The Way by Kristen Wolf ~ A Review

 ♥♥♥♥♥An Astounding Read ♥♥♥♥♥

Anna is a fiery tomboy living in ancient Palestine whose androgynous appearance provokes ridicule from the people around her and doubt within her own heart. When tragedy strikes her family, and Anna’s father—disguising her as a boy—sells her to a band of shepherds, she is captured by a mystical and secret society of women hiding in the desert. At first Anna is tempted to escape, but she soon finds that the sisterhood’s teachings and healing abilities, wrapped in an ancient philosophy they call “The Way,” have unleashed an unexpected power within her.

When danger befalls the caves in which the sisters have made their home, Anna embarks on a hazardous mission to preserve the wisdom of her mentors by proclaiming it among ordinary people. Her daring quest and newfound destiny reveal, at last, the full truth of her identity—a shocking revelation that will spark as much controversy as it does celebration.

Anna’s story is one of transformation, betrayal, love, loss, deception, and above all, redemption. Readers will cheer for this unforgettable protagonist—and for debut novelist Kristen Wolf, whose beautifully written book both provokes and inspires. A compelling mix of history, myth, and fantasy, The Way is a fascinating exploration of the foundations and possibilities of human spirituality.

~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~

I pride myself on being able to find some fine and good quality about each book I read, but it’s not often that I’m blow away. This was one of those rare times. Kristen Wolf takes a story that most of us knows by heart and puts a new spin on it–the story of Jesus. In the same vein as The Last Temptation of Christ and The DaVinci Code, Kristen weaves an amazing tale of what might have been. I say The Last Temptation because her book gives us a different look into the familiar stories and shows  us a  possibility that borders on speculative fiction. I mention The Da Vinci Code because there is much historical and Biblical fact woven throughout.

This book is effortless and easy to read despite the heavy content. The descriptions are near poetry and play out like a movie unfolding in the mind’s eye. The Way will suck you in and not let you go until the last page. Ever read a book, then hate when you get to the end, knowing it’s over? This is that book.

However, I’m sure this book will spur controversy to those who are steeped in the tales as told in the Good Book. I like to think that I’m opened minded for a Christian. Did the story of Jesus happen like in Kristen’s tale? I don’t know. Do  I believe it happened this way? Uhum…not sure about that either. But what The Way will do is make you stop and think. And I believe that just what Kristen wants for us.

So I  applaud her for the fabulous book and the success of making us stop and examine the truth as we know it. Hats off to you, Kristen Wolf.

~*~*~*~ Meet Kristen ~*~*~*~

Kristen Wolf, 43, is a mother and writer living in the Rocky Mountains. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Georgetown University and holds an M.A. in creative writing and film from Hollins College where she was awarded a full scholarship.
As a child, Wolf grew up in a heavily forested suburb outside New York City with her parents, a younger brother, and an ever-changing menagerie of pet animals.
Both Wolf’s parents and grandparents passed onto her an avid love and respect for nature which explains the photos of Wolf posing with an ever-widening array of pets, including cats, dogs, guinea pigs, mice, quail, two raccoons, chickens, even a squirrel that lived in her bedroom! Needless to say, hers wasn’t the average American family.
Later, Wolf’s family purchased land in upstate New York and on weekends and summers lived like a regular Swiss Family Robinson, clearing the land, building fences, barns and, eventually, raising and tending cattle, horses, pigs, goats, chickens etc. This led to a very unique life for Wolf and her brother as they lived like farmers on the weekends and students in a suburban public school during the week.
Wolf credits her unique childhood for providing her with keen powers of observation, a passion for living things, unlimited curiosity, and a strong independent streak.
As an adult, Wolf has worked primarily as filmmaker and writer.
THE WAY is her first novel.

