Friday, July 31, 2015

The Witch of Bourbon Street - Review #SRC2015

Review by Marlene Engel
Set in the bayou of New Orleans, this book seamlessly goes from past to present as the Sorrow family seeks healing, forgiveness and moving on. The women in the Sorrow family come from a long line of seers, witches and healers.  In 1901 is when their suffering started with Sister Vesta Grace’s confession.  It was rumored that she had something to do with the death of all but one member of the once well-known Sorrow family.  However, some believed that it was Rosella, the voodoo witch.  For over a century, this mystery goes unsolved. 

Frances Sorrow was looked at as the person who would bring back the honor to the Sorrow family.  However, she had other thoughts.  Instead she took off and had a short lived marriage to Danny Amore.  When she returned home, she was introverted and kept away from the outside world.  Then, her son disappears.  As she goes in search of finding her son, she comes on secrets that tell of the mysteries of the past while also setting free the ghosts that haunt the family.

The Witch of Bourbon Street is a magical story about family and forgiveness.  With a cast full of amazing characters and a story that will draw you in from the first page, this book is one for your To-Be-Read List.

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About the Author:
Suzanne Palmieri is the internationally bestselling author of The Witch of Little Italy, The Witch of Belladonna Bay, and The Witch of Bourbon Street. She is the co-author of I’ll Be Seeing You and Empire Girls as Suzanne Hayes. Her novels have been translated into five different languages and have earned stars from Kirkus and Booklist. She lives in a haunted farm house by the ocean with her husband and three darling witches, and is currently hard at work on her next novel. 

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Up To I Do - Promo & Giveaway

About the Book
Emerson Sinclair, twenty-seven year old hotel heiress, has said yes. With just over a year to plan her extravagant, over the top nuptials to Logan Worthington, it’s all hands on deck with the wedding plans. A Sinclair marrying into the Worthington family is the talk of their small New Hampshire town, and ideas include filming the wedding for a TV segment. But as the items get checked off the list, plans start to go ... not as planned. From not getting a designer dress to a selfish bridesmaid and unaccountable best man, Emerson is afraid her wedding will be more a joke than anything. 

When both her mother and sister seemingly begin to lose interest in her wedding plans in favor of their own personal lives, Emerson fears her big day will turn into the forgotten wedding. With the pressure to pull off a beautiful and elegant event that everyone expects from their respectable families, Emerson starts to forget the reason why she is saying I Do in the first place.

Book Links

Author Bio
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all-around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up-to-date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and beauty related. In 2011, she launched her independent publishing company, Marching Ink, and has four published novels—Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship, and Up To I Do. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

Connect with the author at:
Samantha is giving away a $10 Gift Card to each of the following:
Amazon, Target, Ulta & Bed, Bath & Beyond
$40 Total!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pretty Much Screwed - 12 Things About Jenna & A Giveaway

Known for her “hilarious and spot-on”* memoirs I’ve Still Got It…I Just Can’t Remember Where I Put It and If It Was Easy, They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon, Jenna McCarthy turns her comedic talents to fiction with a novel about picking yourself up out of the gutter when life kicks you to the curb…

“I don’t love you anymore.”

For Charlotte Crawford, the worst part about being dumped after twenty years of marriage is that her husband, Jack, doesn’t want another woman; he just doesn’t want her.

Forty-two and clueless, Charlotte is a fish out of water in a dating pool teeming with losers. Just when she thinks she’s finally put her failed marriage behind her, it comes back to bite her in the ass…hard. Without warning, Charlotte finds herself staring down the barrel of a future she wouldn’t (she would totally) wish on her worst enemy.

Engaging, fearless, and relentlessly funny, Pretty Much Screwed is a story of love, loss, friendship, forgiveness, turtledoves, taxidermy, and one hilariously ill-placed tick.

Purchase the book at:

“12 Things About Jenna McCarthy”

1.    In a long-ago life, I was an FM radio DJ. The highlight of that career was probably the time I pumped breast milk on the air. That or having my giant face plastered across the backs of buses all over town. You can choose for me.

2.    If someone is going to get hurt doing something, it will be me. My husband calls me Grace because of this. 

3.    I have three tattoos: a dolphin on my ankle that I got in Amsterdam when I was 20, before tattoos were even really a thing unless you were in a motorcycle gang; a sun on my hip bone that I got with my dad when I came back from Amsterdam and he was pissed that “his daughter got a tattoo before he did” (he got an anchor on his arm); and an anchor on my foot, because he died way too young and I miss him all day every day so it makes me happy.

