Guest Post by Author Elise Sax on Dreaming Up a Crazy Bunch of Characters + Giveaway

Today I’d like to welcome Elise Sax, who recently published the funny and suspenseful second installment in The Matchmaker series, Matchpoint (read my review here). If you want to get the full giggle-fit, start with An Affair to Dismember. This series is too much fun to be contained in just one book. (I would love of book of Grandma Zelda’s matchmaking tips!)

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How in the World Did You Dream Up Such a Crazy Bunch of Characters?
by Elise Sax

Matchpoint by Elise SaxElise: I was asked this question, recently. And I thought: Crazy? Who are you calling crazy? Really, I don’t set out and decide to create crazy characters. They just wind up that way. I think it’s a matter of perspective. I see the crazy in people—that’s what attracts me to them. People tickle me, and I seem to highlight that tickle in my stories. One of those characters is Ruth Fletcher, the elderly and feisty owner of Tea Time, the tea shop in the town of Cannes, California—where everything goes down in Matchpoint and the other Matchmaker series books. Hi, Ruth.

Ruth: It’s rude to comment on a person’s age.

Elise: I’m sorry, Ruth. That’s the writer in me coming out.

Ruth: I mean, what would you think if I call you “Middle-aged Elise” instead of Elise?

Elise: I see your point. I’m sorry.

Ruth: Or “Hippy” and I don’t mean you’re a progressive liberal or anything. I mean HIP-py. Hips! You got me? You know where I’m going?

Elise: Uh…certainly, Ruth. Yes, “Hippy” would hurt my feelings. Please, just call me, Elise.

Ruth: You writer folks think you’re something special and can just say whatever you please about anybody. And FEISTY! That’s a condescending word if ever I heard one. How about I describe you as “nosy” or “sluggish?”

Elise: That would certainly hurt my feelings. I understand, Ruth. Lesson taken.

Ruth: You look like a coffee drinker to me. You a coffee drinker? I hate coffee drinkers. Tea is a real drink. Why don’t people drink tea, anymore? I’ll tell you why! Because they’re stupid, that’s why.

Elise: Uh, Ruth I was just explaining to the readers that I write funny, sexy books that are fast-paced and a lot of fun to read.

An Affair to Dismember by Elise SaxRuth: I guess that’s true. They’re pretty zany, too. But you made my life pretty miserable in Matchpoint…all those crazy cult people invading my shop and all wasn’t too much fun for ME, I can tell you.

Elise: Ruth, let me interrupt you there. I think you have to say SPOILER ALERT when you talk about the plot like that.

Ruth: And Gladie going off with those two handsome men at once in Matchpoint. I don’t know how she felt about that little plot device. I mean, a woman can get tired. Not me, of course, but Gladie seemed tired. You know, you could give ME two handsome men in the plot. How come you never did that?

Elise: Well, Gladie is the main character, and well…

Ruth: Or even ONE handsome man. What’s the matter writer lady? You think I’m too elderly and feisty for two handsome men? Sheesh! Yep, you look and act like a coffee drinker. Get out of my shop!

Elise: But I didn’t get my latte! Ahem, well, that’s an example of one of my characters in Matchpoint. Don’t be afraid. The others are quite as…feisty.

Elise SaxAbout Elise Sax
Elise Sax worked as a journalist for fifteen years, mostly in Paris, France. She took a detour from journalism and became a private investigator before trying her hand at writing fiction. She lives in Southern California with her two sons. An Affair to Dismember, the first in the Matchmaker mystery series, is her first novel.To learn more about Elise, check out her website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads,and YouTube.


Elise is giving away gift cards — one winner gets a $50 card for Amazon, and two winners get a choice of a $10 card at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. To enter, use the Rafflecopter below:

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Bewitching Book Tours

Review: Matchpoint by Elise Sax

Matchpoint by Elise SaxFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, mass market paperback
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: The Matchmaker, #2
Length: 290 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Date Released: July 30, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Since joining the family matchmaking business run by her eccentric Grandma Zelda, Gladie is always looking for love. But when an unbearable toothache knocks her out of commission and into the dentist’s chair, she prays only for relief. No such luck. Emerging from an anesthetic haze, Gladie awakes to find that not only is her tooth still throbbing, but her dentist is dead—and the lead suspect in the murder, office receptionist Belinda, just so happens to be Gladie’s first real client. Now it’s up to Gladie to find Belinda a man and keep her from being locked up behind bars.

