community).  Naturally, to one who travels to Italy, Belize and the South Seas this is a decided slap in the face and she goes on her assignment prepared to hate it all assuming that the editor has set her up to fail.

Julia Sullivan leaves the Atlanta airport and discovers that she has entered a foreign world unlike any other that she has been to before.  A world that is slower-paced, suspiciously more friendly and curious, and still retains heat and humidity in winter.  They speak different, their food is different, they dress different, and hey they even think differently.  Who names their family members after Auburn University football coaches- even the girls?  Julia’s friend at the travel magazine, Marietta, has done some research and told her that college football, family ties and religion are a big deal.

Entering the community of Eufaula, Alabama to do a few interviews, take a tour, and snap a few quick photos before jumping on a plane, Julia’s pretty certain of her game plan.  She can then get back to her many activities including a long term relationship that has stagnated, but lingers on without the final break up because she is always jetting off to the next travel assignment.  Not too long after arrival, something starts to happen to her when she is confronted by the down home charm particularly the charming southern man acting as her liaison to the community.  In spite of broken windshield, fire ants, awkward dinners, jealous girlfriends lost luggage and attacking bees, she loses interest in her hasty departure plan.

Shug Jordan (yes, you read it right; it’s not a misspelling) is the local historical commission worker and preservationist for Eufaula’s past.  He has a part time job in the family construction company, but works full-time on his passion- the historic homes and places in the area.  He has a beautiful flirtatious girl friend, Mary Katherine, whose eyes shoot jealous daggers at Julia.  Shug is counting on Julia to write a story that will catch the eye nationally and bring tourism and thus funds to Eufaula which will pay for the preservation work and maintenance.  But he is up against some big corporation that wants to come in, tear it all down, and put up condos.  Time is running out as the city board is highly in favor of ‘phase III’ development and will soon vote on the issue.  The travel article may be too little too late.

It is observing Shug’s passion and zeal to fight the developers (or should I say just observing and being with Shug, period), befriending Shug’s sister, PD, with her big dreams for a bakery, and getting to know all the small town characters that make Julia very reluctant to part when the time comes for her to return to New York and write her piece.  And this is where the story got even more interesting.

Dancing Naked in Dixie should come with a warn label about not reading this in public.  I laughed out so many times with no possibility of being discreet about it.  The story is in Julia’s first person voice.  She has impulse issues, distractedness, and disorganization warring inside her all the time that have gotten worse since her mother succumbed to Lou Gehrig’s disease and her father left them.  You can imagine how these difficulties would be an issue for someone whose job is to observe, interview, and report on a schedule.  So, yes, keeping up with the direction of her thoughts, her take on things and the plot of the story was rather entertaining at times.

The plot itself was a combination of Julia’s self-discovery and the battle with the developers.  Personally, I was more interested in Julia’s issues than the other which really only took off as a storyline in the latter part of the story.  There is a light romance possibility that slowly grows and strengthens through the story, but it stays very much on the sweet side with an absence of steam and heat and does not get acknowledged because they both have significant others.  To be blunt, no sex and no passionate declarations. Truthfully, neither would have fit this story.

The characters, along with the back drop, were probably the best part of the story.  Both NYC and Eufaula were described in such a way that they acted more the part of characters.  You could almost feel a heartbeat and personality because of their differences.  The main characters were loveable and I was connected to them.  It was the strong secondary people that took a fairly simple read and made it a fun and kept my interest.  Each small town and each office has these types- the dragon executive secretary at the magazine, the best friend gossip in the next cubicle, the gas station attendant who wants to chat, the inn owner with aspirations for the Broadway stage, and the family oddities.  Too fun!  The scene on her last flight and time in the airport was a riot, but I will not spoil it for you.

So if you like a sweet romantic comedy between a charming Southerner and a quirky Yankee, give it a try.

EXCERPT

The Best Butts in Alabama, the huge billboard above my head brags. A robust pink pig, dressed in blue overalls and a cowboy hat, winks down at me. Next to the hog’s turned up nose, royal blue letters read ‘Phil’s Bar-B-Q.’

Phil certainly knows how to make a first impression. As does Mother Nature.

The sunshine beats down on my shoulder through the window. Is it always this muggy in December? I swipe at my forehead with the back of my hand and do quick surveillance.