4.    I have to walk on the left side of people. This doesn’t seem to bother anyone I know except my husband. Go figure.

5.    My guilty pleasure is America’s Funniest Videos. There, I said it.

6.    I can recite, flawlessly and on command, the Pythagorean Theorem, the Letter of Paul to the Philippians I delivered on parent’s day in third grade, the complete list of English prepositions in alphabetical order (aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, amid, among…) and the entire “is this a dagger which I see before me” soliloquy I memorized in high school. Ironically, I can never, ever find my phone, my keys or my car in the parking lot at Trader Joe’s.

7.    I am destined to become a crazy old cat lady. 

8.    I went on a few dates with the guy who played Skippy on Family Ties. When he left town, I gave him my favorite FSU sweatshirt. I’m positive he still has it.

9.    I hate Halloween but I love costume parties.

10.I drink coffee through a straw, and no, it’s not because I’m concerned about white teeth. (Not that I’m not concerned about them; that’s just not why I drink coffee through a straw. I have no idea why I do it, in fact. I’m sure therapy could shed some light on this.)

11.My husband and I bought and renovated a house and the whole thing was documented on TV. That was in 2006 and the damned show still airs with unsettling frequency.

12.If I wasn’t a writer, I’d be a professional organizer or an interior decorator. Or a mermaid.

Author bio:
Jenna McCarthy is the internationally published writer of I’ve Still Got It…I Just Can’t Remember Where I Put ItIf It Was Easy, They'd Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon, and The Parent Trip, former radio personality, and recovering leopard-print addict. She lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband, two daughters, and lots of dog and cat hair.

Connect with the author at:

Berkley is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Pretty Much Screwed by Jenna McCarthy
US Only

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Road Home - Review #SRC2015


Living separately for three years, fourteen-year-old twins, Katherine and Tommy Arthur, have done their best to make each boarding house feel like home. But unrest grows as they are driven to questionable actions just to survive. Meanwhile their desperate mother is confronted with breaking yet another promise to her children. Then a miracle descends. Hope rises on a cold, rainy night and changes everything. If Jeanie could just get word to Katherine and Tommy, she knows she can set their lives right again. Agitators, angels, and dangerous “saviors” illuminate the Arthurs’ unmatched determination and smarts. 1905—Though she tries to forget the awful years that hurt so much, the memories still haunt Katherine. Now, tearful mourners at her mother’s funeral force her to revisit a time in her life that both harmed and saved her in the most unexpected ways. Tommy grieves his mother’s passing as well. He too is thrust backward, compelled to rediscover the events in his life that shaped the man he has become. Will he commit to reconstructing his broken life? The Arthurs come to understand that forgiveness is the only way back to hope, the only way to find all that was good in the misfortune that transformed their lives forever.

Review by Marlene Engel
In the highly anticipated sequel to The Last Letter, The Road Home follows the relationship between Jeanie Arthur and her children, Katherine and Tommy.  Set in the turn of the nineteenth to twentieth centuries, this book is about life, love, struggle and hope. 

Raising her children alone, Jeanie has to make some difficult decisions to ensure that both of her children are being cared for.  However, at that time there were limited options and she had to do what she felt was best for her family.  Even if that meant her children were to be separated and sent to other homes.  We follow each of their lives, learn the struggles and pain they had to endure and watch as they find strength where they thought none was to be found. 

An amazing book for historical fiction lovers.  The Road Home will have you on the edge of your seat in anticipation of what’s going to happen next. 

Purchase the book at:

About the Author:
Bestselling author Kathleen Shoop holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. Her third novel, Love and Other Subjects, earned a Silver medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention from the San Francisco Book Festival. Her second novel, After the Fog (Silver IPPY), was a category finalist in the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Her debut novel, The Last Letter, is a multiple award-winner, including a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. 

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Second Helpings at the Serve You Right Cafe - Review, 12 Things About Tilia and a Giveaway

Review by KT Sullivan 
After ten years, Emet First is out of prison and working at the Serve You Right Café as a baker. He also has asked Mercey Finch, a therapist, out on a date. Eden Rose is a recovering alcoholic, his employer, and excited about his prospects. He asks for advice about bringing up his past to Mercey. Eden is in the park visiting an elderly homeless couple, Isadore and Daisy. They are the café’s official taste testers of new menu items. Emet graduated from the prison’s culinary arts program and appreciates their input. Isadore advises to tell the truth, but not too much on the first date. Mercey has secrets too, an abusive mother and a drug addicted twin brother named Clay. “Everyone has a past, no one has the future,” Emet tells her when they both confess. Her only bright spot is her dog, Serena. Serena works in the prison to help the inmates cope. Mercey has decided to move out of the family home and Clay is paranoid. She promised to stay and take care of him. He overhears Emet’s confession and decides to make trouble for him. Clay doesn’t realize Emet is surrounded by friends and people willing to help him. Clay bothers the wrong people and his plan is ruined, but he’s not done with Mercey.

