Interview, Review, & Giveaway: LAUGH by Mary Ann Rivers


*Loveswept is hosting a TOUR WIDE Rafflecopter Commenter Giveaway for Grand Prize – $25 egiftcard, Mug and Tote Set or Copies of LIVE and THE STORY GUY from Mary Ann Rivers.

Laugh by Mary Ann RiversTitle: Laugh
Series: The Burnside Series #2
Author: Mary Ann Rivers
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes

Mary Ann Rivers continues her Burnside family series—perfect for readers of Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Ruthie Knox—as two people try to share their hearts without losing their cool.

Dr. Sam Burnside is convinced that volunteering at an urban green-space farm in Lakefield, Ohio, is a waste of time—especially with his new health clinic about to open. He only goes to mollify his partner, suspecting she wants him to lighten up. Then Sam catches sight of Nina Paz, a woman who gives off more heat than a scorcher in July. Her easy smile and flirty, sizzling wit has him forgetting his infamous need for control.

Widowed when her husband was killed in Afghanistan, Nina has learned that life exists to take chances. As the daughter of migrant workers turned organic farmers, she’s built an exciting and successful business by valuing new opportunities and working hard to take care of her own. But when Sam pushes for a relationship that goes beyond their hotter-than-fire escapades, Nina ignores her own hard-won wisdom. She isn’t ready for a man who needs saving—even if her heart compels her to take the greatest risk of all: love.



Interview with Mary Ann Rivers:


Can you tell us more about Sam’s book?

Dr. Sam Burnside is the eldest of four siblings in a large midwestern city where he has lived his entire life. He is grieving his father, struggling with role changes, and trying desperately to express to his family his love, his needs, and his fears. He meets Nina Paz, an urban greenspaces farmer who has known great love and loss her in life, and is one of the first people who really sees Sam. This is a book about love in the middle of life, about passion, and about how loss teaches us so much about love.


I love your one-word-with-a-bang book titles for the Burnside series. How did you choose them and why?

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE, ALWAYS is an expression I had seen creeping onto samplers and the walls of homes and pillows and plaques for a few years now. It’s something that resonates with people who are making homes, or who are trying to make homes, or who are trying to remind themselves of what is most important. In these books, Paddy and Marie Burnside, the Burnside sibilings’ parents, have died, and are missed, so much, but it is an expression that I could imagine Marie hanging up in their family home. By themselves, each of these directives means something a little different — together, it’s a reminder of what’s important. Like a family. Any kind of loving family.


What was your favorite thing about writing LAUGH?

I loved writing Sam Burnside. I could see him, hear him, and I understood him.


How would you describe Sam in three words?

Impulsive, frustrated, loving.


How about Nina? What are three words that would best describe her?

Wise, impatient, hopeful.


Can you share with us your writing process?

I free draft a lot of scenes and ideas before I come up with a loose structure and start writing. I also have started talking about my ideas, during this part of the process with my critique and writing partner, Ruthie Knox. Once I start drafting, I start sharing pages with other critique partners, and refining as I go. I listen to music while I write, and take a lot of walks and runs.


Did you listen to certain songs while writing LAUGH? Can you share with us some of those song titles?

I always listen to music while I write. This is LAUGH’s playlist:


*God Only Knows — The Beach Boys

*Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da — The Beatles

*You Woke Up My Neighborhood — Billy Bragg

*Another Wasted Night — Bishop Allen

*Hey Tonight — CCR

*Fall on Me — REM

*I Heard Your Voice in Dresden — Elvis Perkins

*Take a Chance on Me — Erasure

*Don’t Tell Me to Do the Math(s) — Los Campesinos

*Ho Hey — The Lumineers

*All My Little Words — The Magnetic Fields

*Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard — Paul Simon

*Float On — (covered by the Pickin’ On series)

*Whistle — Sporto Kantes

*Oxford Comma– Vampire Weekend

*I Guess I’ve Come to Live Here, In Your Eyes — Willie Nelson

*The Gardner — The Tallest Man on Earth


If LAUGH were to be made into a movie, which actors do you imagine playing Sam and Nina?