As if that weren’t enough distraction, two gorgeous men are vying for Gladie’s attention: Spencer, the playboy chief of police, and Holden, Gladie’s secretive, gorgeously muscled neighbor. Still, Gladie’s not complaining about having a helping hand or two when the case leads her to a dangerously bizarre cult. She may have met her match—and if she’s not careful, it could be her last.

My Review:

I sympathize with Gladie, I don’t like going to the dentist either! But Matchpoint is about way more than a bloody clever way to avoid getting your teeth drilled.

Gladys Burger is California’s answer to Stephanie Plum. And so far (this is Gladie’s second case) it’s a damn good answer. Because Gladie seems to be making up her mind about a few things. And her zany relatives are both fewer in number and considerably on the sane side of the fence.

Gladie has come to Cannes, California to go into the matchmaking business with her Grandma Zelda. Not only does Zelda really have a gift for making matches, she’s positive that Gladie has it too. So far, Gladie has caught more murderers than she’s matched couples (see An Affair to Dismember for details of Gladie’s first case, oops, I meant match).

Everyone in town remembers Gladie’s gift for matching murderers with police handcuffs, so they want her to catch the killer this time, too. Especially since Gladie was right there at the scene of the crime. Unfortunately, she was knocked out by anesthesia while someone offed the dentist and removed his face. She just had the misfortune to find his faceless (not headless, faceless!) corpse.

Faces are a big deal in this case. One of the two men possibly vying for Gladie’s affections (of course there are two) is the hot manwhore police chief, who is being chased by all the women on Facebook (yes, I do mean Facebook) who all think they are “in a relationship” with him. There’s a “Keystone Kops” aspect to the chase that is much funnier than it should be.

Gladie’s other romantic possibility is her mysterious next-door-neighbor, the man with no past.

And the aliens have invaded Cannes. Okay, they’re not really aliens. It’s a cult that believes the aliens are about to arrive in their UFO. The townspeople are ready to murder the entire bunch of alien-lovers.

But no one is hunting the dentist’s face-stealing murderer. Except Gladie. Naturally, there is someone hunting her. Because no one involved in this comedy of suspenseful errors is exactly who they seem to be. Except Gladie.

Escape Rating B: Matchpoint is every bit as much fun as An Affair to Dismember (review here), or possibly even a bit more.

An Affair to Dismember by Elise SaxGladie has been with her Grandma Zelda four months, and she is starting to settle into life in Cannes. The author has got her characters and background built too. The story is just a bit tighter than the first book, and everything clips along just that much faster.

The citizens of Cannes are an absolute hoot. The sideplot of the police chief’s sleeping around was not just funny but built on the characterization from Affair, as did the hilarious send-up of the Trouble wedding.

I could still do with a bit less of Gladie’s fat-shaming, but the quotes from Zelda’s matchmaker’s tips that start each chapter are winners every single time.

There is a mystery in Matchpoint, and it’s not obvious. The red herrings were quite carefully planted. I kind of figured out who towards the end, but definitely not why. The alien lovers proved a terrific distraction, even if I never did figure out quite what they were up to. Or care. Watching them drive the townspeople into a tizzy was much too much fun.

Most importantly Gladie made a romantic decision, which I will not reveal. It made sense in the context of the overall story arc. I just wonder if she sticks to it. And if he proves that he’s capable and worthy of being stuck to in the long run. In the short run (or short bed bounce) both Gladie’s choices were definitely yummy!

Matchpoint tour banner

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.


Guest Post by Author Elise Sax: A Day in the Life of Gladie Burger + Giveaway

My very funny special guest today is Elise Sax, the author the recent (and hilarious) romantic suspense book, An Affair to Dismember. Gladie has a terrific chance at stealing away some of Stephanie Plum’s fans (take a look at my review for details). 

Meanwhile, here’s Elise’s take on Gladie. You’ll see just how funny they are!