The dialogue is very witty and everyone has great comebacks. This is a sweet love story between two shy damaged people and what it takes for them to be together.

Purchase the book at:
“Twelve Things about Tilia Klebenov Jacobs”

1.    I wrote Second Helpings at the Serve You Right Café, which you totally should buy.

2.    When I was seventeen I went to Bulgaria with six live lobsters and no visa.

 My father worked for the Foreign Service, which meant that we had friends all over the world.  Close family friends in Bulgaria invited me to visit over winter break my senior year in high school.  We applied for a visa, which was supposed to go straight to my dad’s friend at the State Department so he could bang a couple of stamps on it and get it to us in plenty of time.  The darned thing never showed up.  The day before my trip my dad’s friend descended to the bowels of the State Department and tore apart the mail room looking for it.  Sure enough, there it was—no one had delivered it.  By that time it was too late to get it to me with the proper documentation, so we told our friends in Bulgaria and they got me a visa at the airport when I landed.  You could do that back then.  Maybe you still can.

As for the lobsters, the mother of the family loved them so we picked out half a dozen at the Legal Seafood outlet at Logan Airport in Boston, and had them specially packed so they would fit under my seat.  This was before TSA; it’s quite possible you can no longer do this, since if you bring fresh lobster to overseas friends, the terrorists have won.

3.    I teach writing to prison inmates.

Several years ago, a volunteer organization contacted me and asked me to be one of their teachers.  I found the idea of walking into a prison so completely terrifying that I knew I had to do it. I now teach in four prisons, both with the volunteer organization and independently.

4.    I consort with known felons. 

See #3, above.

5.    My first language is Spanish. 

My father’s first overseas assignment was in Panama, and my older sister was born there.  Having just learned Spanish themselves, my parents decided to speak only that language with the baby for the first few years, a practice they continued with all four of the kids in our family.  This is an impressive feat of parenting, and I have had more than one occasion to thank my folks for it, such as the time I placed out of the language requirement for my master’s degree by translating a page of Latin American theology into English in well under the hour allotted.

6.    I had lived on three continents by the time I was twelve.

See “my father worked for the Foreign Service” at #2, above.

7.    I am a competitive ballroom dancer.

I cherish a fantasy of starring on a show called Dancing with the Overeducated Housewives.

8.    I also lift weights, and have since high school.

In college my friends called me Moose.

9.    I have two degrees in theology.

Which even as I earned them I called “pre-unemployment.”

10.            I have worked variously as a janitor, secretary, whale watch naturalist, park naturalist, and housing coordinator for an opera company.

See “two degrees in theology/pre-unemployment,” above.

11.            When I was writing my first book, I interviewed two FBI agents and was subsequently invited to FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC.

I needed some information about how an FBI investigation would work, so I contacted their PR department and made a nuisance of myself till they caved.  The agents were really lovely, and once they heard my then seven-year-old son wanted to be an FBI agent, they asked him and me to visit them.

12.            I enjoy gardening.

But who doesn’t?     
About the Author:
Tilia Klebenov Jacobs holds a BA from Oberlin College, where she double-majored in Religion and English with a concentration in Creative Writing.  Following an interregnum as an outdoor educator with the Fairfax County Park Authority in Virginia, she earned a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Secondary School Teaching Certification from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Despite lacking the ability to breathe fire except in the strictly metaphorical sense, Tilia has taught middle school, high school, and college.  She has also won numerous awards for her fiction and nonfiction writing.  She is a judge in the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition, and she teaches writing to prison inmates.  Tilia lives near Boston with her husband, two children, and two standard poodles.

Connect with the author at:

Second Helpings at the Serve You Right Café has just been declared a "Best of Summer" read by IndieReader.  Click HERE to check it out!