~*~*~*~  Connect with Kristen ~*~*~*~

Please visit CLP Blog Tours for all the tour stops! **Everyone who leaves a comment on Kristen’s tour page will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of The Way before August 20 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

A Year to Remember by Shelly Bell ~ A Review & More

♥♥♥♥♥ You Gotta Read This Book! ♥♥♥♥♥               

When her younger brother marries on her twenty-ninth birthday, food addict Sara Friedman drunkenly vows to three hundred wedding guests to find and marry her soul mate within the year.  After her humiliating toast becomes a YouTube sensation, she permits a national morning show to chronicle her search. With the help of best friend, Missy, she plunges head first into the shallow end of the dating pool. Her journey leads her to question the true meaning of soul mates, as she decides between fulfilling her vow to marry before her thirtieth birthday and following her heart’s desire. But before she can make the biggest decision of her life, Sara must begin to take her first steps toward recovery from her addiction to food.

~*~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~*~

This is a really long post, so  I’ll keep my review short and sweet. READ THIS BOOK.  But seriously, A Year to Remember is laugh out loud funny, and I was sad to see it end. The kind of book that you want to thumb back through even though you just read the last page. The kind of book with characters you wish you could be friends with. Even better, the ending is *good*, and Sara ends up with the right man for her.  You can’t always say that about chicklit. And y’all know I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Okay, I demand it on a regular basis. There’s no one more deserving of a happy ending than Sara. She’s funny, a good friend, and an all around decent person. That’s not to say that she’s perfect, but isn’t it our imperfections that make us funny, I mean, human. And for Sara, the year is about more than just finding the perfect man. It’s a year of hard self discoveries. As painful as that may be, I wish us all to have A Year to Remember!

~*~*~*~*~ An Excerpt From A Year To Remember ~*~*~*~*~

“Today, I turned twenty-nine and I wonder if I’ll ever meet my own beshert. Did we already meet and fail to recognize we belonged together? Did I lose my chance already?”

I stopped and pondered my own profound musings for a moment, before remembering I still held the microphone. Oh dear, what was I saying? I decided I better wrap it up, since the room started spinning.

“I’m jealous of my brother.” Crap, did that really just come out of my mouth?

“I mean, I’m not jealous just because my younger brother got married before me and I’m twenty-nine with no possible prospects in sight,” I stammered.

The audience giggled, and I wondered if they believed me, because I sure didn’t.

“I’m happy for my brother, because if he can find his beshert, it gives me hope that someday, I will, too.”

Before I could stop myself, the words I would live to regret flew out of my mouth. “Even without a significant man in my life at the moment, I promise you by the time I turn thirty, I will be married.”

Oh my God, did I really just say that? “With that, I’ll end by saying Mazel Tov, Seth and Emily. L’chayim!” I held up my empty glass of champagne.

Everyone clapped as I returned to my table. I hoped the videographer could edit my speech out of the wedding video, or ’I’d never live it down. My brother would play it at every holiday just to torture me.

Missy gave me a sympathetic smile. “That was a great speech until you blew it by admitting you were jealous and swore to marry by your thirtieth birthday.”

I groaned and put my head in my hands, terrified to think the night just started.

~*~*~*~*~ Let’s Hear From Shelly ~*~*~*~*~

Where did the story idea come from/how did it come about? 

I was working on another book when the idea for A Year to Remember downloaded in my head as my family and I drove to the movie theater. That’s literally what happened; The scenes, main character names, and even the title, came to me all at once like a downloaded movie. I skipped the film I was supposed to see and wrote the outline in the lobby. Three months later, I had a completed manuscript.

When I was turning thirty, I decided I needed to do anything and everything to find a husband. I used to say my dates were so bad, I should write a book about them. Eight years later I did.

One thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book.  

I’m hoping they’ll walk away with the knowledge that weight can be a symptom of food addiction and it’s not always about lack of willpower.

Why did you choose your genre? 

I love reading Chick Lit, especially books by Jennifer Weiner and Jane Green (I apologize to them if they feel that classifying them as Chick Lit authors demeans them. That’s not my intention.) To me, it’s the most personal way for readers to identify with the protagonist. I wanted my readers to know what goes on in a food addict’s mind.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing? 

