Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Five Days Left - Review & Giveaway

Review by Marlene Engel
In this emotionally charged book, it chronicles two couples going through life altering events.  Each one has five days left until their worlds will be rocked forever. 

Scott and his wife, Laurie, have been fostering eight year old Curtis while his mom fulfills her jail sentence.  Although they are expecting a child of their own soon, the pain of having to say goodbye to Curtis in a few short days is proving to be harder than Scott originally thought.  Knowing that Curtis will be reunited with his mom soon has Scott feeling mixed emotions and has causes a bit of tension between himself and his wife.  As she can’t fully understand how Scott can make a child, who is not of his blood, such a high priority.

Mara is a mother, wife and successful attorney.  Recently she has been showing signs of memory loss and her family and friends are getting concerned.  Reluctant to admit that she may have a medical condition, she agrees to see a specialist just to prove to her husband that he’s wrong in his concerns.  But when she receives a life-altering diagnosis, she’s not sure if she can, or wants to, live out the remainder of her life the way that others with the same condition has.  She has decided that, in five days, she’s going to take care of that. 

Five Days Left is a heart-wrenching story about love, loss, family and finding the strength to let go when all you really want to do is hold on tight. 

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About the Author:
Julie Lawson Timmer grew up in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband, their four teenage children and two rescued dogs. By turns, she is a writer, lawyer, mom/stepmom, fledgling practicer of Pilates, and dreadful cook. FIVE DAYS LEFT (Putnam 2014) is her first novel. Her second book, UNTETHERED, will be published by Putnam in 2016. 

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Penguin/Random House is giving one lucky winner
A print copy of Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer
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Friday, May 22, 2015

The Sound of Glass - Review & Giveaway

Review by KT Sullivan
Cal’s widow, Merritt Heyward, inherits his family home from his grandmother, Edith. Beaufort, South Carolina seems like a foreign country to the Maine native. Parts of the house haven’t been lived in and the rest needs a good cleaning. Wind chimes hang around the house and Merritt decides they should go. Her stepmother, Loralee, and half-brother Owen arrive uninvited for an extended stay. Cal’s brother, Gibbes, shows up looking for family mementos. He’s never met Merritt and is surprised such a wonderful woman married his ogre of a brother. Merritt doesn’t want all the company or the house. She’s trying to forget her father’s desertion and her horrible marriage. The house holds many secrets, mostly the contents of Edith’s attic. She was an abused wife and the day her husband died, a plane crashed in town. A suitcase landed in her yard. She opens it, finds a letter addressed to a dead man, answers his wife, and sets off a number of different consequences.

The story is told from Merritt’s, Edith’s, and Loralee’s points of view. All of these women have known heartbreak and disappointment. Edith’s is the most interesting. How she steps out from behind a shadow and gets enfolded into another one affects so many lives. Loralee keeps a journal of her mama’s sayings and thoughts for a bittersweet reason. Merritt is swept up into too much family drama and isn’t sure what to do. The wind chimes are a constant and handmade by Edith. Sea glass can withstand pressure and crashing up on shore. The three women take that lesson to heart and live through it. Uplifting story.

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About the Author:
Karen is a New York Times bestselling author and currently writes what she refers to as ‘grit lit’—southern women’s fiction—and has also expanded her horizons into writing a bestselling mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. Her eighteenth novel, A Long Time Gone, was published in June 2014 and debuted at #24 on the New York Times list. Her next novel, The Sound of Glass, will be published in May 2015 by New American Library, a division of PenguinRandomHouse Publishing Group.

Karen hails from a long line of Southerners but spent most of her growing up years in London, England and is a graduate of the American School in London. When not writing, she spends her time reading, scrapbooking, dancing, and avoiding cooking. She currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children, and a spoiled Havanese dog (who appears in several of her books), Quincy.