Tilia is giving two lucky winner signed copies of
Second Helpings at the Serve You Right Café
And everyone who enters gets an e copy of her earlier novel
Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Open Internationally

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Perfect Touch - Giveaway

Perfect Touch: A Novel
By: Elizabeth Lowell
Releasing July 28, 2015
William Morrow


Sara Medina is a designer and art dealer from San Francisco. She matches her clients’ desires with fine and folk art from the world over--living up to her thriving business named Perfect Touch. She still remembers her rural childhood of hard work and poverty on the family dairy farm, but she keeps it firmly in the past as she searches out new artwork and artists that are on the breaking edge of acclaim. After she experienced the cultural riches San Francisco had to offer, she decided her life would be that of an urban career woman rather than a working mom commuting from the suburbs. With the intensive hours and travel required to grow her business to the next level, she has no time or energy left for romantic or family entanglements.

Jay Vermillion recently inherited Vermillion Sky, a ranch that nestles up to Wyoming’s Grand Teton Mountains--and the estates of the rich and restless. As a returned veteran of numerous deployments over the course of two wars, he finds himself wrestling with the demands of a ranch that has been run down during his father’s long illness. Between the urgent need to modernize and revitalize the Vermillion Sky, as well as an unexpected and vicious fight with his former stepmother over the custody of now-valuable paintings that were part of his father’s estate, Jay has no time for finding a wife and creating a sixth generation of Vermillions to ensure the family legacy continues.

When Jay hires Sara to appraise and market his father’s cache of paintings by Harris “Custer” Armstrong, neither one expects the explosive results of their eventual meeting in Jackson, Wyoming. In addition to a mutually inconvenient attraction, they discover double murder at the edge of the ranch lands and a potential betrayal even closer to home. All trails lead to Custer’s artworks as valuable enough to kill for, especially an unknown painted rumored to be called The Muse.

As Sara and Jay unravel the motive for the killings, they both discover that love, like murder, doesn’t wait for a convenient time. On the heels of that soul-shattering realization, Sara is targeted for murder. Suddenly, the war-weary soldier finds something he is once again willing to die for…

Buy Links:  Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo  

Author Info
Elizabeth Lowell’s exciting novels of romantic suspense include New York Times Bestsellers: Dangerous Refuge, Beautiful Sacrifice, Death Echo, The Wrong Hostage, Amber Beach, Jade Island, Pearl Cove, and Midnight in Ruby Bayou. She has also written NYT best-selling historical series set in the American West and Medieval Britain. She has more than 80 titles published to date, with over 24 million copies of her books in print. She lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband, with whom she writes novels under a pseudonym. Her favorite activity is exploring the Western United States to find the landscapes that speak to her soul and inspire her writing.

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Enter to win a print copy of 
NIGHT DIVER by Elizabeth Lowell

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Girl of My Dreams - Review & Giveaway

Review by Marlene Engel
Girl of My Dreams follows a wide-eyed young screenwriter in the 1930s when Hollywood, the Depression, and the Communist Party intersected powerfully in the American psyche. From the glamorous and mysterious star Palmyra Millevoix to the ruthless studio mogul Mossy Zangwill, protagonist Owen Jant struggles to navigate a world that is as seductive as it is toxic. Filled with scandal, romance, murder, riots, and celebrities of the day, Girl of My Dreams shines a spotlight on an American moment in all its magic and malice, glory and greed.

In this enthralling book, the author exposes the dark side of Hollywood’s Golden Age.  Set in the 1930s at the height of the Depression, most associate this era with glamour.  What many are unaware of is all of the exploitation, greed and abuse that took place during that time.  Where people were exploited if believed that they could generate money from their stories.  Everyone from set designers to the directors were caught up in said greed in hopes of being recognized by someone important. 

This story is told by someone who knows first-hand how the industry is run.  Peter Davis grew up with people who lived through and worked during this time.  And, later in his life, Peter directed an Oscar winning documentary, Hearts and Minds.

A powerful story that could only be told by someone who lived it.  Girl of My Dreams is a true to life story full of characters so real that you feel like you’re living the story along with them. 

Purchase this book at:

About the Author:
Davis was born in California, the son of screenwriter parents Frank Davis and the short story writer and novelist Tess Slesinger. After graduating from Harvard, he worked in New York City as a writer and documentary filmmaker. His first documentaries were for CBS News where he made the landmark investigative film The Selling of the Pentagon, which won the Emmy, Peabody, Writers Guild, George Polk, Ohio State, and Saturday Review awards. His next film was the Vietnam War documentary Hearts and Minds, for which he received the Academy Award and France’s Prix Sadoul. Subsequent films include JACK, a biography of John F. Kennedy, which was nominated for two Emmys and won one, and the Middletown series of six films made in one American community, nominated for ten Emmys and received two; one of the films in the series, Seventeen, won first prize at the Sundance Festival.

