Friday, September 21, 2012

Guest Post & Review: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

We would like to thank Rachel Harris for being our guest here at WinterHaven Books, and are so excited about her newly released debut. We asked Rachel:
 How do you unleash your inner flirt??
To me, that word symbolizes everything that’s fun, playful, and good about romance. Especially a new romance, when your tummy clenches just hearing your crush’s name, you put that extra effort into your appearance, and every look and smile is charged with excitement.

When I was creating my tagline, Unmask Your Inner-Flirt, I asked myself what I wanted readers to think about when they saw a “Rachel Harris book.” I knew over the course of my career I’d be tackling various genres and plotlines, all with hugely different tones and purpose, but at their heart, I wanted to have certain constants.

One was the idea that we all wear a mask of some kind, at some point, whether intentional or not. It could be a makeover or trying on a new identity, it could be a front we put up to protect ourselves, or a deep down desire we never even acknowledged but is there all the same.
And the other is romance.

Y’all, I’m a sucker for romance, and the idea of flirting—in my mind—represents the best part of the whole ride.
It’s that special guy or girl catching your eye and asking you to dance.
It’s the talking all night on the phone and not wanting to hang up.
It’s the build-up of the first kiss, the tension that comes from wondering when it’s gonna happen, if it’s gonna happen, and what if I suck at it when it does?
No? Maybe that’s just what I thought when I was a teen, but you get my point.

The girls here at Winter Haven Books thought it’d be fun to ask me how I unleashed or unmasked my inner-flirt, and I tell ya, I laughed when I thought about it. I’m an old married woman—hmm, maybe not old. Is 32 old? Never mind, don’t answer that—but the truth is, I’m still a flirt.
In high school, I embraced the word—so much so that my nickname was ATM because I flirted with Anything That Moved. True story—and I still embrace it today. I like to have fun. My husband and I laugh at ourselves and with each other all the time. We chase each other and our kids around the house, I dance spastically as often as I can and attempt to get him to do the same, and we go out on regular date nights.
And as for getting my flirt on (ha!) when I’m writing, whenever I sit at my desk to hammer out my latest chapter, my high school diary is never more than an arm’s reach away. I vividly remember what those years were like: the anticipation, the heartache, the embarrassment.
Boy, do I remember the embarrassment…. But thankfully, that’s a story for another day.

I relive those moments, as fun and painful as they are, and then I dive into my story world. And if and when that doesn’t work, I pop in a really good chick flick—a girl can never have enough reasons to watch one of those, am I right?

 What about YOU? How do you unleash YOUR inner-flirt? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!!

Thanks Rachel for stopping by!  I absolutely loved My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century!  For those of you out there that haven't yet read this book take a look below to find out more about it!

My Super Sweet Sixteenth CenturyMy Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Publishing Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Order: Barnes & Noble / Amazon
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

My Thoughts:
This awe-inspiring debut will have you giggling, swooning, and longing for more. I absolutely LOVED this book!! I wanted to live in those beautifully written pages. Time travel, Italy, hotties...what more could you ask for?! This is a MUST read! My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century has it all! This will easily be a classic that should be on your shelves. Rachel Harris has penned a remarkable story. I'm a huge fan of the Renaissance, beautiful flowing dresses, vivid scenes and Romance. Travel back in time with Catarina, as she discovers what life is like in the sixteenth century and opens her heart up to possibilities. This book will sweep you off your feet.

I am totally gushing at the fabulousness of this story. This is one book that I will read over and over again. Catarina Crawford's life is anything but ordinary. Her father is a well-known film director, engaged to an overzelous Jenna, who is an event-planner. She's planned for Cat to have a "Super Sweet Sixteenth" party showcased on MTV.

Cat's been obsessed with her Italian heritage and the Renaissance ever since she saw Bernard van Orley's Madonna and Child with Apples and Pears painting. A trip to Italy is where Cat's journy begins. I loved that Cat saw it as an adventure. She changed adversity to opportunity when she was swept into the Sixteenth Century after seeking time alone to tour in Florance, when she stumbled upon a gypsy tent.

"Caterina, a great adventure is in store for you. Be sure to keep your mind open to the lessons ahead."

The imagery was fantastic. I could easily picture the scenes described, the clothes they wore, the decor and the characters overall looks. The plot kept me very intrigued. Actually, I didn't want to set this book down. Cat Crawford, the protagonist, was fun, spunky and tough, which brings a realistic personality and one relatable to the readers. She learned to open her heart on her journey and made tough choices along the way. There were so many funny parts in the story, but what really was great, was that even though it's been centuries, guys haven't changed. Perhaps the language, but the final goal to "get the girl" was compelling.

I believe that every female that reads this book will fall in love with Lorenzo, I know I did. Not only did Cat change, but so did Lorenzo. He went from being the "player" to a guy who falls in love and would do anything to make "it" work.What truly captured her attention when meeting Lorenzo, was that he was an impressive artist himself. I loved watching these two characters develop throughout the story. Not only did Cat develop a relationship with Lorenzo, but the relationship between her and her ancestors was simply devine. Cat had always avoided female emotional drama for most of her life and was clueless as to how it worked. She didn't have a relationship with her mother but she learned to embrace this distant family with lots of hugs and love.

The secondary characters, even though they weren't the nicest, they sure added so much flavor to the story and I really loved them all.

One aspect to the story that really stood out was the history that was intertwined within. Cat's love of art brought on famous artists from the past.  Rachel did a fantastic job writing in the history from the Renaissance era and relaying it to the readers. I for one, felt like I was living within those pages. The ending was awesome! I felt like it ended perfectly and it leads up into the next book. I can't wait to see what will happen next. I will be on pins and needles until it's release. A Tale of Two Centuries is due to release in 3013.

There are so many reasons why I just adored this book. It wasn't just fluffy goodness and rainbows, there were scandles and a lesson to be learned beneath it all. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is one of my most favorite books this year and it's one that I will read over and over again.

 5 Snowflakes


  1. Great guest post! I really honestly don't know how I unleash my inner-flirt LOL but anyway I completely fell in love with Rachel's book! Awesome review, too! :)

    1. Thanks, Jana! I did as well. I didn't want the story to end! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I was very pleased to find this web-site. I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.