Saturday, 29 December 2012

Let It Snow Books: Interview with Jax Garren + Giveaway

Welcome to the last day of Let it Snow Books 2012, where for the previous three weeks you had the chance to read some really fun holiday posts from some of your favorite authors, both here and at Ex Libris.

Today, we welcome author Jax Garren here at Books to Brighten your Mood with a festive post and you will have the chance to win a copy of How Beauty Met the Beast, one of the books that surprised me the most this year with a beautiful, character driven story and a main hero to die for!
Read my review of How Beauty Met the Beast:
When I picked up How Beauty Met the Beast, to be completely honest I didn't really know what to expect from it. The blurb was intriguing enough but I kind of have a bad history with retellings or stories based on fairy tales, so although I loved the blurb I was a bit sceptical towards it. And I'm glad to say that... Read the rest of the review here

-Since this whole event is about the Best Books we read in 2012, could you share with us some of your favorite titles you read this year?
Jax: Ooh, I read so many good books…

* Sherry Thomas’s Ravishing the Heiress was fantastic. I don’t read a lot of historical romances, but I grab every one of hers. (In fact, all three books she released this year were great, but RtH was my favorite!)

* I was surprised by how much I loved Kresley Cole’s foray into YA with Poison Princess… though I don’t know why I was surprised. She might be my favorite author, and I never miss a new entry in the Immortals After Dark!

* I read my first M/M romance, a novella by Ava March called Brook Street: Thief. It was so sweet and fun, I immediately picked up the whole series.

* Stretching my memory back to the beginning of the year, I loved A Perfect Blood, Kim Harrison’s latest entry in the Hollow Series. It’s rare I’ve found a single-protagonist series that’s gone on as long as this one has and still keeps getting better with every entry. But Harrison pulls it off! The increasing presence of Trent Kalamack, who regularly makes me swoon, might be responsible for that.

* I read one series (that’s several years old but was new to me) that rocketed onto my all-time favorite list, and that’s The Night Angel Trilogy from Brent Weeks, starting with The Way of Shadows. Part epic fantasy, part urban fantasy, part martial arts… I can’t remember the last time I read 1900 pages that fast!

-Do you have any favorite holiday themed stories (movies or books)?
Jax: My favorite holiday story is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I’ve loved Dr. Seuss since childhood and love reading his works to my girls now. Dickens’s A Christmas Carol makes me happy every time, whether reading it, watching it on stage or seeing a movie version (I particularly like the Disney version with Scrooge McDuck). I suppose I like tales of changed hearts? “The Gift of the Magi” is one of those stories that altered the way I looked at presents back when I was younger. While it’s maybe not a “favorite” it has a special place in my heart. Art really can change the way people think!

I’d love to read more modern holiday stories, but what I’d really like to find are fun holiday reads (romance or not) that are secular or contain alternative religions—there are a lot of holidays in December! Bonus if they’re paranormal or sci-fi. With that crazy list of criteria, does anyone have ideas for my holiday TBR pile? I’ll be happy to pick them up.

As far as movies go, I love Elf. Will Ferrell’s curly hair makes me happy and he’s so sweet in it. Does Die Hard count as a holiday movie? (“Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.”) That’s one of my favorite action films. I know this is a crime against humanity, but I’ve never seen It’s a Wonderful Life. I keep thinking THIS year I’ll correct that, but it’s yet to happen.

-Could you share with us your favorite holiday meal/dessert/candy?
Jax: Mmm… holiday food. Baked ham definitely. The salty meat with the sweet coating is one of my favorite main courses. As for desserts, I don’t usually eat wheat, but I do treat myself to a sticky toffee pudding around Christmas/Yule every year. Buttery, nutty, sweet and soft--it’s my favorite dessert of the year. (If anybody’s figured out an almond flour based recipe for it, I would love you forever!)

-What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?
Jax: Oh, there’s so much to love! I love hanging out with my family. My sister, who I adore beyond words, lives out of state, but I do get to see her at the holidays. I love decorating the house. I always put on holiday music and make hot chocolate. This year we have children in the house for the first time (we’re fostering two girls, 7- and 4-years-old, with the hopes of adopting) so I’m really looking forward to decorating a tree with them. Music is a huge part of the holiday for me, too. I try to limit myself to only playing Christmas carols and other holiday music between Thanksgiving and Epiphany, so I really take advantage of that time! In fact, as I write this Regina Spektor’s “My Dear Acquaintance” is playing on my iPhone. Plus, my husband and I met singing in a holiday Madrigal choir, so “Boar’s Head Carol,” “Wassail,” “The Holly and the Ivy”… those older songs really give me warm fuzzies.

