Troubles and Treats by Tara Sivec

Drew and Jenny have spent years being the envy of their friends with their out of control sex lives – well, not really. Mostly it makes their friends want to throw up in their mouths a little.

With two little kids and two busy lives, for the first time, Drew and Jenny aren’t on the same page in the bedroom. Drew will stop at nothing to get his previously amorous wife back in the sack, and Jenny will do anything for a full night of sleep.

Carter and Claire, and Jim and Liz are their usual (un)helpful selves and are full of advice for the discontented duo, wanting nothing more than to help restore order to the usually happy couple’s lives.

In the third and final installment of the Chocolate Lovers Series, will Drew and Jenny find the spark that’s been missing in their marriage, or will the trouble they’re having cause a stickier situation than the time Jenny poured honey all over Drew and he fused himself to a tree? (Source: Goodreads)

The Review

In Seduction and Snacks, they all fell in love. In Futures and Frosting, their bonds were forged. In Troubles and Treats, the grass is definitely greener in other people’s bedrooms.

“When was the last time you guys had sex?” Claire asks.
“Um, what day is it today?”
“It’s Saturday,” Claire answers.
“Last year.”

This is the unconventional there’s-trouble-in-paradise story of Jenny and Drew, the wackiest members of our beloved lot, who finally get their own book to star in. We find them married, with two small children in tow and a marriage troubled by intimacy issues. Even though their underlying problems are nothing more than what many young couples face when they start having children, for this couple the effects are unbearable. The intense physical nature of Jenny and Drew’s relationship has always been their main strength and it was also what initially drew them to one another. When suddenly faced with struggling libidos and no activity in the bedroom, they decide to tackle the problem with every single hilariously inappropriate method they can think of. Except the one that could actually help them – open communication.

“It’s like the day the stick turned pink, her lady bits put up a giant “Out of Business” sign. Do not enter, closed for repairs, zombies will eat your face if you try to touch this vagina.”

Through numerous snippets from their life together so far, we are given an insight into what has truly been everything but a traditional romance between them. What started as a perfect match between two equally silly individuals, but true soul mates at heart, eventually gets shaken by childbirth, housework, babies crying at night, hairy vaginas, poorly utilised sex swings, stalking in-laws, shirtless neighbours, and flesh-eating zombies. Their rampant sexual appetites are no longer in sync. While Jenny is afraid that her husband might no longer find her satisfying or sexually attractive after witnessing natural birth, she is also struggling to reconcile her adventurously sexual self with her new role as a mother. Drew, on the other hand, is constantly mourning the loss of their former sex life, frequently reminiscing their past sexcapades, constantly plotting possible solutions to their problems.

“I’m pretty sure I can pinpoint exactly where I went wrong with Jenny. I blame it all on natural childbirth. No man should ever have to see his wife in that position. Somehow, now, I need to convince my wife that I do not fear her vagina. Not anymore at least.”

Drew and Jenny’s story is almost entirely told through a collection of funny sketches, matching perfectly the frivolous personalities of these two already familiar characters. Their presence in the previous books in the series was mostly used as comic relief for the reader, their absurdity and childlike approach to life knowing no boundaries, so it only feels appropriate for that tone to have been kept in a book about their life together. The humour is relentless, sugar-coating every single aspect of their story, but never questioning how uniquely compatible they are.

This is the perfect conclusion to a genuinely feel-good trilogy about real people with real relationship issues to overcome but laced with uncountable instances of snort-inducing laughter and cringe-worthy situations. A must-read for any fan of the ridiculously funny, for anyone looking for an easy but endlessly entertaining reading experience, for anyone seeking ways to spice up their bedroom life.

“No matter how perfect you think someone else’s marriage is, this just goes to show you we can all use a little spark and a little fun in the bedroom to make life more interesting.”

4stars

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The Interview
NATASHA | Tara, I have to start this by saying that you are single-handedly responsible for people thinking I was a cracked-up wacko during the few months following the release of each one of your previous books. I laughed so hard and in such inopportune places and situations every time I read or even remembered one of the scenes, that people started looking into assisted living options for me. I guess wetting my pants didn’t help…
Please tell us a little but about yourself. How did you become a writer?

Tara | I’m awesome, the end. Let’s see…I married my high school sweetheart and we have 2 little assholes, I mean children and we live in Ohio. I really don’t know how I became a writer. I believe I was punched in the vagina with a writing stick. I’ve always written things – poems, short stories, ransom letters…one day I decided to see if I could write a full-length book and I did it. The friends I don’t pay told me I should try and get it published and since they aren’t getting anything monetary out of speaking to me, I did what they told me.