Finding the time is difficult for me. I’m a full-time attorney and I have two elementary aged children, so I’m often writing at the table while my kids do their homework. I gave up television in order to write.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?   

Join a writer’s organization like Romance Writers of America. There is such a wealth of information to be found from peers. It’s not only about the writing these days. Authors are expected to know about the publishing industry and how to market themselves. Savvy Authors is another great resource to learn about the industry and it offers excellent workshops. Most importantly, don’t give up!

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?  

There are some days when the words don’t flow. On those days, I don’t write. I’ll edit or research. I take a step back and wait for it. Usually, it’s when I’m not thinking about it that I’ll get an idea. The inspiration can come from anywhere, but often times it’s through lyrics in a song on the radio.

 What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers? 

Beta readers are a great tool to utilize while you’re writing. That way, you can have other people tell you what’s working and not working. It’s different from a critique partner or writing group because beta readers aren’t writers; they’re readers. Social media is another tool that’s important. It connects you to potential readers, but more importantly, it connects you to others in the industry. I find writers to be very supportive, and I love making contact with them through Twitter and Facebook. Once you have a finished manuscript, a website or blog is an absolute must.

~*~*~*~*~ Author Bio ~*~*~*~*~

Shelly Bell started reading at three years old. In elementary school, the librarian gave her books to test out for the school library. As a teenager, she spent her allowance each week on romance novels, enjoying both young adult and adult romance.

Married to Jason in 2003, they have two children and reside in the metro-Detroit area, where she reads on her Kindle each night when her family falls asleep.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America and writes both women’s fiction and paranormal romance.

~*~*~*~*~ Connect with Shelly ~*~*~*~*~

Twitter Facebook

Pinterest             LinkedIn

Google Plus       Goodreads

~*~*~*~*~ Buy the Book ~*~*~*~*~

 ~*~ For e-book ~*~

Soul Mate Publishing


Barnes and Noble

 ~*~ For paperback ~*~


Barnes and Noble

~*~*~*~*~ Shelly On Tour ~*~*~*~*~

Paula Takes a Risk by Randi Sherman

Paula Takes a Risk by Randi Sherman

♥~♥~♥~♥~♥ A Fun Read ♥~♥~♥~♥~♥

After thirty-four years of just letting life happen to her, Paula Tenenbaum’s mundane existence was suddenly interrupted. It was bad enough to be fired from her job because she was “average”, but on that same day, her boyfriend also dumped her for being “un-dynamic.” Somehow, someway Paula needed to make a change. But before she could figure out what her first step should be, her scheming neighbor Larry tapped into her silent desperation and dreams and challenged everything that she believed about herself. At first Paula was skeptical and scared, but quickly, she realized that she had nothing to lose, as she donned the persona of the successful, and vibrant individual that she had always dreamed of being, navigating thru business, colorful personalities and the people that she had idolized from afar. Written with sharp humor, and huge personality, Paula Takes A Risk is the hilarious story about the metamorphosis of Paula Tenenbaum, who naively enters into an adventure that changes her life. This is a story certain to strike a chord in anyone who secretly desires change, but is afraid to make it.

~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~~*~*~

I think there’s a little bit of Paula in all of us. Timid, in a rut, comfortable in our life even if we’re not necessarily *happy* with it. And like most of us, Paula needs an outside force to get her moving in a new direction. I guess that’s what losing your job, your longtime boyfriend breaking up with you, and having a manipulative neighbor can do for a person.

Paula gets dragged from her safe-haven of a life and into a world of deception. Not the espionage kind, but the “putting on airs in order to impress people and make them believe you are something that you are not” variety. At the encouragement of her neighbor, Larry, Paula pretends to be an executive vice president of a fictional investment company. But somewhere along the way, a stab of conscious gets to her and the dream world they build comes crashing around their ears.

