Monday, April 21, 2014

Nicole Dunlap Book List

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Just Judy's Jumbles Blog Party

Interview with Nicole Dunlap
When did you begin your writing journey? 
I can remember being in my mom’s busted-up car when I was about five years old. We didn’t have a radio. I started out singing–unfortunately, I was no Alicia Keys. So I dabbled in story telling while my mom drove from Long Beach to do the “kiddy exchange” with my father who lived in San Bernardino. Over the years I’ve always had a few stories going on in my head at one time or another. After I got a Masters in Educational Counseling and couldn’t find a job--eeek! I decided to try my hand at self publishing.

What are you hoping readers take from your book? 
Kill Mary Jane Doe is a loaded book full of questions and misunderstandings. The biggest take away is the issue of self-identity. Without having a solid sense of self, people end up feeling lost and being unable to cope with issues. It doesn’t matter that the book takes life’s problems to the max, but Mary Jane had to come to terms with parts of herself that she did or did not like. 

What inspired you to write this book? KILL MARY JANE DOE
To be honest, as a counselor I’ve dealt with a lot of issues. In the inner city of Southern California, either you have a heart for the students that you counsel or you turn off. And then there is letting your heart bleed. Listening to stories about high school students who go home to find that their houses have been empty and their parents are gone is depressing. Counseling young women who are abused by their boyfriends, or young men who turn to gangs for friendship can really take a toll. So Kill Mary Jane Doe is my form of coping with life. It’s raw, gritty and life in its ugliest form. It also deals with relationships, sibling rivalry and other counseling that I’ve conducted. 

What is the best advice you have received about writing? 
Gosh, I’ve been a sponge trying to soak it all. One of the pearls of wisdom that stays with me is to “put your characters in conflict”. Yes, my poor characters go through levels of drama that I don’t wish on my worst nightmare. Watching my characters try to climb out of the abyss has kept the pages turning. No writers block for me, at least not yet.

Are you an avid or occasional reader? If so, what is your favorite genre of books? 
I’m an avid reader. My favorite is drama and romance, but just about every genre can hook me; it all depends on my mood or the season. I find myself gravitating toward a good love story in the summer months and a suspense or mystery in the wintertime. If my husband is sitting next to me watching football or some other sport, I don’t mind reading about vampires and werewolves.

Nicole Dunlap holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Child Development, and a Masters Degree in Counseling from Azusa Pacific University. She works for social services. She has been self dubbed the “gumbo genre” novelist, because books shouldn’t be lightly seasoned… The Shaw Family Saga pays homage to dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships, with well developed characters that readers can root for; love them, hate them, cry for, and most of all, yearn to flip through the pages to the end of that character’s journey. Her latest psychological thriller, Kill Mary Jane Doe, takes on whole new aspect of writing. It includes dysfunctional relationships, the occasional sociopath, and enough action to make you wonder if she has multiple personality disorder.
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Kill Mary Jane Doe
Mary Jane isn't sure who she is. She refuses to believe she's just a stripper at the Petting Zoo. She knows one thing for sure, she can only trust herself. Not the big handsome Jake and not the good looking Officer Dwight Daniels. She can take care of herself. Whoever she really is.

This book will have you turning the virtual pages as quickly as you can read to find out what happens next. Who can you trust? Who is Mary Jane Doe? And what has made her so cruel?
 **Sexual content, language and violence
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The Shaw Family Saga
Book 1: Miss Nobody
This story begins with Charlene Shaw. As a fifteen year old girl she leaves Bellwood, North Carolina to go to Hollywood. Things don’t quite go as planned on her first attempt. She gives birth to a daughter and then leaves her behind for others to raise so she can once again continue on the road to become somebody. Charlene walks through life feeling like a failure, unworthy to be loved, to afraid to trust, guilt for leaving her baby and other secrets from her past that continually haunt her.

Raven, Charlene’s daughter, is equally a part of the story. We see her life growing up in Bellwood with her grandparents and her best friend Jon. As the years go by we see Raven grow up and deal with rumors in her small town. Her grandparents have removed any part of her mother from their home and refuse to speak of her but as Raven gets older it becomes more important for her to find out why she was so unwanted.