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NAL is giving two lucky winners a print copy of
The Sound Of Glass by Karen White
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wishful Thinking - Review & Giveaway

Review by Darcie Czajkowski
Have you ever wished that you could be in two places at once? Of course you have. Who hasn’t? In today’s fast-paced, social media-crazed society, sometimes we feel like we can’t do it all, have it all, be it all to everyone in our lives. Wouldn’t it be great if there were an app for that? A magical electronic tool that we could simply download onto our smart phone that would enable us to be everywhere we needed to be at once?

Say hello to Wishful Thinking, an app that allows a person to time travel in order to be in two (or more) places simultaneously. This is an app that divorced, working mother of two, Jennifer Sharpe, needs. After losing her phone and having it delivered to her doorstep with the app downloaded onto it, Jennifer is intrigued. Okay, at first she’s skeptical, but with the pressures of her job and the amount of attention that being the parent she wants to be demands of her, she quickly changes her stance on the matter and decides to give the app a try. What could it hurt?

Soon she is superwoman in all aspects of her life: at work, at home, and she even makes time for a personal life when she starts dating her son’s guitar teacher. But she also constantly forgets things, even more than she did before, relying on her phone to keep all aspects of her life in check. She’s exhausted from adding more hours into each day and feels the urge to push herself to add on even more obligations, reasoning that she can handle it all. More than anything, she never feels truly in the moment.

Despite these weighty downsides, Jennifer knows the app is essential to her survival. But what will her family and friends say when her worlds overlap and they realize that Jennifer’s been lying to everyone around her?

I adored Kamy Wicoff’s Wishful Thinking. We’ve all been in Jennifer’s shoes, trying to do it all. Life is busy and we all wish we could cram more hours into the day. But this story reminds us that there are only so many hours in a day for a reason. That everyone is just doing the best they can. That we should rally around our friends and family when they need help because one person can’t do it all. Kamy’s writing and story-telling are smooth and sharp, witty and friendly. I highly recommend this winning debut.

Purchase the book at:

About the Author:
Kamy Wicoff is the bestselling author of the nonfiction book I Do but I Don’t: Why the Way We Marry MattersWishful Thinking is her debut novel.
She is the cofounder of one of the world’s largest communities for women writers, She is also cofounder, with Brooke Warner, of She Writes Press. She Writes and She Writes Press are part of the SparkPoint Studio family.

She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

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BookSparks is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Wishful Thinking by Kamy Wicoff
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Will You Accept This Final Rose - Review & Giveaway

Review by Melinda Garza
In Sean Lowe's For the Right Reasons, America's favorite bachelor on faith, love, marriage, and why nice guys finish first, he candidly reveals some of the challenges of finding his true love, being true to his faith, of his experiences of being in the ever popular The Bachelorette and The Bachelor, and of life after the show. 

Sean grew up in Texas. Like all boys who grow up in Texas, he was a football player. He wasn't your average football player, he excelled. After high school, Sean went on to play college football. His college football career did not turn into an NFL career. After returning home from college, he had a career that turned sour. Sean's family had a long history of selling insurance but that was the last thing he wanted to do. He ended up selling insurance and through it all, he always prayed and asked for guidance. His faith never steered him wrong. 

One day, his sister and brother in law submitted his name to The Bachelorette. He thought nothing of it when one day he was contacted by the show for additional casting procedures. On his journey to find love with Emily, the bachelorette, he was often called "perfect." Sean talks about the inner workings of the show and how his faith continued to keep him strong. He was blindsided when only two other guys were left on the show and Emily sent him home despite being prepared to be a husband and father. 

Following his stent on The Bachelorette, Sean was then selected to become the next bachelor. Sean goes on to discuss how the show brought him closer to his faith, how his faith continued to evolve, and how he was true to his convictions. Sean was able to find the love of his life, Catherine, on the show. They later wed.

After the show aired, Sean was a contestant on Dancing With The Stars. He managed to stay on the show a rather long time for someone who had no prior dance experience. Sadly, he did not win the season. His relationship with Catherine was rather difficult during that time but due to his faith and her beginning to walk with God again and welcoming Him into her life, they were able to sustain the turbulence they encountered. 

They now live in Texas, continue to expand o
n their faith wholeheartedly, and live happily with their two beloved dogs. 