One thing I really enjoyed about Paula Takes a Risk–other than Randi Sherman’s snarky sense of humor–is that Randi doesn’t overwhelm the reader with the ins and outs of the business world. She definitively catered to her readers with this. Women who  picked up the book for a fun and sassy read, but didn’t necessarily want to learn how to take over Wall Street in three easy steps.

But there was one problem with Paula Takes a Risk. It was just too short!

Seriously though, Paula Takes a Risk is a great read: laugh-out-loud funny while it makes the reader wonder if it’s time for them to take a risk as well.

~*~*~*~ Let’s hear from Randi ~*~*~*~

Patience: I wish I had more.

I chose the self-publishing route because I lack the giselle-like grace and patience to jump through the burning hoops of fire that the publishing world has put into place for new authors.

Submit an outline. No, submit the first seven pages or first chapter, whichever is shorter. What else have you written?  Are you well known? Are you as important as a misbehaved, illiterate rap or reality star or perhaps the drug addled or fourteen year old celebrity who is writing his memoirs – because they are the literary works that are slotted for this year’s print and release. This is what the new author has to look forward to.

I had to be honest with myself. My books are contemporary fiction and may not withstand the multi-year wait or fermentation on a publisher’s desk. To illustrate my point, imagine the difference between:

“Marilyn pulled out her four pound Motorola Brick Analogue Mobile telephone, raised its antennae, and closed her eyes as she tried to recall John’s phone number. As she listened to the third crackling ring, she prayed that he was home. Maybe he would come and help her change the flat tire.”


“Marilyn pulled out her iPhone and pressed the road assistance icon.”

I was coming upon a milestone birthday and I looked at my life, my choices, and my goals. I wanted to make a change. I looked at the book that I had been working on it off-and-on for years. It was ready. The book Paula Takes a Risk is about takings risks to make dreams come true, and I asked myself: If not now, then when and if not me, well… then who?

I did an online search for self-publishing services. I found that there were plenty to choose from. So, I chose one. The account manager was attentive. A copy editor was assigned and I worked with a designer on the cover. The account manager worked with me on pricing and target audiences and I even purchased a social networking promotional guidance package. The whole process was straight forward and easy. In my dreams, it was only a matter of time before my biggest problem would be managing my schedule around my book signing tour and interviews.  I ignored the truth, which is, I was a client and the publisher simply provided printing and publishing services. The rest was up to me.

Sure when I received the box containing hardcopies of the Paula Takes A Risk, I thought – Wow, here we go! But the work was just beginning. My only regret is that I should have taken the time earlier in the process to learn how to be my own literary agent, publicist and cheer leader. I’m doing that now.

This is what I have learned:

Writing the book is the easy part.

Be realistic. What are you true goals?

Take your time and find the right self-publishing partner

You don’t have to spend a ton on money to self-publish, there all types of choices to make (hardcopies verses on-line book sources)

Learn about social media and how to use it

Learn some patience.

~*~*~*~ Author Bio ~*~*~*~

Randi Sherman, a native Californian, lives in San Francisco. With her tremendous grasp of the obvious, Randi has always had the ability to find humor in the mundane and share the laughter. She dares to examine and discuss everyday foibles, which obliges people to stop taking themselves too seriously.
Developing characters and writing have been a part of Randi’s life since she was a teenager, umm-mmum-mumm years ago. She spent time performing stand-up comedy at Los Angeles club amateur nights and studied Improvisation in the Bay Area. Realizing that she preferred having an income, living indoors and eating regularly, she reluctantly put her dreams on hold and entered the corporate world, yet never left behind her sense of humor and creative storytelling ability, skills which were not always appreciated during budget and strategy meetings.
Now, after living indoors for a while and eating, albeit too much, her book, Paula Takes a Risk is here. Randi’s unique wit, writing style and candor will surely make the reader sit up, stand up, roll over or assume an interested leaning position and take notice.
Randi would never claim to have a genius IQ, the body of a super model or always have the right thing to wear. However, she can spell the words, “smart” and “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Randi maintains a trim, well-toned body that is cleverly concealed beneath twenty pounds of soft protective layering and she has the appetite of a bird. (By “bird” I mean vulture.) Her entire wardrobe consists of black, black and varying degrees of black, except for those items that are covered with lint because she put them through the wash with a tissue.
Things that Randi cannot live without: people to laugh with, her car horn, a gym membership where there are chubby women who break into a sweat while putting on a jog bra, wine, waist capes, and her partner, Carol.
Randi does not like mean-spirited people, liver, left-overs, communal dressing rooms, tight underwear, and people who point.
Randi is five-foot-seven.