NATASHA | Your books are not just hilarious while you read them, they leave readers in stitches for days to come. How do you stay sane from writing such hysterical situations? Where do you get your ideas? Please say it’s all autobiographical!

Tara | See, this is my problem. I don’t think I’m funny. At all. When I send something to my beta reader, I always assume she’s going to be like “WTF? That sucks.” And fortunately for me, a lot of what I write about is autobiographical. Or friends and family-graphical. Whatever. There are definitely a lot of real life conversations and events in all of my books.

NATASHA | I felt that although your writing could be described as “humorous contemporary fiction”, each one of your books had very real and very serious threads in the background as well. You dealt with single motherhood, commitment issues, friendships, raising children, intimacy problems – do you see yourself diving into other genres as well or have you found your niche?

Tara | I am definitely diving head first into a cement pond. My next series is going to be romantic suspense. The first book will be out January 3rd and it’s got a lot of sexual tension and hot Navy SEALS. I love writing comedy, but it gets draining after a while. I need a break. And I’m in the mood to make people horny and cry. Not necessarily at the same time. Unless that’s how you roll.

NATASHA | After two incredibly well-received books under your belt and a third one that will undoubtedly meet the same reaction from readers, do you now consider yourself a “writer” first and foremost or do you still see it as a side gig? Would you be happy if writing was all you ever did professionally from now on?

Tara | Well, I just quit my job of 14 years so I hope this isn’t a side gig! At first it really was just going to be an ‘on-the-side’ thing. Then it sort of exploded and turned into a full-time job! This is my first week of doing this full time and I couldn’t be happier. Unless the house cleaned itself. That might make me happier.

NATASHA | Is this the last instalment of the Chocolate Lovers series or are we to expect more from that crazy bunch? What projects are you working on now?

Tara | This is definitely the last instalment of this group. I wouldn’t count Gavin out yet though :) Right now I’m working on the edits for my new romantic suspense series. The first book is called A Beautiful Lie so make sure you check it out on January 3rd!

The Giveaway

To win a signed paperback copy of Troubles and Treats, ENTER HERE (contest open internationally):

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Connect with Tara: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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NEW RELEASE: Troubles and Treats by Tara Sivec

Have you ever read a book that has made you laugh so much you ended up snorting? Or almost given you an asthma attack late at night while trying to read it quietly in bed next to your snoring husband? Or found yourself on a bus with your mascara running all over your face because not laughing while reading it is not even an option? Well, the Chocolate Lovers Series will do that to you, and then some. You will laugh out loud, you will fall in love with each and every one of the characters and you will learn what not to say in front of a five-year-old.

The third book in the series, Troubles and Treats, will be released tomorrow, 30 November 2012.

The Story

troublesandtreatsDrew and Jenny have spent years being the envy of their friends with their out of control sex lives – well, not really. Mostly it makes their friends want to throw up in their mouths a little.

With two little kids and two busy lives, for the first time, Drew and Jenny aren’t on the same page in the bedroom. Drew will stop at nothing to get his previously amorous wife back in the sack and Jenny will do anything for a full night of sleep.

Carter and Claire, and Jim and Liz are their usual (un)helpful selves and are full of advice for the disconnected duo, wanting nothing more than to help restore order to the usually happy couple’s lives.

In the third and final installment of the Chocolate Lovers Series, will Drew and Jenny find the spark that’s been missing in their marriage, or will the trouble they’re having cause a stickier situation than the time Jenny poured honey all over Drew and he fused himself to a tree?

The Author

Tara Sivec is a best selling author, wife, mom, chauffeur, cheerleading coach, soccer coach, babysitter, short-order cook, genius and albino squirrel hunter. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two kids.

In her spare time she likes to read, write and cover things in chocolate. Most of her material comes from real life experiences with family and friends. Lucky for them, the names have been changed to protect the innocent (aka, drunk).

Connect with Tara: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
The Excerpt

“I thought it would be a bunch of arguing and pointing fingers about whose fault it is that we’re not having sex anymore.

Maybe she doesn’t think that’s the problem. Shit, maybe that isn’t the problem. Maybe it’s just my problem. She’s not faking a work injury, she’s not cheating on me…what the hell else could it be? A few years ago she cut me off from sex for a week because I gave her a Dutch Oven in bed one night. While hilarious, it’s never a good idea when your wife is naked and getting ready to mount you. There was another time when I gave her a Wet Willy when she started coming.

