Sparkle ~ A Book Review

I’d like to first say that I had decided to move all of my reviews to my review site www.amiesreviews.wordpress.com and then I read Sparkle. So I’m breaking my own rule. But this book is too good not to share more than once. So here’s the review copied and pasted for more exposure. We girls have to get the word out–this book is truly a ‘must read’.

Sparkle by Cara Alwill Leyba ~ A Review

sparkleAs women, we have become professional self-critics. We’ve become so convinced by society that we need to attain a level of perfection that just isn’t real. Whether it’s trying to get skinnier, look younger, get that promotion, please our parents, get fuller lips or rid ourselves of cellulite — we’re on a never ending mission to change and it always makes us feel like crap.

Instead, why not focus on all the fabulous qualities we already possess? There is so much to celebrate when we look at all of our accomplishments. In this straight-up girlfriend’s guide, lifestylist and wellness coach Cara Alwill Leyba encourages women to discover what makes them sparkle so that they can design the lives they desire and deserve. So raise your glass and toast yourself. You’re about to start shimmering, shining, and dazzling every day. Because isn’t everything better when it sparkles?

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

Absolutely Fabulous! How’s that for a review? But seriously…I got my days mixed up and started Sparkle yesterday. Nothing like a little pressure to get the ol’  heart racing. But Sparkle is extremely easy to read with a conversational tone that smacks (in a good way) of a heart-to-heart with your best friend. And what a great conversation. From dieting advice, tips on self esteem and how to feel utterly fabulous every day of your life, Sparkle has it all. The only problem with reading it in one sitting (and that is totally possible)  is that  Sparkle is jammed-packed full of great advice. So much so that trying to absorb it all in a couple of hours is impossible. My advice to you is buy the  book, read it  all at once, then read it  a second time a section a day. (That’s my plan) Buy a copy for your closest friends and discuss it on a regular basis. The subtitle on the cover it dead-on. This is “The Girl’s Guide to Living a Deliciously Dazzling, Wildly Effervescent , Kick-Ass Life.” So what are you waiting for? Go out and get a copy now! Sarah Grimm, your copy is in the mail! :)

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

cara leybaCara Alwill Leyba is a best selling author, and certified life and wellness coach from New York City who empowers women to live their most effervescent lives and celebrate themselves. She encourages women to indulge in the things that make them happy, and swears that every woman can live a “champagne life,” no matter how busy she is or how tight her budget.

Her blog, The Champagne Diet, boasts a following of thousands of loyal readers and has been featured in Glamour, Shape, Cafe Mom, Daily Mail UK, MSN Australia, AOL UK Lifestyle, and a host of other publications worldwide. Cara’s writing has been featured in The Huffington Post, xJane, Mind Body Green, MTV News, and many other sites.

Cara regularly appears on the “Ask Dr. Fritz” radio show on WWRL New York, where she helps host Dr. Fritz answer questions from callers about love, career, family, relationships and more. She also hosts her own lifestyle and wellness show, “Uncork Your Best Self” on Blog Talk Radio.

Cara’s first book, SPARKLE, became an immediate #1 bestseller on Amazon in both the Happiness and Self-Esteem categories upon hours of its release. She celebrated the release of her book with a book signing in New York City this past fall.

When she’s not popping bubbly, blogging, or working with her coaching clients, Cara spends her days leading a digital advertising team at MTV Networks. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and dog-child. For more on Cara visit www.LiveCreateSparkle.com

~*~*~*~ Connect with Cara ~*~*~*~

Cara’s website: www.LiveCreateSparkle.com
Cara’s blog: www.TheChampagneDiet.com
Want to learn how to sparkle? Join Cara’s “Sparkling Start” workshop next month and kick off 2013 in glittering, shimmering style!http://www.livecreatesparkle.com/group-workshops.html 

  ~*~*~*~ Buy the Book ~*~*~*~
Amazon

Debbie Dyke, Author of The Bloody Mary Club

I love having special guests on my blog., and today’s guest is no exception. She has a fabulous resume–screen writer turned novelist and expert (imho) on the  stock market. She’s here to talk about her book, The Bloody Mary Club and her adventures into  writing and publishing. Here’s a warm round of cyber applause for Debbie Dyke!