~*~*~*~ Connect with Paula & Randi ~*~*~*~

~*~*~*~ Buy the Book ~*~*~*~

~*~*~*~ Randi on Tour ~*~*~*~

Thanks to Paula and Randi for visiting today. And thanks to you for joining us!

Lots of <3–Amie

Brownie Fix by Ellen Cardona ~ A review

~♥~♥~♥~ An Interesting Read~ ♥~♥~♥~

~*~*~*~ The Blurb ~*~*~*~

Chocolate. Love. Sex. Really, what else could a woman want in life? For Persey, the heroine of Brownie Fix, her days are fun-filled until what is normally one of life’s most fulfilling experiences, the birth of her son, leads her straight into a dark state of postpartum depression. Wandering in her own postpartum hell, Persey meets people that are absurd, like the swinging neighbors who want a little more than a cup of sugar and a group of mothers who become whipped up in worship to a climactic furor. On top of the madness, she keeps seeing a yellow-toothed old man who acts like he wants to breastfeed from her. Or is it her imagination? Add the voices in her head that become louder and louder, and it’s little wonder that Persey reaches for brownie mix to soothe her insanity. Buckling under the pressure and lack of sleep from motherhood, Persey experiences the five stages of grief that lead her to uncover a buried secret, and gradually she begins to heal with the help of her family, friends, and, of course, brownies.

~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~

It happens all the time, I’ll see a preview for a movie and think, “That’s going to be so funny. I can’t wait to see it.” Once I get to the theater, I discover that the funniest parts are in the trailer. Though the movie is enjoyable and has merits all its own, it isn’t the comedy I was led to believe. Such is my experience with Brownie Fix.

I consider myself to have a very well developed sense of humor. But the ‘dark humor’ that is promised in this book was lost on me. When I read the blurb, I thought I was in for a funny little romp, a struggle for sanity in a most humorous manner. But I guess to say that any struggle for sanity can be funny is a joke in itself.

Midway through the novel, I had to wipe the lighthearted (though a strange) cover from my mind and concentrate on what was truly on the page—a women desperately swimming in a swirling pool of hormones, denial, and depression.

Another setback is the crazy people who keep turning up in Persey’s life. I find it hard to believe that anyone could encounter that many fruit loops in such a short period of time. Add to this the presence of the old man who says horribly inappropriate things to her and most probably doesn’t exist, I have to wonder if she encounters the swinging neighbors and the thrashing holy rollers at all. Maybe they are just part of her brain trying to save her before it’s too late.

Yet once I changed my thought process about the book and I stopped trying to find the humor where there was none, I enjoyed the book. Persey is likeable and believable even if most of the people she encounters aren’t. Her husband is a good man, a fine dad, and genuinely loves her. Her mother is a little eccentric, but still someone you’d expect to meet. And her mother in law? Well, she is the mother in law, after all.

As much as I wanted the comedy I thought I was about to read, there is a good, solid story trapped beneath the layers of Persey’s weird, psycho world. All in all, I enjoyed Brownie Fix. I only wish that I didn’t feel as if I had been misled from the start.

