Ten Women’s Novels Every Author Should Read

“Jill Knapp, author of What Happens to Men When they Move to Manhattan, the first in the Chase series, shares the top ten women’s fiction books that all aspiring writers should read.” – We Heart Writing

 

To our surprise, Almost Royalty, by Courtney Hamilton, made the top 10 novels Jill Knapp recommends every author should read, coming in at a cool number 7. It is an honor to be compared to such successful authors such as Emily Giffin, Karyn Bosnak, and Sophie Jordan, just to name a few. If you love glitz and glamor and social satire, you’re going to love Almost Royalty.

To see the complete top 10 list, click to see Jill Knapp’s top 10 chick lit recommendation.

 

Some even more great news!

The Midwest Book Review

Midwest Book Review just wrote an amazing review of Almost Royalty, and I wanted to be the first to share it with all the readers of my blog. The following is the review of Almost Royalty written by Diane Donovan:

 

There’s a BBC TV show airing with a very similar title – but don’t mix up Courtney Hamilton’s book with the BBC production: the only things they share in common is comedy and a part of a title; but the comedy’s especially well done in this book.

 

This novel is set in Los Angeles, and Hamilton’s ability to use laser-sharp dialogue to strike at the heart of irony and upper class aspirations are captured in an unerring conversation between three friends:

I saw my friends, Bettina and Marcie, approaching. I got out of my car.

“Hi you guys,” I said.

“You aren’t still driving that, are you?” said Marcie.

“What’s wrong with it?”

“It’s a Honda,” said Marcie.

“It’s ugly,” said Bettina.

“It’s paid for,” I said.

“Sure, but is that the statement you want to make?” said Marcie.

“I’m not making any statement.”

“Exactly,” said Marcie, “so why don’t you go move that around the block so no one sees you getting into it when we leave.”   

 

Best friends facing adulthood and an elite Los Angeles atmosphere also face the consequences of being ‘almost royalty’ in their attitudes – all but one (the protagonist), who observes (as an outsider) the ironies of nouveau riche thinking and turns these viewpoints into hilarious dialogue that successfully nails the fallacies inherent in unspoken class systems and ideals of royalty among celebrities and non-celebrities alike.

 

Movements in such a world tend to assume a dance around taste, style, and perceived wealth. They tend to take the form of unerring examinations of attitudes; particularly when major events (such as a wedding) evoke a storm of resentment, expectations, and unrealistic pressures – all are captured, once again, in the protagonist’s cutting-edge observations: “Unfortunately, this wasn’t just about Marcie becoming a bride. That would have been fine and I could have played along, doing those fake bride-friend type things like telling her that her butt didn’t look too big in the dress and pretending to like the groom. For Marcie, this was about her finally reaching her life-long goal: Marrying into L.A.’s Civilian Class Royalty and becoming part of that unique group of L.A. women who: (1) married well, (2) never again had to work, and (3) staffed the volunteer committees of L.A.’s most exclusive private schools.”

 

Under Hamilton’s hand, achieving status and success is analyzed for what it too often is: a game that revolves not just around money and its acquisition, but perceptions of what constitutes achievement.

 

Now, the protagonist is no street urchin: she’s an attorney with power and status in her own right. Her childhood friendships have evolved much as her own status – in unexpected directions – and when she’s pursued by an ambitious bachelor who presumes to know her own needs better than she, further conflict evolves.

 

Almost Royalty is a tongue-in-cheek observation of something purported to exist primarily in Britain: the class system. It’s a different American kind of class system, however, with its own set of rules and its own approaches to life: “In Los Angeles, a town with few traditions, an unspoken class system existed. There was the Celebrity Royalty—the multi-millionaire (and somewhat feral) first-generation successes of the entertainment industry who behaved as if Los Angeles existed for their benefit only. The rules, schedules, and boundaries of civilized life existed for the others—the “Civilians,” those who were not the multi-millionaire successes of the entertainment industry.

The Civilians had their own Royalty: They came from business, oil, high tech, or real estate.

 

An unusual note here is that much of the humor lies in bantering dialogue between the protagonist and various friends, suitors, and acquaintances: an unusual device that requires more than a degree of realistic back-and-forth that, ironically, is often more difficult to capture in dialogue than in text description. That Hamilton achieves this through precise plays on words is further evidence of her skills at blending social observation and romance with fun injections of humor:

And she’s getting the cobbler, which I am going to split with her, to relieve her guilt,” he says. “You know you want it.”

“Once upon a time, that would have been the way to address a different topic.”

“Yes. But my feelings are the same.”