Sean's honest story about his journey will captivate any reader and will keep you cheering that this "perfect" guy finishes first. I would say he did.

Purchase the book at:

About the Author:
Sean Lowe, one of the three finalists on Emily Maynard's popular season of The Bachelorette, later starred in the 2013 season of The Bachelor. Credited by the New York Times for "reinvigorating the franchise," he has been voted America's favorite Bachelor and is the only one to marry his match from the show. Sean and his bride, Catherine Giudici Lowe, live in Dallas, Texas, with their two dogs, Ellie and Lola.

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For The Right Reasons
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Canterbury Sisters - 12 Things About Kim & A Giveaway

Che Milan’s life is falling apart. Not only has her longtime lover abruptly dumped her, but her eccentric, demanding mother has recently died. When an urn of ashes arrives, along with a note reminding Che of a half-forgotten promise to take her mother to Canterbury, Che finds herself reluctantly undertaking a pilgrimage.

Within days she joins a group of women who are walking the sixty miles from London to the shrine of Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, reputed to be the site of miracles. In the best Chaucer tradition, the women swap stories as they walk, each vying to see who can best describe true love. Che, who is a perfectionist and workaholic, loses her cell phone at the first stop and is forced to slow down and really notice the world around her, perhaps for the first time in years.

Through her adventures along the trail, Che finds herself opening up to new possibilities in life and discovers that the miracles of Canterbury can take surprising forms.

Purchase the book at:

12 Things About Kim Wright

1.  My dad was an antique dealer and, thanks to him, I got the travel bug early.  I used to go into bookstores in foreign cities and look at the translations of American writers, dreaming that someday my books would be among them.  The most exciting part of publication for me has always been the international rights sales, and the thought that somebody in Prague or Seoul or Sydney might be reading the books I've written!

2.  The love of my life is my nutty little dog, Thad.  He's a rescue, so I don't know anything about his background or even how old he is, but he is a bundle of energy.  He went on the southern leg of my book tour with me last year and, since they're pet friendly, we stayed in an endless series of La Quintas. All the hotels look sort of alike, and we were switching to a new one every night, so by the end of the week I was wandering the halls, trying to remember where my room was!

3.  I have a phobia about large statues.  I can't stand to look at the Statue of Liberty.

4.  I'm kind of a reality tv junkie, especially when it comes to cooking competitions.  I love Chopped and my latest obsession is The Great British Baking Show.  It inspired me to buy my first springboard pan...but so far I haven't used it.  Cake baking is almost as scary as the Statue of Liberty.

5.  Mornings are my best times for focus.  I try to write 1000 words really early every day, when I'm fresh.  And then I finish my coffee, meditate, stretch, and walk Thad.  After that, even if the rest of the day falls apart - as it sometimes does - at least I know I have my thousand words.

6.  I am a competitive ballroom dancer.  I took it up as a hobby seven years ago and my dance studio was the inspiration for my second novel, The Unexpected Waltz.  Tango is my favorite dance.

7.  I'm an only child and my own two kids will tell you that I have NO tolerance for sibling fights.  When they would argue as kids, it would drive me nuts.  I don't get it.  Why would two people come to blows over half a candy bar?

8.  If I could be fluent in any language, I'd choose Italian.  I love the way it sounds.

9.  My son is a wine importer and my daughter is a writer who specializes in historical fiction.  And my granddaugher Martha, who is almost two, is the most brilliant, beautiful baby ever!

10.  One of the benefits of being a writer is that you can slop around the house all day in yoga pants - or no pants at all.  I can't tell you how many times I've gone to the park or the grocery and looked down to find my shirt buttoned wrong or even inside out.  I think the neighbors suspect I'm crazy. 

11.  My main advice to writers is:  Meet other writers.  Go to conferences and workshops, connect through social media, join a critique group, whatever it takes.  In my experience the writing community is extremely supportive and you need other writers to bounce ideas off and for networking once you get within the publishing community.  It's a strange and insular little world and no one should try to navigate it alone.