Thank you for inviting to post to your blog! I’m the author of The Bloody Mary Club, a financial thriller about an all women investment club that gets into trouble when their portfolio turns deadly.  I’m very passionate about the stock market and investments.  I’m also fascinated by the recent Ponzi schemes and financial scams that have been reported in the front page news. I’ve watched the bank meltdowns with great interest. As a former stockbroker, I’ve met a few embezzlers and worked with several bad brokers who’ve run away with client’s money.

My first venture into financial writing was “The Wall Street Calendar.”  I received a 365 day calendar for Christmas several years ago; it was called “money saving tips.” It was awful! Each day I’d cringe with the new tidbit of information. Example:  to save on toilet paper step on the roll. By flattening, you will save on paper use! At some point I said, “this is so bad, I could write a better one.” And sure enough, once I said that I had to go through with it.  I started working on a smart Wall Street Calendar which if you are paying attention put to good use at the beginning of each chapter of The Bloody Mary Club.  My Wall Street 365 day calendar caught the attention of the publisher of the most the most well regarded financial commentator at the time– Lou Rukeyser.

After I completed the calendar, I took a screenwriting class for fun and was hooked.The fun stopped once my scripts started to get attention.  When I was featured in Script Magazine, the editor, Shelly Mellott, liked my financial know-how so much she asked me to join her with the magazine as an owner. As you can tell, I’m an asset-focused gal, I put my money where my passion lies and became an owner. We were a great team. Script Magazine has since been sold to Final Draft.  It was the most fun ever!  I went to scriptwriting and film fests all over the United States. I met writers, producers, directors and agents. It opened doors for my writing and gave me amazing exposure. Over the years, I wrote five screen plays, several treatments, and articles for magazines. Two of my screenplays were option by HBO and an A list actress. I also collaborated with award winning director Uli Edel ( Baader Meinhof Complex, Tyson, Purgatory, Little Vampires) on a action movie called Closing In.

The best advice I received was from a top agent at CAA . He told me that if you wanted to be respected in Hollywood and control your work, you need to be novelist. Novelists are held in very high regard. Screenwriters are at the bottom of the barrel of the Hollywood pecking order and many aren’t even invited to their own opening night. I took his advice to heart. The Bloody Mary Club novel is based on my script.

I describe The Bloody Mary Club as a smart girl financial fiction. I won’t tell you how to get a man, buy fabulous heels or decorate a swanky condo, but I will use investing terms, mention stocks and weave a story about the ins and outs of a bank takeover.  Although it’s fiction, it has real world relevance.  I want to make the stock market and investing understandable and fun. I aim to increase the interest in Chick lit financial thrillers. In this era of bankruptcy’s, foreclosures and retirements in question, you need to know how to chart your own course. My characters in the investment club are women in their forties with no financial security and desperately rely on Gina Van Story to save them from a dead end retirement. All she demands is that the investment earrings stay put in the club until retirement age. This of course is a downer for them because Gina has all the toys and is about to enter the 1% club. They want to spend their club profits as soon they get them and Gina won’t allow it.  It’s the classic battle of the ‘haves’ versus the ‘have not’s’.

Ladies! This is your wake up call to take get your financial house in order. Don’t wait for a rich prince to come and save you! Here’s a passage from The Bloody Mary Club, Page 28 where my lead character Gina gives her ladies a wakeup call for being lazy about their finances:

“You’ve all grown up thinking you can’t handle this stuff and if you’re a good girl, some big strong man will come along and take care of it for you. Wake up. It’s not going to happen. Without this club, you’ll be greeters at Wal-Mart when you’re seventy,” Gina plucked a shrimp from her drink and jiggled it at Vivi. “Your legal secretary job isn’t secure.”

Vivi picked imaginary lint off her slinky top.

“What happens when your on-man-shop lawyer is thrown in jail for tax evasion? You’re pushing fifty, who’s going to hire a legal secretary who types on an electric typewriter and uses shorthand?”

Vivi pouted.

Gina moved onto Sarah busy snacking on peanuts: “And you can’t stretch your paycheck. You’re floating your bills. If mommy and daddy didn’t help out, you’d have no phone service, electricity or water. What are you going to do when they aren’t around? You think you’ll inherit their money? Statistics aren’t on your side. Mom and the General will need that money for their nursing home care. Your ex will get the last laugh as he skis down the slopes in Zermatt after having a wine and raclette meal paid for from his impenetrable trust fund.”

