Review, Interview, & Giveaway: SOUTHERN FRIED BLUES by Jamie Farrell


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Living in the South as I do (South Carolina, in fact), I was instantly intrigued by a book titled Southern Fried Blues. No, I haven’t lived in the South my whole life, but I think I have a good grasp on how things work down here. That is to say, things work  v e r y  slowly! LOL! Seriously though, this was a fun book. Read on to see just how fun and check out my interview with the author.

Southern Fried Blues cover

Publication Date: September 15, 2013
Length: 331 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Officers’ Ex-Wives Club, Book 1
Publisher: Self-Published
Source & Format: Review copy provided by the author; digital
Official Summary
A Yankee Lady Stuck in the South
Divorced wasn’t a label Anna Martin ever wanted. Now she’s a thousand miles from home, underemployed, and lonely, but she’s squeezing this lemon life gave her and turning it into lemon meringue pie. Never again will she let any man—especially another military man—get in the way of her career.
A Southern Gentleman Military Officer
Jackson Davis believes in family, football, and Uncle Sam. He treats ladies right, takes his uniform seriously, and he loves his dog, but he doesn’t reckon he’s built for true love. After all, if a man good as his daddy couldn’t do it right, what chance does Jackson have?
One Undeniable Attraction
These two vulnerable souls are as different as cornbread and ketchup, but they fit together like sweet butter on hot biscuits. Short-term, they’re exactly what the other needs. But when their hearts get involved, they’re both gonna end up with a big ol’ case of Southern Fried Blues.

Liz‘s Review

I liked Anna Martin, the heroine, although I found her a little hard to identify with at first. As the wife of a military man, Anna has to essentially follow her husband around wherever he gets transferred and make a new life each time. I can’t even imagine how difficult that must be! Once she gets past her husband and their divorce, the novel really picks up and Anna comes into her own. She was a lot of fun and I liked her a lot more as she got over her divorce. I loved her competitive streak and how it got her into trouble (the fun kind!).

Jackson, the hero, was very likable as well, and right from the start. He and Anna meet when she discovers a small colony of fire ants in her parked car and Jackson happens to be nearby. The way he helps Anna defeat the fire ants was totally cute, especially since I seriously hate fire ants! Jackson is pretty awesome and hot as heck! But the thing that I didn’t really care for about him was his good ol’ boy demeanor. I have never met anyone remotely like Jackson. I’m not implying that men like Jackson don’t exist; I’m just saying that I haven’t met one. Euphemisms about cornbread and biscuits? And biscuits as a way to decide if a woman is date/marriage/sex worthy? Ugh. I did not enjoy that aspect of Jackson’s character. And to be honest, I haven’t met any women who were THAT proud of their biscuits, figuratively or literally. :)

Overall, I really liked this book. I thought Anna and Jackson had great chemistry and I loved them together. There were a lot of cute moments between them and it was fun to watch them get to know each other. Sure, there were some aspects of the main characters that I didn’t love, like the more traditional-sounding Southern clichés, but it really didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the story.

I think anyone who likes romances with a little military aspect thrown in will enjoy Southern Fried Blues. Also, readers who like books set in the South will enjoy this one too!

Bottom Line

Southern Fried Blues is a fun book! Even though I didn’t love the overtly Southern aspects in some of the scenes, I thought that the hero and heroine were totally cute together. There are plenty of laughs and a sweet, slow-building romance. Readers who enjoy a big serving of sweetness and Southern sensibilities are going to love this one!

Rating: B

Wine/Beverage Pairing: Come on, you know this one is coming – SWEET TEA!!! :)

Buy Digital:  Kindle  |  Nook
Buy Print:  Amazon  |  B&N


Interview with Jamie Farrell

Liz from K&W: Hi, Jamie. Thanks for being on Kindles & Wine today! I totally enjoyed Southern Fried Blues and am excited to chat with you about it!

Cherry Pie To Share - Copyright rojoimages via DepositPhotoJamie Farrell: Hi, Liz. Thank you! I’m so tickled to be here with you and the Kindles & Wine readers today, and that you enjoyed Southern Fried Blues! In honor of the book, I brought pie to share. :)

Liz: Yay! Yum! How did you know I was craving pie?! LOL! Okay, let’s do this. First off, how would you describe Southern Fried Blues?

Jamie: I call Southern Fried Blues a fun contemporary Southern military romance. A bit of a mouthful, but I think that covers it all.

Liz: It DOES cover it all! After stalking you reading your bio on your website and checking you out on Twitter a bit, I feel like the heroine, Anna, has GOT to be based at least a little bit on you. Is she? And if yes, was that intentional? In what ways is she different from you?