12.  To research The Canterbury Sisters, I actually walked the Canterbury Trail, from London to Canterbury Cathedral.  It's a broken trail, that goes across highways and private land, so I hired a guide, a wonderful woman named Jane Martin from Tours of the Realm travel.  She found me sustained pieces of the route and inns to stay in along the way.  This "research" (aka "this incredibly fun trip") gave me lots of detail for the novel.

About the Author:
Kim Wright is the author of Love in Mid Air and The Unexpected Waltz and has been writing about travel, food, and wine for more than twenty years for many magazines, including Wine Spectator, Self, Travel & Leisure, and Vogue. She has twice won the Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing. The Canterbury Sisters is her third novel, and she also ballroom dances competitively. Kim lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Gallery Books is giving 1 lucky winner a print copy of
The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright
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Monday, May 18, 2015

Find Your Next Chick Lit Read / #ChickLitMay Giveaway!

May is International Chick Lit Month. Let's be honest—it's the best month of the year!

Every year, chick lit readers and writers get together to celebrate, share, discuss and gush about their favorite book genre. Not familiar with chick lit or Chick Lit Month? Visit for more information.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of ICLM. To celebrate, a bunch of enthusiastic authors got together and made an infographic to help readers find their next chick lit read. We're giving away 19 ebooks to 19 lucky readers. Just enter to win the books you'd like to read! To enter, comment on the blog post below, listing which books from the graphic you'd like to read and WHY you would like to read them. (Make sure to include your email address so we can contact you.) Entrants can only enter once per blog, but can check out other blogs with this same post and comment there for extra entries! All those links are down below. Entries close on midnight Friday, May 22 (Pacific Daylight Time), and winners will be contacted directly on May 31.

Good luck everyone—and happy reading! :D (Even if you missed this giveaway, feel free to share this graphic on your blog and spread the chick lit love!)

Find the authors and books here, and enter again!
Deeper Themes
* * *
A Little Magic
* * *
Laughs Guaranteed
* * *
Light & Bright
* * *
On Distant Shores
* * *
Enter one more time at these great chick lit blogs!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Daydreams in Dixie - Interview and Giveaway

Southern talk show host and former pageant queen Annabelle Harper certainly knows a thing or two about romance. She is, in fact the local authority on love in Tuscaloosa Alabama as the host of her own radio talk show for the lovelorn: Saved By The Belle. With nearly 50 happy couples to her credit, no one could argue with her success. Annie has never been wrong about the heart of a person. Strange thing is, she can’t seem to get past five dates before the dreaded break-up in her own lovelife.  
That is until a new guy pops into town—and a Yankee at that! Sparks fly between Annie and Matt Brubaker – the mysterious stranger who has more than love on his mind.    His interests are focused on developing a new company in Tuscaloosa.   But his new business will put Annie’s best friend out of business, and place Annie smack dab in the middle of a hot southern mess!
Now Annie must choose -- the passion she feels for Matt and the love she has for her long-time friend.  The conflict reaches a boiling point and puts her in the middle of a major city-wide protest, with Annie at the microphone. Will she betray her BFF and fall in love with the wrong man? Or like the true southern belle that she is, will she keep guarding her best friends back till the bitter end—even if it means losing what could finally be the love of her life
Beth Albright is at her sassy best with this new Southern page-turner, filled with the Beth Albright brand we have come to love—Sexy romance, comedy and a shot of mystery. Think Steel Magnolias meets Sex In The City—this ride is passionate, sexy and full of love – both the romantic kind and the kind for the women who always have each other’s backside covered in a crisis. Grab your best girlfriends and hang on for this sassy southern beach read!