~*~*~*~ About Ellen ~*~*~*~

Ellen Cardona wrote Brownie Fix to help deal with the postpartum depression she experienced after one of her pregnancies. Through her writing, she found that postpartum depression was real but conquerable, especially when one has the help of some dark chocolate and even darker humor.
When Ellen is not writing, she teaches literature to college freshmen and attempts to help them understand the writing process, though they think she’s crazy because of her love for literature and writing.
Ellen graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a PhD in Humanities with a specialization in Literature. Even though she has published several academic works on Ezra Pound, she could not ignore her true passion as a fiction writer.
Ellen lives in Richardson, Texas and continues to learn daily from her husband and two children. In good times and bad, she still enjoys her brownies.
~*~*~*~ Connect with Ellen ~*~*~*~
Twitter:!/ellencardona <>  <>

Email: ellen (at)ellencardona(dot)com
~*~*~*~ Buy the Book ~*~*~*~Amazon Kindle:

Nook: at Amazon:

~*~*~*~ Ellen’s Tour ~*~*~*~
CLP Blog Tours
A big special “thanks” to Ellen for allowing me to be a part of her tour. And thanks to everyone who stopped by. Leave a comment on Ellen’s tour page (link above) to be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Brownie Fix before July 30 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries. Whoop! Be sure to take advantage of this! 
Lots of <3–Amie

Memoirs of a Mom on the Edge by Elizabeth Loan ~ A Review

♥♥♥♥♥ ADD THIS ONE TO YOUR TRB ( Very Soon) LIST ♥♥♥♥♥

Memoirs Of A Mom On The Edge - Part One - Martinis & Menopause

Ever wondered how men develop temporary blindness when there are dirty dishes in the sink or children covered in goo? Ever questioned the legitimacy of stretch marks and saggy breasts as “badges of motherhood?” Ever cursed cottage cheese for its bland taste and resemblance to the cellulite hiding on the back of your thighs (how does consuming a food that looks like cellulite banish it?)? “Memoirs of a Mom on the Edge,” scrutinizes the conventional wisdom of ‘everything female’. Using her own life as a springboard, Loan takes on all the taboo topics, leaving no stone unturned. Welcome to the wonderful world of womanhood, Elizabeth Loan style. Buckle up, ladies. It’s going to be one helluva ride.

~*~*~*~*~ Amie’s Review ~*~*~*~*~

What can I say about a book with 39 pages? Well, for starters it was a *fun* read. Quick? Well, duh…but it’s jam packed with humor, family memories, and the never-say-never stories that always come back to bite us in the butt. What started out to be rants, er, posts on her blog, Elizabeth turned her everyday thoughts and memories into an enjoyable piece of writing that I didn’t want to end.

My favorite part is “Giving an Asperger’s  Kid the Rorschach Ink Blot Test” It goes like this–

Doctor: Look at these pictures and tell me what you see.

Son: I see blobs of ink.

Doctor: Yes, you are correct,  but what do the blobs look like?

Son: They look like blobs of ink.

Doctor: But, what do you see *inside* the blobs of ink?”

Son: I see more blobs of spilled ink.

Doctor: OKay, I think we’re done here.

Maybe it’s having a kid close to “the spectrum”, or maybe it’s my own diet woes, the cottage cheese on my thighs and the complaints I hear about generic foods, but I believe there’s something in Memoirs for everyone. And hallelujah, there’s a Part 2! :)

~*~*~*~*~ About Elizabeth ~*~*~*~*~

Elizabeth (E.B.) Loan was born and raised in the western suburbs, just outside great city of Chicago.
Currently, she resides in her garden cottage with her husband, children, and numerous animals that require constant care.
A mother of five, E.B. writes until the wee hours of the morning and travels with her husband, kids & three rescued German Shepherds.
~*~*~*~*~ Buy Memoirs of a Mom on he Edge &/or Confessions of a PTA Mafia Mom ~*~*~*~*~
~*~*~*~*~ Connect with Elizabeth ~*~*~*~*~
~*~*~*~*~ Thanks for coming by! ~*~*~*~*~