-You’re holiday shopping, name a few things you’ll buy this year
Jax: Well, as I just mentioned, we have children for the first time, so our holiday shopping will look a lot different this year! We’re getting our girls bicycles. They’ve told us they know how to ride… we’ll find out if they really can! For the rest of my family, we usually get experiences instead of items—treat each other to a nice dinner, a play, a massage, something like that. Although my DH and I have decided to upgrade our phones this year as our present to each other. We’re both still using an iPhone 3GS. I’m sooooo looking forward to an improved camera!

-Let’s say you have the chance to spend the holidays with a fictional character, who would that be and what would you be doing?
Jax: Buffy Summers, and I’d be staying out of her way while she took care of some demons! (Back to the holiday entertainment question, “Amends” from BTVS season 3 is one of my favorite holiday episodes of television.)

-Do you prefer an angel or a star on top of you’re tree?
Jax: We currently don’t own a tree topper. Last year I used glittered curly ting to make a gold and silver explosion out the top. But our youngest has already started talking about putting a star on the tree, so I suppose this will be the year that we finally get a real topper. I think it will indeed be a star. Or maybe something totally random.

-We all love Christmas holidays, but I was wondering if there’s anything about them that you find annoying?
Jax: The supposed War on Christmas that one particular news anchor pushes every year really annoys me. I live in a mixed religious household, so we celebrate both Christmas and Yule (the solstice). My husband and I are happy to do both together. We believe different religions can and should coexist in peace. I get frustrated with the idea that my desire to publicly acknowledge my own holiday is somehow an infringement on somebody else’s rights. I don’t understand what’s wrong with telling people, “Happy holidays” or a city lighting a “holiday tree.” (In my religion, we decorate trees, too.) When somebody tells me, “Merry Christmas,” I take it happily in the joyous spirit it was intended. But it’s frustrating when people get huffy with me if I wish them a “blessed Yule” or “happy holidays” in return. I don’t understand how acknowledging that Christmas is not the only holiday in December is harming anyone. And that’s annoying!

-What would you ask Santa to bring you this year?
Jax: A new phone! (And maybe a vacation. I love my new girls, but wow that’s been a sudden and dramatic life change. The DH and I could use a week’s respite to recharge! Can Santa’s elves craft one of those?)

-What would be your (bookish or not) New Year’s resolutions?
Jax: To be a little better organized in 2013. At the beginning of 2012 I had the household running reasonably smoothly--mostly clean, groceries bought and cooked most nights, laundry done, etc--I was working out regularly, and I had weekly schedule that I kept. Then the kids got here at the end of July. Then my first book released in November. The second half of 2012 has been a wild and wonderful ride, but my house looks like a bomb went off, I’m barely keeping up with laundry, I can’t remember the last time I worked out (my fantastic DH is now in charge of food; I love that man)… I know I can’t do everything I did before, but now that things are starting to settle into a new groove, I need to figure out how to put a new schedule together that includes the things most important to the family (and to me as an individual) and never leaves me worried if the four-year-old has clean underwear to go to Grandma’s with.

My bookish resolution is to get at least two new manuscripts written. Three if I can do it and still be proud of my work.

Thank you Jax for being here today and Happy Holidays!

About the author
Jax Garren is descended from Valkyries and Vikings (she’s part Swedish) but was raised a small town girl in the Texas Hill Country. She graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in English and a minor in Latin and stayed in Austin to teach high school. During her eight years in public education she was in a riot, broke up fights, had cops storm her class with guns drawn…and met the most amazing young people who taught her more about life and hope than she taught them about any school subject.

Jax believes in happily ever afters. She married her real life hero, a handsome engineer who is saving the world through clean energy technology. Her heroine is Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the perfect blend of tough and feminine. Jax blames Marion for her dream of traveling to Nepal to experience Himalayan palaces and monasteries and to drink yak butter tea.

Jax loves meeting new people, so if you see her out and about say hello! She’s always happy to raise a glass with her readers (or anyone else) in a toast to courage, adventure, and love.
Visit Jax

About the Book:
Title: How Beauty Met the Beast
Author: Jax Garren
Series:Tales of the Underlight, #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 152 pages
Release Date:November 19th 2012
Purchase Info: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads

The Beast

Scarred. Damaged. Living with a terrible secret. Agent of the Underlight Wesley "Hauk" Haukon has nothing left but the fight for liberty against the oppressive Order of Ananke. He's starting to lose hope…and then he sees her.