Sarah picked at her cuticles with one eye stuck in a half blink. “You forgot Joanie, she’s a mess”

After reading The Bloody Mary Club, I hope that the reader will realize that financial thrillers are fun to read and you might even learn something about the stock market. Through my story you will see that even the fat cats top get ripped off and that there are no get rich quick shortcuts.   In this era of self-directed IRA’s, everyone is responsible for their financial future and must make wise investment decisions. We all need to be savvy investors or else face a painful and dismal retirement. I make it clear through my characters that there are short cuts to make money or guarantees to double your return

I like it when readers tell me that they learned something from The Bloody Mary Club and that they also enjoyed the story. I’ve gotten a great response from readers that don’t normally follow the stock market or have an interest in anything concerning money. Readers have asked me to give them financial advice, to look over a proposed investment or even verify their trading strategies.  In this day and age with retirement up in the air, it’s gratifying to have this kind of positive response.  Through my writing, I want to make the stock market fun and understandable. I’m not looking to write the all encompassing story about Wall Street, I want to write about a tiny slice of Wall Street and stay within that framework.  My next novel, Gina’s Tonic, focuses on day trading and money laundering. There’s going to be offshore money maneuvers, a day-trader who’s forced to trade for profit or else die and nasty drug dealers trying to launder truckloads of money. For sure, the gin and tonics will flow on this novel!!

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my journey with you.  I hope you enjoy reading The Bloody Mary Club and come away with an appreciation of all things financial!  You can keep up with me by visiting my website:  www.DebbieDyke.com,

My blog;: http://debbiedykebooks.blogspot.com/

Facebook at: DebbieDykeBooks.

Cheers! Debbie Dyke, Author, The Bloody Mary Club.

Thanks for stopping by, Debbie. Readers if you want to know more about The Bloody Mary Club and Debbie Dyke, there’s an interview and review of The Bloody Mary Club at my review site, www.amiesreviews.wordpress.com

Samantha March

Publisher- Marching Ink

Book Reviewer/Freelance Editor

Blog Tour Coordinator

Author of Destined to Fail

ChickLitPlus.com

CLP Blog Tours

Twitter: @Chicklitplus

Facebook: Chicklitplus

I am in the process of switching servers for CLP and my email is connected to that. If you try to email me and get an undeliverable message, please try again at a later time. Thank you for your patience!

Five minutes after the close of the market, Gina was perched on the corner of her desk with her legs crossed tightly. Andrew sat before her in an armchair diverting his eyes away from her legs.

“Miss Van Story…”

“Call me Gina.” She drummed her fingers on her desk. “So Andrew, there are 1000 shares outstanding. Give me some numbers.”

“Six thousand dollars a share.”

Gina fixed her gaze on him and forced a straight face.

“I think that’s in the ballpark. At least third base if not a home run.” Andrew returned her gaze. “It’s a damn good offer…if I may say so myself.”

“It’s quite good,” Gina replied poker-faced.

Andrew gestured to the paperwork spread out on her desk. “Looks like you’re a busy lady. Why don’t you give me a list of the shareholders and I’d be happy to call them for you.”

“That’s not the way I do things.”

“I think your shareholders would be pleased to hear from me. Otherwise, I want you to inform them about our off er as soon as possible.” Andrew inched forward in his chair, “And lucky you, a sale could make you a lot of commission.”

“If you have anything in writing, you can leave it with me.” Gina sprung off the desk and struck out her hand. “I’ll look it over and make a decision.”

“I’m getting the feeling that you’re not taking me seri­ously.” Andrew dug into his briefcase and offered her an AU folder. “We’re committed to this deal.”

“Rest assured, Mr. Walsh, I take your proposal very seriously.” She set the package on the desk and turned her back on him.

“As the Beck Bank market maker, you have a fiduciary responsibility to present them with my offer.” Andrew cleared his throat then blasted, “And I expect you to do that.”

