Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book Review+Guest Post And Giveaway : Called Up by Jen Doyle

There are two things Max “Deke” Deacon can always count on: 
his old high school teammates and Fitz Hawkins.

A Calling It Novel
Jen Doyle
Releasing Aug 29th, 2016
Carina Press

There are two things Max “Deke” Deacon can always count on: his old high school teammates and Fitz Hawkins. But no matter how much Deke might secretly fantasize otherwise, a relationship with one of his best friends is off limits. Until one unexpectedly smoldering encounter has Deke and Fitz looking at each other in a whole new way.

Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins knows for a fact that it is not better to have loved and lost. After losing her parents, she’d rather lock up her heart and throw away the key than endure that kind of pain again. If that means giving up any hope of a lasting relationship, then so be it.

With Deke, Fitz finally feels like she's back in the land of the living. But she won’t risk another broken heart—even if it means saying good-bye to Deke for good. It’s up to Deke to convince her that the safest place she could ever be is right here with him.

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In the second book in the Calling It series from Jen Doyle, we have Fitz Hawkins(Nate' sister who we met in Calling It) and Max Deacon a.k.a Deke one of their best friends.Though this book can be read as a standalone it would certainly be more enjoyable if you read Calling It before this one.

Fitz and Deke have been best friends for a long time and Fitz used to have a crush on him in high school which was used against her in an incident instigated by Peggy.Lately, Deke has been giving her these looks that set her on fire and she doesn't know what to make of them.Deke has also been thinking of Fitz a lot and not in the sisterly way.Though, both of them are attracted to each other , they don't want to ruin their friendship.

Fitz has had a difficult upbringing.The town of Inspiration hasn't always been kind to her considering her childhood.Her father had left Nate and his children with Mama Gin to go off with Fitz and her mother.She had never known that she had half-siblings.When she came to Inspiration, she and the Hawking siblings where blindsided by this truth, causing a lot of hostility even though she wasn't the one to be blamed for her father's mistakes.

Though Nate warmed up towards her and protected her after a threatening event, her half-sisters took some time to be nice to her.These experiences have caused her to be wary and not too trusting.Deke on the other hand is the hometown hero.He is handsome,charming and loved by all.He also has a lot of flings from time to time.When a particular incident from sixteen years ago comes to light, it brings him closer with Fitz and they act upon their attraction to each other.
But will they agree to give their relationship a try or live in denial forever?

I loved Nate and Dorie in Calling It!(personally they're my favorite couple).We've seen the attraction simmering between Fitz and Deke in book one itself and so I was very excited for Called Up!
Both Fitz and Deke were well done.I loved how Fitz is strong,loyal and vulnerable at the same time.I loved her relationships with Nate and Dorie too.(Glad to see Nate and Dorie doing well :D)
Deke was also an amazing character.He helped out with his family, took care of his widowed sister and her children.Lola's triplets were adorable!Peggy, the woman who tormented Fitz in high school adds a little tension to the story.As Fitz's experiences in high school come to light, he begins to see a darker side of Inspiration that he hasn't really seen before.

My only gripe with the book was the constant back and forth that Fitz and Deke did with their relationship.Two steps ahead and then back to we-must-not-ruin-our-friendship square.It would have also been more believable if it was showed that they have been a little attracted to each other always.In the book,the writing made it look as if all of a sudden over a span of one week, they suddenly developed feelings for each other.(I guess both of them were dense since everyone could see the attraction between them :P)

Though I know I shouldn't compare, Calling It still remains my favorite book.Fitz and Deke's story was wonderful to read.It had a perfect mix of romance,humor and steam.
Read this book if you've already started off with the series and if you haven't yet read Calling It, what are you waiting for?You'll love both Nate and Dorie's & Fitz and Deke's stories!! :)

Read on for the Guest Post from the amazing Jen Doyle where she gives us more details about the setting and characters in the series!!


Who’s Who in the Series

First, let me say thank you for having me here. I appreciate your hosting me on the occasion of the publication of CALLED UP (book two in the CALLING IT series). J

Since this is book two in the series, the main characters might already be familiar to you, but I thought I’d share a Who’s Who list, so to speak.

And I’m actually going to start with the town itself.