Purchase the book at:

“12 Things About Beth Albright”

1.    I started my soap opera career as a day player on The Young And The Restless. My very first scene ever as a paid actress I played a student in college. (I was in my late twenties—yes I was proud of that.) As many know—I am what I like to call a “chubbette”—a fancy word for round. I have always been a bit of a chubbette—even when I was younger, I was a size 10 back then I thought I was nearly anorexic since I could see my ribs if I sucked in really hard—nearly turning myself blue. Hollywood however still saw me as—round—er. I girdled myself into a full corsette, for this scene—wanting to make sure I was as impressive as I could be, and tied myself in as tight as the girdle would allow. My boob however had other plans. Just as the director yelled action—I walked around the corner and into the camera’s view when all of a sudden my left breast sprang for sweet freedom. And she was out. The girdle had snapped. Thank heavens my boob was still in my dress, just hanging down to my waistline while the right breast was still perked up high around my chin. Quick thinking saved me—I swung the armload of books I was carrying over my drooping left side and hid my escaped girl behind the prop. Whew!
2.     I played the drums in my high-school marching band—I was the only girl in the entire drum-line. That was the plan. Ahem…
3.    I was a radio-talk show host for 15 years before I ever became a writer. I interviewed a ton of celebrities! Mostly though, I loved chatting for hours with my audience about life.
4.    I interviewed Oprah in the late 80s. It took me forever to book her on my Birmingham Alabama radio show. About six months later I was in LA—doing that fabulous scene on The Young And The Restless I just described above. I went to dinner at the famous restaurant SPAGO. I saw a bunch of paparazzi outside, then found out Oprah was inside! I went all fan-girl and asked for the maĆ®tre D to ask her for her autograph for me. Oprah then found out it was me and—get this—she asked my husband and me to join her at her table for desserts. I nearly DIED. I was so nervous! She was so cool and lovely and paid for our dinner—we just had dessert first. With her! That moment still takes my breath away!
5.    I have been to two presidential inaugurations: George Bush Sr. where we saw Joan Rivers—and she had her tiny dog with her tucked under her leopard overcoat. And we saw Arnold Schwartzenegger too! We also were lucky enough to get rare tickets to the Obama inauguration. We were literally on the lawn of the Capitol! Me, my husband and my son, freezing in single digit temps, but it was an unbelievable moment in history we will never ever forget.
6.    My only child, my wonderful son who is graduating college this weekend, was a nationally ranked pairs figure-skater for the USFSA. That is where I began writing—sitting in a frozen ice-rink for six hours a day.
7.    My husband and I met in New York City interning in the broadcast field. We were both assignment desk interns for CNN New York. At the time it was located in the World Trade Center. I received my first real hug from him where I knew I would marry this man standing in the Lobby of Trade Tower Two—the first tower to fall on 9-11.
8.    I was raised by a single mother after my father died in a car accident when I was four years old. My brother was only two. My mother was a widow with two babies at 25 years old. My brother and I both graduated with college scholarships. My mother is my rock—and my role model for life. And the Sassiest Belle I know.
9.    I was the Deep South District Champion in Student congress two years in a row in high school. I was on the Speech and Debate team, competing in humorous and dramatic interp, Student Congress, and debate. I love public speaking to this day!
10.I was a principal character on the soap DAYS OF OUR LIVES in the early 90s. I still missed my radio show where I could just chat with my audience.
11.I had a stroke when I had my child so I only had one baby. One wonderful son. All the doctors I saw said—if you become pregnant again, please don’t come to me! I was warned it could have been much worse. My mom convinced me that my son needed a mother more than a sibling so I didn’t attempt having another baby—though I would have loved a house full of kiddos!
12.I owned a children’s theater and an acting school for seven years in a suburb of Houston, Texas. It was called Acting Up! We produced the all children’s productions and held summer camp—my life was covered up with funny, creative kids for many years—and I thought it such a blessing since I had only had one child. My son had constant friends and fun at the school all day long. We both miss that life profoundly to this day.
13.We are currently living in the San Francisco area. At the end of this month, we will be moving back to LA. I have lived there three times previously. I have been married for 30 years at the end of July. This next move will be our 30th address in 30 years of marriage. Either I am crazy—or crazy about the man I married to continue to follow him everywhere. Maybe a little of both!