Gina spoke softly, barely above a whisper. “I know what my job is, Mr. Walsh. Maybe I should explain it to you. I match buyers and sellers.” She made two fists and smashed them together. “When someone wants to sell their shares, they call me and I go down my client waiting list and find who’s next in line to buy. I have a very long waiting list. Some clients have waited for years before they even get one share. I’m sure you’ve realized by now that that these shares are thinly traded, not a lot of them floating around. And here’s the most unusual thing, I don’t even get a commission on trades.” She went to the credenza and held up a bound report. “I keep the books. Balance out the shares. Handle all accounting. Again, I do all of this for free.”

The Artist’s Inheritance –A Review

♥♥♥♥♥ You Gotta Read This Book! ♥♥♥♥♥

Settling into their new home in Gulf Breeze, Florida, Caitlin finds strange changes coming over her husband Trevor. He seems obsessed with a beautiful chair he’s carving.

When the nightmares deepen and ghosts begin lurking—she knows something’s not right, and not just her newfound precognitive abilities. It’s the damned chair, she’s sure. Could it be just what it seems: a mundane piece of furniture? If so, why is it attracting dark forces—the forces she suspects drove Trevor’s siblings to insanity and suicide?
 
Before the same happens to Trevor, Caitlin must convince him to sell his art. But armed with only a handful of allies, and little experience of the supernatural, she must proceed with caution against the hellish forces besieging her family. If she succeeds, she will break the ancestral curse. If she fails, she may lose forever the one thing she cares about most: her beloved Trevor.

If you follow any of my reviews, you know that romance is my preferred genre, but I do like to stretch myself a bit and read a variety of works. Such is the case with The Artist’s Inheritance.

It took me a little longer to finish the story because I could only read it during the daylight hours. No, it’s not that scary. I’m just a big wimp like that. But there are paranormal elements that have to be uncovered and deciphered by our heroine, Cait.

See she and her husband Trevor have recently moved into his twin brother’s home in Florida near a fort that was used during the Civil War. Trevor (an artist) becomes obsessed with a chair he is carving while strange things begin to happen all around them. Cait sees apparitions, feels cold spots in the house, and starts to believe that a famous art critic is really an imp. Ooh, and did I mention that Trevor’s twin Gordon committed suicide?

With the help of friends, Cait uncovers just what’s bothering Trevor which reveals family secrets and curses that are over a hundred years old.

Juli D does a great job at setting up the work for future stories. There are a lot of happenings in The Artist’s Inheritance which makes it a quick and interesting read. It’s impossible to know what’s going to happen next. But I can’t wait to find out.

Connect with Juli:

my fiction available in:
Dark Things II: Cat Crimes
and The Scribing Ibis
(Proceeds go to charity)

The Artist’s Inheritance–Available at Amazon

on twitter: @juliannewrites

Website:
http://julidrevezzo.com/

on tumblr: http://jdrevezzo.tumblr.com/

Juli D. Revezzo ~ In the Spotlight

One of the greatest joys I get when I invite writers to my blog is that I usually find a new friend. And such is the case with today’s guest. I’ve been trying to get Juli over here for a while but something always happened, whether it was be losing files or her getting bombarded by hurricanes. So today is a special day because we finally got it together! Go, us.

And since we finally got it all together, Juli, tell us about your book.

Well, it’s about a woman whose husband’s obsessed with a chair he’s creating. She’s not altogether sure this is a good thing. In fact, the chair’s featuring in some very vivid nightmares she’s been having—along with the appearance of several ghosts and other folks she’s sure aren’t exactly …well, human. Her hubby’s sanity seems to be slipping too. Because of all this, she’d just like to toss the chair in the wood chipper.

The blurb goes:

Settling into their new home in Gulf Breeze, Florida, Caitlin finds strange changes coming over her husband Trevor. He seems obsessed with a beautiful chair he’s carving.

When the nightmares deepen and ghosts begin lurking—she knows something’s not right, and not just her newfound precognitive abilities. It’s the damned chair, she’s sure. Could it be just what it seems: a mundane piece of furniture? If so, why is it attracting dark forces—the forces she suspects drove Trevor’s siblings to insanity and suicide?