Where is the historic, elegant city I was promised in the letter? There is a normal-looking church across the street, a run-of-the-mill real estate business to my right, and a tiny hole-in-the-wall place called The Donut King, which seems to be doing ten times more business than the Winn-Dixie grocery store I just passed.

So far, all I see of Eufaula, Alabama is more in-your-face commercial than traveler chic. Of course, I’m not in the best frame of mind to become one with my surroundings.

After a lousy Thursday morning of sulking and a rushed packing job, I sent an RSVP with regrets for the fundraiser, gave away my tickets to the Met, left a voice mail for Andrew, and changed my ticket to an earlier departure.

Hours later, after fighting through JFK security, surviving the cramped flight to Atlanta, I spent the night in Buckhead, Georgia, picked up my enormous rented SUV this morning (it was either that or a red minivan), and began driving the three-and-a-half hours to reach my pinhole-on-a-map destination.

All to save my job.

 

AUTHOR BIO AND LINKS

Lauren Clark writes contemporary novels set in the Deep South; stories sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets.

A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends. Check out her website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com.

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GIVEAWAY

Lauren will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and to the host with the most comments. For more chances to win, follow the book tour and comment!

 

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Mary Preston
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Mary Preston

Books that make me laugh out loud are very special indeed. The more I read about DANCING NAKED IN DIXIE, the more eager I am to get my hands on a copy.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Lauren Clark
Guest

Thank you Mary! I love books that make me laugh, too! All of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic books make me laugh out loud (and in public!!)

🙂 Thank you for stopping by here today!

Lauren

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

I really must pick up one of Sophie Kinsella’s books. You’re not the first who has commented on the fun they are to read.

Loved your book, Lauren!

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

If you pick this one up, be prepared to belly laugh, Mary!

Thanks for stopping by!

Goddess Fish Promotions
Guest

Thank you for hosting Lauren today

Lauren Clark
Guest

Thank you for having Sophia Rose host Dixie!

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

It was a true pleasure!

Joanne B
Guest
Joanne B

This book sounds fantastic. Can’t wait to read it to see how Julia deals with all that Southern charm and friendliness.

e.balinski(at)att(dot)net

Lauren Clark
Guest

Thank you Joanne! I was so thrilled with Sophia Rose’s review … I thought that she did an excellent job with her overview of the story 🙂

Lauren

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

Oh Julia was a hoot in her own right let alone when she headed south. Do enjoy!

Thanks for stopping Joanne!

Andie Wardlow
Guest
Andie Wardlow

This book sounds so good! Can’t wait to read it!

andieleah78@gmail.com

Lauren Clark
Guest

Hi Andie! Thank you to you and Sophie Rose for hosting Dancing Naked in Dixie today! So glad you made time to come by the party 🙂 Lauren

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

Great summer read for by the lake!

Thanks for commenting, Andie!

Trix
Guest
Trix

Fun airport scenes are a rarity these days (in life AND art)! So, I’m intrigued.

Lauren Clark
Guest

It’s a funny and a cringe-worthy cover your eyes and giggle scene (if that makes any sense)!

I travel a lot, so I have often imagined and sometimes experienced some amusing things that happen at the airport (and on flights) 🙂 Lauren

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

Oh, Trix! Have you heard the term ‘rip-snorting’? That about describes my laughter while reading it.

Lauren Clark
Guest

Sophia Rose ~ I LOVE that!!! Just don’t do it while drinking an RC!

Lauren Clark
Guest

Sophia Rose – Thank you for the fabulous review! I am thrilled to be on your website and loved your comments on Dancing Naked in Dixie!

I love that you are involved with adult literacy ~ how wonderful! You certainly have a wide variety of experience and a big heart!

I sincerely appreciate you promoting Dixie to your readers! Lovely blog! xx, Lauren

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

Oh there are just some stories that make me just so excited to share them with others that the review just trips off my fingers. Dixie is that!

Congrats on a good read!

Adult Literacy is big with me because it opens the door for people to reach for their dreams and better themselves.

Felicities!
Sophia

Karen H in NC
Guest
Karen H in NC

I bought a copy of DNiD last weekend. I think I’ll settle down to read it this Saturday. The more I read about it, the more I’m asking myself….”Do you really want to wait until Saturday?…Well, do you?’ I don’t think so…maybe tomorrow. I have episodes of Mad Men, The Client List and The Killing all from Sunday that I need to watch too! So many entertainment choices and so little time!