Connect with the author at:

Tandem Literary is giving one lucky winner
A print copy of Girl of My Dreams
Open Internationally

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Laguna Nights - Review & 12 Things About Kaira

Review by Marlene Engel
After being humiliated by her high school boyfriend on national television, Madison left Laguna Beach the first opportunity she got.  But with her mother’s failing health, she was forced to return.  Working at one of the best resorts, she is determined to keep her past behind her and move on from the days she was on the popular TV show, Laguna Nights.

Josh was known as the heart throb of Laguna Nights.  But now that his two minutes of fame is over, he’s doing everything he can to keep his star shining bright.  When he gets an offer to host a travel show, he jumps at the opportunity.  But it’s when he finds out that the first location will be at his hometown of Laguna Beach that mixed emotions arise.  And, out of all of the places to shoot the first episode, it ends up being at the same resort that his ex, Holly (who now goes by the name Madison), works.

Emotions run high when the two reunite.  Madison is no longer the girl she once was in high school.  In fact, she has tried very hard to keep that person in the past.  Whereas Josh is doing all he can to keep his celebrity for as long as he can.  The sparks are still there, but can Madison get past the pain Josh put her through?  And is Josh more interested in getting two more minutes of fame than making right out of the wrong he did to Madison in the past?

Growing up with the MTV shows: Laguna Beach and the Hills, I immediately fell into this story.  I felt like I walked onto an episode of one of the shows.  The author did a great job making the characters feel relatable and the story believable.  The perfect book to read while laying out on the beach!

Purchase the book at:

“12 Things About Kaira Rouda”

1. I snort when I laugh
2. My childhood was spent moving, a lot. I’ve lived in Chicago, LA, Austin, Boston and finally Columbus, Ohio. My father was a business school professor so I like to say I have a home-schooled MBA. 
3. My first book, Here, Home, Hope, came out in May of 2011. It was one of the most exciting days of my life! I’ve dreamed of being an author since I can remember.
4. My dogs, Tucker and Frankie, can be found quite often on top of my desk as I write. Yes, they’re little!
5. I’m gearing up for empty nesting - and I’m not liking it. 
6. My favorite activity is yoga, and I’ve been practicing for more than fifteen years.
7. My new sport is Pickleball. If you haven’t tried it, you really should! Google it! It’s the fastest growing sport in the US!
8. I’m lucky to be married to my best friend. We just celebrated 25 years of marriage.
9. My kids are my life. I’m so proud of them and the adults they’re becoming. Three boys, one girl. They make my heart sing.
10.  My first book published was a book for women entrepreneurs called Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. What I learned from promoting that book was that writers can’t just create a book and hope for the best. Having a book published is just the first step of the process to finding your readers. My next nonfiction book, Real You for Authors: 8 Essentials for Women Writers comes out next week, just in time for my workshop I’m leading at the RWA conference in New York.
11. Writing has been my passion since I can remember. Whenever I needed to express myself, my deepest real truths, I’ve always found it easier to write it out than to speak it. Sometimes, as we all know, that isn’t possible. But when it is an option, it’s the one I’ll choose. 
12. I’ve had a blast learning the ropes of romance over the last year, and I’m so excited for Laguna Nights. I think it’s a fun story, a wonderful setting, and I love that my son’s photograph is the cover. The book was inspired by my hair stylist, Ashley, who is married to one of the former stars of Laguna Beach, the groundbreaking MTV reality TV show. Whether you were a fan of the series or not, I hope you’ll give it a read. Happy summer!

About the Author:
Kaira Rouda is an Amazon #1 bestselling, multiple award-winning author of three women's fiction novels including HERE, HOME, HOPE, ALL THE DIFFERENCE and IN THE MIRROR. Her bestselling short story is titled, A MOTHER'S DAY. Kaira's work has won the Indie Excellence Award, USA Book Awards, the Reader's Choice Awards and honorable mention in the Writer's Digest International Book Awards. Her books have been widely reviewed and featured in leading magazines. 

Don't miss her sexy contemporary romance series set on INDIGO ISLAND: WEEKEND WITH THE TYCOON, Book 1; HER FORBIDDEN LOVE, Book 2; THE TROUBLE WITH CHRISTMAS, Book 3; and THE BILLIONAIRE'S BID, Book 4. Each of these novellas can be read as a stand alone, or enjoyed as a series. 

Her nonfiction title, REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, continues to inspire women internationally. 

She lives in Southern California with her husband and four almost-grown kids, and is at work on her next novel. 

Connect with Kaira at: