Book Review

“Village Blend” by E.J. Whitmer (Book Review)

Book 1 – The Billybog Bachelors Series

“Village Blend” by E.J. Whitmer is a delightful book that makes you feel good and fall in love with so many characters. Admittedly, I loved this book so much I’ve now read it probably half a dozen times. I picked it up to read again recently and knew I just had to review it for the blog.

“Village Blend” follows the story of Violet Monroe, a take no shit woman with a dream. She has just recently moved from Iowa to Billybog, Ireland with her Insta-famous French Bulldog, Bruce Wayne (AKA B-Dubs). She is making a new start after a tragic loss by opening up a coffee shop and sharing her story on her popular blog.

Violet’s new beginning starts out with a bang when she meets the Donovan brothers, Quinn and Aidan. Quinn is sweet and funny, one of my favorite characters in the story, while Aidan is broody in all the right ways. An instant attraction between Violet and Aidan is clear and sparks fly.

It’s a hilarious start to this romance as Aidan and Violet overcome dramatics, past loves, hurt feelings, and more to find their happily ever after. The novel has such amazing characters, both human and animal. Don’t believe me? There are twelve chickens with jeweled anklets, a male milking cow named Daisy, and a goat that will ram you in the butt as soon as you turn your back. And that’s just the animals! The people in this novel shine even more!

“Village Blend” has an amazing mix of witty humor, sizzling sexy times, and a burning romance that ignites your heart. It’s easy to get lost in the book and forget your reading, to look up and realize hours have passed as you sit back and enjoy your time in Billybog. I didn’t want the book to end. I wanted to stay in that little Ireland town and drink coffee, eat those fantastic sweets Violet makes and spend time at the Iowish Flower (Violet’s Coffee Shop). I’d definitely recommend this book to all who enjoy a good contemporary romance with a sexy side, especially if you like the idea of a broody male protagonist!

Be sure to order your copy today of “Village Blend” by E.J. Whitmer.

As a special treat, let’s hear from the amazing author herself about the book, her writing process, and what we can expect coming up next!

1) When did you first come up with the idea for this novel? 

E.J. Whitmer – I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland. It’s just so magical and happy and so full of history. My husband and I took a trip there in 2017 and we both fell in love with the people and the topography and the way of life. As we traveled from village to village, we discussed how if our lives had taken different paths and we ever wanted to “start over”, Ireland is probably the place we would go. So from there, I just kind of ran with it! We sampled some delicious sweets while we were there, so the idea of owning a bakery kind of stuck. The pieces all just fell together and I was ready to write my heart out when we got home!

2) Reading your novel, I fell in love with the little town of Billybog. It has a very special charm to it. Are there certain towns or places that inspired Billybog?  

E. J. Whitmer – We visited dozens of tiny villages as we traveled around the country. I desperately wanted to visit Tipperary. (I love that song!) It was SO cute! While on a bus tour, we learned that the buildings in several villages were all painted fun, bright colors because back in the day, people wanted to make it easier to find their houses after a long night at the pub. i.e. Harry might be a little tipsy, but he knows his house is the lilac one, so he’s sure to walk to the right house. We loved the bigger cities like Cork and Galway, but it was the little villages that really stole our hearts.

3) There are amazing farm animals in this book that have just as much personality as any human. Are there real-life animals or experiences you pulled from when writing those amazing animals? 

E.J. Whitmer – I have always had animals in my life and every one of them has been quite the character! I have a Boston Terrier named Rowdie who keeps us on our toes and a cat named Capone (we call him Sh*tty Kitty) who is FULL of attitude. My mother-in-law has a couple very ornery cows on her property who are constantly escaping and a few goats who she scolds for being ornery all day. I love their antics and wanted to add that “spice” to Violet’s life! 

4) Every writer has their own system of writing and publishing books. What does your process look like? 

E.J. Whitmer – I usually have an “aha” moment where all of a sudden I just have an idea! It’s a pretty broad idea, though, and over the course of a few nights, I identify the big plot points and develop my characters in my head. It’s my goal to write something five days a week, whether it’s 50 words or 5,000 words. Then when I go to bed at night, I lay there thinking about what my next scene will include. It’s not quite outlining but not “pantsing” it either. 

5) What projects can we look forward to seeing from you in the future (will any of them take place in Billybog)? 

E.J. Whitmer – I’m finally excited to start publishing again! After the birth of our second child, life got crazy! Some writers are total rockstars who can write ten books while wrangling multiple toddlers and keeping the house clean and wearing mascara every day. I am not one of them! But I think I’m in a place now where I’ve got a slight handle on things. (Slight.)

So I’m alternating between three books.

One is a romantic suspense novel, which is totally new to me. It’s not humorous and is pretty angsty. I have to be in the right headspace to write it, so that one is going slowly.

The other is a romantic comedy that emphasizes being comfortable with who you are and loving yourself. (Something I struggle with. It’s kind of cathartic to write about someone else healing!)

And the third is, yes, another Billybog book! This one will follow the other Donovan brother’s love story. I did have to change his name. In the first edition of Village Blend, his name was Brian. I hadn’t planned on writing more Billybog books, but I’ve had several readers request more, so okay! BUT, my boss / good friend is also named Brian. And I can’t write schmexy scenes about a dude named Brian. Can’t do it. Nope. I love my Brian like a father and no way am I going there! So I went back and changed the brother’s name to Quinn in the second and updated version of Village Blend. Quinn’s story involves a secret baby and a feisty redhead and is titled, “It Takes a Village”. I’m really trying to have that one out this year so keep a look out!

Thank you so much to E.J. Whitmer for answering the interview questions, writing such an amazing book as “Village Blend”, and making my dreams come true by giving us a Quinn book! I can’t wait until publication date to read it. I know it’s going to be just as amazing as “Village Blend”.

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