Jamie and hubby at a military ball

Jamie: At its heart, Southern Fried Blues was always intended to be my ode to the modern career-minded military wife. A lot of Anna’s situation was based on my frustrations with finding technical work as an Air Force wife with an engineering degree. It’s not easy to find a job and get meaningful experience when frequent moves are a part of your spouse’s job description, and more and more military wives (and husbands!) struggle with this every day. I wanted to capture that part of military life in a book.

And while the situation was the basis for Anna’s story, I don’t own a label maker or put ketchup on my eggs, nor am I willing to bait my own hook when I’m fishing. But since we were living down South when I started talking about and writing this book, I frequently find myself obligated to assure friends and family that my marriage is fine, which amuses my husband to no end. We’re celebrating our thirteenth anniversary next week.

Liz: What?! No ketchup on your eggs? You MUST be kidding! ;)   And congrats on thirteen years! Speaking of important men, Jackson was a really fun hero. What/Who was your inspiration for him?

Jamie: Aside from the easy answer of my own military hero, when I sat down to write Anna’s story, focusing on her as a woman who wanted to embrace her independence, explore her own career and never, ever depend on a man—especially a military man—ever again, Jackson strolled into my head in his Air Force blues and drawled out, “Darlin’, we’re gonna have us some fun with this.” Because the only thing worse than giving Anna a military hero was giving her a Southern military hero. Those Southern men, even the committed bachelor types, like to take care of their women. And, really, Southern gentlemen are so swoon-worthy. I adore Southern heroes.

Liz: Ha! I can absolutely see Jackson sauntering into your brain! Now, you’re originally from the Midwest, but you’ve spent some time in the South due to your husband moving around in the military. How much of Southern Fried Blues was inspired your actual life experiences living in the South, and how much was just from your imagination?

Jamie: There’s a good mix. I did have a fire ant infestation in my car that we took care of with Windex, but I haven’t had any run-ins with armadillos (except for the roadkill variety). I learned to play redneck golf (aka ladder golf) at a pool party in Georgia, but I’ve never gotten creative with contraband fireworks. Don’t tell Jackson’s momma this, but my favorite fried chicken came from Publix, which is a chain grocery store in the South. And while I can’t pinpoint any particular person as inspiration for Mamie and her bowling ladies, I did hear many a Southern phrase that inspired their conversations. “That girl don’t have the sense God gave a turnip, bless her heart.” I adore the Southern language. So colorful and fun!

Liz: So spraying fire ants with Windex actually works. Sweet! And Publix DOES have amazing chicken. So, whatcha workin’ on these days, and what do you have coming out next?

Jamie: The first book in my Misfit Brides of Bliss series, The Husband Games, came out earlier this month. It’s a fun contemporary romance about a divorced mother and a young widower in Bliss, Illinois, the self-proclaimed Most Married-est Town on Earth. Natalie and CJ have an interesting history that should make them excellent enemies, but their mutual goal of saving the Husband Games, the pinnacle event at Bliss’s annual Knot Festival, is testing their resolve to dislike each other. If they’re not careful, they’ll each have to find the courage to do the one thing neither believes they can possibly succeed at—taking a second chance on love.

I had so much fun building the world of Bliss that I don’t want to leave it any time soon. And so I’m currently writing the second book in the Misfit Brides series, The Battle of the Boyfriends, which is about a divorce lawyer who grew up in Bliss and a country music star from Georgia. I’m excited to put a Southern hero up North. He’s been a riot so far. :)

Liz: Oh my gosh, that sounds like there’s a lot of potential for amazing laughs! I can’t wait!

I saw a photo of your Sweet Potato Casserole on your Twitter. (I actually did an accidental spit-take when I saw it – so thanks for that! ;) ) What’s the weirdest thing you’ve created in the kitchen?

Jamie: Ha! That poor sweet potato casserole. It tasted good, but it didn’t have the looks God gave a snail, bless its heart. ;)

Jamie's Not-So-Pretty Sweet Potato Casserole

Jamie’s Not-So-Pretty Sweet Potato Casserole

This question comes at an excellent time, because I recently accidentally made a dish I call Scrambled Pancakes. We moved from Alabama to Virginia this summer, and we’re still settling in and stocking the kitchen. Last Friday, I decided to give my kids banana blueberry pancakes, but I made a bad substitution (ground oatmeal is not a good alternative for wheat flour, just in case you’re wondering), and I ended up with pancakes that I couldn’t flip. My kids are young enough that they thought scrambled pancakes were cool though. The three of them polished off the whole batch.