That wasn’t meant to be hilarious, I read about it in Cosmo. When she locked me out of the bedroom I grabbed the magazine and realized two of the pages were stuck together – sex tips and practical jokes. Well played, Cosmo. Well played.”

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The Giveaway

To win a totally awesome swag bag from the FAB Tara Sivec, ENTER HERE.

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Futures and Frosting by Tara Sivec

Carter, Claire and Gavin have formed the perfect little family. Their friends are getting married and everyone is growing up, maturing and ready to face the future. Or are they?

From bachelorette party hell, porn addictions, dinner roll baseball and botched wedding proposals to finding out everyone’s extended family is chock full of crazy, Carter and Claire begin to question the strength of the ties that bind them. Unfortunately, these ties have nothing to do with fuzzy handcuffs and everything to do with the mounting differences between them.

Will their friends make a mess of things with their inappropriate comments and need to know everything, or will they convince the couple that happily-ever-after sometimes really can start with beer pong?

 

 

review

“Sure you can date my daughter. In a completely unrelated topic, have you seen my shotgun?”

In this hilarious sequel to Seduction and Snacks, our beloved bat-sh*t-crazy family of three is adjusting to their new life together. Claire and Carter are madly in love with one another, both of them ready to take the next step in their relationship but afraid to communicate that to each other. What follows is one whacky situation after another of failed proposals and faked late-night porn addictions.

The main characters are as loveable as before, two imperfect individuals doing the best they can as parents and as partners, scared to death of being “sh*tty parents” or of losing each other. Their reactions are candidly honest, hysterically inappropriate and yet totally ‘real’. They have no filters, they speak their minds and they do it GLORIOUSLY. Their life never seems dull or uninteresting – at the end of the day, they are just two normal people who fell in love over beer pong, ended up with a child from a one-night-stand back in college and now have to deal with ordinary challenges such as homicidal fantasies caused by lack of sleep, hyperactive children, pot-laced cookies, visiting in-laws, and indecent exposure on limo buses.

“Maybe Claire has Salmonella poisoning. Is that contagious? Does she need to be vaccinated or have her stomach pumped? I feel like I should know the answer to this since I have a kid. What if Gavin eats some raw chicken and I don’t know whether to give him mouth-to-mouth or Pepto Bismol? Is he even allowed to have Pepto? And where the f*ck is he getting chickens from?!”

All the same secondary characters are there and the book wouldn’t be the same without them. They make fun of each other without apologies but they are fiercely loyal and protective of one another. But the real star of the book is Gavin, Claire and Carter’s son. Everything this foul-mouthed little boy says should be quoted on a T-shirt. He constantly steals the show.

“Mommy and Daddy make a lot of noise when they kiss. Mommy talks to God a lot. I talk to God sometimes too. I asked him for a puppy and a new monster truck but I was nice and didn’t yell at him like Mommy does. He still hasn’t gotten me the puppy though.”

The humour is even more amplified than in the first book, even more outrageous in an oh-my-God-did-she-just-write-that kind of way. My jaw was hurting by the end of it, not sure how much more I could have handled without causing permanent damage. Do real people talk like this? Do real people have friends like these? Why don’t I have friends like these??? The story is really one funny over-the-top sketch after another, and yet if you take the comedy out of it, you are left with a genuinely lovely story of love, parenthood and friendship. All the right messages come across but they are delivered almost subliminally while you are trying to stop yourself from laughing so loud in a public place. These are ‘real’ people with ‘real’ lives, maybe a little bit out of the ordinary and definitely inappropriate at times, but honest in their affection for each other and true to themselves.

If Seduction and Snacks was your type of humour, you cannot miss this book. Tara Sivec should be a personal trainer – I think I got a six-pack just from laughing.

4halfstars

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Seduction and Snacks by Tara Sivec

Claire is a twenty-something, single mom that grudgingly helps her best friend sell sex toys while she attempts to make enough money to start her own business to give her foul-mouthed, but extremely loveable (when he’s asleep) toddler a better life.

When Carter, the one-night-stand from her past that changed her life forever, shows up in her hometown bar without any recollection of her besides her unique chocolate scent, Claire will make it a point that he remembers her this time.

With Carter’s undisguised shock at suddenly finding out he has a four-year-old son and Claire’s panic that her stretch marks and slim to none bedroom experience will send the man of her dreams heading for the hills, the pair will do whatever they can to get their happily ever after.