Our Setting: Inspiration, Iowa

In CALLING IT, the town of Inspiration is a place of healing for Nate Hawkins, the hero of book one. The book starts off with him escaping Chicago, where he’s being hunted by the paparazzi due to a scandal not of his making, to the safe having of Inspiration, Iowa, his hometown. It’s a place where he can walk down the street and not be hassled. Where people care about him for himself rather than for the celebrity he’s become. It’s everything that’s good about a small town.

CALLED UP, on the other hand, is a little bit more about the flipside of that equation. Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins is Nate’s half sister, and, unfortunately, she’s always been a little bit on the outside. Her experience with the town hasn’t been nearly as wonderful as it has been for Nate—or for Called Up’s hero, Max “Deke” Deacon, in fact, and a lot of what happens in book two is directly due to a secret from her past being revealed in a way she’d very much prefer it hadn’t been.

Our Hero: Max “Deke” Deacon

Like Nate, Deke has always seen the good side of Inspiration. One of the golden boys in town—more so, even, than Nate in a way—he refers to it at one point as his own “personal Mayberry.” He’s the bartender of Deacon’s Bar & Grille, the local watering hole that goes back to his grandfather’s days. Although he’s the town playboy, he’s kept himself enough at a distance that he’s managed to keep on good terms with pretty much every woman he’s every been with, a list that includes a large portion of women in town. He starts out a little shallow, I admit, but for me that was an important piece of who he is. Friendly and caring, he’s happy to be the perfect bartender and take care of everyone and their troubles—but he has no interest in forming a deeper connection with anyone beyond his family and good friends. He considers Fitz to be one of his best friends, possibly even the best. When he finds out that Fitz has been keeping a huge secret for the entire time they’ve known each other, sixteen years, he’s thrown more than he thought possible. As he uncovers pieces of her that he never knew, he begins to see a new side of her—and begins to show a new side of himself.

Our Heroine: Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins

Fitz’s backstory is a sad one. She was orphaned at the age of fourteen, her parents killed by the tornado that devastated Inspiration seventeen years before. As if that weren’t enough, within months of that tragic event, she finds out that she wasn’t her father’s only child. That instead, he’d already had three children before Fitz—Nate and his two older sisters—who he abandoned when they were young. She learns this along with the rest of the town, the truth being revealed on her second day in her new school. It’s not the best recipe for making new friends, especially not during those awkward teenage years. Despite this, however, and through events described in the book, Nate and Co. (Deke, included) become not just her protectors, but her friends. Part of why she’s so reluctant to move forward with Deke is that he is one of the few people in the world she truly trusts; she actually relies on him much more than she’s ever let on, even to herself. To risk that friendship with even so much as a kiss is terrifying for her—especially because everyone over the age of 18 is well aware that Deke has never been serious with anyone. The problem, of course, is that she can’t quite stay away.

The Supporting Cast

Lola Deacon McIntire 
 Introduced in CALLING IT as the Trivia Night Quiz Mistress, Lola plays a much bigger role in this book. The only other person Fitz considered a friend during high school, Lola is Deke’s big sister. The widowed single mother of four (including three-year-old triplets!), Lola is still struggling a bit with figuring out how to manage her day-to-day after her husband passed away two years before. Fitz knows she can never repay the kindnesses Lola showed back in high school when no one else did, but she eagerly steps in when it’s clear Lola needs help with the kids. Playing part-time nanny to Lola’s kids brings Fitz into even closer contact with Deke.

Dorie Donelli
 The heroine of CALLING IT, Dorie is the town librarian, Nate’s fiancée, and Fitz’s best friend. She’s also one of the only people aware of what’s happening between Fitz and Deke, although it’s not something she and Fitz ever discuss. But her support of the relationship helps keep Nate from killing Deke. ;)

Nate Hawkins 
 Fitz’s big brother, one of Deke’s best friends, and the hero of CALLING IT. He is not a fan of the Fitz/Deke relationship, but he is a fan of Fitz, and is there for her no matter what. Well, mostly.

Assorted Other Family and Friends: Wash, Jason, Jules, and Mama Gin are just a few of the townspeople who appear in this book, as well as Lola’s and Jules kids. If you’re interested in seeing more about my vision of the CALLING IT/Inspiration universe, please come find me on Pinterest and follow my boards at https://www.pinterest.com/jendoyleink/.

I hope you love Deke, Fitz and their friends and family as much as I do! Happy reading!


A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. Jen is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of the New England, New Jersey Romance Writers and Music City Romance Writer chapters of RWA. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. She has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events planner as well as a Communications and Enrollment administrator in both preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of the “some”).


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