A Day in the Life of Gladie Burger
By Elise Sax

Gladie Burger is the heroine of the Matchmaker Series. I recently asked her to tell me about a typical day in her life. This is what she told me…

An Affair to Dismember by Elise SaxYes, I have to admit my days were a lot more boring before I moved to Cannes, CA to work in my grandma’s matchmaking business. It used to be I would get up, brush my teeth, get dressed, go to work, come home, watch TV, and go to sleep.

Of course, I moved around a lot and switched jobs like some people switch toilet paper rolls, but otherwise, it was a pretty boring life. And safe.

Since I moved in with my grandma a few months ago, I have had men chase me, murderers chase me, and once a dog chased me—but that was because I was carrying Grandma’s order of ribs, and who doesn’t like ribs?

When I’m not stumbling on to dead bodies, here’s a pretty typical day for me:

  • 7:00 AM: I wake up if my alarm clock is working, but I got it on sale at a thrift shop, and the wire is a little frayed and sometimes it turns off in the middle of the night if I turn too much in bed and jiggle the wire. So, if it doesn’t go off, I wake up around 9:00 when my grandma comes in and tells me that contrary to popular belief, love blossoms in the morning, not the night, and I better get cracking if I’m going to be in the love business.
  • 7:15 AM: (if I didn’t jiggle the wire): I take a shower and wash my hair with this fabulous coconut-smelling shampoo my friend Lucy gave me during her travels for work. She’s in marketing, whatever that is.
  • 7:30 AM: I always put on mascara, no matter what, and usually I wear workout clothes, even though I haven’t worked out since I moved to Cannes. (Note to self: start yoga. Everybody does yoga but me.) I try to tame my hair with gel/mousse/serum, but it mostly does what it wants.
  • 7:45 AM: Eat breakfast with Grandma. Usually bagels are involved. “Dolly,” she’s said. “Bagels are indispensable. Like toothpaste. And eyeliner. And control top pantyhose.”
  • 8:15: Follow Grandma around and help her with whatever singles class she’s hosting.
  • 11:00: Give up on class, wonder if I’ll ever be a successful matchmaker, go to pick up lunch for Grandma from one of her favorite fast food places and stop at Tea Time for a much needed latte.
  • 11:15: My credit card gets declined, and I scrounge coins from the bottom of my purse to buy a latte. Ruth calls me a “reprobate.” As soon as I get a dictionary, I will be upset she called me that.
  • 12:00: Pick up ribs/fried chicken/tacos for Grandma but am stopped by hunky police chief Spencer Bolton. “What are you up to, Pinkie?” he asks me and then tries to look down my blouse. “You are five years old,” I tell him. He leaves to fight crime.
  • 12:15: My car won’t start. I call AAA and eat the ribs while I wait. Sexy yumminess Arthur Holden jogs by and sees me. “Hi,” he says and sticks his head through my car window. I have BBQ sauce on my face but nothing to clean it off with. He doesn’t care. He kisses me, and my eyes roll back in my head. He jogs away, and I realize I’ve forgotten to tell him my car won’t start, but I’m feeling no pain. My uterus is humming love songs.
  • 1:30: AAA doesn’t show up, and I decide to walk home. On the way I stumble on a dead body. I scream. I pass out.
  • 1:40: I wake up. The dead guy is still there. He has a bullet wound to his head. I think: Why me? Why am I a magnet for death? I call Spencer.
  • 1:42: Spencer arrives. “Are you kidding me?” he asks me, as if I drag in dead bodies from neighboring towns just to piss him off.
  • 1:45: Spencer warns me not to get involved with the murder case.
  • 1:46: I get involved with the murder case.
  • 1:50: Spencer gets a police officer to drive me home.
  • 2:00: I arrive home with no food, but somehow Grandma knows and has ordered in food, herself. We sit in the kitchen with the food, and my friends Lucy and Bridget come over and talk about the murder. They ask me if I know who the murderer is. I don’t.
  • 3:00: Grandma takes a nap. Someone comes over and tries to kill me.
  • 4:00: The gardener saves me with his pruning shears. Now there’s two dead bodies.
  • 4:10: Spencer arrives and reads me the riot act. Holden comes over and rubs my back and asks if I’m okay. I realize the murderer wasn’t working alone, but I don’t tell anybody.
  • 5:26: I solve the crime. I know who killed who and why and how (wouldn’t you like to know?). Spencer yells at me for getting involved and looks dreamily into my eyes, making me hyperventilate. Holden takes me out to dinner, pushing Spencer out of the way.
  • 7:00: I choke on a chicken bone at dinner and go home early. Grandma has hot cocoa waiting for me, and she tells me I have “the gift”. Spencer unexpectedly shows up, grabs a root beer, and sits down at the table with us. He gives me the rundown of the aftermath of the murder case.
  • 10:15: I kick Spencer out, even though he offers to make me levitate if only I would let him into my bed. I think about this offer.
  • 10:28: I go to bed. Good night! Sweet dreams!
Elise SaxAbout Elise SaxElise Sax worked as a journalist for fifteen years, mostly in Paris, France. She took a detour from journalism and became a private investigator before trying her hand at writing fiction. She lives in Southern California with her two sons. An Affair to Dismember, the first in the Matchmaker mystery series, is her first novel.