Before the same happens to Trevor, Caitlin must convince him to sell his art. But armed with only a handful of allies, and little experience of the supernatural, she must proceed with caution against the hellish forces besieging her family. If she succeeds, she will break the ancestral curse. If she fails, she may lose forever the one thing she cares about most: her beloved Trevor.

And if your readers would like to check it out, it’s available at Amazon and Smashwords.

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

My friend, author Jolene Dawe, and I were writing collections of short stories for each other’s Christmas presents one year. The collection centered around various pagan gods and coupled with my recent readings in the ancient Welsh mythological collection The Mabinogion, The Artist’s Inheritance was born.

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

That creativity isn’t always as easy as some folks make it seem, and if they go and peek into The Mabinogion or other Celtic myths, that’d be just fine too.

Your favorite character—

Oh, Caitlin, most definitely. Although my ghost soldier Roland is a sweetie as well.

And the most dreaded question of all—are you going to try your hand at self-publishing again?

Yes. I have several more stories to tell in Caitlin’s world, and a few other stories are stewing that I hope to release.

Any advice to those thinking about self-publishing?

My experience so far has been rather positive. Aside from a charity anthology I was blessed to be part of last year (Dark Things II: Cat Crimes), I have been very lucky—and am very grateful—to have friends who walked this path before me. They were generous in lending their talents and their expertise, without which, The Artist’s Inheritance wouldn’t’ve made it out the door, so to speak. If your readers would like to learn more about it, they can check it out at Amazon, or Smashwords, and they’re also welcome to visit my site at http://julidrevezzo.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Artists-Inheritance-Antique-Magic-ebook/dp/B008XL82IU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1345040600&sr=1-1

Smashwords

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/220457

 Just a few more questions. Why did you choose your genre? 

It seems to come naturally. I’ve written a version of fantasy and paranormal long since before I even knew what to call it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?

Oh, a few things. The one that stands out, though, is I wanted to be a singer in a rock band.  How has the dream affected me? I tend to feel a rhythm in most stories. I’m told not everyone does. ;) I admit, I may be weird.

What do you do for fun?

Read. Watch movies, I dabble in gardening a little too.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

I have a confession to make. I’m terrible at titles. This one, The Artist’s Inheritance was originally “The Artist’s Price”, until my hubby suggested the new title.

Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?

Now and then. Not this one, so much as other works. Well, they were contemporary at the time.

How much of your work is real? How much is fantasy?

For the most part, for this one, just the setting. Fort Pickens is an actual Civil War era fort in north Florida. The rest is all out of my imagination.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

Sometimes finding the right audience, sometimes just getting to “The End” can be challenging.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Keep trying, keep learning and if you really love what you do, don’t give up. Heck, these days, self-publishing is a very viable option. If you love it, polish it and try it out. You never know.

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

I have to say not so much writer’s block as working writer’s block. That’s something I heard the singer of Googoo Dolls once mention and it made perfect sense. In a nutshell, it’s where you can start about a million manuscripts but never finish them beyond a few thousand words. What do I do about it? Keep trying, trying something different. Usually working on something totally new will help shake the cobwebs loose.

Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?

Hands down, my favorite is fantasy author Michael Moorcock. He just has this…Baroque style and characters that I just fell in love with. I haven’t read one book of his that I’ve looked back on with anything less than a smile. Even when I’m not working on a manuscript with fantastic elements I tend to think, what would Michael do?

How did you deal with rejection letters?

Pout and log it in my journal and go on to the next name on my list. Really, that’s all you can do, besides self publishing your work. But I’ve always thought, why not exhaust all your options first?

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

Books on craft, books in your genre, books in different genres, literary classics, novels, plays, history books. Any book on any topic that strikes your fancy. You can learn from just about everything. What to do and probably more importantly, what not to do. Some of my must-have writing tip books are Self-Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. That one can help you get the bugs out of your manuscript before you hit send or upload. There’s a great book called Slang Through the Ages by Jonathon Green—that one really helps out if you want to include some form of historical scene in your work. I could go on, and on and on, but those are all the best off the top of my head.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Author Patty G. Henderson invited me to be part of a charity anthology of suspenseful cat *ahem* tales, called Dark Things II: Cat Crimes, last year whose proceeds are going to Cat House On the Kings in California. If your readers would like to check it out too:

It’s still available in Kindle and paperback at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/DARK-THINGS-II-Crimes-ebook/dp/B006O15YBE/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/185-0297248-1137456?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

And in Epub at Lulu:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/compiled-by-patty-g-henderson/dark-things-ii-cat-crimes/ebook/product-18787458.html

Thanks for having me here today, Amy! I’ve looked forward to it and appreciate you hosting me.