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

Heh, heh! Decisions, decisions, right Karen? Make sure you’ve allotted a good block of time and some privacy from those who would be appalled if you start laughing out loud. ;D

Thanks for stopping by!

Lauren Clark
Guest

Thank you Karen! Lots of fun choices … I am so happy to be among them! Have you ever tried Hart of Dixie on the CW? Rachel Bilson is so cute and so much like Julia … I love her. George is like Shug would be!! 🙂

Have not checked out The Client List and The Killing … We watch NCIS, Game of Thrones, and The Good Wife. All delicious fun … All better with caramel 🙂 LOL

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JackieW
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JackieW

Eufaula, Georgia sounds like a fun place to visit….I know I would enjoy reading this book. Thanks for the info on your story.

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

If you like historic, quaint, small town style then this is definitely your kinda place.

Thanks for the drop by Jackie!

bn100
Guest
bn100

I enjoyed the excerpt and review. The characters sounds interesting.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

Oh this one’s all about the characters, BN! Thanks for commenting!

Lauren Clark
Guest

Totally all about the characters … but the setting is also at the heart of the story! Eufaula is a lovely REAL place in Lower Alabama … and the Pilgrimage is a real event worth attending!!

🙂 Lauren

Lauren Clark
Guest

Eufaula is darling … everything a historic Southern town should be!!! Thank you for stopping by today, Jackie!!! xx, Lauren

Lacey T
Guest
Lacey T

This books sounds great! I’d love to read it to see how the story plays out 🙂
laceyblossom1@gmail.com

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

Oh, this one leads you along in one direction that’s fun and enjoyable then- SURPRISE (well not entirely, but yes, surprise)!

Hope you get a chance to read it, Lacey!

Lauren Clark
Guest

Thank you Lacey (what a pretty name) ~ Let me know if you read Dixie ~ would love to hear what you think! Laurenclarkbooks@gmail.com

xx, Lauren

Jenny
Guest
Jenny

My cousin struggled with infertility for many years and eventually she and her husband adopted their son. The adoption process took years. It was difficult, lengthy and expensive, but she always says it was worth it. Her son is such a blessing in all of our lives. I look forward to reading this series. Thanks for the giveaway!

JYL22075 at gmail dot com

pc
Guest
pc

Loved this excerpt…this sounds like a must read! How did you get the inspiration for this story?
ivegotmail8889(at)yahoo(dot)com

April Alvey
Guest
April Alvey

Wow What A Book Cant Wait To Read It I Have Put It n My Wish List. butterfli262002@yahoo.com

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

Totally worth the enthusiasm April!

Thanks for stopping by!

Lauren Clark
Guest

Hi April (throws confetti!!!!) Thank you so much for stopping by! I love wish lists that come true 🙂 Lauren

Diane Sallans
Guest
Diane Sallans

I’m sure I would relate to this – I know a lot of southerners but I’m a Yankee
sallans d at yahoo dot com

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

Oh this is a great story to show us non-Southerners what’s special about the South and make us a little envious.

Great to have your comment, Diane!

Lauren Clark
Guest

Oh, Diane (confession time) …. I am an Yankee transplant (shh! My husband doesn’t let me tell anyone!!!!!!!)

🙂 Lauren

Deb P
Guest
Deb P

Great Title ,it’s gets your attention.

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

It certainly does, Deb. The reason for the title is in the story and its funny.

Thanks for stopping by!

Lauren Clark
Guest

Thank you Deb P! All I hear from the men is “oh, I like the LEGS” (on the cover)

MEN are soooo predictable!!!!

xx, Lauren

Heidi
Guest

Hi Sophia…after reading your review I want to read this book as well. I am a Western girl with a Southern heart. I have yet to visit the South but want to desperately. I want to y’all and such and spend a lazy afternoon on a porch drinking lemonade and spinning stories but more than anything I want to eat, no devour Southern cuisine! This book sounds like it has all things Southern that I love!

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

I’m a Westerner who landed in the Midwest, but I’ve had the opportunity to visit friends and family in Tennessee and North Carolina. Love the lifestyle! And do read the story if you want to vicariously enjoy it, Heidi!