Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hell and Back - THE PLAN by Qwen Salsbury Blog Tour

On sale 2/11/14 

Blogger comments:  ***I didn't expect to love this as much as I did with the unusual, rule-breaking format. Emma is a strong-willed protagonist that really had me rooting for her. Loved it!

***A new (better) Bridget Jones!

***Qwen has a way with words! Lyrical, dancing and passionate. Really a joy to read and share with my book club!

*** I love books full of tension, humor and banter that's witty enough to melt the pages, add in a sassy chick and this book has it all!


For the last year, Emma has watched as Alaric Canon roll through personal assistants as each of them doesn’t measure up to his impossible standards. With his piercing eyes and the way that his suits fit his body, Emma decides she needs a plan to get noticed by the temperamental Mr. Canon. When her number comes up to be his PA, however, the plan goes awry and she is definitely noticed…not exactly how she had hoped.

An Adult Contemporary Romance

By Qwen Salsbury

Published by Omnific Publishing

Released February 2014

Day of Employment: 359

11:05 a.m.

Location: Cubicles outside Canon’s office.
Co-workers: Betting on how long Canon’s new PA will last.
Me: No doubts. Ms. Gum-smacker won’t last the day. I need to place my bet.
Manolo Blahnik’s New Fall Shoes: Mine. As soon as Madeline hands over my winnings.

Emma Baker has never spoken a word to Alaric Canon, nor has he to her. But 
she’s studied him every day across the office tundra for almost a year. Canon is hard and fierce, terrifying and beautiful. He’s also the most stern, unforgiving person Emma has ever seen. Emma’s co-workers run a betting pool for Personal Assistant terminations. There’s a separate pot for the day one leaves without crying. Not likely…Canon made a former Navy SEAL cry.

He has high standards and low tolerance. Everyone knows it. Everyone stays away. 

Everyone who can, that is. Except Emma. She can’t look away. Alaric Canon is the single most attractive man she’s ever seen. Bar none.

Canon has never noticed her. Not once in almost a year. She’s not even a blip on his radar. But she will be. His radar will be blipless no more.

It is a goal. Emma has a plan.

“Emma! You have got to wake up.” 
Canon is holding me, but I feel jostled. He’s been shaking me. I gulp down air. 
“Shhh.” His hand smoothes my hair out of my face and down my back. Pulling back, he looks at me. “I thought…oh, God, I thought you were being…and I heard you, and I could see the lights, and then and then and th—oh, my God, what the motherfuck are you wearing?” 
He propels himself backward from the bed. 
This is all so weird. I look down and remember the pity party that ended in donning a peach negligee with black lace inlays and fabric that makes Clara’s sheer robe look like plaid flannel. 
“This? This is actually lingerie.” 
I told him he would know it if I wore it. I don’t do things halfway. 
Deer in headlights. Yeah, that description works here. 
And just to keep things straight, I’m sporting the headlights. 
Maybe we could call them blips. 
I may have just set off the radar… 
There’s something about flustered Alaric Canon I can’t get enough of. I’m practically naked, yet he’s the one uncomfortable. 
“Why? What did you expect me to wear?” I stand to usher him out…and show off the cute little coordinating panties. “Did you think I sleep in the nude?” 
“Goodnight, Ms. Baker,” he calls behind him. He has already crossed the hall. 
“And a goodnight to you, Mr. Canon.”
About the Author

Qwen Salsbury was born in Kansas and somehow keeps ending up back 
there. Raised on her grandparent’s five acre homestead within the city limits, 
her imagination was honed during long days of quiet play and spartan access to a TV signal. Now mother to handsome boys, she strives to ensure they appreciate potential adventures found within the pages of a book, an honest day’s work, and what ingenuity may yield from mundane objects like a string and a cup. The boys prefer a PS3.

After spending time in corporate America, she returned to school and received a BA in English, Creative Writing and Poetry from Pittsburg State University, the alma mater of Pulitzer Prize winning poet, James Tate. She worked on a Masters there until going on to receive a juris doctorate from Washburn School of Law.

A seven-time Sigma Tau Delta writing award winner, her fiction and poetry have appeared in literary magazines and have been selected by fiction communities as featured story of the month and year. Predominantly a writer of romance, her romantic fiction varies from contemporary to historical to fantasy, though often with a humorous slant and poetic undertones.

For reasons she can’t even articulate herself, she decided to start writing fiction again while solo parenting and attending law school (during Constitutional Law class, to be exact.).

Qwen's Social Media  
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My Thoughts:

I read an interview with the author of The Plan where she explained her reason for writing it was to show a sexually dominant female because she felt that type of character had been lacking in the fiction she'd been reading at that time.

Knowing this piece of information makes reading her book all the more understandable. We are introduced to Emma who we get to know as an overly observant people-watcher. The person that she watches the most is Alaric Canon. She knows everything about him and while she thinks he's a jerk, she's intrigued by him nonetheless. 

Alaric is cold and keeps his distance from everyone that he works with, closing himself off in his glass office, giving impossible orders to the string of personal assistance that have to be hired in the wake of each of his fits. And Emma watches it all, getting the firings down to a science. So much so, that she uses the money from the PA cash pool to buy beautiful and uncomfortable shoes that showcase her true personality.

She is unexpectedly made to be Alaric's personal assistant with the promise that, if she can make it for the duration of the week she will spend on a business trip out of town with him, she will get her old job back and a raise. Because she has been paying such close attention to Mr. Canon, she knows exactly what type of assistant he prefers. Gone are her bright clothes. Gone are the spectacular heels. Gone is her untamed hair. 

In order for her to complete this task she must be what she deems as the exact opposite of herself. She is prepared, just one step ahead of Alaric at all times. She hopes to do her job well but, underneath it all, she wants to be noticed buy the man who looks through her everyday. 

I have seen comparisons of Alaric to Mr. Darcy. He's a jerk until you get to know him (aren't most men?). But Emma is no Elizabeth Bennett. 

The summary does not allude to Emma's decision to flatten herself and become the submissive yes-woman that she becomes in this story. Knowing that this is the case would help the reader understand why the words that she speaks are so eloquent and mature yet her inner ramblings are chock full of perverted jokes, thoughts about what an asshole Alaric is, and a ton of pop culture references that don't match up to the persona that she's presenting to the man she so desperately wants to screw. And when they do, she's forceful and dominant, clearly interacting but almost detached from everything because she has become this completely different person. 

The conclusion was a little obvious, but sweet nonetheless.


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My song pick for THE PLAN

Hell and Back by Airborne Toxic Event


  1. Thank you for participating and your thoughts on The Plan. :)

  2. Great review. I had been on the fence about reading this. This has convinced me!