The Beauty

Despite her night job as a burlesque dancer, grad student Jolie Benoit has always played the mostly good girl. That all changes following a scorching sexual encounter with a stranger whose face she doesn't see. After she's kidnapped by thugs and rescued by a man with a very familiar voice, Jolie becomes a pawn in a struggle she never knew existed.

Hauk knows he cannot have her, and resolves to protect his heart and his secrets. But as they work together and grow closer, he finds new reason to keep fighting. Dare he risk hope in a new life, one where Jolie can see past his ravaged face and where their friendship can grow into something more?


Jax has generously offered an e-book of How Beauty Met the Beast to one lucky commenter. (Open Internationally.)All giveaways end on January 5th.

~Fill the form below to enter ~
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Glad to be here today, Anna! I'll be popping by throughout the day to answer any questions or say "hi" to any commenters.

  2. Not so much a holiday theme but Reflected in You was really good

    BTW: love BTVS and Amends is one of the my favourite episodes too!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll check out Reflected in You. Always good to meet a fellow Whedonite! ;)

  3. Jax, I haven't heard of your book before today but it sounds delightful and I will be on looking for it as soon as the mortgage money comes out of the budget for January. Congratulations on your girls. We also had 2 foster daughters. We got them when they were in their teens so didn't have the opportunity to adopt them, but we love them as if they were our own. I wish you much happiness with them and the DH the coming years!

    1. Thanks Norma! I know how that budget goes--particularly after December. (Oh, my lord this year was expensive with the girls...) Thanks so much for the well wishes! How selfless of you to take in teens that you couldn't adopt. In the classes they kept emphasizing to us how huge of a difference just a few months in a stable environment can make on a person's life. I know that only a few months has made a tremendous difference in ours. I can't imagine life without the girls. (And hopefully I never will!)

  4. Nice interview. I like The Present by Johanna Lindsey.

    1. Ooh, I'll check that out, too! Thanks, bn100! :)

    2. And The Present is currently .99 at Amazon. Win.

  5. Hmmm.. For a holiday theme, I picked up Delilah Marvelle & Marie Claremont's All I want for Christmas is a Duke :) That was a cute read. I also really like what Suzanne Johnson does with her books (Royal Street, River Road).. she incorporates Louisiana history/landscape into her books and it really enriches the story :)

    1. Ooh, both sound good. I love stories set in Louisiana. The culture is so fascinating. Thanks for the suggestions!

  6. I recently read the short story by Jennifer Ashley: A MacKenzie Christmas - The perfect gift. I love that series, so it was a very welcome tidbit to anticipate the next book.

    1. I love me a hunky Scotsman. And I'm partial to short stories and novellas--they fit my schedule better. Sounds right up my alley. Thanks! (Ooh! And it's free on Amazon right now. Made of win.)

  7. Your a new author to me...I love the title and cover!

    I don't read a ton of holiday themed books unless they are in a series I am currently reading. I did read Jill Shalvis' Under the Mistletoe this year and it was a good quick read.

    Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks Texas Book Lover! Yay for fellow Texan book-o-philes. ;) I keep hearing wonderful things about Jill Shalvis but have yet to read one of her books. I clearly need to correct that problem! (Soooo many wonderful authors out there and so little time...) Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out!

  8. I'd suggest Basso's The Christmas Countess, Annette Blair's A Christmas Baby (aka The Untameable Rogue), Sandy Blair's A Highlander for Christmas, Burrowes' Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish, Chapman's Wedding the Highlander, Skye's Christmas Knight, Sparks' All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire, and the anthologies The Bite before Christmas, Five Gold Rings, A Regency Holiday, and Snowy Nights with a Stranger.

    1. Oh, wow! What a great list! Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll have to spend some time checking up on each of them. I like the diversity; something for all different reading feelings. Thanks!

  9. i loved home in time for Christmas by heather Graham ( also the novella in the anthology a vampire for Christma s( especially the one by laurie london) and the novella by jeaniene frost in the bite before christmas anthology

    happy new year!

    1. Heather Graham is another great author that I haven't managed to check out yet. I didn't realize she had a holiday story; maybe I'll start with that one! I have read Jeaniene Frost (ah, Bones...) but haven't read the holiday story. I'm unfamiliar with Laurie London. I love hearing about brand new authors! Thanks, Miki!

  10. I just read Blaze of Winter by Elisabeth Barrett and it was a great holiday story, set in Maine. Lots of snow and cuddling to get warm. :D

    1. Ooh, I love Maine as a setting. I've never been there, but everyone I know who has said the people are really nice. Plus down here in Texas, any place with snow is foreign and fascinating. Thanks Barbara!

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