To learn more about Elise, check out her website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads,and YouTube.


Elise is giving away four $25 gift cards for Amazon!

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An Affair to Dismember Button 300 x 225

Review: An Affair to Dismember by Elise Sax

An Affair to Dismember by Elise SaxFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, mass market paperback, hardcover
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: The Matchmaker, #1
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Date Released: January 29, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Three months has been Gladie Burger’s limit when it comes to staying in one place. That’s why Gladie is more than a little skeptical when her eccentric Grandma Zelda recruits her to the family’s matchmaking business in the quaint small town of Cannes, California. What’s more, Gladie is also highly unqualified, having a terrible track record with romance. Still, Zelda is convinced that her granddaughter has “the gift.” But when the going gets tough, Gladie wonders if this gift has a return policy.

When Zelda’s neighbor drops dead in his kitchen, Gladie is swept into his bizarre family’s drama. Despite warnings from the (distractingly gorgeous) chief of police to steer clear of his investigation, Gladie is out to prove that her neighbor’s death was murder. It’s not too long before she’s in way over her head—with the hunky police chief, a dysfunctional family full of possible killers, and yet another mysterious and handsome man, whose attentions she’s unable to ignore. Gladie is clearly being pursued—either by true love or by a murderer. Who will catch her first?

My Review:

An Affair to Dismember, and The Matchmaker series that it starts, seems like a match designed to appeal to fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. It has the same madcap sense of humor, some of the same family dynamic, and a very similar romantic triangle.

But at least so far, Gladie, short for Gladys, Burger, has a chance of avoiding some of the ennui that plagues long-time readers of the Plum books. At least I have hope.

Gladie has come back to Cannes, California to apprentice with her Grandmother Zelda in her matchmaking business. Any resemblance between Zelda and Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur is intentional but superficial.

For one thing, Zelda the matchmaker may have a terrible case of agoraphobia but she otherwise still has full possession of every single one of her marbles. Plus a few extra, as she quite definitely has a supernatural gift for matchmaking. And she’s got a Ph.D. in the study of human nature.

Gladie’s got the family talent, but most of it seems to lie in another direction. Instead of finding perfect matches, it turns out that Gladie has an instinct for finding murderers. A talent that lands her right in the path of Cannes’ commitment-phobic, but incredibly handsome, new chief of police, Spencer Bolton.

Because there has to be a triangle, Gladie’s next door neighbor is also a handsome, single hunk. The odd thing about the hunk next door is that no one in town seems to know exactly where Arthur Holden came from or what he does. They only know that he’s gorgeous.

No one ever gets murdered in Cannes. That’s why Spencer Bolton decided to become the police chief. He saw too much death as a cop in LA. But then Gladie moves in and suddenly old men start dropping like flies, always in mysterious circumstances.

Gladie can’t help herself, she has to investigate. And neither Spencer nor Arthur can help themselves, they can’t stop going after Gladie, if only to see what happens next!

Escape Rating B: An Affair to Dismember should have a sticker on it: “for a good time, call Gladie at 555-1212” or something like that. Gladie is tons of fun. Not much sense, but absolutely a giggle-fit.