 

review

Have you ever laughed so hard that it eventually turned into snorting and you had trouble breathing?  Well, that is what this book will do to you. This is not a book for the prudes of the world or for the ones that get offended by profanities and countless references to genitalia. This is a book for the fun-loving folk out there, the ones that (would at least like to think they) find humour in anything and everything, who not only enjoy laughing at others but also frequently laugh at themselves, and for those who are not afraid of the word “vagina”. This book will elate you, bewitch you, inspire you, cheer you up for days to come. And it will make you wish that Tara Sivec was your best friend. No, seriously, Tara, if you’re reading this – we should meet!

“I met a boy at a frat party, beat him at beer pong and let him take my virginity and give me a baby in return. Not a fair trade, but one I wouldn’t change for the world.”

Claire never wanted to have children. If there were such a thing, she would be the pin-up girl for all things non-maternal. She is opinionated, gutsy, loyal, loving, but she always knew that having children was not on her to-do-list. A drunken one-night-stand in college changes all that and she finds herself pregnant – and she decides to keep the baby. She tries unsuccessfully to find her baby-daddy but she doesn’t even know his name.

Fast-forward 6 years and Claire is living back in her home town. She is about to start a new business with her best friend from college, Liz, her son Gavin is now five years old and her dad is helping her raise him. She has never stopped thinking about Gavin’s dad though and has had a daily reminder of him in her son’s beautiful blue eyes.

Enter Carter, Claire’s no-name one-night-stand. He has been looking for her as well and comparing every woman he has dated since to his mystery girl, even though he does not even remember her face. He only remembers how he felt around her, her sense of humour and how good she smelled of … chocolate. He has just moved to Claire’s home town with his best friend, Drew, and it doesn’t take them long to bump into each other. What follows is a laugh-until-you-cry romance between two people simply made for each other, proving that sometimes you can meet your ‘soul-mate’ on a single occasion and spend your entire life wishing them back. And sometimes you even get your wish to come true.

This is such a delightful story – there are no angsty want-to-pull-my-own-heart-out-of-my-chest kind of moments, everything is sugar-coated with humour and even the most serious topics like teenage pregnancy, single motherhood or intimacy are dealt with wit and laughter. The highlight of this book, for me, were some of the secondary characters, especially Claire and Carter’s little boy, Gavin. If I ever had a son, I imagine him talking and behaving like Gavin. His parrot-like repeating of every profanity he hears, his random rambling in his sleep, his fierce honesty and natural affectionateness (yep, checked it – that’s a word) were my undoing. I loved the way he changed Claire, how unconditional her love was towards him and how guilty it made her feel that he sometimes drove her insane.

“IloveGavintodeathbuthedrivesmef*ckingcrazy! … He never. Stops. Talking.”

We laugh with her, we laugh at the way she behaves with Gavin and how she speaks to him, but under all that humour there is a scared young mother who is doing the best she can raising a vivacious little boy who at times acts like a toddler on acid.

My second favourite thing about this book were the friendships between the characters, in particular Claire and Liz, and Carter and Drew. Some of the exchanges between them were absolutely hilarious. Their closeness brought the best out of them, helped them to deal with difficult situations and heartbreak because they could always lean on each other. They never judged one another for the decisions they made or the things they had done, but never ever missed an opportunity to mock each other. That is what real friendships should be like, in my opinion.

“As I recall, Drew made me take him to see a voodoo priestess he found in the yellow pages that week because he said the friend put a hex on his penis. For two weeks he slept with a two-pound package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts on his junk since he refused to sacrifice a live chicken.”

This is in essence a book about love, the love between two ‘soul-mates’, Carter and Claire, the love between a parent and a child, but also the love between true friends. Ms Sivec shows us that life is serious enough to take it too seriously. I feel like she taught me to laugh at my own life, to put things into perspective and cherish the simple joys. She also taught me not to be afraid of the word “vagina”, even when used up to five times on a single page, and that a compliment can come in all shapes and forms when your best friend is the one delivering it.

“Claire, you’re a hot b*tch. You could stand there and do nothing and he’d still want to hump your leg. You just need some confidence. Repeat after me, “I’m a dirty, dirty slut.” … What’s ridiculous is that you don’t think you can be slutty. Do you honestly think I would be friends with you if I thought there wasn’t a dirty whore lurking in there somewhere? Give me a little credit please. You are the quintessential lady in the streets, freak in the sheets.”

5stars

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