“You still have passionate feelings for cobbler?”

“Very funny. No, for you.”

I’m a little confused.

 

Values, goals, social status, and the ultimate influences on choice and consequences: it’s what Almost Royalty is all about – and the addition of serious reflective tones that lead to the protagonist’s ultimate revelations is what sets this book well apart from either romance or comedy genres, making it something greater than the sum of these parts, and a recommendation not for romance or comedy genre readers, but for those who consider these devices as side dishes to a more satisfying main course.

 

Check out Almost Royalty on Amazon today!

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“Almost Royalty” – I Love Laguna’s Pageant of the Masters

What can I say about Laguna’s Pageant of the Masters besides “I love it!” These people are painted exactly like their original counterparts and make them come to life. It’s absolutely amazing. The 2014 Pageant of the Masters ran from July 9 – August 30. If you’re in southern Cali from July 9 – August 31, 2015, it’s definitely worth the drive out to Laguna.

 

Check out the video compared to Leonardo da Vinci painting “The Last Supper.”

What is it?
A ninety-minute stage show of “living pictures” – incredibly faithful art re-creations of classical and contemporary works with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces. An outdoor amphitheater, professional orchestra, original score, live narration, intricate sets, sophisticated lighting, expert staff, and hundreds of dedicated volunteers have won recognition for the Pageant as the best presentation of its kind.

 

Click Here for additional information: http://www.foapom.com/pageant-of-the-masters/

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Almost Royalty – Countdown “Worst Breakup Ever” Winner #1

At the beginning of the month, Forrest Thompson Publishers hosted my Worst Breakup Ever contest in which the winners were sent a free signed copy of my novel Almost Royalty: A Romantic Comedy…of Sorts. There were many jaw-dropping, shocking stories and only two have been selected. So sit back, relax, and thank whatever you believe in for never having an experience like they did…. though they did win a fabulous novel out of it.

 

To see the Worst Breakup Ever contest winner #2, you can see my post here: http://ecochainofdating.com/blog/?p=1692

 

Thank you again to all the participating blogs! Without your help I would probably be sitting in a poorly lit room, drinking a XL 100-oz glass of wine, and mutter everyone hates my novel. I joke, I joke. It would probably be 50-oz’s.

 

Don’t forget to check out the newly published Almost Royalty: A Romantic Comedy…Of Sorts by Courtney Hamilton on Amazon.

Almost Royalty: A Romantic Comedy... Of Sorts

Let’s get down to it. Worst Breakup Ever Submission #1:

 

“Only ONE story??
After dating Some Guy for a couple years, he cheated on me with his secretary (cliche much?) who was 10+ years older than him.
Married.
With 3 kids.
And just HAPPENED to live a mile down the road from where we just bought a house.
The irony in this– we had gone to his company xmas party and were hanging out with This Woman and her husband. Her husband wasn’t much for dancing and refused and I pushed and cajoled my bf to dance with her. Apparently it was out on that dance floor that they started chatting and connecting.
I (stupidly) stayed with him, having forgiven him and moved on. Then a few months later, he decided to break up with me.
In breaking up with me, he gave me a letter that contained a list of all the things I did “wrong” which justified his cheating on me and the break up.
Contained in that list were such gems as “you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up” (I was early 20s) and my personal favorite “you don’t towel off in the shower before getting out, making the floor real wet”.
I took the breakup pretty badly (oh did I mention he broke up with me 2 days after I lost my job and 3 days before his birthday– a day which I had planned a surprise birthday party for him at our new house with his family and friends traveling in for the surprise?) I ended up severely depressed. My OB/GYN diagnosed me as clinically depressed and put me on meds and sent me to a therapist.”

 

To see more hilarious and shocking submissions, visiting my Worst Breakup Ever post at: http://ecochainofdating.com/blog/?p=1560

 

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“Almost Royalty” – Are you Exotic?

When I think of exotic, I think of a mysterious foreigner who teases me with his lack of English. (Thank you EVERY romance novel – A mix of sarcasm and seriousness) However outside of exotic cars, exotic pets, and exotic food, I haven’t really seen an exotic man. Is it because I live in LA?

 

This is mostly due to a fatal flaw somewhere to be found. Damn, he could look exotic – sporty physique, amazing tan, and the perfect bone structure, but right when he opens his mouth all I can think of is Douche, emphasis on the capital D.

 

My expectations may be high, but I will find the perfect exotic man. If not, I’ll stick to my fluffy romance novels. Thank you very much!

 

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“Almost Royalty” – Lena Dunham- “Who Knew that Shag Carpeting had Multiple Uses?