Meet Beth Albright:
Beth Albright is a Tuscaloosa native, former Days Of Our Lives actress, and former radio and TV talk show host. She is a graduate of the University Of Alabama School of Journalism. She is also a screenwriter, voice-over artist, wife of her college sweetheart, Ted and mother of her favorite person on earth, her brilliant handsome son, Brooks. A perpetually homesick Southern Belle and a major Alabama Crimson Tide fan, she splits her time between Los Angeles and, of course, Tuscaloosa.

Beth loves to connect with her readers.

Beth is giving 3 lucky winners a signed copy of her new book
Daydreams in Dixie along with some sassy gifts!
Open Internationally!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

French Fry - 12 Things About Glynis & A Giveaway

Sydney Durand had finally achieved the perfect life she had always wanted. After a whirlwind romance with a charming Frenchman, she endured the three weddings it required to satisfy the members of the newly formed Bennett-Durand clan. All she had left to do was stroll into the sunset with Louis to enjoy their long-awaited happily ever after.

But everything changed when the stick turned blue. Suddenly, Sydney finds herself facing the daunting task of becoming a mother before she has even returned home from her honeymoon. Keeping a tenacious hold on her hard-won happiness, Sydney is determined not to give up without a fight – no matter what or who is thrown in her path…and that includes an overbearing mother-in-law, a know-it-all father and her own anxiety about having a baby.

Will she finally be able to tame her neuroses for the sake of her unborn child? Or will her hormone-induced panic cause a meltdown of epic proportions? One thing is clear: Sydney and Louis’ nerves are going to fry…

Purchase the book at:

“Twelve Things about Glynis”

1.    I cannot formulate a thought until I have my morning coffee. I was raised by tea drinkers, but I have somehow developed full-blown coffee dependence. I LOVE coffee. Especially the flavored variety. I highly recommend Donut House’s Chocolate Glazed Donut! It’s almost as good as an actual doughnut. (Who am I kidding?)

2.    My middle name is Marit. Growing up with the first name Glynis in a world filled with Amys, Jennifers and Melissas wasn’t easy, but having such a unique middle name made things much worse. (The nicknames were brutal!)

3.    I must eat chocolate once a day. If I don’t, I feel like something is missing.

4.    I never imagined I would become a writer. I planned to become the Vice President of a Human Resources Department in a large corporation. Somehow, my path changed!

5.    My cat, Tyler, sits in my lap while I write. It’s much harder to reach the keys with a furry visitor in the way, and my arm sometimes falls asleep when she leans her head on it, but her presence is very comforting. Sometimes our other cat, Storm, joins in for an added challenge!

6.    I hate exercising. I force myself to go to the gym, since a) doing cardio gives me time to read, b) my mind feels much clearer if I put in my requisite four visits to the gym per week and most importantly, c) exercising allows me to counteract my overwhelming addiction to baked goods.

7.    I would live at the beach if I could. Nothing makes me happier than spending the day in the sunshine with my toes in the sand and my eyes taking in the sparkling water. My family, however, doesn’t agree with this idea, so we live in the New York City area. Brrrr.

8.    I have a small Yoda obsession. My knowledge of the Star Wars franchise is passable (nowhere near my son’s level of expertise), but I just love the little green guy. He is wise, patient, insightful and awesome! In short, he makes me happy.

9.    I’m a total TV junkie. Sure, I love to read books, but I spend WAY too much time on Hulu and Netflix. (Jayne the Virgin, Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs…the list is long.) Perhaps I need to rethink my priorities?

10.I could live on fondue. (Cheese AND chocolate, of course.) I curb my desire as much as possible, since too many dips in the pot will only lead to more exercise.

11.I lack any sort of video game prowess. I’m an extreme disappointment to my sons in this capacity. 

12.I have mad cake decorating skills. Who knows? Maybe I have a future career in a bakery!

About the Author:
Glynis never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist. As this was just the beginning of their epic love story, Glynis continued to chronicle their adventures in the sequel, French Toast and the final installment in the series, French Fry.

When Glynis is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.

Connect with the author at:

Grand Prize: 
$25 amazon gift card & ebook set of the French Twist series
Two 2nd Prizes: 
e-book sets of the French Twist series.
US Only

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