Scrambled Pancakes

Scrambled pancakes

Liz: Umm, I think Scrambled Pancakes sound pretty great, too! LOL!

Okay, you NEED to talk about lucid dreaming! You mention it in your bio and I just recently got interested in it. For readers who aren’t familiar with what it is, can you give us an overview and tell us why it’s SOOOOOOO awesome?

Jamie: Lucid dreams are basically dreams where you realize that you’re dreaming. Logically, you know you’re not flapping your arms and soaring over the earth, or going all ninja on a shape-shifting cotton candy dragon who’s working for your evil Uncle Steve in his quest to steal your magic carrots. (Or, you know, whatever you normally dream about.) If you can understand in the dream that you’re dreaming, you can take control of the dream. And that is the Coolest. Thing. Ever. Sometimes I’ll rewind a dream to play it again if it’s particularly good (which is my favorite thing to do when I dream I’m hanging with Luke Bryan), or so I can go back and try to improve my ninja skills. (Side note: does everybody dream about being a ninja, or is that just me?)

My favorite lucid dream ever involved being on the run from the bad guys in an old Western town. We were also under fire from a massive alien spaceship, and all I had was an inflatable airplane in my backpack. So I blew up the airplane, and my friend (and I think my dog?) and I jumped in, did the Flintstones’ running-to-take-off thing, and suddenly we were flying. In a blow-up airplane. With no motor. There were bullets coming at us from the alien mothership (and hello! Bullets will totally pop our blow-up airplane!), and I looked at my companions and said, “It’s okay. I can control the bullets with my mind.” And we flew safely through the attack because I used mind control to manipulate the bullets and keep the plane inflated.

To me, the coolest part of my lucid dreams (even though they can be a little on the weird side, lol), is that they give me this crazy boost of feeling awesome long after I wake up. It’s really empowering to believe in yourself on a subconscious level. Real life is so full of doubts and difficulties and disappointments, and having that dream time to reinforce the positive, the I-can-do-it attitude, is awesome. I don’t know how or why I can lucid dream. I’ve just done it naturally most of my life. But my understanding is that anyone can learn.

And if I didn’t totally lose you with the weird dreams… Kimmie Elias, my heroine’s best friend in The Husband Games, has some fun dreams too, and she’s not shy about sharing. (Her book is next on my to-be-written pile, and she’ll also have a role in The Battle of the Boyfriends.)

Liz: That really IS the coolest thing ever! I think I’ve had half of a lucid dream, but I’m working on it. I agree with what you said about life giving us doubts and such and to be your own kind of awesome in your dreams … phenomenal. Thank you for that!

Okay, everyone interviewed on Kindles & Wine has to answer these last two questions: If you had to choose: Kindle/eBook or print? (Don’t worry, we don’t discriminate on the basis of preferred book format. ;) )

Jamie: We not only move frequently, we also travel a lot because we rarely live close to family, so the eBooks win hands-down from a convenience and size factor. But I still have my keeper shelf with my paper books. :)

Liz: Same as me – I gotta have both! And finally, what’s your favorite kind of wine? Or, if you’re not a wine drinker, what’s your beverage of choice?

Jamie: The blackberry wine from Chautauqua Vineyards & Winery in the Florida panhandle is my wine soulmate. After our last move, we’re outside of driving distance for the first time in five years. Thank goodness they ship! :)

Thank you so much again for having me here today! I’ve really enjoyed hanging out, sharing pie, and talking about Anna, Jackson, and my crazy dreams. :)


Another Title by Jamie Farrell

The Husband Games mini coverThe Husband Games (Misfit Brides of Bliss, Book 1)

Buy:  Amazon  | Kindle  |  B&N  | Nook


Southern Fried Blues Giveaway

Jamie Farrell has generously offered to give away a signed print copy of Southern Fried Blues to ONE lucky Kindles & Wine reader.

To enter for your chance to win, you must:

  1. Be a follower of our blog (click HERE to subscribe), AND…
  2. Hit the comments and tell me about the best or funniest or craziest dream you’ve had lately.

Please note: All entrants must review and adhere to our official giveaway policy. This contest will close on Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM (CDT) and the winner will be notified via email on Monday, August 25.

Jamie Farrell writes humorous contemporary romance. She believes love and laughter are two of the most powerful forces in the universe. Her debut novel, SOUTHERN FRIED BLUES, was a finalist for the National Readers’ Choice Awards and National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards.
A native Midwesterner, Jamie has lived in the South the majority of her adult life. When she’s not writing, she and her military hero husband are busy raising three hilariously unpredictable children.
You can learn more at Jamie’s website, where she has her blog, and connect with her on Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Twitter.