There is one thing that drove me crazy, and needs to stop. Gladie needs to stop fat-shaming every three paragraphs. She worked in a health food store before she moved in with her grandmother and was apparently a size 0. She’s gained 10 pounds and rags on herself every 10 minutes about it, always while eating or talking about food. But the one time she puts on a dress, every man who sees her starts to drool, and every woman who sees her literally turns green with envy. As Grandma Zelda would say, “Enough already!”

Someday, there will probably be a romance, either between Gladie and Spencer, or betweeen Gladie and Arthur. I hope, for everyone’s sake, the author doesn’t drag it on through 19 books. That level of indecision would be much too much. Gladie does deserve the chance to try them both out, as far as this reader is concerned. That could be loads of fun.

The mystery was just screamingly funny. Gladie was learning how her gift worked, so she made lots of mistakes. And it made for terrific excuses for Spencer or Arthur to butt in and/or rescue her. Gladie never claims to be a professional anything, so her errors are mostly funny. We haven’t reached nearly the point where we think she should know better. She’s new.

Matchpoint by Elise SaxBased on An Affair to Dismember, The Matchmaker has the potential to be a terrifically fun and funny light mystery series. I’m definitely looking forward to Matchpoint in July!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 4-21-13

Sunday Post
This morning’s newspaper was filled with information about the capture of the second suspect in the Boston Marathon Explosion. There are no words for this. Nothing makes sense about it. But it made people pull together again. One of the Occupy Wall Street groups, The Illuminator, lit up the side of the Brooklyn Academy of Music with the image below. Hope springs.

NY Heart Boston

Past Tense by Nick MarshMoving back to bookish topics, a writer friend asked me to mention that he reached the nirvana of getting his rights back and edited and re-released his books. I was supposed to mention this a couple of weeks ago when they were free on Amazon. Nick, I’m sorry. I have a soft spot for Nick Marsh’s Conduit Novels, Soul Purpose and Past Tense, because Past Tense was one of the first books I reviewed for Book Lovers Inc. (I reviewed Soul Purpose here), because the crew time-travels back to Roman Britain, a period I adore, and because one of the villains is a librarian. We don’t often get to be the bad guys. The books are good fun. Give them a try. (Also, Nick’s day job is as a vet, and he was awesomely supportive last year when my kitty was going through chemo).

The delayed winners announcements from last week. Shelley S. won the copy of Robyn Carr’s The Wanderer. Jennifer K. won one of the $10 Amazon Gift Cards from my Blogo-Birthday. Veronika chose a copy of Ruthie Knox’ About Last Night, and Erin F. picked up a copy of Ruthie’s Big Boy. Joy F. was the big winner. Rafflecopter chose her as the winner of one of the $10 Amazon Gift Cards and the set of Victoria Vane’s Devil DeVere series. Way to go winners!

Slam by J.L. MerrowLast week’s complete recap:

B Review: I Kissed A Dog by Carol Van Atta
Guest Post by Author Carol Van Atta + Giveaway
B- Review: Werewolves Be Damned by Stacey Kennedy
B Review: His Southern Temptation by Robin Covington
B- Review: Stealing Home by Jennifer Seasons
B+ Guest Review: Slam by J.L. Merrow
The Magic Touch Blog Hop

Magic Touch Blog HopThere is still plenty of time to get in on The Magic Touch Blog Hop! It’s open until April 30. I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift card, and there are 50 other blogs participating. LOTS of chances to win.

Tomorrow starts another week. Let’s take a look at what’s on tap!

Monday starts out with a laugh riot. Elise Sax will talk about life from her character Gladie Burger’s skewed point of view. And since Gladie Burger is the woman on the spot in her new book, An Affair To Dismember, I’ll have a review of her series-starter, along with a giveaway.

River Road by Suzanne JohnsonOn Wednesday and Thursday, we’ll be visiting one of my favorite cities in the world, New Orleans, courtesy of Suzanne Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. I’ll be reviewing book 1, Royal Street, on Wednesday and book 2, River Road on Thursday along with an interview with Suzanne.

Friday I should have my review of The Magic Circle by Jenny Davidson along with her guest post. The Magic Circle is a somewhat spooky story about immersion in real-life gaming, and all of us involved in the arrangements got a bit too immersed in real-life and had to postpone this from last week to this week!

Return next week for another exciting adventure of “as the blog turns!”