Thanks for coming, Juli.

Readers, are you intrigued with The Artist’s Inheritance? Well, come on back tomorrow. That’s when I’m posting my review of The Artist’s Inheritance.  Until then…

Lots of <3–Amie

And I almost forgot! Juli is  also over at The Saturated Page today. Be sure to check that out as well.

http://thesaturatedpage.wordpress.com/

Breaking The Rules by Cat Lavoie ~ A Review

♥♥♥♥♥ YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK! ♥♥♥♥♥
When twenty-seven year old Roxy Rule’s best friend and roommate accepts a glamorous new job overseas, she expects their relationship to continue as it’s always been—carefree and easy—until they share a heart-stopping kiss moments before his departure. Overcome with mixed emotions, she fights the urge to over analyze the situation and resumes back to her normal life in New York City, working for an intolerable boss at a dead end job, creeping further and further away from her own dreams of becoming a professional chef.While things become more complicated between her and Ollie, Roxy is sure that nothing can come between two lifelong best friends—not even mild jealousy over a thriving career or a silly little kiss that meant nothing. In fact, it was such a meaningless and forgettable kiss that she convinces herself that it’s not even worth mentioning to her fiancé, although it is all she can think about.Roxy’s already topsy-turvy life only gets more complicated when her sisters Steffi and Izzie suddenly become her roommates. Steffi is six months into a pregnancy she refuses to discuss and Izzie is in the throes of a premature midlife crisis. Roxy tries to take control of her career, her love life and her sisters – but can she really handle it all? And can the Rule family keep it together – or break under the pressure?
~*~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~*~
I was really excited about reading this book. After all, it’s one of the first published by Marching Ink. (And it has a great pink cover). I was not disappointed. I literally had to put it down and go to bed–very unwillingly, but alas, I don’t get paid to read (yet) and duty was calling. What a great book! Breaking the Rules is as much a story about Roxy and Ollie as it is about Roxy and her sisters. Having two sisters of my own, I could totally connect with Roxy. And given that I too am the “middle sister,” love to cook, and well, that’s where the similarities end.
Funny and real characters, funny and real situations, great friends and crazy family members. Breaking the Rules has it all.  But make sure you have plenty of time, because you are not going to want to put it down. Kudos to Cat for giving us such a fun read and kudos to Marching Ink for bringing it to us! Thanks ladies! Your efforts are greatly appreciated. :)
~*~*~*~*~ About Cat ~*~*~*~*~

Cat Lavoie was born in the small town of Jonquière in Québec, Canada. At the age of nineteen, she packed up her things (mostly books) and moved to the big city of Montreal where she currently lives with her tempestuous cat Abbie—who is both adorable and quite possibly evil.

An incurable Anglophile since her university days where she studied English Literature, she can often be found daydreaming about her next trip to London. Since she’s an expert at the art of procrastination, Cat is easily distracted by cooking and home improvement shows—even though she’s not particularly good at either.

Cat grew up watching soap operas and legal dramas and—had she not decided to be a claims analyst by day and write chick lit by night—she would have probably become a designer suit-wearing lawyer. Or a character on All My Children (which is what she really wanted to be when she was twelve).

Cat is not sure whether she’s a geek or a nerd—and is afraid she might be both. Breaking the Rules is her first novel.

Cat blogs about the writing life and posts adorable pictures of Abbie over at the Catenabi Chronicles. Come say hello at: www.CatLavoie.com and follow @Catenabi on Twitter.