This was such a good book. The characters are so realistic and easy to connect with, their life experiences took my emotions through the ringer. The reader has a clear picture at the end of this book on how Charlene is doing but there are unanswered questions as far Raven’s life, and the reader will have to wait for the next book to find those answers. Definitely a series I’ll look forward to, Kleenex in hand.
**Sensual situations and language
Book 2: Miss Scandalous
Book Blurb:
A mother’s love vs. A daughter’s revenge. 
Charlene Shaw has gone through hell. She was raped and left for dead, yet she continued on her quest for fame. She’s a beautiful, desired actress who has found her Mr. Wright. According to the magazine headlines, her life is perfect. There’s just one thing her heart cries for…her daughter, Raven. This might be her hardest challenge yet–building the mother-daughter bond she’s prayed so hard for. Raven Shaw has been abandoned by love. Her mom preferred Hollywood and her childhood best-friend, now ex-lover, disappeared when she became pregnant. Now, she’s adjusted to a “new” kind of love…motherhood. She’s determined that her daughter will have everything she didn’t. The only thing she wants for herself is revenge, even if it means disconnecting from a small piece of her heart that still cares. Raven’s acts of rage slither into her mindset, overpowering her in the form of nightmares and delusions of skeletons long dead. After Raven’s scandalous ways, can Charlene mend Raven’s heart or will she be pulled down into the abyss? And then, there’s always the option, Charlene can get a little scandalous too…

My Review:
Miss Scandalous by Nicole Dunlap
The Shaw Family Saga Book 2
This books starts out about four years after Miss Nobody ends. Raven Shaw is raising her daughter, Royael, with Granny Annette. Raven is still full of anger and revenge. It’s hard for her to get past having a friendship with any guy because she always compares them to Jon Dubois. And there are the nightmares because of the crime she committed and has to live with.

Charlene has been clean all this time and is going to marry Damien Wright. She still lives with the guilt of leaving Raven and continues to desire a relationship with her daughter. She is building a relationship with her mother for the first time in twenty some years but even though Raven talks with Damien, they still have a long road ahead of them.

Jon Dubois is the poster boy for his grandfather’s hotels. Rich and living the life. Thinking all those years ago that Raven aborted their child, he seems to have left all of that behind him. But the past never stays buried.

So many lies and deceit twine within the lives of the characters. And they believed them all these years. Nicole writes so much emotion in her books that if she don’t have the reader crying with a character then she might have you wanting to jump in the book and pound on someone. It really shows that when unforgiveness and anger is kept inside, it’s the person holding onto it that is damaged most. I find myself on an emotional roller-coaster along with them because so many of the issues are real life. Which to me speaks of the incredible talent of this author. I highly recommend reading Miss Nobody first so that you can have the clear picture of what is happening in Charlene and Raven’s lives.
**Sensual situations and language

Book 3: Miss Perfect
Amazon
Book Blurb:
Their desire for perfection will be… shattered
Charlene Shaw embodies perfection as a highly-acclaimed actress. Within her gilded walls of beauty, she is scrambling to save her daughter, Raven, from sins she can’t even fathom. This is her self-imposed curse for abandoning Raven as a child.
Raven Shaw is captivatingly gorgeous but burdened by a closet of skeletons. After a rough childhood, she is finally living life. Jon, her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved, has returned. Yet, a stalker looms just out of reach, blackmailing her for Jon’s fortune. She’d do anything to keep this man–even if it means turning to another… Mysterious, handsome Tyriq may have the key to erase her deepest, darkest secrets forever. Yet, this savior might threaten her mind’s rationale of “happily ever after” with Jon.
In this intense third installment of the Shaw Family Saga there will be blood, murder, and a beloved …will be shattered.

My Review:
Raven Shaw continues on her journey. Knowing her real father was one of the really bad guys. Her mind continues to torment her as she wonders if she could be sick like he was. She battles to keep her life anchored for her baby if nothing else, a constant battle.

Jon is doing is best for Raven, not an easy chore. Especially when his grandfather and mother still believe that she is not the right girl for him.