Okay Ms. Dunham, in what world do you think this…shag carpet…is something presentable to the public? Forget the whole Red Carpet and Emmys for a second. I’m just flabbergasted by the whole idea of this dress. The only logical explanation I can think of is you’re sneaking a small child or little person where the dress somehow lifts up behind you.

 

To this, all I can do is shake my head, put my hands up, and air quote “fashion.” I’ll see you on the #1 spot for “Worst Outfit at the Emmys.”

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Almost Royalty – Countdown “Worst Breakup Ever” Winner #2

Worst Breakup Winner #2!

 

It’s that time again! We had another wonderful turnout for our Worst Breakup Ever contest in which the winners were sent a free signed copy of my novel Almost Royalty: A Romantic Comedy…of Sorts. There were many jaw-dropping, shocking stories we may have turned a few women off to men – Sorry men. Regardless, I think we all can agree that the men portrayed in the winning stories are absolutely heartless.

I want to give a huge shout out to all the blogs that gave me the honor of hosting the contest! I had a wonderful time stopping by and sharing my Worst Breakup Story! If you are interested in hosting my next themed contest (Worst Frenemy Ever) please email Amanda at alarson@ftpublishers.com

 

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Don’t forget to check out the newly published Almost Royalty: A Romantic Comedy…Of Sorts by Courtney Hamilton on Amazon.

                                         Almost Royalty: A Romantic Comedy... Of Sorts

 

So, here’s one of the Worst Breakup Ever Submissions…

“Worst Date Ever” #2

“I ended up dating my best friend in highschool. We were really close and hung out all the time and he even went on family vacations with us. He wanted to try being together but I was adamant that I didn’t want to lose my best friend. I also lived in reality and we were in 10th grade. I knew it wouldn’t last if we did get together. There was a kiss one night at a party and things changed and I decided to give it a go. I fell hard and fast. He was my boyfriend and best friend. It should have been easy since we knew everything about eachother, but I discovered there was a whole other layer to him. He didn’t like my swearing all of a sudden and started to try to correct me and some of my behavior. There is a lot of things I can list, but he ended up breaking my heart telling me he loved me but he couldn’t be with me right now but saw us getting married one day. WTF? Two weeks later, he decided he made a mistake and begged me to take him back. This was my best friend and stupid me missed the friendship the most so I said ok, just to have it happen again three weeks later. Same excuse! About a month later, I missed my best friend and when I was at a friends house and discovered her mother dead, I was horrified, upset and a mess. I call him, my ex, but I wanted comfort from my friend. He was there for me, but after the dust settled, it was done again! That’s number 3. I learned my lesson and it was done, including the friendship I had come to count on. He tried pulling me aside a year later at a party, saying he loved me and that he couldn’t be with me right now but wanted to marry me someday. I was on to him and done with his shit and so sick of that stupid line and said adios for good! It was hard and the thing I missed the most wasn’t the relationship but the friendship that I came to count on”

 

You can read more of Bookhounds Worst Breakup Ever submissions HERE

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Purina Cat Chow #MyRescueStory

I don’t know how it happened but I have currently adopted . .  or been adopted by . . . four cats.    As I write this, two of them– Nene (the Diva) and Buzzy (my wake-up alarm)– are sitting with me, and occasionally editing my work by running across my keyboard.  The other two, Thor (who thinks of himself as my boyfriend) and Riley (the hunter) are taking a nap. Abyss, written about in my novel “Almost Royalty” as the cat who loved baloney and puking at inconvenient moments– is the pseudonym for one of first to adopt me.

 

Now before you think that I’m some crazy cat-hoarder, let me explain– most of my cats have just appeared at my house.  Thor initially appeared while I was eating lunch outdoors and scared me.  He had a square jaw, a muscular physique, green eyes that twinkled …wait a minute, this sounds like a romance novel– (except that he was covered with black fur… now it just sounds like a werewolf romance novel).  Okay, I first thought he was a mini-black leopard.  But he’s very sweet.  And Riley appeared in my storage room from nowhere as an orange kitten.  So, they became part of our household, along with NeNe (the tortie Diva, who bats everyone around), and Buzzy (who meows a little too much, like he is now because he wants some chow but it’s 45 minutes too early– but he’s still meowing).

                                        

Sometimes he can be the biggest Diva.

                                        

I guess you could say that I’m a supporter of anything or anyone who helps animals, and especially any organization that helps animals find a home.  So although I don’t usually do this,  Purina has pledged to donate $50,000 on top off the $250,000 which I guess they have already pledged if you share your adoption cat story at #MyRescueStory–and Mandy Moore is helping, because I guess she adopted four cats also.