A young Robert Redford and Salma Hayek.


What do you do when you’re not writing?

I am a mom and a pediatric nurse practitioner.


What are three things other people don’t know about you?

*I have a very difficult time falling asleep.

*I always wear beautiful bras and underwear.

*I have never worn high heels.


Who are some of your favorite authors?

Carolyn Crane, Catherine Bowman (poet), Ruthie Knox.


What was the latest book you finished reading?

Brian K Vaughn’s SAGA graphic novel series.


Can you tell us which Burnside sibling is next in line?



Do you have anything you want to tell or share with your readers/fans?

I really love to hear from readers. A lot., @maryann_rivers,,

I often post free stories at my website, love to do that, and make free stories available in my newsletter!!


Thank you Mary Ann. It was great having you drop by at Girl meets Books. I can’t wait for the rest of the books in the series.

Thank you!!



My Review:


The story in a nutshell…

Sam Burnside is struggling to get everything right in his life, his soon-to-open health clinic, his relationships with his brother and sisters, and the words that come out of his mouth that never seem to match whatever it was that he was really feeling. Doing a favor for his partner in the health clinic, he delivers a bunch of petunias to a local farmer who’s making green spaces in town and meets Nina Paz. Something about this farmer, who has made a good life after a tragic loss, draws him to her. And as he volunteers in her farm for the season, he discovers more and more about who she is, how she is, how she makes him feel and more importantly, how she sees him.


What worked for me?

Sam and Nina. Nina and Sam. Sam. Nina. I love these two, both as individuals and as a couple. In LIVE, Sam was harsh, brutally honest, irritable, and restless. In LAUGH, he’s still some of those sometimes but we get to know him better and as we understand his quirks, his personality, his heart that is just full of love there’s no room for any other thing, we accept him wholeheartedly and we love  him. He struggles to express the love he feels especially to his siblings. And he somehow almost always says the wrong thing when in fact, his heart is always in the same right place.

Nina is just one amazing woman. She’s built her farm and her life after a tragedy and has surrounded herself with people who love her and care for her. Meeting Sam has changed a little of her perspective especially the one that concerns what she sees to be the whole of her happiness. And I just love how well she’s gone to know Sam as a person. That’s probably one of the things I love most about her, how she looks at Sam and just sees Sam, not the sometimes neurotic, sometimes forgetful, cannot-stay-still man, but just Sam and everything that name represents and the man himself with his intensity and deep-abiding love for his family.


What didn’t work for me?

I initially had a small issue about Sam falling for Nina so soon. But in retrospect, I think I can understand how you can fall for a person who really speaks to your soul and to your heart and it wouldn’t matter if you’ve met him or her within a short or a long span of time.


My over-all take on it?

Mary Ann Rivers delivers another achingly beautiful story of acceptance, love, and seeing your truth in another person. I think this was better written than LIVE although it might be just because this is the second book in the series and did not have the task of having to lay the groundwork for the other books.

And again, Mary Ann Rivers’ prose just astounds me. They hit you right where it hurts, right where it matters, right where it makes perfect sense.

PJ’s story is up next. And. I. can’t. wait.


My rating:

4-5 stars


DisclaimerI received an eARC of this book from the author/publisher in exchange  for an honest review. Yes, these are my honest and personal thoughts on this book.



About the Author:

Mary Ann RiversMary Ann Rivers was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals and leading creative-writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a nurse practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients. Now she writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line. Mary Ann Rivers lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son.

Connect with Mary Ann Rivers:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter




*Loveswept is hosting a TOUR WIDE Rafflecopter Commenter Giveaway for Grand Prize – $25 egiftcard, Mug and Tote Set or Copies of LIVE and THE STORY GUY from Mary Ann Rivers.

If the Rafflecopter does not appear, you can go HERE instead.

You can follow the Tour HERE.



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