Charlene continues to struggle with her past as well. Even with a man who loves her to distraction, Damien. The constant guilt of not being there for Raven as a child and the battle of always wanting to hide behind the bottle to escape.

Be prepared for yet another emotional upheaval as you follow the Shaw women. Their lives could be much easier if they would share their problems instead of hiding them, but trust don’t come easy for these ladies.
**Language
Book 4: Shattered Imperfections
The final chapter is about to close on the Shaw women. Will they finally get their lives going the right way and win their men back or will the mistakes from their younger days continue to haunt them forever? The previous book, Miss Perfect, left off with Raven missing on her wedding day, that is where this story begins.

Nicole Dunlap takes the reader on one last drama filled journey with these women. Raven and Jon still have a tough road to travel to meet on even ground. Obstacles such as Detective Tyriq Tate, federal investigations and Jon's family continue to mess with their lives. And yet they also are bound together by Royael, Noah and their own childhood love that continues to hold on.

Damien and Charlene are divorced after their three year marriage. They have their daughter Trinity to think of though. They have faced a rocky road in the past no thanks to Charlene's on screen co-star Miquel Sanchez and their careers. She overcame alcohol and drug addiction, is there any way back to her ex-husband's heart?

Granny Annette Shaw is fighting off an attraction to another resident at her retirement home, Greg. How can she ever love another after her life with Otis? The young Royael even has issues, since her daddy has come into her life, she has become a very spoiled little rich girl. Gone are the thrift store days and hello Tiffany's.

Strap yourself in and hold on tight because this book will take your emotions on one last roller coaster ride as the Shaw women and the men they love have this one last chance to make things right.
**Sexual situations and language
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Multi-Author Books
Just Between Us
Just Between Us there is a determination to reminisce and reveal all that once crippled our lives. You are invited to share in this short story collection of TM Brown, Tamika Christy, Nicole Dunlap, Selena Haskins, Janice Ross and Adrienne Thompson. These stories are all real, no work of fiction can match the emotional expressions displayed in this heartfelt collection of inspirational stories.

8 comments:

  1. Nicole's newest book, Kill Mary Jane Doe is a bit of a thriller and a touch of romance. I like romance but Nicole never lets it come too easily for her characters. Or her readers. She will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride that is well worth it at the end.

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  2. Nicole, I think it's awesome you read next to your husband while he watches football. I do the same thing--unless the Oklahoma Sooners are down, then he tells me to put the book down and start yelling at the TV with him.

    I think a lot of bonding can happen between a husband and a wife while he watches sports and she reads her romance novels!

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    1. You're right, Rose. Just being near a mate can help with bonding time. And it's even better while lost in a good book ;)

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  3. Nicole, you mentioned that Kill Jane Mary Doe helped you cope with life as a counselor, did you find that was true with your other books?

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    1. With my other books it wasn't so much the aspect of coping but taking a stand for your women battling depression. Miss Nobody starts my dysfunctional family saga and deals with abandonment and teen depression. The entire series escalates

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  4. Loved your interview, Nicole. Have to say that when hubby is watching football, I am right there with him rooting my team on!! Actually, I am the one that got him hooked on football when we me over 43 years ago! Keep up the writing!!

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  5. Great interview! Growing up sports were not big in my life. Once I got married though, it was either learn to love them (Football, baseball and a little hockey) or lose my husband for a HUGE chunk of the year. Now we watch together, go to games and even make trips for our anniversary based on Baseball! The Kindle is never far though!

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  6. I finished reading Kill Mary Jane Doe the day I won it. It is not a quick read at all, but I could NOT put it down. I hate spoilers so I have to be careful not to give any away here. . . This book sucked me in on page one! I kept asking myself how would I feel waking up without any clue to who I am, who I could trust etc. Usually with thrillers, I second guess what's really going on, Kill Mary Jane Doe threw me for six! It's extremely well written, I don't just mean this book would be a great movie (it would) what I'm saying is, without even trying I could visualise "Mary Jane" and all of the characters as though I was standing beside them when everything happens.(I know that sounds vague, but again - I hate to give away spoilers!) I'll end off by saying: READ IT!

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