~*~*~*~*~ Connect with Cat ~*~*~*~*~

www.CatLavoie.com

http://www.facebook.com/CatLavoieAuthor?ref=stream

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6440914.Cat_Lavoie

 ~*~*~*~*~Buy Links ~*~*~*~*~

Barnes & Noble – Nook

Amazon – Kindle

Kobo

Amazon – Print

https://twitter.com/Catenabi

~*~*~*~*~ Cat On Tour ~*~*~*~*~

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2012/07/breaking-rules-by-cat-lavoie.html

Viewer Discretion Advised by Cindy Roesel ~ A Review & More

♥♥♥♥♥ You Gotta Read This! ♥♥♥♥♥

LIVE FROM MIAMI! The sensationalism shown on television can only be topped by the drama that happens behind the camera! After being fired from her job in Los Angeles, Charlene “Charley” Thomas moves to sizzling Miami and begins working as news director at a local television station. While getting used to her new gig, Charley wakes up to the fact that her station manager, Jonathan Lefton, is the boss from hell who will do anything for a story no matter who gets hurt in the process. When nude pictures of noon anchor, Miranda Andrews, are discovered in the men’s room of a Key West bar, all hell breaks loose. They end up on Lefton’s desk and he promotes her over the main anchor, sparking off a firestorm. Miranda’s quickly thrown into the mix and assigned special reports. Charley finds herself overseeing an investigation that could shine light on the guilt of a dirty cop. Real life begins to mimic the drama of broadcast news when station personalities face life and death all for rating and Emmys! VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED is a modern day “Sex and the City” meets “Broadcast News.”

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

I never know what’s in store for me when I crack open some of novels I’m asked to review.  It’s good for me to read outside my chosen genre of romance, and it feels fine to stretch my legs and test other waters. Next in line is chicklit (You know, books that are written by and targeted toward women). When I think of chicklit, I think of books like Bridget Jones Diary and other light-hearted and fun reads. But we all know that chicklit is more than that. It accounts for novels that cover more serious issues and problems with today’s world. Well, Viewer Discretion Advised fits right in the middle. It’s fun and  upbeat, but it’s more than that. Cindy Roesel takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of what it’s like behind the scenes in a newsroom. Fast-paced, smart and savvy, yet it deals with issues in the lives of the people who work at WCAR–drinking problems, low self-esteem, cheating husbands, fragile egos, and the problems that result with long distance relationships.

How Cindy managed to pack all that in under 300 pages is a mystery to me, but it’s all there. The reader can’t help but root for Charley. There’s something inherently likable about her. Everyone around her can sense it as well. This also means that we love the people she loves by way of association.  The reader wants her to end up with Oz, needs Rori to get help, and Charley to succeed in the cut-throat world she has landed in. But Charley knows her stuff (As does Cindy) and with odds like that she has to succeed. And the same goes for Cindy Roesel and Viewer Discretion Advised as well.

And one thing is certain: I’ll never look at the news the same way again.

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

CINDY ROESEL is an Emmy Award winning television broadcast journalist. After working for twenty years in newsrooms filled with ambitious backbiting adrenalin junkies, she’s turning her experiences into novels.  Cindy lives in Miami with her shih tzu, Sassy.

~*~*~*~ The Interview ~*~*~*~

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

Cindy: It’s often said, “write what you know.” Well. I’ve wanted to write a novel since I was a little girl and the majority of my first career has been as a TV news anchor and reporter and that includes writing, so it makes sense that my first book should be about a broadcast journalist.  VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED is a suspenseful, romantic thriller set in Miami, Florida, which features news director, Charlize “Charley” Thomas.  It’s a mix of the new HBO hit show “The Newsroom” meets “Sex and the City.”

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

Cindy: It’s important that readers walk away knowing that if you work hard you can accomplish anything.  That may sound hokey, but I believe in the dream.  I was the first one in my family to graduate from college, go into a profession and I won an Emmy Award for my hard work in Broadcasting.  Charley comes up against quite a few obstacles, but she doesn’t give up and she never looks for the easy way to get something done.  It’s really important young women on their career path find a mentor they believe in that they can trust.  It’s important to me that readers of VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED see Charley as a positive professional woman.

Amie: Why did you choose your genre?

Cindy: I always knew my first attempt at writing would be fiction. VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED evolved into a suspenseful, romantic, thriller as I wrote it.  I really didn’t plan it that way.  Actually, I thought it was going to be a chick-lit romance, but then the story and the characters took over.  There comes a point when the writer, in this case, me, stops resisting and follows their lead so the project is organic.