 

Here is the YouTube video to all of this:

If you love cats– and I think many of you do– share your story. #MyRescueStory

                    

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Almost Royalty – Signed Copy Giveaway! (Goodreads)

I am hosting an international Goodreads Giveaway of my novel Almost Royalty: A Romantic Comedy…of Sorts! All you have to do is click the “enter to win” button and it will take you to the Goodreads page! Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Almost Royalty by Courtney Hamilton

Almost Royalty

by Courtney Hamilton

Giveaway ends August 26, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Almost Royalty – “Worst Breakup Ever” Contest (International)

Courtney Hamilton’s “Worst Breakup Ever” Contest (International)

 

Courtney Hamilton is giving away a signed copy of her novel, Almost Royalty, to the top 2 winners! To enter, all you have to do is tell her:

 

What is your “Worst Breakup Ever” experience? Share your story in the comment section below.

 

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Courtney will personally read every participant’s entry and pick the top 2 worst breakup stories. The winners will be announced through Courtney’s Facebook page, Twitter, and blog. This contest will also be hosted on various blogs, social media sites, and forums found in the “Participating Websites” section of this post.

 

  Only 99¢

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Enjoy the “Worst Break up Ever” contest and, for the first time, download your Kindle copy of Almost Royalty by Courtney Hamilton for only 99¢!

 

Download the novel here: http://amzn.to/1klLFo1

 

Terms and Conditions for Entry Eligibility

No purchase necessary to enter. Sponsored by Forrest Thompson Publishers. Giveaway ends August 5, 2014 at 11:59 PM (PST). Open Internationally. 18+ years of age. Void where prohibited. Winners will be announced on Courtney Hamilton’s blog at www.Ecochainofdating.com/blog, Eco-chain of Dating Facebook Page, and @ecochaindating. Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or their winnings will be forfeited. By entering the giveaway, you give Courtney Hamilton and Forrest Thompson Publishers permission to repost your story or recite it in a video for media purposes. Forrest Thompson Publishers reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this contest at any time without prior notice.

 

Participating Websites: The full list of participants in Courtney’s “Worst Breakup Ever” Contest is available on her blog at: http://ecochainofdating.com/blog/?p=1579

 

Let the Worst Breakup Stories Ever begin!

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Almost Royalty – “Worst Breakup Ever” Participants

I’m so excited to announce the full list of participants for my (Courtney Hamilton) “Worst Breakup Ever” contest. Please be sure to check out and support all the wonderful blogs who gave me the honor of hosting my giveaway/contest.
Thank you to all the participating blogs and Forrest Thompson Publishers for putting this whole contest together! I hope you receive many laugh-out-loud or speechless stories from all your readers!

 

Love the contest? Don’t forget to download your copy of Almost Royalty by Courtney Hamilton! Laugh out loud for only 99¢!

 

Download today!

“Post-Hollywood” novel and “a really intelligent (and satirical) take on the vanity of wealth and the alienation of privilege.” – Kindleman

 

“A hilarious, scathing tale of LA life.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

Good luck to everyone! The contest will go live July 28th, 2014!

Blogs:

 

Eco-chain of Dating (Courtney’s Blog)

Books are my life

Amanda’s Daily Grind

I’m a Book Shark

Babs Book Bistro

Book Hounds

Lori’s Reading Corner

Inside BJ’s Head

Laurie Here

So Many Books, Here’s Mine

Live to Read

I’d So Rather Be Reading

Kritters Ramblings

Psychotic State Book Reviews

Cellar Door Lit Rants & Reviews

Forum Groups:

 

Goodreads – Bookworm Bitches

Goodreads – How to Promote Your Book on Amazon

Goodreads – The Next Best Book Club

Goodreads – Advanced Copies for Review & Book Giveaways

Goodreads – Chick Lit Book Club

Goodreads – Making Connections

Goodreads – Goodreads Author/Readers

Goodreads – Women’s Fiction Authors

Goodreads – Books, Blogs, Authors and More

Goodreads – Chicks on Lit

Goodreads – Can’t Stop Reading

Goodreads – The Nexus

Goodreads – Chick Lit Central

Goodreads – Good Books & Good Wine

Goodreads – Bargain Basement

Goodreads – The Smart Chicks Book Club

Goodreads – Feeding the Kindle Addiction

Goodreads – BookBunnyPR for Readers

Kindle Boards – The Book Bazaar

World Literary Café – Author/Reader Connection

 

Social Media:

 

Courtney’s Facebook Page

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