Dark is the Sky by Jessica Chambers ~ A Review


I’ve mentioned before how lucky I am, and it just keeps coming. Last year I got to read Voices on the Waves by Jessica Chambers. And this year Jessica sent me her second book, Dark is the Sky. The books are very different and yet they are a lot the same (in a good way).  Like Voices, Dark is the Sky is about people, a slice of life with a story to tell. It’s about the dynamics and logistics that occur when people get together. But unlike Voices, the people in Dark is the Sky are family. And Dark is the Sky is a bit…well, dark.

The Cameron family has come together for the weekend. Sounds pretty normal, right? Except the Camerons haven’t all been under the same roof in twelve years. Not since the weekend at Joel’s farm when their brother, Scott died. But his girlfriend wants everyone together, because she has suspicions that Scott was murdered.

Now, you should know by now, that I don’t read and tell. So if you want to know the ending, you’ll have to read it for yourself. What I *will* tell you is Dark is the Sky is a unique a story of a family in denial, twins who don’t speak to each other, first cousins who have fallen in love, and extra martial affairs that could rip the family (even more) apart.

Even better, Dark is the Sky is told in a unique way, skipping from present to past as the days of the weekend coincide. This style kept me turning pages and continually guessing if Scott’s death really was an accident. And if it wasn’t who the murderer could be.

Dark is the Sky is a page turning, slice of life story about a family discovering hidden secrets and praying that their revelations won’t tear all of their carefully constructed lives apart.

Oh, and it’s definitely ‘must read’!

But you don’t have to just take my word for it. Here’s an excerpt of Dark is the Sky by Jessica Chambers.

~*~*~*~*~ EXCERPT ~*~*~*~*~

“So,” Tim said, filling the painful silence, “how’s business with the vegetables?”

From his stiff-backed position on the sofa, Joel stared coldly at his twin and sister-in-law seated on either side of the drawing-room fire. “Evidently not as prosperous as yours. Olivia and I had to forego buying Lottie a Porsche this year.”

Carla let out a tinkling laugh. The sound stabbed through Joel’s aching head and he cringed.

Tim’s expression flickered at his curtness, but he smiled. “And I’m sure Lottie is much better off for not being spoilt like mine have been. You’re doing all right, though, aren’t you?”

“I’m earning a living, if that’s what you mean. A good, honest living.”

If Tim noticed the slight behind the words, he didn’t show it. “I’m glad.”

“You are?”

“Course I am. You can’t think I’d want you to fail.”

Joel said nothing, knowing the skepticism was plain to read in his eyes, and Tim bowed his head. Silence smothered the room, broken only by the crackle of the fire. Joel’s resentment burned as fiercely as the logs in the grate. How could Liv do this to him? She knew how he felt about Tim and Carla, even if he had never been able to confide in her the reason behind his hostility. Yet, she’d forced him into entertaining them for a whole bloody weekend, when all he wanted to do was fight to save his marriage. If this was her way of paying him back, she couldn’t have dreamt up a more effective punishment.

“Think I’ll go and get ready for dinner,” Carla said, and set her empty wine glass on the mantelpiece. “Okay if I have a shower, Joel?”

He didn’t look at her. “You know where the bathroom is.”

“Joel, your hospitality overwhelms me. With manners like that, you should open this place as a hotel.”

Once Carla had gone, the men sat in mute awkwardness, staring into their whiskey and sodas.

“What’s wrong?” Tim said at length. “Besides your problem with me, I mean.”

Joel raised his eyebrows. “What makes you think there’s anything else?”

“Come off it. We may not be close anymore, but you’re still my twin. I can see when something’s bothering you, and I wish you’d tell me what it is.”