Amie: Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

Cindy: There are many challenges for a writer, especially one who wants to write well.  Writers have to not only write, but they must read, and that includes reading everything, not only what they enjoy.  It’s important to surround yourself with other writers in real life and on the Internet.  I write book reviews for a blog called Chick Lit Central and I’ve made a lot of friends over the web, some of whom I’ve met in person.  We read one another’s work, and help proof each other.  I’m constantly taking classes and going to author readings at my local bookstores.  The bottom line is you must always be working at your craft.

Another challenge is getting my butt in the chair to actually write, but once I’m there, you practically have to peel me out.  There are so many other things vying for my attention, and I’m easily distracted.  Let’s face it, once we’re on the computer there’s Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, ChickLitPlus, your Blog, mine, Chick Lit Central…. all screaming our name….  so I guess what the big challenge comes down to for me is to FOCUS!

Amie: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Cindy: The first thing I’d tell writers who are just starting out is, “Congratulations!  You’ve entered a very special club.  What you’re going to do is honorable work and the people you’re going to surround yourself with are unique, life as you know it has changed.  Number one rule:  There are no rules, except this one.  Don’t fall in love with your first drafts.  The final project never looks like what you first put down on paper.  Remember, writing is rewriting.  Have fun!”

Amie: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?    

Cindy: No, I don’t believe in writer’s block.  When I have to write something or I have a deadline, I do it.  It may not be my best work, but I fulfill my obligations.

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

Cindy: A comfy writing environment, a dictionary, thesaurus, EB White’s, “The Elements of Style,” a full pot of coffee and lots of writer and non-writer friends!  I also happen to love having plenty of plain M&Ms on hand…. yummy!

Thank you so much Amie for inviting me and VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED to visit you and your wonderful blog and Facebook site.

Thanks for coming, Cindy. Readers, you’re all  invited to contact Cindy anytime if you have questions or comments about anything here or in her novel.

And…**Everyone who leaves a comment at http://www.clpblogtours.com/2012/05/viewer-discretion-advised-by-cindy.html will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Viewer Discretion Advised before August 20 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.** Whoop!

~*~*~*~ Connect with Cindy ~*~*~*~

www.cindyroesel.com

~*~*~*~ Buy the Book ~*~*~*~
AMAZON.COM
 B&N.com

~*~*~*~  Cindy On Tour ~*~*~*~

CLP Blog Tours

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 ~*~*~*~*~

www.ShellyBellBooks.com

Twitter Facebook

Pinterest             LinkedIn

Google Plus       Goodreads

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

 ~*~ For e-book ~*~

Soul Mate Publishing

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 ~*~ For paperback ~*~

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

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

 http://www.clpblogtours.com/2012/04/year-to-remember-by-shelly-bell.html

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 ~*~*~*~
Website (AND TO DOWNLOAD THE FIRST CHAPTER FREE!): http://www.ellencardona.com 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EllenCardona
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ellencardona <http://twitter.com/#%21/ellencardona>  <http://twitter.com/#%21/ellencardona>
Blog: http://ellencardona.com/blog/

Email: ellen (at)ellencardona(dot)com
 
~*~*~*~ Buy the Book ~*~*~*~Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005IC38EU/ref=as_li_tf_til?tag=ellencardonac-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=B005IC38EU&adid=1AR1GXZZAECEWZJEMZMT&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fellencardona.com%2F

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/brownie-fix-ellen-cardona/1105068099?ean=2940013043732&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-plecO0ACyhE-_-2%3a2940013043732&Paperback at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Brownie-Fix-Ellen-Cardona/dp/1466221518/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1341330305&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=ellen+cardona

~*~*~*~ 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

Dark is the Sky by Jessica Chambers ~ A Review

♥♥♥♥♥ YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK! ♥♥♥♥♥

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.

~*~*~*~*~ Buy Dark is the Sky ~*~*~*~*~

Paperback:

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Sky-Jessica-Chambers/dp/0984721509/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323000484&sr=1-1

Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-is-the-Sky-ebook/dp/B006EQV9N6/

Nook:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-is-the-sky-jessica-chambers/1107757155?ean=2940013544604&itm=1&usri=dark+is+the+sky

 ~*~*~*~*~ Thanks for coming by! ~*~*~*~*~