Joel looked away, chest tight. He and Tim were once inseparable, all the closer for being best mates as well as identical twins. They shared everything, celebrating one another’s triumphs and picking each other up when they fell. What a relief it would be to cry on his brother’s shoulder, admit the mess he’d made of his marriage, and let Tim calm his fears as he used to. But that was out of the question. Joel’s fingers clenched around his tumbler. Tim had forfeited the trust between them and there was no getting it back.

“It’s nothing,” Joel said, voice hard. If Tim thought he would forget his betrayal, let alone forgive him, he had better think again.

~*~*~*~*~ About Jessica~*~*~*~*~

Jessica Chambers has a passion for writing contemporary novels packed with emotion, complex relationships and often a touch of mystery. She is the author of two published works, her debut, Voices on the Waves, reaching the finals of the 2011 RomCon Readers’ Crown Award. Currently, she is straying into the unknown and attempting her first young adult novel.

Visually impaired from birth, Jessica currently lives with her family and Staffordshire bull terrier in the English town ofWindsor. In addition to devouring fiction of all genres, she is a huge dog lover, staunch supporter of Liverpool FC, and admits to being addicted to TV quiz shows.

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Finding Felicity by Monica Marlow ~ A review

♥♥♥♥♥It’s a Great Book♥♥♥♥♥

When Madeline O’Connor learns that her estranged sister is gravely ill, she leaves behind her life in Manhattan to be at her sister’s side in Italy. There, she discovers an ancient Benedictine monastery that accommodates travelers, and she decides to stay there, among the monks. Everything in her life turns upside down when she falls for Brother Anthony Lamberti, a soft-spoken Italian completely different from the men she knows in New York. Together Madeline and Anthony find love for the first time, and learn that life and love always find a way. When her sister dies, a new life for Madeline begins. A new life that she would never have imagined and yet is perfect for her in every way.

 ~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~ 

Well, I just finished Finding Felicity by Monica Marlow. What did I think of the book? Is it possible to love a book as much as you hate it? I think so, because that’s just how I feel about Finding Felicity. What did I love about it? It’s set mostly in Italy in the beautiful monastery of St Valentines. The heroine, Maddie, has come to Italy to reconcile with her sister who has cancer. Her sister who had an affair with Maddie’s husband. While visiting the monastery where her nephew Johnathan is learning to become a monk, Maddie meets, Anthony, a handsome and unusual monk. (Incidentally, Johnathan is the product of the affair between Maddie’s sister and her husband. Not a spoiler, but shows just what well-rounded, true to life characters Monica has created. )

I also while in Italy, Madeline meets up with Tyler, a business associate from New York. While they reconnect, Madeline falls in love with the monastery…and Anthony. But love with a monk is a tricky endeavor. And as Madeline’s sister’s disease progresses, Madeline has to make a choice between two important aspects in her life–her business, her life in New York, and the love of Tyler or Anthony and Italy.

And this is where the hate comes in. I hate heart wrenching choices, I  hate crying my eyes out, and I hate reading a book that I love knowing it’s not going to  end well. I’m a romance writer, I want a happy ending. And though Finding Felicity has one, it’s still heart breaking all the same.

Kudos to Monica for evoking such emotion. I finished the book with a renewed love of Italy and all things Italian. The wonderment of fabulous characters and a desire to re-read The Thornbirds.

So as much as I hated it, I loved it. I have to say it’s well worth the read.

~*~*~*~ Author Bio~*~*~*~

Monica Marlowe was born in Toronto and later moved to Los Angeles. While in LA, Monica studied the craft of novel writing and participated in the Noel Hynd Workshop. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Spiritual Psychology. Now, Monica makes her home in North Carolina and divides her time between the East and West Coasts. Monica is currently writing a memoir, The Gift Horse, about acquiring her first horse and finding herself on a most unexpected path. Monica writes stories about heroes and heroines who follow their heart, wherever the path may lead, knowing that the heart has reasons of its own.

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A BIG thanks to Monica for sharing Finding Felicity with me. And another whopping thanks to all of you for stopping by.

Lots of <3–Amie